Cow Pie Memories

I love memories of my childhood. I was blessed with two loving parents and a fantastic little sister. I went to good schools, joined in activities that allowed me to be creative and was surrounded by loving and caring friends.

I get to relive my childhood each day with my two littles. Stella is a spitting image of me and Em, well she is “my little sister”. Stella’s class, along with the other kindergarten class, was invited to a farm in Bemidji. I just had to chaperone this field trip. See, my mom chaperoned my 1st grade field trip to my teacher’s farm when I was little. I have videos on a VHS tape that my mom filmed of this trip. I am huddled by my best friend, Jenny, getting grossed out by the Cow Pies that we could throw like frisbees. *gag*

The kids didn’t throw Cow Pies this time around, nor were the words uttered to the kids. The field trip though, was such a joy to my heart. It was a blessing. It brought smiles to my face, my heart and my brain. I saw Stella run around with her friends, she held hands with many of them and clearly enjoyed herself.

I imagine my mom having the same feelings 30 years ago. *ugh, 30 years ago*

I hope there are not many times in my future when I think of Cow Pies again, I imagine Em will go on this field trip in a year or so, but I do look forward to witnessing the girls surrounded by classmates and friends that help form them into the girls God wants them to be. Kind, caring, smart, strong and beautiful human beings.

Love Wins

We are in a time where we need constant reminders that Love Wins. This seems like it should be common sense, but why is it not? I believe that there are still more good people in the world than bad, but why is it that our kids have to learn ALICE training? Why is it that we have to worry about our kids’ safety at school of all places? It broke my heart to hear about the school shooting in TX. I was fortunate to spend the day with my daughter’s class on a field trip last week. Such innocence ran around the farmstead we visited. They are well aware of what to do if a bad person comes into their school. They know they are to throw any object at the bad guy and they know to take direction from the teachers that hopefully can protect them. To write this forces me to vision my kids in these situations and it causes instant anxiety, broken breathing and tears to form. This world has become a very scary place. We need to come together and end the violence. We need kids to have boundaries. The small troubled fish need to be stopped in their actions before they become big fish that are out of control. Innocent kids are being killed and being threatened in this great world we live in.

The shooting, in my opinion, was a bit overshadowed by the Royal Wedding. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love a prince getting married, especially one as good looking and kind as Prince Harry? The sermon that was given at the wedding by Rev. Michael Curry was incredible. It spoke to me on so many levels. I pray that we continue to love. Again, Love Wins!

Words that won me over:

“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love” … “And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world”

“Imagine our governments and countries when love is the way”… “Imagine business and commerce when this love is the way … No child would go to bed hungry in such a world as that. Poverty would become history in such a world as that.”

Maybe Rev. Michael Curry didn’t intend to discuss love in the way he did at the Royal Wedding, but he had a large audience listening to him. Harry and Meghan seem to be very dedicated to making the world right again through love. It was a fitting sermon for them to hear along with those that tuned in. MAY LOVE CONQUER ALL.

Shirt: Old Navy

Stepping IT up a Notch

I have shared a few times that I have been a Tracy Anderson Method fan when it comes to exercising. I learned about her so many years ago. At least 10 years ago I imagine. I follow her on Instagram to remain motivated to work out and when I visited LA for a work conference a year ago, I made it a point to attend one of the classes at her studio there. It was amazing. Hearing the loud music, walking on her bounce floor and going through the exercises with her trainers that were like second nature to me, it was a high I can not explain.

Even with all of this love I have for her and her program, I found myself in an exercise rut. I needed to try something new. I ran into Mom’s Into Fitness when I was pregnant with Stella, our first child. This was prior to Tracy Anderson coming out with her 9 months of pregnancy videos. I was following MIF on Instagram too; I need all of the motivation I can get. I decided to order her 8 week program, Pretty Fierce. I remained dedicated and completed the program. I tried to not step on the scale too often throughout the 8 weeks. I wanted to see how I felt rather than what the numbers said. I didn’t change my eating habits much, but tried to be more mindful. After the 8 weeks I weighed a couple of pounds less, lost a couple of inches between my thighs and waist and could see more definition of muscle forming with my arms, abs and legs. A win for me.

