October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Too busy to write a good post right now...seems to be the story of our life these days. But Halloween was wonderful--crisp fall weather, no wind, lots of candy, a few tears, lots of bickering, and a great day spent with each other. Here are Ross the Knight, Hope the Cowgirl, and Grant the Clone Trooper:

September 21, 2010

Lunch Break

So, I'm sitting here eating at my computer in my office. I meant to post yesterday on my lunch break, but it was so dang busy here that I didn't even eat lunch (thank goodness for that banana at 3:00!).

Ross and I were driving to school yesterday when All Summer Long by Kid Rock came on the radio. In case you don't know, Kid Rock samples Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd pretty heavily in All Summer Long. You can hear the guitar and piano parts from SHA really clearly. He'd never heard that song before, so I said, "Ross, this is a great song!"

Ross: What's it called?

Me: All Summer Long.


Ross: Oh. I thought it was Sweet Home Alabama.

He's 4 and he can already recognize a classic rock song when he hears one. Last night he requested Pour Some Sugar on Me so he could jam in the living room as he picked up his toys.

I love that kid!

September 7, 2010

Shoulder surgery

So, I had scope surgery on Friday to repair a torn labrum. The labrum is a piece of tissue between the ball and socket of the shoulder joint. All went well, but I didn't really think much about the fact that there would be some recovery involved. I just figured, "Oh, it's same-day surgery. I'll have to wear the stabilizer again but I've done that before when it's been dislocated." Well, I'm also on pain medication, have to sleep in the recliner for a week, and CANNOT lift my arm above waist level or move my are away from my side at all. And yes, this is the right shoulder and I'm right handed.

Basically, it's an inconvenience to me and to all those around me. I will be fine, and I'm SO grateful to my in-laws and my parents for pitching in and helping us with kids.

Things I can't do right now:
lift or carry Hope
style my hair
put on clothing like a normal person
sleep flat in my own bed

Things I'm getting pretty good at:
Eating with my left hand
brushing my teeth left-handed
pulling my pants up with one hand

Funny story...when the nurse was helping me get dressed and ready to go home, I had to use the bathroom. So I went, and guess what I got? Yep. Monthly Martha. I literally moaned out loud, "Are you kidding me?" So that's something else I can now do left-handed.

August 30, 2010

Things I Like

Bonnie's post was so interesting, I thought I'd do one of my own like-lists. Actually, I started this as a "dislike" post but I couldn't think of much. I'm sure I just have to be in the right mood. So, in no particular order, here are things I like:

Holding hands with Kris
The first sip of piping hot coffee early in the morning
An hour to myself before everyone else wakes up
chocolate chip cookie dough
My kids' smiles
My kids' giggles!
when Hope asks for a "panapkin"
When Ross said, "Hope is smaller, I'm mediumer, and Grant's the biggest."
crossing tasks off my to-do list
a clean bathroom
freshly-vacuumed carpet
watching Kris play with any of the kids
playing with play-doh
working with colleagues
hearning from former students who have acquired teaching positions
Paul Blart, Mall Cop
every single episode of Friends
The Facts of Life
Little House on the Prairie
dark chocolate
Nestle's milk chocolate chips
curling up between our down comforter and the featherbed
bulldogs and pugs
Eddie Murphy
Jersey Boys
the Bee Gees!
Andy Gibb
Jamie Lee Curtis
Sharon Osbourne
Bret Michaels
the Purple Rain soundtrack
my dad's grilled steak
a crisp glass of Riesling
my nieces and nephews
the first whif of fall leaves
Christmas music
the chemistry of the Golden Girls and Designing Women
laughing so hard I cry
Betty White
The Little Mermaid
McDonald's french fries
all manner of rings
my pillow

August 25, 2010

First Day pictures

Ross's first day of preschool--and his last year at the MSUM Early Ed Center.

Grant's first day of 3rd grade

All shiny-clean and ready to play!

Grant wants to keep growing out his hair. Here he is in his daily uniform: athletic shorts and a t-shirt.

Posing for the camera

Oh yes, Grandma Jeanne gave Ross and Hope a bath in the sink yesterday afternoon. My cuties.

August 24, 2010

Back to school

After a summer that was far too short, Ross and I went back to MSUM yesterday. Well, actually, I've been going in all summer for meetings and whatnot, and last week we had faculty workshop all week, but yesterday was the official first day of classes. I love this time of year at school--whether they're 4 or 24 or older, students are excited to see friends and get back to class. There's an energy in the air that's unmistakeable...enthusiastic, eager, and overwhelmingly positive.

