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!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Girl in the Pines

"Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives." -Thomas Berry

When my brother and I were kids, the vacations we took were the ones we could reach in the silver Ford Taurus wagon. We saw the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, the Corn Palace, The Mississippi Headwaters, Wisconsin Dells, The Rocky Mountains, Wall Drug, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. In other words, we were typical Midwesterners. Of any of these memories, the BWCA family camping trips stick out in my mind as the best. My Dad encouraged both of us to keep journals- I couldn't have been more than seven years old when I began writing in my cloth-bound book, citing such events as, "saw big moose turds, a bald eagle, and ate pancakes for supper," but the act of observing and writing nature around us was so simple and inspiring. On those trips- there was no electricity. No TV, phones, handheld gaming devices, elaborate toys. It was kid, dirt, water, rocks, sunshine. I'm grateful for that influence in my life- and today, as a mother myself, I am fully appreciating what my Dad encouraged in me all those years ago.

Friday afternoon we packed up the lil' dude and dog and headed for the woods- to the 80 acres my Dad's pride and joy is- to the little log cabin nestled amongst the big trees. There- like the days spent on the shores of Kawishiwi Lake as a child, I smell my sleeve recognizing the scent of firewood, read books by the lantern light, construct puzzles on the floor, listen to guitar music, polka for breakfast, and snack on popcorn and cocoa before sleep. And true to form, there sits a cabin journal, encouraging guests to write about who they are, what they did, what they saw, encounters they made while on their visit. I took the journal to the front porch in the morning, steaming cup of coffee in hand, and remembered everything.

And the lil' dude? Loved every minute spent at her Papa's cabin- and we were completely unplugged. There isn't even any running water! She slept all night in between Daddy and Mama- stretched out in a giant X, arms splayed across both pillows. When she opened her eyes Saturday morning, she looked out the window, taking in her surroundings, she saw the four-wheeler. RIDE! she squealed, so out they went. We are so lucky to have no reason to not get out into the woods- where decades and decades and tradition will be spent making the best of memories.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful for the time I take to remember and appreciate Thanksgiving as a holiday, for helping the lil' dude with related crafts and stories and tradition. Christmas can wait.

I am thankful for my mother's wherewithal to preserve so many boxes from my childhood. Just last week I opened a box containing my very first baby doll and my eyes welled up.

I am thankful for my husband's work ethic, which he inherited from his very hardworking parents. What an amazing trait.

I am thankful someone is helping me make gravy today.

I am thankful for my daughter's legs which she uses to run run run and never stop.

I am thankful for the Beagle's unflagging patience in regards to constant rough, {nearly} two-year-old love and affection.

I am thankful for two decades' worth of friendship with simply phenomenal women, who will always be my 'girls'.

I am thankful for the two wonderful matriarchs of our families; the lil' dude's great-grandmothers who are strong, independent, sincere, sweet, honest women. They both are such great role models for my daughter, and we are blessed.

I am thankful for music; all the old songs I love, and the new gems I find.

I am thankful for library books.

I am thankful for today.
For always.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Of What You Dream

I'll admit, last night was more about me than you.

Just after midnight, you began to talk/cry/whimper in your sleep. This lasted nearly an hour, even after Daddy checked on you and rubbed your back ... calming and quieting you.

But you started up again, your tiny sounds so agonizing. You were asleep, but must have had a big ol' scenario going on in your tired brain. You were mumbling about Daddy sleeping, and the Beagle sleeping, so shhhh-shhhh, quiet, you kept whispering. You weren't at peace in the darkness, honey.

So, instinctively I scooped you up and headed to the recliner in the dark and rocked you.

You calmed down and fell quietly asleep.

Except, one time after nearly 20 minutes, you sat up, looked me in the eye, and said, Daddy, Coffee.

Which is goofy, since coffee's not Daddy's thing.

But I stifled my giggles. Because I know my dreams never make sense.

So thank you, sweet girl, for letting me be there for you last night.
Nights like those are so rare. I'll take 'em where I can get 'em!

Mama loves.

One of my favorite sleeping pictures of you!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Last night, when I walked in the door from being away from home for exactly 24 hours ... you flew at me in a frenzy, catapulting your tiny body down the stairs, and into my arms.
It knocked me over, literally, and figuratively.
You surprised me.
You hugged, you squealed, you petted, and you cooed.

