Summer Heat.

We had some real deal summer heat this weekend- it was AWESOME! We joined a new gym- the one where the kids have been attending camp- so we tried out their pool this weekend and it was really fun! We love our neighborhood pool but it can get a little crowded and it's nice to have a change of pace. 

We also went to the driving range which was a pretty good activity for all four of us. Davis and Davis are GOOD. They can crank it. Holden and I were not so good. But we still had a great time. I have to remind myself of how beautiful it is here in the summer. The skies are blue like a blue hydrangea in full bloom and the grass is green like the checkerboard scene in Alice in Wonderland. It's so colorful and alive.

And of course we also just goofed around at home...as you can tell by these pictures taken while both kids were sitting on me on the couch. Bunny ears are all the rage right now.

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Also- I decided to try my hand at Rhubarb pie. Bennett helped me make the lattice work top. He has eaten almost every slice of that pie, which is especially fun since he turned up his nose at the  idea of a rhubarb pie initially. :-)

Bennett Ryan Fam Jam.

The Ryans came to visit us this week! We had a lot of firsts. First Twins game, first big fireworks, first music festival for the kids, first rained out 4th of July parade, and first time surviving 8 people living together for 5 days. We had fun, but to say we are exhausted, is an understatement. Enjoy these fun pictures!

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These boys are so handsome and have grown up so much. They picked up right where they left off and had a great time together. Porter likes to be entertained at all times- and Davis is perfect for that. :-)

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Walking to the parade...I shouted something like "It's only raining if you think it is!" and the heavens opened up and down came the rain.

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It was a beautiful night for a Twins game. I find baseball very boring- but it was so nice to sit outside and eat a hot dog and drink a beer. The kids loved it too.

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The fireworks show starts at 10:00 when the sun sets so we usually don't make it- but this year we were up and at em so we went for it. I'm so glad we did.

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Got this selfie with D at the park. Hello TEETH!

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On Thursday the dads golfed and Carrie and I took the kids to the park. The next day, we shopped, and the dads took the kids to Minnehaha Falls. This picture was taken there...

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We also swam in the creek by our house on a hot humid day...and the kids caught a small perch!

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Then Friday night we went to the Basilica Block Party. I could tell that most of the crew didn't want to go- they felt tired, in general and of each other, but I was not missing it. It's a beautiful music festival on the steps of the Basilica and due to Davis' connections- it's an open bar and VIP seating. Plus, the weather was beautiful. So we went and we got to hear Prince's band, The Revolution, jam to all his hits with a stand-in lead singer. It was AWESOME. The kids, the parents, and everyone had a blast. 

And now, back to the regularly scheduled programming! Back to work tomorrow. Hope you had a great 4th of July!

Rolling Stone.

It has been almost a month since I posted. June has been a whirlwind, to say the least. We went to Chicago, I went to Vancouver, I gave a talk to 1500 people in Orlando, and then last week I went to Mexico City to visit Best Buy Mexico. Oh and we also had two sets of visitors: Nikki and Kirsten and Chad. It has been such a fun month- but it has flown by in a hot minute. This was my first full weekend home- with just the four of us. And this will be my first full week in the office since the third week of May.

And next week, on Tuesday, Carrie, Zach, Porter and Mary Mae are coming for five days. Needless to say, most nights, I have been falling asleep around 9:00 pm.

Most things in June have been fun. Some things have been less fun. My grandmother was back in the hospital- though she is back out and I understand from the doctors that if she paces herself, she will be back to herself in the next few months! And I have also been paying close attention to the immigration situation- and it is really weighing me down. I have never felt so ashamed of my country and the people in charge. I have never questioned our future or the position of humanity as much as I have in the last week. The way we have handled the families that are in such horrible situations that they are willing to carry their newborn children, and only their children, because they can bring nothing else...with them as they traverse a month long journey with no promise of help or safety...is nothing short of appalling. Where is the human decency? And for those, like Jeff Sessions that are quoting the bible, I just want to throw up. If you know ONE thing about Jesus- it's that he is about love and acceptance and he says "Let the children come to me..." Seriously- I can't really talk about it too much without feeling sick.

