December 30, 2009

Two Posts, same day, #2

Back to regularly scheduled programming! Here is a glimpse of our Christmas, 2009 edition:

Mom and Grant on our Birthday

Grandpa Wayne and his Little Hope

Playing in the blizzard snow!

Two Posts, same day, #1

I've been away from my computer for several days, and I just read all your comments on my last post. Thank you--sincerely--for all your encouragement (and enthusiasm!). It means so much to me. So, a quick update:

I'm feeling better each day--walking a little straighter, in a lot less pain (although my chest is still sore, my tummy isn't), and inching my way back up to my regular energy level. We've had the stomach flu floating through our house again, so that's what's been taking up a lot of time and energy here, but everyone seems back on track now. I have to wear this girdle thing 24/7 for 4 weeks (except when I shower or wash it): it goes from right underneath my breasts down to my knees, with hooks and eyes and zippers up each side, and a big hole in the "down there area" for going potty. TMI, probably, but some of you have asked. It helps keep everything compressed and supported during healing, and I've noticed that I feel better with it on because it supports my back so well. Also have to wear compression stockings for 4 weeks, too. Jeez, can you imagine how hot you'd feel if you did this in the summer? I'm so glad I'm doing it in the dead of winter since we're all layered up to stay warm anyway. Per the doctor's orders, I am still sleeping in our recliner with a pillow under my knees. Hopefully I'll get the go ahead to sleep back in bed with my sweetie and my pillow very soon! Have a checkup in Bismarck tomorrow, so if there is any new interesting info, I'll post it after.

December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas Makeover

Merry Christmas, blogger friends! I miss you. The snowstorm is coming and our family is hunkering down for a movie night. We've just started A Knight's Tale with Heath Ledger and Paul Bettany. It seems we've watched all the Christmas movies already (well, at least the ones the boys want to watch).

Most of the gifts are wrapped and all the Christmas cards are mailed. I didn't do any baking this year because I have another project in the works this holiday season.

It's been really hard not to say anything to all of you, so I've decided to just put it out there: I had a "Mommy Makeover" last Thursday. Translation: tummy tuck and breast augmentation. I have about 3 weeks of recovery ahead of me--just enough time to be back in the game before the next semester starts. I've been thinking about doing this for about 2 years now, and I finally decided in August to take the plunge. Kris has been amazingly supportive, and I couldn't have done it without my mom. While Kris held down the household and cared for the children, my mom traveled with me (I went with a wonderful female surgeon in Bismarck), was my 'caregiver' post-sugery, and pampered me at their house for the weekend until I felt strong enough to manage the stairs and the children here at home. Both procedures went very smoothly, and although I am in some pain, it is manageable because the Kris and the kids are so great about letting me rest when I need to (the kids know about the tummy but we haven't told them about the other).

I do feel guilty for messing with everyone's holiday, but on the other hand, it's a pretty awesome 37th birthday present to myself, and we are still able to celebrate with both families.

There. Now you all know why I haven't blogged in a while, and I feel better getting it off my newly-endowed chest! Hehehe!

December 13, 2009

Not much time to post

Friends, there hasn't been a second to write a new post lately. Not that there's lots to say--I've been busy preparing for Christmas by buying gifts, getting the letter written, envelopes stuffed, and mailed, and scrambling to wrap up the semester. God bless Kris for being the family gift-wrapper. He's so much faster at it than I am! We sat downstairs last week and wrapped while watching Revenge of the Nerds! THAT took me back. too.funny.

I may not be blogging for a while. I'm heading into a really booked few weeks, but I'll be back as soon as I can. Merry Christmas to all!

