Get Me Murray!

**** This is one of my favorite blog memories. It still cracks me up to the extent that I wanted to share it again. For what it’s worth, Trixie is now 10 and occasionally wakes up of her own volition. ****

I was dead serious when I posted last week that getting the children up-and-at-’em is akin to poking two bears.


Trixie (5) has taken to wearing sunglasses in the A.M, which overall channels a strong 1990s Courtney Love vibe.

Here she is enjoying a nutritious breakfast of Fruity Pebbles, which was immediately preceded by her barking, “Where are my Fruity Pebbles? I ordered Fruity Pebbles! And why isn’t anyone pouring the milk?”

Murray2 Murray4 Murray1

Note that the picture quality is poor since I had to surreptitiously take them to avoid her wrath. Frankly, I’m scared of her.

Spouse has also worked out a whole backstory to her behavior that I find hilarious (and a helpful coping mechanism), namely that she’s an indulged, out-of-control socialite/actress/musician.

He’ll pretend to be Trixie (out of earshot, of course), and routinely provides bon mots like:

  • The sun! It burns!
  • I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. And I don’t see any bags of cash in your hands.
  • Get the G6 gassed up and ready to go! I’ll be at Teterboro in 20.
  • See you in Ibiza.
  • Where the hell is my agent Murray? He was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago! Murray! Get me Murray!




This Girl

Spending last weekend with my Fellow Flowers crew at Rock Retreat Run made me think – hard – about This Girl:

Pirate Trixie

Trixie, age 1, circa Summer 2010 in her Pirate Fascinator

My daughter’s seven now, too old to be that tiny pirate, but she’s also still too young (I hope, oh god, I hope) to have internalized society’s messages about how she *should* look/act/feel/be.

There are so many things I wish for her: authenticity, strength, resiliency, kindness, bravery, intelligence and unwavering friendships.

And of course I still want her to be a kick-ass pirate.

This weekend also made me think of This Girl:

Tiny Jani

Me, age 3-ish, circa Let’s-Not-Go-There

This Girl still struggles with all of the things on that list above, although she’s figuring it out with a little help from her friends.

What I just wish for my daughter is that she could find a like-minded tribe at seven, not at 41, because I think the key to survival is knowing that while You’ve Got This, your tribe Has Your Back in case you fall.

And that’s a message we can’t ever hear enough.

For now, Trixie just learned to ride her bike and I’m there – literally – in case she falls, but 99% of the time she doesn’t need me. It’s the other 1% that matters the most, though, so I’ll do my best to pick her up when she falls and find others to join her on the ride.

Biking Trixie

One More Thing, #30

Both of my kids have taken to wearing makeup lately, but the reasons seem to be different.

MGM (now 8) reported that he saw a character use makeup “to disguise himself as a phantom on Scooby Doo,” and now he wants to trick our babysitter.

Spoiler alert: I think she’ll still know it’s you, MGM.

Trixie (6) just loves to borrow anything that’s mine, which is why my lipsticks are all mysteriously smushed into their caps and a David Yurman bracelet went AWOL for over a year.

In general, I’m fine with all of this as long as it doesn’t negatively impact me.

But I was distressed to discover a brand new makeup brush that had been thoroughly destroyed by one dual kid session:


The bristles used to be completely white, people.

I underestimated the saturation of the residual blush and when I went to put my own makeup on, I ended up looking something like this:


I lamented the outcome to our babysitter and she was sweet enough to surprise my by cleaning the brush back to snowy perfection with some mild soap and warm water. Merci!

P.S. Made me laugh:





Kid Party, Done Right

MGM turned 8 last Friday.


[Cue Harry Chapin. Oh, the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon! Weep].

Another post, but we’ve been working with him lately on his behavior, which, at times, is not stellar.

To be fair, neither is mine. 

I digress.

We decided that on the occasion of his eighth birthday, we would not program a formulaic party, but rather would let him say what he wanted to do, and we’d do that.

He was thrilled.

