Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Minnesota Blogger Meet-up

Last Saturday, I attended my first blogger "conference."

I have to admit that I was extremely nervous the night before. I felt like I couldn't take a deep enough breath the whole night. That, my friends, is my tell tale sign of nervousness.

I was about to drive for an hour to meet up with bloggers that I've never met. Sure, I'm in a group with them on Facebook. But have y'all seen my Facebook page? I am never on Facebook. Okay, I shouldn't say never. I am hardly ever on Facebook. I promise I read all of the posts that pop up in my g-mail in box. Or, if I'm on a computer, I will log in every now and again.

I woke up extra early because I really, really didn't want to be late. I showered as quietly as possible, kissed the hubs good-bye and got in my car a few minutes later than I had hoped (15 to be exact). The drive to Stillwater was peaceful. The traffic was light, the music was spot-on. I found the park and parking lot rather easily and made my way into the adorable building.

the park was full of giant teddy bears!

I was met with smiling faces, and invitations to sit down. I quickly made a plate of fruit and joined these two ladies for some light conversation. I always feel awkward joining conversations with people I don't know. Especially if they already know each other. But these gals were fabulous. Very welcoming and kind. My nerves started to subside.

And then, NellieBellie and Chrissy started talking about social media. I learned so much! First thing I learned: I had the smallest blog of all of the ladies (and gentlemen) in attendance. The hubs reminded me (because I sent him a text partway through about the size difference of my blog to everyone else's) that they were the best people to learn from. He's always so right.

But, in all honesty, I learned so much during the hour and a half that they presented. Presented sounds so formal. It was not formal (although, I feel like I should have dressed a little more nicely). It was small enough that it felt intimate, yet very productive.

Then, after hearing about social media, we were sent on out on our own to explore Stillwater and practice our new social media skills. Were these ladies teachers in former lives?! I was so pleased to have the chance to actually practice and use social media during the day. At the end of it all, we met at a park near the river (St. Croix) for a final picnic and send-off.

My nervousness was not needed, and I had a wonderful time. I can't wait for the next MN Blogger Meet-up in hopes to get to know even more Minnesota bloggers and learn some blogging tricks, too.

P.S. Can I just let you know how cool the blogging world is? These women set this all up to help fellow bloggers. If we were in the business world the "fellow bloggers" would be competitors and I doubt people would be as willing to help.

took a tour of downtown Stillwater on this bad boy!

and then we did a wine tasting!

Monday, June 16, 2014


Don't worry.

I'm not about to write a post about how I'm not going to be blogging anymore.

I'm not about to write a post about how my blog is going through some huge changes.


I'm about to write about how changes are hard on me. And the things that helped me as a kiddo.

I've always struggled with change and with the unknown. And I'm feeling that same way, sitting at the library, getting ready to tutor a few students on my first day of summer.

Kid is hanging out with his Pa (my dad), the hubs is teaching summer school. And I'm left wondering how fast will this summer fly by? As I grow my to-do list by leaps and bounds, will I get everything done?

Since I was little, I have had a very difficult time with change. My fourth grade teacher was out on maternity leave for the entire first semester. She came back after winter break. On the first day back to school in January, I was so nervous and anxious, I threw up. My breakfast flew all over my day care lady's bathroom. And I could not go to school. Would I like the new teacher? Would she be nice?

Even before that, though, I remember feeling nervous about the unknown. My best friend and next door neighbor had to meet me at the door of our Sunday School classroom and walk me in each week. Even though I knew everyone in the classroom. I was in first grade.

I dropped out of preschool because I couldn't wouldn't leave my mom's side. I had three cousins in that classroom. Still, I couldn't handle it.

While I am much more prepared to handle change, I have had a long history of anxiety when it comes to the unkown. In my thirty years, I have learned many ways to deal with my fear of change and the unknown and I feel as though I have a toolbox ready and waiting for when someone I know needs help. (I want to say my child, but he may not have deal with those issues and I don't want to project my problems onto him!)