November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Well, did you go out? Brave the crowds and stand in line? Or did you sleep in, at least until your regular waking time? Bonnie and I were going to go out early this morning, but last night around 8:30 I backed out on her. My reason? There wasn't anything I HAD to get, but mostly because I didn't want to wait in ridiculously long lines. Or so I thought. At 9:00 I paged through the Toys R Us ad again and realized their sales were INCREDIBLE. I found 2 or 3 really good gift ideas for each child, plus birthday and Christmas gifts for one of my nephews. Since they were opening at midnight, I thought that would be easier on me than getting up in the middle of the night--so I decided to go.

It was a really interesting experience. I definitely underestimated the crowds--there was a line of people waiting to get in that snaked from the front door, past Office Depot, and all the way to the street. Most had planned on waiting in line: they had layers on, hoods, and many were wrapped in blankets. Employees were passing out tickets for electronics, and a lot of the people lined up appeared to be college-age. I walked back to my car and sat in the dark warmth for 30 minutes. At midnight I walked to the area in front of the entrance and got swept up in a growing crowd slowly inching our way toward the door (yes, basically weaving ourselves into the line of established "wait-ers"). At 12:10 there still didn't appear to be anyone entering the store, but the crowd was surprisingly patient and well behaved. I got into the store about 12:20, took a cart, and began working my way through the crowds to find everything I had put on my list, around 14 items. It was tricky; most people that I saw at first did not take a cart, instead opting to pile stacks of boxes in their arms so as not to be slowed down navigating a shopping cart. However, everyone was patient and courteous; I didn't observe any fighting, rudeness, or anything of that nature. Thankfully, I was able to find EVERYTHING on my list!! Amazing. By 1:15 I was ready to get in line.

THIS WAS THE LONGEST.LINE.EVER. It snaked across the front of the store, through the every aisle across the front half of the store, and then through 2/3 of the aisles in the back half of the store. I had no idea I would have to wait so long to buy my items. The one advantage to the line was that I got to browse almost every aisle. I was so hungry that I contemplated taking a can of Gerber fruit puffs to snack on and paying for them at the counter, but I was too embarrassed to do that. I only saw three people I knew, one mom from daycare, and Hope's daycare provider and her 22 year old daughter--they were shopping for all the children in her daycare. So, when do you think I arrived at a checkout lane? 3:30am. Yep. It took two hours and 15 minutes to get to the front. I loaded my car, got home, had a quick bowl of cereal, and curled up into bed at 4am.

Was it worth it? I think so. I found wonderful toys at amazing prices, and I have almost finished all the Christmas and birthday shopping (between my children and the cousins there are 5 birthdays between Dec 5 and Jan 3, in addition to Christmas). Would I do it again next year? Maybe. But maybe I'll I might just choose sleep over shopping.

November 19, 2009

My boys are so weird!

Tonight, Kris asked Grant to use the mid-size vacuum w/hose to vacuum around the perimeter of the kitchen. Grant did a great job, but as he was working he started "exploring" with the vacuum hose. First, he smucked it to his cheek. He looked like Buddy the Elf in the scene where Buddy sticks his face against the mailroom tube and says, "Oh, it's sucky. It's VERY sucky!" But Grant didn't stop there. The next time I glanced his way he had lifted his t-shirt and smucked the hose to his chest--right over his nipple. "I'm sucking my boobie, mom!" He thought it was hilarious, and he laughed even harder when I tried to give him my best 'judgmental mom look.' After that, I just gave up and let him vacuum his boob.

Last month the boys stayed at my mom's for dinner while I attended some meeting. I don't remember if they stripped naked and started running around, or if they were taking a bath and talking about their penises, but mom HATES the word penis. So, she told them to stop showing off their "dangling participles." Well, ever since that night, Ross and Grant have taken sheer delight in gleefully saying, "Look at my dangling participle!" whenever they're naked. Especially Ross. He says it a. lot. Like tonight when he was zipping up his sleeper he said, "I gotta be careful not to zip my DANGLING PARTICIPLE, mom!" He says it with an impish grin that just makes me shake my head and laugh every time. So, thank you, mom, for teaching my boys a super-fun-to-say phrase that they think is a bit of a risky phrase. I can't wait to see their reaction in 7th grade when they realize it's just a grammar term.

