On school supplies and hate

Mommy Shorts Nelson Mandela quote

Credit: Mommy Shorts


I remember back to school time while I was growing up. It was magical. All the new things for the new year. Crayons, backpacks, shoes and clothes. For kids with not much “new” in their lives throughout the year, my siblings and I loved the free reign to shop. There was some heartache in this time too. We couldn’t get the coolest clothes or the best sneakers. Five Star notebooks were out of the question and we only got character branded backpacks the one year that our dad took us school shopping.

At some point in high school I realized the heartache that my mom felt at back to school time. She worked so hard but back to school time was definitely the wrong time for a single, hourly wage earning, mother of three children. All summer long she had found childcare for us, fed us meals that were free when we were in school and paid for activities so we weren’t too bored. And right on the cusp of relief from that financial burden, she had to come up with the money to get all that new for us. She was aware enough to know that we wanted something special. We wanted the cool things that our friends had. We were aware enough to not ask too hard for things that we couldn’t have.

Becoming a parent really opened my eyes to what my mom did to make ends meet. Kids are expensive, you guys. There isn’t enough help out there for all the things. So I vowed that I would help. I have enough to help and I should. This year school supply shopping time rolled around and I was busy and Jack and I were balancing a new budget so I decided to skip it. Not this year but definitely next year.

Then the tragedy in Charlottesville happened. On top of what I was already feeling about the bombing of the mosque in Bloomington, MN. So many feelings. I looked at the pictures of the white men outwardly showing their hate in Charlottesville streets and thought about what could make that hate grow in their hearts. How did I come to truly want to love and help everyone (I’m by no means perfect but that is my intent) and they just have hate?

This is speculation. I am not a psychologist or sociologist but in all the tragedies over the years that have made my heart ache I come back to one principle. I keep returning to the fact that somewhere along the line these people didn’t feel loved. They didn’t feel part of a community. They were lost and they turned in on themselves and projected hate.

There are a lot of different ways to help when you feel helpless. So many organization are fighting hate and they could use support. If one child doesn’t feel alone or inadequate or not part of the community. If they have what it takes to learn in school. If they see people loving and helping. Then maybe they won’t turn to hate. School supplies are not going to save the world themselves. But they will mean everything to some child who is truly born to learn and born to love.

So we found the time and the money and we went school supply shopping. Elodie is only three and she can’t and, really shouldn’t, understand the bigger picture but she understands giving. She understands that not everyone has what she has. She picked out every item on the school supply list. Complete with at Disney Princess backpack. And when I said that some little girl will love all of this, she reminded me that maybe it could be a little boy. My heart swelled right there because even when I am not perfect and I am not right (why couldn’t a little boy love the Disney Princess backpack?) she is teaching me. We are raising the change and teaching love.


This gives me hope.




You’ll Always Have a Place in my Heart


Ten years ago yesterday the 35W bridge in Minnesota collapsed. Ten years ago I frantically tried to get through busy cell phone lines to reach my fiancé and his brother who would have crossed the bridge to go to their MBA classes at the Carlson School of Management. Ten days later I would marry my fiancé in a beautiful ceremony with a really fun party afterward. Three years later we would be divorced.

Yesterday as the media covered the ten year anniversary of the bridge collapse I felt a lot of emotions as I remembered that it is coming up on the ten year anniversary of my first marriage. With all that on my heart I heard exactly the right thing from a 1 minute segment of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast titled “My Daughter’s Ex-boyfriend’s Mother Found the Right Words to Say”. The message was, “Sometimes, it’s hard to put into words the exact nature of a loving relationship. ‘You’ll always have a place in my heart’ says it all.”

Despite where we ended there was love and there was happiness. There were so many memories made. Mistakes were made big and small. The divorce was inevitable for many reasons. And right for so many more. I have grown and I have learned. I am happy and in the right place and I hope that he is too. I’ve struggled for a long time to put into words how I want to convey that time in my life and those people I shared it with. My ex, his family, our friends. People that I think of from time to time but don’t have contact with anymore.

“You’ll always have a place in my heart” does say it all.

So I’m throwing this out to the universe of the interwebs. I don’t know who it will reach or where it will go. If it reaches the right people, just know that you do have a place in my heart and you always will. I wish you happiness, health and peace.



Summer, Summer, Summer Time


Tomorrow is August 1st but if you asked me I would swear up and down its June 1st. Where did summer go?!

Jack and I just laid in bed the other night scrolling through our calendar looking for the next weekend where we don’t have anything scheduled. Hint: the leaves will be changing colors.