Mama home! Mama back! MamaMamaMama!
Oh, sweet girl, how you do a world of good, even on some of the darkest days.

I've always been proud and a bit boastful of your easygoing-ness. How you've never really cried when I've left you, or acted scared to be away from me. Sure- as your mother I'd feel a small pang of really, child? Can you not show some remorse as I'm leaving, show me you love me? But here, after all, and all along, you've shown me that. If you love something, you let it go. You let her go. And she'll come back.

You watched me like a hawk last night, and I didn't leave your sight much. You fell and got hurt, and I was there to pick you up and you wrapped your arms around my neck so tight. You were so quiet, you had your father concerned ... our little jabberbox silenced. Your heart beat in a steady rupruprup against mine. Back to you, back to me, back to us.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

You ...

You are ... nearly two years old!
You want ... to be independent.
You wish ... you could watch movies 24/7.
You hate ... being woken up.
You miss ... your mouth when drinking from a regular cup.
You fear ... dead worms on the driveway.
You feel ... like my tiny newborn every so often.
You hear ... supernaturally, nothing gets past you.
You smell ... like Aveeno.
You crave ... grapes.
You search ... for Marty & Melman in your bed each morning.
You wonder ... where Daddy is when I wake you up.
You regret ... acting inappropriately when we ask you to apologize.
You ache ... when you bonk your head on the furniture.
You care ... about order and appearance of your things.
You always ... will be my baby.
You are not ... afraid.
You believe ... Daddy can do anything.
You dance ... when we say 'shake your booty'.
You sing ... the instrumental theme song to The Young & The Restless.
You cry ... when you're pushed to your limit.
You don't ... act like a baby much anymore.
You fight ... getting your nose wiped.
You write ... in brown crayon on the dining room linoleum.
You never ... knew how much you could change two people.
You listen ... to at least one of the same books each night at bedtime.
You need ... your NaNa to be by your face/head when you sleep.
You are happy ... When you're home with your people, and things.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Like No One is Watching

There's a very familiar, sweet quote by famous author Mark Twain that goes, "Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth."

And today, you were able to live just a little bit like that.

You and Daddy went to Target for diapers early this morning- before you went to daycare.
Daddy emailed me at work when he returned and said, "Target was nice and dead this morning so we were going really fast with the cart through the aisles. Lil' dude kept saying, again! Again!"

That brought a smile to my face. Dance like no one is watching. Finding joy in unexpected places.

I know you're too young to remember a Monday morning diaper run with your Dad, but this is just a small piece of the life you live- the life both Daddy and I strive so hard to provide you with.

Live like it's heaven on Earth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Happy four years to Team YOU & ME today!

In the month after we married, I watched you build the tile floor in the bathroom. Something you had never done before, you did your research and tried your hardest. That moment, watching that project, I knew I had married the absolute right person for me.
I watched you build a floor, now I watch you build a family. Our daughter is the greatest gift I've ever received, our team's proudest accomplishment.

You have an odd way of parking in parking lots.
You leave a pile of candy/snack wrappers on the counter in a tidy pile until you're ready to throw them all away at one time.
You unwrap a cupcake or muffin and leave those wrappers in the container.
You own about 40 stocking hats. Today, it's cold and windy and you didn't wear one because none matched your sweater.
You think, and believe, that all of your socks are either left, or rights.
You bought me the exact same anniversary card for three years in a row now. You're mad at Hallmark for that.

You're superstitious.
You're incredibly handsome.
You're sentimental, and sweet.
You're sarcastic and love inappropriate humor.

And you're all mine.
I love you to the moon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009


We had a playdate yesterday with one of your besties, Big T. We were careful not to mention his arrival too soon; we knew you'd be excited and keep asking when, when, when.

When I count my blessings, I count you twice- Irish Blessing

And you two played SO well together. I can't get over how big you two are, and how you can just talk to each other and carry on. You shared toys, movies, and Spongebob snacks- the sign of true friends!

