Weekly Update

The Year Time Stopped

I can’t tell you how often I wished that time would slow down. Prior to coronavirus, days were gone in the blink of an eye and we lived at a frantic pace darting from one event to another.

But when quarantine hit, it finally felt as if time stopped. The days feel long, the month feels REALLY log, and the year is dragging at snail pace.

Parenting two young kids under “shelter in place” orders has been a challenge, but I’ve realized the kids are a lot more resilient and accepting of change than this old grump.

The girls have filled their days with A LOT of imaginary play, reading, outside play, and yes, more TV than usual. It was tricky at first to figure out a balance of how to get through the day with everyone remaining psychologically intact. It helped once I lowered my expectations.

Lunch is spent on our porch as a family, passing time guessing what color of car will pass next. The girls are currently in last place in this never ending competition, as they haven’t figured out that a pink car will likely never drive past. Annoyingly, actuarial Chad bases all of his guesses on car color statistics. This unfortunately means he is winning.

Our afternoons are filled with Dominoes, Go Fish, and Soggy Doggy (the worst kid game ever). When I can no longer handle the monotony of playing the same game over and over, we head outside to play on the driveway.

Everything has slowed down. I no longer rush the kids, as there is literally nothing to rush for. We take our time on walks, examining spider webs, waving to passing bikers, and stopping for frequent snack breaks.

The goal is no longer to cram everything possible into 24 hours. Instead, now the goal is to stay in the moment and stick with an activity as long as we can.

We are feeling blessed. Our families are healthy. Chad works from home at baseline, so nothing has changed there. And as of today, no one has lost their sanity yet.

I’m using my time to catch up on activities that have been on my to-do list for far too long. I caught up on the girls photo albums. A week prior to us receiving our shelter in place order, I ordered a large stack of books that have been on my “to read list”. I haven’t read this much (for enjoyment) since childhood & it has been an absolute breath of fresh air.

For a perfect sanity supplement, I’m continuing my training for a half marathon that was supposed to take place in early May (now moved to June). The long runs are a perfect escape from the house, and the endorphins are a big help for… you know, being kind to my housemates.

We are praying hard for those who are sick and all the essential workers who are keeping this country running.

Sending love to all,


Weekly Update

Hitting Pause

I’ve never had any desire to pause, rewind, or re-live any part of my life. However; recently, I’ve been wishing for a pause button.

I have hit a sweet spot in life. All of the change that has taken place over the years has slowly but surely fit all of the puzzle pieces into a beautiful picture.

It is scary to acknowledge that life is at a peak right now. I know that life isn’t all peaks, and eventually we will encounter a valley. But I’m soaking in this sweet spot.

When I stopped working to stay at home with the girls, I feared that I would become less. I wouldn’t be as valuable since I was no longer bringing in a paycheck. I would be stupider since I wasn’t interacting with patients and providers on a daily basis. And what was I going to say when people asked what I do?

Sure, some of it is true. I can’t rattle off oncology drugs like I used to be able to. I am not bringing home a paycheck. And people frequently ask what I do. The answer? “A helluva lot more than when I worked.”

Here’s the thing though: I’ve never been happier.

Our days feel endless- sometimes in a good way, and sometimes in a bad way. They are filled with unprovoked dance parties, singing the same three songs over and over, and stopping to watch the ants.

We have entered the stage of exploring the world while sunlight streams through the trees. We experience wonder on a minute by minute basis, stopping at any moment to admire whatever nature treasure we find.

We take care of baby (doll), read an endless stack of books, and try to find answers to life’s biggest questions: Where can we find a butterfly to catch? How can you tell if a woman has a baby in her tummy vs food? <important life skill for survival> How can we go to Minnesota?

Sure, our days are peppered with skinned knees, the occasional tantrum, and slivers from climbing the slanty palm tree with bare feet. While the joy we experience is beautifully un-masked, the sadness, anger and pain also remain un-hidden. We cry about bonked heads because, dang it, they hurt!

There is dirt under our fingernails. Our house isn’t Pinterest perfect clean. Heck, it isn’t clean… period. And we haven’t quite nailed down social norms.

We are working on keeping our dresses down at dinner, because although tempting, the restaurant is not an appropriate place to compare tummy size. Church isn’t really a spot for yelling. And sadly, comparing poop sizes really isn’t ever appropriate.

