Friday, February 27, 2015

the easiest hard decision

A couple of weeks ago, an incident happened near here that prompted Ray and I to consider our future plans. Did we want to move to a new house, in a different neighborhood? Was it worth it, if it meant cutting back on some fun, perhaps more regular vacations? If it caused us to slow down some on our savings?

What did we want for the future?

And we knew the answer; it's the same answer that's been floating around us for the last two, three, seven years: We want our kids to be happy and to reach their full potentials, no matter what that might be.

Today, with a whole range of raw emotions, I gave notice that I'd be leaving my job, my career. April 24 will be my last day at the newspaper where I've worked -- I'd like to think fairly dutifully -- for the last seven-plus years.

Come April 27, I'll be Mom.

It's going to be tough, it's going to be tight, but it's going to be completely worth it.

I don't know what will happen, if working with Millie on a consistent, every-single-day-several-times-a-day basis will help her to bridge the gap from where she is now and where she "should" be, but I do know this: I will never regret trying.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

the story behind the hair...

If you happen to be friends with me on Facebook, you likely (maybe) saw a photo of Millie when she was "Princess-fied" at Disney World.

(Translation: when we visited the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and both she and Lola had their hair and makeup done and put on their matching Elsa gowns so they were all Princess-y.)

Millie looked ... quite different.

And I promised that I'd tell the story at some point.

This is that.

(Photos to follow.)

I occasionally (often) am very nicely warned to tone it down a notch when it comes to the kids. That I should let the kids be kids. That I'm too often straightening their hair, cleaning their clothes, helping too much to direct their activities and funneling them toward what I want them to do instead of what they want to do.

So, while in Florida, I tried to let this go. (I tried. I didn't always succeed, but I did try.)

When it came to the BBB, I let both girls pick what they wanted. Lola wanted blue nails and a blue stripe in her hair, to match her Elsa look, which led her to one of the four available styles. Easy decision. 

Millie was ... just so excited to be there, to be fancied on. It was amazing to just watch her drink it all up, the Fairy Godmothers, the makeup, the nails (there is nothing she likes more than "princess fingers," other than maybe Mickey Mouse Clubhouse).

Ultimately, Millie is 3 years old. So she indicated to me that she wanted the rainbow-colored hair. Which led her to what they called the "pop princess" style, which is supposed to be rather fun and chaotic (think of pop singers -- right? You get it.).

So I'm taking pictures and having fun and so is Ray. He's watching the girls and we're laughing with some of the visiting characters and having a good time.

Meanwhile, both looks involve hair pieces. And the work for both styles are pretty similar -- braid and bun the girls' real hair, insert hair piece, tease lots and lots of hair, etc.

But whereas Lola's style is eventually coiffed and put in place to create a rather glamorous, very beautiful, polished look, Millie's doesn't do that. Hers is rather wild and crazy, which when combined with the color choice, it looked very ... fun.

At this point, Ray leaned over and whispered (as to not upset Millie), "They're not done yet, right?"

Me, bewildered, "Haha, yes they are."

Ray, insistently, "No, I'm serious. Really."

Me, half-laughing, "Yes, she wanted the 'pop princess' look."

Ray, "But they're going to style it back, like Lola's?"

Me, "No, it's done."

Ray, "She looks like her hair's on fire."

So, yes, for the rest of time, as long as our memories hold strong, this will be the day that Millie was the Girl on Fire.

Monday, February 16, 2015

before and after

I honestly laughed out loud when Ray stumbled on this picture the other day.

I can hardly remember our living room ever looking like this. It stresses me out just looking at it.

So. Much. Furniture.

And of course, the paint samples!

The Great Color Debate from 2012 I think it was (thank goodness we didn't go with that light blue!)? When we went through no fewer than 12 different paint samples trying to find the right color for our living room walls.

Yeah those were fun days. Especially when, after about six months worth of rather heated debate, the living room was finally painted, using the perfectly crafted color we spent several sessions perfecting with Home Depot's staff ... only to realize afterward that it was basically the exact same color we used in our bedroom a year or so prior.

Our living room. I love our living room. Our home base.

We added to its decor this past week, when we happily hung a piece that we purchased while on vacation. We wanted something that would blend the outdoors/woodsy/nature feel of the living room with our family pictures from Disney World that hang in the adjacent hallway.

This was the perfect find.

Its colors work perfectly -- and we were so pleased to find that the mat material's color and texture is nearly identical to the cover on our new(er) bench/trunk thing, which sits right below it.

So the living room is complete, once again.

At least temporarily....

Friday, February 13, 2015


When I was getting ready to leave for my work conference a couple of weeks ago, the girls gifted to me a little yellow heart pillow embroidered with the word "love" on it.

(I think it was a kids "toy" in a McD happy meal. Yeah, we're those parents...)

It was sweet and I loved that they thought of me, so I took it with me when I went away.

The conference really marked the first time I've been away from the girls solo. Ray and I have, I think, spent three nights away from them, one night at a time, but I had not yet done so on my own.

I handled it ... OK ... but I missed my family.

Ray sent me this photo, in hopes of letting me know everyone was thinking of me.
 Both girls signing "I love you."

So I sent this back to them.

And now I'll share it with you.  :)

Happy Valentine's Day weekend to all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


We have returned home.

After a three-day work conference, followed by a nine-day trip to Florida, and then a one-day delay in the Cities due to a blown tire, I am finally home.

There is much to say. And (of course) some photos to share.

But not today.

For now, I will leave you with the words of Lola, who while en route from Orlando to Minneapolis was asked if she would ever want to work at Disney World when she is older.

"I don't want to work in Disney World," she said. "I want to be the one who comes up with the new rides and all the new Princess stories. I want to be the one who gets to make it all up."