Divide and Conquer

This past weekend Elise and I left the boys to fend for themselves. We packed up a bunch of princess dresses, multiple pairs of pjs, and hit the road.

Christine, Jess and I have been friends since college. We try to get together for a girls’ weekend 2 times a year. Sometimes we get together more than that, and sadly, sometimes less. There have been 3 girls’ weekend crashers in the past. Namely, Elise, Christine’s boy Jaxon and Jess’s boy Cooper. We are all Mamas after all and when a new baby enters our group, said baby is allowed to crash one girls’ weekend after their arrival on earth. This helps ease the guilt of leaving a baby at home and also the rest of us get to snuggle a little one for the weekend without the 18 year commitment of you make it, you raise it.

This weekend was a bit different. This girls’ weekend we decided to invite the kiddos. We decided this will either be our best idea ever or our worst idea ever. I left the boys at home with Tim, because all the kiddos there would be 4 and under, and to them, a weekend home with Dad is more fun than playing with a bunch of babies.

The boys had a blast at home with Tim. They played hours and hours of Minecraft, went to their weekly science class, watched boy movies, played Legos and ate nothing that even resembled a vegetable all weekend. In fact they were still in the same clothes that I sent them to school in on Friday morning before Elise and I hit the road. To say they had a good time is an understatement.

Tim sent me some pics throughout the weekend. Everyone of them made me grin and giggle.

I think the most memorable thing Tim did with the boys was having a slumber party in the basement.

*Correction* I have been informed that it wasn’t a slumber party it was camping in the basement.

What I learned while driving to Grand Forks with just Elise is this, Elise is way more fun to travel with then the boys! Yes we made a few more pit stops at pottys than I would have liked, but time flies when you are singing along to Disney Princess songs. We stopped for a snack at the gas station and she was content with an apple and a little tub of peanut butter and didn’t once ask for any candy.

When we made it to Fargo for potty and lunch break we dashed to the bathroom and then took our time eating a yummy lunch. Then she played in the mall play area to “get her wiggles out.”

One kid is easier than three.

That said, when Elise was eating her yummy lunch or climbing the play equipment she said to me over and over again, “I think the boys would like this! Can we tell the boys about this park? That little kid won’t play with me, the boys like to play with me.”

One kid is easier, but three kids is more fun.

The boys didn’t change clothes all weekend. Elise, on the other hand, had many costume changes. However the majority of the weekend she spent in a princess Aurora dress that Gracie was kind enough to share.

We ventured out of the house as a group only once. We went out to lunch and then went to SantaPalooza where Elise got to write a letter to Santa.

What did she ask for you wonder? Oh this little girl with two big brothers wants only one thing, a pink spider.

Gracie is destined to be Elise’s BFF. Christine got pregnant 4 months before me and about the time she found out she was having a girl, I found out I was pregnanrt. When I found out I was pregnant with a girl it became official. Our baby girls would be besties.

Gracie’s mom Christine is a photographer. Check our her Facebook page her or click on the photos below.  She isn’t like me who carries around a big camera and pretends to know what she is doing. Christine is a legit photographer. While the girls were playing princess, Christine and I quickly moved some furniture, convinced them to let me curl their hair and positioned them in front of a big window with lots of natural light. It goes without saying that Christine and I met while doing theatre in college and staging, costuming and directing is something we don’t get to do often now that we are moms, so when we saw the opportunity to pose our sweet girls, we did!

(Next three photos were taken by Christine)

Also funny to note, Jess was also in our theatre posse in college so when she walked into the room and saw that we had rearranged all her furniture, costumed our kids and placed them in “the good light” she didn’t even bat an eye. It is as if she expected her dining room to be transformed into a photo studio while she was in the other room caring for her son Cooper.

What is really cosmically wonderful about Jess, Christine and I being friends and all now being moms is that not only are Gracie and Elise close in age, but Christine and Jess both have little boys that are just a year apart. The age gap between 20 month old Jaxon and 10 month old Cooper seems big but by next year they will be great buddies.

It was a fun weekend. It wasn’t easy and we were all tired come sunday morning (kids sleeping in new places never makes for a restful night) but being tired is being better than the usual hangover that comes with girls’ weekend so I think this may become a tradition. Not every weekend will we invite the kids (Mamas need a break) but I think at least once a year Elise and I will leave the boys behind to play video games and stew in their own boy filth while we go and play dress up and eat chocolate cake.

a few more blurry phone pics here. 

Halloween 2014

Trying to get a photo of these three together is getting easier. I can now get them all in the frame of the shot with out tears unlike their first Halloween with all three of them!

Now the problem is that once I get them in the frame there is no telling what will happen, especially when they are in costume. I have to say that the theatre geek in me is quite impressed at how committed the boys were to their characters.

They are silly and wonderful kids.

