Friday, April 30, 2010


Dear Marin,

In your life you will make many friends. I can tell this already as I watch you interact with people around you. You already share nicely. Last weekend you fed Elise your cheerios. You love people, and you love to play.

Girlfriends Marin, in a word, are priceless. Foster them, nurture them, cherish them. It is my hope for you that you have wonderfully rewarding and respectful relationships with your girlfriends. There is no substitute in the world for girlfriends.

I feel very fortunate to have what I consider the very best group of girlfriends anyone could ever ask for. I am reminded of that often. Sometimes Auntie Molly will send me a note at the very moment that I truly need her. Your Auntie Mika knows more about me than she probably ever wanted to know. I am not afraid to tell her anything. Auntie Erica and I often laugh until we cry and I know that I can always be truly myself around her. Auntie Emilie helps me at every turn, no matter how crazed I may be. Miss Sarah Kiep and Miss Katie McSherry are girlfriends mommy always can count on for absolute FUN.

Last night, I went with Auntie Joey to Miss Sarah Maxfield's house to meet Miss Sarah's new beautiful baby, Logan Michael. I am telling you, there are times in your life Marin, where you will just become overcome with joy for your friends. Last night was one of those nights. I love spending time with your Auntie Joey. It always feels like I just saw her five minutes ago. I loved spending even the little bit of time with her that I did last night. I relish, as I often have for my newlywed girlfriends, in the fact that she and Jeff are truly happy and meant for each other. And Miss Sarah's baby Logan is perfection, Marin. I can't wait for you to meet him. He's quite the looker, too! I don't think it is possible for one person to be happier for another, as I am for Sarah and Eric and beautiful baby Logan. And we're about to experience that joy all over again in a few weeks when Autie Mika's baby arrives!

You will make girlfriends at turns you didn't expect, too. That's how it happened with mommy when I met Aunt Lindsay and Aunt Katy. I hope you experience the same joy I have in seeing your brother so in love as Uncle Jake is with Aunt Katy, or your husband relate to his sister as only Daddy can with Aunt Lindsay.

Marin, I hope as you grow, that you will also find friends like this. Friends that understand you, and know you, and believe in you. Friends that think you are better than you sometimes believe you are. Friends to laugh with and celebrate with. Friends that you know you can count on no matter what. Friends that go out of their way to meet you for a quick drink in the middle of a busy week, like Miss Hannah does for me. Friends to swap mommy stories with, like Miss Megan and Miss Kelly. Friends that are consistently the first to wish you a happy birthday, like Auntie Joey. Friends that remind you of the standard that you hold yourself to, and expect nothing less, like Auntie Molly.

And I hope someday that you will think of me as a girlfriend too. I already know you will be mine. My mom is my girlfriend, too. Because no matter where life takes you, your girlfriends will always be there to remind you of who you are, and of who you want to be. I'll say it again, Marin: Girlfriends are priceless.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Minnesota Twins...

This weekend, Jason, Marin, Lindsay and I hit the road for exactly 24 hours of visiting, and a little over 15 hours of car travel. It was worth every "are we there yet" groan by Marin in the back seat, and every truck-stop-junk-food calorie consumed by me! We headed to Minneapolis, Minnesota (actually, Lake Minnetonka, just outside Minneapolis) to meet the Minnesota Twins. No, not the baseball team. We went to meet the Chilson Twins! Twice as nice and doubly special.

Jason's cousin, Bob, and his wife, Gretchen, had twin boys, Jacob and Robbie, six weeks ago and they were baptized this weekend. Bob and Gretchen asked Jason and I to be Jacob's Godparents; an honor you can't ever quite sum up in words. Jacob and Robbie are just two adorable little peas in a pod, and we were so glad to hold them, snuggle them, feed them and love them every second that we could possible get away with.

Marin enjoyed meeting the twins as well. She was very gentle with the babies and very attentive to them. She liked rocking Robbie in his car seat at one time, and liked patting Jacob's little head. Although she almost pet the twins as if they were dogs, we were glad that she didn't bang on them like little drums, and understood when we asked her to be gentle with the babies. She was more jealous of thier pacifiers than the fact that her parents were sometimes immediately unavailable for her because they were holding a baby. I did manage to snuggle with both she and the babies at one point, and she liked that the most of all.

