An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

More Sweet Than Bitter: 13 June 10, 2016

Filed under: Independence — edamomie @ 6:45 am
Tags: , , , ,

I: Independence

My little girl is 13. And it came without any of the drama or flurry of past birthdays filled with balloons, cake and slumber-less nights. She wanted to spend her birthday with family. We were honored.



Happy Hour at Benihana

We made an entire weekend out of it. It was all about Ava. With an early June birthday, the transition to new digits has always come along with the transition of the school year. This year she said goodbye to seventh grade without looking back, welcoming the independence rumored to be given to eighth graders as head of the school.


It was time to transition. From the stories being reported at dinner time over the last three weeks, it became clear that a restlessness that tried both teachers and students patience was heightening. I think that was a factor as we talked a month in advance about her birthday about plans for that day. She was totally fine with a low-key celebration.


It went like this. After school last Friday, the day before her actual birthday, her brother came home with a Good Manners certificate from fourth grade for Benihana just as we were contemplating how Ava wanted to spend her evening. That solved the first pressing question of where to go for dinner. The usual roadblock of my husband ixnaying the Mall of America wasn’t even a factor — he took the only Apple Genius Bar appointment in town for an immediate fix for his iphone.



Gray and PINK is trending…

We arrived at Benihana with no reservations and a 20 minute estimated wait. Perfect time to run to Sephora to let Ava hand-select part of her birthday present from her mom; while Chad and Calvin ran off to find their birthday gift for her. We opted for bar seating versus the fancy chef prep tables (next time and WITH a reservation!) and were pleasantly surprised. It was happy hour. A few banana berry smoothies and passion fruit drinks later, we were happy with our dining experience and the price, which included $15 off for Cal’s Good Manners certificate (#HaleToday).


We popped into Lids after dinner to pick up Ava’s birthday present from the boys. An embroidered AGJ on a gray pinstriped baseball hat. A hit. Then it was off to see Jungle Book and with Ava just under 13 by a hair, got her last kid-priced movie ticket at $6. Sad to see that era come to an end. Now she can legitimately see PG-13 movies, another milestone.


Must Enter 13 Caffeinated!


The next day was an open book. We paid a visit to the mall. No surprises there! She used some of her birthday money at PINK and Abercrombie and Francesca’s. This girl was glowing with new gray sweats, jean shorts and an adorable wide-brimmed hat for the summer. I wanted to bottle that up.


The afternoon was spent at home. I believe the term is chillaxin’. Her dad brought home a gift from H&M for her — tossed it to me, knowing I am the queen of recycled gift bags, tissue paper and bows. I quickly critiqued it, another gray sweatshirt, sweatshorts? I bit my tongue — I so want to see her in color. You know what, she loved her gift. Go figure.


We enjoyed take-out from from Quangs on Nicollet- pho and spring rolls; followed by french silk pie. Later that eve, we caught up on Once, the ABC series that duals characters in fairytale and Storybrooke real worlds. I feel like we’ve been watching this an eternity… I mean, it’s wickedly good, but will it ever, ever end?


The Style of 13: Gray, PINK and Lots of Sunshine!


Sunday, I had a project. Ava was perfectly content on her own. Not really sure what she did while I tackled my business finances. Oh wait, we did a quick facial mask together late morning. When our paths crossed in the house again, it was mid-afternoon and we rallied the family for a trip to Nokomis. I took our dog, Copper, for a run around while Chad and kids lounged on the beach. Lazy afternoon.


We ended it on that note. With nary a call or outreach to her friends. They will be there this summer for pool, beach and movie outings over long summer days. For now, I just want to revel in the bittersweet passing of tween to teen. Beautifully executed, Ava. We love you!




I’ve Got A Bright Ikea July 6, 2011

Filed under: Outings — edamomie @ 10:03 pm
Tags: , , , ,

O: Outings

Value Breakfast

Value Breakfast

Unless you’re a professional shopper or have several trips to Ikea under your belt, I have some insight to offer that could be useful. Since Ikea came to the Twin Cities about five years ago, I would venture to say we’ve been there about 20 times. The key, as with many over-sized shopping experiences, is not only to pre-shop but to measure, make a list at home as well. And finally, when entering the store: be realistic, allow time to hit all the shopping and warehouse areas, lower your expectations and go in with high energy and decision-making powers.

