Monthly Archives: April 2013

Shopping Cart Thief

Once upon a time, my grocery list used to be written out by aisle, marked with symbols indicating whether the item had store coupons, manufacturer coupons, or both, estimated cost with or without coupons, and an estimated total of the grocery bill.

Now, I walk away from my grocery cart, distracted by something I’ve forgotten to write on my list, and steal someone else’s cart that may or may not have similar items my cart held.

I’m a shopping cart thief. I confess.

Sometimes I don’t notice I’ve thieved a different cart until I’ve gotten home and I’m unloading the groceries. “Honeycrisp apples?” I say out loud. “We don’t buy those. They’re expensive.” Empty more bags. “Where are the bananas?”

Crap. I’ve done it again.

When I messaged Captain Laser Pants that I cart swapped (again), he asked me if I had come home with the right baby. The good news is that mini Gwinn wasn’t with me (he was at MMO), so I hadn’t made off with the wrong child. What happened to me? Where has my brain gone? He commented that I didn’t even have our child to distract me this time.  I told husband that the bliss of grocery shopping sans- grabby toddler must have put me in a fog as I wandered through the aisles of Target, perusing the clearance clothing with a cup of Starbucks in hand. He laughed.

During the purgatory known as “pregnancy,” I heard a report on the radio about a pregnant woman’s brain actually shrinking. I don’t remember if the research said anything about a woman’s brain returning to normal size postpartum (I was pregnant, I don’t remember what was said, my brain was small), but it made me question one’s ability to parent on all cylinders. There are some moms that are hopelessly put together. I see them every Friday morning when I drop off mini Gwinn at MMO. Matching sweater set, perfectly pressed khaki shorts, pearls, lady- like sandals, hair and makeup finished and applied beautifully- all before 9 AM. Their daughters, because they always have daughters, are wearing white linen ruffled dresses with pink hair bows and not a spec of dirt on them. Then I walk in wearing clothes only suited for the gym, glasses on and hair up in a messy bun, tucked under a hat. Mini Gwinn probably has a smear of raspberry on his cheek, a milk spot on his shirt, and he’s shaking his head “no” at me as I tell him to hold my hand. Then he shoves my hand off his and runs, his own little fingers grabbing his recently poorly chopped hair. Maybe their brains were super sized to begin with, maybe they’re just really better at organization and appearance than I am, but I can’t help but feeling second rate when I see these moms with their perfect children.  Don’t get me wrong- mini Gwinn is spirited, and active, but he’s in no way behaviorally challenged. He’s mostly a delight (mostly). Yesterday, as he was kicking and crying in the car from exhaustion, I was trying to soothe him just three blocks from our house. Instead of stopping my car for a full three seconds at a stop sign in a residential area, I only stopped for one or two. I was immediately pulled over by a policeman who could plainly see I was having a bad day. MG had calmed down in the backseat momentarily, but his cheeks were tear stained and red. I was let off with a warning (he told me I didn’t stop long enough, which made me laugh), and as we pulled away into our neighborhood, mini Gwinn lost it and started sobbing again. I’m willing to bet these sweater set- pearl wearing moms in their Infiniti SUVs have never been pulled over in a residential area for not stopping long enough at a stop sign because they were so distracted by their child’s crying in the back seat.

But I guess we all have our own paths, and we are given what we can handle. As a light at the end of the day, my little guy showed me where his nose, ears, eyes and tummy are. He said “I just want to go over there” as we took our afternoon walk. He let me hold his hand. And, even though I may absentmindedly steal other people’s carts at Target, and I wear gym clothes while others are in Ralph Lauren sweater sets, and I get pulled over for driving under the influence of tears, I don’t believe any of these things make me a bad mom. We have a lot of laughter, a lot of love, and when we look back on this time in our lives, it won’t be these little things we remember, it will be the giggles and the tickles and the love.

check out his awesomely bad haircut.

check out his awesomely bad haircut.


Thoughts for Food

Junk Food I Love:
Krispy Kreme donuts
Ice cream, preferably cake batter or cookie dough
Cookie dough (or cookies, whatev)
King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls

And that’s pretty much it. Unless it’s chocolate or sweet, I probably don’t want it when it comes to junk food. In general. I mean, once in a while I want an enchilada or some cheetos, but the above list, at almost any moment, can make me do a 180 from whatever I’m currently doing and shove my face into said food. Usually, in an effort to avoid these junk food items, I just stay happily satisfied with home cooking (and that typically works). But, lately, I haven’t wanted to cook. Why? As of late, Team Gwinn has been in a food rut. We buy the same staples at the store, I make the same ten or so meals, lather rinse repeat. Even mini Gwinn has been stuck in a “meatballs, chicken, and Lima beans” phase. So when Captain Laser Pants made some food requests, I obliged. I want to keep husband happy, and having new things to cook actually makes me want to cook, which keeps me away from donuts. That is, until he said his requests were “spaghetti with meat sauce” and “Mamwich”.

Let me clarify. If a terrorist organization wanted to torture me, they would give me a plate of spaghetti with meat sauce and make me eat it. I would rather have lemon juice squirted into paper cuts between my toes than eat spaghetti, especially with meat sauce. Are you getting the picture? I hate spaghetti. With meat sauce. Typing that so many times makes me queasy. Even when it’s all churched up on King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, the same pretty much goes for Mamwich. It’s the meat sauce on a roll without the noodles.

To complicate things, I’m over having bread in the house. Mini Gwinn and I don’t eat it, wheat is bad for you (yes, even whole wheat), and when I do eat it, I feel bloated and sluggish afterward. The complicated part: CLP really likes bread. He eats a lot, so to boost his calorie intake, he says he needs it (blech).  I’m also slowly cutting out dairy (cheese is the hardest part), including my whey protein, so in the event of a pregnancy, the dairy can be out of my system before a 2.0 is born and we don’t run into the same issues mini Gwinn had with milk products. So, in an effort to avoid food I don’t want to eat, i.e. don’t want to cook, I’ve been on the hunt for some new food for the whole team, and not just the captain.

Here are some of my newest favorites:

Two Ingredient Pancakes/ Paelo Pancakes/ Banana Pancakes: One of the ingredients is a mashed up banana. The other ingredient is eggs. Make pancakes with them. Pretty simple. Also, the perfect pre-workout food. No sugar needed, bananas are excellent sources of carbs and calories, and eggs are delicious, protein-y goodness. Add some cinnamon if you want to make it a three ingredient pancake. (Original Source: not sure. But this one is from Recipe Girl)

Delicious Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: I substituted the rice for cooked quinoa. Quinoa has more healthy stuff to offer than rice. And I have a three pound bag of it that needs some attention. You can nix the meat if you want it to be vegetarian. (Original Source: Pioneering Today)

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers: Layer Provolone cheese on the bottom of the cut green bell pepper, fill with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and cooked strips of beef. Layer another slice of Provolone on the top, bake for 15-20 minutes. It’s easy, delicious, and no useless bread. (Original Source: Peace + Love + Low Carb)

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups: Mash up fruit. Lay it on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake it at a low heat for 8-10 hours. It’s that simple, and these turn out so deliciously. I have made a few kinds, and my favorites are pineapple/ orange/ mango and strawberry/ blueberry/ blackberry/ raspberry. (Original Source: Love u Madly)

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes: The name says it all. Sprinkle some dried oregano if you like, cover tomato slices with Parmesan cheese, and bake til cheese is melty. (Original Source: My Kitchen Affair)

The Bichen Berg: This is my creation. Sort of. I mix ground turkey with diced onion, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and garlic into burger patties, grill, and top with a fried egg, turkey bacon strips, sliced avocado, and (optional) cheese. This is my favorite burger ever. If you’re going to do bread with this, it has to be King’s Hawaiian, otherwise, it’s not a Bichen Berg. You heard it here first.


Do you have any bread/ dairy free stuff you’re a fan of and would like to share? We could get stuck in this rut pretty easily, too. Hope your Tuesday is super spesh!

Just Pictures

















If this post title didn’t immediately make you think of this scene from Forrest Gump, you need to reevaluate your life. Also, if you don’t find this scene to be incredibly inspiring, you need to go away. 

Today, ladies and gentlemen, after nearly a solid year of not being able to run AT ALL (due to a pinched nerve from pregnancy), I ran a SEVEN MINUTE MILE. 

That’s right. I haven’t run in ten months and today I kicked it out like it was no big. Originally I told my husband it was a 7.5 minute mile, but I forgot I walked for 45 seconds as a warm up to my warm up, so really it was more of a 6.75 minute mile, but whatevs. I’m freaking stoked about this. 

There will be more things about mini Gwinn and deep thoughts by Jack Handy in the near future, but today, I’m celebrating the fact that I ran and bumped my weights. 

Have a good Friday! 

Target Thinks I’m Pregnant

Have you seen this article from about Target’s analytic results, based upon one’s purchases, of a calculated score of the likelihood of her pregnancy? The anecdote featured in the article even details out a true story of a dad finding out his daughter was pregnant based upon the targeted advertising the mega- store does. It’s kind of crazy, right? For the record, I’m a die- hard Targetophile. I can tell you about their “May I Help You” initiative, their rules for lines not being over two guests per line, their design for end caps and retrofitting for new features of the store (I’ve been to the Target museum in its headquarters in Minneapolis, eaten lunch in the HQ cafeteria [it’s catered, folks!], and know the inside scoops on their big meetings that have Fergie and Faith Hill). The fact that the store gathers and analyzes this kind of data (and to this level of personal privacy invasion) should freak me out, especially since I hate the idea of “big brother” watching what I already do, but honestly, I think it’s kind of cool in a “that’s really, really crazy and creepy, but thanks for taking interest in me” kind of way.

Any way. So, Target thinks I’m pregnant. I’ve even gotten emails with VERY specific advertising, (no joke): for athletic second time moms, how to handle the second round with an active toddler”. So, not only does the big- box store know I’m athletic (well, that’s a loose term, but “desperately pursuing athleticism” doesn’t have as much of an appeal), but it knows the age of my child (which is fair, I did register for my baby showers there).

Joke’s on Target, I’m not pregnant.

I have been toeing the line on looking at maternity clothes (only if they’re at their cheapest clearance price), etc etc, but I haven’t taken the plunge for a 2.0. Captain Laser Pants is ready, and I’m more in the category of “HOLY CRAP JUST LET ME LOSE FIVE MORE POUNDS AND WEAR MY CLOTHES FOR A WHILE”. To his credit, he’s not forcing me to make him a baby this week or anything, but he is letting me know that this is the year for another kiddo. My reasoning behind not wanting another one is 100% selfish. The first pregnancy was so, SO bad (partial placenta previa, kidney stones, preeclampsia symptoms, bed rest, 55 FREAKING POUNDS gained, pinched pubic bone nerve) and honestly, I’m pretty fond of my abdominal muscles. It’s nice to feel pretty, especially now that Spring is here and I can wear my favorite clothes again, and the last thing I ever felt while pregnant was pretty/ attractive. To add to it all, mini Gwinn is SO MUCH FUN right now. I don’t want to miss a moment with him. He says things like “aceful” (graceful) and “fabuwous” (fabulous), and “Where’s Daddy?”, “You do this. I do this,” (when I’m reading to him), he gives kisses and leans in for them, and he’s just so darn funny. But CLP doesn’t want him to grow up alone. And, because my husband was an only child and he truly wants another baby, I feel like it’s my responsibility as his wife to give him his heart’s desire. He wants another baby more than I don’t want another one. And it’s not even the additional baby I don’t want. It’s the pregnancy. I will happily take a newborn home. I just don’t want to do the baking.

How have you moms of many dealt with the knowledge of a potentially impending baby? Please assist in talking me out of my selfishness.

The Problem with Elitism

“The master demon Screwtape identifies elitist humanity’s tendency toward “an ingrained habit of belittling anything that concerns the great mass of their fellow men.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters: Also Includes “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”

A few weeks ago we were dished out a little dose of elitism that came into conversation because Captain Laser Pants and I don’t have a “proper” dining room table. The height of the mockery (in public, mind you) was something to the effect of, “Dear GOD! You eat meals on a FOLDING TABLE?!” And my husband, being the pillar of reasoning and humility that he is, just smiled and said, “Yeah.” He could have said, “Dear GOD! You care about mocking people?!” or “You don’t have a college degree?!” or something equally rude and humiliating, but he didn’t. My husband isn’t in the business of making people feel badly about themselves or mocking them. In fact, he has an incredible gift (that I strongly believe is from God, because this is supernatural) that allows him to LISTEN to people during a debate or simple conversation.

Simply put, my husband isn’t an elitist.

If I had been with him, I would have held my tongue, all the while hurling cutting insults in my mind. As the years go on and we’re together, he has made me mature in this way substantially. While it’s temporarily fun to have the last word (especially if it’s several syllables long and deeply witty), it’s humane to be kind, let others have the last say.

You know what? We eat some meals on a folding table. We eat most meals in a hurry or on the couch. But the worth of our lives together is not made up of the contents of our rental home. The quality of our persons is not compiled of the designer labels we don’t wear or the way we could cleverly cut a person in public (but don’t).

The problem with elitism? The idea of degrading someone because he holds a different standard/ different way of life/ less knowledge/ more knowledge than the elitist is childish, petty, and comes off as insecure. The insecurity stems from the fact that most people aren’t qualified to be elitists in the first place. The problem with elitism is that no one is perfect. And if I scratch the surface of the elitist facade just a bit, I’m going to find something public- mocking- worthy.

But I won’t.

I wouldn’t want to disappoint my husband.

A Light is Out on Our Planet

You need to know this: a light has gone out on our planet today.

About ten years ago I met this husband and wife on Cocoa Beach in Florida. Over the following few years (before I moved to MN) I witnessed the incredible love this couple shared, not only with one another, but with their beautiful daughters and with the congregation of our church. I can’t say I knew them well; I only watched from a distance. But my heart weeps for their family today. After years of battling cancer, Christi has passed away.

Here is my favorite photographer’s blog and website showcasing this beautiful family’s love for one another: January 2010, February 2010 and December 2012
Rich and his wife, Heather, knew Kenny and Christi much better than I. Read Heather’s words to understand more thoroughly the life and love this family exudes. If you pray, please do so for Kenny and his daughters.

Tell those you love how deeply you love them. Smile more today. Celebrate the life you live, no matter how hard.

Short Post with a Quickness

So, btdubs. Mini Gwinn has two ear infections and a sinus infection (all while staying totally fun and happy), I’ve got a sinus infection, and we’ve pretty much fallen off the face of the planet in regards to play dates and friends. Sorry! We feel like poo.

Here are some recent pictures from March I thought I’d share. Some are at my oldest nephew’s Eagle Scout ceremony (how huge is that, people? Eagle Scout!!), some are from one of my little nephew’s birthday parties (the one with the amazing photographer grandma. My family is so cool!).

Hope you all are well, or at the very least, healthier than we are.





Fletcher at Luke's party 3

Bethany's family at Luke's party