Holiday Bucket Lists: The Untold Story

It's that time of year again, when we make our holiday lists and check them twice:

Yeah, right. Allow me to share with you what a holiday bucket/to do list looks like in real life.

1. Pinterest version: Visit Santa.

Real life Lindquist version: Force your "mama's girl" to sit on a stranger's lap.

2. Pinterest version: Decorate your tree with hand-made ornaments.

Real life Lindquist version: Scream hysterically when the Christmas tree falls on your young daughters and probably scars them (and you) for life.

3. Pinterest version: Remember this year forever with holiday portraits.

Real life Lindquist version: Push your luck partaking in an unwanted photoshoot with kids under the age of 5.

4. Pinterest version: Bring home the bargains on Black Friday.

Real life Lindquist version: Have your joy zapped by a retail worker who is pissed that your Christmas shopping is standing between her and a 10 minute lunch break.

5. Pinterest version: Sip hot cocoa by the fireplace.

Real life Lindquist version: Gain all your holiday weight in one sitting.

6. Pinterest version: String up lights to make the neighborhood glow.

Real life Lindquist version: Laugh/cry when your husband tells you to check back in a half hour to see if he's fallen off the roof.

7. Pinterest version: Attend an ugly sweater party.

Real life Lindquist version: Allow your husband to wear something you treasured in the 5th grade all in the name of winning a contest at work.

8. . Pinterest version: Make a gingerbread house.

Real life Lindquist version: Throw away the gingerbread house craft that's too ugly even for a mother to love.

9. Pinterest version: Involve family pets in your Christmas celebrations.

Real life Lindquist version: Torture your dog with jingly bells.

10. Pinterest version: Read Christmas letters from family and friends.

Real life Lindquist version: Become saddened by the realization the people whose last names end in S haven't read this chart:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years from the Lindquistes' :)

What's on your holiday bucket list?

23 Things about Gabby Grace

1. First thing is first. You are still my little mama's girl. I wrote about you being a Stage 5 clinger awhile ago and am happy to report nothing has changed. You seek me out constantly and I love you for it...except for when I'm trying to help Faith brush her teeth cause mommy only has so many arms. But overall, it feels so good to be "thee person" that you prefer above anyone else.

2. That said you love your dada too. Dada is your favorite word for sure. And nobody gets you to giggle like he does. When he blows on your belly, tickles your ticklespots or does on of his many bodily function noises, you smile and laugh. Every baby laughs differently and I think your's should be recorded for a toy.

3. The number of words you can say and sign has increased immensely over the past six months. In addition to mama and dada, you love to say apple, ball, book, Howie, No (many times those last two words are together), stop, iPoop, peas for please, mo for more, wawa for milk, Nama for Grandma and nigh nigh for anyone who closes their eyes.

4. You are a pro at kisses and hugs. I love the way you pucker your lil lips and pat me on the back  when we hug.

5. Your favorite pastimes include playing with babies and putting blankets on them and putting barbies in the car and taking them out over and over again. You also love jumping on the bed, playing peekaboo or "I'm gonna getchu" and dancing, dancing and more dancing, preferably naked. Almost every day on your sheet from school, it says you enjoyed dancing to the music that day. When a song comes on, it's like your body can't help but move.

6. As for your little preschool, though it took you three. long. weeks. to stop crying at drop off, you now seem to enjoy your little friends and all the fun activities you do together. Your teachers told us at conferences (yes, there are parent-teacher conferences for 1-year-olds) that they absolutely love your personality. You are easy going, eat well and nap long. Three great qualities in a kid.

7. You officially know your name. Even though you think it's Gabba and not Gabby. That's probably our fault for saying Yo Gabba Gabba all the time.

8. Your hair is still blonde and stick straight, the opposite of your sister's. I love the color and am ready for it to be long enough to tuck behind your ear. For now we do a half-side-pony, and sometimes I pull it back in the middle, but that makes you look too close to two!

9. You and Faith/FaFa are getting along better, though you still don't trust her 100% and I don't blame you. She looooves to pester you because you're so cute and lovable, but much of the time she just wants to be near you and cuddle or hug. You like your bubble of space and seem to screech if someone enters it unauthorized.