Here they are in full Minnesota Halloween costumes. Harry Potter was the best costume for the cold weather. Dorothy was the worst. Thank goodness the coat from last year’s Eloise costume still fits her. The fleece lined leggings helped keep her warm too.

Tim took this photo for me before we headed out to Trick or Treat.

The stars and stripes on their costumes are glow in the dark tape. Safety first when running around the neighborhood at night asking strangers for candy!


Toto made the trip around the block too. I think this may be the last year I pull the wagon while trick or treating.

The kids chose two candies each when we got home. Then they put on pjs and sat in front of the fireplace to thaw out.

The sugar crash happened shortly after.


more photos here.

Halloween 2014: Michael

In March we went to Harry Potter world. The kids loved it.

After that trip Tim and I bought the box set of all the Harry Potter books. Tim began reading a little bit to the kids every night. We have made it through the first two books now. Because of this, It should come as no surprise that Michael wanted to be Harry Potter for Halloween.

It timed out rather perfectly that we finished the 2nd Harry Potter book the weekend before Halloween. We made a weekend out of it. On Friday we made wands. On Saturday we went for a hike through the Dark Forest to look for clues of Aragog. And then on Saturday night we laid out a bunch of drink mixes and let the kids mix their own “potion drinks.” I filled tiny cauldrons from the dollar spot at Target with “every flavor beans” and we had a Harry Potter movie night. We pulled out the bean bag bed, spread out blankets and cuddled up and watch Harry Potter battle Aragog and the Basilisk.

There couldn’t have been a better lead up to wearing a Harry Potter costume. Michael was in character the minute he put on his cloak and grabbed his wand.

I made the cloak by altering a grim reaper pattern. The tie was ordered from The Tie Bar. The dress shirt was from Christmas last year and the sweater was thrifted from Once Upon a Child.

He was a great Harry Potter and I am excited to report that he wants to be Harry Potter again next year. Yes! Costume for 2015 done and done!

Halloween 2014: Patrick

I have created monsters. Only one of the kids was an actual monster this year for Halloween but none-the-less, all three are monsters.

I am slow to say “spoiled” because that brings to mind snobby kids who don’t appreciate what is given to them, so I am going to use a kinder word, naive maybe? That isn’t it either but it does balance out the meanness of “spoiled.” Maybe the best way to say this is that my kids are naive and even though they are grateful for their costumes, they take for granted all the work that goes into them.

Patrick has no idea that when he said, “I want to be Aragog, the giant spider from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for Halloween!”, that I immediately started to think, How the HELL am I going to make a Aragog costume? Patrick continued on not noticing my raised eyebrows and look of dread. He then starts requesting, “Can you make it so all the arms move and it has to have big pincers. I need 8 eyes too!”

I am already planning out the easiest way to make extra limbs move when he mentions the pincers. I interrupted him to ask, “Can’t your hands just be the pinchers?”

With indignation that only a 7-year-old boy trying to express in great detail the vision he has for his costume can muster her replies, “Mom they are PINCERS not PINCHERS! Lobsters have pinchers!”

I make a mental note to Google what the hell a pincer is and then immediately decide against it when the image of a Google Image search of spider pincers pops into my head. Hundreds of thumbnail photos of macro shots of spiders flood my mind and I decide to nix the pincers and just give him a pair on black gloves. If I can make extra arms move he can imagine his hands are pincers.

In the end, it was Patrick’s request to be Aragog that turned out to be the easiest and cheapest costume to make. I finished the whole thing in one afternoon.

All I ended up doing was buying a plain black zip up hoodie and sweat pants. I cut out 4 rectangles of scrap fleece and sewed them like a pillow case. I stuffed the arms with polyfill and then cut a hole in the side of the sweatshirt the width of the arm. I turned the sweatshirt inside out and then sewed the arms in place. I did that four times and then I used some black yarn to string the arms to the actual hoodie arms so that when Patrick raised his arms, the other arms raised too. It was fast and easy.

The spider hat was just a cheap knit man’s hat that we had in our winter hat bin. I traced some circles onto white flannel fabric, cut out the circles and then sewed them on. Then I sewed on some green buttons and the hat was done.

Patrick didn’t look like Aragog but he had all the features of a spider and he loved the costume. Not once did he mention pincers when he put on the costume.

I love my spider. He tried so hard to be scary but really, he was the sweetest spider ever.


Does Patrick understand all the work that goes into making a spider costume? Not really. But that is okay. The joy he felt running around waving his extra arms in the air was contagious. Nothing is more fun than having a costume to take your imaginary games to the next level. I get that. I was a theatre major after all, I know first hand the power of a good costume!

Patrick said thank you for the costume dozens of times. He said he loved the costume. He said he couldn’t wait to show all the neighbors his costume. He said next year he wants to be Basilisk the snake that is so giant that its fang is the size of Harry Potter’s forearm. Uffda. I have 11 1/2 months to sway him from giant snake costume to anything else!