November 18, 2009

Quotes I like

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~Stacia Tauscher

Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. ~Harold Hulbert

Boy, n.: a noise with dirt on it. ~Not Your Average Dictionary

The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four - of secondary importance is to prepare for being five. ~Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook, 1985

A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to. ~Robert Brault


November 8, 2009


In my quest to lose that last 10 pounds I've held on to since before Ross was born, I am struggling to stay motivated. It takes such DISCIPLINE to not only eat "on program" but to also fit in rigorous--or even moderate--exercise. I did fairly well today on the eating, until after I put the kids to bed. Late evening is my absolute worst time for snacking. I brushed my teeth before coming back downstairs and wasn't even feeling hungry and I STILL ate. I have indulged in cheese and chocolate, along with three glasses of wine. Anybody out there have any great suggestions to avoid this bad habit? Because it has, in the past, and could again, turn into a habit.

Kris has been gone hunting all weekend and won't be back until Wednesday. The kids and I had a great weekend. I enjoyed an afternoon with my dear friend J, whom I hadn't seen since August. We tooled around all afternoon and then enjoyed pizza and playtime with our kids. I led children's liturgy of the word as mass this morning, and there must have been close to 50 kids! I was really pleased by how well it went--the children were engaged in the discussion, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves. Grant came with me to church, and although he pissed and moaned about it like he does every week, he managed himself very well during mass, especially considering it went 75 minutes today. He even had some really curious questions about communion and the body and blood of Christ. We had a successful "study session" this afternoon working through the Parent and child Reconciliation lesson for the week ( he's preparing to receive this sacrament on December 5), and Grant has now memorized his Act of Contrition. All the while, Ross didn't interrupt us because he was watching a movie. So all in all, it was a super weekend. Hey, I even got all the laundry washed, folded, and put away (well, except for the last load waiting to be folded upstairs in the basket).

Didn't do any grading, but I will this week. For now, my students will just have to wait a little longer for their exam grades. Hope your weekend was a good one.

November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Carving pumpkins Wednesday night...

In our costumes for Lincoln's Family Fun Night...

Grant the Football Player

Football Player, Butterfly, and Ninja!

Our little Butterfly...

This was the best Halloween our family has ever celebrated. Everything seemed to line up perfectly. Friday Night, Grant's school hosted a Family Fun Night where families could come, eat pizza, play board games, and dance to a DJ. Grant and Kris played Battleship while Ross and Hope roamed between them and me (I was at the PTA table selling school clothing). Even though the weather was wet and rainy all week, Halloween itself was a cool, dry, not-too-windy day. We joined up with Aunt D, Uncle Mike, Aunt Andy, Uncle Grant, and cousins Kori, Paige, Piper, and Jacob to visit the Not Too Spooky Haunted House at the El Zagal Shrine. They had the haunted house, inflatable games from Games Galore, and kids' carnival games for the little ones. Very fun! Then we all met back at our house to eat dinner. Afterwards we all went trick or treating around our neighborhood. I WISH I had taken our camera along for that part (we forgot it in the van and didn't go back to get it b/c everyone else was taking pics, too) because I could have taken video of Hope toddling down the sidewalk! She LOVED trick or treating!! She waddled along in her butterfly costume--with an added scarf, leggings, mittens, and hat--with her treat bag hanging from one arm and a glow stick dangling from the other. It was quite a sight! Ross and Piper led the crew to each house, and everyone had a blast. Afterwards, we all came back here to eat lots of candy. The kids played until abou 9:00 while we grown ups visited and watched them in their sugar-induced glee. It was wonderful.