10. I would list your favorite foods, but you still like pretty much anything and everything I put on your plate. Broccoli and cold peas are your fav veggies and blueberries and strawberries for fruit. While you're a healthy lil eater, you also go for the ice cream every time and unfortunately have been introduced to fruit snacks. Grandpa is your new best friend for feeding you pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.

11. Bath time is a joy with you because you don't mind water over your head at all. Getting you out is a different story. Thankfully, a little foot rub and a light blow dry help you forget you're not in the tub splashing around any more. Plus, you smell amazing and we need to look into making it into a perfume!

12. You officially know who Elmo is! And Abby Cadabby. I am trying to get you to learn the other characters your sister had memorized at an early age, but then I realized you've never even watched Sesame Street while she tuned in regularly back when she was your age. Hoping to win tickets to Sesame Street Live in January so I can watch your mind be blown by Elmo coming to life!

13. Since you're officially 18 months it's time to start thinking about taking away your binky. Nooooo! You are so attached to your MAMs, even though you don't ask for them by name. And we can't go very far without your "birdie" either. I love that you have comfort items…makes our lives a lot easier in the car and at nap and bedtime.

14. You enjoy reading books now and will find one and just start backing up into someone's lap. You trust-fall your little booty right down and expect the lap to be there. When we read, you love to point out apples, balls and anything with its eyes closed. Animals noises are your specialty.

15. When you wake up in the morning, your hair is usually a fright, but as long as you can have a few hits from your binky, you're in a good mood. If you're up before Faith, I'll let you watch a toonie in our bed for a few minutes. Now that you know the routine, you walk into our bedroom and grunt and point at the TV and remote until somebody finds Curious George.

16. Just when I thought you were too little to discipline, you started hitting people to see what the reaction would be. I don't think you were pleased to find out that meant a time out in your orange rocking chair. It's hard not to laugh when you pout, but I think you've learned your lesson. The other day I walked in on your babies sitting in the rocking chairs. When I got closer, I heard you yelling "No No" at them.

17. Smiling for the camera or for anyone on command is still the opposite of your specialty. I have several cute photos of you, but only daycare was able to capture your smile when they took school pictures (yes, school pictures for 1-year-olds, too). It doesn't phase me a bit that you won't smile for just anyone. Make em work for it, GG!

18. You're ready for a steak. I swear you should have all 20 of your baby teeth at this point, as it seems like you're constantly getting a new tooth. Hopefully you're done until your two year molars!

19. The Boynton books are some of your favorites, including Moo Baa La La La and Red Hat, Green Hat. Here you are reading at the ripe age of 18 months.

20. After saying "yeah" to everything forever, you finally learned to say no, and we captured it on video as well.

21. You've been introduced to dum dums. Everything in the house is sticky. Causation, not correlation!

22. Current wake/sleep schedule:
7:15 wakeup (always EARLIER on weekends)
12:15 naptime
2:15 or so wake-up
7:45 bedtime
Lots of babies, barbies and blocks in between. And we can't forget your many meals and the outfit changes that come with each one!

23. Last but not least, you've been sick for the Thanksgiving weekend, it's made me realize that despite your waking up at 2:15, 3:15 and 4:15 (you're very consistent when you're ill) I would do absolutely anything for you. All you want right now is to be held. I'm happy to be the person to hold you. I love you so much, Gabrielle Grace. Happy half-birthday!

That's What She Said 4-Year-Old Edition

Me: "And what do four-year-olds like to do?
Faith: "Go to bed without brushing their teeth?"
Me: "Nice try."

Faith, during prayers: "God, where do you put your bike?"

Faith reciting the pledge of allegiance.
"and to the repuglic, for which it stands" …. "with liberty and Justin for all."

Faith: "Amigos. That sounds like mosquitos."

Faith (to Rob and me): "Do you guys know how to say United State of America in Spanish?"
Rob and me: (blank stare)
Faith: Nakitu Maseeeki

Faith: (sings an entire song about Spanish colors)
My sister in law: "So have you been learning Spanish in school?"
Faith: "No."