Our days end with family prayers in bed. Our little people have big prayers, and nothing makes my mama heart happier than hearing them.

Because, what I’ve learned from my kids is this: life is beautiful.

Somewhere in my adult years, I forgot to look at the world with wonder.

But these little people have patiently taught me to pause and watch the meticulous choreography of an ant colony, to watch in awe as the sky turns pinks and purples after its last rays have dipped below the horizon, and to always, without fail, accept gifts of smashed flowers from little dimply hands.

They taught me that life isn’t about climbing the career ladder. That joy isn’t derived from a paycheck. And that love wins, always.


I was able to sneak home for a little less than 24 hours this past weekend for a surprise birthday party for one of my friends.

I wasn’t sure how a 24 hour trip would go, but given that I was able to travel without kids (thank you, Chad & in-laws), I was able to enjoy beautiful, uninterrupted conversations with my family. I left Minnesota refreshed, and so happy to have been able to squeeze the people I love.

In other news, we are all well.

Coronavirus is slowly but surely beginning to impact us, first and foremost through the toilet paper shortage we are experiencing. Luckily I stocked up a while back, so we should be set for a few months. And I’m not below using diaper wipes if necessary. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Sending love to all back home,


Weekly Update

“You’re doing good”

We walked out of the clinic into the bright sunlight. By “walked”, I mean, Avery and Alice ran like maniacs while I power walked behind them with my mom-ly muffin top jiggling, yelling things like “Red light!” or “slow down” or “don’t let a car squish you!”

All of a sudden, the girls came to a halt. I knew it couldn’t be that they were actually listening to my pleads from behind, so I looked ahead.

There it was, the golf cart. You see, in Florida, not only do we have PLENTY of parking, which is a stark contrast to my Minneapolis upbringing, but Florida is gloriously set up for old people. And so, despite the fact that we only parked about 20 steps from the clinic doors, they have a golf cart shuttle that brings you from the front door to your car.

Yes, I know. It’s fantastic. The potential for laziness here is incredible. It’s why I have a muffin top.

The girls always insist we take a golf cart ride to our car, so we push all the old people with walkers and wheelchairs out of the way, and climb aboard.

Just kidding, we don’t do that. I mean, we don’t do the pushing the old people part. We do ride the golf cart though.

The golf cart is always driven by a 60+ year old, typically wearing a golf shirt and visor. I’m not sure if you needed to know this, but I’m just sharing the deets.

This particular ride was a good one. It wasn’t your typical boring ride. It started with the golf cart guy leaning back and whispering to the girls, “it’s my first day on the job, sorry if the ride is crazy.” He preceded to swerve through the parking lot while the girls giggled up a storm.

Was it an act? Or was it truly his first day, and had he indulged in a few cocktails prior? I will never know. Either way, it was brilliant of him.

As he screeched to a stop in front of our car approximately 15 seconds later, the girls hopped out and thanked him after I reminded them to say thank you. (I’ve noticed that 85% of my sentences as a parent are, “Say thank you!”, with forced cheeriness.)

As I mentally prepared for the arduous task of buckling two kids into car seats (car seats are the worst), golf cart man drove off, turning back to yell, “You’re doing good, mom!” And my heart melted.

I truly believe these are some of the kindest and best words a parent can hear, even better if they come from a total stranger. Best, if they are spoken after a totally ordinary moment, not when I’m being a show-off parent and drilling my kid on the ABC’s in the grocery store line.

We were at the doctor because I was pretty sure Alice had an ear infection. Sure enough, she did. And for bonus points, she also had the flu.

The flu was a surprising diagnosis because she wasn’t really acting sick enough to have the flu. The resilience of kids is mind boggling. When I have the flu, I am on deaths door.

Being the good citizen that I am, I cancelled all of our plans for the next few days and quarantined the kids.

But quarantine is boring and we were recently stuck inside after Avery’s ear surgery, so the thought of spending all my time inside with the kids was daunting.

In one of my brightest moments of all parenting time, I made the decision to combine flu quarantine with potty training for Alice. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, right?


The method of potty training we chose is called “The Naked Method”: you let your kid run around naked from waist down and pray for the best. I like to call it the “Naked and Afraid Method” .