Being in Mexico City as all of this was happening was especially difficult. I felt I owed them all an apology. And the irony is sooo rich...here is Trump calling them animals and saying they cannot "infest" our country- and truly, the people of Mexico have far better manners and are far more gracious than we are in America. WE are the animals. TRUMP and his people are the ones infesting this great nation. It just makes me sick.I have zero tolerance for it.

Anyway- 90% of June has been amazing. So I will try to focus on that. Gotta choose joy- and focus on that- while not ignoring the rest. Gotta do your best to help the rest.

This past weekend was SO fun because we had zero plans and nothing but time...it was awesome. We hung out at the pool- Holden jumped off the diving board for the first time! We grilled out, we did some yard work, we played with walkie talkies...it was just awesome and relaxing. Here are some pictures!

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Bennett and I at Surly Brewery- we took Kirsten, Chad and the kids there. They have a great outdoor space- so it was really fun for all of us.

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Kirsten and I- we went to dinner at Martina and it was incredible.

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The cathedral in downtown Mexico City.

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One of the main government buildings in downtown Mexico City.

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These beautiful live green walls were spotted all over the city- so gorgeous. Honestly- Mexico City was far more green and beautiful than I ever expected. There are certainly some very poor parts- but I expected that. I was more shocked by how clean, safe and cosmopolitan the rest of the city was.

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The food wasn't so bad either. We ate so much seafood and avocados and I'm sure we left much heavier than we arrived. HA!

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Holden loves this new pineapple drink holder she got this weekend. "It's fancy and it's like a disco ball, mom!"

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Davis was coaching her on how to jump off the board- it was really sweet. She was so proud.

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And tonight Holden wanted to make some blueberry muffins to have for breakfast tomorrow. She is growing up so much- she loves to make her own lunch- this morning she made her own bed, without being asked, and completely unprompted. And she is growing out her bangs- hence the shaggy hair. :-)

Clarity.

So I have been debating switching Davis and Holden into our neighborhood school for the last three months. I haven't loved the communication with his teacher- and while that is probably pretty common- the difference with the program the kids are in is that you have the teacher for 3 years. So, I've been fed up with lack of communication, and I haven't wanted Holden to be in the same class as Davis, which is also part of the program (just for a year) so I started to look into our neighborhood school. But all along, I was also quite a bit nervous about making a switch because- for all of my complaints- Davis has a great IEP manager who meets with him one on one- and he is really happy and confident- which hasn't always been the case. And of course, Holden is happy and has made friends too.

So I've been really torn. And I've researched and read up on each school, and I've talked to the principals and the IEP teachers, and I've prayed about it, and I've asked literally everyone's opinion...but today I was stressing and praying about it and I just asked for a very clear sign...

Anyway- fast forward to this evening when the boys went to jiu jitsu and Holden and I went to return some things at the mall. I could have gone to our neighborhood mall- that's what I would typically do- but instead I decided to go to the Mall of America. So we shopped around- I have a charity gala this week for work and needed to find a dress- and then we walked upstairs because Holden insisted on going to see the kids shoes. We were there no longer than five minutes when her teacher walked by. 

Ms Paulsen has had both Davis and Holden and she is my favorite teacher, period. So we know her well enough and Holden is always telling her stories about our girls night out and Ms Paulsen has always joked that she wants to join us. So, when Holden asked if she could join us for dinner, she did. It was really fun and easy to talk about things- and I told her a bit about my struggles with the school decision. 

I let her know that I have talked with the school and got Davis moved into the upper class- so he won't be in the same room with Holden, but they would be in the same school "family". And I told her that I actually wasn't that worried about Davis, but more worried about Holden, and whether or not she would be a good fit for the multi-grade classroom next year.

