Offer Ends July 5

I just got a promotional email in my inbox. 10% off at a particular retailer, and the offer ends July 5. My stomach seized.  Offer ends July 5.

I didn't get that kind of warning when my first daughter was born.  "Take full advantage. Offer ends July 5."

Born beautiful and perfect on March 19th, the center of my universe for 109 days, I went to pick Brady up at daycare on July 5, and her nap had never ended. She never woke up. Firefighters, Paramedics, Doctors and Nurses worked to restore life to her tiny body, but ultimately they decided they had done all they could do. Offer ends July 5.

I tried to have a talk with the manager, to see if I could get an extension on the offer. The manager said, "no." No matter how much time passes, and how many great deals I've gotten since, I'm still going to grieve over that really amazing, one of a kind offer that ended July 5.

I really miss my girl.

Please take a trip over to It's My Baby Blog for a post on SIDS info that is in memory of my dear Brady Judith.


Wordless Wednesday: 18 Months Ago TODAY!

Try to pry your eyes away from the enormity of that swollen belly, and check out my post over at It's My Baby Blog about the cruelty of the baby registry. 


Will That Be For Here? Or To Go?

I've been on both sides. I've been seated at a table in a restaurant with my honey, carefully pacing the meal so that we don't finish up too early or take too long as to have to add another hour to the babysitter's rate, when a family, with children (young ones like ours), sits right next to us, so close that I am flinching in anticipation of the macaroni and cheese flying at the proper trajectory to hit me in the head and leave a sticky residue behind.  I've also been the mom who is carefully balancing a child on each hip with a bag of "quiet" toys and "kid friendly appetizers" while trying to keep the Human Cannonball (note: from hither-to-forward, the four-year-old will be known as the Human Cannonball) in line. When we sit down, I paste my apologetic face on and make sure it stays put as all the adults at the surrounding tables place their eyes carefully on us. I can see behind their eyes, they are wondering how this is going to go.  Because I've been them, I know how it feels.  Guess what, I'm wondering how it's going to go, too.

I've gone 'round and 'round with folks about kids in restaurants, or really kids anywhere. People have very strong opinions about where kids do and don't belong.  Some of them I even agree with. I have a rule that if a restaurant doesn't have high chairs (and specifically, enough for multiple children) then I will not bring my children to that restaurant.  I also have a rule that if I do bring my children to a restaurant that we will vacating our table by 6:30 pm, at the very latest. I don't believe that children belong at any old restaurant at any time, I believe that children belong at family restaurants before 6:30.

I will even go so far as to say that kids belong at family restaurants before 6:30 pm OFTEN.  We may be a little extreme, but we go out to dinner as a family once a week.  Here's why, if I don't take them out, how will they learn to be out? Katie K-9, who hosts a radio show on My Talk 107.1 (the same station you can catch me talking on) says of dogs, "don't hide them, train them." I have to say, I sort of feel the same about children. We try to teach the principals at home, and then take the show on the road so that they can try out their skillz.

So, here's what happens when we take our children out to eat, sometimes they are big old sweet bundles of super-awesome, and sometimes they forget all their manners and make me embarrassed to be in public.  I do not know until we are in it what the heck the outcome is going to be.  When they are awesome, I watch the people around us relax in relief (and then I thank God that we have been spared a nightmare). On the occasions that they eat like cookie monster and experiment with their pitching hand, I watch the people around us get irritated. I cannot tell you how many times we have pulled the ripcord mid-meal just to put the other patrons of the restaurant out of their misery, but we are there in the first place so that our children will learn how to behave in public - it is a process.

This is my wish for all of human-kind, it's really a simple wish; for those dining without kids, please be patient and trust that the parents near you will handle the situation to the best of their abilities. And for those dining with kids, please be respectful of those around you while you do your best to teach your children manners in the moment (FYI, these little reminders are for me too, because like I said, I've been on both sides. I really have to remind myself not to tense up when a table full of kids ends up right next to me, after all, I don't have to parent those kids!)

All that being said, I think kids are super great.  I like them. So much that I made a bunch of 'em. However, when I don't want to be around them, I go to a place where I am sure they won't be and I'm so very thankful that places like that exist, because this mom needs a break from time to time.


Manic Monday Blogarrhea: On Assignment

I am taking an awesome e-course offered by my dear friend Liv Lane from Choosing Beauty. Liv inspires me (and so many others), by finding beauty in her midst each and every day. As an exercise for the e-course, Liv has laid out this request of us, "to write something revealing, brave, or bold on your blog." Many of us are linking up, so once you're done reading my brave, bold, blabber, click away to your hearts content, and hopefully you'll be inspired to live honestly and vulnerably today.  

