On Feeling Tender

I always feel extra tender this time of year. Like the wind could bring tears to my eyes.

Two weeks ago now my mom would have turned 60 and three days from now my Miss E turns 8.

It’s this strange pull between sad and happy, happy and sad.

Nine years ago now, nearly to the day, I remember talking to my mom while making coffee cake in my kitchen. H was running amok and another baby wasn’t really on my mind. She was sick and I knew it but I liked to pretend she wasn’t. I liked to believe in miracles and that the prayers we were sending up were working.

I mean, do you know my dad? A hardworking man of faith. His Bible spread across the table each morning while he ate breakfast and so many prayers sent up on all of our behalf. But once my mom got sick, so many prayers for her. “We serve a God of miracles,” he told me when I sat at the ball field and he told me it was terminal.

But then, she died.

For several days before she died, she was gone and it was terrible. I wish those days on no one. She was here but she wasn’t.

I remember the night of December 11. I was scared to go to bed because I thought she would die and then I awoke on December 12 and she was still here. And I went to bed December 12 so very exhausted and awoke to the phone and the news that she was gone.

Grief is so strange because I look back and those days are both so fuzzy, yet so clear.

I don’t think I realized it then but I had lost quite a bit of faith. I remember reading a blog about a friend’s father being ill and becoming well and I was mad about the unfairness of it all.

I remember bargaining with God as though to say I would have given you this one, but not that one. Like, what?

And then I was pregnant with E. Some of you have been reading this little space on the internet since she was called baby Beep Beep.

And it was hard and I was so sick and she tried to come so early.

And then three hundred and fifty five days after I lost my mom and I’d seemingly lost my faith, I almost lost my baby. As they rushed us to the OR and told J and I they’d lost her heartbeat, I remember “praying” a secret angry prayer, that this was it. You take this one, God, and it’s over. Because that’s the way it works, you know?

But her heartbeat came back at the last possible moment, no emergency c-section took place and instead, with no time for drugs or anything, she came into the world dramatically but full of peace.

She is joy, she is peace, she brought healing to my broken heart. She gave me faith and has made me so utterly happy. evie1

I am always tender though this time of year because I only wish she’d have met her Grandma Nan here on earth. I am so very happy. Overwhelmingly so. But I will always be a little bit sad, too for what could have and should have been.

Guest Post: Stomp! at Ordway through Sunday!

I was invited to Stomp! at the Ordway and sent my sister, Adrianne and her boyfriend in my place. Below is their review. All words and opinions are hers and no compensation has been exchanged between the Ordway and myself.
****
I will never look at a broom in the same way again.
As the show began, a solitary performer stood center stage with just a broom. With light whisks across the floor and taps with the broom edges, the sounds transformed into beautiful rhythmic music that brought intrigue to the entire audience.
As the additional performers came out to join the first ‘broom master’, the magic began. The audience moved to the edge of their seats in anticipation of seeing and hearing something simply astonishing!

These performers aren’t just percussionists, they are comedians, actors, and athletes. Without a word said the entire show, the performers brought us on an adventure that was understandable and quite funny! And let’s talk about the physical work that goes into making these harmonic sounds. It wasn’t just ‘banging on weird stuff’ as I originally expected, it was a full blown dance that encompassed their entire bodies. While utilizing unique materials, they also tap danced their way across the floor, onto the loft, into the audience and in circles around each other.
Without a word, they got the audience to participate in certain portions
Lighthearted, astonishing, and enjoyable are the best things I could say about STOMP. I walked out of the beautiful Ordway with a skip in my step to a whole new rhythm. And oddly… a strong desire to sweep.
Go check it out! It makes a fun date night out!
For a special 30% off discount, check out Family Fun Twin Cities. 
screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-5-44-39-pm

Five Things I Love about the 2017 Britax B Ready Stroller

 

It’s a little known fact that I’m somewhat of a stroller snob. Back in the day of my first baby, I had somewhat of a collection of strollers. Full size, umbrella, joggers, doubles. We were like a stroller depot and I had a surplus of options.

Fast forward to today and my last baby is 3, so almost out of the stroller stage but also not really out of the stroller stage. Because have you ever seen a moose loose at the Mall of America? That’s what I compare small children without strollers to.

