Monday, June 30, 2008

Tracy Melberg's Bridal Shower

This weekend I made two trips home in two days. Saturday I left the house solo at 7:30 AM to head out to Tracy's bridal shower at First Lutheran Church in Hector. It was a nice morning, reminiscent of the countless showers various aunts have thrown for ALL of us nieces (and which occurred the generation before us I assume). The event started at 9:30 with a short program of Bible verses and stories read by individuals from Tracy's generation. It was followed by a lunch of desserts, fruit and homemade mints served by the aunts. Tracy's Grandma Lou's silver coffee service was used. Like all the showers of ALL the nieces (or nephew's wives) held in this exact same church basement, Tracy graciously and efficiently opened the many gifts given by well wishers from the church, the community, friends and family. Also a tradition, Tracy received a card table and chairs from her hostesses. For those non-family member readers, I think you are already realizing my family is steeped with unwritten traditions. The traditions may seem ordinary and commonplace as milemarkers for each of us in the family. Then I realize they are certainly not ordinary at all. As a family clan, we are blessed for the things we have grown to expect as commonplace - such as the church basement shower. Rather, this event is extraordinary.

On behalf of all of the nieces, our THANKS to our beloved Aunt's. You prove yourself special people in our lives.

Marly & Dean did not attend with me. I do regret not bringing my dear little Marly, to introduce her to a part of her family culture. Because we had a family reunion back in Buffalo Lake the next day, I opted not to bring the toddler twins. On my return journey along Highway 212, passing the usual ordinary visual milemarkers I cruise by regularly, I contemplated the next generation, new traditions which may unfold, and old ones which could fade away....

Barb and Tracy Melberg

Wishing you all the best Tracy and Tim!
We can't wait until your wedding in August!

Friday, June 27, 2008


One of the many simple pleasures of parenting comes from watching our children sleep. Before I go to bed myself, I gingerly turn their door knob, slide the door open, and quietly slip inside their dark nursery which is perfectly decorated and elaborately painted by Daddy (well, and HHB) just for them. I stand between their white cribs and peer down at their innocent little bodies. I touch my finger to their soft cheeks and hands. I listen to them breath in and out. I stand still and time stands still if only for a moment. I am so moved by emotion, I nearly cry....

For those of you with grown children - think back to these moments! Today Marly & Dean are nearly 16 months old. For the first 4 months of their life, they slept in the same crib, tightly swaddled and placed as close together as possible. Time did not stand still...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

15 Month Check Up!

Today Marly & Dean had their 15 month check up. Last night I was writing this blog in my head, anticipating a DISASTER. I had decided I could take them on my own, since Mark is back to work. Mark has taken 2 kids to a Dr. appointment for ONE of the children on several occasions while I worked. I decided I could handle the check up if he could handle the Dr. on his own. Every other well baby visit, we have attended together.

Last night and this morning I was feeling like the DUMBEST twin mommy ever. A clinic appointment for ONE sick kid is different then undressing two kids, and wrangling and comforting two kids with shots. What was I thinking??? Plus, they are now completely mobile. Oh CRAP!

This morning I got up early and got myself ready before Dean & Marly woke. When they did, I feed them, dressed them, and was out the door on schedule. I am VERY particular about getting OUT THE DOOR at EXACTLY the time planned. I NEED a timeline if I am leaving the house alone with Marly and Dean for scheduled activities, simply to create a comfort zone for myself and feel a sense of accomplishment. Once they were strapped into their still rear facing car seats, I grabbed my beloved Duoglide and tossed her in the back. That poor stroller takes a beating from me!

We arrive at the clinic, I unload the stroller, and act Cool as a Cucumber. I have decided this is the ticket with Marly & Dean. If I am a Cool Mama, they behave like Cool Be'bes! I don't want them to feed off of my anxiety. Anyway, we glide inside - Cool Mama, Cool Be'bes! We check in and head to pediatrics. In the waiting room, we disembark from the Duoglide and the kids happily play with the germy clinic toys. We get called back, and Cool Mama picks up Marly while Dean tots by my side, hand in hand. Today we are seeing a new pediatrician. Our adored Dr. W-H is on bed rest. She is expecting twins herself at the end of July.