I have to be honest, I struggled ever so slightly with this task. I stand around this blog naked so darn much, it was hard for me to think of something revealing, brave, or bold that you don't already know about me.  I try so hard to balance fun, frivolity, and humor with the reality of my life as a grieving mother of five, with only three living children. I have told you all about how I really feel about mothering, what I think of my body, and if you've hung out here enough, you've realized that I have more than a healthy love for Target.  What is braver, bolder, or more revealing than that? 

Let's try this: I am the adult child of an alcoholic.  I have never said this publicly (as in to masses). It was always said to me that my dad's story of being an alcoholic is "his story to tell." I now understand that, yes, it is his story to tell of his unhealthy relationship with alcohol, but I have a story, too. MY story is what it was like to be the child of one who has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.  To answer your questions, he is allegedly in recovery (I use "allegedly" because I no longer have a relationship with him, but I assume that he still works his program), and he had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol my whole life, but was first put in treatment when I was 20. A facet of the illness of addiction is that the family dances around the alcoholic trying to protect them. It has been 14 years since my dad was in treatment, and I haven't had a relationship with him for the past 4 years, and I still have danced around telling MY story to protect HIS.  So, now I am done.

I was just about to say that I have no shame around this. Then I realized that would be a humungous lie.  I have tons of shame around this. Or perhaps shame isn't the right word. Maybe grief? Pain? I regularly engage in personal pity parties because I didn't get to have the father that I believe I deserved.  I often have a difficult time accepting love (mostly from myself) because I grew up with one parent who loved to drink more than he was able to love anything else. I have almost no memories of my life before I was 8 years old, and even after that age, it's really foggy.  I remember snippets of time, but if you asked me "what was it like..." I would not be able to give you an accurate image of my childhood.  

On the flip side, it was about 2 or 3 years ago now (incidentally, sitting across a table from my friend Liv from Choosing Beauty, who is hosting this blog hop) when I realized that I am actually thankful for my bumpy childhood (may I just take a moment to say that my mom is my everything, and has done the job being a parent and a half for longer than I care to quantify - and she has done it well). I am thankful for the person I have become and what I have learned from this life experience.  I definitely wish it were different.  I definitely wish I had happier memories, or memories at all. I look at the father-daughter relationship that other's have and I feel a big old empty hole.  You know what, though? I turned out pretty darn awesome (I think). I make good choices, and I realize that they are choices. The best choice I have ever made is to marry a man who is the father to my children that I never had. 

This is my story.


Food For Thought Friday: Know Thy Child

I am sure that many people have written a version of the 10 Commandments of parenting.  In my opinion, there is only one commandment in parenting, and it is this: Know Thy Child.  This week alone, I have given myself this pep talk about 25 times. I want to share the voices in my head with you...

YOU are the parent of your child. YOU know your child better than anyone else. YOU get to make the decisions that are best for you and your family. There are many parenting methods and tons of tips, there are even people who will shout to you that they know better than you what your child needs.  NOBODY KNOWS THE BEST WAY TO PARENT YOUR CHILD BUT YOU. As a caring and informed parent, you will be responsible for gathering information, you will be responsible for assessing the information, and you will be responsible for implementing the techniques that work for you and your family, leaving behind those that don't work for you.  Plenty of people will have an opinion about it, and they are entitled to their opinion. What really matters is YOUR opinion. Oh, and one more thing, and this is the best part, YOU DON'T OWE ANYONE ANY EXPLANATION FOR WHY YOU CHOOSE TO PARENT THE WAY YOU DO!

When you are a first time parent, especially in the first few months, everyone has an opinion and they feel free to share it. How you should dress the child, diaper the child, help the child sleep, feed the child... and on and on. I remember feeling so defenseless, like I knew that they knew that I didn't know what I was doing (read that a few times until it makes sense). Some of the thicker skin comes with getting a few years under your belt, facing some inevitable challenges, and even realizing that you've made some mistakes. Even then, it can be easy to forget what you know in the presence of authoritative voices. 

If you remember the commandment: Know Thy Child, you will be instantly back on track. You may look to others for advice, but remember that they have not parented your child. You may seek methods from authors or experts, but remember that they know nothing specifically of your child.  Now, get out there and parent your child like only you can!


I Know All There Is To Know About The Diaper Game... (Cloth Diapering Part II)

As promised, today's post will be devoted to answering cloth diapering questions.  Sorry to those of you who could care less, I hope you're still a little bit curious...

