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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My favorite card

Every year I send a Christmas card to our former neighbor Mrs. Callahan.  I'm not even going to guess her age but she has grandchildren older than me.  We loved her and she loved us (to be clear she loves everyone, especially kids, and if you happen to have a red head and a cuddly baby in the mix, watch out!).  She gave us passes for the train at the zoo, Muny tickets, cookies, candy and lots of special attention.  The past couple of years her card has come after Christmas and I have to admit I get a little nervous waiting for it.  It showed up today, complete with a sweet handwritten note, in handwriting just like my own grandmother's, telling me how darling my children are and to please keep her updated. It's hard to believe we moved almost 5 years ago.  Really hard to believe.  It sure is fun to remember back when we lived here..

and when our oldest red head looked like this 

and our chubby baby looked like this

What a great life!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dear 2030 Me.....

 Through the years I've thanked Kevin for his incredible willingness to work his heart out for his family.  I've tried hard (but probably missed the mark) to let our parents know how thankful I am for their support because God knows there's no way I could stay home and do the things I'm able to do without them.   But I suppose now that all of the girls have moved away, I need to thank you.  I'm sure you're working hard,  what with all of those college and graduate school expenses.  I hope you're teaching again or doing something you love.  Maybe though you're just working where you can and you feel overworked, under appreciated and exhausted.   You're paying the price, and I got the reward. 

  This morning as I sat at the dining room table paying bills I was surprised when the sleepiest sleepy head in our house walked in at 6:50am.  She'd "forgotten" to do her homework last night.  On her own she woke up early, got dressed and was ready to do her work.  Thank you for allowing me be here, in no rush at all, watching her slowly develop a responsible spirit.  As I finished my work and moved on to the regular morning chores, we worked through a couple of math problems, some which were deemed by my girl to be impossible.  Thank you, for giving me the opportunity to again remind my sweet student of this article and to encourage her to keep working.  Through time I pray she'll know that learning is the goal, not being correct every single time.  After packing lunches, eating breakfast and dressing everyone for Arctic air we left the house just in the knick of time, with breakfast dishes still out...and maybe even the milk?  And you know what?  It didn't bother me one little bit.  Thank you.  It didn't bother me because I knew I could come right back and clean everything up.  Emma has chorus two times a week at 8am, 20 minutes before Eleanor needs to be dropped off. On Tuesday, I got to listen to chorus--what a joy.  And today, well that was just about the best 20 minutes ever.  We parked the van, I put my seat back, enjoyed my coffee and listened to Eleanor read to Lucy.  Thank you.  After the big girls were at school and the house was picked up it was off to the grocery store.  While this may not be my favorite thing  I know every week when I pull into the lot at 9am on a weekday morning how very, very lucky I am not be fighting the weekend mad rush.  Thank you.  After Lu and I finished our shopping we made our way to the rec. center.  Lucy played in the childcare area while I ran.  Thank you.  Even though it was 4o minutes away from Lucy I knew she was having fun and I sure needed the exercise.   Afterwards we swam.  I got to watch Lucy splash and run and laugh in the water, at 11 o'clock in the morning in the middle of January.  Thank you.  Once we got home we made peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate chip banana muffins.  When I picked the girls up from school they each ate 2 of the muffins, and begged to have one more after dinner.  Thank you, feeding my kids anything homemade gives me an odd happiness that must be linked to the caveman and his simplicity.  After lunch and reading some books, Lucy took a great nap...she's sleeping well again after a very rough transition into her big girl bed.  Thank you.  I had the patience to deal with nearly two weeks of crummy sleep because I could go around in a haze, wearing whatever clean clothes I could find, not worrying about work deadlines or looking presentable, REALLY, thank you! Tonight we've conducted science experiments (they're still happening...right behind me), played with play dough, danced to Christmas music, prayed for a snow day, completed our homework, taken showers, eaten dinner, cried (Lucy conked Eleanor on the head with an ice pack, after poor Eleanor tripped), and in general (minus a couple of moments)  enjoyed being together.  Thank you. You see this day I just had, it was perfect.  Not shiny tv perfect but real life  this is exactly where I want to be give me a million more perfect. Who knows what tomorrow will bring; fighting kids, crackers ground into the rug, stomach flu, too much laundry, husband working (even on a Friday night).  Maybe.  But it will still be it's own kind of perfect because I'll be here with the people I care about most in the world.  Thank you.  

"Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."" Mother Teresa 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!

What was supposed to be a few flurries turned into a bit of sticky snow!  Lucky, lucky me I spent my morning right here, with my Lucy, and some coffee, with the fire burning, just watching those big beautiful flakes fall to the ground.