I’m not sure when life decided to go the speed of light but I sure wish that it would slow down. I still need to find time to savor some of summer for myself.

I wrote a little about that here: http://twincities.citymomsblog.com/its-your-summer-too/

Take some time for yourself!



Scary Campfire Story – Parenting a Preschooler Version


Camping with your family is a rite of passage for a lot of Minnesotans. I grew up spending a few summer weekends in rickety old tents with the smell of bonfire smoke permanently infused in my hair. We wanted this same experience for Elodie. Well, maybe not a few summer weekends, but at least one at a different state park each summer. We started this tradition last summer in “luxury” by renting a rustic cabin at Lake Itasca State Park. It went smoothly.

This summer we decided to get brave and roll out the tent that has been sitting in our garage for 10 years. We joined three other families with three-year olds and went down to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in southern Minnesota for two nights of actual camping. I think it’s been 18 years since I slept in a tent.

This was as disconnected as you could get. We had no cell phone service in the park. No ipads, no movies. We threw footballs, took walks, put on dance shows at the amphitheater and painted rocks and covered them with glitter for entertainment. It was perfect. We were making those idyllic childhood memories.group.JPGNothing with three-year olds is easy but we were feeling pretty proud of the girls by the time evening rolled around on Saturday night. They were tired, dirty, hot and hadn’t eaten anything healthy but they were good. There had been a few pouty lips or stomping off to melt into a puddle of sass in the weeds (ew…woodticks) but no meltdowns. I was feeling pretty darn proud of our parenting skills. We got this.

We never got around to telling scary campfire stories but I will now share the one that will be my go-to for years to come, broken down into the elements of all good scary stories:

Foreshadowing: Elodie put herself to bed around 10:00. With temps in the 90s the parents were feeling pretty drained. We complained that it was too hot to drink and too hot for a bonfire – definitely too hot for sleeping but we trudged into our tents and tried our best. When we got into the tent, E whined and rolled around but was shushed back to sleep.

A minor scare: I dozed and awoke to the sound of our campsite getting ravaged by something. For a moment the snuffling and growling near our tent door made me afraid it was a bear. However, we’d seen a raccoon earlier in the night and we knew that our little friend was back. Jack raced out of the tent when we realized that the devious critter had figured out how to get into the cooler and stolen some of our leftover corn on the cob.

The beast awakens: Unfortunately we woke Elodie up while shooing away the thief. It wasn’t the kind of wake up where she is curious what is going on and wants to party. It was the wake up of a tiny, hot and over-tired monster with whining, crying, back arching and eventually screaming.

Running for your life: Remember – we are in a tent. In a very quiet campground. We were officially the people keeping every single other person in the camp awake and there was no escape.

So, we do what all good parents do and we start by offering food and water.

Then we move to bribery – marshmallows for breakfast, horse rides somewhere (no joke – I offered horse rides, heck, I would have purchased her a freaking pony if she had stopped screaming).

Then we tried empathy when we heard that we had awoken a baby across the campground. “Be brave for baby Emma…….”

You guys, I even tried covering her mouth with my hand. (I’ll accept the parent of the year award now).

Then we moved into the car for more of the same but at least we had air conditioning and something that could muffle the screams. While screaming she started to complain that her ear hurt. Now, I knew in my gut that she was just over-tired. She’d shown no symptoms of an ear infection. But a small part of me was worried. She didn’t have any reason to know that an ear ache would get her extra attention or sympathy. She’d never done anything like this before and ear infections come on suddenly and very often at the most inopportune moments.

So we backed the car out of the campground and drove until our cell phones got service to look for an ER. We’re in the middle of nowhere so the ER is an hour away and we start driving country roads with plenty of critters running across to keep us awake and alert.

Elodie finally settled down. Hoping to avoid an expensive ER visit I kept asking about her ear. Did it really hurt? Could we see a doctor in the morning? This resulted in turning back to the campsite once and then back toward the ER again.

Safe at last: Finally, her eyes shut. Jack and I debated the ER again and decided that we would drive until we found a place to buy Tylenol and if she didn’t cry again we would just go back to the tent and tell her the doctor gave her medicine. Luckily an open Kwik Trip was our oasis in the desert of desperately tired parents. With that precious red liquid in our hands we went back to the tent and got 4 hours of sleep until a family of crows woke us. The monster had transformed into a pretty little princess with tons of charm and no sign at-all that she’d been awake screaming most of the night.