1. What is a wet bag? I would say that a wet bag isn't actually a necessity, but since we bit the bullet and bought a few, I can't remember living without.  Wet bags come in many different forms, but what they all do is store soiled cloth diapers in a waterproof environment.  They also come in quite handy if you've got little swimmers in your family and on vacations. You can throw swimsuits right in there and they won't get the rest of your luggage wet. But, I digress.  Wet bags are not the only way you can store soiled diapers.  Before we had a wet bag, I would put the soiled diapers in a trash can that was used solely for cloth diapers. If we were on the move, I would bring gallon ziplocs.  Wet bags are just way cuter and a little easier. They also definitely help keep odor to a minimum.  We have 2 large ones that hang on our door knob, and one small one for travel.  You can find them at most stores that sell cloth diapers, or online.

2. Do you use a special detergent to wash them?  Sort of.  We use a fragrance free detergent as recommended.  Many cloth diapering sites and retailers have lists of "really good detergents." We've gotten by just fine with whatever fragrance free detergent we have around anyway, some oxyclean or bleach (which I throw in about once a month just to keep everything white), and stripping every quarter. I'm all about making this as easy as possible.  Giving your child a place to pee and poop shouldn't feel like rocket science.

3.  Do you wash the poopy ones in the toilet? My answer to this is "rarely."  Here's the truth (and those who are easily nauseated by potty talk, you may just want to move along to the next question: when the babies are small, and breastfed, their poop is water soluble, so what's left on the diaper is easily washed off in the washing machine.  When they start eating solids, their poops are more solid, so there's not much residue left on the diaper usually.  To mitigate that residue, we used flushable liners in the beginning stages.  They are inexpensive, and can be washed (many people don't know that) if they are just wet and re-used.  Some people buy an attachment that you can put on your toilet to help spray off the stinky.  I've heard that people really like that, but I've never found it to be necessary. It is very much a learn as you go and punt when you need to process.  These days I can pretty much count on the solids just falling right off, but sometimes they do need a little dunk in the toilet.  It really is a non-issue.  I think there is a misconception of people who don't cloth diaper that we are tossing poop around with our bare hands.  I would say without a doubt, I have no more contact with poop that I do when we use disposables.

4.  I also heard that once the little one starts moving is when they start to leak. Is this true or does it depend on the brand or size? Also, you only had to buy one size for all the years? I have not had that issue.  For me, when our diapers start to leak it's user error.  For example, if I didn't stuff them correctly, or fasten them correctly, or if they need to be stripped (washing and rinsing multiple times without detergent to get rid of detergent build up which compromises absorbency). With disposable diapers, leaking is a good indication that it's time to go up a size. That may be the case with cloth, too.  We opted to buy the Bum Genius one size (many different brands have one size now), they snap down for the little ones, and you expand them when they get bigger.  The Twinstroms are in the biggest size now, and it will take them easily through the twos. I like the one size because you can get a really good bang for your buck.  I bought some from craigslist, which was really economical. Once you get them, if they are not in great condition there are lots of repair kits available for purchase (sometimes elastic is loose or velcro has lost its stick).  

Mostly I encourage people to just try it out.  Give it a shot, if you find out it's not for you, then no harm no foul.  If you don't try it, you'll never know. Most importantly, don't knock it 'til you rock it!


"Wordless" Wednesday: Twin Talk

Someday I'll write a book called 'The Lazy Mom's Guide To Parenting,' when I do, you'll probably see this chapter on getting your kids to like their vegetables that I'm premiering over at It's My Baby Blog today. 


The Straight Poop About Cloth Diapers...

We cloth diaper. It used to be that an announcement like this would not surprise anyone. I like to think that it's going back in that direction. The fact is, there are some stereotypes that are associated with people who cloth diaper, and without naming those stereotypes (which I really think are a) bogus, and b) nothing more than a set of standards that people can use to either categorize themselves or not categorize themselves as "the kind of person who would use cloth diapers" whatever that means.) I will tell you that the Lindstrom family falls into very few of those stereotypes.  We are as concerned about our environment as we can comfortably be (that is to say that we don't go to great lengths, but we definitely try not to be wasteful), but really we do the cloth diaper thing more for the cost saving aspect.  You may think that it has something to do with the fact that we are raising twins, however, we cloth diapered with our four-year-old too. I like to think that the thousands of dollars we have saved over the years will go toward a trip to Disney someday, but I think that's crazy talk.

It started as an experiment, and turned into something I'm quite passionate about. I am not passionate necessarily about converting disposable diaper users to cloth diaper users, I don't think that's my business.  Whatever floats your boat is good for me. I am passionate about educating those who are considering the use of cloth diapers on how very easy it is.

