Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Today is the last day of August- it's like the end of summer. On Friday, you gave summer one heckuva farewell at the splash pad and park with some of your besties, Big T. and T2.

You made some pretty sweet memories.

This photo right here is how I'll always picture you the summer you were two. It's burned into my mind, and will live in my soul.

See yah next time, summer. It's never long.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Great MN Get-Together

Last week our little family made our annual pilgrimage to the State Fair- your third summer in a row. It's become a sweet, end of the summer tradition we look forward to. I'll let these photos do most the talking!

Being that you're over 36" tall, you experienced a great deal more freedom at the mini-midway this year. Much to your Mother's trepidation and fear ... and much to your Father's delight and pride.

Your knight in shining armor, Uncle D., joined us for lunch and a giant bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies.

On the carousel, you didn't need one of us to stand by your side. I only cried a little, I swear. Of course you chose Marty, an ode to your Madagascar-lovin' days.

You were excited to get down and dirty with all the livestock.

You're not even strapped into this little aquatic machine ... and don't think we didn't see you try to bail out when you were stuck in the corner. Good thing for those attentive carneys. Oh, my heart.

Your bestie E. was a happy surprise for you- you made her Daddy carry you around, and then push you in her stroller. The tiny diva of the fairgrounds.

You made me only cry a little bit, here, too. Just enough so that the tears didn't fall onto my actual face.

Here's the annual-in-the-parking-lot pose before boarding the shuttle. Your legs are like, 3 feet longer than they were last August. The rest is the same- hair, glasses, hoodie, sneakers, NaNa, flair.

We burned up 10 tickets on the Ferris wheel. I would have burned up 100 if it meant riding with you! Daddy's a bit of a wienie; he doesn't do rides. He waved and snapped photos while you made my knuckles turn white holding onto your waist. Have you no fear, child?

Since you were such a good girl- dealing with the heat, the masses of 120,000 people, staying in your stroller, and using the Porta-Potties like nobody's business, you were able to chose a souvenir. It was a toss-up between an inflatable Scooby Doo of epic proportions, or paying homage to your roots and the 5-piece John Deere playset. The latter of the two won out- look at how happy you were to revel in your prize.

Daddy's been teaching you to say anhydrous tank ever since.

So much fun ... on a stick!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


You're the most easygoing child there ever was, and this story is proof.

Last night, Daddy, you, and I gathered around our patio and had a farewell to summer bonfire. It was dark, breezy, and just perfect. You had all your stuffed dogs on leashes and were content for the first half hour at the pit.

Mama? you asked. I wanna go in and play sisters (code for dollhouse).

"No, honey. We're going to stay outside by the fire right now," I replied.

OK, Mama.

I laughed- see how easygoing you are?

"Lil' dude, do you want to jump off a cliff with me?" I asked, laughing.

YEAH! you shouted.

Daddy shook his head. Then you asked him, where is the cliff, Daddy?

"Ask your Mom where the cliff is," he replied.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where You Sleep

Your bedroom is my favorite in the house. It's such a sweet, meaningful space. I put a lot of effort into constructing the nursery when you were still a bump. I remember shopping at an antique store with Grandma G. before I was even pregnant, and selecting items for my one-day nursery. Grandma, in all her wisdom, told me to worry about getting pregnant first! What can I say. I always knew there'd be a you.

This is your Minnesota Twins shelf, aptly named for the memoribilia Grandpa T. bestows upon you. The shelf was made for me by my Grandpa R. when I was a kid. It held my Precious Moments figurines I collected.

This summer, I went through the playroom at your great-Grandma S's and found this adorable sweater amongst the doll clothes- I had this spot on your shelf in mind. I wish it wasn't too small for you. It reminds me of Mary Poppins.

I love stars. I hung a star in each room of this house when we decorated it. This sits above your wooden name letters.

My favorite fixture in your room is the shelf that hangs above your changing table dresser. It was mine when I was younger, made again as a birthday gift by Grandpa R. I used to hang necklaces from the pegs, and used it to proudly display my troll collection. Oh, to be a teenager. I found these blocks at an antique store, and the wooden toys are from great-Grandma S's playroom. The Beatrice Potter book collection was also mine, given to me by Grandma G's Godmother after her retirement. She was an elementary school teacher, and the books bear the stamp and library card envelope from her old school.

These are your faithful sleeping companions- Gloworm, Curious George, Beagle, little Beagle, and Nana, your blanket.

This is your bookshelf. The vintage horse was a pregnancy gift from your buddy JW's daddy- he thought it belonged in your nursery immediately. The tiny vintage shoes I bought at an antique store after I had a daughter. The photo is you at six months gettin' some sugar from your first real friend, Big T. who was just over two at the time. It'll be in your room forever.

