Tuesday, February 18, 2014


731 days of laughter, of challenges, of pure joy. 

Today marks two full years since you took your place within our family. There are days when I find that little fact completely incomprehensible. But the proof is there…and it’s undeniable. It’s in the too snug 2T clothing that I washed and packed neatly into a storage bin last weekend. It’s in the plush toys that have slowly been cast aside in favor of matchbox cars and Duplos. It’s in the size 5 diapers, the overly dramatic tantrums and the 3,000+ photos of you that are stored haphazardly on my laptop. The proof is in the not so faint laugh lines that have taken up residence around my eyes and the hair appointments that are no longer optional.

I am subtly reminded, even on the most trying days, of just how quickly you are growing. You have thoughts, ideas and very strong opinions that are all your own. You bring us an incredible amount of joy. And? You challenge us. Both as parents and as sleep deprived human beings. The little guy who used to snooze 8+ hours a night has been replaced by an impressively loud two year old who would much rather spend the wee hours of the morning being snuggled or catching up on episodes of Mickey Mouse Club House than actually sleeping. We give in to your pleads to “NUGGLE AWHILE!” all too often, but we’re catching on to you, kiddo.

You work hard to keep up with your brother. You run as quickly as your little legs will allow in order to ensure you’re not left out. If he hits, you hit. If he screams, you scream. And if Tyler is willing to test his fate by leaping down three steps, you’re not afraid to take on four. Donning your batman pajamas and matching cape of course.

In addition to having a best friend in your big brother, you’ve also maintained a unique little friendship with the cat. You terrorize him like it’s your job and it’s not uncommon to catch you pulling him across the floor by his tail. His disapproving screeches are met with “Oh, you’re fine, Har Har.” Yet? He never retaliates; I think he knows that doing so would put his Saturday morning waffles in jeopardy.

You are smart, you are witty and you are unpredictable. My daily kiss and “Hi Matty!” is likely to be met with outstretched arms and a toothy grin. It is just as likely to be met with a tiny little palm and a “You stop it. You stop it right now.” And I hate to say it but (gasp) you’re a little bit bossy. Between the morning reminders you give to your daddy to “Kiss my mom” and your evening reminders you give to our family to “Say your prayers,” I would say that you keep us all in check!

You love snacks and treats and essentially anything with zero nutritional content. On the bright side, you also love to brush your teeth. Additional current loves include your green froggy boots, playing outside, bath time and reading as many books as you can get your little hands on. You’re a big fan of dumping out entire bins of toys but if I sing the clean up song, you’ll gladly help put them back.

You still suck your thumb. In fact, the left one has a small raw patch from the constant attention it receives. And when you enter a room, you’re beloved blue blankie is never far behind. Perhaps they’re both bad habits, admittedly ones that will be hard to break. But to me? I’ll take it as reassurance that you’re still little.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t learn something new about you. A word, an expression, a goofy quirk. You have brought an immense amount of light into our lives. 

And for the last 731 days, I am forever grateful.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy. We love you beyond measure. 

Monday, January 13, 2014


Tonight, after tiny teeth were brushed and a stack of stories read, I looked at the boys and announced "bedtime!" Without hesitation, Matty ran into Tyler's room, jumped into his bed and declared "I sleep in this bed." I cautiously agreed before reminding them that Matty would be back in his crib if I heard any chatting.

A few minutes later, I hear a little voice..."I love you," followed by silence.

And again, "I love you."

No response.

And just in case he didn't hear the first two times, " I love you Ty."

"Shhh...I love you too Matty."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Early Morning Lessons

Several weeks ago we received a letter from Tyler’s teacher inviting us to his Kindergarten Christmas play. Accompanying the letter was a note informing us that Tyler had been cast as “The Real Santa,” amongst a flurry of other “Santa imposters.” His teacher kindly included some possible costume suggestions (ie red sweats, black shoes, Santa hat) as well as a note: PLEASE DON’T STRESS ABOUT COSTUMES.  

In the weeks leading up to the play, Tyler diligently practiced his three songs and two very important lines. Ryan and I quizzed him daily and encouraged him to let us hear his best booming Santa impression. I picked up a Santa hat and a red shirt, knowing that he already had a pair of red pants that would work perfectly. We were all set.

Or so I thought.

Tyler woke up this morning, the day of the play, declaring that he did not want to be “The REAL Santa.”

Me: “Tyler, why don’t you want to be Santa? You’ve been practicing your lines and your songs and you’re all ready to go.”
Tyler: “Because my costume doesn’t look like Santa!”
Me: “What do you mean, we picked out exactly what your teacher suggested.”
Tyler: “Yeah, but I don’t look like the REAL Santa! All of the other Santa’s have beards and they look like Santa and I don’t. And I’m supposed to be the REAL Santa!” (insert flailing arms here.)

At this point, Ryan gives me the side eye and reminds me that we’ve had weeks to get his costume together.

Me: “I had no idea he needed a beard. The note said nothing about a beard!”
Tyler: “I’m just not even going to be in the play. I’ll just watch.”
Ryan: “Tyler, you are going to be a great Santa, the BEST Santa.”
Tyler: “No, ______ is going to be the best Santa. He has black shoes and a costume AND he has a beard!”
Me: “ Seriously? The note said: DON’T STRESS ABOUT COSTUMES. And it was in BOLD print. What does that kids over achieving mother do? For real. Apparently she has nothing else to do ALL.DAY.LONG.”

So…before 8AM even rolled around, I found myself at Walmart searching one unorganized shelf after the other for anything remotely resembling a beard. If you know me at all you understand the courage it took to even step inside the door of that godforsaken place. Complete act of desperation. And there were absolutely no Santa beards to be found. Lucky for me, I have a very accommodating husband who was willing to carve some time out of his day to make a trip to Party City. So our kid might not have the boots or the suit or the ridiculously oversized belt, but he’ll have a beard. Call it what you want but I’m going to call it success.

I learned an important lesson this morning. Ok, I learned THREE important lessons. One, there will always be parents who go above and beyond what is required and it is very unlikely that said parent will ever be me. At some point, if for nothing else but my own sanity, I am going to have to come to terms with this fun little fact. Two, it’s absolutely impossible to be an attentive wife, doting mother, full time employee AND ensure that your kid has a costume for the school play, properly fitting apparel for pajama day and a healthy snack to share for the class party. And three, it’s probably a good idea if I refrain from judging how mothers who cannot follow simple attire suggestions spend their time as I’m now sitting here sincerely hoping that the words “What does your mom DO all day?” do not come out of the REAL Santa’s mouth today.

Parenting is tough work, my friends. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Black Friday to Remember

I am not one to participate in Black Friday. Rifling through advertisements, waking up at the crack of dawn and fighting for a parking spot within 9 miles of a store, only to pray to God that  some crazed lady doesn't run you down in an effort to save 3 bucks on a set of Pyrex? No thanks, not my cup of tea. I did brave the cold, crowds and crazies once though, several years ago. And for what it's worth, I did score the last $36 train table. But I also got in a car accident and watched a man punch another man right in the face for cutting in line at Toys 'R Us. I wouldn't exactly call that a win.

This year I spent Black Friday with the boys. And I couldn't imagine a better deal than that. Tyler and I got up early and finished coloring a picture of a turkey for a local post Thanksgiving coloring contest. Ty had a very specific vision of what this turkey should look like and I was allowed to help bring the vision to reality but in no way was I allowed to deviate from the plan. The turkey turned out to be a very colorful little fella. And we're both convinced he's going to win (although if that's going to happen I better get the envelope into the mailbox.)

Next we headed to the basement and dug out the holiday decorations from under the stairs. We set up the Christmas village and for the first time I didn't have to convince Tyler how cool it was (hello, tiny houses!) He was beyond excited.
Even Matty picked out his favorite figurine, one of a man and woman hugging. He handed it to me and said "nuggle (snuggle) awhile?" That's a common phrase in this house. One that used to fool us into letting him stay up just a little while longer...but we're catching on. Slowly.
After decorating the tree and wrapping the banisters with garland (which I took zero photos of because I was too busy trying to prevent Matty from pulling every ornament back off said tree), Tyler and I took a break for a game of Sorry.
He kicked my butt, and it had nothing to do with my lack of effort. He legitimately beat me.
After lunch in our pajamas and some matchbox car racing, we decided it was the perfect afternoon for a little Christmas cookie baking...
 And decorating...
And stealing.
Every time I turned around I caught Matty with one chubby little hand in the freezer (where the cookies were supposed to be cooling) and the other desperately trying to shove an entire bedazzled Christmas tree into his mouth.  
We finished the night with snuggles, full bellies and classic Charlie Brown Christmas flick. Perfection.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fall Came....and went.

Fall is my favorite season, hands down. And with Minnesota's unpredictable weather, you can never be too sure how long it's going to stick around. Ryan and I typically pack as many fall themed outings into the months of September and October as we possibly can. A pumpkin patch, a corn maze, a haunted house or two. I'm not quite sure what happened this year (life, maybe?) but we just didn't get as many things checked off our fall bucket list as usual.

We did however squeeze in a trip to our favorite pumpkin patch (6 weeks ago!). It's only a few miles from our house and it's run by a large family. Something about hundreds of pumpkins, free hay rides and the fact that they rely on the honor system when purchasing your goodies is just really neat.