I didn't really do any homework at all when we started cloth diapering. I had opened a Land of Nod catalogue (a catalogue that I love to look at, but rarely think about affording anything out of) and saw that they were listing a kit of Bum Genius diapers (what's funny about this now is that I really didn't realize that there were stores that carried cloth diapers.  I thought it was such an uncommon thing that you could only buy from catalogues or websites).  I am easily marketed to. The pitch said that they were just as easy as disposables, and that got me thinking.  I talked to Mr. Lindstrom (incidentally, I am astounded at how many people are impressed that Mr. Lindstrom is as passionate about cloth diapering as I am. Last I checked, he was there when we made these little poop factories, and he is as concerned with where they do it as I am) and we decided to give it a go. We ordered just three diapers.  We thought that would be enough to give us a feel for what it might be like to do it full time.  Well, those three diapers turned into 12 in no time, and that was our magic number when we were diapering just one.  Many people explore different brands, I'm all for that, but we fell deeply in love with our One Size Bum Genius diapers that go from newborn to potty trained pretty seamlessly.  If you are wanting to check out different types, Teeny Greenies is a great resource. They are a free diaper lending service that will allow you to try out a number of different types of cloth diapers to see what you like before you invest.

We are not exclusive cloth diaperers.  Which is to say that we use disposables at night, and sometimes when we're on the go. We have a small wet bag that we can bring with us should we be cloth diapering on the go, but sometimes we just get lazy.  The point being; you don't have to go whole hog into cloth. You can dabble.  It's okay. In fact, there is a whole entire language of cloth diapering that I don't even know.  There are dozens of types, flats, prefolds, all in ones, etc. I don't know one from the other, I just know what we use and that it keeps stuff where it needs to be. So, you don't even have to be able to talk the talk with other cloth diaperers to make it work.  You'll still get to keep your cloth diapering street cred.

Here's the part you have been waiting for. THIS IS HOW EASY IT IS:  Our Bum Genius diapers operate exactly the same as disposables. So, we put them on the kiddo. We are on a pretty strict 2 hour or poop routine (whichever comes first), so when it comes time to change the kid, we change them just like we do with disposables, and then if there is any solid (POOP, for goodness sake) in the diaper, we tip it into the toilet, and flush (because that's the polite thing to do) and then pull the microfiber insert out of the diaper before dumping the diaper and the insert in our wet bag.  We do that all day, sometimes for two days, and then we wash the diapers.  Yep. You read that right. We wash them all by ourselves.  We put them in our washing machine, add detergent (1/4 of what you would use for a normal load), do a cold cycle, a hot cycle, and an extra rinse, and then throw in the dryer.  When they are dry, we take about 15 minutes to stuff the diapers with the inserts so they are ready to go the next day.  That is it.  About once every couple of months, I strip the diapers.  This is a technique of rinsing the diapers over and over to get rid of the detergent build up which compromises the absorbency, but beyond that there is very little maintenance.

For us, this beats the notion that when we buy disposables we feel like our children are literally peeing and pooping on our money.  If you have any questions, put them in the comments section, I'll answer them in Thursdays post.  Like I said, I am mostly passionate about educating people on the ease of using cloth diapers.  I think that people write it off frequently because they are concerned about the "work" of it. I want to stress that diapering is just work. Cloth diapering is another load of laundry.


Manic Monday Blogarrhea

Please, work through this with me... there are four options in a public restroom where the use of sensors enables you to use a device without touching it: The toilet, the soap dispenser, the faucet, and the towel dispenser and/or hand dryer. Are you with me so far? Here's where I get tripped up, for me, a bathroom should have all four components or none at all. I get hygienically confused when I have to go back and forth between touching dirty surfaces and not touching dirty surfaces.

Speaking of hygiene, I have a newfound pet peeve. I make it sound like I collect them. Really, I only have a couple, mouth sounds and the word moist. The other day, Mr. Lindstrom and I were doing some people watching in a place with many food booths, and my new pet peeve was unveiled... when people lick their fingers while they are eating. OH MY WORD. It is just plain disgusting. I have nothing more to say about it. I'm sick just thinking about it.

I think it's funny when people don't match their dogs.  There is a super adorable fit girl who walks by my house every morning with her dog.  She is petite, strong, and looks like a runner, and her dog is really really tall, has big arthritic looking knobby knees, and looks like it couldn't run if an even bigger dog was chasing it.  Every day when I see them walking by, I'm caught off guard at how hilarious it looks and I laugh out loud.  For the record, our old dog was a small, fat, wrinkly little thing. We totally matched.

I happen to be of the opinion that leggings do not count as pants.  Let's spread the word.


Food For Thought Friday: Mommy Policy

I know that Father's Day is on the horizon, and I should be doing Daddy-talk here, but this is a pressing issue.  I think we need a Mommy Policy on this: Illness.

Here's what I propose: If you are the host of a playdate, and you have had the some-such-itis running through your house, you tell those you have invited into your den of illness, that it has been a den of illness.  Let them decide if they want to enter.

If you are a guest at a playdate, and you have some-such-itis running through your house, you think to yourself, "If I had a playdate and a kid showed up with this-typa-itis and potentially infected all the parents and kids in attendance including myself and my own, would I be pleased?" and then you behave accordingly.

