Just another Minnesota Mom blog.


Posted: December 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Minnesota, Weather | 9 Comments »

That’s the hashtag I’ve been following on Twitter all day today.  Minnesotans get downright giddy when the snow really piles up!

If you live in Minnesota you know we are getting dumped on out there.  All week they’ve been talking about it, at first they were a bit cautious.  You don’t want to compare it to the Blizzard of 91 and have it totally miss us.  Then as we got closer, the meteorologist were pretty excited. 

It snowed all night.  And all morning and afternoon and evening.  They called off the plows this afternoon and will be sending them back out here around 9pm (according to MPR).  When the plows can’t stay ahead of the game, you know it’s bad.  I had someplace to be at 9am and although we tried (very very hard) to get my car off the street this morning, I wasn’t going anywhere.  I did go back to bed after this attempt thinking we might get a plow down our street so I could get out to go to work tonight.  We *did* get one swipe (we’re a day 2 and 3 street so they only do a quick run down the middle) but it didn’t make much difference.  We tried to dig out a few hours later, you know, to see if the extra snow that had fallen had made it easier to move either car, and I still wasn’t going anywhere.  Finally, I made the call.  No work tonight.  Unless Yogi Dad was going to not only dig me out from the lovely curbside parking, but then shovel a nice wide path all the way to University where conditions were a bit better, I was staying put. 

I can only think of one other time I’ve missed work because of snow, it was pre-kids.  We both called in and walked up to Gardens of Salonica to have lunch.  It was hard work hoofing it in the snow, but a lot of fun.  We had lots of snow when I was home on leave after the boys were born, my tires even got frozen in place and I had to get pulled out by a truck so we could move my car before I was towed during a Snow Emergency!  Nothing this bad though, this accumulation is pretty brutal. 

I’m actually pretty pumped for the snow.  We live in Minnesota.  We’re supposed to have snow.  I have great memories of snowy winters. Moon boots and crappy mittens with crumbly foam insides.  skating on the pond across the street, sledding at Elm Creek, warming houses and that rubbery floor they always have.  Hmmm.   That picture up there?  That’s me in the red and my Mom holding my sister Ryon, so I’m guessing it’s one of the big storms from January 1982.  That’s the snow I remember.  Winters have been pretty dry the past few years. 

I wonder if my boys will have the same memories of winter.  Yogi Dad bundled up Wyatt at one point to take him on a sled ride around the block.  Wyatt was totally psyched when we were getting him geared up and as soon as he opened the porch door he was in tears.  They made it about 20 feet down the sidewalk before turning around.  Poor Wyatt.  He’s going to be awfully disappointed if he gets that worked up over some snow.   I guess we’ll have to pin our hopes on skating over skiing with these kids.

So, after dinner and baths we enjoyed our evening all snuggled in our jammies.  The boys shared a big bowl of popcorn and we watched Frosty the Snowman and some other weird Frosty spin-off that followed it.  We put the boys to bed a bit later and now I’m going to attempt to stay up all night so I can sleep tomorrow.  

I’ll of course be listening for the sweet sound of snowplows tonight.

Almost there.

Posted: November 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Target | 5 Comments »

I took 2 kids to Target with me today.

Judah and Lincoln.  The plan had been to take Judah only but Lincoln was so darn cute when he got up from his nap I thought he deserved a little field trip. 

I had my list- a list  I had to stick to as we’re still living off the last of my maternity leave paychecks and the budget is TIGHT.  I usually shop with my list alone- it’s fairly easy to keep a running total when it’s just me and my Starbucks.  Of course with a 2 year old in the front seat of the cart and a baby strapped to my chest there is no Starbucks and a lot more distractions.

Like a 2 Year old who can climb out of the seat.  That’s a new trick.  I couldn’t get the little seatbelt tightened down and about every 3 aisles he was turned all the way around and on his way to standing fully upright in his seat.  Of course every Team Member we saw had to remind him to sit down.  (Nice job Fridley- your team has their shit together!)  It’s a little bit difficult to maneuver a 2 year old into the correct position while wearing a baby.  I just kept thanking my lucky stars I didn’t have Wyatt with me too.  Then again if he was,  they would be in the Big Cart and I think those have some sort of 5-point harness, so it may have been better.  Who knows.