We had a great time on our short visit and loved getting to see Jason's family. Even though we were missing a lot of them, it is always so much fun to be together with our "Patterson" cousins. We are hopeful that we will all be together soon enough. We have to get the twins on the boat since we gave them their first tiny life jackets, and I'll have to teach them all of my knee-boarding tricks so they think I'm cool enough to hang out with.

Of course on a road trip with kids, half the fun is the hotel indoor pool. Who am I kidding, that's fun for me as an adult, too. Marin had a great time swimming with her cousins, Jack, Ella and Elise. She even got to try out her new bikini, a birthday present from her friends Madeline and Charlie. When she came walking out with that adorable suit on, Jason wanted to know immediately who approved of it. :) It is just too stinking cute, isn't it? Marin had such a great time, she never stopped moving, laughing, jumping or climbing. Other than the small amount of sleep she got in the car, she took zero naps the rest of the weekend. And the 24 hours we were there was basically one giant long party. She did sleep well on Saturday night, although she was hesitant to go to sleep with her Daddy and me just a few feet away, once she was out, she slept long and hard, and happily woke up to her cousins knocking in the morning to ask if she could go to the pool. She was perfect in church at the baptism. She played with her childs rosary and wanted to wear it as a necklace. I have to say, that was something I hadn't seen before. We sat in the front row, and Marin was waving to the three alter boys the whole time. During the actual baptism, Marin sat on Lindsay's lap. Lindsay said that when everyone clapped for Jacob and Robbie, Marin clapped too. That girl LOVES a party. But whew... she was c-r-a-b-b-y by the end of the day on Sunday. She was literally reaching for the door to leave. She fell asleep before we were even out of Bob and Gretchen's neighborhood.

It was a whirlwind, but it was definitely fun. Congratulations, Bob and Gretchen! Jacob and Robbie are perfection! Two adorable Minnesota Twins who hit a home run straight to our hearts.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Yo Baby is a Mess!

By now you know that Marin loves to use utensils all by herself. Rather, she insists on it. We're proud of her, and encourage her to do so. She almost never goes a meal without feeding herself now. When she eats yogurt, however, it gets a little hairy. She likes to load up her spoon with more yogurt than will fit in her mouth, making a ridiculous mess in the meantime. When you try to help her, she freaks.

She was doing this last night with her Yo-Baby yogurt. Yo Baby - Yo Mess, is what they should call it. Watching her antics was just too funny; we had to get a little of it on video. Note how she sucks the spoon dry, how she gets so excited when she realizes there is a bit more in the container and how she gives us the "all done" sign at the end.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesdays with Marin...

I have mentioned in past posts that Tuesday, the day I work from home, is my favorite day of the week. It is undoubtedly a jam-packed, never-sit-down, never-stop-moving, kind of day, but that's the way I like it. And I love that I get to be with Marin from sunrise to sunset. Tuesdays with Marin are very special days.

Here's a glimpse at what we do:

We enjoy our morning coffee together (water for Marin).

We walk to Graham's for ice cream!

We go to the park!

We share snacks. Yum!

We take wagon rides with Norah to meet Daddy at the train.

We help in the yard and make a stage on top of the topsoil, where we sing our favorite songs!

We read lots and lots of books!

We play ball and run in the yard!

Marin shows off her daredevil tricks- I tell her "no, no Marin. Sit on your bottom, please", but she just waves to me with both hands and yells "Iiiiiiiiii!" like she's in a circus act. She thinks this is soooooo fun and is so proud of herself!

And, oh yeah... in between all that, I make phone calls, answer emails and attend conference calls. But Tuesdays with Marin are the best. If only there were more than one Tuesday a week.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

I took the day off on Friday and Marin and I headed downtown together on the train. We met Auntie Molly and Uncle Bri and Brian's sister Jessica, her husband Jay and their three children, at the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. The children loved the dancing animals on the walls and the rainforest sounds, plus Jack and Remy got light up cups that about made us all blind, but were festive and fun. Marin ate like a champ but didn't save enough room for the volcano brownie and ice cream that came literally on fire at the end of the meal (the waiter yelled "VOLCANO!!" as he brought it to our table). I helped her out by eating her share as well as my own. Hey, I couldn't let that go to waste- think of all the poor starving children who don't get a volcano cake! It was great to see the Herold Family and catch up. And of course, it's always a treat for Marin to get to see her Auntie Molly and Uncle Bri.

