Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

I am embarrassed to say that I am actually writing this post in March of 2013, but am going to back date it to December of 2012.  I just realized that I didn’t post my pictures.

First up the PairSquared Christmas with Grandma Cheryl and Grandpa Rick!  Nice to have a year where we didn’t have to help anyone open a present.  Had to help them assemble it!!



2012 Christmas_1

2012 Christmas_2

Next up Scott Christmas.

Scott Christmas_1

Scott Christmas_2

Dinner was delicious!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Old Pics: Backsplash

I just pulled old pics off the camera.  I forgot to post a pic of the backsplash.  It is obviously completed now, but at least you can get the idea.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas

We did in fact set up the Christmas tree this year. 






It was a beautiful tree!


And then they got a hold of it…


Old Pics: Halloween 2012

Couldn’t miss us in our neighborhood.



Wendy had some special treats for the little ones.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Belly Up

Yup, our kids.  Luckily the bartender was a good sport.  That game kept the boys busy forever!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Potty Training: Day #2

One success from Jossie and we think that it was just luck.  Mom tried the underwear bit rather than naked bottom half.  Apparently it didn’t keep them from peeing on the floor.  In other news, Bennett took a large dump in the froggy potty when no one was looking.  If he wasn’t already trained to use the toilet I am sure we would all done the potty dance and offered him a fruit snack.


The training concluded before dinner tonight.  Maybe it will start to click on Day 3.  Wondering if any of my family is getting worried yet about how much of this training will roll into Thanksgiving.  If pants are required for eating at the table Jocelyn and Aaliyah might have some issues with that.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Potty Training Twin Girls: Day #1

For some reason God blessed me with a mother that has sympathy for her daughter with multiple multiples.  She came back for round two of potty training with the girls.  I am surprised that the boys didn’t scare her away.  I predict that all the times the girls make me appreciate the ease of the boys, the girls will put the boys training to shame.

Today was day #1.  I got out of the majority of this day.  This whole going back to work thing really worked in my favor for potty training. 

I checked in early AM with mom and she reported 1 pee on the floor and Aaliyah holding tight.  Later AM, I called back for report and mid conversation mom yelled AHHOHHHEWWW and the phone fell on the floor.  I concluded that Aaliyah just had her first pee of the day.  At this point no successes so I preceded to call Circle Sage Healing for a massage appointment for mom.  When I got home in the afternoon, the laundry room was full of pee blankets and there was a huge wet spot on the couch.  I’m not telling anyone what couch it was so you don’t think twice when you sit down at my house.  Mom said there was another accident upstairs and as she was cleaning up Jossie, Aaliyah decided to go #2.  Luckily for mom the smashed brown clump on the floor was a piece of bread from their play food rather than stepped in poop.  In the evening, I cleaned up pee that happened mid dinner, Jocelyn peed on the towel right before she stepped in the bath tub, and Aaliyah made pee tracks through the kitchen as she reported she had a poopy in her underwear.  I put pull ups on.

This time I am not nearly as optimistic.  I didn’t plan on there being any success the first day because I was frustrated after the first day with the boys.  I am telling you, potty training is one of the harder tasks so far and I have had help.

Better luck tomorrow.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012


They love hanging out together!


Where did fall go, or maybe when is winter coming?

Saturday night and I am blogging.  The boys are hovered over an early Christmas present, LeapPad 2, while the girls watch da da da da Dora.  We have succumb to the assistance of technology babysitters with just 6:49pm on the clock.  These kids are machines.

Since it doesn’t feel like winter yet I won’t feel so bad posting these pictures just now.  This fall, we did throw the kids into the leaves and pretend like the day was beautiful and everything went swimmingly.  This day I went with Brian (brother in law with 4 kids) to the local art center for a little Halloween fun (yes I am behind).  Moment captured…



What I didn’t tell you is that I didn’t dress them for the weather.  Brian and I excited the tour early because our children were bored and didn’t understand how to stay in a line.  On the way down a steep hill Selah flipped out of her stroller because we were to busy making sure Aaliyah and Jocelyn didn’t fall on their face.  The best moment was when we got popcorn and they sat still.  It was a successful trip.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nanny Samm

A new semester, a new Nanny! 

