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Just My Luck

My thoughts. My ideas. My creations.

2017. The year of the Larsons.

A new year is hours away. Time to pass go and collect that $200 and get going. Time to hit the restart. Time to give it another go. It is a very exciting time full of as much opportunity, happiness and love as you’d like. It’s truly unlimited.

2016 was a good one. Overall, our little Larson family had a good year. I left a job, I took time off to be a mom and wife which is something that I’ve never done, I reconnected with my life and re-prioritized. It felt good to slow down, think, and LIVE.

We bought our second camper. We wanted a small camper with a bathroom which would have been a great upgrade from our pop up starter camper that we had. Well—we got a bathroom. And a camper that sleeps 10, so much for the small part…. There’s three of us…..BUT! More room for family and friends. We camped every single chance we had. We took a family vacation in MN, it was good time together. Feel free to invite yourself along on an adventure next summer! Our life motto–the more the merrier! And we truly mean that.

Norman–is still alive and we haven’t put him on Craigslist, so there’s that. We call him Mr. Personality and it’s very fitting. Leo continues to be the World’s Best Dog. He and I are connected at the hip. My little pal.

Jovie continues to work on her gymnastics, she really loves it. And I do truly believe that she is made of rubber. She’s doing awesome in 2nd grade and her and her bestie, Sophie, are inseparable. She’s a little sassy but she’s such a good kid. We are so lucky.

2017 is a very exciting time for us. Scott and I continue to talk about what’s next, what are we working on, where are we going, what to change, how to grow, and I am insanely lucky to have him as my husband. (It’s just a bonus that he’s aging very nicely!)

We are insanely thankful for our friends and family that include us in their life and share their fun with us. I wish each of you a super new year. The beauty of a new year is that you are in full control of how it plays out, so make good moves and keep moving towards where you are going. And mostly importantly–laugh along the way. Have fun.

With so much love,

Mindi

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July 8 changed my life.

If I show up in your social media newsfeed  (lucky you!) primarily brought to you via Facebook, you may have noticed that it doesn’t appear that I have a job any longer. Between 10+ day long camping trips with my family, 12:30pm baseball games with my dad and daughter, building giant shelves to organize and clean up my craft room—you’re right—I am no longer working. Call me unemployed, although my dear friend Jenny says “temporarily retired”. I went through a really nice, respectful and awkward breakup—with my job.

I couldn’t put my finger on the exact moment I realized I was the odd man out, when I stopped having my passion bucket filled by going to work everyday, or when the light bulb went on that I no longer served the purpose that I had for 3 three years at MODE. That said—I love MODE. I love (almost) everyone there, I love the business model, and I love franchising. When I took the job as Director of Franchise Relations, I had no idea what a franchise was. I accepted the job in small business and went straight to Amazon to quickly buy some books and starting reading and learning before I showed up for my first day of work. I learned as I went, I created as I went and I supported every area that I possibly could with enthusiasm, a positive attitude and as many laughs as possible.

Reality: quitting your job is ridiculously scary. It’s even scarier when you don’t have your next move plotted and planned. My very type A and responsible husband wanted to kill me for a day or two. Lots of talking, lots of forward thinking, lots of time spent on “what if”. It is NOT the responsible, Midwestern, working woman thing to do. I knew that I could find a job, I know that I will find THE job for me. Am I insane? No. My franchise mentor Susan gave me a nice kick in the rear and said, “People leave their jobs all the time, this is nothing special or new.” My armpits still get sweaty when I think too much about this. Time to move onto the next paragraph.

I have spent every day since July 8 with my daughter and my husband. I traveled for longer periods of time for work. I missed birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, first days of school and picture days. (Jovie’s Kindergarten photo appears she rode to school with her head out the window of the car on the interstate.) I did all of this because I loved it and it was par for the course.

What have we done so far? Swam, camped, played catch, rode bike, purged our entire house, spring cleaned in July because I have missed the last 10ish springs, and LIVED. We take naps, we sleep in, we watch movies, we eat ice cream for breakfast and the only thing on our schedule are the things that we want to do.