After 10 years of strollers, I know what I need and want in a stroller and that’s safety, convenience, comfort and a big ol’ storage basket. Lookin’ pretty helps too.

brit

Photo from Twin Cities Moms Blog

The 2017 Britax B Ready stroller offers all that and more. Miss F and I were excited to attend a special Britax and Twin Cities Moms Blog event last week where we got to take home our very own new stroller. I’ve owned and used many strollers but I’m pretty sure this one’s my favorite and here are the five things I’m loving about it so far:

  1. First and foremost, Britax is a company I already know and trust and we’ve purchased several of their car seats in the past. They always earn top safety ratings and a company that’s committed to safety is important when I think about the items I’m using with my small children. From the five point harness safety belt to the press on press off wheel lock, the safety features on the stroller are numerous. britax8
  2. The Britax B Ready stroller is extremely versatile. With an add on second seat, there are 12 different seat configurations, including four different recline options for the front seat. I also love the idea of having your child face you sometimes too, especially naps. Bonus: Britax also offers a surplus of add on accessories to make the stroller your own. My favorite? The organizer which includes a place for my coffee and her water and a few snacks too. britax
  3. It’s a smooth ride. We’ve all had those strollers that get their wheels stuck or are impossible to keep straight and smooth. That will not be a problem with this stroller. The foam filled tires and suspension makes it a great ride and it’s easily the best stroller I’ve ever used when it comes to maneuverability. No more wheels getting caught up in the door at the mall. britax4
  4. It’s so pretty! The sleek style and shape of the stroller including the canopy that will protect from all the elements make it a visually appealing stroller. There’s several color options available but we chose mist. britax6
  5. Ease of use: It folds up in 2 seconds flat and unfolds just as easily. There’s nothing worse than the fold/unfold struggle in the parking lot, am I right? And then there’s the storage basket. So much space for everything you need. When we use strollers we tend to have the whole crew which means sweatshirts and water bottles and bags get thrown down there and I’m often digging for my purse. With the front zipper, I can easily access my purse or wallet without having to unpack the entire basket.

britax7

Have you ever owned a Britax product? How about a Britax stroller? What features on the Britax B Ready stroller have your eye?

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and partnership between Britax, Twin Cities Moms Blog and City Moms Blog Network. I received a 2017 Britax B Ready stroller in exchange for my review, event attendance and social postings. All opinions expressed are mine and photos, unless otherwise noted, are mine.

My TENTH Stitch Fix

My TENTH Stitch Fix came last month. TEN! I can’t believe it!

If you remember I wasn’t at all impressed with my last fix. As a matter of fact, it’s the one and only time I’ve returned the entire fix. I had kind of forgotten I had another one scheduled until it was at my door step this time so I’m not even sure I had filled in any criteria but it was better style-wise.

Here’s what I got:

septstitch7

Here’s what I got:

Papermoon Jerrard Heathered Open Front Cardigan $47

septstitch6

This was ok. Kind of snug and while I do like the open front it felt a little too open.

Decision: RETURN

Renee C Katarina Knit Swing Dress $64

septstitch

Well, you know how I love me some stripes and this dress feels like wearing pajamas. The price point was a little high for a knit dress but with my styling fee in there it lowers the price a stitch. Plus, a vest and boots make this look SO cute!

Decision: KEEP

Hailee C Dayanara Button Down Top $58

septstitch2 septstitch4

It’s not me. Also, a little snug. Maybe I ate a big breakfast that day?

Decision: RETURN

Kut from the Kloth Simmons Boot Cut Jean $88

septstitch3

These were ok. Probably a stitch looser than I usually wear my jeans but they fit ok. That said I just splurged on some bootcut denim.

Decision: RETURN

Loveappella Evie Draw String Funnel Neck Sweatshirt $64

septstitch5

I actually love this style and have another sweatshirt from Athlete similar to it. I did feel like this one was a little snug though. I’ve hemmed and hawed about trying out the new Stitch Fix exchanges and exchanging it for another size. I’m not sure what the return policy is though and I want to make sure I love it in the next size.

Decision: RETURN

What did you think of my Fix? It wasn’t the worst but it wasn’t the best either. I know a few people who have become Stitch Fix stylists and might request one of them the next time I get a Fix but right now I’m not sure if I’ll continue or not.

My past fixes:

My First Stitch Fix
My Second Stitch Fix
My Third Stitch Fix
My Fourth Stitch Fix

My 5th Stitch Fix
My 6th Stitch Fix
My 7th Stitch Fix
My 8th Stitch Fix
My 9th Stitch Fix

Have you tried Stitch Fix out yet? What have you liked or not liked? If you haven’t signed up yet what are you waiting for?

For a $20 styling fee, you fill out a questionnaire and all of your likes/dislikes when it comes to clothing, style, price points etc and a stylist puts together five pieces they think you might like. Hate it all? The only cost is the style fee. Love it?  Your $20 style fee goes towards your purchase and if you buy all five items you receive a 25% discount.

If you sign up and use my link I receive referral credit {it costs you nothing more or less by using my link, I’m just disclosing that I will receive credit}.

Sever’s Fall Festival Celebrates 20 Years! *Giveaway*

Sever’s Fall Festival is celebrating their 20th year this fall and it’s no surprise to me that families love including them in their fall traditions.

severs

My family had the opportunity to visit Sever’s for our first time this past weekend. I am a big, huge fan of all things fall so the idea of checking out a new to us fall fest was a no-brainer for me.

severs2

We LOVED all of the events and activities available at Sever’s. From the corn maze to the corn pits, the jumping pillows and the hay bale maze, there is a TON to do at the festival.

severs0

One of my favorite things about Sever’s was that most of the special events and activities are included with the price of admission. There’s something about going somewhere and knowing the kids will have hours of fun and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. {Please note that while most of the activities are included there are additional charges for hayrides {$2} giant slide {$2} and pony rides {$5}

severs9

Additionally, there are lots of great food options right one sight. From pizza and nuggets to cheese curds and mini donuts. Of course, what would be a visit to a corn maze without some corn on the cob, too.

My kids had such a great time and we left exhausted from the jumping on the pillow, diving in the corn, feeding and petting animals, running through the maze and ropes course. We’ll be back.

severs11

One of the other things I loved about Sever’s is that they have  been family owned and operated since the beginning, with the family all on hand and working each weekend. Additionally, all the events take place near the family farm and property—property that was originally settled in 1890 by the first Sever Peterson who arrived in Minnesota from Sweden (Sever Peterson III began the corn maze in Shakopee).

Sever’s Corn Maze and Fall Festival is located adjacent to Canterbury Park in Shakopee.

Hours are Fridays 1-8 p.m, Saturdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission is $14 online or $15 at the gate. Children under the age of 4 are FREE.

Learn more and plan your visit here.

OR enter to win a family four pack right here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure: Sever’s Corn Maze and Fall Festival invited our family to check it out and provided complimentary admission in exchange for an honest review and giveaway. All opinions expressed are mine and photos belong to me.

 

Six Things To Know Before You Go to Junk Bonanza *Giveaway*

It’s the most wonderful time of September. It’s Junk Bonanza time. One of my favorite annual sales is back and of course, better than ever. This year’s sale is once again held at Canterbury Park September 22-24. There will be three FULL days of junk shopping.

junk2

If you are a junk-lover or aspire to be, here are five things you need to know about Junk Bonanza:

1. The entire event stems from a garage sale. Founder Ki Nassauer would sell vintage style items at an annual event in Long Lake. The event grew to become more than just Ki’s sale and now includes vendors from all over the country. In addition to twice a year in Minneapolis, there are also Junk Bonanzas in Portland and San Diego.

2. Not just anyone can be a Junk Bonanza vendor. Vendors must apply and be juried. Also? Most of that junk needs to be 40 plus years old. Ki prides the event on being one of a kind, not having too many of the same vendors and also making sure they are quality. There will be some certain handcrafted items {think jams and jellies} available that clearly aren’t 40 years old.

junk3
3. Nearly 15,000 people attended the 3 day event in Minnesota last April. FIFTEEN THOUSAND people! That’s a lot of junk lovers.

4. There’s more than just shopping happening at Junk Bonanza. Think demonstrations, make and takes and giveaways. New this year: An interactive paint by number canvas attendees are invited to grab a brush and paint each day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. See the full activity schedule here.

junk4

5. Leave the stroller at home. Better yet, leave the kids. While many of the vendors and shoppers mights be parents as well, this shopping experience is best if you leave the kids and all the kid gear at home. Do you really want little Susie breaking a valuable piece of junk because she’s bored?

6. Tickets are $10/day and you can get a handstamp and come back if you want. Feeling like you’ll want to go more than once? Buy an early bird ticket, $25 gets you early access day one of the sale plus admission the entire weekend. Canterbury has free parking and will be selling food and beverages throughout the day. {Think Bloody Mary’s and cheese curds!}

Junk Bonanza takes place at Canterbury Park

Early bird hours are  8 a.m.-10 a.m. on day one of the sale

September 22 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

September 23-24  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

junk

Have you ever gone to Junk Bonanza? What’s been your favorite purchase?