It was a simple, sweet day. We are grateful for such blessings in our lives- the comfort of old, great friends.
When I put you to bed last night, you said, bye bye Big T. even though we had said our goodbyes hours earlier. You must have been thinking the same thing I was.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Letter from Mama, v23

This is it big girl! Your last month of being 1.
Me? I am ready to celebrate you- are you kidding? I've been planning your birthday party since last December.
{Wink, wink}

Here we are in sweet November- time to celebrate and remember many sweet things. Our home's anniversary, Daddy's and my wedding anniversary, the anniversary of your due date. The anniversary of our sweet Grandpa R.'s passing- one year ago today. I wanted to mention that because it's OK to talk about it and him. We miss him, and he was very important to our family. You won't remember him ... but you will. I'll help you and after all, I am from him, just as you are from him- he started this family and we'll always celebrate that.

I want to capture some of your baby memories while I still have the chance- so here is your list.

Wake up at 7:30am during the week, 9ish on weekends
{try to go} Potty, brush teeth, get dressed, do hair
Have juice and breakfast snack in green chair watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Go to daycare
Nap for 3hrs in early afternoon
5pm home
Snack and Scooby Doo show
Playtime! Watch games with Daddy, read with Mama, help make crafts or projects, watch movies, walk the Beagle, {try to go} potty
Bath, teeth, hair, read, rock, bed at 8pm

Favorite Show- Scooby Doo
Favorite Color- Green
Favorite Food- Fruit
Least Favorite Food- colored Goldfish crackers
Favorite Beverage- Apple Juice-Water
Least Favorite Beverage- Chocolate Milk
Favorite Lovey- NaNa, your pink blanket
Favorite Hobby- Reading
Favorite Book- Mommy Doesn't Know My Name
Favorite Movie- Madagascar
Favorite Toy(s)- Scooby Doo action figures
Favorite Game- Throwing Lil' Dude High in the Air
Favorite Thing- watching for buses, trucks, and cops
Least Favorite Thing- walking over dead worms on the driveway/being woken up

Size 5 diaper
Size 6 shoes
Size 24mo./2T clothes
Love hats, shoes, sunglasses

You think everything is green
You can count to 4, then from 7-10
You are amazing at recognizing animals (vulture, jellyfish, yak)
You love to put things back. When I tried to undecorate for Halloween, it took me twice as long because you kept putting things back
You can let the dog in and out through the sliding door
You list every one's name at daycare on the ride in
You can take off your own pajamas in bed and throw them right on the floor

Loving you is cherry pie, lil' dude. I'm so proud to be your mama. You're my wish come true!

Mama loves.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Words

Lil' dude-
I've had this nagging feeling I was forgetting something. Something I meant to write, meant to share, or meant to preserve.
Then I remembered.
I forgot to share my words with you.

When I was 17, I began journaling/scrapping/keeping/writing. My bound books were called "Souls" and I have four of them. When I was in college, I spent an afternoon going through my Souls, collecting the words I loved most and clustering them together for something- I wasn't sure what. But I wanted all my words together, and they filled a page.

That page of words has decorated my life since that afternoon all those years ago. I stare at it everyday. I framed it and shared it with your aunties for birthdays one year. And now I'm sharing my words with you.

Mama loves.


Be the person everyone wants to sit next to.

Encourage a friend.

Ask yourself this question: "If I die tomorrow, what will I be remembered for?"

Remember that in the final moments what's important is whose holding your hand and whose hands you've held.

Do the right thing. Life is too short to do the wrong thing and then have to fix it.

Face the truth regardless of the consequences.

Never lose a friend.

When you're in a fight and you know you're right, don't hold back. Give it all you've got.

Set goals worthy of your talent.

Be sweeter to those you love.

Take chances, but not foolish ones.

Labels are for jars, not people.

Don't let good friends drift out of your life.

Become an exceptional source of encouragement.

When dissatisfied with what you're getting out of life, take an inventory of what you're putting in.

Live brave. Love big. Be true.

Put your foot down. Don't allow people to pull you in a million directions.

Measure people by what they are, not what they have.

Create a workspace that reflects your unique approach to your job and your life.

$3 mascara works just as well as $11 mascara.

Fix what is broken.

Be some one's hero.

Be like your mom.

Don't try to direct the wind, adjust your sails.