I haven’t been without a job since I was nine years old. Roger (my dad) and I harmoniously mowed lawns together for 7 years. I made $5 an hour never receiving a raise because child labor. I didn’t weigh enough to keep the safety seat from stopping the lawn mower blades so I spent most of the day pushing my arms against the steering wheel to keep it from shutting off. I spent most of the day backing up, restarting the blades and proceeding on the sort-of straight path I had struck. I remember asking my dad once what the name of our business was, and he said we didn’t have one. I spent that afternoon on my lawn mower thinking of our new business name. We would paint it on our homemade trailer, we’d put our logo (that I would free hand draw) on our ramps, and my dad would put a magnet of the logo on each door of our dark red Chevy pickup. I don’t remember the name I came up with other than it had an R (for Roger) and an M (for Mindi). I do, however, remember very clearly how hard my dad laughed on our drive home when I shared my new name and logo vision with him. I took this as his very polite decline to my creative offering to the business. I guess I stuck with mowing semi-straight lines in our hometown football field and about 25% of the lawns in our small town. Then I worked at a department store in Detroit Lakes, a restaurant there also and also at a golf course in the lakes area.

The burning question that’s been asked about 1,000 times since July 8—what’s next for you? My sarcastic answer is working on my tan, sharpening my juggling skills, drinking margaritas, floating in a semi-cold lake, and camping. My real answer is- I don’t know. I know that I am going back to work-eventually. Sooner than later says my husband. I have great interest in the non=profit world. I want something new to broaden my skills, to challenge me, and to fill up my passion bucket. BUT- loving my job every single day is a must for me. And I hope that it is for anyone reading this. I have a little girl who watches my every move, hears my words, and that is not something that I take lightly. I need her to see me put my whole heart into whatever it is that I am doing form 8-5 while I am away from her. I owe her that as a mom and as a role model for her.

I have no idea where the working world will take me next, but as a franchise owner and now dear friend said to me, “You have a clean slate, a fresh start, and that is something to be excited and optimistic about. If I can offer one word of advice—take a break. Slow down. Shut down. And think about your life. It goes fast and will not pause for you to catch up.

I miss you.

Those were the first words my sweet Jovie ever text me. TEXT!  I hit the open road this morning at 7am to live in Sioux City, Iowa for the week to open our 12th MODE store. Last night at bedtime, I told Jovie that I would set up her iPad to be able to text me. (and only me.)
This morning, in our pajamas and with foggy eyes, I showed her that I text her last night. It said, “Have a good day at school, Jovie!” I went through and showed her where to type and how she could take a photo and send that also if she’d like.
After a quick 5 minute crash course, I packed up the rental car and hit the open (and flat) road. 4 hours, 15 minutes, and $24 in gas in my rental VW Beetle, I arrived and found my first text message. Here it is:

#1

The lip. With the face. The finger in front of the camera. I can’t even handle it. What a bizarre moment- when your child texts you for the first time. Strange. I love it, it’s fun to see what she comes up with on her own. Here’s the next one:

#2

“Norm is having fun.” Norman and his blankie. He drags that stinky thing all over the house. He loves it. Do you know what one of my favorite things about Iowa is currently? Norman’s not here! ( I really do love him.)

One more from this morning, then I swear I’m done:

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Sereyl. Sereyl! Sound it out and send it to your mama! I know what you’re talking about– I finish your soggy bowl of circles for you every single morning! Duh!

Big stuff in the Larson house. This makes being away from home a little bit easier, they are always good for a chuckle and a smile. I may regret showing her this tool in the near future, but I also know that I may become the last person on the planet she will want to text and my text messages will be the reason for a ton of eye rolls and embarrassment. But for now, I’ll enjoy the fact that she thinks she is SOOO cool because she can text me–her mama.

Norman Larson.

Oh. Hi there. What have I been doing all this time that didn’t include writing in my blog that I keep swearing I’m not going to neglect? Well, the answer to that question is losing my mind. I have lost my mind completely. So much so that investing in a pure bred pee machine seemed like the right direction to guide my family. Great. Idea. Mindi.

Norman 8 Weeks Old

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Alas, Norman Larson has taken control of my free time, my nap time, my lunch break time, and any other time that I used to fill with things that didn’t involve an obnoxious, wild, and yet absolutely adorable puppy with GIANT ears not used for hearing one single thing you want. Weeks 1-3 were lots of sleeping and admiring his cute face, clumsiness, and watching him learn about the world. Weeks 4 and on have been….what’s the word….intense. I’ll choose that because ABSOLUTE $H*TSHOW are inappropriate perhaps. There is a reason God made Basset Hound puppies so cute. 

All kidding aside (except I’m mostly serious) he’s going to be a delight. In like- 6 months. Or years-whatever. He’s not the typical Basset coloring, he’s called lemon and white. We chose the name Norman because we like to name our animals after old men. Norman was one of eight puppies and he was the last one left. No one wanted him. Why wouldn’t anyone want this puppy- the only one of the litter that was this color? Answer: He’s missing a toe. One tiny digit that serves little purpose. He’s considered “imperfect”. Whatever, Trevor…

One Digit Short

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How does Leo like Norman? The question everyone asks. Well, my golden child, the best dog of all time, acts as though Norm doesn’t exist. He is on the couch, watching from 18″ above the chaos and sloppy wet ears. He still is the king of the castle as far as the pets go. He still get the occasional table scraps and he sleeps with us every night. Since we got Norman he also is able to be out of his kennel during the daytime when we are at work. So he really made out quite well with the acquisition of the pair of ears.

Leo’s face says it all.

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So far I am down one flip flop, one of my shoes is “custom” with 7,000 puppy teeth marks, one plastic toy puppy, 2 pencils, a bead necklace, countless crayons and about 5 rawhide bones. He escaped his kennel twice, can go up and down the stairs, is afraid of lots of things, and can’t get on the furniture. (Hallelujah!) And have I even mentioned the sleep positions?!

Nighty Night, freak show

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The ears. As useful as a screen door on a submarine. (That was a Rogerism.) 

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Perhaps when Norman gets his act together, grows up a little, I’ll update you all with my new outlook on Norman. Until then, I’ll continue to allow him to live with us. Unless any more of my shoes are ruined…

Have a Norman-Free Friday!

-Mindi

7.

She did it. She turned 7.

There is a pattern forming. Every year I say I don’t want her to turn the another year older, that I like the age that she is, it’s my favorite age so far, the whole nine yards. But it doesn’t even matter, she turns a year older and I hate it a little more. When I woke up friday morning and thought about the day Jovie was born, the first thing that popped into my head was this photo:

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She is probably about 9 hours old or so. It was about 2:00am and I was wide awake. Adrenaline, excitement, and perhaps some shock thrown in there. But I couldn’t sleep because I was insanely in love with her. I remember the exact moment that I took this photo, the quiet hospital beeps and footsteps, Scott was sleeping in the chair in the corner, and Jovie and I just spent time getting to know each other. Staring, wiggling, blinking, she was really calm and very content. We just hung out doing new mom and new baby stuff. It was one of my favorite moments ever.

Fast Forward 7 years:

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She’s a busy girl! Camping, fishing, learning to play basketball, tormenting her dog, and she is a wicked fast runner. What a cool kid! We are so lucky that she is ours and we couldn’t have asked for a better kid. She still asks every year for a real horse and we are very skilled at letting her down every year by not buying a real horse. Consistency is key!

I’m thankful that she still thinks that I am cool and wants me to come and have lunch with her sometimes, she still asks for help washing her hair, and she wants me to help her pick out her outfits each day so that she looks nice. I know that my days of being included in these things are numbered so I will enjoy it while it lasts.

I know that 8 is just around the corner, but I will make sure to take pictures, make memories, and enjoy every single second of 7.

Tooth Fairy…..

Big night at the Larson house! Jovie Rae has lost her second tooth! She is starting to look more and more like a first grader every single day. She said, “Now I’m a toothless wonder!” Who could argue with that? Jovie and I made a tooth fairy door about a month ago preparing for the arrival of the Tooth Fairy. It turned out so great, I have to share.

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I bought an unfinished doll house door from Hobby Lobby. It’s $10.99 regularly. The Tooth Fairy that comes to our house is a little too thrifty for that price, so I made sure to download the 40% one item coupon from the Hobby Lobby website. That lessened the blow and was more within my…err…the Tooth Fairy’s budget.

tooth fairy door

Time to paint! We used Apple Barrel Punk Pink. And we LOVE this color. We then painted the trim dark brown. I found a small bead laying around and glued it on for a door handle. Our Tooth Fairy is very fancy, she required some door decor. I found a flower that belongs on a necklace and it was proportionate to the door.

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I put the door at the floor, just above the baseboard with some double sided foam tape.

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I absolutely love how this turned out.

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DIY Chore Chart or Weekly Calendar

I am really excited to be working with The Village Family Services Magazine on a column titled Food & Fun. I love to be able to share my love of crafting and creating new things on a budget. You can pick up a copy of this great FREE magazine at any Hornbacher’s location!

Supplies Needed:

Frame (5×7 or 8×10)

Pencil

Scissors

Paper

Dry erase marker

Dry eraser (optional)

Directions: 

Use a computer to design your own chart or calendar (templates available here also, and print out. Another option: use colorful or decorative scrapbook paper as a background for a blank dry erase board.  Place paper design side up on table. Lay glass from the frame on top. Trace around the edge of the glass onto paper and cut out. Insert glass into the frame, followed by the paper, followed by the frame back.  Your new chore chart or weekly calendar is ready to use! Write directly onto the glass with a dry erase marker. Clean glass with dry eraser or paper towel.

Chore Chart Menu and Grocery List Notes and Weekly Calendar

My 2015 To Do List

Having recently posted about my intention and plans for a more focused, organized, healthy and better 2015, I wanted to put into writing 5 things that I want to accomplish in 2015. These aren’t the only things that I want to accomplish, just the most fun. Some are things that I’ve talked about doing in previous years, some are brand spanking new. Most of them involve others, none of which know anything about this— until right now. (No better way to know if your friends read your blog than to write about them.) This doesn’t concern me because they are all people who are up for an adventure from time to time. One of which is my husband- he’s not as adventurous as I am, but out of marital contract, he’s obligated to join the fun and help me cross #1 off of my list this year. I’m confident that he’ll be happy to join in on my fun.

 1.       Take Jovie for her first family trip. On an airplane. Destination to be randomly by drawing out of a hat. She has taken trips with us, but up until this point anything that involved an airplane we selfishly kept as an adult trip. I’ve been telling her for several years that you have to be one year older than whatever he current age was to get on a plane. She never really questioned why tons of kids she knows that are younger than her were being allowed to fly placed with their parents. Alas- 2015 is her lucky ducky year.

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2.       Have drinks on the roof of the Hotel Donaldson with April Olson-Mata. If the night also holds an all-night dance-a-thon, so be it. We’ve been known to dance into the wee hours, but we haven’t done it in awhile. This is one of the items on the list that has long been talked about. I’ve never seen the roof of the Hotel Donaldson, but this is my year to discover what is up there. And enjoy the company of my sister from another mister.

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3.       One camping weekend with two of my favorite and longest friends- Michelle and Megan. Now these two are really something else. I have known Michelle since we went to Headstart together. I have known Megan since I would let her tag with us on our adventures, much to the dismay of her big sister, Michelle. She was the little sister that I never had. And to their family I was the annoying daughter that their parents never really wanted. HA! Anyways, I feel the need to explore somewhere new with two of the girls that I’ve known literally my entire life and I couldn’t live without.

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4.       Visiting Baby Vranicar before he/she turns 3 days old. (I needed a small window of time for travel purposes.) Onto the next friend that I’ve known forever. She is cooking up baby #3. For the first two redheads, I made it there early, but I missed that brand new baby snuggle time. My visit will likely be brief as their family will be figuring out their new way of life as a family of 5, but Baby V #3 is going to meet Aunt Mindi very early in life. Lucky baby!

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5.       Get a new tattoo. Time for something new and fresh. I have a few ideas, but I don’t have my heart set on anything in particular. Maybe a tattoo while on the trip with Michelle and Megan? Maybe that new baby will be so good looking I will tattoo their face on my calf. Maybe not. Whatever it ends up being- it will be something I love and want. Forever.

All of these involve people very, very important to me. (That last one is just so that I stop talking about it and just do it already.) They are things that will make my 2015 fun and exciting.

They are things that will be fun to look back on and remember. It’s the good stuff in life. Family and friendship. And tattoos…

2015.

What if 2015 is the year that changes everything? What if.

I sit here with sore muscles, aching legs and feel like I am 97 years old. That’s the bad news. That and I turn 32 in 3 days. Psssh. Bring it. The good news is that I have located the gym again. You know- the one that I paid for all year long and used even less than my sewing machine? It’s just so sad, really.

Alas, I am tuned in, working out, feeling (kind of) great, and I have a vision for myself. And it’s deeper than the extra “stuff” I am currently carrying around. (Who cares- I had a fun year. Worth it.) (Sort of.)

There were ups. Great big giant work successes, a 6 year old as smart as can be, a cool-cat husband, and Leo the Wonder Dog. There were down. Saying goodbye to some really great people, including my grandmother. A random broken car here and there, and some personal internal battles that I work on often on my own.

What if 2015 is the year that changes everything. And it could. And it will.

More focus on me. More focus on my tiny family. Less focus on what’s “lacking” or where I “fit in”.

Less yes, more no. Having a week filled every single night with events, activities, dinners, parties is no longer appealing to me. Fulfilling things with quality friends- less is more. I have distanced myself from some and grown closer to others. The circle of life for family relationships and friendships.

Quality, not quantity is my motto for 2015.

I will feel better. I will be better. For me. And for my family.

-Mindi

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