After lunch, Marin and I headed to Daddy's office for a visit. Marin ran around the halls saying hello, and every time she saw someone new she would lift her dress over her head and giggle. Not sure if I should be concerned about this??? In any case, after Marin had well flashed half of Jason's office, we headed out for Marin's first el train ride and a sleepover at our friends Ross and Emilie's place. Ross and Emilie live in our old building, right across the hall from our old house. So it felt a little strange sleeping in their guest bedroom instead of in our own (old) house 5 feet away, but we decided we like it better that way! Sleepovers are too much fun! Friday night we had some cocktails and then headed out in the old hood to one of our favorite spots. Marin slept in her stroller the whole time, and we took advantage by having a nice, lazy dinner over a few bottles of wine and lots of good food. When we got back to Ross and Emilie's the girls got into their jammies, Marin went right to bed, and Emilie and I stayed awake talking and snuggling with their puppy, Charlie, until I had to hold my eyes open.

Saturday morning, we headed to brunch at one of our favorite breakfast spots, Over Easy, also in our old neighborhood. Fueled by our favorite egg dishes, from their we headed for the Lincoln Park Zoo. We met Aunt Lindsay on the way there and we all enjoyed watching Marin's face as she saw the animals live for the first time. She stood at the fence peering at the animals in amazement, and then she would get so excited she would dance her little feet up and down and then she would go to the next part of the fence and do the same thing. Marin loved the giraffes and the monkeys. She climbed up the little step at the giraffe cage, and learned to say "oo-oo-ah-ah" like the monkeys say. A few of the gorillas were right up against the glass, so Jason took Marin over to them to have a closer look. The gorilla took one good strong look at Marin though, and she decided she'd rather not be so close to a 400 pound furry thing with big teeth. Fair enough. Marin got to see the itsy bitsy spider, (although it was neither itsy or bitsy), and she really liked the exhibits where the fish were right at her level and she could watch them swimming under water. She stood at the glass for so long, until she found a step that was just her size, and she decided to sit there for a while and watch the fish. We also walked through the farm in the zoo. That was old news; her Uncle Bob and Aunt Vee have a farm much bigger than that one, but Marin enjoyed it all the same. What she especially loved at the farm zoo were all of the animals; specifically, the ponies. She waved to them and said, "Iiiiiiii!!", which is her way of saying "Hi". She loved sitting with her daddy on the tractor for the first time.

After a great long day at the zoo, we headed back home Saturday night. Marin made a friend on the train- only problem was that he was about 21 years old than she. Marin was sitting on my lap facing me, with her head on my chest when she caught this boys eye. She darted up as quickly as she could to wave hello. When he waved back, she blushed and hid her head back in my chest again. Then she darted out waving again about 30 seconds later. And then back into my chest as soon as he waved back. This flirting continued for about 15 minutes. Luckily, this young man was nice and didn't mind being hit on by a one year old blond with a how-can-you-resist-me-smile and killer blue eyes. :)

Sunday we caught up on a few things at our house. Marin and Norah played in the yard a while before we went to my parents house for a belated birthday celebration for Aunt Katy. We loved chatting with my family. Aunt Katy let Marin help her open all of her birthday presents, and Marin delighted in ripping the paper off and then stomping on it afterward.

Lately we have been reminded all too poignantly how precious and short life can be. I have been holding Marin a little tighter, hugging her a little longer, leaving the dishes and the laundry for tomorrow. In the end what we will remember is not how clean our house was or how tidy we were, but how many times we laughed with our children over nothing at all. At the times we set everything aside to be together and live life as fully as possible. Hug your babies, let the dog kiss your face. Go to the zoo. Get down in the grass and play with your kids. You will never regret the memories that follow.

And now, for a video of Marin showing us what the monkey says. Nevermind that Jason and I make complete fools of ourselves in the meantime. :) (I remembered half way through to turn the camera, so stick it out...)

Here are a few more pictures of our weekend: