Sunday, January 30, 2011


We’re teething at our house. The first one poked through about 2 weeks ago. The second a couple of days later. The third and fourth… well those have been close on the heels of the second. And just like Benett, Ellie’s getting her lateral incisors in first.

When it happened to Benett, I freaked out. I nearly called the orthodontist after I managed to get my hysterics under control. Monte talked me down, and after a couple of weeks Benett’s two front teeth started to appear.

Now Ellie is sporting the same little fangs. (I forgot to mention that I was reading the Twilight series when Benett’s teeth came in. That didn’t help the situation... No matter how dreamy Edward is, I didn’t want to have a vampire baby living in my house.)
I love the wicked little pointy-toothed grins. And every chance I get, I’ll pull back Ellie’s lip to see what kind of progress the pearly-whites are making.
As you can see she doesn’t care for that so much… I guess I don't blame her.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Total immersion is a good thing. Giving your all to a task feels good. It's gratifying. It disguises the hard work, cloaking the singularity in self-satisfaction. Multi-tasking is over rated.

It must be the same with children. Playing must be easier when every single toy is clearly within reach... Spread out before you to completely immerse yourself in imaginative play.

I've decided that it is much more fun to watch this all-encompassing play than it is to pick-up after. Can anyone guess what a dark room, a bare foot and a lego man have in common?

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Saturday mornings are my favorite part of the week, but not for an obvious reason. It's not about sleeping in for me. I've become accustom to my children waking early, so I never expect to be able to enjoy that little luxury at this stage of my life.

I look forward to everyone being awake. I love that most of the time, nobody has to rush out the door. The most important thing is breakfast.

My kids love breakfast food. Pancakes, waffles, french toast, finnish pancake, egg bake, bacon... you name it. They're breakfast fiends.

I think the coffee tastes better on the weekend. I also like how Monte drinks his OJ out of a mug. That too must taste better.

This Saturday I'm back home and can't wait to not sleep in. To rush off to nothing. To sip my coffee and spend time making something loaded with carbs and covered in syrup. To watch sticky fingers gobble up breakfast food. You can be sure I'll love every moment of it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Las Vegas is like another planet.

The only thing that reminds me of my normal life at home is the moon. It lingers in the sky reminding me that a few hundred miles away are those who mean the most to me.

I recall how large the moon looks at home. It's huge and bright and beautiful. The crown jewel in the night sky.

Here everything is bright and flashing. Extravagant. It's almost as if the moon knows and has withdrawn itself so as not to compete.

I'm ready to leave the flashing lights and the incessant noise behind. I'm ready to be back where I belong. With my family, where the moon is big and bright and solitary.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My garden is sleeping. I'd like to be too... I'm ready for a nap.

I'd like to curl up on the couch, under a warm blanket and watch The Prince of Persia. (Don't judge the movie choice.) But I can't do that - yet.

But next week at this time I'll be home. And if you're wondering, the first thing I'll do is hold my children close and breathe in the sweet smell of each. The second thing I'll do is curl up and take a nap.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

His & Hers

There is nothing like a great burger.

You know the one I'm talking about. It's juicy. It's cooked to perfection. And when it's enjoyed with good company, this burger tastes amazing.

Monte likes his loaded with cheese (everything is better with cheese you know) and smothered with ketchup.

I like mine with a glass of wine. Red is great, but a white would do in a pinch.

Even better than the wine was the fact that Monte created this scene all on his own. He even got the 'fancy buns.' (From the bakery... yum)

It as so nice to come home from another long day at the office, to a treat like this.

The only thing that would have made this scene better would have been the addition of some kind of potato... a chip... a fry... a tot... anything.

Even with the conspicuously absent vegetable, this meal ranks pretty high on the great meal list. (Do a burger and a glass of wine qualify as a meal?)

Movie Night

I have a trip coming up this week. It's the grand-daddy of them all.

Each year we host a National Sales Conference. Our best customers, retail sales offices and management are invited to attend. We've been planning the event for months. My contingent departs on Thursday. I think we have some great content. I'm excited about that.

From the time we arrive until the time we head back to the airport to come home we'll be busy. Really busy. Meeting with customers. Planning marketing activities for the next season. Sharing exciting program information that will help each attendee plan operating activities for the coming year. That is the kind of thing that drives me. I want everyone who attends to be as excited about the products and programs as I am.