More snow, please!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


"Hiding" from momma before nap today.
My Internet search history for Sunday afternoon includes "toddler proof crib tent".   Things were going that well.  Thankfully, I think we may have turned a corner yesterday.  When I picked Lucy up from her mom's morning out program she said "I'm tired, I need nap in my big girl bed".  I was cautiously optimistic.  I put her down for a nap and not long after she got up.  I returned her to bed once and she slept for 2 hours.  While last night was a bit trickier it wasn't bad either,  and she slept through the night, which was a welcome change for me after sleeping on her floor between 3am-5am the night before. I'm still not ready to say we've transitioned but I'm feeling more confident that a tent purchase is not in my future.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

About music...

Last month Emma attended a birthday party where Top 40 music was played.  It seems nearly every girl there knew all of the songs.  Emma did not.   So before a sleepover last weekend she decided to learn about this music some call popular.  She remembered a couple of names--Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.   In an attempt to help, I created a Taylor Swift Pandora station.  Emma sat down and began her research, which resulted in one of my favorite Emma quotes ever.

"She's a very good singer, but here's the problem, I'll listen to this music, learn all the songs, go to school ask someone-  do you like this song or that song better and then they'll say---oh Emma!  nobody listens to those songs anymore.  Really I'm kind of just wasting my time here".

 At 9 she already knows something that some thirty somethings I know still don''s never a good idea to try to be someone you're not.  Of course I realize that knowing something in your brain doesn't equate to knowing it in your heart. Which means that in this little house of ours we have many years of trying on all sorts of hats before figuring out just who we all are.  This figuring out who we are stuff is hard and occasionally heart breaking work but I get glimpses all of the time of just who these people are going to be and let me tell you, every single hard moment is worth it.  

So, back to the music.  Emma was also worried about the words in the songs and said they made her feel uncomfortable.  I felt so proud of her to express those super awkward things to me but I also wanted her to know that for the very reason she expressed those feelings to me, I am ok with her listening to some of that (trashy) music.  I explained that sometimes we listen to music for the beat or the sound of a voice but the words are horrible and we just don't agree.  And then I did something that I never do with anyone, because it's just too embarrassing...I showed her my running playlist.  That thing is chock full of horrible music, the likes of Katy Perry and Kesha.  What a laugh that gave her!  I told her the catchy songs helped me run as fast as I could but no way would I EVER listen to that garbage in the house!  She said she understood--kind of, but wouldn't it just be better to put on music I love the words and sound of and run to that.   Her dad does that.  I cannot.  She and Him, The Decemberists, Mumford and Sons, they just really don't cut it for me when I'm running.  They are however the soundtrack of our days.  At that point we switched the station to Passion Pit Radio and Emma in a sweet sigh said, 'why can't my friends just like good music!".  And if beams of happiness didn't shoot out of my eyes, well I'm shocked.   Good (and let's be honest here, really, really crappy) music will be right there helping Kevin and me and all three of our girls, as we figure all of this out...together.

Hip hip
Hip hip
Hip hip
Hip hip

When you're on a holiday
You can't find the words to say
All the things that come to you
And I wanna feel it too

On an island in the sun
We'll be playing and having fun
And it makes me feel so fine
I can't control my brain

Hip hip
Hip hip

When you're on a golden sea
You don't need no memory
Just a place to call your own
As we drift into the zone

On an island in the sun
We'll be playing and having fun
And it makes me feel so fine
I can't control my brain

We'll run away together
We'll spend some time forever
We'll never feel bad anymore

Hip hip
Hip hip
Hip hip

On an island in the sun
We'll be playing and having fun
And it makes me feel so fine
I can't control my brain

We'll run away together
We'll spend some time forever
We'll never feel bad anymore

Hip hip

We'll never feel bad anymore
No no
We'll never feel bad anymore
No no
No no
No no

Island in the Sun--Weezer

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Love Running

I ran this morning and felt no pain!  Praise, praise, praise!!!! Not running bums me out and nutty as it sounds, a haze feels like it's been lifted.   Trust me, it shocks me too.

 Me + Running = Love ????  Wow!

I started running 6 years ago, but I've never considered myself a runner.  My start was slow and bumpy. My mom signed me up the GO! Marathon Relay.  It was only 6 miles but training for that thing was awful.  After that race I was done running.  Until the next January when I signed myself up for the half marathon.  If I thought I'd disliked training for 6 miles well that was a blast compared to training for the half marathon.  Then I ran it and declared I was never running another half marathon.  Until the next day, when my friend Lisa asked me if I'd consider running a half marathon with her.  And I signed right up for that....and I guess that's when I got hooked but that's not when I became a runner.  Not being able to run during this injury has made me realize I. am. a. runner.  I'm not a sleek runner, I'm not fast, I don't have cool running clothes, I sweat buckets, my playlists have terrible taste and even though I'm not supposed to, I love the treadmill.   Yes, I'm a runner.

Coach here (who happens to be upstairs right now NOT napping) offers in home classes.  

