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Only Parent Chronicles

Adventures in parenting alone, working, dating, and trying to manage mom life and single woman life. Exhausting!

Updated: 2018-03-06T05:44:56.643-06:00


Winter Woahs - Week in Photos


I'm so over the weather in Minneapolis these days. Even more than that, I'm over everyone complaining about the weather...

Yes, we all agree, Mother Nature could use some mood-stabilizing meds. Enough already!

Despite still having the "winter weather woahs", I've been doing my best to keep a plucky spirit. Here is my week in photos!

The hubby had a weather related run-in with a guard rail.

My old, fat, cranky cat seems to think my head is a pillow.

Finally! A beautiful day to enjoy a Twins game at the AWESOME Target Field with amazing friends!

Catching up on the latest in the local craft beer scene with my April/May issue of The Growler.

I hope everyone has an awesome weekend! Do you have any big plans?(image)

You Broke the Cake


Here is what I know...

Teenage boys are loud. One teenage boy jumping up and down is the equivalent to a stampede of buffalo. Teenage boys know everything, so don't bother to correct them. You are obviously wrong.

I also know that one teenage boy jumping up and down shouting, "Ha! I was right! I was right! You've been owned!" and trying to chest bump your face will break your cake.

(image) Yes, the cake is broken.

I was super excited to try this recipe I had found on Pinterest. I got out my almond flour, ran to the store to pick up carrot baby food, and opened up my new bag of vanilla whey protein powder.

It was going to be amazing!

My friend Janet was here, and she was all amazed because she had never made a cake from scratch.

I was all excited to show her how awesome a scratch bundt cake would turn out.

The stage was set. The cake was place in the oven, and 30 minutes later, it was done!

I took it out and set it on the stove top to cool. Being a carrot cake and all, it had a lot of wet ingredients. I wanted it to cool and set before I flipped it out of the pan.

And then it happened - the Noah Herd of suburban Minnesota stampeded through my kitchen and broke my cake.

Not one to let a good thing go, we began to pick at its remains...

Your take-away? Sequester your teenage son if you plan to make a delicious cake. You'll thank me.


Daily Life in Pictures


Photos are an important part of life. As I was growing up, photos captured significant moments and memories. In the age of technology, photos are far more disposable than the photos of our childhood.But, technology also lets us catalog little snippets of time that may not have been deem "photo-worthy" in out youth. It's kind of awesome how eliminating something like the cost of developing a roll of film makes us more prone to just capturing a moment - regardless of its long-term significance.I don't know about you, but I am an Instagram junkie. If you haven't used Instagram, all I have to say to you is WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!? If you do - let's connect! You can find me here!Here are some of the moments I have captured since the beginning of the year... Not too long ago, my husband and I went out for the opening of a new brewery tap room in Northeast Minneapolis. I'm a huge craft beer fan, so this was my idea of a great date night! My Great Dane and my daughter's kitten are BFFs. It's not uncommon to find them snuggling up together in my bed. Or in the dog's bed. A local coffee company gives out free drinks on your birthday! Free latte = LOVE! My husband and I love to eat. Often times, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs... It's hard to pick one thing from a great brunch menu!! This darn kitten has stolen my heart. (Shhh! Don't tell my daughter!) Don't let her cuteness fool you, though. She really is quite the terrorist. I'm a sucker for sushi... Even if it means dining alone at the bar during happy hour.What are some of your favorite in-the-moment shots?If you're on Instagram, leave a link in the comments so I can follow you!![...]

I'm Here!


I know what you're thinking - "What!?! A new post at OPC? I thought Kristin fell off of the edge of the Earth!"

You're right. Kind of...

I came very close to the edge of the Earth, but I've maintained my balance and haven't yet succumbed to the depths.

I haven't been around this space much for the last year or so. I've missed it. It was once the first place I came to share my stories and for companionship. But sometimes life just happens.

As many of you know, I got married, I moved, and I've been in school. Although I've kept my plate full, blogging is rarely far from my mind.