We mommies do this bizarre dance around this. Calling each other up and saying, "Hey, so-and-so has such-and-such symptoms and I am wondering if you still want us to come over?" and then mommy-hostess has to do the whole guilt thing, "I don't want to make anyone feel unwelcome, but I don't really want my kid to get sick, but then again I really want to hang out with these folks, but then again if one gets sick everyone gets sick..."

I propose a vote on the above mentioned policy. If you would like to amend it, please do so in the comments.  Then, once the policy has been revised according to popular (and logical) vote, I will post the policy, and you can email it to play groups, friends, parents, neighbors, coworkers, aliens, ghosts, fairies, and anyone else you think could benefit from being on the same page.  What do you think?  Are you in?

While you're noodling on that, why not pop over to It's My Baby Blog and peek at some great father/child pictures, and OF COURSE enter the giveaway that's happening over there for this awesome book:

Food For Thought Fridays is brought to you by Welcome Baby Care, the Premier postpartum doula service in the Twin Cities. Check them out on the web, "like" their facebook page, and follow them on twitter.  Spread the word to mommies and daddies-to-be. Welcome Baby Care helps ease the transition into parenthood by caring for the whole family. 


A Tribute To The Village People

In 2001, Mr. Lindstrom and I were just months from becoming Mr. and Mrs. Lindstrom. We decided that it was time to stop throwing our money away renting, and commit to buying a home (I can see you all doing the math here, and yes, we lived in sin. It was good livin', what can I say?). We searched and searched high and low for our perfect "starter home," and we had to kiss a LOT of frogs. When we finally settled on the home we ended up in, there was a lot of fate at play... only when we bought the house, we didn't yet know how much.

We moved in November of 2001, and got to be sort of friendly with the neighbors there. We recognized them, said "hi", went about our daily business, and felt safe and comfortable with those we had living near us. As the years wore on, we got to know each other better and better. There were times we needed a hand with a house project or just needed someone to chat with, we'd call on the neighbors. Occasionally, we'd meet on the front stoop for a cocktail or a chat. On March 21, 2005, we brought home our first baby, Brady. She was just two days old. The following weekend, the neighbors threw Brady a welcome to the neighborhood party complete with a movie projected on the front of one of the neighbor's houses.  I know that many people do this regularly, now, but we like to think that we were the first to have done this. We called it "Theater on Third."

On July 5, 2005, our lives screeched to a halt. Brady was found in her crib at daycare, face down and blue. The breath of life would never return to her tiny body. This day, the worst day of our lives, the day we lost our everything, was the day that The Village was born.  In those days, the village held us up. They did our grocery shopping, our yard work, they sat near us as we cried, they let us laugh hysterically through tears, they did laundry, they kept us company, they fed us, body, mind, and spirit.  As strange as it sounds, in those difficult days, I look back on what The Village did for us wistfully, like you do your first year away from home. Those times with The Village were (all things considered) good times. We were never alone, The Village was ALWAYS there.  We instituted Wednesday dinners, we watched Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy together every week, once a month we would have movie nights together, but every night we would spend SOME time together. When one of the Village People got a gazebo in their backyard, that became our home base. We sat around the table there almost every night, chatting about who knows what, playing poker, having a beer or three, and just enjoying the company. We were there for each other, when a villager needed something, the entire Village came to the rescue. The very definition of community.

On Brady's first birthday, the day she did not live to see, Matt and I bristled with anticipation. We decided that we would have a birthday party, and invite friends to spend some time with us while we remembered Brady. I was also 10 weeks pregnant with the (now) four-year-old, and I had planned to share that news. It was a bittersweet day. Matt and I slowly woke up that morning, and when we looked out our front window, the sight was unbelievable.  The Village had decorated our entire front yard with 109 butterflies.  One butterfly for each day of Brady's short life.  They had meticulously decorated butterflies, and hung them strung up between trees. Some were on stakes in the snow drifts in the yard, some were formed from balloons. It was breath-taking and unexpected. Matt and I were so touched, and felt so loved. They wanted us to know how much Brady meant to them, and it worked.  There are pictures somewhere, but those were the days before digital cameras, and I can't put my hands on them now. My words do not do it justice, but it was beautiful to see, and twice as beautiful to feel.

When the four-year-old was about six-months, we decided it was time to move. We were looking for a bigger space (ironically, we did not yet know how badly we would need extra space - the twins were not even a thought at that point), and had fallen in love with the house that we now call home.  We were excited about the new chapter, but were heartbroken about the fact that we would be leaving this family. Leaving behind this snapshot in time. It was so sad.

On the fifth anniversary of July 5, the date that Brady died. The Village struck again. This time, I have photographic evidence:

They let us know that they still love us, and they are still there for us.