Keep in mind that I am not an expert, nor am I a physchologist. I'm a mom. These are my Tips & Tricks.

1. Seek comfort. I imagine that it had to get old real quick bringing your child to school and waiting for her friend to walk her in the door. By my mom was only providing me with the comfort I needed to make that transition. This is something I would like to provide for Kid. Yes, I want to push him to do things that make him a little uncomfortable. That's how kids learn and grow. But, I also want him to know that it is okay to seek comfort if he needs it. I'll hold his hand as long as he needs me to. I'll wait with him until his friend is there to walk him into the Sunday School classroom.

2. Take it slowly. I couldn't handle having too many activities scheduled in a week. It was always too much "newness" for me. While I think that scheduled activities are wonderful, and a great place for children to learn how to interact with their peers, I also think that they can bring a lot of stress. Sidenote: I think that some people are far to scheduled and that kids need time to just play outside. If I notice that my child struggles with newness and/or change, I'm not going to sign him up for a million activities thinking that exposure will help him. We will do one new thing at a time, allowing Kid to get comfortable with the new situation until it is no longer "new."

3. Encouragement is priceless. My mom is the queen of encouragement and I'd like to follow in her shoes. She has always told me to work on breaking out of my shell, to practice making small talk. I can hear her saying, "You'll be glad you figured it out before I did...I'm fifty and just figuring it out. You're twenty. Get out there, girl." While she encourages me to break out of my shell, I will encourage Kid (and any other children Hubs and I may be blessed with).

I only hope that Hubs and I can provide for Kid what my parents provided for me. A helping hand. Encouraging words. An excuse to stay home if it was just getting to be too much. I hope that Hubs and I realize that, sometimes, kids can be pushed too hard. Sure, they're resiliant, but they can only take so much.

And at the end of the day, they just need a lap to sit on, arms to cuddle up in, and a kiss on the forehead.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

::Dinner Plans #20::

Wow, has it been awhile! I'm so happy to be back and writing again. Writing is a stress reliever for me...I always feel so much more relaxed after completing a post or writing in my journal.

Last week was a busy one, with my last day of school in the middle. This year, the last day of school is one I will never forget...

At 2:45am, I woke up to my phone ringing vibrating off the table. My 32 week pregnant-with-twins sister had called. Her husband was out of town for work, her two children fast asleep in their beds. And I missed the call. I had to try her 10 times before she answered, and all she could ask was if I would call Mom.

Can you guess where this story is going?

And isn't it amazing how, at 32 years old, moms are still the ones we call when something isn't right?

My sister had woken up around 1:45, needing to use the bathroom. She did, then let her 2 dogs out, then started the dryer, since the washing machine had completed its cycle. At 2:15, she felt like she had to poop. So she did, but her stomach was still hurting. She started making phone calls to my parents -- they don't have a phone in their room, and my dad's cell phone was on silent. Unfortunately, my mom isn't so reliable with her cell phone. She never knows where it is.

When I finally got a hold of Sister, she had made herself a warm bath and continued to tell me she felt like she had to poop.

"Get off the phone. I'm calling an ambulance," I said as I buckled Kid into his car seat and started the car. In my mind, I knew those babes were coming. And I wasn't about to deliver twins. Nor was my husband, who was in his car just seconds behind me.

I arrived at their house first and got in through the front door (luckily, she had unlocked it). The EMTs arrived shortly thereafter and got her into the ambulance. Scott (the first EMT) mentioned that the contractions were about 5 minutes apart.

I buckled into the front seat of the ambulance. Hubs stayed at Sister's house with Kid, and our niece and nephew. As Sister was loaded into the ambulance, contractions were about a minute apart (talk about a fast labor!).

Twelve minutes after leaving my sister's house via ambulance, Baby A was born at 3 pounds 9 ounces. Baby B made her arrival 18 minutes later feet first, at the hospital. She weighed in at 4 pounds 2 ounces.

