Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Love This Kid

Although she DID have a legitimate owwie from an unfortunate accident with a toy bin yesterday, I think her call for a remedy is a bit ridiculous. See for yourself:

So at 7am today when I woke Her Highness up from royal slumber, she first pointed out her owwie ... right 'dere. I kissed it. I fawned over her. I distracted her. And, eventually, I obliged her.

Because at 7am if she thinks a Hello Kitty Band-Aid is going to save the day, who am I to disagree?

I love this kid.

{note, it's nearing 7pm and the bandage is still intact. Heal on, healer}

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Best Thing

The Dad installed some swings under the deck two weeks ago- for his darling daughter.
Well. As if she didn't already think Daddy hung the moon, that act solidified it.

She wakes up in the morning- she wants to swing.
She protests eating homemade manicotti- she wants to swing.
She hides from me when it's time to fashion her hair into something other than a ratty beehive- she wants to swing.
She gets tucked in and no less than 100 kisses at bedtime- she wants to swing.
She gets home from daycare and hightails it to the backyard with the Beagle close behind- she wants to swing.

She wants to swing. It's the greatest thing to happen to her since, well ... hotdogs.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Nutella is a rich, chocolate hazelnut spread I was first introduced to when I traveled to Germany in high school.
I enjoyed it each morning of the 21-day trip smeared on authentic, still-warm German breads and croissants. I brought a jar home in my luggage to share with my parents.

Imagine my surprise when I received a jar in my Christmas stocking that year ... and imagine the United States shelving such an international treat! Nutella in my stocking became a traditional in my family. One year though, it just stopped.

Last month on a whim, and after a 10-year absence from my life, I again found myself ripping the foil off the top of a new jar of Nutella to smear on a whole grain bagel one weekend while I had coffee.

Much to my delight my tiny muse enjoys the stuff, too.

Happiness is found at the bottom of a Nutella jar ...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Happy Earth Day!

This morning I ran the Beagle at the park per our usual 6am routine.
I'm usually in a hurry on the way back, to run in the house and begin getting ready for another day.
This morning was different though; when we turned into our yard, I paused.
And, grabbed my camera.

There, my first tulip was shooting through the soil. It's from the first batch of bulbs I've ever planted, and I was rewarded with pink -my favorite color- being the debut.

Our Autumn Blaze Maple tree, fresh with off-spray from the sprinkler system and a 35* morning, was icy on all its baby leaves.

A hearty perennial showing off its mean-green in the flower bed by the porch.

And, my favorite, most favorite of all, the Flowering Crab Apple tree planted the summer before the lil' dude was born. These magnificent buds break open in early spring, flower, and fly away all before Mother's Day. It's always symbolic to me watching this mighty tree come to life after surviving another harsh Midwest winter.

Celebrate today where you live- take the time to be thankful for the greens, blues, browns, and pinks.
Just pause.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Daddy's Girl

Not that there was ever any question ... but these photos are hard evidence.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Flowers for Mama

Yesterday, I woke up with the flu.

It made me very, very sad.
It was no fun at all.

You see ... Sundays we like to make big breakfasts and take our time in the morning.
We were to spend the entire day playing outside.

Sidewalk chalk.
Hunting for spiders.
Swinging on your new swings.
Chasing the Beagle.
Going on walks.
Playing at the park.
Waving at cars.
Snacking in the sun.

All those fun Sunday things that we do, you did just with Daddy.
While I laid in bed in the dark and moaned and watched five Lifetime movies instead.
Really, the day was the worst.

Except for when you brought me that flower you picked, the petals all smooshed and the stem completely gone.
It was pink and perfect and from my best girl.
It sure cheered me up.

Thanks for thinking of your Mama.
Can't wait for next Sunday.

Friday, April 16, 2010


You have another session of swimming lessons under your belt, lil' dude. You took your first lessons as a 14-month old. It's crazy what a year later can mean.

First and foremost, you love the water. You have absolutely no fear. As a parent, it's both relieving and terrifying at the same time. This year's lessons were nearly the same as last. Since you fall under the age of three, you are required by Community Ed's standards to swim with a parent. You were encouraged to do the hokey pokey, sing the teddy bear song, and blow bubbles like Tiny Tim, the turtle.

And you hated it.
I won't say hate. That's a pretty strong word. You had no patience for that 'baby' stuff. Instead, you brazen little swimmer you, you wanted to jumpjumpjump off the side and sink to the bottom over and over. You wanted to swim out to the middle of the pool to retrieve your floating ball. You wanted to SWIM, for crying out loud.

