Friday, November 15, 2013


It's almost Thanksgiving, so let's talk about Halloween.

First, there was Team DeBoer's annual trip to Axdahl's Garden Farms outside Stillwater, MN. (You can reminisce about our previous visits here and here.) There, we watched a movie, in a silo, sitting on some hay bales…

…and revisited the giant wooden porch swing.

We posed in front of the corn maze sign although said maze didn't actually exist this year…

…and in front of the pumpkin display that was, for some reason, sans the Beetle.

This is where we captured a picture with my favorite caption to date: "I once caught an Ivy, this big!"

Sasquatch and her gourd…

…and Mama and her Maci.

We spotted some hot air balloons…

…and stared and stared in wonder.

Daddy and his girls in front of da barn.

Team DeBoer, take one.

Team DeBoer, take two.

Next came the painting of the pumpkin. The as in singular. As in non-plural. As in even though we came home with four pumpkins, one for each DeBoer, we were left with only one to paint after some asshole stole the other three. That's right, someone stole our pumpkins; mine, Maci's, that she picked out all by herself, and baby Ivy's. When Maci innocently asked what happened to her pumpkin, I had to quiet the profanity in my brain long enough to tell her that someone must have taken them because sometimes people just do things that aren't very nice but that it was okay because we still had Daddy's pumpkin to share, to which she replied, "I like Daddy's pumpkin!"

After taping off the letter, "D," Maci and I went to town.

We were very thorough…

…and quite proud of our painting.

Tape removal was left up to moi…

…and when I asked Maci what the "D" stood for she said, "DADDY!"

Finally, there was Halloween, costumes, trick-or-trunking at school and trick-or-treating at home. Mae Mo did great this year and really got into the ritual. Even more, she really got into the candy and especially enjoyed her some chocolate. (Apple of my eye that one.) Even though we eventually cut her off, we're pretty sure she still vibrated to bed. I'm biased but these two are cute as a bug's butt.

Speaking of butts, this is apparently what a ladybug's looks like…

…and, of course, no bumblebee is complete without her stinger. 

The end. Pun intended.

Friday, October 25, 2013


An old coworker of mine used to say, you can't hit a home run everyday. I now consider this an understatement. In fact, it's become my unofficial Mom-mantra. Continuing with the baseball analogy, lately I feel I could be happy with an intentional walk. Sacrifice fly? Hit by pitch? Oh, I like that one. It's completely and metaphorically accurate. The quick but intense bout of pain I would have to endure to get on base rings all too true of the quick but intense bouts of pain I endure to get to the end of a day. In other words, parenting seems to have gotten exponentially harder. And not because of my 4-month-old baby, mind you, but thanks to my 2-year-old toddler.

Issue #1: I am not a patient person and there is nothing you need more as a parent of a toddler then patience. Well, that and a sense of humor. That way by melodramatic meltdown number 83, over something like socks, you have the wherewithal to just start laughing … quietly and to yourself of course. Along the same lines, I don't deal well with lots of loud noises.

Unfortunately, my combination of kids and extrovert husband make this impossible to avoid. When things get loud, my stress increases and when Shawn gets stressed, he just gets loud. (While opposites attract in matters of love and marriage, they are a real bitch when babies are crying.)

Issue #2: Gone are the days where my sole responsibility was merely keeping my child alive. Now I have to parent and discipline … and teach. A teacher I am NOT. And my toddler is already entirely too smart. All parents say that about their kids so I'm not going to elaborate but trust me. The things she says sometimes… Recently I told Shawn I feel like I spend most of my days trying to outsmart a 2-year-old. Combined with my recent bouts of Mama Brain, this is not done with any semblance of confidence. Which leads me to my next point.