Surprisingly we get through the entire store and I get everything on my list- although I did skimp on the block of Parmesan because I forgot about it until we were in the dairy department and I didn’t want to haul ass back to the Deli where there were more options.  Let’s hope Tyler Florence’s Alfredo sauce doesn’t suffer.  Or maybe Yogi Dad could take a side trip to Surdyk’s.  Hmmmm.

So, I accomplished a trip to Target with two.  Maybe next time I’ll try it with three- maybe when I need just a few things.  And maybe when Yogi Dad is at home and on-call to come and rescue me if things get dicey.

Yes.  That sounds like a plan.

Has it really been 8 years?

Posted: October 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Beer, Date Night, Montana, Restaurants, Travel | 1 Comment »

Well, I guess they are right when they say time flies.  Eight years ago (well, 8y ears and 11 days ago) I married Yogi Dad.  He wasn’t Yogi Dad then.  There was no Yogi and definitely no Dad.  He was just John and I was just Erin and we had a whirlwind romance punctuated by many bottles of Stone Hill wine.  We got engaged after 3 months.  Crazy I know.  Fifteen months later we got married.  Six years later we finally decided kids were a good idea and here we are, three kids deep.

Since we always seem to be out of town for our anniversary we were treated to a lovely dinner at Pearl Cafe in downtown Missoula by John’s Aunt (aka The Hostess with the Mostest).  We haven’t really been out without the baby so it was very welcome.

We got dressed up as best we could, which seems to be more difficult the older we get.  The top I bought was a bit more revealing after carrying children around and having a baby paw at my chest than it was when I tried it on in the confines of my favorite dressing room.  I’ll just say it.  Boobs.  It’s all I see when I look at the pics of us ready to head out and I suppose I can’t expect any of you to not think it too.  There you go.

Anyhooo…we went out!  Like adults!  We left a little early so I could partake in a drink at a real grown up bar before we went to dinner.  It makes me giddy just thinking about it.  We chose James Bar in downtown Missoula.  It’s a pretty sweet place that was so packed we couldn’t get a drink let alone a seat or a table the last time we were in town.  It was a Tuesday night so our options were open this time around.  We sat at the bar.

I ordered a Kettlehouse Cold Smoke.  It was dreamy.  I wish now that we’d gotten some to take home, but we didn’t.  After a little chit-chat with the barkeep he asked us where we had reservations.  We told them The Pearl.  He said we wouldn’t be disappointed.  The thing I take away from restaurants in Missoula is the people that work in them seem to genuinely love the town and really seem to bolster each other up.  It’s nice, you don’t always find that in a bigger city.

We finally arrived at Pearl and there was an open parking spot right out front (it’s street parking).  It’s like we arrived just in time.  We checked in at the front desk, let them know there was to be a giftcard waiting for us and were led to our table.  Funny thing, the man who led us upstairs was Pierre, our waiter at Scotty’s table, a (totally fab) restaurant we lunched at earlier in the week.

Once we sat down we took in the room.  It was nice.  Low lights, fireplace, exposed brick and beams.  We were seated in a loft that overlooks the entrance/ bar area.  It was very intimate and cozy, without being intimidating. 

We took in the menu and devised a plan.  Elk osso bucco was in the running for John and I was stuck between the trout and the filet.  We ordered the scallops to start.  They were smallish, but delicious.  John went for the osso buco and I went for the Filet with Port and Roquefort.  The port sauce was luscious and the medallion of Roquefort perched atop my steak was as creamy and delightful as cold be.  I can say with certainty now, that was the best piece of beef I’ve ever eaten in my life.  I only had a small bite of the elk so I can’t really say, but I was told that my dish won for best of the night.  We finished off with dessert.  I ordered the Dark German Chocolate Cake which was deconstructed and certainly one of the best I’ve ever had.  John had the White Chocolate Mousse Pie.  I also had a glass of Ice Wine from Canada mostly because I had never tried Ice Wine before and we were celebrating, so why not!