October 29, 2009

Matching Game

I SHOULD be writing an exam for my students, but it's late and I've lost focus. Instead, I'll piggy back off of one of Bonnie's recent posts. This one's for you, sis. See how well you do:

Match the soap couple to their theme song! Um, I guess that's not gonna work--I can only remember two theme songs right now. Revise: 80's soap trivia:

1. Which soap couple's theme song was, Tonight, I Celebrate My Love?

2. Which soap couple's theme song was Friends and Lovers? bonus point: which soap actress sang the female part in this duet?

3. Whose nickname was "Sweetness?"

4. Whose nickname was "Fancy Face?"

5. Put the actors in order of past to present as Roman Brady: Wayne Northrop, Josh Taylor, Drake Hogestyn

6. Which two female characters both sang on stage with Danny Romalotti AND fought for his affections?

7. Who is Bo Brady's real father?

8. What was Nikki Reed's profession when she met and fell in love with Victor Newman?

9. Which soap couple consumated their love at an "old south" plantation?

10. What song was playe both on Days of Our Lives and in the movie Footloose?

11. What was Kayla Brady's profession when she met Patch/Steve?

12. On what soap did Lisa Rinna appear? Who did she play?


1. Bo and Hope
2. Shane and Kim; bonus: Gloria Loring, who also played Liz Curtis on DAYS
3. Kayla Brady (as called by Steve)
4. Hope Brady (as called by Bo--duh)
5. Wayne Northrop, Drake Hogestyn, Josh Taylor
6. Tracy Abbott and Lauren Fenmore
7. Victor Kiriakis
8. stripper
9. Bo and Hope
10. Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler
11. nurse
12. Billie on DAYS

Gosh, I hope I'm right on these. I think I am. As anyone who really knows me will tell you, I truly am a font of useless entertainment/pop culture knowledge. How well did you do?

Coming of pumpkin carving and Halloween costumes

October 27, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite TV shows

I'm sick of grading right now, so I'm taking a few minutes to think about something other than literacy mini-lessons.

Here are my top 8 favorite TV shows:

8. One Day at a Time

7. Alice

6. The Carol Burnett Show

5. The Facts of Life

4. Little House on the Prairie

3. The Golden Girls

2. Designing Women

1. Friends

Why 8, you ask? Well, because I couldn't think of 10 that are worthy of this list. My criteria? Simply this: When I stumble across these shows in reruns, I stop to watch them, (almost) no matter what. Put another way, I would love to own DVDs of all these because these are series I could easily watch over and over again without getting sick of them. I love to laugh, and these shows make me laugh! They're also clever, well written, and well-acted. I know you might not agree, but at least you took a walk down memory lane, didn't you?

October 26, 2009

Random Musings...

Things I saw walking through campus this morning:
--a guy wearing orange sherbet-colored skinny jeans

--a girl with the top half of hear hair dyed black and the bottom half dyed green...she looked kinda like the Grinch

Thoughts that have crossed my mind during the last 24 hours:
--I wish I'd remembered to bring my tennis shoes to work. That three-block walk from my office to my class was uncomfortable in my dress shoes.

--My muscles are sore from working out last night. But YAY ME! I finally worked out.

--I wonder what to get (Joyce/Bonnie/mom/dad/Grant) for Christmas?

--How come they've only released Season 1 of One Day at a Time on DVD? I wish I could watch that in reruns on TV.

--My blog friends are so awesome. I'm lucky to have them in my life.

October 25, 2009

There's been nothing to blog about

these past three weeks. The boys have been sick, Kris and I have been sick, but so far (knock on wood), Hope's been the healthiest of us all. We haven't had it nearly as badly as Bonnie's crew, though. No H1N1 here--more generic fevers, cold, and stomach flu. I guess the only upside to that is the puking and diarrhea (how the heck do you spell that word, anyway?) helped me drop a few pounds.

I don't have any cute pictures to post, either. Although the boys dug out some old photo albums that Bonnie and I paged through tonight, and I did find a lot of bad pics! Can you say hideous hair? I'm surprised Kris stayed with me through those early years; I looked like such a goober.