And she was the first person, that without asking, looked at me and said "You know Sam- Matt Gabrielson (the guy that will be Davis' new teacher next year) is probably the best teacher at Highlands. He is incredible. If you can get him in his class- that's amazing And I'm not worried about Holden. Actually- there is such a gap between kindergarten and 1st grade- that we spend a great deal of time assessing kids and making sure they have the extra help they need- so there will be lots of focus and she will be okay." And then without me even asking, she said:

"If I were you- I would give it one more year and reassess the situation."

And then I said "You know, one other bad thing is that I wouldn't be able to keep having Jessie as Holden's tutor..."(there is a rule that you can't tutor kids that you also teach at school).

Anyway- the conversation ended and then I went home and told Davis about it and he looked at me funny and said "that's crazy. talk about an answered prayer." And the real crazy thing is- I hadn't even thought about it in that way. But seriously- hours earlier I had said "Please God- just give me clear direction. Something I can't mistake..." and then all of that transpired.

AND THEN, she texted me and said "Thanks for dinner, Sam. That was so fun. And also- if Holden needs a tutor next year- I would be interested..."

So how about that? :-) So awesome. I feel very relieved.

Hot Time in the City.

Well friends, I've basically been on a blog break. My grandmother has been in and out of the hospital and I don't know if it was my subconscious at work- but somehow I took the time that she was not home off. Anyway- she's back home and doing well and I'm ready to get back into sharing the day to day highs and lows of the Bennett four. HA. 

This past weekend was a definite high...a couple weeks ago I was feeling stir crazy and I suggested we go to Chicago for Memorial Day. I really don't travel as much with my new role- and I guess I miss that a bit. So, I booked some hotel rooms and we drove to the city for the weekend. Now. That is a long drive. 7 hours door to door. By the end of each drive- we were about ready to kill each other. But- by the end of the weekend in Chicago- we all agreed it was worth it.

We went there without any plans- so there was really no pressure. And for being there about 40 hours- we really did a lot! We walked Michigan Avenue, we went to Navy Pier, we took a boat cruise on lake Michigan, we ate dinner on Rush Street, we ate at Yolk, and we even had a little time to swim. Our first hotel had an indoor pool- but it was a crazy temperature high this weekend so I looked up a hotel with an outdoor pool and cancelled our reservation for the first night, booked a new one instead, and we were able to spend a little time at the rooftop pool on Saturday. It was so hot! The kids had a great time and said their favorites were the candy store and the face fountains in Millennium park. Here are some pictures!

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They call this their smolder. And then try to see who can smolder better. If one breaks- they shout "You broke my smolder!"

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The only bad thing about this great picture is the Trump sign in the background. BARF.

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Boat tour!

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Smolder for Davis, smooches for Holden.

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Holden really likes to do things like me these days. She BEGGED me to let her carry my purse around the city Saturday night...also she begged me to buy her this special pink, sparkly lip gloss we saw that day and she reapplied all night. The next day she was getting ready, putting on her lip gloss and then she started to complain about her eye lids burning. Over and over...finally I said "Well what could it be? Did you put anything different on your eyes?" And she finally confessed that she had put the lip gloss on her eyelids so they could sparkle too. So sweet. But a painful lesson to learn for sure. More tomorrow.

Videos?

Do these videos come through for you? Let me know- hoping I can share a whole new form of content with you!

Let me know what you think! These are random- but I take a lot of videos so this could be fun.

MULCHING.

We spent all afternoon mulching yesterday- I am so sore today. You kind of forget how many compromising positions you can find yourself in while trying to spread mulch across huge areas. It was HARD work. And the only things that kept me going were 1) it was 82 degrees and felt amazing and 2) i knew i was burning at on of calories. 

Yesterday was actually really fun- we got a lot of work done (I'll take a picture and post it) and then we went down the street to eat at a cute little restaurant called "Salut". You would have thought we were on vacation- we ordered beer, we had appetizers, we indulged in french baguettes with Brie. We really felt we had earned it and our spirits were in keeping with the temperature- high! It was a great night. Actually it was a great weekend.