I had just taken a sip when we got the call.  Judah had depleted his reserves and was in need of his mother.  Stat.  I suppose this is how it is when you have kids, one who is nursing.

We packed it in and headed home.

Even with our abrupt departure I think this evening was a success.  We weren’t hurried through any course.  We were able to relax and forget, for those few hours, that we had kids at home!  That doesn’t happen very often. 

Last year at this time we had two kids and a twinkle in our eyes.  Who knows what’s in store for us this year?  Probably not another baby…but something good I’m sure.

Baby and the Brewery.

Posted: October 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Beer, Montana, Travel | No Comments »

The Tasting Room from www.bayernbrewery.com

On our last day in Missoula we had plans with Yogi Dad’s Uncle Mike to visit the Bayern Brewery.  I had been going back and forth on this one all week.  I love beer.  I love breweries.  I love breweries in Missoula Montana.  I love drinking beer in breweries in Missoula Montana. Yogi Dad recently made the decision to exclude alcohol from his diet.  And there was the whole baby always attached to me looking for something to eat thing. So, what would be the point?

Thursday came and we decided to go.  I did have some glasses that needed replacing after all.

Let’s just say, I had a blast.

With a sleeping baby attached to me the entire time.

Yep. I drank beer while wearing my baby. 

I had a pint of Dragon’s Breath. Then I had a sample of the Dancing Trout (which I called Dangling Trout…whatevs).  Then I tried Yogi Dad’s Dopplebock(he lifted his policy for this occasion) and ordered myself a sample of the St. Wilber Weizen, then a pint of St. Wilber.  There was a Dump Truck in there somewhere.  I think between the samples and sips and pints I tried almost every beer on their menu. 

There were all spot on and delicious.  The most surprising thing to come out of the day was that my favorite beer was the St. Wilber’s Weizen.  I’m a dyed in the wool dark beer girl.  Totally out of left field that one.  Another revelation?  I wasn’t the only one there with a kid. 

It was a fantastic time and I replaced one of my broken pint glasses with this bute. 

Favorite moments of the day?  When the old-timer sitting at the bar passed around a plate of venison sausage for everyone to try.  That’s how they do it in Missoula.

*photo from www.bayernbrewery.com

Breastfeeding Welcome?

Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Breastfeeding, Mom stuff, Montana, Restaurants, Travel | 1 Comment »

While we were in Missoula I finally had the chance to meet up with one of the ladies I had met on my iVillage expecting club board when I was pregnant with the boys.  My husbands aunt had suggested we go to a local restaurant called Caffe Dolce for dinner one night and when I saw an ad for Caffe Dolce in Mama Lode magazine that proclaimed “Breastfeeding Welcome” I figured it was a good pick.  We could eat dinner with the family and then I could meet Karen for dessert, nursing would not be a problem…it was perfect!

Dinner was lovely, don’t get me wrong.  The menu was a little sophisticated for kids (they didn’t have a kids menu) but we were happy to order a pizza for the boys.  Soon after we ordered, little Judah started to stir.  He wanted to eat.  I first offered the bottle of (precious) pumped milk.  He devoured it in no time flat.  He was still hungry.

Time to break out the big guns. 

I have breastfed in cars. I have breastfed in a baseball stadium. I have breastfed in waiting rooms and doctors offices and on occasion in restaurants. I use a cover, mostly for my comfort, although it’s not his favorite.

I have never in my life been so uncomfortable breastfeeding in a public place.

Maybe it was the wide open room where you could see everyone and everything.  Maybe it was the cold, hard, straight back chair with no arms that made it difficult to get comfortable (my only other option was a stool at a high-top). Maybe it was the fact that the infant seat had (moments before) almost slipped off of the highchair with my child in it and I was a bit frazzled after catching him midair while holding a forkful of pasta. 

