We ate like royalty on our vacation. As promised, a run down. The kids ate everything! The marathon-training-husband needed lots of calories so we ate and ate and ate. It was so easy to cook and clean up with another adult around to play and be with the kids. Rocket science, right?

When I devised our grocery list before going on the trip, I wanted foods that could do double duty and that I knew the kids would eat. They’re good eaters and eat just about everything we do so that wasn’t too terrible. When in doubt, oatmeal and yogurt and blueberries, right?



I had to fuel up with chai every day because the baby took to sleeping like a newborn, literally. He had been sleeping through the night for over a month and night weaned. #regression.

ground turkey and pasta salad


Ground turkey, organic pasta, chopped carrots, basil (ended up doing a lemon juice//sour cream//greek yogurt//diced garlic sauce). peach salad


Mixed greens, pear, peach, salted & roasted sunflower seeds with a homemade vinaigrette.

avocado salad


Mixed greens with hard boiled eggs, avocado, dried cherries, and pistachios with a homemade french dressing.



Ground turkey, black beans, white rice, flour tortilla, topped with avocado, garden heirloom tomatoes, shredded colby, and a dollop of sour cream.

hot dogs


All pork hot dogs, the avocado salad, my new fav dill cabbage dish, corn chips, and CORN on the cob!

eggs & tomatoes


Snack: hardboiled eggs, garden fresh tomatoes, cottage cheese, and pepper.

roasted chicken


Big roasted chicken that still had a toe nail, much to the kids’ delight and horror.

chicken pasta salad

Roasted chicken leftovers tossed into pasta salad with garden fresh heirlooms, basil, and mozzarella chunks. Topped with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

soup and yogurt


Chicken white bean soup with yogurt (plain whole milk yogurt, grapes, strawberries, and pistachios). I nursed a chai every single day in the same mug!

cheesy scrambled eggs


Slow cooked cheesy eggs, smoothie, whole wheat toast with creamed honey from the farmer’s market.


Spiced Italian ground beef, homemade tomato sauce, on a bed o’ angel hair pasta!

apple crisp

Shea’s Apple Crisp with oatmeal & loads of butter. Apples from a tree out at the Lodge!


Whew. Now I’m hungry. I tried to ensure some of the food could overlap for two meals: the salad greens, the pasta, the ground turkey, the roasted chicken, the yogurt. We really just loved the joy of food! At home it’s still homemade mostly but less joyful for me because I’m cooking under the pressure of witching hour and less enjoyable for him because he’s eating while walking round with the kids who have eaten long before he comes home.

Take delight in sharing food with those you love!



I can’t actually throw any towels in because they’re almost all in the laundry pile. In the basement. In the basement whose carpeting is about to be ripped out because MOLD {delights of Monday discoveries} where the leaking dishwasher led to a partially ripped out ceiling that promptly shed small nails that went into my husband’s foot.

The piles of laundry are slow going because I simply cannot haul the tot down there with me to change it over because of ^^conditions and the only place I can safely corral him is his crib on the second floor of the house but that needs to be lowered like yesterday because it’s on the middle rung and I think he’s going to catapult himself over the railing if I leave him in there to cry for as long as it would take to hoof it to the basement, sort and insert laundry, and make it back up.

Hey, I wasn’t a sprinter in 10th grade track. I was a sad-sorry-hurdler-that-was-really-mediocre <–that’s being kind to the ghost of runner’s past.

This morning AA stayed home through breakfast.

Hold it.

He has run every single morning for 4 months in prep for the Twin Cities marathon! Mostly this means he is living on a runner’s high and I’m reaping all the benefits of the runner’s wife {happy husband!! happy husband!! did I say happy??}. The only tiny downside is that some mornings {almost every} the tot will awaken right after AA leaves circa 4:53am. And I’m all


But it also means that when Dada stayed home the other morning for my sanity’s sake I got to change over the laundry.

Are you ready to throw in the towel, mama?