Let scabs heal. Remember your scars.

Smile and wink for your mugshot.

Hold on, not grudges.

Even sunshine burns if you get too much.

Cut the bullshit.

Don't put deodorant on if you need to take a shower.

Don't play hard to get. Play hard to keep.

Love like there's no tomorrow.

Be the fallen angel who actually gets up.

Follow your spirit.

Real life requires you to jump. Wear comfortable shoes.

And you really do have worth.

Don't be afraid to shock.

You don't have to be anti-dragon to be pro-princess.

Smell good.

Get a black eye fighting for what you believe in.

Never lick a steak knife.

Friends never go out of style.

The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

Your friends love you anyway.

You should never confuse your career with your life.

There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'.

Here's to good beer, cheap tequila, and the total pursuit of happiness.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Daddy's Girl

One of the aunties asked me last week if the lil' dude is a daddy's girl or a mama's girl.
I told her it varied. The math usually sits at 60% / 40% depending on all sorts of factors.

Truly though, the lil' dude is happiest when her Daddy, Mama, and Beagle are all accounted for. It's the first thing she does when she wakes up, taking attendance of the house's inhabitants.
It's the first thing she does when she gets home.
At the dinner table.
And as she doles out kisses at bedtime.
She needs all three of us.

But some days, she needs someone more than the other. Last night she only wanted the Dad to feed her dinner.
{sometimes, a girl is just too tired or too over spoon-feeding herself!}

When she requesting a bedtime snack, she only would let Daddy feed her the applesauce too.
She cried her sweet little face off when Mama attempted.

But she got both of us to read to her at bedtime.
It was the same exact book.
We each make it different, yet special, for her.
She knows that!

So yeah. Some days she's a Daddy's girl, and some days she a Mama's girl.
We're always anxiously waiting our turns!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Tail of Two Interpretations

This is the lil' dude, aka Bumblebee, going up to her first house for Trick or Treat!
And ... the fella who answered the door called her a butterfly.

And it happened again.

And she was called a fairy once too ...

I mean, come on! She had a stinger!
Down by her tushie!

Lil' dude- your costume was misinterpreted. How does that make you feel?Sorta like this, Mom. I can't smile about it yet.


We had a great Halloween at the lil' dude's house.
We slept in- some until nearly 10am.
We had orange pumpkin pancakes.
We carved our first pumpkin as a family; the smell of pumpkin guts brought back all sorts of nostalgia for the Dad and I.
A Happy Meal for lunch.
A 3-hour nap.
A no-dinner dinner, the lil' dude was too distracted and excited to eat.
And massive amounts of spoiling, candy, and laughs all night long.
Yesterday was a sugar hangover if I've ever seen one.
It was hilarious.
She was on high-speed from sunup to sundown.
There was no rest for this little bumblebee.
Which is just as it should be!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Little Dude's Mama Says ...

We want YOU to have a very Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Favorite Season

Daddy kicked it old-school last night ... and came to bed at 12:45 in the AM.
I had been sleeping, literally, for HOURS.
It's that time of year- it's his favorite season.
And he was watching west coast NBA games and cheering on 'Melo as he dropped 41 points ... (Carmelo Anthony hails from 'Cuse, just so you know)!

Anyways, we took you to your first NBA Wednesday night.
You learned how to cheer on Jonny Flynn, our new rookie, #10. (Jonny Flynn hails from 'Cuse, just so you know)
You said, JONNY JONNY JONNY about 73 times before tip off. I asked the Dad if he'd ever had a prouder parenting moment, and he thought about it, and said he didn't think so.

Game time came. The crowd was dismal. The team sparse, full of newbies.
But Daddy didn't care. He never does. He's a Fan. Lifelong.
You weren't the best of girls, but there will be other games.
So, we left early, at the end of the 3rd quarter when the TWolves were down by 19. As in, 19 points, or 10 possessions.
That's a lot, you know.

And then, we listened to the staticy game on AM radio, driving home in the rain.
Daddy lamenting how he NEVER EVER, as in, never ONE TIME IN HIS LIFE, has left a basketball game early.
He's always there, to the bitter end. Bitter or not.
It's sacrilege to leave early!
And, our squad rallied to come back, going on a 19-4 run in the 4th quarter ... and winning at the buzzer.