Golf cart man’s kind words echoed in my head as I cleaned up pee off the floor the first two times and I nodded. “Yes, I am doing good,” I agreed, pleased with myself.

The third time I was cleaning pee off the floor, his words once again echoed in my head, and I thought to myself, “I really am a good mom, look at me, not losing it after cleaning pee up all day!”

After this thought crossed my brain, a child who shall not be named knocked a bowl of soggy wheaties off the table, then got up and tracked the soggy wheaties across our entire living space.

It was then that I lost it and decided that I must not be a good mom after all. It’s funny how things can turn so quickly.

The great news is that after peeing on the floor 6 times in one day, Alice woke up the next morning and was basically potty trained. By “basically” I mean, she hasn’t had any accidents except for the one time she peed while she was in the shower, but some people do that on purpose, so… I cannot judge her intentions. Maybe it wasn’t an accident.

In other news, we celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday on 2/17.

Approximately 2 days after I mailed out Christmas cards this year, I received a call from my father-in-law, Doug at 9pm. He wanted to discuss the Christmas card I had sent out.

Yes, he liked the pictures, but he was distraught that I hadn’t included in our note on that back of the card that we are able to spend endless time with Doug and Nancy given that our FL home is 7 minutes from their Florida home.

And so, given that this is his Birthday Month, I’d like to spell out my gratitude for Doug Onstot, especially now that we live so close to each other.

When I first met Doug, I was a nervous girlfriend, trying my best to impress Chad’s parents. I was a city girl, through and through.

Doug, being Doug, decided to welcome me to Iowa (and the family) by taking Chad and I for a ride in his new ranger.

As he whipped up and down ditches and across empty cornfields, I saw my life flash before my eyes. I was sandwiched between Doug and Chad and there wasn’t a whole lot of room.

Doug was clearly pleased with his new ranger and his driving abilities, as he calmly smiled and kept glancing over at Chad and I, probably enjoying the look of pure terror in our eyes. My terror was rooted in my hate for speed, Chad’s terror was likely rooted in the fact that he knew exactly what his father was capable of (and didn’t want to lose such a catch of a girlfriend).

On first impression, I gathered that Doug liked going fast, he was loud and the life of the party, and everyone in Indianola, Iowa knew him.

After 5 years of marriage into the Onstot family, I can attest that all of the above first impressions are true. But I will also say that over time, my understanding of Doug has evolved.

When Avery was born, I got to experience the Papa in him. I watched as this loud man with big hands held my sweet girls when they were babies, rocking them to sleep in his recliner.

Doug watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with the girls on Saturday mornings. He teaches them about combines and tractors, but has also acquired a knowledge of Disney Princesses and the Paw Patrol.

What I’m trying to say here is that underneath his tough facade, he has the sweetest soft spot for his grandkids.

The other thing I like about Doug? I never have to guess what he’s thinking. He is filter free, generally speaking… and in this politically correct culture that shies away from offending anybody, I find it refreshing.

“Remember how big your ass got when you were pregnant?” Yes, Doug, I remember.

I think I will end my post on those words. Sending love to all back home,


Weekly Update

Talking to Dolphins & Feeding the Fish

“Happy Birthday, self,” I thought as I watched beautiful tropical fish swarm the top of the turquoise blue water, feasting on my vomit.

Let me back up.

Since I am now filled with 30 years of wisdom, I told Chad what I wanted for my birthday, rather than making his poor soul guess. I informed him that I wanted a surprise trip.

“Is it really a surprise if you know it’s coming?” he asked, his blue eyes sparkling as if he thought I hadn’t already considered this conundrum. Men. I told him as long as I didn’t know location, it would be a good enough surprise.

In the days leading up to the trip, I couldn’t contain my excitement or my nosiness. Thus, I insisted that we add a new rule- Chad would provide one clue per day on where we would be going.

And so, Chad, the most patient person I know, continued to play the game by my rules, doling out a clue per day.

But if you know me, you know that I am extremely geographically challenged AND impatient. Rules were quickly amended so that Chad could provide multiple clues per day.

2 days before the trip, rules were overthrown and I demanded that he tell me where we were going.

Chad had planned a trip to Marathon, FL, which is one of the islands on the chain of islands leading up to Key West.

