Magical Rocks

I am so excited to be featured on Mamalode today!

I wrote a version of this story to share at Robb’s grandparents’ memorial service, so it’s close to my heart. This a picture from our own collection of magical rocks.


I met my husband’s Grandparents when I was 19. As we left their 100-year-old farm house, Grandpa John walked over to a drawer in their kitchen, dug around a bit and then took something out and put it in my hand.

He said, “Travel safe.” He patted my hand and his blue eyes twinkled at me, bursting with the Irish charm that only a man who was born on St. Patrick’s day can have.

I looked down at the small nondescript rock that he had handed me and noticed the hole that went all the way through it. I nodded at him like I knew exactly what the rock meant, but at that time, I didn’t. Not really.

Sixteen years go by. Two nurses are helping me as I stand for the first time after giving birth to my daughter. I am as worn out and wobbly as a new colt. One nurse starts to clean up my sheets when something hard falls onto the floor and she bends over to pick it up.

“Is this yours?”

And you can read the rest of the story here…


Time Traveling

If I could go back in time, I would try to intersect with my 16 year-old self and give myself a little pep talk.

I would say, the boys that you think matter so much right now, they don’t matter. Nope.

Please keep wearing your retainer at night.

I might give myself a quick one second view of the life that I had ahead of me. Maybe just an image of my husband throwing our kids up into the air. And then hearing, “Watch Mommy!”

I would say, you know, it’s probably a good idea to major in something like Physical Therapy to pay the bills and all, but why don’t you get a minor in English, too? You might want to write someday.

That cute guy with black hair that you meet Freshman year of college? That’s him.

Oh, and listen to Grandma when she tells you that she has a feeling you are supposed to go to Augustana. She’s right.

Life is going to have some bumps. Save some money.

When you are 38, you are going to have the weirdest desire to be able to do a round-off back handspring again. Maybe just keep this skill up so you don’t hurt yourself irreversibly.

Amazingly, all that waitressing that you are doing is going to pay off. It’s teaching you how to take care of people, how to work hard, how to multi-task and how to be wrong.

You are going to be a good Physical Therapist. But keep writing because someday you might need a change.

Sixteen is young. You have your whole life to be a grown-up. Don’t be afraid to be young.

You live in a ridiculously small town. You will be amazed at what’s out there.

Sit down and learn History. Really learn it.

But you are right, Calculus is not important to real life.

Keep running.

Appreciate Mom and Dad, you are going to miss being around them someday.

Try to figure out that whole common sense thing, it’s really helpful.

Learn those recipes from Mom, it will save you a lot of time and effort trying to learn everything over the phone.

Maybe keep a couple of those jackets from the 80′s. That brown leather bomber jacket with the orange lining, in particular.

Things are going to be even more amazing than you can even imagine. And harder.

Do things that scare you, over and over and over.

You are going to live at the beach for 4 years when you are first married. You aren’t going to have any money, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. Try not to stress about the whole money thing.

Sleep. Just sleep and sleep and sleep.

And for god’s sake stop getting perms and doing crazy things to your bangs, you look ridiculous.


This post was brought to you by Finish the Sentence Friday (FTSF).

The Sentence was “If I could go back in time I would..” Please visit FTSF blog hop hosts:

Stephanie at Mommy for Real

Kristi From Finding Ninee

Janine from Janine’s Confessions of Mommyholic

Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine

Jennifer at Real Life Parenting

Finish the Sentence Friday


Hiking With Children. A Poem.

Hiking with children,

Your children, other children,

Starts out as a wonderful idea.

Their faces excited. Their shoes are laced tight. The collar is placed on the dog.


Our pale faces,

Unused to the warmth,

Gaze up at the strange ball of light.

We start up the hill,

And that’s when they realize,

That hiking,

is walking.

And walking,

is boring.

And boring is not what they do.

The snow bank beckons.

The mud puddles taunt.

Sticks on the ground become weapons,

To torture their sibling or poke at the dog or are used,

To make the wind blow.

“I just did that Mommy!”

“You made the wind blow?”

His face nods yes, he is magic.

And yet,

Forward motion is mythical.

A destination is comical.

I will just simply stand here while they,

Make the wind blow,

Or become an airplane,

Or a spy ninja shooter good guy,

Or talk incessantly,

about a pile of dog poop,

that they saw way back at our house.


Birthday! Business! BBQ!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes-I’m in the 30′s somewhere, somehow.