How can I be posting at 7:30 in the morning on a work day? Well, Ross got the stomach flu at the end of the school day yesterday, so I'll be staying home today. I hate to miss work on the second day of the semester (I have another class and several meetings today), but my little boy needs me. Kris has teacher workshops today before he and Grant start school tomorrow, so it's certainly busy around here. I just hope no one else gets sick! Oh, and did I mention that Grant had back to school night last night as well as flag football practice? And there's FB practice again tonight along with his first game on Thursday? And so it begins...

Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. I have too many friends who are dealing with cancer or serious injury to think I'm "struggling" with this busy life. I am blessed and humbled by the good fortune in our lives.

July 23, 2010

Good Times (warning--very long post)

Last week we had the pleasure of being the first family to camp in Grandpa Ward's brand new, custom built 5th wheel camper. What an adventure! First off, the camper is beautiful and so huge! It has two bathrooms, a full stand up shower, and two bedrooms--one master bedroom and one with extra large bunkbeds. It also sleeps up to 5 more people in the kitchen/living room area. The kitchen includes a stovetop, oven, microwave and double sink. There's a built in sound system as well as a flat screen TV. It's like an apartment on wheels.

Our destination was Storybook Land at Wylie Park in Aberdeen, SD. If you've never been, we highly recommend it. The actual Storybook Land/Land of Oz park is beautfully manicured with many bright, inviting sculptures of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Wylie Park includes bike and hiking paths, a small zoo, at least 3 beautiful playgrounds, and an amusement park area with mini golf, bumber boats, and go-karts. So it should have been an idyllic 3 days, right? Uh huh. Read on...

After we got there and Kris set up the camper, I went to the bathroom. I pushed the flush button on the back of the toilet and it broke off. Oops. "Kris, can you come in here and put this button back on? I can't get it." "What button??" "The flush button..." "That's NOT a flush button!!! You flush with the foot pedal, Erin...you BROKE IT! THE PIPE'S BROKEN!" This was followed by several choice words I can't repeat here. I felt awful. I hustled the kids together and we went for a walk to one of the playgrounds. I was dragging with guilt and hoped it could be fixed. We'd only been there 20 minutes at this point. Thankfully, it wasn't truly broken; it was just unattached and Kris was able to fix it. WHEW. Huge relief.

At 3:30 in the morning that first night Grant came across the living room area to wake me up. "Mom, Hope's crying." "Okay. Thanks, Grant." I groggily got of out bed and walked down the two steps from the master bedroom to the main level. But I misstepped and caught myself with my right hand. Thud. "OWWWW!" Kris leaped out of bed, scurried by me to calm Hope and Ross, who by now were both crying. I moved gingerly to the sofa and sat, gripping my shoulder. Grant sat by me and asked, "Are you okay, Mom?" Kris came over. "Erin, is it all right?" Nope, sorry folks. I dislocated my shoulder again: FOR THE THIRD TIME IN TWO YEARS. So Kris got all the kids to pee, gathered up the nintendo DSes, put shoes on, helped me into a pair of sweats, and loaded us all into the truck at 4 o'clock in the morning to drive into Aberdeen to find the emergency room. Good times, right?

Thankfully, it only took 10 minutes to get there and I was their only patient at that time. You should have seen the kids' faces when they put an IV in my arm. Eys as big as saucers! Ross walked over to me and gently touched my arm. The nurses were wonderful, the doctor was very caring, and when it was all said and done it only took 2 hours for them to xray, administer pain drugs, pop my shoulder back in, and take another xray (thank God for versed--this drug takes away all memory of a procedure, so they tell me I was conscious but I have no memory of the popping back in). We made it back to the camper about 6:30 in the morning. Kris was so awesome through it all--taking charge, calming the kids, maintaining patience through major fatigue, and then buying the kids doughnuts before tucking us all back in to sleep for a while.

Don't get me wrong; we still had a great time: did all the things there were to do, and we even went to the local waterpark that afternoon. But Kris really wanted to drive back that night so he could concentrate while the kids slept. So we did cut our trip short by a day. :( But I've got to hand it to the kids--none of them complained at all about coming back a day early. We all had a great time and made many memories. Yes, good times.

The shoulder? I'll likely be having surgery on it in the near future to tighten the muscle/tissues around the socket so this doesn't happen again.