My hope is to get back into this space, for for a bit I have been wondering on some exciting stuff, and hope to have a new blog home before the end of the summer. Until then, I am working on an editorial calendar for this space, so you can expect to see some new content here, and then come along for the ride once I make the move!

Until then, I am excited to reconnect my bloggy friends and catch up where we left off!(image)

Movies That Make Christmas


Christmas means something a little different to everyone. There are traditions and norms that people anticipate every year. Setting up the Christmas tree, baking Christmas cookies, selecting the perfect photo for the annual Christmas card...I've always been kind of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas trees. Don't get me wrong - they're beautiful; I just have all kinds of anxiety with setting it up. I freak out if the ornaments aren't appropriately spaced. It's a pain in the ass to get out all of the supplies. And frankly, packing it up at the end of the season sucks.I love Christmas baking. Sadly, I have never been able to perfect my Grandma's cut out cookies. I'm secretly let down every year.Don't even get me started on Christmas cards... It's not the actual card or the idea of sending them... I just have a very difficult time actually getting them in the mail. (This problem isn't exclusive to Christmas cards. There is a reason my husband and I decided he would be responsible for getting the bills in the mail.) Movies, however, are a big tradition in our home. The kids and I have always been able to bond over movies. There are a 5 movies that we watch every December, together. As they've gotten older, we appreciate this time and these movies... And I appreciate that they "get it" better every year.So what are these magical movies that strengthen our family bond?In no particular order -A Christmas Story - 1983Who doesn't love this 40's tale of a little boy who wants a Red Rider BB gun? Not to mention, it's a perfect depiction of the pure dysfunction that has always plagued the American family... Like every American classic, this film is riddled with with quotes that have permeated American culture. My favorite is one that has been tossed around by my brother and me since childhood... "Fra-gee-lay... It must be Italian."National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - 1989This is another favorite from childhood. I get great joy from hearing my kids laugh hysterically over something that my brother and I would be in stitches over when we were kids. Clark Griswold is probably the most iconic dad in American film and television history. (Yeah, I said it. Bill Cosby's got nuthin' on Clark!) To this day, I almost pee my pants when Clark says to Eddie, "Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?" I mean really, who hasn't felt that way about a family member at Christmas?Elf - 2003This is one that I hope my kids share with their kids when they're my age. Buddy the Elf. Ridiculous. Foolish. Juvenile. Every year, this movie revives my Christmas cheer. (Obviously because they sing out loud for all to hear.) And, secretly, it has made me suspect my daughter is an elf. "We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup."The Polar Express - 2004I was skeptical of this one, but in elementary school, my kids would have a Polar Express day right before winter break. I had to know what was so great... I found it mesmerizing and enchanting, and it made me remember what it was like to believe. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from this movie, "Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things are things we can't see."Love Actually - 2003This is my very favorite movie of all time, not just Christmas. The love stories are sweet. The relationships are real. And it helped me believe in love again during a very dark time in life. It taught me, "Life is full of interruptions and complications." a lesson I learned over and over again over the last decade. What are your traditions? Your norms? What makes Christmas Christmas for you?**click the image to buy the movie from**[...]

I'm a Delinquent...Firmoo Eye Glasses Review


Let me first start by saying that I am a raging delinquent. I should have told you about this weeks ago!

In September, I received a brand new pair of purple glasses. I ordered said fabulous glasses from the super cool and crazy easy to navigate

Firmoo has hundreds of frames for men and women at crazy affordable prices! The site allows you to upload a photo of yourself so you can virtually "try on" frames that tickle your fancy. Then, when you find a pair you like, you can enter in your prescription, and voila! You're on your way to ordering a great looking pair of specs for a fraction of the cost!

In a short week, my glasses arrived at my door with a case, cleaning cloth, and a small repair kit. The only down fall I have experienced is the glasses weren't fit to my face/ears. I would imagine any optical store would be able to adjust them for me; I'm just to lazy to find out.

