Jan 31, 2012

The Gift of Friendship

I do not remember the day we met.  I do not know if it was sunny or rainy, if she smiled or frowned.

I do not remember all that came after.  All the giggles, the tears, the shared moments.

I do not remember all the fights, the disagreements, the yelling.

I do not remember all the jokes, the laughs, the secrets.

I do not remember all the hugs, the kisses, the cuddles.

I do not remember every Barbie escapade, make-believe story, or backyard adventure.

But I know that they happened.  I know that we lived them.

She has been a part of my life for so long, I can not see a future without her in it.  While other friends have come and gone, she has never left.  Sometimes in the front, leading me, and sometimes behind, supporting me.  But she is always here, with me.

I do not know when it happened, but somewhere in my lazy childhood days she became my best friend.  And then in my uncertainty of teenage youth she became my idol.  Put on a pedestal by my very own hands.  But always still my best friend.  And as young adulthood came knocking, and life became messy and scary and real, I brought her back down from perfection, back where she belongs, in my arms.

We have spent years together, years car rides, airplane rides, and oceans apart.  And even though sometimes it doesn't seem like she's there, even though sometimes I wonder if we're drifting apart, she is here, and we are not.  She is a phone call, an email, a text away.  She is a smile, a photo, a memory away.

And no matter if it has been twenty minutes since our last interaction or twenty days, we can more or less pick up from where we left off.

I know that I am lucky, I am blessed to have this friendship.  And I hope that my girls can find such a wonderful gift.

They are already halfway there.

After all, she is, and will forever be, My Sister.


Jan 30, 2012

There'll Be Days Like This

I can hear her in the next room, whining.  She has been up twice already and I am mad.  It has been days of tears, frustration, anger.  I am worried.  And mad.

I am lying in the bed and I pray. Please give me patience.  Please give me patience.  Please give me patience.  I try to leave out the What is wrong with me?s and the I am a horrible mother!s.  Just, give me patience.

This is not fair.  I think.  I need my sleep.  I need my rest.  I need a break.  But then I realize (again), it's not about me.  It's not about what I think I need or what I want.  My needs come second.

So I try to let go.  Please give me patience.

But my eyes are tight, my body tense, so I look.  I see my empty and drained body, filling up.  The blue liquid starts at my toes and reaches my head, but I am not drowning.  It is patience, being poured into my emptiness, and when it fills me up it turns a golden hue of hope.

In the morning, I wake up with a different feeling.  I am not refreshed, but I am not mad either.  I take a few deep breaths and jump into the day, giving the girls extra hugs, kisses, and smiles.  Trying to be the patient mother I know I can be.

This is what I want every day.  A full tank.  To give the girls.

To be remembered for the hugs, the kisses, the love (whether it is tough or not).  The good days.  And not the bad.

I close my eyes that night knowing the patience was not of my own doing.  Thank you.

Jan 28, 2012

Project 365 Week 4

It was a busy week for our household, filled with baking, gaming, posing, laughing, dancing, lounging, and reading.








We did a few other things here and there.  Ate a meal or two plus a couple thousand snacks, slept minimal amounts, and hopefully learned a thing or two at preschool.

My weekly recap?  Filled with children.  I was awed at how big my little girl is getting, declared from the rooftops (or computer screens) that I want more children, and delighted in my favorite little belly.

On the agenda for next week?

Get more sleep.

Jan 26, 2012

I Love Her Buddha Belly

Paige is a belly girl.

Unlike her momma, who you couldn't pay today to show off her tummy (and probably never could have), she is all about lifting her shirt and giving a peek.

I'm pretty sure I remember Hope being interested in bellies at this age too.  Lifting up shirts, touching momma's tummy, sticking fingers in daddy's belly button, giving and receiving giggle-inducing raspberries. (Although when she does the giving it's more likely to involve some sort of spitting on the stomach.)

But this girl, she goes beyond the normal belly love of twenty-two-month-olds.

She is obsessed.  With her own belly.

Her little buddha belly.

We can not put a onesie on this girl because she needs all-access to touching her tummy.  The few times I have put one on her (you know, because it's winter, it's cold, and an extra layer might keep her warm) we had to leave it unsnapped and hanging out.

Those cute footie pajamas for kids?  We have about four pair from when Hope was this age.  We tried them with Paige a few times.  She is not a fan.