Boy are they ever. I put out an APB on facebook the other day for an emergency fence after the Twinstroms escaped from our temporary fencing system and were running opposite directions toward the street by the time I caught up with both of them.  The Village piped up... "We'll be there Thursday to build you a fence." And you know what... The Village always comes through.


Wordless Wednesday: Pizza Party With The Twinstroms

Now that you've gotten an eyeful of these sweet little hams, check out my love letter to my co-creator (their Daddy) over at It's My Baby Blog



The mixtape (a lost art, if you ask me) is the ultimate expression of affection for those of us who grew up with dual tape decks (lucky ducks). The mixtape is a special art. When one makes a mixtape, one puts meticulous care into the rise and fall of tempo from song to song, plots the perfect length of silence between each tune, and never forgets that the lyrics of each song behave as a dedication to the recipient of the tape. The mixtape comes in especially handy for the unrequited love, a way of writing a love letter without the commitment, "Oh, I just thought you'd like these songs," you could casually say as you handed the one you'd been daydreaming about your special creation designed specifically with them in mind.  A mixtape is personal. A mixtape is original.  A mixtape is short hand for love. When I fall in love with a person, place, or thing, I want to express to people how much I love it by sharing my intention to make it a mixtape.  So, with no further ado, here are a few things I would like to make a mixtape for:

1. My Keurig (because I LOVE coffee. Coffee is my mistress and deserves the ultimate mixtape),
 but most of all this accessory that allows me to make one cup at a time with my very own coffee grounds.

 (Of course, I still have a little stash of K-Cups for when I'm feeling like switching it up...)

2. Target, duh. But more specifically, the Target Red Card debit card that gives me 5% off each purchase.

3. Southwest Airlines.  Mr. Lindstrom and I recently took our first (and likely last) trip without the kids overnight to Chicago. We had gotten an amazing deal on our tickets ($39 each way - I felt like we were stealing them). Southwest Airlines has air travel figured out. You board in "groups" rather than by seat assignment, and once you are on the plane, you pick your seat. The flight attendants are so upbeat and hysterical, you forget to be nervous -- like this guy:

Also, they don't wheel those crazy carts up and down the aisle when they are doing beverage service. They come and take your order, and then bring you your requested beverage. They also give you free snacks. FREE! Oh, and we didn't get to take advantage of this service, but they do not charge you for checked bags.  I would actually give them a kiss along with the mixtape. 

4. Hendrick's Gin and Tonic with a cucumber.  My friend Anna introduced me to this cocktail, and I'll never be the same. It's a really special treat every once in a while on an extremely hot day (after the children have gone to bed, of course). I think it bears noting that I am not really a gin kinda girl, and I LOVE this refreshing drink.  

5. This video. It's darling on every level: 


Food For Thought Friday: Music Makes the World Go 'Round

Here's a cute story about a mom who was never going to "let" her child listen to any of that "kid" music. You know the stuff voiced by someone doing a cartoon character or something, and playing nothing that resembles a hard rockin' guitar. This mom said, "to appreciate good music, and child must listen to good music." Which meant that the child would listen to whatever music the mom wanted to listen to given her mood. This was mostly Tom Jones, which some may consider abuse, but those people just have not yet been enlightened.  Did I mention that this mom was me?

Do I need to tell you the pain and suffering that I endured when somehow the vocal stylings of a big red monster whose most popular song is all about the song that he wrote, and is cleverly titled, "Elmo's Song," won out over the superior vocals of my boyfriend Bono backed up by the shredding guitar of the Edge? Surely something has gone wrong.

To be fair, my kids all enjoy equal parts Elmo and U2. They can groove to the Laurie Berkner band just as easily as they can jam to They Might Be Giants. There is some really cool "kid" music out there. However, what really matters is that they are exposed to music at all.  Music has been proven to do all kinds of cool things from a very very young age, and while I was not one of those moms who pumped Mozart through headphones attached to my generous pregnant waist whilst I grew and nurtured life, I was definitely was one of those moms who would turn my car stereo to 11 in the event that my kids could make out my favorite song (and would tell myself that indeed that kicking and shoving I felt was their own person First Avenue style in-utero mosh pit).

Now, we have a tradition of Lindstrom Family dance parties. The only rule is groove to the music, however you are moved to. It works. Sometimes we're grooving to the Imagination Movers (whom, by the way, fall squarely into my cool kids music category), and sometimes the grooving is a little more to the Sam Cooke end, but either way, my children are being exposed to music, learning their own musical preferences, and gaining all the benefits to listening to music can lend.

What kind of music do your kids get down to?

Want to know more about how children respond to and learn from music? Check out It's My Baby Blog today for some tips!