(To the tune of Hi Ho the Derry O)
Faith version: "Hi Ho the Hairy Ho"

Faith: "I really love this shirt grammy gave me!"
Me: "Awww, that's sweet."
Faith: "I love it more than sugar!"

Faith: 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38….
Me: 39
Faith: 100.

Our 5th Halliversary!

Happy Halloween/Happy Birthday to Life as a Lindquist! Five years ago, we began our blogging adventure on Halloween night as we passed out candy in our Lego costumes (wow, do we sound like a good time or what?!). At the time, I was with "mini lego" but no one knew it yet.


The next year we celebrated Halloween as a family of three/bull, cow and a calf.

Followed by Little Bo Peep and a Child of the 80s in 2011.

And then the year I was disappointed my daughter wanted to be a commercialized Disney princess, when I wanted her to be McKayla Maroney.

(Let's not forget my last minute attempt at MJ that year.)

Once again I was "with lego" during this Halloween and no one knew yet.

That meant there was an additional trick or treater in 2013.

(Howie went as Toto, I was the Yellow Brick Raod and Rob was the Wizard of Oz, but we never made it to a photo.)

So this year we had to rectify that by making sure we got a family photo, no matter how crappy it turned out. I'm a witch (watch your comments on that), Rob is attempting to make a joke about Doug McDermott with his costume and Howie is Olaf as Santa.

And the stars of the show: Anna and Elsa.

Two years ago, it bothered me that Faith wanted to be a Disney princess and not something more original. This year she talked about being a spy and I was so excited to help her concoct the most badass spy costume ever. Then she decided to be Elsa and I thought to myself, "ya know, whatever makes her happy makes me happy." This past 5 years of blogging have flown by. Kids grow up so fast. Faith has dressed up for 5 Halloweens already. I'll support her if she wants to be the most common character out there or if she wants to be the most random thing of all time (remember her "pie phase" from last year). I can still vividly remember hitting submit on our first Lego post in 2009. Five years later, here we are. Life as a Lindquist is pretty good.


This girl's first tooth was a sweet tooth.

Even today, chocolate is her go-to sugary snack.

I swear we've washed her face in between these photos.

But I had no idea how deep her love for the divinity ran. Unfortunately, now I do. 

As were walking out of preschool the other day, I stopped at the table in the foyer to sign my four-year-old out for the day. 

Now they say things can happen in the blink of an eye, the flip of a switch, a single heartbeat, a moment's notice, a snap of the fingers…I think you get the point.

True. Dat. 

Just as I finished signing my name, dotting the I in Lindquist, I reached for Faith's hand and it was gone. Instead, it was reaching, slow-motion style, down to the ground. On the ground was a blob. A brown blob. An indiscernible brown blob. Before my brain could form words for my mouth to speak, the brown blob went from her pinched fingers to her mouth. TO HER MOUTH!

Suddenly my voice starting working. I screamed. Shrilly. Words were coming out in spurts. GAH! WHATWASTHAT? FAITHGROSS! OHMYGOD! SPITITOUT! LICKITOFF!

My beautifully little four-year-old caught the last part loud and clear and promptly licked the rug. The rug on which people wipe their shoes. Their nasty, sticky, stanky shoes.

More screaming. More yelling. Mainly by me, but not at my girl.

Then, there it was. A whiff of pure milk chocolate. A heavenly scent. A glorious smell.  Thank God for chocolate. 

We quickly rushed inside and Count Chocula washed her mouth out while I apologized about the screams coming from the foyer. As my firstborn finished drying her hands, she looked up at me and announced, "I feel like I could cry."

The only thing worse than making my daughter feel terrible for eating a glob of melted chocolate off the ground was if it had not been chocolate. But it was. Thus I felt HORRIBLE!

On the drive home, we had a long talk about not eating anything off the floor and about what types of things we put in our mouths. She smiled. She nodded. I thought for sure she got the message.

Key word: thought.

That very night, I walked into the bathroom. Her toothbrush was on the counter. Instead of pink bubblegum toothpaste, there was a line of hand soap on the bristles.

Her defense: "I want to do it how I want to do it!"