It has also been just a little over a year since I told anyone I was writing a blog. I had finished a few posts and put them up without ever telling anyone because I was too scared, and Robb said, “So, you are writing a blog, but you aren’t going to tell anyone about it?” And, I was like, “Ummm….yeah?” And then I stressed out and talked to my friend Pam who has an amazing blog and she said, “The first time you put a post up on Facebook, it’s going to feel like you are standing at a party and you just pull your shirt up and flash everyone.”

And it did. And it still kinda does. But I feel like I’m getting braver. The best part is that I don’t feel like I normally remember that much, and this past year I have felt like my focus sharpened and I can remember. So. Much. That is the best part. It has been a great year.

I spent my Birthday week…

1. In the presence of cute kids.


2. And in the presence of their grandparents, rendering me inconsequential to my cute kids.

3. New business = champagne.


4. Cake (from Lucky’s = best husband ever)

My peeps.


5. Fun.

6. Post-run cuddling



7. Robb’s strong commitment to BBQ-ing


8. A few nights on the town. And, you know, some kiddie cocktails.


9. And of course, snow. Always the snow. Forever the snow. Snow.



If We Talked To Our Husbands Like We Talk To Our Kids

After recently saying to my son, “Go ahead, stick your face in the snowbank, it’s your face,” my husband said, “wouldn’t it be funny if you talked to me like you talk to the kids?” Well it turns out, it might not always be that big of a stretch and it looks a little something like this…

Do you think you could just ask for help instead of crying about it?

Honey, you’ve been washing your hands for 5 minutes, your skin is seriously going to fall off.

Gentle touches please.

No biting.

Okay, how fast can you go? I’ll time you!

Please use your big-boy words.

Get your fingers out of the butter. Seriously!

Have you gone potty lately, you look like you need to go potty.

Okay. Calm down. No one is going to eat anyone else’s brains today.

Can you try to make better choices, please?

I can’t understand you when you use that voice.

Hang tight and I’ll get your special drink for you.

Yes, you have to wear pants when your friends come over.

If you can’t stop crying, you are going to have go to your room and calm yourself down.

You can play with that all you want but you need to do it in private.

Can you please say “Hi?” It’s weird if you don’t say hi when other people are talking to you.

No, you can’t sit on my lap while I’m eating.

Yes, you are such a scary monster.

I don’t see any actual blood, so I don’t think you need a bandaid right now.

Can you get your hands out of your pants please?

It’s hot! Don’t touch it! Well, I told you.

If you bite the balloon, you won’t have a balloon anymore.

Please don’t lick the table.

Yes, you are the fastest person that I’ve ever seen!

If you want to go the store with me, you need to try and be a happier person.

We simply don’t have time to drink out of every water fountain that we see.

Did you make any new friends today?

If you wrap that string around your hand, you probably won’t have a hand anymore.

Don’t do that to your shirt, you’ll stretch it out and then you won’t have that shirt anymore.

No, you can’t just eat olives for dinner.

You tell me what time it is.

What’s that smell? Do you have poop in your pants?


This post is on Scary Mommy today!




We decided to stay at home for Spring Break this year. Because, you know, we just can’t get enough of all the snow. Oh, and the beach would just be so crowded right now as we have been seeing pictures of all our friends frolicking in the sand with captions such as, “Finally!” and “We found paradise!”

And also it’s been great to try to come up with new activities for our children to do inside of our home that don’t involve watching Frozen (again), extreme kid wrestling, or eating copious amounts of Doritos (we bought some. so good but so bad).

It seems that we have focused our efforts on family dance parties.

Here is a throwback Thursday edition. And yes, they get all of their moves from us. Especially the Air Flute demonstration at the very end.

Here is what has been happening:

Nora got her knee stuck in the slats of her crib and I panicked when I couldn’t get it out. I screamed for Robb to come help me, and at first he didn’t hear me and then when he finally heard me, he was like, “What would you have done if I wasn’t here?” Which, of course, annoyed me because he is kind of a know-it-all and that was not being helpful at the time.

It also appears that Nora is pretty consistently in the throes of an existential crisis as in the last 20 minutes she has been; a Mommy Owl, a Baby Frog, a Moose, Me, a Puppy that could only be outside without any clothes on, and Sven the Reindeer from Frozen. She has spent her vacation; licking the bubble-blowing wand, talking in a constant stream of run-on sentences (wonder where she gets that), and using her new-found scissor skills to decorate every corner of our home with teeny tiny pieces of paper.

She sure is persistent

Grayson is working on his relationship with his iPad. It’s going really well. Well, that is until he is separated from it.