We'll have full plates. We'll be busy all day, with little time to touch base with loved ones. That is the part that has been eating at me for as many months as we've been planning the meeting. I'll be away from my family for 6 days. I've never been away from Benett or Ellie for that long. (Unfortunately, I can't say that about Gavin... When he was three months young, I had to leave for this same meeting. It was nearly unbearable.)

So to prepare myself and the little people for the time I'll be spending away from them, Monte & I tried to make some memorable moments this past weekend. Nothing extravagant, just meaningful time spent in the everyday activities.... extra one-on-one time with each of the little people. It was nice.

One of the highlights was movie night. It wasn't anything special. Just a tray of snacks, a cozy blanket, a Disney flick and little people on my lap. It was nice.

Monte has some things planned for this coming weekend, to keep everyone busy. It will be good for him and the kids. I'll miss them. I'll miss not being a part of their activities. I will think about them often. I can't wait for the feeling I'll have when I check out of the hotel... when I board the plane... when I walk back in the door at home.

But until that happens, I remember movie night.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Some people don't really care for winter. It's cold and that's not always so fun. For others the snow will send them racing towards warmer climates. It can be a chore to deal with. (I can really speak to that... Don't ask how many times I've been stuck in my own driveway.)

Even with the added stress of bundling the kids up every time we need to step out the door... with the bitter cold that seems to send a chill straight to the bone... the snow that constantly needs to be cleared away... I love the winter.

Ask me in the spring, and I'll most likely say that I love that season... summer and autumn as well. Living in the North means a change of season. Ultimately, that is what I enjoy. Each season brings with it a feeling. Adjustments to the routine.
This year our winter routine has involved cozy sweaters, footy pjs for the kids, a warm fireplace, soup/stew/chili, down comforters, a record number of boxes of kleenex, 4-wheel drive and finding missing mittens. I've enjoyed it all.

But in a month, we'll start to itch for a new routine. We will force the change by starting tomato seeds in the East facing windows, and hope that the sight of green grass isn't far behind.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Mask

Was it wrong that my first reaction was to ask if other kids wear these kinds of hats to school?

The hat itself is plenty disturbing. Add to that the mouth breathing and eyes as wide open as humanly possible... It was all I could do to let him walk out the door with it on.

Apparently, other kids DO wear these kinds of hats to school... and it's perfectly normal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these creepy hats that make one's eye's bulge and give you the urge to mouth-breathe.

Silly me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Tags are my  new obsession. QR codes and now these colorful Tags have been popping up in advertising for a while, but for whatever reason, I'm just getting on board.

These 'Tags' are really bar codes that allow the user to scan them with a smart phone and automatically (magically) be taken to a web page.

I think the thing that makes them so appealing is the ease of use. (And the pretty colors don't hurt either.) Target used QR codes in their holiday advertising. I thought it was cool... but QR codes are definitely not as posh as these colorful tags!

If you want to give it a whirl, browse to the following URL with your smart phone:

From there the software will install. Select the app, scan the tag on the left and viola! You'll see my little site on your phone... how cool is that? Now just keep an eye out for these tags in your favorite advertising. They'll no doubt take you to some great content.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Math Genius

If this boy had a job title, it would be Resident Math Genius/Antagonist.

Today he was the only one in his class to get 100% on the math quiz! I am extremely impressed, especially considering problem #3 was a very obscure picture of a sandwich on a plate with an arrow pointing to a picture of an empty plate. Above the illustration it read, "write the numbers."

Now, admittedly, I am mathematically challenged. I don't care for it. At all. But I DO have a college education. And I can say with confidence that I would have written different numbers below that cryptic illustration.

The Antagonist part goes without saying. He excels at it. He takes it seriously. He's nearly as good at that, as he is math.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I think it may be the cold outside that forces me to turn my thoughts inward and reflect more than usual. Perhaps it's the long hours at the office, which make me daydream about time at home with my little people. What ever the reason, I've been giving additional thought to my current path. What I do, what is important to me and what kind of legacy I want to leave for my children.

I really believe that there is no substitute for meaningful time spent with those you love most. It's the way it should be. These past few days I've been able to spend about 15 minutes with my kids. In the morning, before we all head in our different directions for the day. I miss them.... terribly. I long for time with each of them.

