Photo Wednesday: Lost on the Moon


Valle de la Luna

I always loved this photo— actually the place. It is like walking on the moon. I guess, for some, it isn’t much of a landscape. But to me, growing up in Wisconsin, being in the dessert is about as unique an experience as you can find. Even better, if you go the right time of year, it isn’t too hot and I can actually enjoy it.

This photo was taken in 2007 when my parents were visiting and we traveled to northern Chile, Valle de la Luna.

Ending the way many others started

photo (18)

Ready for school


The first day of school, my daughter waved me off, barely giving me a peck goodbye.  She had found her place.  Finally.  She was three, surrounded by friends, books, toys, and learning.  There was activity and attention.  Cloud nine.

All year, she has loved school.  Loved her wonderful teacher, Miss Jenny.  Loved her classmates, especially S.  Loved to learn.  She sings songs, tells me stories, points out characters and uses phrases like “that is quite small”.  All year, on days she has school (only twice a week), she wakes up extra early, too excited to keep sleeping.  She races to get their first and eats everything they put on her plate.

Today, was the last day of school for her.  The school actually ends next week, but we will be away.  S has already taken off on vacation.  Today, she did not wake up extra early.  She lagged in the house, changing clothes multiple times and begging to go back to bed.  As we drove to school she complained, “I don’t want to go to school.  I want to go home.  Then Mommy and I will put back on pajamas and go back to bed.  That is what I want.  I do not want to go to school”.

Out of the car, she turned around and started walking home.  With her bike, I was able to coax her down the path to school.  Except, by the time we were at her classroom, she was at it again.  She said she was tired. She said she didn’t want to go to school.  She tried to leave.  And then it happened.  Melt down.  Tears on her cheeks, Miss Jenny picked her up so I could say goodbye.  I did.  I left.  She was fine.  In fact, it was a fun day of school.

But, I wasn’t ready for it.  Her first day and every subsequent day had taught me that my daughter would love life and school so much, that she would be able to let go.  Today she couldn’t.  It was harder then I expected.

Maybe we need to have “the talk” earlier


Friends invited us over to a little dinner party on their back porch last weekend.  We like visiting them as they have a nearly three-year-old as well.  M and Little Elephant are fabulous friends and school classmates.  He is the sweetest boy who has relentlessly pursued her friendship, hugging, holding hands, and sharing his beloved cars for more than two years.  Note: the first toy Little Elephant. slept with was one of his cars!

As she stood by my plate picking at food, M meandered over and announced he wanted to show her something.  He then boldly put his hand out, confident that she would take it, following his lead.  She did (after eating one last olive— the girl loves her olives).  Curious, I followed them into the house.

“This is the kitchen,” he announced.

“This is the hall,” he explained.

That is where I go pee-pee,” he squeeled as she pulled him away.  Afraid she hadn’t heard, he announced it again. Louder.


Having finished the tour of downstairs, M invited my daughter up to his room to see the trains.  Hand-in-hand, they climbed the stairs.

I decided to leave them alone and ventured back to the adults.  I told the story of how cute the tour was and everyone giggled at the “I pee there” reference.  I asked M’s Dad if I should be worried about them alone upstairs and if I should check on them.  “Clare,” he responded in a playful voice, “I don’t think we have to worry about that until they are teenagers.  Then we won’t let him take her up to the room for alone time.  For now, they are just playing with trains!”

Everyone giggled (including me).

But, the worrywart in me took over, so I went to check on them.   I just wanted to be sure they weren’t playing with plastic bags or getting into the medicine cabinet.   They weren’t.  They were fine.  In fact, they were hugging and giggling and rolling around on the floor together so much that they didn’t notice me come in, take pictures, and leave.  I now have photographic evidence that we might need to have the birds and the bees talk a little earlier than planned.  Although, not yet.  Afterall, they are only three.

Happy 3rd Birthday

All Rights Reserved Clare Says

All Rights Reserved
Clare Says

Dear Little Elephant,

Today, you turned three years old!  I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, how big your have gotten, how much you make me laugh, and how proud I am to be your Mommy.  I can only hope to watch you reach 103!