Anyway, Marly & Dean are so good to me as the nurse goes through her drills. They enjoy peek a boo round and round and round the exam table. Dean plays with the stirrup things on the table ...oops he pinched his finger, and we have a brief bout of tears. (Take it in stride Cool Mama....). It has just occured to me (hours later) most mommies probably don't let their kids play/lay on the clinic floor, or touch the stirrups! Oh Crap - BAD Cool Mama! The Dr. visit goes well. I really like this new pediatrician too. She is very young and new, has a great demeanor, and is currently easy to get in with since she is young and new! When I ask, she tells me the wonderful and adored Dr. W-N is doing MUCH BETTER now that she is resting at home. Her babies remain safe inside.

Shots also go well. Marly is her typical no cry tough girl. Dean lets out only brief wails. No tramas. Mama remains a Cool Cucumber, so they remain Cool Be'bes. I dress them, head out, and schedule a follow up appointment. Marly and Dean are calm and quite. I begin to load up the Duoglide. Marly will NOT sit in the stroller - wiggle wiggle out, with screams. Those shots/pain are kicking in. I hold Marly, push Dean, and hit the handicap button to open the office door. Oops - Marly is wriggling/screaming and I can't get out the door in time. HIT that handicap button again! As I hold/push, Marly's sobs begin to subside. I am a Cool Cucumber as I pass the new mommies in the hall with their singleton infants in carriers. I see the look of "how does she do it" pass over their faces. Cool Mama! Just try and stay a Cool Cucumber...

We all do what we can. I really hope my kids didn't pick up any super strains of some nasty infection from the exam room floor or from when Dean was pawing the computer keyboard when he climbed up the bench and leaned onto the Dr's station while I had Marly at the exam table. (You all are thinking I am totally incompetent right now....)

Marly & Dean remain healthy with good dispositions. I sensed no apprehension in my mothering skills or their care from the Dr. (who watched them play on the floor). Just as they have since 6 weeks old, Marly & Dean are the same weight as each other - currently 22 pounds. Also the same since birth, Dean is two inches taller. Don't ask me their percentiles. I pay little attention to those numbers. I do pay attention to their growth charts, which are healthy and steady.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Class of 1993 Reunites

This past weekend I attended my 15 year class reunion. The best way to capture the memories and sentiments is to use a timeline. Go ahead and laugh at my trivial apprehensions for the event, but I suspect YOU may have had similar feeling about your own reunions!

Fall 2007 - Cindy Koenig (my childhood best friend) & I comment it is nearly time for our 15 year high school reunion from BL-H. We both agree we are happy with our lives, families, and accomplishments and are eager to see others from our class.

March 2008 - Classmates receive a Save the Date e-mail. I immediately e-mail Cindy wondering about wardrobe!

May - We get the official E-vite and I quickly respond (and wonder about my wardrobe). I line up my cousin Michelle Paulson to babysit Marly and Dean.

June - I check the E-vite regularly to see who is attending (and wonder about my wardrobe). I e-mail w/ Cindy, Becky Mueller and Michelle Rosenue.

Friday Evening, June 20th - I test out various clothing options, call Cindy, and finally have Mark assist me in my ensemble, testing various shoes and accessories for the afternoon at the park , and the change of clothes for the bar. (((Yes - I am your usual high school reunion attending female and VERY concerned about my attire.)))

Saturday at 12:30 - I click Marly & Dean into their car seats and head to Hector. Their attire is coordinating Gymborie. Mark has to work, plus his foot is broken. Perfect out for the spouse's class reunion.

2:15 pm - I arrive at the park. I cannot decide if I recognize anyone, so I cruise to Mike and Laura Melberg's for a bathroom break. Yes, I am too nervous to pull up with out seeing someone from my comfort zone!

2:40 pm - I head back to the park and pull in along with Michelle Rosenau and family. Busted - Missy Sowder (maiden) saw me drive by the first time. I totally admit I did! I enjoy seeing my classmates with their kids.