Like all good scary stories, the characters did not learn any lessons. With bags under our tired eyes we all agreed we would absolutely do this again next summer because it was so much fun.sparkler© 2017 Terrae Weatherman all rights reserved


What did I write?!


Its one thing to write thoughts in your own little corner of the internet. Three people read this and they are my besties and know everything about me anyway.

Its an entirely different thing to see your own words and photos shared with thousands of subscribers. Deep breaths….deep breaths….

I used to pride myself on having a really excellent memory. Ever since becoming a mom that has slowly faded. Too much on my mind I guess. So this morning when my article posted on Twin Cities Moms Blog I re-read it like, “what did I write?!” I remembered the theme but not the words.

In the end I am proud but that anxious and self-critical part of me cringes. What will the world think of me? I’ll probably spend much of the day eyeballing comments on the blog, and three social media platforms.

I’m embracing this new role and I am shining in knowing that someone is saying, “me too”. Here’s to coffee and Rescue Remedy to get me through the first day of being noticed.

Link to post: http://twincities.citymomsblog.com/knowns-unknowns-of-a-second-baby/





Let’s Play

The Minnesota Children’s Museum had a drastic remodel. They’ve done a great job at press so its been shared a lot and I am not going to spend my time today on the details. However, if you are in the area you should definitely check it out.

I’m going to spend my time today on what I learned and what I hope to grow from my experience there.

This lesson came at exactly the right moment. I guess these children’s play experts really know what they are doing. My daughter was spending quite a bit of time at one specific exhibit. It wasn’t one that I really loved so I sat back against the wall impatiently waiting for her to get bored. I played on my phone while mild interest for something to do. About the time that I was going to suggest we move along, I saw a sign.

I saw a sign? Did this blog just go off the deep end? No, I literally saw a sign. chmn.PNGHere is what I love about this message. I was about to suggest to my daughter, who was independently playing with kids she didn’t know, that we go do something else. I’m not a parent who thinks that I need to be present and mindful every waking moment of my child’s life but at the same time stopping and looking for what she found interesting in this experience was powerful. What was she learning by moving boxes around? Look at my clingy girl playing with other kids and taking turns! Look at her deciding what she likes to do and doing it.

I could take a lot of time and digress into parenting guilt. The guilt of always telling our children to hurry up and herding them along to something else to do. People have covered this so I am not going to.

Here is what I learned from that sign at the children’s museum. We should all give ourselves grace to do what we like and to spend our time doing it. How often have I gotten up from reading a really good book because I should be doing something else? Or cut outdoor time short because I should be inside tackling the to-do list? Obviously things need to get done at some point and I would much rather read than do the laundry. But I think we too often judge ourselves for not being productive. What if we kept looking for the reasons why we are so into something? Maybe that lazy outdoor time is a mindfulness exercise? Maybe that book is a brain challenging activity? Maybe we just need something more in our lives than to-do lists?

Okay, maybe I am going off the deep end. We try to give grace to our children to play and learn and develop. We forget that we need to play and learn and develop. We can’t do that if we’re moving from one to-do list checkmark to the next.

So….let’s play.





Exercise as Medicine

I started seriously running again. (If you call running 3 days in a row serious running. My intentions are long term so we’ll go with serious.)

I started again because it was just an easy way to workout. I don’t have to drive anywhere. I just throw on my shoes, put in my headphones and go. Its been awhile since my shoes have hit the pavement and its hard now to see why sometimes I think that its so hard to do.

I instantly feel more alive. I feel more like me again. Those endorphins, tho…After I broke my foot in March I fell into a huge funk. My therapist finally made me admit it was depression. She also convinced me to go in and up my medication dosage to help me deal while my foot was healing. I felt the medication kick in after a few weeks and it took the edge off the lows but I still didn’t feel like me. I kept telling myself that nice weather would help. Well, nice weather came and I still didn’t feel like me.

But running…running makes me feel like me. No other exercise allows me to just drown out everything. One foot in front of the other as meditation and therapy. I practice conversations, write emails and compose blog articles all while getting my exercise on. When the run is one my mind and body are tired but also peaceful.

I’m taking a class right now on physical activity. We just did a lesson on exercise as medicine and went through all the benefits of exercise physically and mentally. I feel it all. I wish that everyone could have a way to find this peace.

I know the hurdles to get out. That first time putting on your shoes and heading out the door with dread. This is going to hurt. Why am I doing this to myself? That all fades away and its peace. Exercise is my medicine.