Friday night we watched my friend, Sofya's little baby, Mia. We had so much fun but oh my Lord any thoughts about having just one more went out the window. You forget how much freedom you have until you have a little baby that likes to be held non-stop...but how cute is she?

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Then Saturday, Holden had the cutest little friend over, Emmett. They rode bikes together and played so sweetly- it was really great. Davis was having a hard time letting her have her own play date- but in the end, he did give them some space. 

Davis had a stomach bug this weekend- so his weekend was pretty dull but he did get to play a lot of ipad and also got a new lego set...because he missed other fun things, like going to my friend Ellie's little girl's 2nd birthday party! 

Those are my friends, Alisa and Ellie. Ellie is currently interviewing for my old job- I hope she gets it because we would get to see each other every day instead of every once in a while. She lives WAY north of the cities...

And then yesterday, little D and I stayed home (stomach bug) while Bennett and Holden went to Brook's first communion brunch. It was so sweet of them to invite us- it was only family and then the two of them. Holden has always loved Brooks- and this picture sums up their personalities well.

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More later!

Bennett Boys.

This has been a busy week! I haven't even had time to catch up on last weekend...

The boys had a jiu jitsu tournament in Minneapolis- it was really fun to watch. I've actually never seen little Davis get nervous and I could tell by his face, sitting in the stands, that he was very nervous about his matches. 

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But they both did really well- neither tapped out- and they fought long and hard in each of their 3 matches. Holden and I were in the cheering section- and also Nate and Bennett came to watch. 

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Looking tough, heading out for the tournament.

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Then Saturday night, Bennett and I went out with some friends for dinner. It has been so nice out here- it's really fun to be outside and downtown instead of being frozen, huddling up at home.

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And then Sunday we ran some errands and most importantly- we got the kids new bikes!

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Holden picked a red Schwinn and Davis picked a blue schwinn- and they want to ride bikes ALL THE TIME. It's really fun- and it's an activity I love to do. I still have to walk because Holden needs help quite a bit- but we will get to the point (soon i hope) where we can do a true family bike ride. I'll post more pictures this weekend!

 

Tuesday Musings.

New Classes:
Today I signed the beans up for two cool after school classes- STEM on Monday and Cartoon drawing on Wednesdays. They will run from 4:15-5:15 and I think it will be a nice way to break up the regular schedule of after school Kids Club. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math...so I think that will be good for both of them...and cartooning certainly sounds fun! 

A Good Night:
Tonight was a good night- we all went to the grocery store, the boys carried everything in, and then Holden helped me unload the groceries and think about what we could do for dinner. We had dinner at "the family table" as Holden calls it and though we each ate from our own distinct menu, it felt like a really great family dinner. We talked a lot about things we love and things we could work on. And the kids have made it very clear that the things that would make our family better are either 1) a bulldog or 2) a baby. Outlook is not so good on either of those. Guess we will have to work on other things. HA.

This Weekend:
The boys are doing their first jiu jitsu tournament together- and it's here in the Twin Cities- so we will all get to watch! I cannot wait to see them in action. Then Saturday night Bennett and I are going out to dinner with Kelley and Zach (Elsa's parents). I'm excited- we are going to try this new restaurant called "Hai Hai" that I have heard is great.

Work Friends:
When I moved to my new role at work, I left behind my team. And all of my daily laughter and joy. Okay- that's extreme. I still love my job- but I miss my team. SO, the good news is that two of my teammates are moving on to my team and will move to sit where I do TOMORROW! I can't wait. I know that sounds silly- but I really like do better when I'm having fun. :-) Now if I could just get my friend Jackie to sit by me. That would be the best. Oh and also, one of my first and closest friends here, Ellie, is interviewing for my old role. I worked with her at my very first job in Minneapolis- and we had so much fun talking together every day. I would be so thrilled if she got the job. Cross your fingers!