I couldn’t get a good latch. My leg and arm were going numb trying to keep him elevated so he could nurse. I was ready to burn my nursing cover by the end I was so irritated.

Breastfeeding welcome my ass.

Seems to me Caffe Dolce was trying to capitalize on a brouhaha last year where a woman was asked to stop breastfeeding her child at the Red Robin. It caused quite a stir, for good reason. I don’t need a welcome mat rolled out to breastfeed, it’s my right by law.

By stating in their ad that breastfeeding was “welcome”, I assumed that there would be a level of comfort afforded me. There was no comfort.  They didn’t even have a kids menu for Pete’s sake.  What do you think happens to these breastfed babies when they grow up?  You’d think it would be easy enough for a pizza and pasta joint to throw together a simple kids menu. Every other restaurant we went to had a kids menu and even the brewery had games for kids to play! But that’s neither here nor there.

I chose this place to spend a pretty good chunk of time based on that ad alone. They presented themselves as 100% family friendly.

How many women have done the same and felt less than thrilled with the experience?

So many things…

Posted: October 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Blogging, Breastfeeding, Day to Day | No Comments »

I have pretty much been on an Internet free vacation for the past two weeks.  Other than a few quick clicks on Facebook and whatever I could view on my phone, I haven’t been on since the night before we left for our trip when our mouse died.  When we got home the Internet wasn’t connecting.  I thought I might go into serious withdrawal at that point but I pushed on.  Post are coming.  Lots of things to talk about.  Traveling with kids. Nursing in public. Best anniversary date ever. And pictures.  Well, pictures will be on the other blog.

The pile, it is big.

Posted: October 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Family, Montana, Saturn Vue, Travel | No Comments »

Linc and Dubs- 1 large bag
Judah- 1 medium bag
Me and the Mister- 2 small suitcases
1 bag of blankets and beach towels
1 wooden tote of toys and books
1 dual screen DVD player
1 laundry basket of snacks for the car
2 bags of “special” toys and treats to be doled out when bored
1 laundry basket of diapers, wipes and miscellaneous items for car
1 bag of plates, bowls, sippy cups, snack cups, plasticware, pump parts and bottles
1 breast pump with 12v battery pack
2 umbrella strollers
1 vibrating infant seat
1 Baby Bjorn
1 Moby wrap
1 bag of cleaning supplies- hand and face wipes, anti-bac, 7th Generation wipes to clean up spills, etc.

What am I missing?

Let the packing commence!

Posted: October 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Family, Montana, Saturn Vue, Travel | 1 Comment »

Oh. Dear. Lord.

What have I gotten myself into?  I’m leaving on a cross-country car trip in less than a week with 3 kids, 2 and under.  In a Saturn Vue.  SATURN.VUE.  That’s not a big vehicle if you haven’t noticed.  Oh it’s PLENTY big if it’s just the two of us.  Hell, it was plenty big with the four of us when we went out east last year.  I’m not sure how this is going to work with five, but this is what we signed up for when I said I wanted another baby and I was not under any circumstances getting a mini-van.  Ever.

Moving on.

I cleaned it out yesterday.  All that’s in there right now are two umbrella strollers (well, one umbrella stroller- the other is in my dining room), a Baby Bjorn,  a jug of anti-freeze and a behind the seat “organizer” that I’m pretty sure will not be the thing that keeps me organized on this trip.

At this point the car is looking pretty roomy.  Unless you look at the three carseats in the backseat.  Two Recaro Signos and a Sunshine Kids Radian.  Boom!  It’s doable people.  I can even get the baby in and out while still standing on the ground- not something I could do 4 weeks ago mind you. 

So the car is “clean”.  What’s going into it?  I’m still working on that.  Here is what is NOT going into it.

Pack n Play– there are two double beds in our room at grandmas, these boys will get a lesson in sleeping in a big bed there and in Missoula I’m pretty sure someone (Awesome Auntie JuJu)  is rounding up PnP’s for our stay there.  And, much to my dismay, the baby is a co-sleeper.  I know, I know.  I had nothing to do with it.  He likes the boob and at night likes to be quite near.

