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!


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


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


Boat tour!


Smolder for Davis, smooches for Holden.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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. 


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.


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!


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 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!

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! 


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.


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


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


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, really was like nothing else I have seen in Mexico. We loved it and want to go back again just the two of us.



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 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.


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 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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.

Figure Skating.

Holden has been as obsessed with Olympic figure skating as I as when I was little. So, you can certainly guess why she has been DYING to go ice skating the past two weeks. I know that she believed with every fiber of her being that once she stepped foot on the ice, she would be able to skate and dance and jump like the gals we have been watching each night. She and Davis both BEGGED to go- so when it was sunny and 30 degrees on Sunday- we went. And it was so fun.

We skated with them for about an hour and then took a hot chocolate break. After that, they went back out and skated more while Bennett and I chatted in the warming house. It was an awesome way to spend an afternoon and now I know I could bring a book or work and just check on them occasionally while out on the ice. And they were GREAT little skaters.

Davis was good last year- but Holden really picked it up this year. They were pretending to speed skate and figure skate and they both just zipped all over the lake. It's so fun to skate outside- much better than a rink. I think Holden is a little winter sports fan- she has really taken to both skiing and ice skating. They both left the lake saying they wanted to sign up for hockey! ZOINKS. Here are some pictures!

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Unprompted PROM POSE!

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THOSE TEETH coming in. Braces are on the horizon. :-(

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It was a lot of fun- a great way to be outside and enjoy the bold north. And today it's 35 degrees and man it feels like the whole damn world is my oyster. 

Look out, world.

Well somebody lit a fire under my ass this week- and part of me wanted to issue a warning to everyone because by about Wednesday, nothing was getting by me. Nope. I'm having calls with the head of Moms Demand Action to set up a gun control advocacy group here in Edina, I'm chatting with the superintendent and trying to get him to commit to show up and speak to a couple hundred angry moms about his plans to keep our kids safe, and I think I also had the final straw with Davis' teacher this week so we're chatting next week (with the principal) about how we are going to help Davis get more help in school so I don't have to supplement with teachers and purchase my own curriculum for the mini home school we've developed due to lack of action on her part. And this is supposed to be one of the best schools, in the best districts, in the country. And he is on an individual education plan- meaning he is already flagged for needing extra help- and if I can't get you to respond to my request for a conversation for weeks at a time- then we're going to have a different conversation.

So that's what I've been up to. You just reach a point where there's no more time for messing around. And I'm there. So, yeah, heed this as a warning because I am NOT mincing words these days. If you want something done right- I guess you really do just have to do some of them your damn self. HA!

But in the midst of it- I've realized this week that I have a pretty good network of friends and resources here. They aren't my family or my lifetime friends- but I've needed to vet a few ideas and issues with people here lately- and so I've reached out in ways I typically wouldn't- and people have really shown up. It's really given me an extra boost of energy after feeling down. And honestly- it furthers my realization that the more you share and the more vulnerable you are, the more real your relationships get.

I sometimes have a hard time opening up to people. I know what you are thinking- I DO have a lot of friends and I can and DO chat with everyone- but I would also say that there are only a handful of people that really know me well- beyond my family. I'm cautious about people. Not because I believe the worst in people- but more because I realize that you can't always expect the same things back from people that you give them. And for me- I don't need a ton of someone's time, I'm not really a needy person, like I said- I don't really share or expect that much from most people- but if I am going to invest time or pieces of myself- I do need to feel like a person has my back, and that when I need them to, they will show up for me. As I would show up for them.

You also might not believe that I am an introvert. But I am. And I get a lot of shit from all my friends here because one day, after taking this analysis and finding out that I am an introvert, I barged into work and said "YOU GUYS. I HAVE NEWS. I AM AN INTROVERT." And I've never lived it down. BUT IT'S TRUUUUUUUUE.

An introvert is someone who gets their energy from being alone. That doesn't mean they don't enjoy being with people- it just means they have to retire back to their space and some silence to get recharged. That's me. To a tee. Actually- I bet some of you reading this already know that...but people here don't believe me. 

Anyway. This week has flown by. As you can imagine- I haven't had much time to twiddle my thumbs- but I still can't believe it's already Friday tomorrow. I feel like yesterday was MONDAY. 

Each day I run from meeting to meeting to meeting. The sprint starts at 9:00 (at work anyway) and goes right until 5:00. And sometimes I could have up to 14 meetings in a day. 8 hours. 14 meetings. CRAZY. And when I get a gap in meetings- that's when I call the superintendent. Or the doctor to refill Ds meds. Or the tutor to schedule the next meeting. That's why time flies. And that's okay. As long as I don't wake up tomorrow and realize I'm 50. HA!

Okay this post has been all over the board. Just like me this week. Sorry about that. Love you all. Gotta run.



Left of Center.

One thing I have realized, very clearly, over the last few years is that in many ways, I am exactly the same person now as I was when I was little. 

I had a friend in the 5th grade, Drew Strout, that I would say is responsible for the one time I truly got in trouble in elementary school. Drew had bright red hair, and a mouth like a catfish, round and almost always open. He was tall and he was awkward, and there was almost always some amount of drool sliding out of that catfish mouth. If I could draw- I would be able to draw every detail of Drew, from his straight legged light-washed Levis to his lanky arms in his maroon thermal shirt and his ski-like black high tops.

He moved in when we were in 5th grade, in Mrs. Engel's class. All of the cool kids were in Mrs. Engel's class, and I was "going out" with the cutest boy in school, Spencer Hines. Spencer Hines had hair as blonde as it was gold, eyes as blue as a cornflower crayon, and even though I could not honestly suggest his haircut was all that different from a mullet, he was on fire and we all wanted to be his girlfriend when he also moved to Robert Frost Elementary. And he was my boyfriend.

I never was the cutest girl. I have always known that. And not to say that I didn't or don't see myself as attractive- it's just that I have always known that that my looks would never be the reason why anyone liked me. I was just a little different. I couldn't then say why and maybe I can't even now, but I have known it as far back as preschool. In some ways that has been very freeing and a big part of how I have developed into who I am. There is a confidence that comes with knowing that why people like you has nothing to do with what is on your outside.

Anyway. Drew Strout moved in and it was immediately clear that he was not going to win any class favorite awards. And maybe that's why I first became his friend, but that's not why I stayed his friend. Drew had a sense of humor that trumped any of the simpletons in my grade. Including Spencer Hines. And I have always liked to laugh. And so, though he had no friends, and he wasn't invited to sit with everyone else, Drew and I became friends and my friendship with Drew is the reason I first sat in the hall at Robert Frost Elementary while all of the other grades filed out the door for recess one day.  I. Was. Mortified. I thought I might never live it down.

I'm sure I had been warned a time or two. And maybe Mrs. Engel even suggested I not sit by Drew. But again, I liked to laugh, and he was too much fun. It was worth a trip to Mr. Cross' office. 

More to Come.