Snow:
It was really hard to come home Sunday. SO MUCH SNOW. We broke every record in the book for this time of year in Minnesota. Some places got 20 inches. That's crazy- even in February. I'm hoping it melts fast so we can get on to spring. I mean that is the toughest part about it- the longer it takes- the shorter the summer is. Fall already gets here way before you want it to- so we don't need it to start late. So COME ON MOTHER NATURE.

That's all I got for today! Happy Tuesday.

Me, Me, Me

My grandparents remind me that I rarely post pictures of myself...and that's true...but today I give you a post that is 100% about ME! I went to Houston on Thursday to see Katie, my best friend from college, and then I went to Austin on Saturday to celebrate Jodie, my godmother's, 50th birthday party. It was the best weekend and made me seriously start thinking about moving back. It just feels so good to be with family and friends that feel like family. SO PLEASE, ENJOY ALL THESE PICTURES OF ME! :-)

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Katie and I met 19 years ago as potluck college roommates. She and I shared a room for four years and know each other THAT well even today. GEEZ, that makes me feel old.

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The reason for the party- Jodie, celebrating her 50th. Damn does she make 50 look good, or what? I love her so much.

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Her first child, and my almost little sister, Mason. 

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I didn't really have fun at all. 

Final Round...

Of photos. Enjoy! 

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Okay actually...I have a few more but it is my goal to get through them this week so I can get back to real life. :-)

Cinco De Mayo.

We are having our 4th annual Cinco De Mayo party this year. The first year we did it we had 6 people attend. The second year, 18, last year 23, and this year we have invited FIFTY people!!! I am expecting about 35 to come. Honey is flying in to keep the kids overnight at a hotel - so excited about that- and I'm hoping this year is even more fun than last. I DO feel like it will all be inside this year- which is really a bummer...last year we rented tables and chairs and set up the back patio with lights and candles and it was a beautiful spring evening...

Considering we still have snow- I'm not being overly optimistic about getting to be outside this year. It will be packed inside- but it will be nice. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime- more Tulum pictures!! I took so many.

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Holden wanted to take a bunch of selfies and she had me laughing so hard with the faces she was making...

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More tomorrow. I really took a LOT of pictures. I wanted to capture every moment.

Jungle.

Being in Tulum was like being in the jungle. And incredibly well and surprisingly designed jungle. We seriously could not get over all of the cool restaurants, boutique hotels, shops...it really was like nothing else I have seen in Mexico. We loved it and want to go back again just the two of us.

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3D

I haven't ordered new glasses in a couple years- I have been waiting to either get Lasik or learn to put contacts in my eyes. Neither have happened so I finally went to the eye doctor and then I finally ordered some new glasses and then I finally picked them up today. And I forgot that my prescription has gotten stronger and it is as though I am seeing in 3D. It's a bit intense and I hope I get used to it. Today, at Target, I was standing literally at the back corner of the store and could see all the way across to the other side and actually READ the signs hanging in the grocery section that said "Yogurt. Milk." Etc. Pretty amazing what keeping up with your health can do. 

I also went to the dentist this week. I had two cavities and I chipped a tooth, which made me feel really old...so I got all of those things fixed. There is almost nothing I like less than going to the dentist. BLAH. My dentist looks like a Ken doll. That's not a compliment or a dig- just a comment. He literally looks just like a Ken doll. Same body shape. Same hair. Same tan color. Year-round.

Anyway- enough of that...more Tulum pictures.

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Lots of orange in these pictures! This day we went to Akumal and tried to swim with sea turtles. So many people saw sea turtles. We saw each other's feet flipping around. We had fun anyway- and stopped for lunch at the best little beach side restaurant and ate guacamole and strawberry popsicles. 

More tomorrow!

Ahhh, Tulum.

Tulum was amazing. Beautiful, relaxing, exciting, exotic...we had a great time. Words don't do justice- so here are some pictures. I'm so glad we went.