It is not just her sweet buddha belly that she loves to touch.  She is enraptured with her adorable outie belly button.  Throughout the day you can find her touching, pinching, and pulling on it.

Apparently it soothes her.  She falls asleep with her hand on her belly, pinching her little belly button.

And if she can not get her hand onto her bare belly she gets frustrated and says, "beh-yee, beh-yee, beh-YEE" until she can.

I have to admit, I love it.  I find her little round tummy with her belly button poking out about the most adorable and wonderful thing ever.  And the fact that she loves it, and rubs it, and pulls on it to self-sooth just makes me love it even more.

Like Paige, I can not get enough of her "beh-yee".

I will always remember her toddler love and need for a bare tummy.

Let's just hope that belly shirts don't make a come back when she's a teenager.

Jan 25, 2012

I am Not Done

Note: Today, I really am pouring my heart out here.  So please, be nice.  And know that I am not trying to upset anyone or start anything.  That is not how I roll.  It is not who I am.  This is just me.  And my feelings.


I read an amazingly awesome post the other day from Momastery.  It was so well-written, so thought provoking, so "YES" inspiring.

Here is an excerpt from:  2011 Lesson #2: Don't Carpe Diem

Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I’m being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times – G, if you can’t handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?
That one always stings, and I don’t think it’s quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it’s hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she’s not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn’t add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it’s so hard means she IS doing it right…in her own way…and she happens to be honest.

So, this was not the main point of her post.  And it certainly is not the only thing I took away from her words, but I did shout a big, resounding YES (in my head) when I read this paragraph.  And it pertains to my thoughts here.

I am tired of feeling like I have to explain my desire for another child.  Yes, I have two wonderful children, and yes it is sometimes quite hard with these children, but why in the world does hard end up being equated with being a bad idea to add to the family?

It is frustrating, when I tell people I would like a third baby and they look at me like I just told them I signed up to have my arms removed.  But hey, it's not how everybody feels so I can get over that.  It's when later, in the middle of one kid peeing on the floor, the other screaming at the table because there's something green (a vegetable) on her plate, they bring it up and say, "So, Christine. [chuckle, chuckle, chuckle] Do you still want a third?" that starts to bother me.

I don't care when the question is asked, the answer for me is always yes.  Yes, I want a third.  I want a third when my two act like angels.  I want a third when my two act like... not angels.  Because parenting is going to have hard moments whether you have one, three, or thirteen.

I probably can't explain it very well.  And the best I can say, is that I don't feel done.  My heart does not feel done.

When (and if) we will have another, I can't say for sure.  Will it be hard?  That I am sure of.  But please, just don't look at me like I'm crazy.  Please, don't antagonize me by bringing it up during a difficult parenting time.  And I promise to never look at you with pity or judge you for choosing to have one.  Or six.  Or 26.  Or none at all.


(By the way, you should totally go over to Momastery and check out the real main point behind Glennon's post.  And while you're at it check out her other posts too.  I have only read a handful of them, but so far they are all equal in their amazingly awesomeness.  Glennon has no knowledge of me, or the fact that it feels like she took some jumbled thoughts from my head and used the perfect words I never could have to get them to make sense.  I just think her words are wonderful and that is all.)


Pouring my heart out with Shell

Jan 24, 2012

She is a Big Little Girl

My little girl is growing up.

Even though it has only been 23 days since she turned four, I've already noticed a difference in her.

I have heard that three is the hardest age and, thus far, I agree.  I do, however, know that we have another 343 days of her as a four-year-old in which things could drastically change.

But right now, I see that my little girl is maturing.

I see that she is learning how to remain calm, how to feel upset or disappointed without throwing herself on the floor in a fit.  She is able to take deep breaths to help herself relax.  She will go into a time out without a word and tell me when she is ready to follow the rules.

Often, she will say, "I'm four now.  I'm a big girl, Momma.  I'll be a good listener."

And when I tell her "no" her initially reaction is no longer to cry and whine.  Most of the time she will either say, "Okay, Momma" or "Oh man!"

(This is not to say she doesn't still have her non-listening and fit-throwing moments.  After all, she has only been alive four years.)

I'm not sure what changed.  Sometimes I wonder if part of it is a difference in my mindset and attitude, but really, I think it is Hope.  I want to give her credit for her four-year-old maturity.

Of course, I wouldn't exactly say she is mature. She does still have her potty humor.

But she is maturing.