Issue #3: Thanks in part to my analytical brain and in part to things I've read, I often strive towards an illogical, overly idyllic realty. So-called storybook expectations do nothing but set me up for failure because I'm aiming for perfection and nothing in life or parenthood is perfect. Raising kids, is, hard! EXCLAMATION POINT. Because I'm new at this, I'm constantly evaluating, constantly reflecting and I don't necessarily trust my reactions and instincts. Yet. This, of course, does me zero good and in fact, only leaves me exhausted. Enter issue #4…

Issue #4: Both myself and my toddler are sleep deprived most of the week and sleep is of the essence to achieving patience. (It's the obligatory viscous cycle.) Lately she's taken to only napping for an hour or so at school so by the time I pick her up, odds are, she's a hot mess. Our ride home can either be extremely entertaining or downright brutal. She'll either happily ask her black sheep over and over and over if they have any wool, or I will get to listen to her wail about wanting something to drink, not wanting what I gave her to drink, not wanting the glass I gave her that something to drink in, not wanting the color of the glass that I gave her that something to drink in…

(Clenched fists, pinched eyes … don't relive it, don't relive it, don't relive it.)

Now, these are not revolutionary observations, obviously. This is not ground-breaking stuff. It's not brain science or rocket surgery. It's not new … it's just new to me. It's the current debacle I find myself in. Well, that and praying my daughter only educates a small number of people about a girls' vagina or a boys' penis, or doesn't necessarily want to see the contents of her diaper on a particularly poopy day, or doesn't need a Kleenex to catch the Nebraska-size-mucus dripping from her nose. Yeah, we keep it classy.

Seriously though, I struggle. I struggle because again, I'm new to all of this and like any self-proclaimed Type A, OCD, overachieving, people-pleasing, control freak, I want to do it "right." I now know this isn't possible. I've really known all along but find myself needing a reminder every now and again. I've very quickly learned there's no "right" way to do anything, especially when it comes to parenting. There's just the best-intented way. That and a lot of hope, faith, trust, confidence and camaraderie.

Camaraderie is what's helped pull me out of the idealized waters I was wading in. To each their own of course but to me, I can no longer take those that publish their lives only focused and reporting on the good. Don't misunderstand, I secretly worship these people. They, and their optimism, are a rare breed and I believe them to be some of the most authentically happy people in the world. They are just not me. (Hi Captain Obvious! Hi Celexa! Hi New Belguim!) I need someone to tell me how a small, microscopic part of them didn't necessarily "like" their child last Tuesday. I need someone to confide that they, too, sometimes have the impulse to chuck their children across the room. I need someone to say out loud that the favorite part of a particular day was when their kids we're all tucked away in bed. Along with all the heart-expanding good moments and my immeasurable amounts of love for my kids, I need some cynicism and wit. Like Carrie Bradshaw once said, "I need my relationship [with my daughters] with a little bit of milk." I can't do happy all the time because things aren't happy all the time.

It's like this episode of Desperate Housewives where Lynette ends up taking her kids ADD medicine to keep up and by the end of the episode she crashes and breaks down in front of the other moms on the block, only to learn that they've all been through it. Her response, through eventual tears, is to request that moms talk about the hard stuff, too. Because it is hard and instead of constantly feeling like other Moms, other parents, are always doing it better—keeping it together, not complaining, relishing in all the joys—I need to know I'm not alone, it is okay, it is hard, it will get better and it does not and will not have any reflection on my love for my family.

You know what else helps? Fucking funny blogs. Like this gem another coworker helped me discover: Ask Your Dad Blog

He's genuine, he's sensitive, he talks about the hard times and even better, he talks to his kid's poop. LOVE. IT. Give it a read, go smooch your chitlins, open that bottle of beer and just be darn proud that you made it through another day of the hardest, but best time of your life. You may not hit a home run today, but it's a mighty fine privilege just to suit up and be a part of the team.

P.S. I'm a good Mama. You're a good Mama. About time we tell each other! Tell a Friend: You Are a Good Mama

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Team Camo

In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, let me tell you about a little ol' event we participated in exactly one month ago.

(See, my procrastination with this post lead me to be able to link it with such an important effort. Laziness really does pay off!)

For the second year in a row, Team DeBoer became Team Camo for SAVE's Emotion in Motion 5K Run/Walk for Mental Health. While the husband and our eldest ran the route, myself and our youngest got to walk. And because we walked, Norman got to walk too. Our family of five helped raise much-needed funds for SAVE, we helped raise awareness about mental health and it's link to suicide, and most importantly, we honored the memory of one Grandpa Mark Miller. A Grandpa my kids never got to meet. A man whose death was untimely and unexpected and therefore must be remembered. A Dad who I think of and miss absolutely every, single, day.