We dropped the kids off with my (amazing) in-laws and road tripped of to our final destination, which was about 4 hours away, taking us through Miami (yes, on Superbowl weekend), through a chunk of the Everglades, and finally, across multiple islands linked together by bridges.

Marathon, FL won me over with it’s southern architecture, rocky beaches, and lighthouses. There was an uncharacteristic to Florida chill in the air that reminded me of Duluth.

Despite the fact that Chad isn’t a huge fan of ocean swimming, he put on his “husband of the year” swim trunks and ventured out snorkeling with me.

That is exactly how I found myself jumping into the choppy waters of the Atlantic ocean. If I had to rank nature experiences I’ve had in my life, this was by far, one of the coolest.

The turquoise waters are beautiful on surface level, but a whole new world opened up the moment we jumped into the water.

We were surrounded by schools of brightly colored fish, underwater mountains of coral, and forests of purple sea fans dancing in the surge of waves. We watched in silent terror and glee as a massive green eel stuck his creepy head out of a crevice below.

Being submerged in this underwater world was fascinating. And yet, despite the magic of the moment, after an hour of being pushed and pulled by the crashing waves, my stomach was not impressed. The salt water tasted too salty, and my stomach alerted me that it was time to puke.

I crawled out water and hoisted myself back up onto the boat. The captain took one look at me and said, “Why don’t you go talk to the dolphins?” while pointing his thumb toward the back of the boat.

And that is precisely how I found myself hurling into the beautiful waters, only to realize that the tropical fish loved my regurgitated sub sandwich. (TMI? Sorry.) The islander sitting next to me flashed a toothless smile as he watched the fish feast on my puke and sighed, “Nothing goes to waste here, does it?”

While the snorkeling trip involved bodily fluid, it was a weird but fitting way to mark the start of my 30’s.

Life, I’ve learned, rarely has 100% perfect moments. And if I wait only for those, I wouldn’t have much to celebrate. But A LOT of life has not quite perfect moments that are full of mistakes or bodily fluids or tough spots.

I’ve realized that embracing the not quite so perfect moments makes life became a hell of a lot more enjoyable.

So here’s to embracing the imperfect moments our lives are weaved together by. Here’s to talking to dolphins, feeding the fish, and finding joy in the experience.

Wishing you all the best,


PS- For all who are wondering, Avery’s surgery went very smoothly. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers!

Weekly Update

Oh, the Magic

Hi all,

You may notice that my blog posts are fewer and farther between. I’ve noticed too. You see, we are slipping into a lovely new normal. Our days aren’t filled with as many “firsts”, our weeks have begun to develop routine, and our new world doesn’t feel quite so foreign.

And with this, I feel like I have less to write about… less to report. There are less moments bookmarked as “blog worthy” in my brain, yet our days are equally enjoyable.

Our days aren’t filled with as many new experiences, but we’ve continued our adventure.

Blog worthy bookmark: Kayaking Date with Chad

Shells from our date

Chad and I ventured out on a tandem kayak to explore the channels off of the ocean. We paddled through tunnels of mangrove trees, checked out an island only accessible by boat and found some great shells, and enjoyed a beautiful sunny evening on the water.

Like any good date, it involved adventure and teamwork. I insisted on sitting in front of the kayak so I got the best view, but this provided Chad with the unfair advantage of being able to stop paddling and mooch off of my hard work unbeknownst to me.

We quickly learned that tandem kayaks work best when you paddle together and are on the same page about where you want to head (much like life, in general). So we paddled “Left, right, left, TREE CHAD, TREE!” together while discussing what we would do if a python dropped from a mangrove tree or a gator arose from the water.

I told Chad that if an alligator attacked us, I would become frozen in fear. “Sorry,” he said with a sheepish smile, “but if we get attacked by an alligator, I’m running and leaving you behind.” I wasn’t surprised… 5 years of marriage has us communicating on a much more honest and unfiltered level.

Blog worthy bookmark: Disney

The magic.

Like any All-American family, we had Disney on our bucket list to check out. We wanted the girls to experience a magical moment, and what better than Disney World.

Growing up, I heard about all of my friends’ family trips to Disney. I jealously wondered why our family (filled with 8 kids) never went.

My sister was in Orlando for a conference and brought her daughter along, so we decided to check out Disney together and give our kids a magical experience. And boy, was it ever.