Cloth Diapers– We are leaving these at home.  I love them, but I do think they are kind of a PITA to travel with.  Sorry.  Does that make me a bad cloth mom?  Are you going to take away my Cloth Diapering Mom Card?  Because I’m pretty sure having three kids in cloth full-time gives me a pass on disposables for a two week road trip.

Toys– We’ll bring one small wooden tote bin with books and toys but that is it.  Experience tells me they aren’t going to play with them anyways, so why waste the space.  I’m sure Grandma has plenty of trinkets for them to play with.

So I should have plenty of room to spare without all the extra “stuff”.  Right?  Who out there has road-tripped it with lots o’ kids in a smallish vehicle?  How did it go?  What would you do differently?

Stay tuned for tomorrow…What IS being packed!  I know, you can’t wait.


Posted: September 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: Goals | 2 Comments »

Last night we went to a wedding.  It was a late summer outdoor wedding in Minnesota and it was a bit on the, er, nippy side.  Not too cold, but almost.  It was lovely.  The sun peeked through the clouds just in time for the vows which was cliche but a nice touch.  We just had J with us, the other two stayed with their grandpa for the night.  We’ve never just had one kid.  Sure, I’ve taken one and Yogi Dad has taken one, but never two parents and one kid.  It was, to put it bluntly, effing wonderful.

After the ceremony, Judah the Buddha was getting, well, a bit un Buddha like.  So we snuck out and decided since we were in the neighborhood we would stop at this restaurant we like and have a relaxed dinner before we headed home.  We met the hostess and were seated in the far back corner, there was one large round table with a grandmother and 5 kids, a 4 top with parents, a baby and a grandmother and two empty tables.  I didn’t think much of this until a mother with 4 more kids was seated just beside us. 

We were in the Family section.

Even with our boys, we’ve never been seated in a family section of a restaurant.  and we eat out.  A lot.

Judah was now sleeping.  He made nary a peep the entire time we were there.  But, because we had a baby, sleeping or not, I had to deal with kids jumping off the large window sill immediately behind my chair for 10 minutes and kids running back and forth between the large round table and the table next to us.  It seems the grandma with 5 kids was related to the mom with 4 kids and they were on their way to catch a movie. 

At one point I looked at my husband and said “We’ve been seated in the family corner.”  Not loudly, but I was kind of pissed annoyed.  Can I not enjoy my dinner and beer in peace simply because I have a baby with me?  I would understand if I had the twins with me, but really, hostess, why were we put here?  Not only were we way overdressed for this place (the wedding was at a country club and we were dressed accordingly), now we were in the middle of this circus of kids who were JUMPING OFF THE WINDOW SILL!  The mother caught my annoyed comment and tried to reel in the kiddos.  And really, it’s not her fault we were seated there, my beef wasn’t really with her as much as the hostess.   For the record I tried not to judge, but seriously: reign in those kids!

I know I can’t say that will NEVER be me, because it could be me.  I’ve learned never to say never as a parent.  I can hope and try with all my might to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Day 5.

Posted: April 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Roadtrip | 2 Comments »

Sunday morning we had some family over to Ryon and TJ’s for a little brunch and gift opening action. Everyone was very tired, some more than others (Auntie Jenna…). Mom made some awesome food when she got back from the reception the night before so we all ate pretty well, Grandma even gave Wyatt a taste of the sweet syrup off the tip of her fork. After that he couldn’t take his eyes off the fork!

After brunch we hit the road. The trip home always seems so long! It was a long weekend filled with absolutely no schedule. By the last night the boys were getting up every couple of hours so we were all very ready to end the trip and head home. The drive back wasn’t the best. We drove through a nice thunder storm and the boys had a hard time eating on the road. They did sleep most of the way this time, but we were all very very happy to hit Minneapolis. Thankfully the first night back brought semi-regular sleep for the boys.

Our last morning in KC.

We make this trip again at the end of May for another wedding. Maybe next time it will be a little less chaotic. Mom and Dad are really glad to have their first road trip with us under their belts.