Again this year, the weather was perfect and the surroundings were beautiful. The air was crisp but with the help and heat of the sun, conditions could not have been better. Lake Harriet really is a sight to be seen for such an event. Shawn and Maci took off on the run roughly 15 minutes before Ivy, Norman and myself headed out for the walk. As was our plan of attack, we hung out at the back of the walking pack so that when Shawn and Maci were done, they could keep going and catch back up with us. It took a wee bit o' effort by Mr. DeBoer, but the hubby pulled through and found us about halfway through our lap. Crossing the finish line as one family, we all received our yellow roses and spent the rest of the morning relaxing, eating, taking pictures and just watching. It was a great day.

Miss Ivy amid her morning nap.

Miss Maci amid her silliness. 

And they're off!

Ma familia.

Norman was pooped. So Mae Mo pounced.

The newest chitlin to dawn the camo.

Like daddy, like daughter.

Mama and my girls (and unequivocally my favorite photo).

Until next year…

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mama Brain

Dude, it's back.

Shawn and I went to see The Butler a couple weeks ago and while we were discussing it afterwards, I lovingly referred to a scene as Reagan's pregnancy.

A couple days later we were having goulash for super and I asked Shawn for a sheet of bread. Not surprisingly, Shawn knew what I meant and handed over a slice.

We were asked over and over at the Minnesota fair recently how old Ivy was. I kept saying three and a half months. I got her three month update from BabyCenter yesterday.

Shawn and I went to do some "filler" grocery shopping this past weekend for fruit and snacks and stuff. I came home and put two boxes of granola bars away only to find three others that were already there.

Shawn, Maci, Ivy and even Norman, are all interchangeable names at my house. I even pulled out a Peg the other day when referring to our neighbor's house. Peg hasn't lived there for at least three years.

I sat at a green light for an absurd amount of time before remembering it meant go. What's more absurd? Not one single honk from the slew of cars behind me.

(Oh yeah, and it's not just me this time around)
Shawn loaded up the Tribute with bags, babies and a basset, had it running and was ready to back out of the driveway when I asked him if he thought we should move the Camry out from behind the Tribute first.

Finally, I posted a photo from a fabulous 5K we did back in August with the promise of more to come. I have yet to post any such "more."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013


When I was pregnant with Maci, I loathed the thought of having to look for daycare. Originally from Iowa, I didn't have a reservoir of resources at my disposal for this great Minnesota metropolis and I had no idea even where to start. The task of finding a complete stranger and asking them to take care of our baby seemed more daunting to me then even the actual birth of said baby. How on earth do you begin to go about finding such a place? A mecca of motherhood if you will. A place you put 100% trust and faith in. A place you have complete confidence will treat and love your newborn just as much as you do. A place that is not only inviting and entertaining, but above all, safe and secure. A place ran by a person that you feel comfortable, for all intents and purposes, having help raise your child. As with most great stories, my answer was pure, dumb coincidence and a little bit of luck.

I happen to be working with Miss Bree at the big bad B(olger) when she decided to quit her job and open a daycare … just in time for us to need one. I might have made a phone call or two to inquire about other possibilities but in the back of my mind, I knew nothing was going to be an easier decision. Sure, she was just starting and didn't have any references or even a license yet. Sure, she was still in the process of getting all the facilities up to par. And sure, she was way, way, WAY out of the way from our house or work (stupid Interstate 94), but honestly, knowing we'd know who was watching our first born was priceless to us. What they say is true: You cannot put a price on peace of mind. Especially when it comes to your children.

So Maci Mae started going to Bree's when she was just eight weeks old. And she's been going there ever since. Until today. Today is her last day at Owl Tree Daycare. Due to circumstances beyond Team DeBoer's control, daycare is closing and Bree is actually moving clear across the country (to stupid California). While I truly am excited for her and her family and am trying to focus on the fact that our "village" is just expanding, I'm also heartbroken. For my Maci especially.

(I will NOT cry. Dammit. I put on mascara today!)