We asked him what he wanted to do on his birthday, fearing the worst. Trip to Disney World? Personal introduction to Han Solo? A Pokemon as a pet?


It was simple.

His requests:

  • Go bowling as a nuclear family
  • Play laser tag
  • Order Dominick’s (sic: Domino’s) pizza
  • Eat a white cake with chocolate and blue (!) frosting

Now this list, I’ve got.

The four of us went bowling.



Spouse used his preferred moniker:


We played laser tag, Boys versus Girls.

We ordered pizza.

We opened presents.

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He declared it the best birthday ever.

I’m so glad I let him choose his destiny on this one.

I only get a fraction of things right as a parent, but this was one of them.

P.S. The next morning, we kept the party going by letting him choose two donuts from the local convenience store for breakfast. His mind exploded. This was also a great reminder to me about how simple pleasures matter.

Mother of the Year

Well, I’m giving this post that title with more than a little sarcasm, since my overall mothering has been pretty sub-par as of late.

If you’re keeping up at all, I’ve been on three trips in three weeks, most recently coming home from California for less than 24 hours, only to turn around and go back to a different city in California (San Francisco —> L.A.).

The first two trips were for work, but the last one was definitely for fun. I decided to participate in the Disney Tinkerbell half marathon for the fourth time, and this year there was a new race: the Pixie Dust Challenge, a 10k on Saturday and a half-marathon on Sunday. Total: 19.3 miles.

The first three years of this race, it was held in January. Year one (2012), the race was two days off from my 39th birthday. I can’t even remember how or when I decided to do it this way, but I traveled alone for a long weekend, and I had a blast. I stayed at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, which is a beautiful, sprawling property with immediate access to Disneyland. It was my first trip to Disneyland and I felt like a kid. The course was fast and fun, and the whole thing was so great that I had to do it again.

Through a weird twist of timing, the race was pushed back one week the second year, and so I ended up being 39 twice when I ran it. Year two, since I was heading into 40, I decided to celebrate by doing a Coast to Coast challenge, which nets you a special Run Disney medal on top of the regular finisher’s medals.

For leg one, I ran the Disney marathon in Orlando (my third time on that course), and then – less than a week later – turned around and headed to Disneyland with my family, as well as my sister’s, to complete my second annual 39 year old Tinkerbell half-marathon. There were eight of us for a long weekend, and it was a great trip. We stayed again at the Grand Californian and spent Saturday and Sunday (post-race) at the parks. My kids loved hanging out with their older cousins (my sister’s two sons), and it was absolutely awesome to have someone cheering for me at the finish line, which almost never happens since most of my runs are solo.

Last year, I came alone again and couldn’t get into the Grand Californian (full), so I decided to stay at the Park Sheraton (about a half mile away) and collect some Starwood points as a bonus. The hotel was a lot less expensive than the Grand Californian and while it wasn’t as nice or as convenient, it was ok.

This year the race was moved to May.

Now I feel this weird legacy to the Tinkerbell half-marathon, and I had it in my head that I wanted to compete five years in a row, if possible.

So here we are in year four.

Getting to Anaheim was also a challenge this year; the flights would only work for me to be able to pick up my race bibs if I came in on Thursday night, so I did.

But that meant the sub-24 hour home visit before heading out.

Both kids pleaded for me to stay home. Heart officially broken.

I was already 99 percent sure I would cancel and live without my stupid self-imposed Tinkerbell streak, but Spouse stepped in and said Everything Would Be OK, and I should go.

So I did.

I’ll post about the races later, but I’ll stop here to officially thank my Ever Patient Spouse, who really is Dad of the Year. Thank you for this Mother’s Day!

Ipad artwork from Trixie:


Mini Me

Sometimes the conversations with my kids steer off in a direction I’d never considered.

Like this one time.

And today.

I was rushing around, per usual, and Trixie (6) was leisurely eating a (pretty gross) mixture of about three different breakfast cereals.

(Her choice here, People! I was not forcing her to have little random bits of cereal dust from several boxes. At least not today).

Trixie: Dad said I’m your clone. What does that mean?