I am not saying any of this to brag about you- it's true. Your instructors were so happy with you as their charge. They told Daddy it was OK for you two to go off on your own, and work on things separate from the hokey-pokeying group. They asked the aquatics director if you could ignore the birthday rules and join the next class immediately. They said, no. They could not believe you were only two, and on the newer side of two, at that. December 7th can't get here fast enough for you.

Swimming has been over for a week. When Daddy picks you up from daycare, you still ask if you're headed to the pool. A long time ago, a co-worker and friend of mine said this about parenting, "it's knowing your kid is obsessed with dinosaurs and finally taking him to see the dinosaur exhibit at the science museum. It makes your heart explode."

And maybe swimming won't be your thing.
But right now, it is.
And watching you swim makes my heart explode.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Monday, April 12, 2010 at 3:10pm, you saw history being made.
That was when the first pitch of the home opener at Target Field was thrown.
And you were there.

The Minnesota Twins vs. the Boston Red Sox.
You know how important baseball is to this family, and your enthusiasm and tolerance yesterday did not disappoint.
We're so proud of you. For spending six hours in a ballpark. And loving it!
We've been waiting 28 years for this. Baseball played the way it should be!

You were one of nearly 40,000 fans yesterday. Including one Boston fan who sat near us, brave little soldier he was! And, I know a lot of people who don't necessarily understand or appreciate professional sports. But, baseball is different. It truly is America's favorite pastime.

And this year ... and years to come with real grass, real sunshine, real baseball- there's no better time to be a fan.

Yesterday was just the start of fun family traditions we'll always have. We'll probably never blink an eye when it comes to breaking you out of school for an afternoon at the ballpark. We'll stand in hours-long lines at Target Field for the free promotional items. We'll boo every umpire who makes a bad call, plus those who don't. We'll joyfully do the wave, love our mascot, eat our hotdogs with just ketchup, and mock any fans, young or old, who wear the opponent's colors in our house.

And we'll always be part of this bigger thing where baseball truly is ... life.

And for the record, we saw the Twins win the inaugural game at Target Field by a score of 5-2. We saw the first home run ever hit. We saw the greats of Puckett, Oliva, Hrbek, Carew, and Killebrew forever immortalized. We saw the giant American flag. The historic flag pole from the old Met. The 148th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard fly-over. The fireworks. The championship pennants from years past. We saw the smile on your face.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Conversations with My Daughter

I've come to cherish seven miles.

That's the distance of my daily commute- to daycare, to my office. It doesn't seem like much, but she had me thinking of the conversations I have with my daughter as we're driving in to start our days, or home together at the end.

In the mornings, she's usually full of excitement for her day to begin- to see her littles as she names them off one by one. She asks for her sunglasses, shrieking about the sun as we head due East. She repeats endlessly that the Beagle is still sleeping. We talk about what she wants for breakfast- hotdogs and pretzels, naturally. We count buses and motorcycles and point out the movie theatre, car wash, fire station, and the school.

In the afternoons, we make a production out of waving goodbye to anyone left at daycare. She asks for her sunglasses, shrieking about the sun as we head West. She says goodbye to the swing-set, dogs, and sidewalk chalk. I ask her how her day was, and she says good. She'll tell me if she had any accidents, if she was mean to anyone, and what her last snack was. She talks about the Beagle in his kennel, and how he needs a treat when she will play with him at home. She tells me what she wants for dinner- hotdogs and pretzels, naturally.

And within seven miles, we're home. That's all it is- girl talk on the variables of everyday life.
But it's important to me, these conversations with my daughter.

I remember reading in the Sunday paper, years ago, that the most important thing you could do for your children was to be present. For some reason, that stuck with me, even though I was childless at the time.
Being present- giving your entire attention to your child- sans cell phone, TV, radio, book, laundry ... the environment around you.

Be present. Be it seven miles or seven whatever.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Monumental Night's Sleep

It's true I have a million favorite things about you.
A million.
But, my favorite, favorite is how good of a sleeper you are.
You always have been.
You know ... sleeping through the night at 5 days old.
You little rockstar you!

You and your crib have always gotten along brilliantly.
But, I knew a day would come when I'd have to separate you two.
And apparently, at three feet tall and 28 pounds, that time is now.
Hoisting you night after night, and morning after morning over the edge.
I knew it was time.

So last night Daddy grabbed his tools and shut your bedroom door and went to work.
Dissembling your crib.
Transforming it into the toddler you bed you need now.
And probably needed prior to this week.
But someone wasn't ready for that.
Ahem ... {me}.