She is growing.  And with her, I am too.  We are growing, together.

And I am so proud of her.  She is turning into such a big little girl.

This is just one of my favorite things about motherhood.

Jan 21, 2012

Project 365 Week 3

Here we are at the third week of Project 365.  Trying to take a picture a day for the year of 2012.

I spend a lot of time with this apple
This week I attempted to take my camera out of Auto mode and into Manual.

Relaxing on the couch
I'm no where near getting things right, and I put it back into Auto for numerous pictures, but it's a step in the right direction.

Yes our Christmas stuff is still not put
away by January 17
  I also took several with my oh-so-quality phone camera.

Playing indoors when the cold finally came
Because sometimes it's just inconvenient to bring my big camera everywhere.

Watching Sesame Street with her big cousin
The only problem is, if I don't have the big camera, I don't always remember to take a picture with my phone.

Attempting a photo of holding hands
Paige was not cooperating
Which is why we end up with a lot of randomness from my week.

At the end of a long, napless day
Girls didn't have energy to get off the floor
But I'm going to pretend that this is the point of Project 365.  Because I know you all want to see the randomness that is my life.

Jan 19, 2012

I Never Thought I Would...

Once again I am participating in Monday Listicles with Stasha.

Yes, I realize it is no longer Monday.  It is, in fact, getting farther from Monday as I type, but I'm a rule breaker like that.  Actually not so much.  I'm pretty straight-laced, or a square, or whatever other metaphor you want to use.

But anyway...

This installment is "I'll Never...": The Top Ten Things You Said You Would NEVER Do And Have Caught Yourself Doing.

Here is my list, in no particular order.  Because, you know, we don't want number three to get a complex because of number seven.  Or something.

1.  I never thought I would get sick swinging, and yet, the past several times I've tried to really get up there I've found myself feeling like I just spent the better part of a day in a car ride through the mountains.  Guess this old lady's days of swinging so high her toes touch the clouds are over.  Only baby rocking back and forth for me.  Unless the girls ask.  I'll just have to make sure I'm doped up with dramamine first.

2.  I never thought I'd cry when my first baby went in for her first immunizations.  I knew it was all for good and yet, I shocked myself when my eyes flooded at the sounds of her cries and I called my husband sobbing and telling him I was not doing that without him EVER AGAIN.

3.  I never thought I would wish I had more photos of my body, specifically my belly, from my college and early twenties (read: before pregnancy).  Did I really ever have a flat tummy?  Totally wish I had physical proof.

4.  I never thought I'd have the awesome in-laws that I have.  Not that I ever thought I'd have horrible ones, but I just never could've even imagined my good fortune.  (Did some of you just roll your eyes in my obvious attempt to suck-up?)

5.  I never thought I'd marry a blue-eyed, blond-haired Fin from Northern Minnesota.  Uh, hello?  I, like, was totally going to meet, fall madly in love with, and marry [insert high school movie star crush here] who would, like, totally sweep me off my feet and love my completely reserved and quiet personality.  Duh!

6.  I never thought I would run a race.  Or run for fun.  Or run for any other reason other than someone or something totally freaky and scary and worth running from was chasing me.  (No need to mention how long it has been since I ran said race.  My tummy is no longer flat -- you can make your own assumptions.)

7.  I never thought I would live so far away from my sister.  Even though when we were younger we talked about her moving out to Colorado and me moving... I can't remember where but it must've been somewhere totally romantic and exotic like Brazil or France or Indonesia or... Detroit (hmm).  I just never thought she would be so far away and it would be so hard to stay in touch on a regular basis.

(Excuse me a moment while I grab a tissue and cry for a bit....  Whew.  Okay.  Moving on.)

8.  I never thought I would sign up for Facebook.  But I did.  And look at me now.  I've got me a blog, a Facebook page for my blog, and I'm tweeting like I know what I'm doing.  Only I don't.  Know what I'm doing that is.  With any of this.  (But shhh, don't tell.)

9.  I never thought I'd stick a baby's pacifier in my mouth to keep it clean.  But I just did it this weekend.  Twice.  With the pacifier of my friend's five month old baby.  Oh calm down!  I'm just kidding.  But I did do it with Little P's pacifier once and then was so freaked out that I haven't done it since.