I read some reviews of the MIF fitness program, Pretty Fierce Lean Out, and found that women had stronger results with this program. I took a week off from working out and jumped back on the bandwagon tonight. My arms are shaking while I type this post. Here we go again! May God help me stay motivated as I throughly enjoy the workout shakes! This makes me happy, just one more thing I am strengthening. *smile*

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all who are a mother in some aspect. There are so many different kinds of mommies out there. Mommy with a kid, Mommy who had.a kid, Mommy who wants a kid, Foster Mommy, Animal Mommy, Like-a-Mommy and any other Mommy types I may have missed.

I am blessed to have my mom in my life. I gave her a card today that said Best Mom + Best Friend. It is true, she is one of my best friends. I have looked up to her for as long as I can remember. I look to her for advice on a very regular basis on topics that range from being a mom, being a good person, and fun things such as fashion (I take her hand-me-downs often), recipes (we share a love of recipe books) and home decorating (this is where my passion for interior design comes from). I am fortunate to see here at least every other month. I could easily move away from Minnesota, until I start to think about moving away from my mom (and dad). My mom helped form me into the person I am today. I thank her for that and thank her for all of the times she has set aside for me. I love you!

Project Happiness: April Review

What happened to April? I can not believe that I am sitting here writing about my happiness journey again. The month was spent focusing on Parenthood. I am the organized parent, although, I can’t seem to remember that Stella has library day each Friday and needs to return her book. I get the clothes organized, toys put away, read books, know who got what toy or outfit from what person and when. I am the Type A parent. A bit OCD on things that don’t always allow me to be the more laid back, go with the flow, mommy I would like to be. For the month of April I was to focus on the following items:

Acknowledge the little’s feelings

Make happy moments

Take time for projects

Peaceful, cheerful, joyous moments

Act the way I want to feel

Repeat their concerns

Don’t say “no” or “stop”

That might be hard…

If I had a magical wand

Cleaning company

Anticipate, savor, express, recall

Up until the last week I would say I followed the more laid back mentality that I strive for but lack. I was happier. I can’t pin point the reason why I struggled the past week. Possibly, the full moon and Em’s energy was pushing my limits. I feel like I am good at pointing out the little details so as they did something well or positive I tried to crouch down to their level and thank them or acknowledge the positive attitude they were portraying. We are, more often than not, doing projects. They are my little artists. I don’t always find the projects peaceful and joyous so I tried to focus on the fun they were having rather than the clean up that would follow. I believe that I am going to constantly add in the rule “act the way I want to feel” as I think it is a struggle for me, but a rule I can keep on the top of my mind and make it my constant goal. I am a good listener, possibly too good when it comes to the kids. I listen to things I should not listen to. When they come to me with a concern that may not be a “real” concern, it is easy for me to get upset or agitated. This month I crept down to their height and repeated what they were concerned about and then followed up with words that showed them that it was no big deal or tried to help them through it. Hard to do, very hard to do, but I tried to not use the words “stop” or “no”. I would ask why they were doing something, or ask what they could do differently. This made me step back a moment, take a breath, and then gave them time to think about how they should fix something. The book suggested to use the words “that might be hard, but let me show you” this. I found this one hard to do. It is sometimes easier for me to just do something for them, rather than teach them a way to make it easier. This is a true point as to why I didn’t end up going into teaching, although, growing up I thought I was destined to be a teacher. Kids wouldn’t have learned anything from me, I would have just completed their homework for them! I have yet to set up a “cleaning company” with my kids as the key employees, I think they would like this “game” so I do need to tackle it yet. I also need to show them that if mommy had a magical wand, life would be so much easier, but mommy doesn’t have one. We have to work hard for what we get. Stella loves to hear stories about herself as a baby. I am trying to savor these moments as a mom. Time goes so fast, my babies are not babies anymore. They appear to be growing each day and I have to take the time to truly implant these moments in my brain. I want to be able to recall them for years to come.

** I used this photo as my backdrop on my phone so I had easy access to the reminders that I needed for the month.

Friday Favorites: Fighting through It

Last night all I wanted to do was go to bed. Things had to be done though. Preparing for the next day, for the weekend events and THE workout. The kids went to bed, speaking of fighting…they fought that one, but down they finally went. Once the clothes were folded this mama put on her workout gear. Glutes, quads and hamstrings were conquered. The sweat always feels good, but what’s even better? That stretch and breath when it is finished. I have 1.25 weeks of this Pretty Fierce Workout, I will win this fight! Get those workout clothes on and get your sweat on!