My parents made it to the hospital before Baby B was born. The three of us were able to watch Baby B be born -- what a cool experience. I called my brother in law as soon as Baby A was born. I imagine that he threw his things together as fast as possible, found a taxi, and got to the airport in no time. He got to the hospital by 10:30am.

By 5am, I needed to get home... there was a last day of school to be had! I got in the shower, got ready, and headed to work. Arriving at 6:45. It was the earliest I had been there all year. And it was the last day of school.

Needless to say (even though, after I say it right now, I will have said it twice), I will never forget this year's last day of school!

And now, it's Father's Day. My husband is celebrating his 2nd Father's Day. My dad, his 33rd (today is also my sister's birthday). My brother-in-law is celebrating his 4th Father's Day, this time as a father of 4.

But now, the meal plan...

Sunday: Dinner at Ike's for my sister's birthday. It was delicious!

Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup. It's supposed to be rainy and slightly chilly this whole week. Chicken noodle soup seems fitting.

Tuesday: Pot Roast with mushrooms and carrots, and "faux-tatoes" on the side. I'll make a baked potato for my husband though. He doesn't care for the cauliflower puree. I, for one, think it's delicious. And so does Kid. But Kid will eat anything.

Wednesday: Venison stir-fry. Nothing really exciting about that!

Thursday: Beer-butt Chicken on the grill. This is a summertime tradition, and I love it. It makes such deliciously moist chicken!

Friday: Steaks & grilled vegetables. I'm thinking carrots and zucchini. I know the hubs would like a nice salad with this meal.

Saturday: Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole. The Hubs loves a good casserole. I'd be a mean wife if I didn't indulge him from time to time. I've never tried this one, but everything I've tried of PW's has been absolutely delightful. And, have you watched her show?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

::Dinner Plans #19::

Oh me, oh my. Last week was a bit of disaster without a meal plan. Work has been rather busy, since it's the end of the school year, and I've felt a bit frazzled. This week, I decided that a meal plan was necessary, just to keep a bit of my sanity!

As you can probably tell from my absence on the ol' blog, we have been busy! It has definitely been a good busy, though. We have had a lot of family time, including an engagement party, a birthday party, and evening bonfires. When Kid was a new baby, I joined a Mama group at Amma Parenting Center in Edina. One of the best things I did for myself. TOday, after not seeing the moms and babes in the group, we got together to celebrate everyone's first birthday. My little man is the oldest, but everyone was born within 8 weeks of each other. With summer (almost) here, I hope to be better at keeping in contact and meeting up with everyone to give Kid a few more opportunities to play with kids his age since he won't be at daycare.

The weekend has come to an end, and Kid is finally in bed. His sleep has been off lately - I blame the molars he's working on (his gums are bruised!).

Sunday: Today, we were so unbelievably healthy. We had popcorn for dinner. Kid had leftover homemade chicken noodle soup, peas, and sweet potatoes. He's the lucky one.

Monday: Kebabs ... with beef, zucchini, and mushrooms. I'm excited for our first kebabs of the season!

Tuesday: Cashew Chicken. I'm thinking of grilling, though. It is spring, after all, and I need to make up for the time the grill sat unused.

Wednesday: Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Onions. I won't eat the onions, but I love the flavor they add to the chicken.

Thursday: BBQ Chicken, with homemade BBQ sauce. There's a lot of chicken on the menu this week. We have quite a bit of chicken in the freezer that needs to get used.

Friday: Fancy Steak & Eggs, except I plan to use venison steaks. Again, it's what we have in the freezer. And, I just really like venison.

Saturday: Make Your Own Hobo Dinners. I love hobo dinners. They're so easy, and you can put just about anything into the packet. Now, we will just have to decide if we want to cook them in the oven, or build a bonfire and bury them in the coals.