My advice: stick with floor chocolate.

This is 32.

Dear 22,
This is 32. And I'm fabulous.
See you sooner than you think.
p.s. You know that Rob guy in Journalism class? Turns out he's a pretty great husband and father.
p.p.s. Wear more sunscreen.

If only our future selves could give our present selves a heads up on what life is like in the future...

I never could have imagined at 22 what life would be like when the clock struck 9:06 p.m. on September 19, 2014 as I turned 32. That I'd have two beautiful daughters, as different from each other as can be, who are my world. That my relationships with my parents would be stronger and more cherished than ever. (Or that two of them would be LIVING with ME!) That my husband and I would treasure our nights in more than our nights out. That my career would fulfill me the way it does. That the best friends I had at 22 would be the exact same 10 years later. That I'd still be running. That I'd actually own a dog and love him like a family member. That I'd feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Turning an even number on birthdays has always been harder for me ...26, 28, (30 was surprising fine), but now, 32. Forgive me if your digits are higher, but 32 sounds soooo old!

Then, over the course of the weekend, I realized how much I like being 32.

I like that I have a work family that takes food as seriously as I do.

I like that my dad and I can have an adult chat about the past, present and future over lunch at our fav place.

I like that my mom still takes my birthday off of work, and wants to spend it treating me to a pedi and some shopping. And that now I'm the one embarrassing her by taking selfies everywhere we go.

I like that my husband knows my love of all things Mexican and makes sure I get some chips and salsa on my special day.

And that double fisting has taking on a whole new meaning.

I like that even though it's my birthday, I'd rather be doing something my children love.

(OK, Gabby did not love it so much.)

I like that my husband will still go to a romantic comedy with me even though he'd rather see anything but. (I love me some Jason Bateman!)

I like that my best friend knows I would appreciate her buying me a $.99 card vs. a $4.99 Hallmark ripoff.

I like that spending time with my family and friends is the best present of all.

You always hear people say things like, "Age is just a number." "You're only as old as you feel." "Don't regret growing older. It's a privilege denied to many."

The older I get the more I believe these things, but the more I have to remind myself of them. Amidst all the positivity above, I still get sad about my gray hairs, the mid-section that just doesn't and won't probably ever look like it did 10 years ago, and having to deal with heavy adult things. But in all honesty, I feel good. If I don't think of myself as "an age" I'm quite pleased with my life as I know it. In fact, I'd love to pause and live this year over and over again. But life goes on. So I will continually thank God for today. Because today I'm 32. And 32 ain't so bad.

Our Great Wolf Lodge Vacation

Time away from home = vacation
Time away from home with two children under the age of 5 = relocation

While I can't take credit for definitions above, I must agree. Mr. Lindquist and I originally planned a trip for two this summer, but decided at the last minute to add two more to our party. While it wasn't the most relaxing getaway of all time, it was a getaway nonetheless, and one that we will remember for years to come...thanks to an overabundance of Instagram photos and the hashtag #lindquest2014.

When deciding on a locale for our vacation, we wanted somewhere we've never been, somewhere driveable (less than 5 hours in a car preferably) and somewhere fun! Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City checked all those boxes for us. We booked the trip a week before we left. 

Rather than give an hour by hour account of our trip, I've compiled a list of dos and don'ts for families vacationing to Great Wolf Lodge with small children. Without further ado:

* Do stay for two nights. On the day you check-in, you can get into the waterpark at 1 p.m. Checkout the next day is at 11 a.m., but you don't have to leave the waterpark until 9 p.m. If you like having access to your room before you leave, this doesn't allow for much time in the water. I think if our kids were older, the one night would've been fine, but with two littles, two nights was just right..

* Do splurge on the "Pup Pass" and other packages when booking your trip. There is a worthwhile discount for adding these things to your purchase when booking the room versus paying for them there. The Pup Pass included a sparkly, glitter tattoo, a Build-a-Bear-type animal, a Great Wold Lodge characters pillowcase with arts and craft supplies to decorate it, way too many Mike and Ike's and a dish of ice cream for under $40. We took a break from the pool to do all these activities the first night and each one was a lot of fun for four-year-old Faith.