Lil' dude: Never Leave a Game Early.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Mama

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging?
Yogurt or string cheese.

2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?
My blanket. I've said I can finally say goodbye when I turn 30 in a few months, but I'm not sure I can.
{why would I want to?}

3. Beach, Mountains, or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
I'd love an old farmhouse- with a big wraparound porch. Lots more space for just us. A couple of cute outbuildings, like a greenhouse and potting shed. But I'd want trees nearby, and a pond!

4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?
I'd say cleaning the floors- sweeping is futile. But if you'd ask the Dad, he'd say putting my laundry away- it's constantly 4 piles deep at the end of our bed on the cedar chest.

5. Who do people say you remind them of?
My mom- the way I sound on the phone, the way I overplan things, or get excited about silly things like clearance sales or giving gifts.

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying home with the fam?
I love planning parties and being a hostess! That kills both birds with one stone!

7. What's your all time favorite movie?
Love, Actually It's almost the holidays ... which means it's time to watch it six times in one month!

8. Do you sleep in your make-up or remove it like a good little girl every night?
I have the best secret- Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea baby wipes are what I use to wash my face at night ... there's no other product like them. They're thick, soft, and smell delicious. And, CHEAP. I became a forever fan when I swiped one of them from the lil' dude out of desperation when my product was gone.

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?
I'm a little good at a lot of things- not necessarily very good at a few things. What I think I'm going to want to learn (as a form of my New year's Resolution) is the art of jewelry making. That and continue with Photoshop- ask the Dad, I need WAY more time and lesson.

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
Remembering. My memory is a steel-trap.

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
His shoe collection- my curiosity was so piqued by all these shoes this GUY owned. I had to talk to him!

12. What is something you love to smell?
Things that trigger my memory- the baby lotion the lil' dude used when she was brand-new, the perfume from my wedding day, the lotions of my best friends, and the scents that catch me by surprise- like the cabin we rented this summer. The bathroom reminded me exactly of my grandparents' lake home bathroom. How's that for odd- it's something I can't explain.

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
I don't like confrontation, so I just avoid it. It's not a good characteristic- this I know!

14. When you have extra money, what's the first thing you think to do with it?
Starbucks for Mama, books for lil' dude.

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
Loud- and my people make me laugh the hardest. The lil' dude and her idiosyncrasies, the Dad and his, and my friends and their delightful randomness. I swear, I laugh the most in front of my computer- reading my girls' thoughts and daily goings-on.

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
Target for life.
Gap for wearing.
Coach for splurging or celebrating.
Barnes & Noble for inspiration.
TJ Maxx for deals.
Antique stores for love.

17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?
Take and edit photos.

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
My thrift-worthiness rivals my Mom's. Love bargains, sales, and coupons. I didn't used to be like this!

19. Who is your favorite character of all time?
Vivi Walker, from The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. She is "part Scarlett, part Katharine Hepburn, part Tallulah."

20. Would you want to be famous?
For my writing or photography- yes. I'm not exactly the actress type.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009


{Gritty & Girly}

{Sugar & Spice}

{Naughty & Nice}

{Tomboy & Tailored}

All wrapped up in one little package!

Go your own way, forge your own path, make your own rules.
Be bold.
Be brave.
Be brilliant.

Be the best little girl you can!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Health Prayer

We are hunkered down here at Casa de Lil' Dude; with a prognosis of probable H1N1.

Just wanted to remind everyone to say a prayer for health for children everywhere.

The clinic today quite the scene, a lot of watery-eyed babies, weary-eyed parents, and a general sick and tired effect.

Take care of the ones you love, take care of yourselves, and be well.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Hey little buddy, it's Mom.
Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you.
And loving your little face right about off.
You've gotten so big and so ... smart/advanced/mature lately.
We have regular conversations now.
It's like talking to a grown-up.
Except, you're down there, by dog hair and dust bunnies and abandoned toys.
Looking up at me, waiting.

Snack time:
In the mornings and afternoons at home.
We have three big jars of lil' dude approved snacks in the house.
And a fridge full.
Before, you'd say snack and we'd hand you the item.
You'd munch happily.
But now, you have opinions and favorites.
And did I mention opinions?
So now you say snaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack in that long, drawn-out baby voice I still love. And the game begins.