10.  I never thought I wouldn't own a minivan.  (How's that sentence for convoluted?)  My husband vows he will never get a minivan and since I grew up with one I never really thought about not having one.  I'll keep you posted on how this one pans out.  He might not be able to stop the inevitable after we have the five more babies he doesn't know I'm planning.  [insert evil laugh here]  Hmm, we might have to get a bus instead...

You made it!  Whew.  Thanks for sticking with me.  Now go take a break.  I promise my next post won't be so wordy.

Jan 18, 2012

A Four-Year-Old's Humor (you've been warned)

My daughter has a potty mouth.

No, not the vocabulary of a sailor.  Although, that's not to say she hasn't overheard a few naughty words from her mother father.

Her potty mouth is, in fact, about the potty.  Poop and butt seem to be her new favorite words.  And any combination of the two, or even adding a well-placed adjective such as stinky, is guaranteed to cause a fit of giggles.

Spongebob Squarepants is now Spongebob Poop-pants.  (Not that we watch it, because he is not my favorite cartoon for a four-year-old.)

Her sister too, has caught on to the hilarity of it all, and will run up and down the hall yelling, "Poopy butt!  Poopy butt!"

I'm not sure, but Adam and I may not help the situation when we joke around about toys pooping and tooting on each other.  (There is your ah-ha moment.  Our daughter comes by it quite naturally.)

For the most part, I don't mind.  When it's just the four of us.  In the privacy of our own home.  Alone.

But before you go running for the hills, or feel the need to remove your child from my daughter's preschool class and thus her poopy influence, I will tell you, for the most part the potty humor does stay at home.

But just in case, I might be having a little discussion about where potty humor is appropriate.  You know, just so she doesn't end up getting a note sent home from school informing us she called the teacher Mrs. Poopy Pants.

Jan 17, 2012

Love is Never Wrong

Last week I wrote about the Mom Wars and how they break my heart.  Yes, they suck.  But I was wrong.  That does not break my heart.  Because really, that doesn’t matter.

This?  This matters.

This breaks my heart.

There are some things about our country that make me feel good to be American.  I am thankful.  I am lucky.  I know these things.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)?  Is not one of those things.  I am embarrassed.  I am ashamed.

This should not even be a story.  It should not be a fight.  It should not be on anyone’s radar.  Because it shouldn’t even be an issue.  There shouldn’t even be a question.  Love is Love.  It is as simple as that.

But, it is an issue.  And because of that, this wonderful couple is fighting.  Along with thousands of other wonderful couples out there.

Meet Mark and Fred.  A happily married couple who have been together for over 21 years and have four adorable adopted children.  Fred is French and now faces deportation because his visas have expired and their marriage is not enough to keep him in the country.  This family is going to be split apart.  Horrible, right?


(You can see the segment about them on CNN here.  Or go to Mark’s personal blog here.  But you don’t need to do either of these things to know that what is happening to this family is wrong.)

I do not know these men, and they certainly do not know me.  They are not my neighbors, their kids do not go to school with my kids, I have no vested interest in them.  And yet, I do.  Because they are human.  And I am human.  And Love is Love.

I am writing on behalf of them.  I am writing on behalf of myself.  Because I do not want my children to grow up in this.  I do not want my children to question love.

I want my children to look at DOMA with disdain, scorn, and disbelief.  I want my children to question me about DOMA the way I question my parents about the Jim Crow Laws.  “People really thought that separate but equal was right?”  “There were really different drinking fountains, schools, bathrooms, for people depending on their skin color?”

“There was really a time when same sex couples weren’t allowed to get married?  When their marriages weren't recognized?”

And I can hear it.  “But why?  Why?”

And I will not be able to give them an answer.  Because I truly do not know.

All I know is, something must be done.  Something must change.  Because Love?  Love is it.  Love is all.  Love is love.

Nobody should be denied it.

Love should be reason enough.  Love is reason enough.

Because love?

Love is never wrong.


From Mark's blog 

Here is who you can write to if you feel moved to do so.

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
P: 202-224-6324
Toll Free: 866-802-2833
Fax:  202-228-0604
Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
(***picture copied from Four Plus an Angel***)



Jan 15, 2012

Project 365 Week 2

Here is the second week of photos for my Project 365.  Do not expect great things this week, but this weekend I took a seminar on photography so next week's pictures will be expert quality.  Okay, maybe not.  I'm not quite that fast of a learner.  But I'm looking forward to attempting to take what I learned and put it to use.  So, you know, by week 52 you can expect to see some improvement. :)

January 8: Goodbye Christmas Tree

January 9: Snack Time

January 10: Winter Park Play

January 11: My Eyes

January 12: The Airport

January 13: Yes it is 11am and we are
still in our pjs

January 14: Late Night Ride

Jan 13, 2012

Does It Really Matter?