It's mid semester and everyone on campus is officially swamped. I've been up many nights the past week grading papers and lesson planning for the very next morning. Tomorrow my students are teaching mini-lessons during class, so thankfully I don't need to prepare a full day's lesson. I do have a pile of lesson plans and reflections to read and evaluate, however. Better get going on those. Hope everyone has a great week!

October 3, 2009


On Thursday afternoon, Ross was running through his classroom with friends as they listened to a song called "Everybody Move" by Greg and Steve. If you don't know this song, it has different rhythms, tempos, and tunes with appropriate music as the singer says words like, "Walk" "Gallop" "Skate" "Tiptoe" and "Run." As he was running, he tripped over his friend's shoe and fell down, hitting his eyebrow on the bottom edge of a table leg. Yowza, did he have a gash above his right eye. It looked like he took a punch from a boxer. Thankfully, Ross was calm by the time I got to him, but it was clear he would need stitches.

Ross was so brave. He cried some, but who wouldn't, when the doctor injects novacaine into the skin all around a fresh cut? He emerged with 4 stitches and a swollen eye. But true to form, the next day, Ross's teacher said that "He didn't miss a beat!"

Having said that, you can easily see in the photos how this experienced impacted Ross's overall persona and countenance that evening. (Did I really just use those two words in one sentence--on a Saturday night, no less?)

September 20, 2009

Video of Hope Walking

Here's a quick video of Hope walking across the living room. When she fell I almost helped her up, but you can see how I held my hands away and she stood up and got going all by herself.

September 18, 2009

Guess what??

Miss Hope Caroline is WALKING ON HER OWN!! Whooopeeee!!! I cannot tell you how thrilled (and relieved) we all are. She started walking unsupported on Wednesday at Joyce's daycare, and she's been taking more and more steps each day. Her stance is still pretty wide, but who cares? Joyce is such a godsend; she deserves much of the credit for helping Hope get over the hump and just do it. She's very encouraging and persistent, and having all the other kiddoes around helps motivate Hope, I think. I'll try to get some video this weekend. 20 months old...whew.

September 10, 2009

Fleeting Summer Days...

During Labor Day weekend we took the kids to Bonanzaville to explore a little local history. What a cool place! They enjoyed looking through old log cabins, at vintage airplanes and cars, and in an old train depot and passenger train (all authentic). That evening, we also took the boys over to the park where Kris helped Ross fly his kite. Simple moments, beautiful memories.

A neighbor girl and I took Ross and Hope to Lindenwood Park on Monday while Grant spent time at his friend's house. Hope LOVES the tunnel slide!

A Positive Attitude

I was in such a funk yesterday. Nothing horrible; just racing from one meeting to the next from 8:15 until 2. When I finally sat down and had a minute to think my brain was so foggy and I was so cranky that all I could do was complain--to my colleague across the hall, in my own head, to basically anyone who asked, "How are you?" What a drag I must have been.

Then, late last night before bed I went through the mail. I got a newlsetter that included a blurb about Positive Attitude Month in October. Here are 7 tips to stay positive from

1. Decide to have a positive attitude.
2. Surround yourself with positive people.
3. Use positive affirmations.
4. Be very selective of the music and news information that you listen to.
5. Take time to help other people.
6. Get in touch with your spiritual source.
7. Don't stop; never give up.

Wow. I needed that, and today I'm having a much better day. Nothing much has changed in terms of my workload or circumstances; just my own attitude.

Hope this perks you up a little, too!

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
--Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

September 3, 2009


Some of you know that our beautiful little Hope has never learned to crawl and still isn't walking independently yet because she scoots on her butt all the time. We've been receiving weekly services since June through early intervention services. Our Home Visitor, C, is FABULOUS. She comes over once a week, either to our house or to daycare, and works with Hope and me (or our childcare provider, Joyce) to help us learn how to encourage Hope to do particular developmental tasks such as pulling up onto furniture, cruising along furniture, crawling, kneeling, and walking. Well, Hope has made steady progress in all the areas above except kneeling and crawling. She doesn't seem to like being on her tummy/hands and knees. That's changed a bit over the past two weeks as I've noticed her leaning forward and voluntarily going to her tummy from a sitting position, or even balancing on all fours.