Firmoo offers a free first pair to new customers, and right now they're offering free shipping on orders over $39! (Did I just use the word free twice in one sentence? Sweet!)

***I received a free pair of glasses from Firmoo in exchange for this post...but you can get your own free glasses - no strings attached - by visiting Firmoo for yourself!***


You Did What?!?


Happy Tuesday!To make your own stickies,click HERE.Then come on back and link up below!***********[...]

What I Did...



It seems like no matter how organized and scheduled our lives are, once summer comes, all bets are off.

However, another summer has come and gone. Countless days of, "Where has the time gone?" and "How can it be insert month here already?!?" have passed.

I know that I've been missing in action for more than just the summer, but I'm hoping that you will all come back and join me next week by linking up for

What I Did on My Summer Vacation...

The linky will be open September 4 - September 11! 

So brush off your back-to-school essay writing skills and come on back next week to link up!

I'd love to hear how your summer went and the chance to catch up!

Emergency Tail


My cats have been through a lot.

I affectionately call them my hand-me-down kitties, as I acquired them each as adults when their owners could no longer keep them.

They are old. They are fat. They are spoiled.

They have endured the rearing of my two spirited children. They have stood by while countless foster dogs made our home a temporary home. And they reluctantly accepted a Great Dane joining our family 2+ years ago.

My kitties have been through a lot.

Needless to say, when my son came running into my room hysterical one Friday night carrying a puff of fur, I wasn't phased. Until he handed me the puff.

We quickly raced to find poor Sasha hiding under his bed. We swooped her up and raced out to the car.

After all of these years, we were making our 1st trip to the emergency vet.

As we were driving - my son, with the cat in his lap and my hysterical daughter in the back seat - the story began to unfold.

He had been holed up in his fortress (his bunk bed with blankets surrounding all 4 sides) playing XBox, and decided to get up for a drink. He foot came down on the tip of Sasha's tail at the exact moment she leaped up into his bed. There was a pop, a yowl, and a puff of fur beneath is foot with no kitty in sight.

Poor Sasha's tail had been degloved.

According to the vet, this happens frequently to kitties. Often times, they get their tails caught under rocking chairs or in a door.

(image) My poor, tolerant kitty had to have an inch of her tail amputated that night.

The healing process has been quite an endeavor, as each time she has had a bandage removed, she has chewed her wound open again. So we've added a cone.

She is less than thrilled, but is adapting well to her...attachment. She walks in to walls less and less each day. Her tail is on the mend, and we're hoping that once she is finally cone-free, she'll leave her darn tail alone. If I ever have to shove an antibiotic down a cat's throat again in my life, it will be too soon.(image)

Is this thing on?


*tap tap tap*

Is this thing on?

It seems like it has been eons since I have visited this place.

What was once my sanctuary, my outlet, and my respite has spent what seems like forever on the back burner of my life.

So much has happened in the weeks and months since I have stepped away. I look forward to carving out the time for sharing it all with you.

This space and this environment has taught me so much about myself and what is important to me. I discovered that in my isolation and loneliness as an only parent, I learned to use this environment as a shield.

I could let you all in, but still keep you at an arms length.

I could share with you my triumphs and trials, but still control the vulnerability within.

You supported me through my struggle with a special needs child.

You cheered me on as I chose new paths.

Some of my nearest and dearest friends are women I connected with thorough here.

I still check in on each of you, reading the stories you are still sharing. I see your children growing and prospering, I see you taking on new challenges in life and sharing your personal growth and success. I miss you, and I hope to be back soon.

Until then, for those of you that are still here, thank you.

I hope we can reconnect soon!




Life is full of events.

For each moment and for each event in my life, I always seem to have a soundtrack in my head.

(image) I can think of countless moments that cue the perfect Rascal Flatts song. Dating all the way back to their second release, they have been recording songs that happen to meet me where I'm at. Their newest and 8th album, Changed, is no exception.