In My Shoes

Yesterday was my ninth wedding anniversary. Mr. Lindstrom and I celebrated in grand style, like we always do.  We have packed a lot of joy and sorrow into these nine years, and I can honestly tell you, the ride with him has been completely worth it. In other words, I wouldn't have wanted to have that kind of joy and pain with anyone but him. We are really great partners.

Each year, it has been my tradition to wear the shoes I wore on my wedding day on our anniversary. I love those shoes. They make me feel like Cinderella.  I remember walking through the Nordstrom shoe department and practically squealing when I saw them on the shelf.  I KNEW they were the shoes I wanted to get married in.  On the first happiest day of my life (remember, this was before I had children) those shoes carried wobbly legs down a long aisle to join my life with my husband's.  Those shoes held me steady through my vows, and propped me up tall enough to share a kiss with my Prince Charming. Those shoes walked me out the back of the church and into "Roxanne" the car that my husband drove throughout our courtship, and in those shoes, I danced that very special night away.  I love the way those shoes look, but mostly I love the story those shoes can tell. Now, five pregnancies later, those size 7 shoes no longer can comfortably accommodate these size 8.5 feet.  Still, each year, they come down from the shelf in the closet, and for only a second, like Cinderella, I try them on, just in case they magically fit. They don't, and I am sad.

But that doesn't mean I don't get my happily ever after. Because my marriage isn't in those shoes that don't fit. My life isn't in those shoes that don't fit. Even though I was sure that I could wear those shoes each and every June 8, from now until eternity, what those shoes mean to me is in my bones, in my heart, in my soul, and in my memory. Just as I have grown out of those shoes, I have grown into my life. This comfy, crazy, chaotic, cozy life.  Not too shabby. Those shoes don't mean nearly as much as the girl who wore them growing into a woman... and you know - these "shoes" fit just fine.


Wordless Wednesday: This Makes It All Worthwhile

This is my present-day, but there was a day when I (like most women who find out they are expecting multiples) that I was terrified of what the future would hold. Today, I posted over at Welcome Baby Care's It's My Baby Blog about what I tell mothers-to-be of multiples.


My Happy Place

If you know me, you know that the four-year-old, since he was not four, has called Target "Mommy's Happy Place." It is mostly true. I love me some Target.  Even more when I can wander the aisles aimlessly picking up things I don't need, strolling around more, and then putting those things I really don't need back where I found them.  If left at Target unattended and without responsibility, I could do this for hours.  I am aware of how pathetic that is.

The truth is, I have another happy place. The place I go in my mind when I need a little break. Let me give you a small tour. It is a white house, on a white sandy beach. It has a large white living room, with a white carpet, and white overstuffed chair. There is a white fan overhead, and the white window shears blow in the breeze. There I sit, in my white clothes (which miraculously show not a bit of my cellulite), drinking white wine, and reading from my cute white Kindle.  Do you sense a theme here? Yes, everything is white and clean. Nary a crumb will fall, nor drop be dripped on my white anything, because I am an adult, and have the ability to hold my cup upright, and chew with my mouth closed. In my little white beach house, nobody calls me anything, because nobody is there needing anything from me.

But damnit if they don't figure out how to find me anyway...


Manic Monday Blogarrhea

My mom's most embarrassing moment is funnier than my own most embarrassing moment (which, when asked to share, I can never retrieve very fast), so I always borrow hers during that particular ice breaker.  She starts the story like this, "you know when you see a dog in a car in a parking lot and you bark at it?" Which always makes me laugh, because no, I don't know. I have never done that and I have never seen anyone else do it.  She says it like it's a normal thing to do, like we all walk around barking at dogs in cars.  As the story goes, she approached a dog in a car with an open window, and barked at the dog, when the dog turned around, it was a woman.  The rest of the story is pretty funny, but the beginning is always my favorite part. Which is why I was stunned with myself the other day in the Target parking lot when I saw a dog in a car, and I BARKED AT IT. Am I feeling okay?

...and sadly, that's all the blogarrhea I can muster today.


Food For Thought Friday: Live Like You're LIVING!

It's been a heckuva couple of weeks at the Lindstrom home. Mr. Lindstrom has been working around the clock (putting in about 25 more hours a week than he usually does), and we've been adjusting to a few other household changes. With even the most subtle shifts, I've felt the change like waves crashing, each wave bigger and bigger.  As a mother, you can't quite throw your hands up. You can't say "uncle." You can't walk off the job. Giving into the flight instinct is not an option.