The flip side of that coin is to teach by action. That hard work is both gratifying and satisfying (when it's purposeful).

I'm sure if I were in a position to be home with my children each day, reveling in quality time spent playing, I'd miss the adult interaction... It wouldn't take long before the idea of a meeting, a conference call, a marketing plan, some new product development discussion... even a PowerPoint presentation... would be a welcome distraction from the kids' world of make-believe.

So tonight I'll sneak a kiss as my children sleep, and remind myself of balance... that these long days aren't the rule, but the exception... that right now, the lesson I can teach is one of hard work. And tomorrow... well tomorrow, I'll make sure they know that time spent with each of them is what matters most to me.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Sometimes we don’t want to know.  I can think of four things that I would rather not know right now.
1. How many servings of vegetables the children actually consumed today... without rounding up, or using fuzzy math.
2. The vast difference between my idea of ‘icky’ and Benett’s.
3. The number of emails in my inbox. Maybe it's unwise to consider anything from management as spam?
4. Whether or not Gavin really brushed his teeth. Or if he just ran water over his tooth brush and called it good.
They say knowledge is power. I get that. I can introduce you to several spreadsheets that confirm this theory of powerful knowledge. (Or support the fuzzy math concept mentioned above.) But the reality of some situations is just too terrifying to consider. So with that, I’ll be sticking my head in the cold snow bank, at least until tomorrow, when I'll be forced to read all of that email I ignored today.

Getting Started

I've done my share of presentations. I've done them for small groups gathered around conference room tables. I've done them for large groups convened in ballrooms at conference centers. No matter the size of the group, I get wound up. I think that's good. It forces me to be thorough.

I have a talk to give in two weeks. (13 days to be precise.) Normally this wouldn't be a big deal. I have all of this week and part of next week to finalize my materials. Write my notes. Perfect my PowerPoint. But I have a severe case of writer's block. I can't seem to get myself started. I know the topics I want to discuss. But I can't get there.

It feels like being in the middle of the fog. I'm trying to see past it, but my light isn't bright enough.

I decided to give my mind a break and I chose not to work on the presentation this weekend. Let's hope that was a good decision and my little light shines brightly in the days to come!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Forget about the breakfast of champions. This is how I'd like to start each of my days... with pastries. Good pastries. You know, the kind from fancy bakeries. (Trust me. They tasted as good as they look!)

Add to that liquid sunshine pouring through the windows, hot coffee and great company. Sunday morning just doesn't get any better.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to Wear a Tutu

Wearing a tutu isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes some chutzpah.
Crawling in a tutu is a whole different ball game. It's a good thing that babies don't know about VPL.
Ell has taken this tutu thing in stride. She actually seems to like it. I never thought I'd be one of those moms who gets into all of these frilly things... but come on! Who could resist this? (I'm even considering going back for the pink version. One tutu doesn't seem to be enough.)
What is it about little girls? How do they know to be excited about new things to wear? How do they know to be doubly excited about new things that have layers and layers of frill?
I remember wondering the same thing about the boys too... don't worry, they never wore tutus... But how did they know to make engine noises while playing with their truck/tractor/car/train? I knew that raising a girl would be different... but the difference between boys and girls has been vast, amazing and glorious.
My little boys are rough and tumble. They love dirt and trucks. They each have minds of their own and love to express their opinions.

My little girl is sweet. She's smiley and happy. She's accommodating and observant. She loves dolls, already.

It's true... Little girls are sugar and spice and everything nice. Except when we're not... And though I wouldn't consider myself 'girly' by any stretch of the imagination, I will say that I'm glad Ellie is.

My gift to her will be to bring her up in this boy's world with the self confidence and audacity to wear her tutu and love every minute of it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Perpetual Motion

Monte & I were back at the office today. The grind took some getting used to after such a long luxurious holiday break. I say luxurious, but in reality our time at home was chaos. I call this image "Perpetual Motion." This is the way my life really looks... a whir of activity, where the blurry little people are running the show.

Here the boys are playing. Whatever the game was at the time, I can say with great certainty that it was loud.
Ellie is looking under the rug. Not sure what her obsession is with the underside of floor coverings, but it’s unnatural.
So, maybe being back at the office is the luxury? No… I don’t think so. No matter how loud or chaotic, I wouldn’t trade my blurry little people for anything.