Do you want fishes?
Pretzel fish?
Cheese stick?
Blue yogurt.
No yooooget.
Macaroni crackers?
{silent NO head shake}- I don't blame you, those are kinda YUCKY.
Strawberry Fig Newtons?
I don't like it, which is NEW.

You kill me.
You're so funny.
Like a little old lady at Bonanza.
I don't like it.

So I hoist you up to the pantry or fridge, and you root around, digging for your prize.
{last night you and Daddy were doing the Snack Dance and you landed on the [generic] Rice Krispies and insisted on eating those dry. YUCKY]

You finally say thank you with consistency.
So that makes the snack rundown almost worth the while.
{okay, worth the while always forever and ever amen}
You're a funny, particular little kid.
With a blonde ponytail.
And a long list of snack options.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sick as a Dog

Yesterday the lil' dude and I were the first ones home, and we were excited to revel in the sunshine and romp with the Beagle in the yard.

But, we soon learned the Beagle didn't feel good and our plans were foiled.

As I explained to the lil' dude the doggie was sick, she appeared to understand.
She spent 30 minutes observing his behavior in the yard ... eating grass, getting sick.
Eating grass.
Getting sick.
She found his green chewie bone, and offered it to him several times.
Don't like it, she said, pointing to him, to the bone.
She even offered him her snack, a miniature Oreo. The Beagle couldn't muster the energy to even sniff the cookie.
That's when I knew he was sick.


Later that evening, in house, feet away from the lil' dude, the Beagle threw up on the carpet.
The dog bowed his head, ashamed.
The little girl burst into tears, frightened.
And I comforted them both.


After dinner, the Dad made a rare exception and made a spot by him on the couch for the Beagle to burrow into.
The lil' dude was fascinated by the rule breaking. She ran into her room, as if inspired.
She returned, a girl with a plan.

{And a heart of gold}

And covered her beloved puppy dog with a blanket, one of her own soft, sweet blankets.

And the puppy was grateful; and comforted.
And the little girl was gracious; and satisfied.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Forever Friends

Forever: [fawr-ev-er, fer-]
1. without ever ending; eternally: to last forever.
2. continually; incessantly; always: He's forever complaining.
3. an endless or seemingly endless period of time: It took them forever to make up their minds.
4. forever and a day, eternally; always: They pledged to love each other forever and a day.
1660–70; orig. phrase for ever

Friend: [frend]
1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: friends of the Boston Symphony.
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?
4. a member of the same nation, party, etc.
5. (initial capital letter) a member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.
–verb (used with object)
6. Rare. to befriend.
7. make friends with, to enter into friendly relations with; become a friend to.
bef. 900; ME friend, frend, OE frēond friend, lover, relative (c. OS friund, OHG friunt (G Freund), Goth frijōnds), orig. prp. of frēogan, c. Goth frijōn to love

Not that long ago, one of my besties, who has literally been my friend, forever summed up the relationship her daughter and my daughter have.
"They'll be forever friends," she said. "Not necessarily 100% best friends, but life will have a way of keeping these girls together and they'll be forever friends."
And since she shorthanded it so well, I've begun to realize how true that statement is. Take for example, these three chickadees:
Fate brought them together over 26 years ago, when their daddies became forever friends.

And even though last week's trip to the west coast was only the second time the lil' dude met her little lady friends L. and M., their lives are entwined and will be forever.
And ever.

Friendship is beautiful like that; I have an internal audio track of memories from our trip listening to three separate, yet very cohesive peals of laughter mixing together. How three little girls, only eight months apart, and 3,000 miles apart, fit so well together. How they shared toys and rituals and mischief and cereal bowls and daddies without sadness, drama, jealousy, or coercion. How my heart swelled up with Mama-love and pride for my tiny daughter and her bigger, tiny gal-pals.

And as L. and M.'s mama talked about the future of these friends, when they are to the age where spending Saturday nights in their pj's with their parents sounds awful, and how they'll want to go out together, I could picture it easy. Longer legs, teethier smiles, bigger conversations sure, but the same tiny girls they once were.

Because they are forever friends.