It seems that now that I've decided I'm a runner I'm going to have to branch out a little.  After years of complaining about my core strength and overall flexibility I'm ready to try yoga and/or Pilates.  Since I seem to be slow to warm up to new things I suppose I'm going to have to give myself at least 6 years to fall in love.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My toddler

If I've taken anything at all away from this past week it's to cherish my kids, love them like crazy and learn from them.  All of my girls are marvelous teachers, each one with her own lessons.  Number 3 is a lesson in letting loose, having fun, and living in the moment.  She's also a lesson in patience, in seeing the big picture and taking lots of deep breaths so you can remember and practice all of those other lessons.  

She loves pajamas.
She loves her passy.
She loves to make noise.
She loves to dance and sing.
She loves me and tells me so all of the time.

She is also like a small tornado.
Take a look at the basement behind her.  I bet that took her about 3 minutes.
And her face.  She can't ever just paint paper.  

No kidding, just as soon as I can cover her up and turn around she is out of bed again.   
 We've begun Lucy's transition from a crib into a big girl bed (which is just her crib missing one side).  I need a quick attitude adjustment because I don't want to do this.  Emma moved into a big girl bed at a couple months shy of 3 (and a few months before I was really ready) and Eleanor was a few months over 3 (perfect!).  In my humble opinion I see absolutely no reason (other than safety) to move a toddler into a bed until at least 3.  Of course leave it to Lucy to use my safety caveat to begin this transition many months earlier than I want.   So far it's not really been awesome.  No nap yesterday, no nap today.  Questionable sleep last night.  I think another lesson this girl has (and has always had) for me is to be flexible and to expect change, even when I like things just the way they are. This is hard for me but gosh if isn't good for ol' stay the same forever me!  She spices things up, keeps me on my toes and helps me remember that stretching and changing and growing keep us happy.

Monday, January 7, 2013


I'm having a hard time focusing on just about anything but these guys.  

They are my friends and I care about them so much.  On Thursday, baby Oliver passed away.   Words aren't enough, in fact I have none.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Off to a good start

We began 2013 with a weekend worth replicating!  Right now I'm thankful for-

 kids who are willing to give new things a try.  Kevin and I watched this episode of American's Test Kitchen  earlier in the week.  The girls watched it yesterday morning and we all decided it would make a great Sunday night dinner.  It's cooking right now and from the smell of things we were right.

time alone with this girl and great conversations.  Yesterday we had one about music and growing up, it's worth its own blog post.

our errand runners who didn't mind one bit (well, except for the small issue of a forgotten wallet) going to Hobby Lobby or the library.

a date at the Chase!  Kevin's office party was last night and in a terrific stroke of luck it was at The Chase.  We had such a good time.  My mom and 
Gordon stayed with Eleanor and Lucy (Emma was at a slumber party) and we stayed at The Chase. 


creative girls!  They each started their own blogs today.  Eleanor's is a cooking blog, she filmed her first post today....her famous spinach salad!  Emma's is about all sorts of things and she began with a book review.  

Friday, January 4, 2013


As fun as the holidays are January always feels like such a fresh breath.  It starts slowly and purposefully, with goals and high hopes.  Everyone trying hard to be their best person.

Last year I wrote 3 goals for myself-
1. Run a sub 2 hour half marathon (Achieved)
2. Do a better job of planning our meals and saving on our weekly grocery bill (semi-acheieved...the work goes on!)
3. Read a fun book a month (miserable failure)

I don't have any clear goals this year, they are all fairly vague and for now that feels ok.  My back is still in bad shape, and I'm in more pain than I'd hope to be by now.  I can't run.  Against doctor's orders I tried yesterday and it didn't go well.  So I'm walking, not loving it but at least I'm moving.  Seems silly to write a goal around running when I'm not exactly sure where this is leading.  My goal instead is something like, keep moving and stay positive.

As for a home goal I'll continue to try to decrease our grocery bill but that's not my overall goal.  Right now I'm thinking my goal is going to focus on providing as many learning opportunities as possible for my kids, and to be more deliberate about that.   Some of this just happens naturally but I feel like before Emma and Eleanor were in school I was much more purposeful.  I'm really excited about how this might shape up.  I have a lot of ideas!

Finally, as my personal goal I want to spend more time praying and reading my Bible.  This will take the most discipline....just like my goal to read a fun book a month.   I think the key here will to build it into my regular schedule.
I'm so thankful that I don't have to write a goal to have more fun, to live in the moment or spend more time with my family.  This is such a blessing.

I should probably take a cue from this girl and carry a book with me at all times just in case an extra 30 seconds pops up in my day.  She seizes every single moment.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy Birthday to Eleanor!

Yesterday we rang in Eleanor's new year!  It's really hard to believe that 7 years ago our little baby Ellie was born!  She is an amazing girl; sweet and thoughtful, strong and sensitive, funny and headstrong, super smart and fun loving.  I could tell a whole lot of stories about her that show you just how terrific she is but then I'd be gushing and that's one thing she cannot stand...a whole lot of gushy attention.  So, I'll just sprinkle those stories in all through the year, that's why I have a blog!