This is the sweetest, most nostalgic gift I received at your baby shower from your auntie SG. She took the photos of your homecoming that cold, Sunday afternoon, and acquired scraps of your bedding from Grandma G. to finish the frame. She wrote the sweetest words on the back, too. I hope this is always the centerpiece of your home.

Your handmade baptismal gown hangs right by your bed. It's Norwegian Hardanger, hand-stitched by Grandma G. All the old ladies at church were absolutely thrilled to see a traditional gown on a tiny baby girl. It's a forever family heirloom.

This is an antique doll cradle I bought you at a flea market last spring. It came with a hand crocheted baby blanket and I bought it from the sweetest couple who were tickled to hear it was for my daughter.

For your first birthday, Grandpa T. and Grandma S. gave you this Amish rocking chair which holds some of your dearest pals. You like to sit in it and rock your own babies to sleep.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Guard me while I sleep tonight,
And wake me safe at dawn's first light.
God bless Mommy; Daddy, too,
And help me to always be true to you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


   Meeting his first grandchild, 12/7/07, love at first sight!

The lil' dude would like to wish her Grandpa T. a very special 60th birthday today!
To the man who loves coupons, plain hamburgers, sweets, the Minnesota Twins, and Coca-Cola Classic ... happy birthday, we love you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I received an email from my Mama this morning that made my face crack into a huge grin. I'll back that up a bit first with some history:

As a little girl, my favorite thing about staying at my grandparents' was the new box of Lucky Charms they always had waiting for me. When my Grandma was preoccupied, Grandpa would open the box, pour the entire contents into a large glass measuring bowl, until the beloved prize came tumbling out. He would quickly pour every morsel of cereal back into the box and pretend nothing ever happened. His message to me, spoken or not, was why wait for the sweet things in life, when you can just get straight to them? That breakfast lesson has never left me, and it was the story I shared at his funeral in 2008. Grandpa would then pour us each a huge bowl of Lucky Charms and splash whipping cream over the top- it was the only way I knew how to eat that cereal for years.

Back to the email from my Mama:

May your day start better than mine. I just got home from an emergency visit to the dentist. Broke a tooth while eating cereal of all things. Tried to graduate to big girl Kashi brand healthy stuff (first bowl out of the damn box)...............will stick to Lucky Charms and whipping cream for another 49 years, may have rotted my teeth out but at least wasn’t an unexpected dentist visit when I would rather be sleeping. Hope the weather forecast is as good for you as is expected here. Love M

Her breaking her tooth is not what made me grin, but the parallel in our lives this week did. Here's the reply I sent her:

This is why I love you so much: (I'd call, but talking is likely hard for you right now)

The Dad came home Sunday with groceries (what a hubby) and his purchase included a 16oz. box of Lucky Charms (that's a huuuge box) and I had to really rearrange my pantry to get it to fit, sideways. Along with the arranging, I threw out a box of Kashi cereal because I let it go stale after I realized when I opened it, how nasty the stuff is.

Then, I sat down with the lil' dude, and we each had a huge bowl of Lucky Charms for lunch, mine with heavy whipping cream poured over the top- just as the good Lord (and Grandpa R.) intended.

Sorry you had to learn the hard way.
Here's to full sugar cereal for life.

Love, LDM

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Interrupting Regularly Scheduled Programming

I work too much. I miss a lot of the lil' dude's life ... between 8am and 5pm.
But, our heavily-adored Daycare Lady fills in the gaps with texts, Facebook notes, and pictures through the day to keep Mama happy at her desk.

Like this gem, taken this morning.

Daycare Lady: I hope you know how much YOU make my days ... thank you for getting it.

Mama seriously loves.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You're a Peach!

It's August- which means Grandpa T. has sent his annual box of peaches home with us- it's a sweet summer tradition we're lucky to be part of!

You had two peaches for dinner last night- and you like them best cut in half so you can take big bites of them. Your chin, neck, hair, and ears are usually full of peach juice when you're through, but it's worth the mess!

In a few weeks, we might get homemade peach jam from Grandma S. too ... which is SO good on warm, homemade shortcake or biscuits drizzled with fresh cream.

How sweet it is.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

In Ruin

Mother Nature.
She's a bitch.
A force to be reckoned with.

Saturday night we endured a storm that wreaked some havoc in our world. It was already dark when it started to rain, so we didn't know what, if anything at all, we were in for. It wasn't long before the wind picked up, and temperature dropped 20 degrees. The atmosphere had been thick all evening, your typical Midwest August night. Lightening danced on the horizon, and the thunder eventually chimed in. Within minutes, the hail started.

Oh, the hail. My lily bed, above, had a blanket of iced-over hail 12 hours later, on a 90* morning. We live in a new development, so there are no such things as mature trees here yet. Our little Maples and Willows and Crabapples took a beating house by house. There were actually leaves blown about and clinging to garages, driveways, and porches.