Friday Fun Fact: this shirt was given to me in Kindergarten when I lived in Bismarck to celebrate 100 years. Talk about True Vintage!

Thoughts during Sunday Mass

Ever since T and I got married we have gone to Sunday mass more often than not. Even with babies and toddlers we both felt it was important to have them there. We would bring toys, books and snacks for them when they were younger and we had to occupy their time. We would remove them if they needed to leave for a bit, but even if they were squirmy we tried to keep them there. This is us teaching them our weekly tradition if you will. This isn’t the mindset of all young parents that attend a church. And that is ok. There is more than one right way to handle this chapter of life. We are blessed to have them now at an age where they can attend Sunday School or Children’s Liturgy of the Word most Sunday mornings. This allows T and I to truly listen to what is said and gives us time to reflect.

This past Sunday I felt like there were more children talking, squirming around us and possibly being escorted out, even Stella needed to go and get a Kleenex. Upon leaving mass we were handed the bulletin. I read the front page letter from the Director of Music & Liturgy, Aana Freihammer. It spoke to me and the thoughts I had of the children in mass that morning. It touched me so much that I reached out to Aana in hopes she would let me share her words. I am thankful she said yes. Please take the time to read them. As a parent, or anyone really, who notices the young children at church, these words are important. To the parents who struggle with their antsy little ones, hang in there! You will get to listen to the words again soon.

From the Desk of Aana Freihammer

April 22, 2018

A few years ago, I was directing a choir for a Sunday Mass. We were about to start the Eucharistic prayer, when a toddler found the light switch for the entire church and flipped it up

and down. After grandma found him, he raced to the altar, grabbed a pumpkin (revealing to the congregation that I had used fake pumpkins instead of real pumpkins, whoops!) and gingerly placed it on the presider chair. He headed back to the altar, while the altar servers shepherded him back to his grandma. Everyone laughed, and the grandma was beside herself with embarrassment. This

story is funny, but every time I recall the family, I get a twinge of disappointment, as I never saw this family at church again, I’m not sure if they ever came back. This is the cautionary tale of how easily we can influence anyone more deeply in the community at Mass or discourage them from ever praying with us again.

The liturgy that we attend every Sunday is a unique opportunity where faithful from all over the Bemidji area participate in the sacrifice of the Mass and receive the Eucharist. The faithful coming to Mass includes people from all walks of life, all ages and every ability. The communal nature of the parish needs every part of the flock. The young and old learn from each other. The walking help those who cannot walk, the seeing help the blind. These dynamics in a catholic community, like St. Philip’s, illustrate healthy parish family. We are all responsible for each other, for everyone in the community. We learn faith from each other, we learn to hope from one another, we learn about God from one another. “The vocation of humanity is to show forth the image of God and to be transformed into the image of the Father’s only Son.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1877)

I do not want to over-romanticize community. Working with others is difficult and taxing. People are annoying, kids are naughty in church, the man next to you may seem a little strange. The communal nature of the church is imperfect, just like your imperfect family meals at home in which food is thrown on the floor, milk is spilled, or someone chews with their mouth open. It is tempting to wish we had a more perfect setting without crying babies, better behaved kids, holier people. The imperfect during Mass can distract us from the transcendent experience around us. Wishing that our liturgical prayer experiences were more perfect would completely miss the point – Christ is here to transform us, and we are not yet transformed, therefore our liturgies are going to be imperfect. “The church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners. (Pope Francis).”

We can expect then, bringing humanity together to celebrate this liturgy together will be messy. Yes, we will strive to be better at praying the Mass better. Yes, we will strive to have our kids behave at Mass, but expect things to be hard, messy, noisy, complicated. We need to all keep showing up and staying in the transformative experience. Children, and adults will be distracted. Those who do not come to Church struggle with rituals that are foreign and overwhelming. Expect imperfection because none of us are holy yet, and if we judge too quickly we could discourage families from ever coming back to experience Mass with us again.