Like preceeding albums, this is a CD I am confident putting in with the kids listening along. Their three-part harmonies and catchy tunes make it easy to sing along, and the universal themes within the music make it easy to relate to each song!

Hurry Baby, the 8th track on the album tears especially on my heart strings. Having spent six years living in a different state from my fiance, I can relate to the plea for someone to be back home and by my side. It reminds me that every day since he has been home is a gift, and that I should be grateful he is finally here.

Currently on tour, the guys won't be in the Twin Cities until the end of August, but you can see when they'll be near you at!

**I was provided a copy of this album by One2One Network in exchange for my review. All opinions about Rascal Flatts, their music, and how it stirs me are 100% mine! (image)

Brilliant Observations from the Dog Park


I have a Great Dane.

She's big... And she's sweet... And she's a really big chicken.

We love to take her to the dog park to play and socialize with other dogs and people. She loves it, too. People are always happy to pet her, and they are often amazed at her sweet, low-key disposition.

It would seem, however, that whenever Nat makes an appearance at the dog park, people are stricken with a case of "Captain Obvious" syndrome.

After 2 years, I should probably be used to it, but the stoopid things that come out of people's mouths never cease to amaze me...

Obvious Observations About Great Danes
  • "Wow! That's a big dog!"
    Obviously my favorite, to which I'd like to respond, "Do you think so?"
  • "Your dog's paws are huge!"
    Really? They seem small to me....
  • "She must eat a lot!"
    Far less than a human 3 year-old.
  • "I don't have to bend over to pet your dog; That's really cool."
    I never realized that. Thanks for pointing it out!
  • "I bet your dog could eat me!"
    She's far more likely to crush you when trying to crawl into your lap.
  • "Cool dog! What kind is it?!?"
    A yorkie.
  • "Your dog is so big, I bet I could ride it,"
    Oh? You double as a circus monkey?
  • "You have a horse!"
    Sure, if a horse is 36" tall and weighs 120 pounds...
  • "That's a dog?"
    No. She's a squirrel.
  • "I bet it poops a lot."
    I bet you poop a lot...
Needless to say, I do a lot of smiling and nodding...

As for Natty, she's just happy people are paying attention to her.(image)

Reminding Myself I'm Doing It Right...


As the mother of a child with behavioral health issues, it can be difficult to find consequences that make an impact or inspire change. It's difficult, when you are working so hard to break bad habits, to ignore the little things that a child does for the sake of attention.

I have been told time and time again to pick my battles. Some things kids just need to work out on their own.

As hard as I try to be the model parent, I fall short daily. I work myself into knots of guilt and inadequacy as I recount all of the advice given by countless "how to parent my difficult/spirited/special needs/ADHD/ODD/mood disorder/anxiety ridden child" books.

I try to remember all of the times the therapist has said, "you couldn't have handled that any better".

I try to remind myself of all of the things I do "do right".

Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I feel defeated, because nothing seems to work.

I'm tired of being told, "You hate me!!" 

Every time I hear, "I wish I was never even born!" I want to cry.

I feel guilty for dreading a day at home.

Sometimes I wonder if my head really will burst...because it feels like it might.

(image) A few weeks ago, I even joked with some Twitter friends about faking my death and moving in with @MeSoRandy and his husband. But alas, these things will never come to pass.

I either really love the abuse or I really love my kids (it's the latter, I promise), but any way you look at it, I'm stuck here. Through thick and through thin, it is my job to equip my kids with the skills they need to live a happy and healthy life.

It is my job to somehow instill in them the self-confidence to treat themselves with respect. It is my hope, and goal, that they become individuals who look at the world through wide-open eyes. I want them to learn that everyone - EVERYONE - deserves to be loved, treated with kindness, and given respect.

If that means that for the short time they live under my roof, the accusations of hatred fly and I am repeatedly told I make them miserable, so be it. My job is not to be their friend. My goal is not for them to like me. As mom, I have a bigger purpose...(image)

Healthy Habits = Healthy Teeth


For the last three weeks, my family has been participating in the Listerine Healthy Habits Challenge. As the challenge winds down, I can't help but reflect on some of the things I have learned about my kids along the way...