I let the Beagle out the next morning, and that is when I noticed the damage. The deck was littered with broken glass from our light fixtures, smashed by hail, and fragments of shingles splayed across the cedar floor. I hadn't expected that. Then, I bravely face my garden.

And I cried.

Tomatoes, too green yet to be picked, took it worst. Cucumbers, squash, and zucchini, all pock-marked.
The seven pumpkins the lil' dude is so proud of, damaged.

And cried.

This particular storm began its run in the northwestern corner of the state- where it was classified as a tornado. Storm chaser footage on the news was pretty impressive, and terrifying. By the time it reached us, it was only wind and hail.

My garden- our garden was just things, things that can be replaced at the local farmers market, or next season. It took me awhile to remember that. The minor cleaning we did in our yard compares to nothing other families were faced with over the weekend- imagine scouring the rubble for your wedding albums, or pets.

I gathered the vegetables that were salvageable, and the lil' dude and I made an impromptu batch of zucchini oatmeal muffins together- thankful for one last harvest.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Letter from Mama, v32

Each month I debate on continuing these letters on 7th- you're 32 months old. Your driving a car, and making paella from scratch, and counting in Chinese. You're making your Mama get out the calculator to figure out what number needs to go in the title. I used to count your age in weeks- you're now somewhere around 136 weeks old- that's a whole lot of Mondays! And a whole lot of Thursday evenings, my favorite part of the week. So for now, I will continue to pen these letters each month, because maybe more than anything, I need them and the 7th to remind me to be here and now.

We as a society tend to live in tomorrow- meaning, we're always looking ahead to days and events and occasions. It's so easy to get caught up in crossing each day off and inching toward the circles on the calendar. I know I am guilty of this and honestly, it's probably the biggest struggle I have with myself. Embrace today. Live in the moment. It all sounds so cliche but it needs to be enforced because it can be taken away in an instant. Each day I remind myself to stop wishing away the day or week or month, and I do this for you, lil' dude. As your mother, it's my job to set the pace of your days and your life. When it comes to you, I want nothing to hurry.

You still crave time alone. This weekend, you woke at up 10am, had some breakfast, and retreated to your closet for literally, a few hours' worth of playtime. I'm sure it's because you spend so much time during the week surrounded people and activity and commotion. Or, maybe it's simply because you are your mother's daughter, because I too, seek out solitude when I can and when it makes sense. The biggest thing I have ever wanted to foster in my children was a sense of independence, to be free from the restraints of dependence and belonging too tightly. I'd say you're already doing a great job, inherent or not. I want to teach you to rely instinctively on yourself first and foremost in any instance. Independence will shape your character and strengthen any relationship you have, lil' dude. I promise.

Make your own path, chica. Forge your own way.
Mama loves.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


In the weeks after you were born, your fairy Godmother stopped by to check in on us. The visit was poignant for me because I asked her to be your fairy Godmother and presented her with a card as to why, years and years and years before you and everything, I knew someday she'd have my daughter as her Goddaughter. I remember confiding in her that thus far, motherhood was err ... easy*. You slept all night long, almost all day long, and I had written all my thank you's, gotten back into my favorite jeans, finished three or four books, and asked her if I needed to start making elaborate meals for the Dad each evening.

She said no way.

She also said I needed to slow down and just be. To turn off the programmed switch that made me the way I was - a go, go, goer and a do, do, doer. I needed to adjust because for all I know, motherhood could reverse itself and I'd end up like a turtle on its back.

The conversation then drifted into what you would be like in the weeks, months, years afterward.
I remember her telling me how much she loved the infant stage, but that the toddler stage was just eh, because of the imagination adults need to interact with kids at that age. She told me she was bad at pretending ... that she didn't have the patience for it. I remember laughing at her admission.


Well if it isn't years afterward and all you want to do is play and pretend and your imagination is bigger than the sky. Last night, you wanted me in your room. You instructed me to lie in your bed, and be the baby. You covered me up and told me to close my eyes and go to sleep.

I have this pretend-thing on lock-down!

With my eyes closed, I could feel your breath hot on my face, so I cracked an eye open.
Hey baby, want something to eat?

I obliged you, feeding me an entire bottle of juice, then a Nuk for dessert.
Hey baby, go to sleep!

As you wish.

*As an aside, I should mention that motherhood has never been easy. You were an easygoing infant, a trait that has transcended into your toddler years as well. But motherhood is not easy. I took you to the doctor when you had baby acne. I slept with my eyes open for a week when you had RSV. I cried all the way to Las Vegas when you were three months old. I saw you fall out of your stroller onto the cement. I feel like I do too little for you; I feel like I do too much. It ain't easy, kid. But it sure is sweet.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Standing Corrected

Saturday my Mom and I were talking about all the lil' dude's besties and littles at daycare.
I mentioned that like the lil' dude, her buddy G. is two.

From all the way in the other room I heard a, I'm two and a HALF.

Going on 14.