Mine craft junkie

Mine craft junkie

The second he sets it down he simply can’t resist the urge to do whatever it takes to make Nora want to punch him right in the face. He is usually the one who ends up crying because she is Crazy and nobody should ever mess with that girl. He also likes to say things like, “Nora, you’re a zombie, now come and eat my brains!” He only does this right after we have said, “Please don’t play zombie chase in the house.” There’s a possible short-circuit somewhere up there that we aren’t aware of, or the year of seven is just kind of glitchy. We take comfort in that fact that he sure is a nice person. He has spent his vacation making capes out of my good fabric for his stuffed animals, talking about himself in the third person, and avoiding clothes.

Robb spent the beginning of the week trying to “tie up loose ends” at work, which may or may not involve some of the biggest contracts of his life and then drinking beer for lunch and/or dinner because sometimes that’s the only way to keep the stress level at a dullish roar. We have decided that riding the wave of owning your own business involves trying to make the wave less bumpy. You can’t get too excited about the exciting stuff, so then, theoretically, you can’t get as bummed about the crappy stuff. He has spent his vacation; working, rescuing Nora’s leg from her crib, dreaming up the Ultimate Shed that just might end up being a glorified deck with a lean-to, and patiently trying to teach me how to ski (again).

I am reading Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art which is an ironic activity because the whole concept of the book is to stop doing anything else besides your art (including reading the book, The War of Art). Apparently, I need to be getting my butt up at 5 o’ clock every single day so that I can make my art my Priority in life. I don’t think I like Steven Pressfield very much, but he does have a fancy way of telling me that I need to write every day to be a writer just like every other freaking writing book out there. He somehow makes me feel a little bit guiltier than most, because if I’m not doing my art, I’m somehow losing an inner war and I really don’t like being a loser. So, I got up the last few days at 5 and now I am Very Tired. I have spent my vacation; reading about writing, being the only person in my house wearing clothes, sweeping up teeny tiny pieces of paper, and saying things like, “I am going to need more help around here because I need to focus on my art.”

And then they answer something like this,

“Don’t we have any cheese?”

“You mean the cheese you have in your hand?”

“Oh, yeah. Thanks.”



The Badges of Motherhood


As mothers, we walk around with our chests decorated with invisible badges. These badges aren’t recognized or applauded or given any kind of ceremony. But we know they are there, our mothers and sisters know they are there, our closest friends know they are there. Some mothers have just a few, meaningful badges. But some mothers have many; the badges cover their bodies, overlapping each other, fighting for space, each one hard-earned and unseen.

Some badges are earned with two pink lines, those lines that were desperately wanted and wildly fought for.

Some are given with each meal that you are unable to eat, nauseous, sick and swollen, crying pitifully over bowls of cereal.

Some are awarded with the expansion of skin, the loosening of ligaments, the loss of breathing space in your lungs.

Some badges are given after mountains of paperwork and so much hope and sometimes even travels overseas. And then the badge is pinned to your chest with that first wide-eyed look at the small person that came from somewhere more fragile and wondrous than even your body.

Some are pinned on during birth plans that didn’t go the way you’d hoped.

Some are earned painfully; with your belly being sliced, your body being being sliced, your whole self being splayed out and sliced and then sewn back together again.

Some badges leave physical marks; shiny lines that shimmer like fish on the ocean of your belly.  Hemorrhoids the size of Texas. And your breasts, lets not even talk about your breasts.

Some are earned in the trenches of tiredness, while you stumble to the chorus of mewling cries and the scent of milky sweet skin and the tears that inexplicably roll down your face.

Some are given on other nights, maybe years later, when you sleep on the couch next to your small person, propping them up every so often so that they can breathe, worrying when their feverish hand burns your arm. You are awake and alone in the dark of the night, being silently awarded another badge.

Some are earned every time you choose patience when trying to explain why clothes are important or why biting hurts or why candy can’t be medicine.

Some are earned during that moment when you can’t see exactly where they are. The panic rips through you and you search and run and, oh my god, there they are! and the relief takes your breath away.

Some are earned with their first broken-friendship tears, or their first failures, or their first glimpse of self-doubt.

Some are pinned to your chest while you wipe the table or sweep the Cheerios or fold the socks or pour the milk or toast the toast or simply survive the tedium of doing the same exact thing every day.

Some are hard-earned during the eye-rolling, the whining, the screeching, the fighting, the sass, the growing up. Some arrive when they don’t come home. Some when they lie to you. Some when they push you away as hard as they can.

And then you earn the one that shines brighter than all the others, brought with a headful of gray hair and a heart that probably feels a bit bruised and tired from all the other badges poking into it. That one you get when they go out in the world, alone, to hopefully earn their own badges.