A big part of what Maci knows is changing and even though she may not even remember this time in her life, Shawn and I sure will as we are forever and undoubtedly in debt to Bree. She not only loved our first born as her own for two years, she basically helped turn her into the little person she is today. She taught her how to nap and follow a schedule, she introduced us to pouches and (fucking) Matilda Jane, she coined the "Mae Mo" and "nu nu" nicknames, she helped bring music pageants, movie nights  and "tootats" into our lives, she took on cloth diapers (voluntarily) and she's been there for every other step in Maci's life so far: the sitting, crawling and standing; the walking and talking; the fevers, pink-eyes and teething; the sass, tantrums and screaming; the bruises, band-aids and bug bites; and the smiles, giggles and belly-laughs. Second only to her parents, no one else knows Maci Mae better. And for that we are forever grateful.

(Okay, I give. Someone get me a tissue. Or better yet, a beer.)

I literally could go on and on and on and on but suffice it to say, Bree is irreplaceable and everyone in this house is going to miss her (and her daycare) terribly. To that end, we will also miss the chats, emails, texts, phone calls, invites, get-togethers, field trips, blogs and especially the photos we've been receiving on a near daily basis for the past two years, those of which started with the following:

And finally, we MUST acknowledge and say a ginormous thank you to the entire Owl Tree Daycare "team": KK (Kirsten), Papa (Bill), Nana (Barb), Allison, Blythe and every other happy helper we've had along the way. Even Sir Gus and Miss Lola. Good luck Team Bielejeski! We'll see you again soon!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Today, instead of doing the dishes, I chatted with my amazing neighbor and friend, Sara.

Instead of folding the laundry, I went for a really, really, really long walk with my second born.

Instead of searching for yet, another daycare center to tour, I sat in my chair and put my feet up.

Instead of eating an apple, I ate lots and lots and lots of cookies. 

Okay, I do that anyway, but what I'm trying to say is today … today was a good day.

The sky was blue, nary a cloud in the sky. The sun was warm, the humidity was low. And even though there was (and always is) a gagillion things I should do, I did absolutely nothing. I accomplished squat, zero, zilch. Bodiddly. It was fantastic. The only thing that could have made it better was if one of my books on reserve at the library had come in. I need a new read dammit!

Now enjoy this completely random picture I took months ago. The juxtaposition of Daddy's hand to Maci's is simply endearing. Since apparently I'm such a softy these days… 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mae Mo

Two years ago today, at 7:49am, into the world came the great Maci Mae Mo. Ever since, Team DeBoer's lives have never been the same. And we can't imagine it any other way.

Miss Maci is shy at first (like Mama) but quick to entertain once she's comfortable (like Daddy). She has the most beautiful, anime-esque blue eyes (like Daddy) and the greatest gappy smile (like Mama). She has turned into quite the little fish (like Mama) and never turns down a chance at a thrill ride (like Daddy). All comparisons aside, Maci Mae is one of a kind. She is the smartest little shit, rattling off her ABCs, every color of the rainbow, counting to 10, naming all parts of her anatomy (and I mean ALL parts) and identifying every vehicle you'll see on the streets of the cities. Also, and I'm not exaggerating, she has the vision of a seasoned sniper. She will see a plane, train or bird at 500 yards and point it out to you. She loves animals, bubbles, "tootats" and pizza and hates garbage trucks, vegetables, insect bites and dirt. We don't know when our first born turned into the toting toddler she is, but it's exciting, albeit educational, to see her personality explode!

Happy 2nd Birthday Maci Mae DeBoer! May this year be your best yet and may that hair continue to get bigger and better!

Now please enjoy the following photos whilst I go weep…

Matilda Jane model.

Sledding (snow optional).

(No caption needed.)


The only "ride" you'll get Mama on: a small slide.

Driving Miss Mae Mo.

The (fake) pout.

Good locks must run in the family.


Saving some crackers for later…

Two peas in a pod.

Again with the crackers?!

Miss stoic, HA!


Watch out Mr. Phelps!

Umm, yeah … we'll talk about this when you're older.

Air DeBoer!

I spy…

Zee hair, el naturale.

My Maci


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