You love graham crackers.  This is unfortunate, as they are hard to find overseas.  Luckily, we know where to find the supply locally and when they get in a shipment, I buy multiple boxes.  Then, I take the boxes to my office and bring them home only one at a time (you still haven’t figured out this trick, but I am sure you will soon— you really are too smart for your own good).  The office trick is necessary as otherwise you would just sit in one place until all crackers from all boxes were in your belly.  Anyway, the other day Liza told you that “Mommy said we can only have 1 graham cracker”.  You thought about it and replied “No Liza.  I can have as many as I want.  You just need to tell Mommy that I only ate one.”  Ahh, little dickens you are— but your deception did not work.  And, worst of all, Liza made you fess up!

We went to buy flowers for Matthew’s Mommy today.  Between the two flower stands, a bit back, is a place the sells ice cream.  I have never pointed this out before, but today you noticed.  “Daddy, you whispered to him, I think I need to go look at something over there.”  Luckily, he figured it out to and distracted you.  We may have to not visit the flower shops for a while.

You still love going to school.  Your new goal is to get their first.  So, you wake up at 5 instead of 7.  Unfortunately, this plan often backfires because Mommy is so tired by the time school runs around, that we can’t get moving.  School doesn’t open til 8, I tell you over and over like a broken record, but unfettered you explain “but Mommy, I need to be first”.

This is not the only time you fight sleep.  Funny, now you have started to repeat back to me the things I say as I plead for your to sleep.  For example, when in bed, if you have to go potty again, you emphatically tell me: “Last time Mommy.  Just 1 last time I need to use the potty.  Then, I will not make you sick.”  When I ask for clarification about the sick part, you tell me, “Yes, I will not make you sick.  We need to sleep to be healthy.  I will not make you sick. One last time to the potty.”

The school had an end of the year show.  Despite only attending part time, you made sure you knew each of the words.  You would sit on the potty and practice “ooly gooly had a worm…”  On the day of the show, you recited “Roses are red. Violets are blue. Sugar is sweet. And so are you.”  Despite the microphone, I couldn’t hear a word.  You did happily recite it later that afternoon for Liza though.  On the other hand, in the middle of a song, you glanced up and noticed the flower decorations hanging from the ceiling.  Louder than the other 8 kids singing together, you shouted “Mommy! There are FLOWERS hanging from the ceiling! Mommy! Did you see the flowers?”.  You repeated that over and over, while Miss Jenny tried to hush you and I tried to contain my laughter.  You joy is infections.  You now take “Three little kittens who lost their mittens” and change the word mitten for whatever you can’t find (socks, truck, shoes) to let me know that something is missing.

We had a joint birthday party with a neighbor yesterday (more posts on that later this week).  A friend from down the block came.  She has three little ones: 8 years old, 5 years old and 1 year old. When she said that Little Elephant was turn 3, the 8 year old responded “No way! I thought she was older.  She sure is smart and talk a lot!”  See?  Verdict is out and I am not the only one who thinks that L.E. is one smart cookie!

Every morning, when we get up, you say: “Mama, are you staying all day with me?”  If no, you respond, “Okay.  Liza can stay all day with me.  Then you will come home.” Yes, dear, I always will!  When I leave for work, you shout, “I love you sweet Mama” after the car.  And, when we go to sleep at night, you whisper, “Mama, do you know I love you?”  And I do.  Plus, I love you right back and a thousand times over.

Hugs and kisses to my dynamic daughter.  Good luck for this next year.  I can’t wait to explore it with you!



Kind of like a birthday


I came home from work today and had one hour to play with my daughter before being picked up for the celebration of the National Day of Sweden.  After playing outside a bit, I announced I was going upstairs to change.  Then, this happened:

Little Elephant: Mommy, why are you changing?

Me: Well, honey, I am just changing clothes because Mommy needs to go out for a work event.

Little Elephant: Why work having an event?

Me: Actually, its my friend’s work that is having the event.  I am just going.

Little Elephant: But, what IS it?

Me: Well, I am going to the National Museum to celebrate Sweden’s National Day.

Little Elephant: What’s that?

Me: Each country had a day that it celebrates its independence.  Like, in the US we have the 4th of July.  In Chile, they have the 18th of September.  In Sweden, they have the 6th of June.

Little Elephant: So… you going to birthday party.

Me: Yes.  I guess you are right.  It is like a country’s birthday party.

Little Elephant: My Daddy has a country.

Me: He does!  Do you know which one?

Little Elephant: Chile!

Me: Very good!  And do you know when Chile’s independence is?

Little Elephant: Yes.

Me: When?

Little Elephant: Mmmm…. Friday.

Me: Hmm. I guess sometimes it is on Friday.  It is the 18th of September,

Little Elephant: Oh.  Do you get birthday cake?