July 18, 2010

Ricky Nelson Remembered

I took Mom to this concert event on July 8. This was a tribute put together by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson for the dad, Ricky Nelson. It was a blend of VH1 Behind the Music and a concert. The guys stood in front of a floor to ceiling screen to sing their dad's most famous hits, with Matthew playing bass or acoustic guitar and Gunnar on electric guitar. They spoke directly to us, telling stories from their dad's career or their own childhood growing up with him, and then they would step aside so we could watch a series of video clips that elaborated on their story. It was fascinating (at least for me) to learn that between 1958-1961 Ricky Nelson was right up there with Elvis in terms of Billboard hits and fame. While Elvis was the King, Ricky was referred to in the teen magazines as the Crown Prince of Rock and Roll. Gunnar and Matthew clearly enjoyed sharing their dad's life and music with the audience, and were very proud to elaborate on Ricky's musicianship and his ability to come back in the 70s as the founder of the country-rock genre with his Stone Canyon Band after so many people thought he was washed up. The guys still looked handsome, although their long blond locks (think Nelson from 1990--Love and Affection, anyone?) are long gone. The guys stayed afterwards to sign merchandise and pose for pictures with anyone who wanted to meet them. They do this after every show. I think their father would have been so proud of them. Here's a link to a youtube clip of them singing their dad's 1972 hit Garden Party with their little brother Sam. Beautiful.


Gunnar on the left and Matthew on the right.

July 11, 2010

Been gone for so long

For the longest time I have felt like I haven't had anything to blog about. Now I've been away so long that it's intimidating to come back to it at all. A quick summary:

June--Kris was out east in Philadelphia at another military school for a week and a half. We missed him a lot, but that short time span was a piece of cake compared to last summer's 8 weeks. He has to go to another school in FL for two weeks in August, the dates of which coincide exactly with my first to weeks back at MSUM. When he came home we all headed to Sioux Falls to spend 4 days with Mike (Kris's brother) and Kelly and their three kids. We had a wonderful time! Kris and Mike golfed in a tournament, Kel and I enjoyed some girl time together, and all the kids swam, played wii, rode bikes, and had a blast.

July--brought with it a new responsibility for me: co-chair of our department at MSUM. For the past three years we have been organized as a sort of 'mega department' called the School of Teaching and Learning, which includes 4 'programs' that used to function as separate departments: Elementary Ed, Early Childhood Ed, Special Ed, and Foundations of Ed. I'm not thrilled about this new responsibility because it takes me out of teaching almost half time, but I have a wonderful colleague with whom to share the load. I'm very nervous about the new responsibilities: hiring adjunct instructors, being responsible for scheduling classes for all 4 programs, coordinating faculty reviews, leading dept meetings, and much more. But it is what it is. I will do my best.

Last week I took mom to Ricky Nelson Remembered at the Fargo Theatre ( a separate post will follow). Super show! This week, Kris and I have the good fortune of borrowing my in-laws' brand new 5th wheel camper to take the kids to Storybook Land in Aberdeen. It's a great campsite and park, and we're looking forward to three days of lots of outdoor time with 5-star camper amenities. I'm not kidding. This thing even has 2 bathrooms!

Grant has been playing Babe Ruth baseball since May. We love watching him play! He really enjoys it and the boys on the team are a neat bunch. Hope and Ross are getting bigger all the time. Unfortunately, I haven't downloaded pics in forever, so that's another daunting task I have to bite the bullet and get back to.

Be back soon!

May 2, 2010

First Communion

The group of communicants around the altar for the consecration--oh yeah, and Ross walking down the aisle (and right into my shot) coming back from the bathroom. Grandpa Wayne took him to the bathroom--and had to wipe his butt. Grandpa NEVER does that, but he had no choice this time.

Look at those two cuties. I love them both so much!

Olivia and Hope--"Erin, take our picture!"

Grant with Deacon Tom and Fr. Raul.

Doesn't he look smooth?

Grant and Kate--two cousins sharing a special day.

Family picture--Kris must have missed the cue to smile. ;)

Grant and Kate celebrated their first communion last night with all parents and most grandparents in attendance. It was a joyful Mass with lots of children participating--all the readings were done by communicants, as well as all the petitions and the carrying of the gifts. Kate read a petition (super job, Kate!) and Grant carried up one of the carafes of wine. All the kids looked so proud in their fancy clothes. Afterward we gathered at Bonnie's house for dinner and cake...ah, the cake. Bonnie was so excited about this specially-made, amaretto-flavored cake, but it didn't go over too well with the kids. I'm sure she'll have more to say about the cake on her blog.

