Customer Profile: Kristina Thelen

March 10, 2010

Kristina, her daughter Topenga, and her son Lucas

Ithaca is a small town.  No, this isn’t a post about stating the obvious, it’s about one of the characters that inhabits the small town.  I’ll call this person the “stalker-friend.”  Let me explain. 

If you spend a fair amount of time in Ithaca proper, you start to see the same faces over and over.  Some of them aren’t particularly memorable or intriguing for any number of reasons, but some of them are.  Some of those faces, each time you catch a glimpse of them, convince you more and more that you and that person were clearly destined to be friends — otherwise, why would fate continually throw you together?  (Reminder: it’s not fate.  “It’s the whole 10 square miles surrounded by reality” thing.) 

I, myself, have become the stalker-friend several times.  Most recently, I stood in awe in line at Urban Outfitters behind a woman with her two small children.  The kids, looking to be about the same age as my two youngest — 1 and 3 — were in a double stroller and their mom was in an adorable hat.  I was in Urban Outfitters for the third time in two days, trying desperately to return something but having failed twice before because I thought, foolishly, that I could accomplish the errand with a kid or two in tow.   

This woman, however, was completely rocking her mommy shopping trip.  As she paid for her bounty, her children sat quietly, playing with individual toys while their mom leisurely fished out her wallet, chatted with the salesperson, and calmly packed each item at a strategically located place in the stroller.  When my turn in line came, this magical mother and her perfect children strolled happily out of the store, and I stared, open-mouthed, as they left.   

I continued to think about this woman over the next couple of days, including on a drive to Mama Goose  one morning.   Kelly Goose had recently ordered me business cards, and I was berating myself for not giving one to Urban Outfitters SuperMama.   But, thanks to the magic that is Ithaca, I walked in the door and there she was!  I immediately chatted her up, and after several “accidental” run-ins at mommyspots all over town, I am able to present her to you!  Meet Kristina…. my own personal super mom.  I’m proud to call myself her stalker-friend.  

How long have you been a Mama Goose customer and how did you hear about us?  

We have been MG regulars since we moved here in August of last year from Seattle, Washington.  MG’s location was a prime reason we picked our current neighborhood:  I wanted to be able to walk to amusing kid friendly places like MG, especially during the winter.*   There are awesome stores very similar to MG in every neighborhood in Seattle.  I wanted to feel at home a bit by remaining connected to the second- time around, sustainable, community oriented focus environment. 

*Blogling note:  Kristina definitely accomplished this goal!  She and her kids were frequent attendees at the Winter Sprouts and Storytime events this January and February. 

How many kids do you shop for and how old are they? 

Two kids:  Lucas Jordan West, 3.5 years old (B-day August 19th) and Topenga Natalie West, 16 months old (B-day October 24th) 

What are your favorite kinds of purchases at MG? You’re biggest “score”? 

Having sold almost all our belonging (clothes, furniture, toys, etc.) before leaving Seattle, almost every toy and piece of clothing in the kids’ closets is from MG.  The all-time best I would say though is this beautiful, pristine, shiny, bright yellow, chrome-accented ride-on taxicab from BabyStyle.  It was $25 and it was SO ours.  Love it!! 

Why are you in Ithaca?

My husband, David, was accepted to Cornell in the Urban Planning Graduate Program.  Being born and raised on the West Coast, moving here presented a one-of-a-kind adventure for us. 

When I get a minute to myself, the first thing I want to do is

RUN AWAY!  I need to make sure I get the time to be in a completely different venue with completely different people regularly so I don’t get stir crazy as a stay-at-home mom. 

On a typical day, when I’m not with my kids, I can usually be found …

Knitting/crocheting at knitting groups or at Barnes & Noble, or, when TOTAL escape is necessary, at the movie theater. 

I know I’m having a bad day when …

all of the following things happen at once:  I know what I need to be doing to cope better but I just physically can not seem to make that happen frustration spurring a constant feeling that I just need to scream and or throw something; I’m counting down the seconds until the husband gets home.  This triad is bad news.  

Something that scares me about being a parent is …

sending a “flop” product out into the world because I screwed up something key in child development.  I’m most afraid of doubt being present in my kids’ lives.  I want them to be powerfully kind and self-sufficient individuals who never lack confidence. 

What are your children’s favorite books?

Lucas is currently a huge fan of Usborne’s First Encyclopedia of the Human Body.  The Usborne Encyclopedias are simply fantastic — everyone has to give them at least a looksie at Alphabet Soup. (Blogling note:  Mama Goose has at least one kicking around the board book section right now too.)  Topenga loves this book called Baby Knows Best. She carries it around and if we sit down for even a second she insists we read it over and over again.  There’s a picture in it of baby is dropping food on the floor from their high chair, and she finds it fascinating.  She sits and stares at this image…I wonder what she is thinking…the whole exchange just cracks me up! 

One lesson I learned from an older family member is …

it is way not okay to refuse to apologize to a child just because he’s a child (learned from someone who believes the opposite.) 

Before kids, I never could have fathomed 

drinking coffee each and every day. 

Two things that are different about me than five years ago are …

compromise, compromise, compromise…. I guess that’s three things. 

Most people in Ithaca don’t know that I once …

was a mildly successful singer/dancer/actress in California. 

I have to admit, I love my …

 magic eraser.  It really IS magic! 

Someday I hope to return to …

Seattle, Washington to live; Rome, Italy to visit. 

Do you have a motto or favorite quote? 

 “The decision to have a child is momentous because it is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body” – from the book Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker 

Do you have any great quotes from your kids?

Lucas:  “It’s okay to yawn when you are trying to wake up but you shouldn’t yawn when you are already awake ‘cause that wastes electricity.” 

Do you have a group, club, organization, blog or business that you’d like us to introduce and link to? 

I am studying to become a Bradley Natural Childbirth instructor!  When the training is complete, I would love to post my link so that all those interested in Natural Childbirth can find me and hopefully participate in the ongoing course I will be teaching!    I am also on for all you knitters/crocheters out there

Kristina's Facebook profile picture: a beautiful, nurturing, magical mama just like Kristina herself

I hope you all enjoyed meeting Kristina.  If you ever want to check her out in person, just head to the Goose on a weekday morning — chances are she’ll be there.   As she said to me this morning, flanked by Topenga and Lucas dressed in head-to-toe Mama Goose clothing, “Oh, yeah.  I’m all up in this place.”  Love it, love her, and so will you! 

-Meryl at the Goose


3 Responses to “Customer Profile: Kristina Thelen”

  1. Margie Rosten Says:

    How beautifully said. My heart continues to walk around outside my body even though my daughter is 27 and my son is 24.

  2. Kelly Moreland Says:

    Loved this. Nice to “meet you”, Kristina!

    • Thanks ladies of the Goose! And now I feel at a slight disadvantage in that I don’t know all of you quite so well yet….I am working on it though! This is so awesome and I am thrilled to be a part of such a great community of mamas!

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