You were so excited when the door opened and your new sleeping center was unveiled.
The first thing you did was jump on it like you were on vacation at the Holiday Inn.
You climbed in and out.
Out and in.
You laid down and pretend-snored. For effect.
You squealed and clapped and cheered.
And reassured your ol' Mom the right thing had just happened.

At bedtime, we did the routine.
As it was time to tuck you in though, your chin began to tremble.
"Where's the other one?" you asked, pointing to your bed.
It about broke your Mama's heart. I know you to be a girl who loves and respects routine and the way things always are.
But you've always been my trooper handling change- taking away the bottle and pacifier; changing car seats, potty training.
I knew you could handle this.

And you did.
You wiped your own tears, a gesture I'm still getting used to.
It's just SO grown up of you.
You hopped into bed.
NaNa, monkey, Gloworm, and Woody.
Tucked in tight.
And for the first time in 944 nights, I didn't lift you into bed.
Or tuck you into a crib.
And this morning, there you were. A sleeping girl.

I'm so proud of you.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Letter from Mama, v28

There are days when being your mother is like wearing my heart outside my chest, and hoping like Hell nothing bad happens to it. This week, I had to to do what no human should ever have to do. I had to attend the funeral service and celebration of life for a little boy who never even had his first birthday cake or candle. There are days, Miss lil' dude when I want to hold you in my arms and stare into your eyes so I can further memorize every feature I already know. The dimple in your nose. The way your hair parts to the right. The red stork's kiss on the back of your neck. I want to gather our most beloved things and stow away together in a dark and quiet closet because it's where I can protect you. There are days.

And then there are the days where you point out the fat Robins on the fence and counting them one by one for me. It's watching you try kiwi for the first time, then eating two of the whole fruits in a row. It's the songs you sing to your own melodies, the ones I sing later, when we're apart. It's still marveling at this magical creation of life. How you were once here, deep inside, and now you're there. Three feet of blonde beauty, brilliance, and bravery. Your heart beating in your chest to its own rhythm. A rhythm I gave you and can still feel.

I love you when you're mad. I love you when you're sad. When you're hurt. When you're dirty. Afraid. Misbehaving. Rioting. Laughing. I love you when you're sick. When you're crazy. When you're sleepy. Hungry. Needy. Wild. I love you when you're all these things. And I promise you that list will grow and grow as you are more and more things. There is nothing that I won't love you for. When you don't want peas or hair or to come with me ... I will still love you.

Because you are my heart outside my chest.

Mama loves.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Monday

I hope your bellies ache from eating too many red jellybeans yesterday.
I hope your faces hurt from laughing at family stories.
I hope your faith is renewed in everything living and green.
Happy Easter, a day late.


Sunday, April 4, 2010


Thirty years ago today, at 12:55pm, a 9 pound, 4 and 3/4 ounce baby girl was born 18 days late.
And that, my friends, is how my story begins.

I love hearing my story. I just recently found out my Grandma S. brought my Mama potted red tulips when she visited the hospital. I didn't know that until recently. And I don't know why hearing that brought tears to my eyes.

The last decade has been amazing- there is simply no other word to describe it.

I became a college graduate.
A career woman.
A homeowner.
A wife.
A mother.

And while I know I've been apt to whine and balk at turning 30, I am in a good place to be OK with it.
I'm young.
And healthy.

I am happy with who I am and where I am.
30 is just a reward for surviving your 20's.
It's just a number.
And I am lucky to celebrate this birthday and this day.
I am grateful to be 30.

I'm going to live like I'm living- to steal a recent statement from one of my best girlies, E.
So, thank you for letting me be your friend, daughter, mother, sister, wife, auntie, and blogger as I say farewell to 29 and hello, gorgeous! to 30.

Mama loves!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


It's Final Four Saturday, and we couldn't be sadder this year.
The Dad mentioned this morning as he and the lil' dude were eating breakfast- this just isn't right. We should be prepping for our game day!
Oh, the sadness only true fans can feel.

And, my bracket is completely busted.
As least the lil' dude had there wherewithal to find mine this week in the office, and help herself to blocking out the bad choices I made this year.

Seriously- she's wise beyond her years.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bicycle Built for Two

The best thing about being a December baby is the birthday gifts that wait until spring.
Like your shiny new red tricycle.
Built for toddlerhood.
You're ready to ride.

The best thing about birthday gifts are the hidden lessons that come with it.
Like learning how to share with your best friend.

Ride, baby ride!