Admission cost $400 for one day for the three of us (Alice is under 3 so we didn’t have to pay for her). Lines for experiences were 1+ hours. The introvert in me cringed in a park packed with touristy, stroller pushing (me included), whiny kid wielding (also me included), selfie taking, hoards of people.

Alice had been telling us in the weeks leading up to our trip that she was going to see Mickey, Minnie and Pluto and Mickey was going to let her pet Pluto.

And much to Alice’s chagrin, Minnie, Mickey and Pluto were not walking around the park to interact with the kids. Oh, no. If you wanted to see Minnie and Mickey (no Pluto) , you had to wait in line… for an hour.

We left the park with the understanding that magical moments do not occur in over-priced amusement parks. We realized what we knew all along, the magical moments occur while watching the sunset, or during bedtime prayers, and in the unexpected and oh so welcome hugs and slobbery kisses from the kids.

Magical moments cannot be bought or for that matter, planned, and I am extremely grateful for that.

Blog-worthy Bookmark: Kid Updates

Alice continues to live a great life full of attitude and spunk. While she is generally an easy kid to parent, our days are becoming peppered with a few tantrums that only a 2 year old could throw. After today’s tantrum, she informed me, “I’m forgiven” rather than saying “I’m sorry”. Girl gets to the point.

The other night after she’d been tucked in, she shouted to me to bring a kleenex because she had a booger. When I arrived to her room, kleenex in hand, she said, “Oh sorry, Mom. I put it on my blankie. Let me get you another one.”

I still can’t believe Avery is 4. She inherited the introverted side of my personality, but is slowly coming out of her shell with her cute group of friends who we spend time with on a weekly basis.

In November, Avery blew a hole in her ear when she had a bad ear infection. Unfortunately, the hole did not heal on its own and we learned that she will require surgery to repair the hole.

My mama heart was not prepared for the news. I think sometimes I expect that I will act like a nurse instead of like a parent when I learn medical news about our kids…but there is a hard line in the sand. Mama emotions always overrule the logical nurse in me.

Luckily, the surgery will only take about 30 minutes and there is an 80% chance of success. If it fails, we have other options. But… we are putting our energy toward the positive. When I asked the surgeon if it would be hard or painful for her, he replied, “It will be for you, but not for her”. Oh so true. Her surgery is on February 4th- keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

That’s all for now, friends. Sending love and prayers to all back home.


Weekly Update

Merry Christmas from Sickville

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas… because we are all sick. Well, not all of us. I have somehow avoided the plague. But you know the sense of impending doom you have when a bug is traveling through the family and you just know you’re next? I’m feeling it.

It started with Chad. I knew it was bad when he dropped out of a golf tournament because he wasn’t feeling well. I’m pretty sure in our 5 years of marriage it is the one and only time he’s stopped a tournament early.

Avery and Alice caught the bug at the exact same time, two days later. It’s a weird one because it seems like they are getting better, but then they regress and get worse. The main symptoms are runny nose and junky cough… and shockingly the girls haven’t perfected the art of nose blowing and covering mouths for coughs and sneezes, so I am living in a cesspool of germs.

Poor Alice has been hit the hardest, with her respiratory bug turning into a stomach bug yesterday. The good news is, Alice is getting pretty good at warning us before she pukes.

She yells, “Get the cup mom!” about 5 seconds before she starts spewing. (The cup being hospital grade puke bags that I purchased when I was pregnant- a great alternative to puking into a bowl.)

I hate everything about puke. When I became a nurse, I thought that it was a fear/ disgust I’d be able to overcome. But I learned that all nurses have one bodily fluid that they hate and unfortunately, the disgust never leaves.

Alice; however, is not disgusted by puke. The first time she puked, she puked up the blueberries and cheese stick she had eaten minutes earlier. She was very upset to have lost them and demanded that I gave her back her puked up blueberries and cheese stick. You will be pleased to know I didn’t give in to her demands.

I have severe cabin fever from all the time we’ve spent inside. Alice STILL has a fever but when we took her into the doctor today, both flu test and strep test were negative… so we’ve been told to wait it out and come back in if she still has a fever on Sunday.

I write this from my perch on the couch next to Alice, who is lying on the puke barrier towel and watching Paw Patrol, which I have watched far too much of in the past week.