Want to win a FREE ticket to Junk Bonanza? Enter my giveaway right here–>
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReSTORE opens THIS Weekend

If you are a Fixer Upper, home reno lover or just a lover of DIY you aren’t going to want to miss the Fixer Upper Twin Cities ReStore opening this week. The newest store is located at 2700 Minnehaha Avenue South in Minneapolis.

ReStore is a home improvement outlet that sells donated materials to the public, with revenue supporting Habitat for Humanity’s work building, rehabbing and repairing homes for families in the Twin Cities.

restore

The grand opening of the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore kicks of Thursday Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. with an official board cutting. There will be giveaways all day long, plus you can enter for a chance to win the Saturday grand prize drawing for a NEW refrigerator!

Check their website for all the details, including info on special appearances from Amy Matthews and Alexis Thompson.

Also, if you love browsing DIY projects, check out this part of their site. SO MANY IDEAS!

Whether you’re looking for a deal, a new DIY project or just ideas that you can fix up, you’ll want to check out the store.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-4-51-04-pm

 

Living the Beach Dream in the Mazda CX-9

Thanks to Drive Shop and Mazda I got to zip around Cocoa Beach, Florida in the Mazda CX-9 last month for our end of the summer girls trip.

At home I’m a minivan mama so I wasn’t sure what it would be like zipping around in a sporty SUV. Spoiler alert: I LOVED it! Wheels that don’t scream hockey mom? Sign me up!

mazda0

Instead, it screamed sporty, fun, luxury. And it felt so nice.

mazda5

The exterior was machine gray and the interior was auburn. It truly felt like we were driving a luxury, sporty SUV around town.

mazda7

maz7

maz8

mazda8

Mazda CX-9 interior features:

7 passenger seating

Leather seats and leather covered steering wheel

2nd row sunshades

Heated front seats

Push button start

Advanced Keyless entry

Bose AM/FM/HD/SAT speakers

8″ color display with rear camera

Aluminum and Rosewood interior trim

Navigation System

Sirius Satellite Radio

mazda4

Third row seating for the win!

Mazda CX-9 exterior features:

20″ alloy wheels

Power open/close rear lift gate

Power Moonroof

maz6

Safety features:

Rear back up sensors

Lane departure warning

Smart Brake support

Traction Control and Roll Stability

mazda2

We picked up the car in Orlando and headed to Cocoa where we mostly used the car for trips to the beach or for pool breaks. I loved the feel of the sporty, luxury car.

maz5 maz4

Having our own wheels definitely made our girls trip!

maz9

Have you ever driven a Mazda CX-9? 

Disclosure: Thanks to Drive Shop and Mazda I was loaned this vehicle free of charge during our trip to Cocoa Beach. All opinions and photos are 100% mine.

Save on Cirque du Soleil Tickets at Target Center

I have never been to a Cirque show but am so excited to see one later this month at Target Center.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: TORUK – THE FIRST FLIGHT, The newest Cirque du Soleil touring show inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar will be at Target Center Sept. 28- Oct 2.

My readers are invited to save $10 on select tickets with code: TORUK10

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 9.11.16 PM

Purchase link here. 

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 9.11.42 PM

Have you ever been to a Cirque show?

Disclosure: I’ve received two tickets to Cirque du Soleil Toruk at Target Center for sharing this ticket discount. All opinions expressed are mine.

Save Money on Krazy Kids Inflatable Run in St. Cloud this Month

We’ve all heard of all the crazy, fun runs for adults- color runs and mud runs and other obstacle courses

Why should adults have all the fun?

There’s going to be a Krazy Kids Inflatable Run in St. Cloud later this month and it’s sure to be a good time for kids of all ages.

On September 17, join lots of other families for the fun run at Powder Ridge.

Ages 3-12 {minimum height of 36″ required} will get to try their hand at a 1.5 mile inflatable course.

No two races are alike, there are 11 “KRAZY” inflatables from start to finish, one water stop and start and finish are located next to each other. The best part for parents? You can run along side your kids in the Parent Viewing Lane.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 8.41.35 PM
Registration is NOW open but filling up fast. You choose your child’s start time and if you register before Sept 16, it’s just $29. Save even more by using Simplicity15 to save 15% on registration.