We belong at Mass, all of us, from those searching, to those full of faith. Even on your own journey, if you do not feel prepared to receive communion, you do not have to receive. Just come and pray with us anyway. Coming together for one hour, from all walks of life is the one of the core principles of our Catholic faith and the essential component to Sunday Mass. “The Church is not a community of perfect people, but of disciples on a journey, who follow the Lord because they know they are sinners and in need of his pardon. Thus, Christian life is a school of humility which opens us to grace.” Pope Francis

True Roots on a Sunday Morning

I got to wake up to the sunrise this morning. This is one of the things that makes me happiest, being able to wake up with the sun. Northern Minnesota days see little sun for so many months out of the year. My alarm goes off at 5:30, or earlier if Emery wakes me up, which is pretty often. Today, Sunday, the sun woke me up at 5:51. A win for me! I got to shower in peace. Stella and I got a few minutes to snuggle even before Emery came stomping up the stairs. Stella and I do not get many minutes of time alone, the look of sadness crept across her face when she heard Miss Em coming upstairs. I gave her an extra squeeze and the lightest smile I could while I kissed her nose. Once the kids and I were ready for church I was blessed with a few moments on the couch, Spiced Latte in hand and the newest cookbook of my collection, True Roots. Thanks Kristin Cavallari for the Spanish Spiced Latte recipe. I made it per your directions yesterday and today I changed it up a bit.

Spiced Latte


Organic Cinnamon Coffee, brewed in my Keurig

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

Dash of cayenne pepper

1/4-1/2 cup almond milk

1 T maple syrup

Brew coffee (I am a wimp, so it is made on a tall setting with my Keurig.

Mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

Heat milk.

Pour milk into coffee cup.

Whisk in spice mixture.

Stir in maple syrup.

Welcome to my Home of Discouragement

I have spent over a year designing my She-Shed in my head. I have spent the last few months drawing it on paper. See, I have to be in my creative zone to put my passion on paper which is not an easy thing to do while having a family life and working full time out of the home. I have to draw it to scale in pencil on “trash paper” and then trace it onto vellum with special pens. I was so excited to get the floor plan and elevations drawn up and was ready to add color.

I appreciate black and white, I really do, I even dream of living in a pretty much all white house some day, but I think my heart lives in color. It was an accomplishment to get to add color to my plans. It was nerve wracking though. It made it more permanent and it was a point of no return. It was the skill set that was not my strongest in college. I love art, but my styles lean more towards abstract. So rendering to make things look realistic took a lot of practice. Towards the end of year four of the interior design program, I finally solidified my rendering style. Well, since it has been years since I have rendered projects like this, lets say when I laid out my colored drawings, I was a bit sad. I was discouraged. They were not anything I was happy to share with you. They need work.

A craft takes practice, I am out of sorts. This happens and I am highly discouraged. That being said, I am taking what I have learned over the past few months and grabbing this project by the horns and I will get it “right”. I will get it to a point where I am happy to share this with you.

Until then, I will leave you with the only rendered drawing I am happy to share. The front entrance. Welcome to my creative space. My place where I will creatively take projects of discouragement to a better light. After all, that is what an interior designer does. We take problems and blank canvases and turn them into works of art.

Friday Favorites: All Things Girls’ Weekend

Last weekend was an amazing weekend. Friday morning started off with a hair cut by Mikaela at M Salon. Always a complete joy to visit and relax with her. I have trusted her through all of my hair loss (ok, more like an abundance of thinning) due to pregnancies. I chopped it off into a pixie after each kid was born and have tried to grow it out. I am determined to not chop it again.

I got to work and a dear friend’s husband delivered a special treat from her as he was traveling through Bemidji. Nichole’s Pastry Shop in Fargo is a phenomenal place to eat treats, tea and coffee, of course. The desserts tasted amazing, but the words in the card she selected and wrote spoke to my heart and made me smile more. She always says the right words to encourage me to trust in my faith.

The girls and I went to Minneapolis to visit two of my best friends from jr. high and some of their kids. We relaxed, we went to the Crayola Experience at the Mall of America, ate out and got caught up on each other’s lives. We try to do girls’ weekends with kids at least once a year so our kids know each other too. It’s so important to me that the girls know some of their “other aunties”. It’s always semi-chaotic trying to have conversations with four kids interrupting every few minutes. Somehow, though, we make it through and move onto the next topic.

The girls and I ended the weekend with “real Auntie” Ash. Hairs were cut and my grays were colored. We left feeling refreshed and loved up. Time was short but there is nothing like love and hugs from a sister/auntie.

A well spent weekend always gone too quick. We have about four more weekends of crazy schedules but seeing family and friends make it all worth it.