Other news-

We are going to celebrate Christmas in Florida as 1) we have Chad’s family here to celebrate with and 2) so the girls can have a relaxing, non-travel filled holiday.

It’s not as weird as I thought it would be to be celebrating Christmas in warm weather. It helps that it gets dark early- which makes it feel more wintery.

Kid Cuteness

Every night when we pray as a family, Avery ends her prayer with “And please let Daddy teach me how to golf”.

Alice will say, “You da best, Mom!” at random points in time and it always melts my heart.

Sending love back home to all in the wintery wonderland!


Weekly Update

A Floridian Thanksgiving & Christmas Preparations

Hi all,

I know it has been a little while since my last post. I have been a bit busy managing the new blog and I was waiting for a more blog- worthy stories to happen before I posted again.

I will be cutting back on these update posts to once every 2 weeks now that we are settled into FL and don’t have exciting stories on a weekly basis. (Hopefully that statement doesn’t jinx us.)

Since I last wrote…

We had our first Thanksgiving in Florida. Given that I was a bit emotional over Halloween, I assumed Thanksgiving would be rough. But in all honesty, it was a really enjoyable, non-emotional day. The day started with a 5k with one of my mom friends. As there were over 4,000 people who ran it, we were forced able to run at a leisurely pace.

We spent the rest of the day cooking, enjoyed a visit with Grandma Helen & Grandpa Chet and had Thanksgiving. dinner with Chad’s parents. I taught Avery and Alice how to knead bread dough, which brought back childhood memories of making homemade bread with my Dad on cold winter mornings.

This past week we went to a cute little Christmas festival that our town puts on. They had a snow machine so all the Floridian kids who had never experienced snow in real life could make a snowball and play in the snow. The Minnesotan in me got a big kick out of that.

We got the obligatory picture with Santa. I envisioned a cute picture of just the girls and Santa with smiles all around. What we got was a picture of a terrified Alice who didn’t let me leave and an unsure Avery.

This past weekend we had a visit from my future sister in law, Shelby, and my good friend from high school, Jill. It was so fun to see familiar faces and bring them to our favorite spots.

We built our best sand castle yet with Jill. By some miracle, the girls didn’t destroy it until after the picture was taken.

We finally put up a Charlie-Brown style Christmas tree: much smaller than usual and without any of our ornaments from home, which are all in storage. It’s beginning to look a lot like feel like Christmas, despite the lack of cold weather.

If you are interested in checking out the new blog I write, here are a few of my favorite posts from the last month or so:

And for All of These Things, I am Thankful: An unfiltered list of things I am thankful for, contributing to my survival as a parent. (Funny)

Parental Burnout: What it is, why it happens, how to prevent it and how to make it stop.

All American Stay at Home Mom: A journey through the history, cultural norms and pressures facing today’s modern stay at home moms.

Plan on my next post in two weeks!

Sending lots of love to all back home,


Weekly Update

Reporting Live from: FL

Hi All,

Whenever I write these posts, I have to sift through the pictures from the last week to remind myself what we’ve been up to. Call it mom brain or dementia, but I have very short term memory. Avery asked me the other day, “Mom, why do you always forget things?” Uhhhh, probably because your list of demands is super long.

Ok, I’m not seeing anything too exciting in the pictures. It looks like we went to the beach to watch the sunset last Monday- that was a gorgeous night and the ocean was as calm as a lake. The waves lapped against the shore covered in sea shells, producing the most beautiful sound. Chad found a perfect sea shell and I was jealous. He wasn’t even looking & I’m always psycho Eagle Eyes walking around like a mad woman in search of the perfect shell.

Next, I see we went to the farmers market. It was a much cooler day than the last time we went, so we greatly appreciated that. I made the mistake of giving Alice a sugar cinnamon pretzel, which, kept her quiet the whole time, but resulted in a huge mess.

On further review of pictures, I note that one of the girls stole my phone and documented me, looking fine as wine, eating a cookie. Don’t judge the mess. Or my appearance. I have kids, okay?

Do you like my middle of day wardrobe choice? Bathrobe layered on top of sweats.
A glamorous shot of me telling the kid to put the phone down. I’m still not sure which kid but I’m guessing Avery.

