Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009


Right now, I am en route to Cozumel, Mexico with some of your aunties- and your Fairy Godmother.
We are traveling in honor of our 30th birthdays; events which take place between October 15, 2009, and July 4, 2010.
We are the Power of 8.

We talked about this trip when we turned 21 ... when we had those bad, short haircuts. Before anyone was married. When we were juniors in college, wearing those tan, plastic boots from Target. Before any of us were Mamas.

Know that I will miss you this week, lil' dude. Likewise for Daddy and the Beagle. I promise you'll never be far from my mind. I hope for you to one day experience the type of friendship I have with these ladies. Where the sum of our parts is greater than the whole. Where turning 30 is just as big and scary and exciting and shared as turning 12 was. When there is really no one else you'd rather celebrate with.

Be a good girl this week, babe, and I'll bring you a little Mexican sunshine when I come home.
I can't wait to see your face and smell your neck and hear your words.
Mama loves.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Memories

Since my birth, we have celebrated Christmas Eve with my mom's side of the family, at my grandparents' tiny farmhouse.
In 1980, there were 18 of us ...
Today there are 57. Five generations.
I love big families.


Christmas Eve, 1981

I remember ...
... helping set the table with the 12 Days of Christmas glasses.
... placing heaping brown sugar in bowls for the Lefse.
... counting the 14 grandkid stockings hung on the railing. Plus, Grandpa's way at the top!
... the long wait in between finishing our meal, cleaning up, and sitting around to open gifts.
... the youngest one opening first.
... the year I moved from the kiddie name-exchange to the adults.
... mixing 6 flavors of soda in one glass, and drinking it!
... pickled herring with Ritz crackers.
... the squirrel nut bowl with real nutcrackers.
... the year my brother was born on December 22, and having to stay home. (SAD)
... drawing names for the next year's gift exchange.
... the homemade, matching Grandma pajamas we would put on immediately.
... hoping either Grandpa or Grandma drew your name in the adult exchange=homemade gifts!
... rigging it the years certain grandkids had yet to receive a Grandpa gift.
... eating our stocking candy and trading plain M&M's for peanut, and visa versa.
... that 7,000 sq. foot roll of navy blue wrapping paper with Christmas teddy bear angels on it Grandma had (has?) for years.
... ham gravy made with real Coke.
... the wet, soggy, and cold entryway due to 80 separate shoes.
... the various babies asleep in a heap on Grandma's bed.
... losing pieces of games, playsets, and puzzles because you HAD to open them all right then!
... the line snaking back by the washer & dryer to get your food in the kitchen.
... 14 cars running at the end of the night.
... the Christmas ice cream roll, with warm chocolate sauce.
... egg nog.
... Creme de Menthe on ice.
... the year 45 people could no longer fit in the farmhouse; aka the year Christmas Eve was moved to Zion Lutheran Church's Fellowship Hall (the hall my grandpa practically built; in his late '70s!).
... introducing my husband to This Christmas Eve Event Extraordinaire.
... introducing my daughter to This Christmas Eve Event Extraordinaire.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Three More Sleeps 'Till Christmas

When I was a kid, we taped A Muppet Christmas Carol off the TV onto a VHS tape. That movie, from 1992, became our family's favorite holiday film. I know I haven't seen it since I left home, and I am sure that chubby VHS was long ago thrown away.

This past weekend, My mom received A Muppet Christmas Carol DVD during our family's Christmas. My brother and I both excitedly recalled our fond memories of watching that movie, cramped together in our small family den. How, during Bob Cratchit's singing of "One More Sleep 'Till Christmas", my Dad would rewind and rewind and REWIND that scene as it played this verse;

'Tis the season to be jolly and joyous
With a burst of pleasure we feel it arrive
It's the season when the Saints can employ us
To spread the news about peace and to keep love alive

The beauty of today's technology? Forwarding through the scene catalogue on the DVD to find that scene.
Which, my Dad played over and over again. Just like the good old days.
This time, he had a new member in the audience to appreciate it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Little Elf Told Me ...

That Santa has been busy at the Grandparents' of the North ...
Word is he delivered a bunch of presents for Miss Lil' Dude for our Christmas celebration this weekend.
The stockings- hung & stuffed.
The cookies- baked & iced.
The gifts- wrapped & stowed.
The grandparents- anxious & anticipating!

This is your third Christmas, my little winter baby, and already we have traditions we love and honor as a family.
It makes me practically giddy to have a child, to have you, my sweet daughter during the holidays.
We are lucky and blessed.

The gift of family, the gift of health, the gift of contentment, the gift of generosity.
May those gifts be forever what we need.
May our focus always be true, be valued.

And may we always have crème brûlée ...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Adorable photo courtesy of the lovely & talented, Auntie Mo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Your Booty & His

Last night I showed you the fab new skirt I bought you ... and you wanted to try it on.
You call skirts- and dresses- and even tutu's ... BOOTIES.
As in, 'shake your booty.'

Anyways, you're lying on your back on the floor trying to get your booty on by yourself. You roll out of sight, behind the couch.
To where the Beagle is stationed.

I can barely hear you now, and you're whispering.
I peek over the couch at you ...
And you're gently coaxing the Beagle into your skirt.
Paw by paw.
Giant dog leg by dog leg.
Beagle needs it. Shake his booty, too.
And your sweet, gentle puppy, he's just sorta letting you.
Bless his heart.

And yours for sharing your booty.

Adorable photo courtesy of the lovely & talented, Auntie Mo.