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The beans could swim for days- and they did!

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There were iguanas everywhere- and this one, let the kids touch his tail. They named him Guillermo and would see him by our room about three times a day.

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These children are so spoiled. They got used to having virgin strawberry daquiris everyday and don't know what to do without them now that we're back.

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AND now we're back. And it's SNOWING. BARF.

Hello Again...

Sorry it's been fourteen days since I posted last. It has been a very busy two weeks for me...I am the swing of my new job and have yet to build out my team yet so I am doing the work of about four people...my campaign launches on 5/13 so we are just racing the clock at this point. 

On top of that, I ended up pulling off a very successful event with the Edina Public School administration and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. I had 10 people on the panel, the superintendent, the head of crisis management, the head of school counseling, three police officers, two firemen and two resource workers (cops that are on campus full-time). 120 moms showed up and I moderated the whole thing. It was really a ton of work and pressure- but the event was actually very enjoyable for me and I am really proud of myself for doing it. Now, do I ever want to run for public office? NO. That stuff is exhausting. I could never.

AND, then Nikki came this weekend, which was such a treat for me and the beans and Bennett. And then, I came down with strep on Sunday, so I missed work Monday and spent today, and will spend tomorrow catching up from that down time, and then we leave on Wednesday for Mexico.

People keep saying "Are you crazy? Going to Mexico right now?" Honestly- it feels a lot safer than the states right now. Which is so sad. So no I'm not crazy, yes I feel good about it, and honestly I am looking forward to six days in the sun with Bennett and the beans.

So, I will take lots of pictures and post them when I'm back. Love you all!

Strep.

I was presenting to a room of 200 people on Friday when my phone rang from my pocket. I reached down, made a joke about who might be calling me, silenced my phone and kept right on going. During the 10 minute break in the session, I looked down and my mom had texted saying the school had called and Holden was sick. So I called and sure enough- they said she had a fever of 102. I was 1/3 way through my presentation and Bennett was unreachable...

So, I asked my coworker to finish the other two parts, and went to get Holden. I had a feeling that she had strep. She had been so crabby last week and I felt like maybe her voice sounded thicker than normal- so I followed my intuition and took her to the walk in strep clinic at the doctor's office. Within a minute or two- they said "Yep, she's positive..."

The only good thing about strep is that once you get the antibiotic- you start feeling better. She is so sweet, though, even that same night, she was smiling, though she was sick.

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What a sweetheart. I'm so glad her hair is short again- her cheeks look a bit chubbier and that makes her look younger. :-)

Baby Love.

Jackie and I threw a Sip n See for our friend Sofya, this weekend. It was so fun- just a nice time chatting with the ladies from my former team, drinking cocktails, getting some baby snuggles- and having the house to myself all day. Bennett was a champ and took the kids to an all day wrestling tournament with the girl of little Davis's dreams (Amaya, from Jiu Jitsu) and her dad. It was a really nice break!

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A few of the gals from my team! That is Jackie in the back and Sofya in the lower right- they are probably my closest gal pals from work.

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I have wanted to order custom cookies from this cute little lady with a business called "The Polka Dot Cookie" and I finally did for this shower. They were beautiful and SO tasty. Karmia Eve is the baby's name. She goes by Mia.

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So of course we needed Sofya champagne to go with the Mia cookies!

Friday Wishes.

Today, I am wishing:

- For continued warm weather in Minneapolis- it's been hovering between 30 and 40 and it feels nothing short of amazing. I haven't worn a coat- I've walked with a skip in my step- and it feels as though we might have made it through the worst!

- Trump will continue to unravel- and soon be out of office.

- That the Sip n See I am hosting on Saturday afternoon will be a success.

- That we all get along and it's a very low key, low stress weekend. Davis has been in a great space this week so I'm hoping that holds through the weekend. Holden, on the other hand, has been so tired and crabby, I've wondered if she is getting sick. I hope not.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I'll post more pics later this weekend or Monday! Love to you all.