Friday was our 5th wedding anniversary- woot woot! We celebrated with a family dinner followed by ice cream. We missed the sunset as it sets so early now 😦 But made up for it…

On Saturday we went to the beach and watched a stormy and beautiful sunset. We were a bit under-dressed as the wind whipped around and the waves gave us a show. When the sun peeked out for a minute, we had a beautiful view.

A Stormy Sunset

I spent a big chunk of the week working on an article for my Parenting and Travel blog on “Parental Burnout”. I felt pretty burned out from the article by the end, but thankfully posted it last night, so it is officially off my plate. You can read it here.

That’s about all I have to report. Chad’s parents are due to arrive in FL later this week and we could not be more excited!

Sending love,


Weekly Update

Pompano Beach, FL

I’m writing this post from our sunny family room while lounging on the couch with Chad and Avery, while Alice is taking a rare but oh so needed nap.

We took a last minute family trip to Pompano Beach, FL (on the Eastern coast of FL) while Chad played in a golf tournament. The west coast of Florida is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico while the East coast is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, giving Pompano Beach much larger waves, and a darker sand- similar to what you might see surrounding Minnesota lakes.

We arrived at our oceanfront hotel on Thursday and went to get pizza for dinner at a cute Italian joint. After, we went for a walk on the beach in the dark. It was beautiful to watch the dark waves crashing against the shore, the white clouds passing over the moon above, all while being surrounded by the people I love most.

The girls insisted on playing a game of hide and seek on the beach, which was pretty easy as the picked the same hiding spot each time- and if they hadn’t, their giggles and white blonde hair lit by the moon would have given them away. These magical moments are what keep us traveling as a family. Which is good- because there are plenty of un-magical moments.

While Chad played a practice round of golf on Friday, Avery and Alice did what any kids traveling to a cool destination want to do- swim at the hotel pool. And so that is what we did for 6 hours straight. Alice recently discovered how to hold her breath underwater, so loves jumping in at any chance she gets. Once our cautious Avery realized that Alice had fun jumping in, she joined the fun.

As any golfer might do, Chad was keeping a close eye on Saturday’s weather- and much to his chagrin, we woke up on Saturday to a very windy, rainy day. The girls and I dropped Chad off at the golf course and wished him well (there is nothing cuter than Avery shouting “Good luck, Dad!”) before returning to our hotel. We watched kite surfers take advantage of the windy, wavy day.

Unfortunately, Alice had woken up with a bad cold. And she was doing the weird grunty breathing she does before she starts wheezing/ needs to go in to be put on steroids. I was watching her closely, hoping that I was just imagining things. My anxiety was increased as of course, this was the one trip where I didn’t bring my stethoscope or her neb machine. Her last episode of her asthma type symptoms was almost a year ago, last Thanksgiving. I was hopeful that she had outgrown the reactive airway disorder, as doctors said she might.

But alas, here we were. Given that her symptoms weren’t improving and we had a car ride home ahead of us, I took her into urgent care. Luckily, her oxygen sats were fine and the nurse practitioner couldn’t hear any wheezing. Chad finished his round shortly after we finished at urgent care. And might I note that despite the high winds and rainy weather, Chad won the tournament, adding yet another trophy to his growing collection.

I was hoping for an uneventful car ride home. (Why do I hope for these things?) Half way through the trip, Alice mentioned that her tummy hurt. Immediately I realized I forgot to give her the Benadryl I usually give her to pre-medicate before travel to prevent….my thought process was interrupted by the volcano of puke that erupted, covering Alice, her precious blankie and car seat.

Remember how I talked about magical moments that can happen while traveling with kids? Well, this was not one of them. Luckily, we made it home in once piece. Alice fell asleep after the puke incident at 6pm and slept through the night. As for Avery and me, we fell asleep on the couch at 7pm.

Alice continues to recover today…actually, all of us continue to recover. Our week ahead should be quiet, aside from our 5 YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY on Friday- crazy, right?