It was a summer Sunday morning and my Mom, daughter and I were on a small home improvement project kick. My parents’ extended stay of five days opened it up to actually take action on the projects we talk about but never get to. So while the boys worked on exterior project, us girls lit up at the prospect of a visit to Ikea.

I pulled out some pictures that needed framing and a set of five wall hooks from a previous overly ambitious Ikea trip months ago. Where to commit to hanging those hooks? Goodness knows without a modern day mudroom, this family is challenged. We brainstormed a bit and opted to look for additional hooks so one set could go in each of the kids’ rooms. An ah-ha moment. We also measured the distance from the floor to my son’s bedframe – we’d be ready to pounce on the perfect baskets that would clear the opening. The list was comprised of frames, hooks and baskets.

Bibs for Tots

Bibs for Tots


For a fourth opinion, we brought my 8-yr-old daughter’s American Girl doll, Mia, with us. We arrived about 15 minutes prior to store opening and headed for the Ikea Cafe. I’d eaten here just months ago with daughter Ava for breakfast. I assured Mom, this would be a value-driven meal. $1.99 for eggs, bacon and french toast sticks (2 orders) and coffee, an order of Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam, chocolate and cookies (for later!) all for less than $9.00. I already feel obligated to spend $30 shopping. The cafe is clean, bright and optimistic. It feels European, yet like a neighborhood cafe. I even run into a friend who’s there in search of a toddler bed. I can’t help but give her some advice.

At store open time, we shop. As tempting as it is to go through the entire top floor, which is furniture and larger ticket items, we do a quick run-through of the Children’s section on Floor 2, then head down to Floor 1 for home accessories. I pick up an outdoor rug ($5) and briefly scan the lighting possibilities to see what’s new. In framing, I find a three picture opening frame ($14) for 5×7 photos and decide I can make my 4×6’s work with some clever matting. We move on to search for a set of hooks to match the others – no easy task – they’ve moved, but luckily they still have them ($10 each). Note: turnover is high here – if you have any inclination you’ll come back to get matching items of a set or more of something, don’t count on it.

We get a little caught up in framing – no luck finding the odd size frame for a USA map of my son’s that needs a 20 by 38 frame. I let it go, we move on. Baskets are next. I check out wicker baskets that I saw on the last trip that would fit under Calvin’s bed. They are still $20 a pop and I’d need three. I decide to wait. Risky, I know.

Fave Storage Bins

Fave Storage Bins

If you think you’re done shopping when you hit the warehouse entrance, this is a rookie mistake. Everything is displayed as assembled and you might find some things you missed in the furniture section. Or maybe you’ve carefully marked what aisle and bin to find your items in from your shopping tour only to find out that they’re sold out or discontinued. Disappointing, but that’s how it might go.

Two Bright Ikea Ideas

Two Bright Ikea Ideas


Proceed to checkout. Don’t be afraid: do the self-check-out, especially if you have an impatient child. Ava loves to scan, she’s got a knack for it. We don’t have a kid to pick up in the play area today (in the past, I’ve checked them in there while I shop – slick!), so it’s an easy exit to the lot. I think we spent about 1.75 hours there.

Over the next days, we paint the wooden boards that will hold the hooks – green for Calvin and hot pink for Ava – to match the stuff already in their rooms. No more excuses for stuff on the floor – the five hooks have two prongs each, so 10 places to hang towels, backpacks, robes, hats and lunchbags. Each board needs three coats of paint. We plan out positioning from floor and location behind each door. Papa assembles them the next day, while I’m at work. A satisfying two-day turn-around on that project.

What’s your Ikea experience? How do you shop there? Do the store and products give you inspiration or make you overwhelmed? Scale of 1 to 10, 10 being brightest, is Ikea a good idea?