Friday, December 11, 2009

All I Want for Christmas

dEaR sAnTA clAuS:

i'Ve BeEn A vERy gooD GiRl in 2oo9 ... AsK mY mAMA & dAdDy.

hERe Is tHE liSt oF {sTUFf} i WouLD liKE:

~fOR mY NaNa TO NeVEr hAVe tO gEt WAShed. iT mAkEs me SAd.

~To BE ablE tO SLeeP iN EVERYday!

~tO EaT reD GRapES & cHeDdaR GOldFisH & bREad & SaUSaGe & HOmeMaDE pICKleS @ evERy mEaL.

~to HAvE sOmEoNe tHroW mE iN tHE aiR aLL dAY L 0 N G !

~TO tAKe seVEn hOuR BaTHs.

~to ABOlisH miTTeNs fOR g00D.

~tO cOnViNCe mAmA 2 ShAre HER `hot` CoffEE FoR oNCE.

~fOR tHe bEaGLe tO bE AbLe to TaLK.

~tO mOVe to tARGet & lIVe theRe.

~fOR 'CuSE to {WIN} thE TiTLe.

~TO hAVE gRANDpa lEAve hIS 4WhEELer @ mY HOUse.

~to BE HEALthy, HapPy, & cOnTEnT for ALWays.

THaT's aLL, sAnTA.
{tHaNkYOU/You'RE welcOmE}

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


We bought the lil' dude the new Pixar movie Up for her birthday. We sat down to watch it last night as a family, with the lil' dude nestled in between us on the couch.

The first 10 minutes of the film are sad ... in only the way that the cycle of life can be. I had heard this movie was different from the rest, ranging higher on the emotional scale than say, Cars, or Bugs Life. I felt my eyes getting hot; I'll make no excuses for my emotions. I'm a crier by nature.

I look over to my right and see my little girl, eyes fixed on the movie, tears running down her face. The Dad carefully wipes her eyes and cheeks, thinking maybe the remnants of a head cold are accounting for her watery eyes.

Then, just as the movie gets the most sad, the lil' dude says in her trembly, lower-lip quivering, expression like she's about to apologize, sorry little voice ... sad.

And just like that, my two-year-old daughter is crying during an appropriate time in a feature film.
And the Dad has two girl-faces to wipe, two knees to softly pat.
"It's OK girls," he's repeating, "it's OK."

And of traits parents pass onto children, like big hazel eyes, or height, or food allergies, exhibiting a tender heart seem to be on the list as well.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Moments old, forever loved.
I could say you came out kicking and screaming, and all red and a hollerin', but you didn't. You came out the way you exactly are now.
Calm, wide-eyed, beautiful, sweet.
You didn't cry, you just sneezed in the doctor's face and then met your parents for the first time.
And we fell in love, hard.

As a one-year-old, I thought the growth you sustained in 12 months was phenomenal. It was amazing to have a front-row seat to your first year. You went from an eight-pound infant to a 22-pound girl. You learned how to roll, sit, crawl, walk, run. How to sip from a cup, go underwater, say words. I didn't think you'd have another year like that.

And then, you turned two.

And I am still having a hard time putting your year of growth into words. From a physical standpoint, you grew longer and lankier, adding only five pounds to your frame, and five inches to your body. Your hair grew into ponytail length, and your feet are in a seven. But none of that compares to how your heart, mind, and soul grew in 12 months. How you learned how to complete my sentences; point out airplanes far away, identify specific baby cries, and cry during the sad parts of Up. How you sense when I've had a bad day, and just need a quiet hug. How you insist on kissing the dog at bedtime. Talking to Grandma on the phone. Crying when we get to the pediatrician's office because you know you're getting shots.

How you exclaimed, no way! each time you opened your birthday gifts.
How much fun you have every minute of everyday.
It's in how you point to my coffee cup and say, coffee, hot.
It's grabbing my face with both hands and putting your nose to mine.
It's sharing your soggy Goldfish crackers.
In how you ask for licorice for your friend.
It's in how you made Daddy and I love each other more, differently.
How you smell when you wake up in the morning.
And your big, big hazel eyes.

It's in everything you do, and everything you are.
It's who you are.
And how you love.

Happy 2nd Birthday, my sweet baby girl.
To my darling daughter.
I love you to the moon.

Mama loves.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Two by two, the animals went out to sea ...
I'm turning TWO, come celebrate with me!

It's your 2nd birthday eve, lil' dude. You're snoring in your bed.
We had a party for you today- a much smaller fete than last years bash! but you had fun.
I love watching you grow up, little girl.
You make me so proud.

I can't wait for tomorrow!

Mama loves.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Arrangement

One of the lil' dude's besties, JW, is a full year younger than she is. There has always been sweet banter between the parental units about young love ... going to Prom, etc. But, as far as arranged relationships go, it's more about the two people playing the game. Arrangement, schmangement.

Like last night, the two played coy. Unsure of each other.

After awhile, JW was all, fine. Here. Hold it.

The lil' dude obliges.

And really likes it.

But JW seems unsure.

He tries to escape her death grip of love.

But! True love triumphs! It always will.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Silent {Night}

You and I danced in the dark last night at bedtime my dear.
We were swaying together slowly right before I slipped you into your crib to tuck you in.
And I started singing Silent Night very quietly.
I could see the soft warm glow of the white Christmas lights from the tree reflecting in hallway.
It was a sweet, quiet moment.

I sang:
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy ni ...
when you grabbed my cheeks with both hands and said, "MOM. STOP."

Well, Merry Christmas to you, too!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiny Christmas Helper

Carefully looking amongst all the Fir trees ... hoping to find the perfect Christmas tree.

Once the tree had been procured, the cutting commenced. There to supervise, was our tiny Christmas helper, the lil' dude. She took her role very seriously!