Funny moments from the week:

  • As we were eating breakfast, Avery said, “I love you” out of the blue & my heart melted. Then she kissed the muffin she was eating and whispered “I love you so much”. And it became clear she wasn’t talking to me.
  • Alice smacked Avery in the stomach and yelled “Tummy high five!”. I was about to tell her not to hit when Avery proceeded to whack Alice in the stomach and yell “Tummy high five!”, after which they both had a giggle fit. So, I guess we will consider it sisterly bonding.
  • “Mom, where are all my boogers? Who took all of them?!”- a very upset Alice
  • As we were walking back to the hotel from the beach, I looked back to check on the girls only to catch Avery dumping an entire bucket of sand over her head. Needless to say, despite numerous hair washes, she still has a head full of sand.

Sending love to all,


Weekly Update

Halloween in Florida

Hi All,

We are finally starting to settle into a normal routine after returning from Minnesota. All of the sudden, Alice seems older, and I found myself staring at the girls thinking to myself, “Oh my goodness. I don’t have a baby anymore.”

It’s funny how unless you tell your brain otherwise, you will continue to see your kid as a baby even when they are far past that stage. The progression from baby to toddler to kid is so gradual, and when you see their cute face each and every day, it is harder to notice the change.

That tangent aside, we are all doing well! This past week was full of Halloween fun and for the first time, I really missed home. Holidays aside, Florida just feels like a big vacation- a never ending summer. But celebrating a holiday without my traditions from back home- crunching in the fall leaves, drinking hot apple cider, knowing the neighbors as we trick or treated- felt foreign.

We did a trick or treating event at a Farmers Market the day before Halloween with a group of mom friends and their kids, after which we cooled down at a splash pad. A sweet group of mom friends with similarly aged kids has been so welcoming and inclusive- which has made all the difference in adjusting to Florida… and stay at home mom life. I was not expecting to find friends this easily and quickly, but I am so grateful I have.

Trick or Treating at the Farmers Market

I never thought I would say this, but I missed having a chilly Halloween. Our Halloween was muggy and in the 90’s. I was hopeful that the fan inside of my inflatable dinosaur costume would keep me cool, but the costume acted as an oven and the fan did absolutely nothing to cool me down. The girls were dressed in costumes that, in retrospect, would have been much more appropriate for MN weather and were not at all appropriate for the hot temps here.

Florida trick or treating is hit or miss- given the fact that there are many older communities without kids, you have to find a neighborhood that has kids to go trick or treating in. Our neighborhood doesn’t do trick or treating so we went to a “Trunk or Treat”- it was a very efficient way to go. The girl’s buckets were full within 10 minutes, and as we were drenched in sweat, we booked it out of there.


We have insane amounts of sugar in our house right now. In addition to the Halloween candy, Chad’s Grandma made him a whole peanut butter pie on Halloween and also sent us home with amazing pumpkin pie cookies. And prior to all of these sweets entering our home, I made the very bad mistake of grocery shopping hungry. So in our fridge also sits 3 mini pies. If anyone wants to come eat sugar with us….you’re all invited.

We had our first real experience with red tide yesterday. For all you non-Florida people, here is my scientific understanding of red tide: Red tide is caused by an algae bloom in the ocean. It does not refer to the red seaweed that washes up on the Florida shoreline (although I was convinced it did until some nice local man explained it to me).

It is caused by multiple environmental factors but interestingly is not related to pollution. It kills a lot of fish, leaving them to stink up the shoreline and the red tide can cause respiratory distress in humans.

Yesterday the beach was covered in dead fish- including a puffed up blowfish- and water snake looking things. It was quite gross. We definitely noticed the respiratory effects- mainly junky coughs and congestion while at the beach. Luckily it resolved when we left. So, no plans for the beach until that dies down.

Alice quotes from this week that made me laugh:

“I’m going to choose blue ice cream so I can have blue poop!”

On trick or treating: “My fingers were melty”

And a funny Avery story: Avery likes it when we take turns telling “spooky stories” on car rides. These generally consist of stories about a ghost, alligator, or King Kong eating whiney girls- gotta incorporate life lessons and use parenting scare tactics. Anyway, she told a story that went like this: “One day, Amy got hit by a car.” (1) I don’t know who Amy is. 2) Congrats, Avery on actually telling a scary story). She continued, “And they put a band aid on and she was all better.” Very anticlimactic ending.

As promised, I launched my professional blog on November 1st. You can check it out here: !

Sending love to all back home! And seriously, if you want sugar, come visit us. Otherwise, plan on me being 20 lbs heavier then next time you see me.