~ It doesn't matter how old they get, they still like Batman, Barbie, and Phineas & Ferb
~ New stuff still motivates them (even if it's a new toothbrush or dental floss)
~ Checking off boxes on a chart fills them with a sense of accomplishment
~ Showing them how much they missed when they brush is kind of like a science experiment
~ My behaviors are still the best way to model healthy habit

Even with the challenge at the front of our minds, it was still difficult to remember simple tasks like rinsing twice a day or flossing at night. It served as a good reminder that oral health is a huge area for improvement in our home and in home across America.

(image) Going forward, I plan to help my kids by providing floss and mouth wash to be kept in their lockers. I also will be keeping a bottle of mouth wash in my drawer at work. Dental floss is now conveniently located in the center console of my car, as well as in my purse, for those just in case when my meal is stuck between my teeth.

Listerine, Reach, WalMart, and the American Heart Association have put together a great site to help you and your family develop healthy habits for a lifetime! Check it out for great ideas on how you and your family can make positive changes to your oral care routines!

I received products and compensation from Johnson & Johnson and The Motherhood as part of my participation in the Oral Care Challenge. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are mine.




Cookies and cream and jelly bean dreams...

Sunshine and roses...

Rainbows and unicorns...

These are the feelings one usually associates with the life changes being experienced in my home currently.

Yes, it's true. I am getting married, and I am on Cloud 9.

I have committed to forever after with the man I love. So what's the catch?

For the last 11 years, my family has been a three-man team.

Our non-routine life revolved around us. Our nuances, our struggles, our perfect imperfections. Despite the highest of highs and incredibly low lows, we worked.

Sure, there were the days I locked myself in my closet and sobbed until I couldn't possibly shed another tear. And let's not forget the nights I would cry myself to sleep, desperate for answers, clinging to the hope that God would see us through another day.

But despite the clouds of heartache that came alongside my daughter's behavioral and mental health issues, despite the anger and rage welling up inside my son when he'd reach his limits of tolerence, and despite my depression that waxed and waned with the tide of our home, we were happy.

We still are happy.

And adjusting.

The fact is, I have been a widow longer than I was ever a wife. I have been an only parent for 11 years. My children have no idea what a dad really is. What does a dad do? How does a dad act? What is a dad's role in a family? The only man I have ever lived with is my husband, and that was for less than 2 years. I don't know how to co-parent. I don't know how to let someone else participate. I don't know how to let someone do for me (without feeling guilty). And I don't know how to ask for help.

We are all adjusting. Including him.

He has never been married. He has never had kids. He has never lived with a woman...until he moved in with us.

Most days are great. We communicate well. He listens when I talk, I listen when he talks. Every once in a while the kids will even listen when someone talks. And we adjust...

Who knew that sharing my life - my family - would come with such a learning curve?

Each day brings a new challenge, and a new joy. Having a partner in life is more rewarding than I ever imagined. I know in time, this new way of being, this new family, will find its groove.

Have you ever had to make major adjustments in your own life?

Walgreens for Picture Day!


Thanks to Walgreens for underwriting this post. I was paid as a member of the Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all mine. Visit Wedding planning is a heck of a lot more work than I ever imagined! It seems like October is forever away, but I still feel like there is so much to do and so little time.Engagement photos are just around the corner, and I am beginning to panic. I have no idea what to wear, what the weather will be like, or how to wear my hair. Fortunately, I know Walgreens has me covered when it comes to make-up! Not only am I able to find a wide selection of eye shadows by Maybelline, Rimmel, and L'Oreal, I can also find all of the make-up tools I need to get the job done!Some of my favorites include: Source This Soho Kabuki Brush. The bristles are goat hair, wash easily wild a mild soap, dry well, and hold their shape. I find kabuki brushes give a much more even look when applying liquid foundation and I love them waaaaay more than the standard foam triangles most of us have been trained to apply foundation with. SourceI am also a huge fan of the ModLash fake eye lashes. They are crazy easy to put on, and they come in a variety of lengths. This way you can decide just how glam you want to go. The 21's I have here are my favorite length for more regular use! And don'f forget your Revlon eye lash curler and a fantastic volumizing mascara!Best of all, my neighborhood Walgreens has a great assortment of Burt's Bees Lip Balms to pick from! Burt's Bees is my go-to, lip balm for all occasions, whether I'm getting all gussied up for my engagement photos, or moisturinzing before bed! I love that Walgreens has a dozen different flavors for me to pick from![...]