There's a lot of buzz going around about the Mom Wars (or at least, there's a lot of buzz around the internet, well, the internet community I stalk, anyway).

I read this post from Katie of Practical Parenting about The Great Mom Debate.  Alison from Mama Wants This wrote a beautiful post about What Motherhood Isn't.  And, from Sellabitmum, you can read the ever-hilarious Tracy's take on it here.

So, my understanding about the mom wars is that it is between working and stay-at-home moms and which choice is "best".  Apparently there is a new study that finds working mothers are happier than stay-at-homers.  (You can read the full story here.)

Well, here is my two cents.

This?  This back and forth about working vs. stay-at-home moms?  It just breaks my heart.  Why would any one person care what another person is choosing for her family?  I would never presume to know what is best for you and your family.  And nobody knows my family better than I do.

So when it comes to this fight?  When it comes to whether working or staying at home is better?

I say this:

It doesn't matter.  That's right, I said it.  IT DOESN'T MATTER.  I'll say it again.  It. Does. Not. Matter.

Why should anyone else care what you choose to do?  Full time?  Part time?  Stay at home?  Circus performer?  I do not care what you choose.  It does not matter to me.  And I certainly don't understand why it would matter to some stranger out in Ohio, or New York, or California.

Only you know what is best for YOUR family.  Only YOU know what makes you happiest.

It doesn't matter if that means sending your children to childcare and working 60 hours a week, or staying home with your children and not leaving them even one time over night, or something in between.

It doesn't matter.

And I don't care.  I do not care what choice you make.

And nobody else should care what you choose either.

As long as a child is being nurtured and loved, it doesn't matter.  As long a child is not being mistreated, abused, or neglected, it doesn't matter.

I am doing what is best for me and my family.

And so are you.

So are the other mothers out there.

We are all mothers.  We all love our children.  We are all doing our best, in whatever way that is.  We are a community.  Let's lift each other up and encourage each other.  Choosing something different for our family and ourselves does not mean we can not all support each other.

We have enough on our plates without feeling like we have to defend our choice to work or stay at home.

We are all mothers.  But we are all individuals.  And we are all doing our best.  For our families.  Every.  Day.  And in the end, that is what matters.

Jan 12, 2012

A Mother's Ear

I am startled awake.

I lay still, holding my breath, listening.  Was it a squeak?  A cry?  A "mommy!"?

If it comes again I go to her, whichever her it is.  Retucking, hugging, soothing.

I do sleep.  Sometimes it is restless, tossing and turning, but not always.  I sleep, but every night it is with one ear open.  Listening.  Waiting.

Did she have a bad dream?  Does her shivering body need to be covered?  Did she lose her pacifier?  Or does she just need another tuck in and reminder that it is still night-night time?

I sleep, but even in my deepest sleep my ears are awake, ready for her call.  I do not sleep through it.  I can not sleep through it.  And if she needs me, I go to her.


Linking up with Mama Kat's Famous Writer's Workshop.

Jan 10, 2012

A Time of Change

I am tired.  I have a headache.  And I'm feeling whiny.

The couch is soft and cozy as I snuggle under my favorite down blanket.  The blue matches the blues in our furniture, hand-me-downs from my in-laws.  I am looking out the window at this beautiful, sunny day.  52 degrees January 10th in Minnesota.  A perfect spring day, in the middle of winter.

Paige is napping, Hope upstairs watching TV after some of her own quiet time in our bed.  I enjoy the quiet.  I need a nap too.

After over a year of Paige in the pack-n-play in our bedroom, and us sleeping in the guest room (it's a long story), Paige is finally sleeping in the crib in her sister's room.  It is now The Girls' room.  But she's not actually sleeping.  Not as well as she was in the quiet, dark, still of our bedroom.  And I miss that.  I miss the ease of bedtime with her.  I miss her immediate drift into sleep.  I miss her late mornings of waking up no earlier than eight.

Paige was our easy sleeper.  Hope is not.  And after a week with her sister, Paige is still struggling too.  And I am struggling.  Her change in sleeping habits is so very hard.