Are you so annoyed that you can’t poop by yourself?

Are you so beyond the shrieking of the older kids at each other? And how they behaved at your out-of-country visitor’s china & silver & linen dinner you put on the other night? Pretty sure our childfree friends were high-fiving each other with their eyes every time the five year old whaled a perfectly good bush with a plastic bat and the tot stood up on the glass side table and the three year old threw herself on the ground and shouted, “I never want to see you again!!!” (I assured them it was aimed at her brother and not them.)

Are you like OMG I’m never having more kids because then I’ll never get to say “At least that stage is behind us.”

Are you quietly planning your escape with your sister for a sistermoon in November but secretly despairing that even that is only a moment in time and this is the rest of your life?

Are you shamed by your firstworldhealthykidsmom issues?

Did you eat four cookies today while thinking I don’t want to keep eating unhealthfully?

Are you listening to sad music and crying a little while your kids finally sleep and your husband is out for the evening because you are so overjoyed to change over the laundry and maybe fold your three weeks worth of clothing that was on your closet floor? But also because these other feelings are so big you think you’ll get lost in them?

Please stay. Please don’t stop believing in yourself as a mom.

Please don’t give into the temptation to believe these feelings mean you’re doing it all wrong. The feeling that if it’s this hard, you’re inadequate. Know that hard days simply mean hard. And hard means facing your realities, whatever they are. Facing that you’re not perfect and in fact you’re awful sometimes, just like these days with the kids. And facing that if you want to be all love, mama, all the loves, this facing-because-of-hard days is it. It’s the only way there. Otherwise I can just sit here and binge eat ice cream and feel crappy. I’ve already done that and I don’t want to sit in that place anymore.

There you have it. Hard is the hollowing out of ourselves to make room for more love. Kids, promise I will love you harder tomorrow.

*if you’re drowning, please talk to me or someone. maternal depression is real. postpartum depression is real. i’m not experiencing either right now–what i’m describing here are my fairly normal feelings as a mom of three under six so don’t worry! i’m really fine but if you don’t think you are, reach out, mmmmkkkkaaayyy?*


We had never taken a family vacation with all three kids before this summer.

A vacation with just our family of five. Not to visit family or friends. Not for a wedding. Not for a baptism. Just away. Just us.

And clearly now I know what we were missing. We spent almost five days at our place in Wisconsin and could have stayed a million years. My mom has outfitted it with all the books and games of our childhood, and even though we go almost weekly for a day trip, this was our first time simply immersing ourselves in its over 100 acres of beauty with all three kids.


No agenda. No schedules. No obligations. Just us.


We picked apples from an ancient apple tree and made a crisp.


We hiked on the trails and waded in the creek.


We scouted on the location of a future tree house//fort. RIGHT UP THERE. What a tree!


The beach in front of the tree doesn’t look too shabby, either. Lots of rocks to splunk.


We read so many books. So so so many and many more. Everyday had a cadence of reading, playing cards, playing outside, snacks, meals, naps, AA going for his marathon training run, and me sewing. Everyday had its fair share of screaming and fighting but with no agenda and a relaxed day, that was much less than I had anticipated.


When you two oldest can play UNO together: sudden and constant entertainment.


One morning it was chilly enough for hot cocoa on the porch.


They discovered coloring books my oldest sister had half-colored 35 years ago.


He ate like a king and learned to feed himself with a spoon. THANK YOU, spoon-gods!


She hustled and worked outdoors whenever the guys were out there. Tough lady.


And my mom joined us for the end of it, doing her amazing NuNu voodoo that meant the kids were happy and we could actually go and do the trails ourselves.

I hope you got a little sliver of respite this summer. I hope you’re approaching the fall with a fresh heart. Ready for apple cider, fires in the fireplace, and cold wind rattling at the windows. No matter how simple or how grandiose, just a break, just a refresher, I hope that for you.

I’ll post what we ate next week. It was so easy to cook when someone is there to play with the kids!! sneak preview . . . 


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