Taking Care of Our Pearly Whites


On President's Day, the kids and I were discussing the old wives tale that George Washington had wooden teeth. The conversation took an interesting turn as we began to discuss their recent focus on their own personal hygiene.

When they were smaller, it was often a battle to get the kids to brush their teeth. As a mom, I was overwhelmed and frustrated with the best way to get them on board.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting children in the U.S. today. Statistics show that 50% of kids will have at least 1 cavity or filling between the ages 5 - 9!

The statistics get even more frightening when you realize that brushing your teeth alone misses germs in 75% of our mouths. EWWW!

(image) As part of an Oral Care Challenge in my own home, I have received LISTERINE and Reach products from Johnson & Johnson to work on developing some oral care best practices for myself and my children.

In addition to committing to brushing twice a day - at a minimum - we will be rinsing twice a day with LISTERINE products to kill as many of the cavity and decay causing germs in our mouths a we can!

Each of the kids has stashed some LISTERINE in their locker to rinse after lunch. And as a challenge to herself in the mornings, my daughter is rinsing after she brushes to make sure she got all of the "sugar bugs".

We have hung a brushing chart on the towel rack, and each of the kids will me marking it with their initials each time they brush throughout the day. The winner of the challenge will get dibs on the Phineas and Ferb SmartRinse that came in our complementary oral care package! (Yes, even at 11 & 13, they can be won over by Phineas and Ferb!)

I encourage you to start your own Oral Challenge with your family! Get more information at or follow along with the Twitter hashtag #healthyhabits!

Also, I would love to hear some of your family's best oral care practices! How do you encourage your kids to brush? Do you rinse? How many times a day do you brush, rinse, or floss?

I received products and compensation from Johnson & Johnson and The Motherhood as part of my participation in the Oral Care Challenge. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are mine.


The Anti-Valentines Day


Traditional is rarely a word used to describe me.

I don't do routine. I have never functioned well on a schedule. I have been known to do (or not do) something simply because someone say I shouldn't (or should...).

I'm not sure when or how it started, but I don't really "do" Valentine's Day.

Sure, I have been known to pick up cheesy cards and chocolates for my kids. I enjoyed the heck out of making Valentine boxes for them to take to school, and I adore all of the cheesy Valentines they used to bring home.

But as it pertains to me, meh... Not so much.

I like the idea of taking a day to appreciate the people in your life who mean the most, but a day of romance? Elaborate, expensive gifts to show our devotion to our significant others? I don't get it.

Sure, I like fancy gifts as much as the nice girl. But in my head, a fancy gift just because is far more thoughtful than a fancy gift because it is expected.

Needless to say, my fiance' loves not having to figure out a gift that will knock my socks off. He loves that there is no pressure to plan the perfect night. And he loves that when I say, "I don't want anything." I mean, "I don't want anything." I have no hidden agenda. It's not a trap. I really, truly don't want anything.

So imagine my surprise, when climbing into bed, I found a folded piece of paper with "Kristin" written on the outside slipped under the covers.
The most amazing gift, a simple letter, printed on simple paper, with a simple message...

I love you for who you are, in good times and bad. I love you when you are at your best and when you are at your worst, and I look forward to loving you for the rest of our lives.

Simple and perfect.

Have you ever had an unexpected Valentines surprise? What is your Valentines tradition (or anti-tradition)?(image)