But I know we will adjust.  I know I will adjust.  Even if it means she stays an early riser.  Even if it means it takes her an hour to unwind each night.  Even if it means I have to adjust my own schedule to get the sleep I need.  We will make it through.

Because even though it would be nice to keep the easy nights, the uninterrupted sleep, the late mornings, I know she is growing.  And with that comes change.

I want her to grow and change.  And I just have to adjust with her.  Because that's what parents do.


Linking up with Just Write

Jan 9, 2012

Food and Kids: my working theme

Today, I am joining up with The Good Life for Monday Listicles.

And, you know I love lists.  So how could I resist?

Unfortunately, the list is supposed to be Top Ten Strange (unusual/interesting/funny) Jobs you've held in your life, but as I'm such a youngin' (can I still claim that?), I haven't actually had ten paying jobs.

But I'm okay with that.

I'm not really sure what my technical titles were for most of my jobs either, so I've taken the liberty of making up my own.

1.  Candy Girl, serving treats at the candy kiosk at the mall

2.  Shave Ice Creator, making delectable shave ice creations in a little hut outside the bowling alley

3.  Childcare Helper, assisting teachers for a county daycare

4.  Data Enterer, entering information for a research department

5.  Summer Leader, leading school-age kids during a summer enrichment program

6.  Assistant PreSchool Teacher, pretty much exactly what the title implies

7.  Auditor, for an insurance company

8.  Wife, to my husband

9.  Stay at Home Mother, to my older daughter

10.  Stay at Home Mother, to my younger daughter

Wow, look at that.  I didn't even realize I'm currently juggling three full-time jobs.  True, they are not paid, and sometimes I sure wish they were, but, most of the time I am happy for payments of love, appreciation, smiles, kisses, and cuddles.

(And I sure as heck am thrilled to not be employed with any other of those jobs up there.  Looks like I'm in the right field.)

Jan 7, 2012

Project 365

So, after seeing many tweets and hashtags about it, and then googling to figure out exactly what it was, I've decided to participate in Project 365.

My only issue is I have decided this today, on January 7th, and even though I don't think there's an official start day, I feel like January 1st would have been the perfect one.

(Because I'm weird about wanting to start things at times or dates that "make sense" and January 1st is the beginning of a new year which makes total sense to me and January 7th which is just, well, the 7th.)

The problem with a January 1st start is that I wasn't actually consciously thinking about taking a picture every day, and while I did take a picture almost every day, I did not take one on January 2nd.  Which means I already failed a project on the second day, without even realizing I was participating in said project.

Oh well.

Even without a picture for January 2nd, I am claiming my start date as January 1st (because I'm weird, yes, see above).  It is driving me crazy, but I will just suffer through and deal with not having a perfectly perfect project year...

Here is week one from my Project 365.  Although this year I guess it's technically Project 366.  (But for me, already missing a day it is 365. - grr.)

So, without further babbling, here we go.

January 1: Cake
January 2: My self portrait of how I felt
after seeing some friends because
yes, I did not take a picture this day
January 3: Messing with Daddy
January 4: Newly whitened teeth
(close-up a little freaky, I know)
January 5: Lunch
January 6: Bowling

January 7: Look who we found
under the piano - the missing fox.

Jan 6, 2012

A Funny* Thing Happened on the Way to 30

I used to be funny.

Maybe not of the hilarious kind, but I had a fair amount of humor up my sleeve.  In fact, my grandmother used to call me the Family Clown.  (Not because I was always throwing pies in people's faces or making balloon animals.  Although I did have some big red shoes...)

(And yes, my grandma was an expert on the topic.  Sort of.  Maybe.  Okay, not really, but I swear she wasn't bias toward me.  At.  All.)

Last year, when I told some other moms about my grandmother's nickname for me, I saw a couple of mouths drop to the floor.  Later, one mom admitted to me that she thought I must've come from a family of morticians**.  (Not because I am so unfunny, I hope, but because I was always so, ahem, serious quiet.)

So what happened?

Perhaps it was never there.  Or perhaps my stint of college matured it away. (ha)  Or perhaps I lost it on my way to becoming a mother.

In any case, I do not use funny as an adjective for myself.  I have no future in stand-up.  I will not be featured on SNL.  And I certainly will never qualify to be Kristen Wigg's sidekick.

But then, fairly recently, an acquaintance called me funny.  Not in the you-are-weird kind of way, but in the you-say-things-that-make-me-laugh kind of way.  Which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Why did this "being funny" thing become important to me?  Is it because I am now at thirty and looking for a way to connect my youth and putting up posters of early 90s heartthrobs and obsessing over Newsies is out of the question?  Unlikely, but possible.

Actually, I think that somewhere along my journey I have come to believe funny = fun.

And who doesn't want to be fun, right?

Whether or not this equation is true, I don't know.  (Actually, I don't even know if one thing equalling another is technically an equation.  But that's neither here nor there.)

All I know is, I've dusted off my joke book.  So watch out.

Not really, I only had a joke book when I was like 12, but I'm using it as euphemism for trying to bring a little humor back to myself and, as a natural side effect, all of you.

And for goodness sakes, if you don't think I'm funny, feel free to give me a pity laugh anyway.  (I may be thirty now but I still have a few insecurities leftover from my youth too.)

*pun intended
**this is not to imply that morticians are not or can not be funny or that all morticians are quiet or serious

Jan 5, 2012

NY State of Mind

I miss New York City.

True, I've never lived there, and I've only actually visited approximately four times, but it can be true love after four dates, right?

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not cheating on the Twin Cities.  I enjoy living here, and I certainly can't imagine living anywhere else.

But I'm lusting after New York.

I love the energy of the city.  I love the hum of the people, the traffic, the life.  I love the chocolate croissants, the tiny corner grocery stores, the multitude of authentic and delicious restaurants, the busy shoppers, the loungers in Central Park, the iced coffees.

I love the public transportation and that you can walk or ride to just about anywhere and/or anything in the city.

And I love that my awesome sister lives there.  (I will neither confirm nor deny that this is one of the biggest reasons I love New York.)

Of course, I do not love everything about it.  Even though I know plenty of people do it, I can not imagine sending my children to school in New York.  Not because the school system is bad, but because it is so competitive.

I do not love the crazy traffic of the city.  I would NEVER drive there, or even try to ride a bike around.

I do not love the lack of wide open spaces (not that the immediate Twin City area has a lot of those, but I was raised an Iowa girl, and what would life be like without the occasional farm or corn field?).

Ah, but these things can be overlooked for NYC.  We're still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship.  And to tell you truth, will probably always be.

Aside from my sister (sniff), our family is here.  We grew up here.  We like it here.

But even though I'm happy where we are, that doesn't mean I can't fantasize, right?  And maybe I'll just have to go out and visit my sister a little more often too.

Jan 4, 2012

There is No Reason

This is just the way it is.

Sometimes things just happen.

There is no "this happened for a reason".  Because well, there is no reason.  Things just happen.

Not because of what I did or did not do.  Or what I did or did not say.  Or what I did or did not think in the deep dark secrets of my mind.  Sometimes things just happen.

But it sucks.

It is unfair.

And it is the unfairness and the why? why? why? that make it so hard.

I don't know if this is the wrong mindset to have.  Maybe it's not healthy to think there is no reason.

But would it make a difference is there was a reason?  Sometimes I think it would be easier, but most of the time I know it doesn't matter.

The reason.  The lack of reason.  The whys.  It does not change anything.

Maybe some day I'll figure it out.  But for now I am just trying to accept that things happen.  And there is nothing I can do about it.  And that is all.


Linking up with Shell.

Jan 1, 2012

And Now, Four

Dear Hope,

Today you are four.

On this day, in 2008, you came into this world.  In your first breaths you made me a mother.  And when I held you and talked to you and you stopped crying, you made me feel like a mother.  You made me believe in miracles.

Four years of crying and giggling.  Of songs and snuggles.  Reading and playing.  Singing and laughing.

Four years of learning.  Both yours and mine.

Four years of frustration and fears of making a mistake with you, my firstborn.

And I see you now, with your bright eyes and beautiful spirit.  I see how much you’ve grown and flourished.  What a sweet little girl you already are.  Emotional, independent, with a good, good heart.

I cannot imagine my life without you.

You, my dear Hopey, are amazing.

I wish for you all the satisfaction, joy, and health of a fulfilled life.

On this day, and always, I am ever so grateful for your birthday.  For the baby, now a little girl.  For you.

Love to you always,

With Hope's special birthday hot chocolate
(and my coffee)
Four years old!

The Birthday Cake --
Littlest Pet Shop rainbow cake
with green and pink frosting