Category Archives: Life

Labor Day Weekend

Well, that’s a wrap folks! Summer is officially over. School is about to start. This weekend I finally pulled out the nice camera and played around a bit. I’m rusty, but nice to play with aperture and depth of field again. We went for a hike at Hyland Park and then took our annual trek down to the Guthrie for some family photos. More on that in another post!

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Seven

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And just like that, today she is seven. Or will be, actually, at 1:55pm this afternoon. She was bummed when she learned she wasn’t technically seven yet. But we let her open her presents this morning anyway.

There are no words for how I feel about this kid. We had no idea what we were getting into that snowy March day back in 2009. But nearly every day since has been full of laughter, smiles and maybe some candy. She is full of love and energy and can whip up a scrumptious smoothie. She’s brave and adventurous, sometimes too much for her Mom to handle. She is compassionate and thoughtful and adores her rescue pup and her oversized goldfish.

So, thanks, kiddo. For being so amazing. And for making my days so much brighter. We love you!

Holding on to Six

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In two days my daughter will turn seven. SEVEN. S.E.V.E.N! It sounds so old. It’s so far from preschooler or toddler or infant. She’s a solid grade-schooler if that’s even a term.

Just this morning I told a woman, “she’s just six.” Years past I would have said “almost six” or “four in three days.” But for some reason, that I’m too afraid to admit, I’m holding on to six.

Six is fun. It’s a fun word to say, with an x hanging on the end. Not many words use an X, and even fewer (yep, your mind went there, mine did too, but we’re talking about my daughter here), put most of their emphasis on that greatly underused consentant.

Hell, Six is even a fun word to look at. The contrast between the curvy S and the straight-laced, yet unexpectedly fun X? And the little I with it’s little dot. It’s just a fun word.

But seven? I’m not ready for seven. I’m not ready to visit the land of the tween, even if it’s just for quick moments. And I’m not ready to have a second-grader. But really, I’m not ready to say goodbye to six. To say goodbye to the baby that surprised me every day. The baby that asked to be held. The baby that I could bring with me wherever I went. The baby that I carried with me for 10 months.

Which is why, last night at 11:24 when she woke with a nightmare I didn’t even question her request. Of course you can sleep in our bed. Of course I’ll let me cuddle into my side, rest your head in my armpit, lay your hair across my face.

Those moments come far less often than they have in the past. I’m hanging on to every one of them. And for the next two days, I’m embracing six. And every unexpected surprise that comes with it. For 48 hours, I’m holding on to Six.

I’m Over at Blogher

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A few weeks ago I saw a comment on a Facebook post looking for mothers who feel strongly about the danger of concussions in youth sports. As a hockey player and mother of a soccer/hockey player, I offered the other side of the conversation. About how Husband and I are not holding Daughter back from sports she loves because Something Might Happen.

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Well, Blogher responded. And I wrote something. Now it’s live. And I’m so excited. Enjoy!!

http://www.blogher.com/worth-risk-3

Blogging for Books: The 13th Gift

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I requested this book, the 13th gift by Joanne Huist Smith, nearly a year ago. Right after the holidays. And after all the planning and gift wrap and sequins and bows I really had no interest in reading a book about Christmas. Yet here we are, in early November and I’m starting to plan Thanksgiving and Christmas (I know, I’m one of those.) I figured it was a great time to set the tone and start thinking about the holiday season!

The 13th gift is a memoir, “A True Story of a Christmas Miracle,” of a family in the wake of the father’s unexpected passing. The author doesn’t go into the details of his death, other than he had a heart condition and passed in his sleep, but rather the book is about how a stranger’s unexpected kindness, in daily gifts, brings the family back together.

At the beginning of the book, Joanne and her three kids are falling apart. School is skipped, meals are not made, emotions are raw. But 12 days before Christmas they receive a gift on their front step. Each day another gift appears. At first Joanne does not like the gifts, but after a few days the gifts bring the family back together until the family realizes that even though they lost a husband/father, there are still people that love them and are looking out for them.

By the time Christmas day arrives, the family has put together a holiday to remember. And by the time I finished the book, I was in the holiday spirit. I’m making lists and planning meals (because yes, I’m one of those.) Joanne and her family lost an integral part of their family that year, but with the help of strangers, and loved ones, they were able to find themselves and each other.

If you’d like to read it, leave a comment and I’ll share it with a lucky reader. I can’t be the only one starting my holiday shopping already. 

 

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Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 4.10.56 PMToday I turn 43. 43? Where the hell did that come from? One day I was in my mid-twenties, the next I was 40. And now this? I am grateful that I can celebrate 43. And I am grateful that I was able to celebrate it by swimming a mile and then playing in the pool outside with my family. My mom told all her pool friends it was my birthday, and the daughter quickly followed it up with “She’s 43!”. Geez. It’s a tough crowd.

But I’m glad to say I decided to come back here. To this space. To some writing. I hope to make some changes here and be here more often. I’m happy when I’m here. And I hope you’re happy when I show up.

So, get outside, hug your family and enjoy.

JJN

The First Tooth

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Daughter lost her first tooth this weekend. And her second. They had been loose for a couple of weeks, but the timing of the actual loss couldn’t have been more exciting. We had just ridden the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago. She had just struggled to eat a hot dog at a Mexican restaurant overlooking Lake Michigan. The hot dog must have done the trick, because moments after we left the restaurant Husband reached into her little mouth and pulled out that tooth. There was a little bit of blood but a lot of excitement. There were phone calls to the grandparents. There was a posting on Facebook. There was jumping up and down and lots of hugs.

The next day tooth number two started to work it’s way out of her gums. We tried to pull it before she went to bed, but it just bled and didn’t budge. The next morning it was gone. No sign of bleeding and no sign of the tooth. Yet it was clearly not in her mouth. Figuring she swallowed it, we started getting ready for the airport. Thirty minutes later she found it, there in the sheets that we had scoured earlier. Amazing. White tooth, white sheets, found. Little girl happy again.

The tooth fairy found us in Chicago and found us again when we got home. She’s most excited that she lost her tooth on a vacation, and none of us will ever forget that Ferris Wheel. Ever.

8&9/52

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I’m joining Erin for a year of 52 weeks. And I’m behind. Again.

These weeks you:

• threw multiple parties, including one with “confetti”

• went to open skate (twice) and skated faster than I’ve ever seen you skate, laughing the whole time

• brought me to the coffee shop where you picked out Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

• played chase with Daddy and Luna over and over and over

• taught the younger girls at dance class how to throw and catch a ball… gently…

7/52

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I’m joining Erin for a year of 52 weeks.

This week you:

• are still trying to get rid of the cold… we all are

• spent a day at the Mall of America with Grandma & Grandpa – they looked exhausted

• made Bubble Valentines for your class and loved it

• discovered you like to dip carrots AND lettuce in honey (ick)

• went to the Science Museum with Daddy and loved every minute of it

6/52

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I’m joining Erin for a year of 52 weeks.

This week you:

• caught a cold and have been dealing with a runny nose and a nagging cough

• played your last hockey scrimmage of the season and had a blast

• helped me paint the basement (!)

• tried fresh fennel and fennel and tilapia stew… the fresh fennel was a hit

• had a babysitter for only the second time and watched for her at the window for over an hour