Nanny Samm!


This little cupcake will be watching PairSquared 3 days a week until she returns to school next semester.  She is a student at Northwestern College studying biblical studies.  This girl will do great things for sure.  Not only can she french braid the girls hair, she makes killer banana bread.  She has even volunteered to keep the kids in KPT on Mondays and do the drop off and pick up.  Pray that she survives our horrible van doors annoying habit to not close, Ethan’s request to have his backpack completely on his back for the walk from the front door to the car in the driveway, the girls insistence to hold their lunch bags so that they can tear into their sandwiches on the way to the church, and Bennett’s tantrum at the girl’s classroom because he insists he is not a Brown Bear, but a Red Rabbit. 

Hope you got your sleep Samm!

Career and Family: Can’t a girl have it both?

I started this post last week and now am finishing it.  No easier way to say it then to just get it out… 

I’m going went back to work. 

A few of you have had some insight to this decision, however, this might be news to a few of you.  About 6 weeks ago I received an offer that I seriously had to consider.  The offer was to assist in leading the launch of a new “observership” program.  My new position as the Community Career Exploration Liaison will be helping the Volunteer Services department create a system wide program and process for students (HS and college) to enter inside the hospital walls to engage in career exploration opportunities and observation.   I accepted such fitting challenge and actually started last Friday.  Exactly 14 months from my last full time day at Children’s.  I will be working with the outstanding Volunteer Services team under the magnificent direction of Sandy B.  It is a double bonus!!

The easier part of the post is writing what I decided the more difficult task is to write the WHY.  I did ask for some input from key players in my life; those that are invested in my day to day survival.  I appreciated how you (EP, JC, KL, LW) challenged me, presented decisions that I would have to face, your honesty, and the support.  I know this decision is not for everyone.  I happen to have several good friends that stay at home and rock it, but I admit that I am not rockin’ it like I thought I would.  I am not excited about the idea of making home made play-doh or allowing my kids to finger paint with pudding on my kitchen table(heart you Iz).  I know you want to tell me that the numbers are against me, my kids are the hardest ages right now, and it will get easier, but I really am aware.  I know that doing stay at home mommy things are just not realistic for me.  I can’t get a zoo membership because I fear that Jocelyn will scale the wall and jump into the cage.  I can’t take all 4 of my kids swimming because I fear that Aaliyah will get past the zero entry pool in attempt to go down the water slide.  I can’t go shopping because all 4 of my kids, a shopping cart, and myself don’t fit into the handicap stall when I have to go to the bathroom.  Not to mention the annoying event of the girls unlocking the stall door in mid stream.   The idea of putting on 8 socks, 8 shoes, 4 jackets, 4 hats, gathering a bag with extra change of clothes, snacks, and sippy cups to go the gym to sweat uncomfortably is not really my idea of a good time.  Staying together for a walk is a joke.  Ethan reminds me every morning that he can’t brush his teeth because it is too dangerous, however, running into the street where cars are driving is completely safe?  I have considered becoming part of a mommy group mostly because they offer daycare options for your kids when you attend events/meetings.  No offense but if someone is watching my kids the last thing I want to do is get into deep conversation about how my kids won’t eat their vegetables or keep their clothes on.  I want silence and a TV that doesn’t play Dora. 

This last portion of the entry might be more for my reflection and a reminder for years down the road. I just get worried that after all the time I took to decide that I wanted to stay home more with the kids I might regret 14 months later deciding to return back to work. So I wrote myself a letter just in case I forget why I made the decision I can remind myself.

November 4, 2012

Dear HOT PairSquared Mom, (it is my letter so I get to pick the salutation)

Right now you might be wondering why you cut your time at home short with your PairSquared Posse.  First it was not without deep thinking and consideration that you decided to split your career and family chips into 2 piles.  I am here to remind you why this was what you (and your family) needed.  Your decision was based upon 3 primary factors.