5:15 pm - Head to Mike and Laura's to change, then bring Marly & Dean to Chad and Michelle's. I am staying the night at Mike's and have reserved the guest bed. Laura serves me a glass of wine (or two) to prep me for the evening event and calm my class reunion jitters. Seriously, I am accomplished - I should feel confident in myself right??? My hair and fashion sense have come a long way since '93 too! Never mind I may have been a bit of a nerd/goody goody back then. I was/am really nice!

6:45 pm - Arrive at the Other Place bar for the class reunion. I am all smiles and much less nervous then when I pulled into the park the first time. I pay my ten bucks and get my first $1 tap beer. The event is outside on the lawn with a live one-man-band and burger/brat bar. Perfect set up for a 15 year reunion. One of my classmates is now married to the proprietor.

7:20 pm - Still accessing my own outfit (and what else I could/should have worn) and wishing I had chosen different shoes! Enjoy chatting and catching up with others. Certainly noticing how some of us look very much the same, while others have changed - which of course anyone would expect.

8:15 pm - Enjoy my first jello shot with Mary Kay Olinger (maiden) and husband Dave. Lael (wonderful event planner) and the other planners had made 150 jello shots and were totting them around in a wheely cooler. Pick your color!

Later on - The cousins crew of Melberg's arrive (Brett, Rachel, Mike, Laura, Matt, Shylah, etc). They were all at my ten year too. I will Blog about my 'cousins crew' some other time. Of course, Brad Melberg is my classmate and already there with LeAnn.

(((God I love what my small town means to me! You can take the girl out of the country, but don't try and take the country out of Andrea. It is probably important to note I graduated with 56 kids, and we had a very respectable turn out at the reunion.)))

Later still - Talking and more talking, with everyone moving amongst each other. Sarah Renstrom (maiden) has become the class historian and is taking plenty of pictures. I have Brett's camera (he tots it every where). He tells me if it is in my hands I better use it! Perhaps you will see a separate post with photos later this week.

1 am??? - Everyone is partying like rock stars. It is way to early to call it a night for the class of '93. Brett (NOT a classmate) negotiates a price and hires the one-man-band to play at the after bar that is soon to occur at Mike's house.

1:45??? - Basically everyone in the bar walks several blocks to Mike's (Also NOT part of the class of 1993. No it doesn't matter.)

3:30 am???? - Sarah is still taking LOTS of pictures. The town cop arrives to ask that the NEXT song the one-man-band plays be the LAST song. I think I am sitting on a cooler of beer. Not sure where that came from. Someone maybe wheeled it from the bar?

3:45 am??? - The juke box takes the place of the one-man-band.

4:30 am??? - The last of the guests are departing. Laura Melberg has finally stirred from upstairs. Laura had been resting. She needed to leave the bar a bit earlier then closing time. Amazing, baby Will has stayed asleep upstairs until this point.

Sunday morning - Believe it or not, my last name is still Melberg, and I have actually drank responsibly. I pick up Marly & Dean at Chad and Michelle's. I enjoyed recapping the evening with classmate Angie Paulson (maiden) and her husband. Angie is Chad's little sister and spent the night (early morning hours...) in a tent outside. Only in a small town right!

Monday - Classmates are busy e-mailing about what a GREAT event our 15 year was! One person already mentioned Hector Days as the post reunion party. I wish I had more photos to share. Check back - it could be interesting once I gather some.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Medical Flex Spending - MAXED!!!!

On Tuesday Mark took a bit of a spill down the stairs at home -- a serious spill...with Dean in his arms. Dean is okay, but Daddy is NOT. Mark broke the bone on the side of his little toe in two places. When I arrived home on Tuesday, Mark was in extreme pain and not able to handle the kids. After Marly and Dean were feed supper, dear Nanny Auntie Kelly RETURNED to the Thomberg Townhome so I could take Mark to urgent care.

The doctor confirmed Mark's suspicion his foot was broken. He was wrapped up, outfitted with crutches, prescribed Vicadin, and given a referral to an orthopedic specialist for the next day. Yesterday Mark was given the boot cast, and told to come back in three weeks so see how it is healing. Hopefully surgery will not be needed. In the mean time, Dean's Oscar bear is wearing his own sock cast!

Mark was right back at work even yesterday morning... but he is in a lot of pain, can't take care the kids, and has a long summer on crutches ahead of him. I have to work late tonight, so dear Auntie Rachel is coming to help the kids with supper and put them to bed.

I should have been contributing more to my tax free medical flex account.... it is only June and I am sure I have maxed out my deductions. Poor Mark!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Photos of Father's Day

For Father's Day we had lunch at Redstone's with the Melberg's and the Ulrich's (Rachel's Family). Marly & Dean were very well behaved and good eaters too. After we visited at Brett and Rachel's.

Next, we headed to Grandpa and Grandma Thompson's by Lindstrom.

Marly & Dean had corn on the cob for the first time ever. Dean chomped away. Marly didn't quite get it!

We had a busy and fun day. As a wife and mother, the best part of the day was watching Mark revell in his children. He is one of those guys who was just meant to be a dad. As we travelled between activities, Mark commented on how much Marly and Dean mean to him, about how he thinks of them and how much he wants to get home to them after work. On Father's Day, it was a delight to watch him chase after his tiny tots and shower them with his love while parenting to them.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Baby Shower for Jenny!

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for Jenny Lyons. It was a lovely afternoon and an honor to plan something special for her. Jenny arrived glowing in the most darling maternity dress. She had on sassy sunglasses and reminded me of the stylish pregnant Charlotte in Sex in the City.

Everyone knows I love weddings. The same is true of pregnancy. I LOVED being pregnant. I LOVED the way it felt. I LOVED my belly. I LOVED my maternity clothes. I LOVED heading to the Dr and the prenatal monitoring. I currently love watching my friend Jenny in her pregnancy and listening to her excitement, apprehensions, and feelings about the amazing process and future arrival.

My favorite part to the shower was the two littlest ladies in attendance - P H-we and Audrey Chaussee (both nealry 3). They were dolled up in pretty spring dresses and were very well behaved. The were perfectly mannered as they ate their sorbet dessert outside on the patio table, and appeared and sounded as if they were having quite a chat with each other.

Anyway, I wish Jenny all the best as she grows and approaches her July 4th due date. Jenny - Hey... if you need a gal pal for support in labor, you give me a call honey! I would love to see this whole birth thing (since I just saw a blue sheet and these babies appearing above it)!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Drop in visit

Last night I dreamed I was back at my college sorority house. I was the me as in today. My sorority sister Holly was there too. The house was our old house from back in the day. We may have been visiting for the weekend or week perhaps? It felt very odd. Our icky land-lord (Rick the Dick!) showed up questioning what we were doing there, since we didn't have a lease and it was summer.

Anyway, fast forward to this morning. I was at the Fridley Sam's Club for work. It occurred to me I was less then a mile from the credit union where my friend Holly works. I knew I HAD to stop in and say hello. I was DRAWN to her. The kind lady who greeted asked if I had an appointment. "No." She asked me my name. I simply replied, "Andrea." She called Holly in her office, who gave instant recognition to her unexpected visitor.

It was a DELIGHT to see this dear college friend, if only for a few minutes. As indicated in my last post, our opportunities to see those important to us are sometimes limited, and life moves fast. Unfortunately, I see Holly only a few times a year. Today - I seized the moment. Our time was brief... but in those 15 minutes, I got to reconnect. I suspect on our drives home from work today, both Holly and I will replay MANY cherished college memories in our minds...and maybe just one or two we would rather forget : )

Monday, June 9, 2008

Kelsey's Graduation Party

Last Saturday, we attended Kelsey Collins high school graduation party. It was fun to see so many Toren relatives - Toots; Kris & Marissa; Gary & Karen; Dawn & Ross; Chris, Addie & Maggie; Dick & Deanna; Rick, Ann & Mike; and etc.

I remember when Kelsey was born. I was 15 perhaps, and came to stay with Dee & Scott at their apartment in Minnetonka. I cannot imagine I was really any help to Dee at the time, but I did get invited back when Taylor was born. At age 23, when I moved back to MN from Madison, WI, Dee, Scott & the girls kindly let me live with them for a summer until I found my apartment in St. Paul. To this day, I am grateful. I have no idea if I was a good roommate. I didn't pay rent for goodness sake, and I ate their food! I do remember of Kelsey and Taylor, one loved popcorn as their nightly snack, and the other ice cream. I do NOT recall which wanted which. I preferred popcorn. I truly relish the time I spent with them and will cherish it always.

Anyway, the afternoon was too short when life moves fast and seeing extended family is a rarity. We departed at 5:15 PM. I would have loved to stay longer, but my kids were soon to reach the meltdown point.... plus Mark was exhausted from chasing after Marly and Dean while trying to provide me with time to chat with my relatives.

Photo is of Taylor Collins, Marissa Naab, and the Thomberg's.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Strawberry Bag

Does anyone who has been in my life for at least 25 years recognize this bag?

The Strawberry Bag - made by the one and only Helen Lou Melberg - A.K.A Grandma Lou, Auntie Lou, or simply Lou. All of Grandma Lou's daughters, daughter-in-law, or basically most of the women in Lou's inner circle of life had a similar bag. The bag pictured was my mom's (Lou's niece-in-law?). It was the bag used every Sunday of summer in my childhood that we "headed to the lake" to "the cabin" on Kandi - A.K.A Donald and Lou's cabin. The bag held the contents to summer fun. The Strawberry Bag meant time with cousins, food, salads, pans of bars, sun, water, sand, tanning, ski time, kids everywhere, adults everywhere, and much less sunscreen then the American Society of Pediatrics would recommend for children today.

After Dad sold the house in the country, my Dad, Brett and I purged. Mostly, I do not regret what I no longer have or did not save for us. I held on to this bag. I am glad I have the Strawberry Bag. It is just one of SO MANY things Lou made in multiples for many. I think Barb's bag had sailboats on it. In kindergarden, Brad (who was Lou's ACTUAL grandson) and I both had little denim bags with a school house and our name appliqued on them.

Anyway...I digress. I got this bag out and used it for a picnic this past Sunday, June 1st. The Thomberg's went to visit Jenny and Jeremy at their new home in Minneapolis. We picniced at Minnehaha Creek two blocks away. Using the bag was my personal and private way to commemorate my mom on the anniversary of her death. It was a way for me to bask in the many precious family memories she created for all of us.

Sunday the Strawberry Bag was used to create new family memories for my own kiddos! Hey, it just occurred to me Marlys and Lou were probably hanging out in heaven and laughing at their own memories of these bags (including the label stitched inside indicating it was 'hand made by Helen Lou'). I was also thinking this bag is nearly 30 years old and shows no real signs of wear. God bless quality home made sewn goods from a generation gone by. I plan to put this bag in regular use. Mark and I have become those people who bring their own bags to retailors.

The Gal Pals see Sex and the City

Months before the opening date, and long before tickets were available on line... Gal Pal Molly had sent the E-vite for the 'Sex and the City' movie. Everyone marked their calendar. We joined the droves of women on Friday night and headed to the premier. The hot ticket in town was sold out in advance and we found ourselves unable to get tickets at the same theater! A troupe of use headed to Roseville, while the rest of the ladies viewed the show at Oakdale. We reunited at Fabulous Fern's in St. Paul to chat up the movie, and our lives.

The movie gets my rave reviews, but I also revelled in some much needed GAL PAL time. Our group of gals is nothing like the foursome in the movie. We are a mish mash of how who knows who, but many of us are tried and true friends. From marriages and break-ups, moves, men, careers, and kids...we have evolved (as did our beloved Carrie, Miranda, Samatha, and Charlotte)! From our 20 something regular 'Urban Summits' at our fav bars in St. Paul like Sweeney's, to a book club inaugurated with 11 women and 12 bottles of wine at Heidi Hagel's Summit Avenue apartment, to the current version of the 'Urban Summit' which are rather infrequent and most likely hosted on someone's comfy couch, to countless wedding and baby showers (including Jenny's this Sunday) - here are some of us last Friday!


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