When I picked her up from Joyce's yesterday, Joyce asked if Hope had been crawling for us. I must have looked surprised as I said no. Joyce's face lit up and she said, "Hope crawled a lot for us today!" Then she told Hope to show mommy how she can crawl and my sweetie went right from sitting to her hands and knees and crawled toward me on the grass!! I cheered, clapped, and almost cried! I'm so proud of my little peanut. This is a big step for her. She can also walk holding onto one hand, but maybe now the crawling will strengthen her ability to coordinate both sides of her body better and give her the confidence to let go of my hand...and grow a little more.

August 30, 2009

Grant's First Day of Second Grade

Last Wednesday, Grant had his first day of school for 2009-2010. My firstborn is already a big second grader! After school that day, I asked Grant to tell me three words that describe his new teacher (I'm getting rather creative at fishing for details about his day, no?).

He thought for a minute, and then said, "I can only think of one word."
"What is it?" I asked.
I thought that was high praise for her.

Kris and I are already very impressed by Miss O and by the positive communication we have already received. Miss O sent home a letter introducing herself, an info packet about the classroom routines and second grade curriculum, and she also sent home a positive note about Grant on the second day. There are 20 children in the class, and four sections of 2nd grade in the school. We feel really fortunate that the numbers are so reasonable.

All in all, it was a wonderful first week!

August 28, 2009

It's been THAT kind of morning...

I have to vent for three minutes here or else I'll have a cruddy day all the way through. Why do my kids move like turtles even after we've taken all the steps we can to make the morning run smoothly: backpack organized the night before, snack ready to go, clothes picked out. Grant and Ross take to brush their teeth and put on their shoes. And then--then--both of them have to poop right before we get in the car! Of course, Grant won't go upstairs to take care of business; NOOO. He's too afraid of being upstairs by himself. So then it's a turn taking event instead of a simultaneous one. AND THEN WE RUN OUT OF TOILET PAPER DOWNSTAIRS. Use kleenex and baby wipes. Wash hands again. Get in car. Grant walks with neighbors.

Then I feel completely guilty for rushing around like a crazy woman and hollering at the boys to "Hurry up!" That's not exactly the vibe I want to have Grant feeling as I send him off to school.

But wait, there's more: Ross and I still have to go to school to get a tshirt (yes, I 'm co chair of school clothing sales this year) for a kindergartener whose mom ordered one yesterday. This means finding a parking space, going to the PTA lockers and actually using a combination to open the lock, finding the right shirt in the right size, finding the child's teacher, and quickly explaining in the hallway as all the children are coming in why I am giving her this shirt.

Drag Ross to the bank for some cash, navigate road construction, finally get to campus, bring Ross to preschool, drive to my own building, which is now two blocks away, park, and FINALLY get into my office. Then guess what--I needed to make my own trip to the bathroom, too. And it's only 9:05, folks.

August 24, 2009

Ross's First Day of School 2009

It's hard to believe my second-born babe is in his third year at the MSUM Early Education Center. Ross started there in the toddler room at age 16 months (that's younger than Hope is now!), and is now in one of the preschool classrooms. He had a great first day back with his new teacher and his buddies Z and C from last year. I'm so proud of how much Ross has grown over the summer. I think we are past the awful behaviors that seem to mark the beginning of age 3. Isn't he handsome?

BTW, Kris N--Ross is sporting his new shirt from Pout Baby Boutique, and he'd be happy to read it to you!

Great work, honey!

As promised, here are some pictures from the weekend--worm hunting, helping dad, and the beginnings of our new lanDscaping (yes, I can spell).