Me: Well, it means we’re almost exactly alike.

Me: We both like fancy things.

Me: We both like sparkly jewelry.

Me: We both like lip gloss.

Trixie: And we both loooooooove to eat!

Parenting is so repeatedly humbling.

Happy weekend!




A Clever Plan

I was so happy last Sunday night to go to bed at 8:45 PM.


Photo from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” I want that eye mask.


Like many adults, sleep is a huge luxury to me that’s often in short supply.

I thought there would be an end in sight to my sleepless nights once the kids exited the toddler stage, but my lack of rest continues to haunt me.

Between our barky semi-continent toy poodle, my own insomnia, rare hospital phone calls and the occasional kid nightmare, I still find myself getting up at least once per night, often with difficulty returning to sleep.

Which is precisely why the early turn-in last Sunday felt so darn decadent.


At 12:38 AM, I felt a tug on my pajama sleeve.

MGM (7) was standing next to the bed, smiling in triumph.

(Sidenote: I am waaaay past the point where waking to someone staring at me next to my bed is alarming. It’s like two kid-sized eyeballs serve as a silent alarm. If actual intruders break in, I’m dead meat).

MGM: “Mom! Mom! Get this! I put on my whole school uniform under my pajamas. Even my underpants! Now I just have to take them off and I’m ready for school!”

While part of me admires the cleverness of his plan, once I came to, I blearily asked if he’d been asleep at all yet.

Of course not.

He was planning to stay up all night and even set his alarm for 1 AM, when he scheduled his breakfast.

I convinced him that we would rest together in the guest room, and he was out cold by 12:55 AM, with a promise that I would wake him up at 1 for a bowl of Fruity Pebbles.

Whoops. I guess I forgot.

On my end, I tossed and turned until about 3:30 AM, when I tried to crawl back into my own spot, only to discover that Trixie (5) beat me to it.

And so went another night of Musical Beds at Fancy Pants Ranch.

The next morning, waking MGM up was worse than the usual bear poking.

I apologized in advance at the school when I dropped him off on Monday.








Christmas Thank Yous

I’ve mentioned before that I am quite rigid about writing thank you notes, and this is something I hope to pass on to MGM (7) and Trixie (5).

Trixie helped me write our notes last weekend for Christmas presents we received.

Since she’s only in kindergarten I let her draw pictures in lieu of grammatically correct missives.

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My favorite one was a drawing she made to thank her aunt S. for a rubber stamp set.

Here’s the gift:


She re-created the set on the note:


I thought this was so adorable I could barely stand to send it.



One More Time With Feeling

Within 2 frantic hours, Trixie and I solved a majority of our holiday shopping dilemmas on Saturday.

I think we did okay.

On Sunday we tackled our holiday cards.

Our friends S. and K. are amazing photographers who annually capture our personal zeitgeist.

Spouse and I did the cards while Trixie (5) licked envelopes.

At one point, she retracted to the background and then began to loudly hum “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Ok, this was nuts.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was basically the soundtrack to my sophomore year of college and takes me right back there every time I hear it.

For a five-year-old, her vocals are surprisingly good.



I love that she loves Nirvana.

Hopefully, I can blast some Pearl Jam and get wrapping help tomorrow night.





Like most of my parenting moments, I discovered at the last minute that the Moscow Ballet would be performing “The Nutcracker” in our town.

That very night.



Last Friday as I drove the kids to school, we heard about the Russian troupe’s performance on Minnesota Public Radio.

When I got to work I was stunned to discover that tickets were still available. In the front row.

Spouse was already committed to a Work Holiday Party that night, so it was just Kids and Me.

I got three tickets in Section 1, Row 1.

FYI, if you are attending a ballet, Row 1 is not your friend.

You can see the dancers really well, but only from the knee up.

For the most part, the kids were enthralled.

Unfortunately for me, when the March played, all I could think about was this rip-off commercial from the ’80s for Smurfberry Crunch cereal:

Overall, kids had a blast.

I was just craving a Smurfy, fruity breakfast treat.