*Do wear the ears. At all times.

*Don't be in a hurry. That is the number one rule of vacation and Faith followed it perfectly, while adhering to the "do" above.

*Do take time for the little things, like stopping to look at the animals on the carpet.

*Don't forget flip flops. Do bring a coverup. And it never hurts to buy a swimsuit you feel comfortable and confident in versus a Target special you tried on the night before you left and had about ten seconds to look at in the mirror before your child informed you she needed to poop....Not that I would know. (No picture for obvious reasons.)

*Don't wear makeup. You're at a waterpark with your spouse and kids and a whole bunch of strangers. Gotta love vacations that call for zero time spent on hair and makeup.

*Do stand under the big bucket of water at least once. Don't let your four-year-old lest she be knocked to the ground.

*Do make time for all the waterslides. Each one is different and fun and will bring you right back to your childhood. (Anyone else remember Moby Dick in Omaha?)

*Don't try to go down the kiddie water slide to show your child how fun it is when the lifeguard is not looking. You will scrape your knees because the depth is not made for someone over 4 feet tall. Not that I would know.

*Do bring your own towels even though they're provided at the pool. Yours are much softer and can be taken from the pool area to your hotel, which is a cold walk back in the air conditioning.

*If you have the money and are traveling with others, do pay for the tents inside the pool area. We didn't want to spend $10 on a locker, so we just claimed a table and hoped no one would take our stuff. There were a lot of others doing this too, so it's not unheard of, but the ones who splurged on tents always had a place to sit and recline, a cooler for beverages, a tv to watch when they weren't in the water and could have pizza delivered right to their tables.

*Do bring books and reading materials for when you have downtime. The one year old needed to nap a couple times a day, so one person "had" to go back to the room and rest.

*Don't be afraid to have a drink by the pool. Hey, you are on vacation, even if it is with kids. The strawberry dauquari I had was mighty tasty and went well with chips and salsa.

*Do visit the gift shop. We always buy a frame from everywhere we visit on vacation. And we had to get a mug for our coffee cup wall. Just when we thought we were through, Gabby started screeching for a stuffed animal. Since big sister got to do the "Creation Station," we let little sis get something too. Rob named it "yeah yeah" since "yeah" is Gab's favorite word.

*Have a food game plan. Looking back, I wish we would've purchased food passes ahead of time as we ate both dinner and lunch at the hotel and could've saved some cash in advance. I did pack enough stuff for us to eat for breakfast, so that helped.

*That said, do pack five times more snacks than you think you need. I forgot how hungry kids can be after an afternoon of swimming. We brought lots of popcorn, Goldfish, bananas, peaches and trail mix. Luckily it was enough, but barely.

*Do get to the indoor water park right when it opens. If your kids are up by 7 a.m. like ours, you'll have no problem making it to the pool in time for opening ceremonies in which there will be a character for your kid to meet and a song for you to look stupid to. Stomp stomp, clap clap, hooooowwlllll!

*Don't bother with the first part of story time in the lobby. It was hard to hear. The reading of the story was OK, but then the line to meet the character was long enough that it would've kept us up way past bedtime. Another opportunity for the howl though.

*Don't waste your money on the MagiQuest game. I saw more people waving wands that weren't working than those that did. Plus, there was a line behind each item. It especially isn't worth it for children under the age of five imo.

*Skip the arcade. I mean, there were some fun games, but an arcade is something you can do anywhere. Maybe if we were staying more than two nights, we would've ventured down there, but we wanted to spend all our time in the water and on the watersides.

*Do pass on the pedicure. I love getting my toes did, as does Faith, but the cost of having one there versus any random shop was twice the price. While it would've made for cute pictures, I'd recommend passing on the polish.

*Do realize your children will have a meltdown at some point. Ours happened to be the night we went out to eat at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Thank heavens for the balloon man, who saved our sanity. We tipped him extra for that.

*Last but not least, do cherish the memories. In between packing and care-taking and making sure everyone's having fun, memories are made. This is one of my favorites. Faith feeding her little sister-wolf some ice cream.