1.  Opportunity – when opportunity presents itself you have to listen.  This position is a solid fit with your skill set.  Like dad always says, it is easy to quit a job, but not always easy to find one.  I think he used a similar analogy with you when you were 16…it takes years to build a reputation and only minutes to ruin it.  Need a remind you why he told you this?!?  Sorry that was a low blow.  You were given the chance to do something innovative and unique.  Seize it and rise to the challenge.

2. Balance – do you really think you were kidding anybody by pretending that you were “staying at home” when you constantly filled your time with Children’s on call shifts, new PT jobs, and business ventures?!?  Rather than filling your time with responsibilities that overflow into your mommy job, you can now focus on work at work and focus on family when home.  The day you sit still will continue remain unknown.  Family needs to be a priority and maybe this is the way that you can control the balance.  Move your butt to the middle of the teeter totter.   

3. Sanity – you aren’t the only one that thinks being home with the PairSquared Posse full time is completely insane.  I know you love them, but doesn’t a mom need her own time too?  Yeah, maybe you would like your me time to be at the massage parlor rather than working at a desk but if I were you (and I am) take what you can get.  Rather than spending $90 on 90 minutes of bliss you will be able to enjoy a morning cup of coffee while checking your Groupwise email without being interrupted by, “Mommy, wipe my bottom.” 

Hopefully this letter will lift your spirits one day when you need it.  I am positive that your kids have benefited from this decision.  Some people say that you aren’t putting your family first if you choose a career over staying home.  I think you can proudly say that you were putting your family first.  You made a choice that gives you balance, focus, and experience.  Career and family, you are a girl that had it both.

Keep on keepin’ on,

Me (You)  

Friday, October 26, 2012

House Warming with the Vikings

Mid October we finally invited a few people over for the Vikes game.  We were missing one girl and the other 2 girls are still to be born we just tried to get a photo of all the kiddy boys.



Oh yeah, do you see the top of that baby carrier in the bottom of the picture.  I forgot that Kai was down there.  Second try…


It was a good attempt.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Our neighbor has a set of boy twins that are 8 years old.  Ethan and Bennett think they are pretty cool.  Their names are Carson and Brady and they zoom around the cul de sac on their scooters.  The boys are working on it.  This was about 2 weeks ago.

Ring Around the Rosie

Tuesdays and Thursdays with my girls

Boys are off at pre-school and the girls run and play!  Well mostly we make Sam’s club, Target, and grocery runs.  The girls come to the Y to drop the boys off for school.  So maybe you can imagine me with 4 kids, three and under making our way out of a van, through a busy parking lot, past the lobby, and to the school room.  I have had the assistance of a very old lady in the parking lot, many people holding the doors open and more importantly holding the doors closed to prevent them from exiting the building without me.  The pre-school teacher and aid take pity on me and don’t require me to get the boys bags hung up and lunch bags in the cubby.  Just last week I realized that there was a “snack bin” that I was supposed to put their snack into.  I didn’t even know they were supposed to have an extra snack.  I also finally read the paper work and found out that at lunch time the Y serves them milk.  Here I have been sending them with milk and I could have been saving their milk money.  And I have yet to send the boys with a family picture.  I think that was supposed to be the 2nd week.  I think there is a learning curve on this school thing.  Not only do the kids have more responsibilities like a journal and homework, I have to remember that they have more responsibilities.  I have been trying to get a grasp on this Tuesday/Thursday pre-school thing.  It was a purposeful preschool accident with Ethan that gave me a kick in the butt.  2 weeks ago I got a call that Ethan hit his head on the floor hard, wasn’t acting normal, and might have a concussion.  We raced to the Y while planning a trip to Children’s ER.  Brett called the nurses line at Park Nicollet to find out what the protocol was.  Ultimately it was concluded that we didn’t need to take him especially after he started acting his goofy self when we got home.  He is fine and as normal as they come.  So, I think I need to get things (and myself) together for these kids. 