Lofty Ambitions for a Week of Flying Solo November 20, 2010

Filed under: Independence — edamomie @ 3:21 pm
Tags: , ,

I:  Independence

When I learned my husband was going to be out of town around the world for one week, I initially went into panic mode. But I had handled this type of situation swimmingly before, I could do it again. An opportunity.


LG - A Smooth Operator

LG - A Smooth Operator

Saturday 13: It began with a list that even before he was gone I was working on. It started with appliances. It might date me to say how insanely excited the purchase of new appliances – washer, dryer, microwave and vacuum – made me, but just last night a co-worker confirmed that yes, it is indeed thrilling.  The adrenaline rush was heightened by the wild cherry red (to which my mom acknowledged with an ohhh, which meant she thought I would probably regret this color choice later) and the blizzard en route to the St. Paul Warners’ Stellian Warehouse for their Extreme Sale. All worth it as the anticipation of waiting for delivery all week has actually put a smile on my face everyday. That started on Saturday the 13th and set the tone for the week.


Monday 15: He left early Monday a.m. The kids had a talking-to about how I’m extra specially counting on them to do their part this week. The chore charts were taped up on the wall in anticipation of the extreme efficiency with which we were going to operate. I’m happy to report that the 6:59a.m. bus was made 4 of 5 days. It’s only a short block’s walk to the stop with my 7-yr-old while my 5-yr-old explores his independence for 2-3 minutes at home. When asked, he says he just laid on the couch during that time. I lock the door, of course.

My Haven - A 2' Raise

My Haven - A 2' Raise


Monday night, after fortuitously finding that USABaby had extended their weekend sale through Monday (due to the blizzard), it was finally the moment for Calvin’s bed frame and dresser purchase. Without realizing it, I am on a color theme. I select Chili Pepper Red, again an ohhh from my Mom (just wait til I save up for the tangerine night stand). Calvin wondered what was wrong with his bed on the floor. How would he organize his clothes? Custom orders are a 6-8 week wait, so in theory I will be smiling until January about that purchase. It’s only Monday night and just look how much (damage) we have done.


Tuesday 16: Tonight was a visit to my friend Steph’s house to meet her new baby and give the kids (her son is 4) a chance to play. She’s lived in St. Paul for 5 years and lamely, I had never been to her house. This also is an amazingly good feeling to have time out of discussions with a group of girls at a restaurant/bar to reconnect not only with her, but get to know her kids. I fed Baby Logan her bottle, to which she lost most of its contents. My kids, wide-eyed wondered how I would handle the messy situation. We talked about it later – how not to panic. Calvin noted that we wouldn’t want to imply that we didn’t like her baby.


Wednesday 17: Today was a social media seminar and the launch of this blog which kept me up til midnight.

Laziness Turns to Evil

Laziness Turns to Evil


Thursday 18: A trip to the dentist. We didn’t actually see the dentist, mind you. We were late so had to reschedule. We were not going to let this get us down (actually my son was overjoyed). Solution: Southdale. I got my much needed make-up while the kids tested lotions at Aveda. They got their xmas outfits (you know the usual deals you get 25% off and an additional deal the store clerk whispers that she’ll give you on top of that – the norm these days). And we topped everything off with Megamind. More on this later under “Y” for Yeses and Recommendations. I will say I found humor in the off pronunciations of words like Metrocity (Met TRA city; think monstrosity) and melancholy (Mel LAN choly), reminiscent of my Dad’s southmore for sophomore and IT ly for Italy.


Friday 19: Finally Friday. The annual awards celebration for work in the eve. Dual babysitters and arrangements. Uncle Pauly did the first shift and one of their regular babysitters showed up with her cousin for the later shift. Home at midnight and a quick check of my email yielded good news that helped me sleep soundly – the husband was going to be home a day early, for lunch on Saturday.


We did well with our independence. There is a sense of accomplishment. No illnesses, no regrets. Next time, I’m going with him. Check.


%d bloggers like this: