Friday, December 31, 2010


Winter often gets a bad rap, dismissed as long, miserable, dismal, abusive, and unbearable.

There are a lot of things in life that are labeled as such, but deserve another look, and a little more attention.

On Monday, we packed up from Christmas in the Dad's hometown, and the lil' dude gazed up at the sky.

Mama, someone painted the trees!

She's incredibly astute for a three-footer.

There's no denying the beauty. The entire trip home looked like this. It was calm and peaceful and was the perfect backdrop to a huge life lesson for the week.

Some people see ice, cold, and severity.
Some see paint, applied with precision and grace.

I know my 2011 is going to be covered in paint.

Happy New Year!

Mama loves.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Boys

I like to think of myself as a progressive parent who's teaching her daughter to grow up as an independent, self-sufficient woman. That she can do things by and for herself without someone mandating it.
That she never needs a boy to do anything for her.

Well, when I dropped the lil' dude off at daycare one morning this week, I softened just a little as G., a little boy who's six months younger than the lil' dude, ran to the gate at the top of the steps to greet his friend.

He was bearing her Dora Nana, and her stuffed Clifford, her two daycare loveys.

"Lil' dude, I got your things for you!" He hollered, his entire face one big grin, his arms thrust way out in front of him.

My daughter ran to meet him, and to claim her belongings.

"Honey, thank G. for getting your things for you. That was sweet," I told her.

And I meant it. Girls may never need boys to do things for them, but it sure is great when they do.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Gift

This year, we were fortunate to celebrate five Christmases ... yes, five. The entire month of December in our family is spent gifting each other, opening presents, being grateful, courteous, and remembering the reasons that accompany everything.

Last year, at just over two, you struggled ... as most small children in the same setting are prone to do. You were overwhelmed by Christmastime, and in fact shouted one of my favorite quotes from you yet: I don't like presents. That was cue enough you needed a nap and a break, and we obliged you.

This year, as December began, I wondered how my three-year-old would manage this year's bustle.

At your birthday party, after you opened the giant heap of gifts, you thanked the entire room for their presents, and presence, by telling everyone, You can all go home now! That made the room laugh and your Mama's cheeks very red.

At your first Christmas, at Papa and Grandma G's, you exclaimed Are you kidding me!? every time you opened a gift. It's exactly what a three year old should say at Christmas.

And, on Christmas day, with your Grandpa T. and Grandma S. and Godfather all in a room filled to the top with presents, we explained that everyone had to take turns opening their gifts, so we could take our time and show each other what we received. The goal was to go slow, and be grateful.

And you, my sweet girl, in your traditional Christmas taffeta and tights, were a shining example of graciousness and wonder. For four hours we opened gifts and took pictures and laughed, and unwound your toys from insane packaging and if you're Daddy or Uncle D., guessed what every wrapped box held. It was one of my favorite Christmases yet. I was so proud to be your Mama, as you sat in the big chair with your next intended gift already in your lap. Your turn! you'd tell us all, helping us with bows and tags and corralling the paper as needed.

Being a parent means at every turn, not imaging life ever getting better than it already is ... and delighting when it does.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010


All you really wanted for Christmas this year was a pink fridge. I told Santa months ago what you wanted ... and crossed Christmas off my list before the snow even fell. I should have known tiny, determined little you would have something to say about that.

When the holiday catalogues started rolling in, you called dibs on each and every one. You literally spent hours poring over each glossy mag, and fell in love with kitchens- especially a wooden set of pink appliances.

I need that. I want that in my closet. Santa will come and he will drop it for me!

So this Mama did what she had to do ... she appealed to the Santa of the North, and put in a request at Papa's winter wonderland wood-shop.

Let's just say we all believe in the magic of the holiday season this year.
We saw complete Christmas joy through your eyes.

Merry Christmas, lil' dude! Thank you for being unwavering in your belief that good things come to those who wait. It's truly a lesson we can all learn from.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

::Dear Santa::

Photo credit

::Dear Santa::

This year for {CHRISTMAS} I would VERY much enjoy these items;

~ a refrigerator, a {PINK} one with doors and shelves
~ food for my {PINK} refrigerator
~ cups for my {PINK} refrigerator
~ snacks
~ Goldfish crackers my {FAVE} food
~ more, {NEW} books
~ more shelves for my {NEW} books

Also ... ::please bring my Daddy a championship or two::
And, my Mama some ::patience & {FREE} coffee days::
and ... for the ::Beagle {ALL} the fleece he can chew through and {SUN} patches on the carpet for lounging::

Thank you {SANTA}
I have been real good ... I try to say ::PLEASE:: before I ask for things.
And, I give good hugs and have a great {MEMORY}.

Love, marshmallows, Reindeer kisses, & flurries,

:: the {LIL' DUDE} ::


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Inappropriate Loved Song

You're just like your Mama- you love music. Recently, when we drive, you request the music to be louder! It makes me smile- we totally jam some days.

And, you've officially established your first-ever favorite song.

It's Rihanna's What's My Name in all its inappropriate glory.

Photo credit

The opening lyrics are what piqued your attention:

Ooh na na, what’s my name
Ooh na na, what’s my name
Ooh na na, what’s my name
Ooh na na, what’s my name
Ooh na na, what’s my name
What's my name, what's my name

Because, of course, your blanket's name is NaNa, so you hearing that sung out loud on the radio makes you crazy!

If you had it your way, the song would play on repeat for the first 20 seconds, over and over.

Play NaNa, what's my name, Mama! Louder!

And I catch you singing to yourself all the time, too.

Just like your bestie Big T's favorite song, Dynamite, by Taio Cruz, you have some great taste in tunes, babe! Here's to all the dance parties our booties can tolerate.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo courtesy the lovely & talented Auntie Mo!

Friday, December 10, 2010


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

I would like to wish my Dad- the lil' dude's Papa, a very special 50th birthday today!
To the man who loves logical thinking, the woods, his animals, wine, music, and books ... happy birthday, we love you!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Portrait of Life: 3

Happy, happy 3rd birthday to you, Miss Lil' Dude!

Your birthday is finally here. You've been waiting and asking for weeks when your party would happen, when everyone would sing to you as you blew out your candles, how you wouldn't be shy in the spotlight. And you weren't. You were the most perfect little host ... and after you finished opening your mountain of gifts, you thanked everyone and told them they could all go home. That garnered many laughs. May you always be so practical and honest.

Again, we were positively overwhelmed with love and goodwill from your village. You are one very lucky and loved little girl. I hope you are always surrounded by people who cast you in the best light, and that you do the same for them. Relationships are what sustain us throughout life. Cherish them.

I emailed your aunties last night with a play-by-play of how we had spent your birthday together thus far and semi-jokingly told them I hadn't cried yet. I know, I know. I am hypersensitive. Daddy makes fun of me for my soft heart all the time. (Like he should talk!) I remember consoling your bestie E's mama when she turned three in October ... that there is no reason to lament this birthday. That we should be grateful in the day as we celebrate how big, smart, healthy, happy, and gracious our daughters are. That we should celebrate the anniversary of motherhood with anything but tears. True, it's easier said than done, but I managed to stay dry all day today. Even as you sat in my lap and we revisited your Birth Day photos from the hospital. What's that on my belly button? Uncle D. was there? I wore diapers. I had a hat on. That was my carseat. I remember everything from that day ... everything. It's tattooed on my heart.

Your auntie B. is preparing to become a first time Mama in a few weeks.

She mentioned in an email yesterday, "I love all things Christmas-related right now. I think it is an awesome time to have a baby. God thought so, too. Hah."

And I think she nailed it. December is beautiful. Everything is white- serene and sparkling. People make more room in their hearts for each other. Tradition is upheld. Miracles happen, and everyone wishes upon a star. I have always loved December, as I grew up celebrating all month long- Papa's birthday, great-auntie R.'s birthday, and Uncle W.'s birthday. You fit right into this fabulous month. December 7 was an awesome time to have a baby, and it will always be an awesome time to celebrate your life, one year at a time. We're so lucky today, and always.

Happy birthday, sweet girl.
Mama loves.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The End

Tomorrow when she wakes up, she'll be three.

Three years old.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

On Four Legs

Our favorite photographer, the lovely & talented Auntie Mo. captured our family again this fall for holiday photos and the lil' dude's 3 year shots. It's fun to replace last year's framed pictures with the new ones, to marvel at what has changed over the past year.

And to revel in what hasn't.

The Beagle is still the apple of our daughter's eye ... her very best friend in the whole wide world.
The feeling is mutual. The dog doesn't even try to hide it anymore. Currently, the girl is snoozing in her bed, with the door shut tightly. The Beagle is just on the other side, stretched out in front of the barricade, biding his time until she wakes for the day.

This was last year. He has always been so patient and sweet with her. She now calls him Brown Dog, just like her Mama does.

I am tickled they share this relationship- that she hasn't known this home sans dog, ever. He's always been a part of her life just as her humans have. In my opinion, it's the way it should be. After all, I have been a lifelong dog person my self.

I grew up with a tiny mutt of a house dog at my grandparents', named Uffda. Yes, we're a very Norwegian family!

This was my childhood dog. She joined our family when I was 6. My brother was a baby. I named her Dolby, after Dolby Surround Sound, something I had seen on my aunt's stereo. True story. She lived to be 17 ... I was 23 when she died. That was my entire childhood, and then some. She was a mutt we got for free- in fact, she came with a rebate of sorts- some cash intended to buy her first bag of dog food! I will never, ever forget her, or how she helped form me into who I am today.

I'm grateful to see this in my daughter's life, too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Tradition

Last weekend we embarked on our annual family tradition of cutting our own Christmas tree, and decorating the house for two straight days post! You were a big help this year, and we actually had snow so it was perfect. You haven't missed as year at the tree farm, not even the year I was pregnant when the nice tree farm man asked as I trudged my 40-week belly over the river and through the woods if I wanted a ride on the sleigh. "No, thanks. It's late, and I am trying to walk It out." Didn't work! But, a fun memory nonetheless.

You kept pointing to and hugging the trees that were your size and smaller. This one! I want this one!

It takes me awhile to find The One. You were patient and sweet anyways.

Then came the very best part of your day! The Clydesdale-drawn sleigh ride. These guys, Rocky and Rusty, were gorgeous! You spent a good 10 minutes just petting their faces and talking sweet to them.

Right then, the sleigh's driver asked you if you wanted to sit on one of them ... you were so excited! The smile didn't leave your face until your turn was over. You're still talking about the horses and sleigh ride all these days later. I love creating lasting memories with you, lil' dude.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010