So back to the drop off….I release the boys into the preschool room and they have to fend for themselves.  It takes all my energy to tear Jocelyn and Aaliyah away from the chalk board and sand table.  I had good intentions of taking the girls swimming once a week after dropping the boys, but that clearly took the back seat to my errand and work agenda.  We have skipped the swimming enough times to dodge the girls crying and screaming that they want to go swimming while I carry them outside of the building.  I’m not proud, but I plan on getting a better routine with the girls.  Today we went to the Red Balloon Bookshop for story time.  Yes, I guess I was officially there on Happy Family business, but we still benefited from the singing and peek a boo play during story time.  I actually highly recommend this to anyone that is looking for something to do with their kids.  We also visited my friends at Children’s Hospital for lunch.  I am happy to report that the girls will sit in a shopping cart without complaining, they stay close in parking lots, and follow me when walking much better than they did in the beginning of September.  Right now Jocelyn is passed out in the rocking chair.  That was a good day. 

Jocelyn strutting her stuff.  I know that hair is out of control.


Aaliyah after a long day.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Little Falls Craft Fair 2012

This is a bit past but I am sure you will not be surprised.  Mom (Cheryl’s Fabric Garden), Pam (Belrue and glass jewelry), and myself (PairSquared Designs) went to the Little Falls Craft show together. 





We stayed at this lake house with some kooky lady.  Mom swears someone was making toast in our kitchen in the middle of the night.  I don’t think we will go back.  We also held a social experiment the last day.  We left a chair across from our booths to see who would sit in it.


This lady needed a break from carrying around that heavy horse.


This lady needed a place to sit and feed her child.


And I guess this guy was just really tired.


Best part of the weekend was spending time together.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Change of address coming to you via email soon…




ATP Pics

Family pictures and the girls 2 year pictures (only 4 months late).  Love you Annie Torrini Photography.






2 years old and still sharing


Balancing Act

I know, I know I am not keeping you up on all the details of what is going on.  Just to give you an idea where my head has been I found this image.  Describes it pretty well.

This is what I feel like…


Pretty sure this analogy is not uncommon for moms in this world.  I have found myself most of the time driving around the city either transporting kids to their programs, heading to meetings, working events, etc.  During my drives I have all these thoughts about posting a blog and things I want to share.  Then a good jam comes on the radio and I turn up the volume so I can’t hear my cell phone ring.  At home, I sit down at my computer and all thoughts are lost.  Not gone, but hidden behind the “To Do” list from ceiling to floor.  The pieces have fallen and I am in recovery.  I don’t really feel like I am a real “stay at home mom” OR a “working mom”.  I feel like I am doing both half hearted.  I wanted it both, but little did I know that it would ultimately make both of my worlds suffer.  I can’t remember what the boys need to bring to preschool each day and I can’t remember what work emails I have yet to follow up on.  This disorganization is not fitting for me.  Today I had a much needed and completely unsolicited visit from a friend.  It was one of those moments that she happen to know that I needed to talk and asked to come over.  This friend is not unfamiliar with coffee talks to help MJ get her head on straight.  With a gentle reminder that despite my desire to want to always be busy (thanks mom and dad) I have to give up something.  Her lasting comment as she walked out my door was that she will be checking in on how on my resignation letters are coming.  Don’t get excited I am not quitting anything.  I need to reprioritize.  Clearly my blog has been left in the dust which is my outlet to share my funny stories, pictures, and pity parties to family, friends, and complete strangers. 

I am off to get back on the road with a little help from this guy, wow isn’t he good lookin’? 

(Didn’t you know that in front of every great man is a outstanding woman?)


Oh wait, I mean this guy!


And for all these little monsters.


Excited for tomorrow and to get the papers on my dining room table organized. 

#1 on the list – flip chart hung on the wall

Wonder if my sister or dad will call me first after this post?