While the waves are crashing, I still have responsibilities beyond the parenting and household management,  I freelance about 20 hours a week from home, I blog, I have three radio shows, and have even committed in the past couple of weeks to doing some fill-in work at the radio station. Last night we were watching the Karate Kid, there's a part where Mr. Miyagi throws Daniel into the ocean, into the waves, to teach him "balance." Never have I felt more akin to Ralph Macchio.  I have been feeling worn down and WAY off kilter trying to figure out the trick to balance in the waves of real life. * I am not unique here, folks. I am not the first nor the last mother to have felt like this. I am not complaining, merely giving you a snapshot to relate to.  

It is no coincidence that I found this article outlining the top five regrets people have on their death bed. No, I'm not dying. I mean, of course I will die, someday, but I'm not going for the morbid here. I have never been a proponent of "living each day like it were your last." I get the idea of it, but I'm not a fan of focusing so strongly on "the end." Instead, I champion living like you're ALIVE!!!!! Remembering the amazing gift you've been given, and LIVING it! I have regrets in life, and I am not a fan of them, so this list got me thinking about how to not have more of them.  Here are the top 5:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
When I read this, I was near tears at the start of my day. I try to take about 20 minutes to myself in the beginning of the day before everyone's awake. It's my quiet time, the time that I center myself for a day filled with people who need only me, and RIGHT NOW. I was worn down, and dreading the day, while number five stood there staring me in the eye, daring me to smile rather than cry at the stress I was feeling.  I took a look at all that was around me, a house that (while rather messy) I LOVE, a family that I was desperate for, a husband who is working hard around the clock for our family (and at this particular time, in service of people who have experienced real devastation), all the knick knacks and paddy whacks a girl could ever want, and best of all... I AM ALIVE! In short, I have what many wish for. Yes, it is stressful at times, and sure, I have lost a lot of my personal freedom and I miss it sometimes, but I'm ALIVE. Tickin' away here, thinking thoughts, feeling feelings, living a LIFE. How awesome! That's a lot to celebrate.  Instead of feeling like I'm drowning in the waves, what if I am a coal under pressure? I'm going to be a diamond and shine brighter. That's cool!
How are you doing today? Are you living like you're LIVING? When you peek at those top five regrets, what pops out at you? How could you shift your perspective today, so that you feel truly ALIVE? 
** Yesterday we started a blog hop courtesy of my friends at Welcome Baby Care's It's My Baby Blog. We're sharing our best summer memories. It's still going on, and we'd love for you to hop around and share your own summer memories, either by commenting or linking up your own blog! Happy hopping!


Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. They are THE postpartum and newborn experts. Check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge. Also, be sure to follow babycaretweets on Twitter to receive news and ideas on newborn care and thoughts about parenting!


Favorite Summer Memory: A Blog Hop!

This is a blog hop dreamed up by my friends at Welcome Baby Care's It's My Baby Blog. Get cozy, wax a little nostalgic, hop around to some other blogs that are linked up, share your own memories in the comments, or even better, if you have a blog - LINK UP!  Have fun!

How do you pick your favorite summer memory? As I'm thumbing through my personal memory files, it seems like almost every good memory of my life comes from the summer. I went to camps, took swimming lessons, tried new sports, wore out the slip and slide, and generally took part in the leisure of the season, and those are all such great memories. The greatest memory I have, though, is of a family vacation.

This is bittersweet, because I have an older brother with whom I do not keep in good touch (or any touch at all) and I am estranged from my father. My mother and I have always been very very close, and in my heart SHE is my family. However, this memory of a family vacation has grown so romantic in my memory, perhaps because I remember it being happy. It's hard to write about memories, when you are a person who doesn't have a lot of them... but here goes:

One summer, for probably two weeks, we rented an RV and drove from our house in Minneapolis to St. Louis, Missouri to visit family friends.  Along the way, we stayed in campgrounds and toured historic areas, but what really sticks out in my very foggy memory, is the togetherness that time on the road lends coupled with the turtle-like novelty of bringing your home on the road with you. In an RV there is room to move, and you can even go to the bathroom without stopping! This is particularly delightful, because it eliminates so many family arguments about when and where to stop. We cooked on the road, we ate on the road, we sang songs, we napped, we did what we wanted until we settled in for the evening at our "campsite" and got to know the local flavor of our home for the evening.  

Maybe at heart, I've always been a bit of a vagabond with a fondness for a home base, and this was the perfect way for me to explore.  My brother and I would quickly settle in and make friends with just about anyone and everyone for the evening, we'd exchange addresses, promising to write, and then hop back in the Winnebago to meet our next adventure.  I loved the freedom of it. So much that it created in me this bizarre dream to retire in a big ol' RV and just roam the country. So far, Mr. Lindstrom is not on board, but there's still time. And darn it if I don't have plans to recreate this experience with my own children as soon as we're able. 

I have often wondered if this was the favorite family summer memory for the rest of my family, but have never asked, for fear that they will remind me that it may not have been so spectacular as it lives in my memory. That would be certain tragedy.

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