You should have seen my adorable nephew Brady eat! I didn't get a pic with my camera, but I bet Bonnie will post a few. He had oreo salad and cake from his eyelashes to his elbows! He also treated us to his latest dance moves. So hilarious! It was a busy day and a beautiful evening. Kudos to the Religious Ed staff at St. Joseph's for planning everything so perfectly.

April 29, 2010

Big weekend ahead

It's Grant's First Communion this weekend. At our church, we get to choose at which Mass to celebrate this milestone. We opted for Saturday night, 5pm. My niece, Kate, is also getting her 1st C so we decided to have a cousin-family celebration together afterwards. Unfortunately, when we picked Saturday night I didn't realize:

1. It's a drill weekend, so Kris will be at the guard all day (he will be at church, but not much beforehand)
2. The school carnival is noon-4 the same day
3. Grant has a soccer game that morning at 10
4. Practice for the big event is 10-11 at church that morning

First of all, we're skipping soccer. Second, thank heaven for Saint Grandma Jeanne!!! She will be watching Hope and Ross (and Brady and Olivia, I believe) while Bonnie and I are at the church with Kate and Grant for practice. Unfortunately, I have to work at the carnival for part of the afternoon, so we will race home, eat, and then I will hire 2--yes 2--babysitters to help. One to stay home with Hope while she naps, and one to take Grant and Ross around the carnival while I work at the clothing table. Then we will rush home, clean up, snack, and get dolled up for the big event. I hope I can keep it together. I tend to freak out and yell a lot under pressure. Again, thank God for Grandma Jeanne. She is preparing ham and salad for dinner. Thank goodness Bonnie is hosting at her house--saves me from having to clean my pit! Sorry, Bon. Bonnie has ordered the cake, Jo is bringing potato salad, and all I have to do is buy napkins, cups, and plates. I got off about as easy as possible. For that, I am VERY grateful.

On a positive note, they interviewed each communicant at church last night--questions about the Mass and our faith. I beamed with pride as I watched Grant smile a genuine smile as he answered his questions. Even though he moans and complains about having to go to church and do his lessons, he does know his stuff, and he is excited (and nervous) to receive communion for the first time.

April 18, 2010

Getting things accomplished...

feels so good! It hasn't been an eventful weekend, but a productive one nonetheless. Kris got loads of yardwork done yesterday, I washed, folded, and actually put away 5 loads of laundry. But the best part was having our families over for grilling last night. Good food (too damn much chips and dip for me), great conversation, and cousins all over the place playing together. Twice yesterday I watched Grant and Ross actually playing with each other without fighting and said a little prayer of thanks. It's so nice to see them enjoying each other instead of fighting and hurting each other's feelings. I truly think that's one reason I got so much done during Hope's nap yesterday--I didn't have to play referee or extra playmate.

On a completely unrealated note, I had Mojo 104 on in the bathroom yesterday morning while getting ready and heard a song I hadn't heard in 20 years: And We Danced by The Hooters. Wow, did that take me back...I wasn bopping all around the bathroom dancing and singing at the top of my lungs (much to Grant's chagrin--I got that look that said, "you are SO WEIRD, mom"). That came out in 1985...25 years ago. Holy sh--!

April 6, 2010

Pics as promised

Easter Egg Hunt at Yunker Farm...

Hope sitting daintily on the bench at Yunker Farm

Checking out their stash of eggs

I love this one.

Hope's first haircut...

Wetting it down and combing it back

It's really rather long

Don't I look pretty?

Hope loves her Daddy!

April 2, 2010

Marvelous Day

Kris and I both had work off today. It was wonderful to spend the whole day with our kids. In the morning Kris had to work up at the Air Guard, so after breakfast, dressing, and a quick trip to Payless Shoes, we went to the Children's Museum at Yunker Farm for their Easter Egg Hunt. What a blast! The boys raced to collect as many plastic eggs as they could, and Hope toodled around the lawn gathering eggs with me. Once all the eggs were gathered, every child there traded in their eggs for a treat bag containing a Troll doll, tatoo, sticker, chips, and a few candy treats. There must have been over 100 children and families there for the 11am hunt; when we arrived at 10:30 we had to pay at the gate and park in a lot across the street. I have to give props to all the high school volunteers/workers at Yunker Farm, especially the young man dressed up in a full-size white Easter Bunny suit--they did an awesome job keeping everything running smoothly. And this was the first of three hunts during the day! After the hunt, the kids and I took some pics (which i'll upload sometime next week--I'm having issues w/my home computer), played at the park, and then came home for lunch.

Kris took over at the end of lunch so I could go to Jenny Craig (maintained--whew!--after a week and a half of off-program eating), work out, and then come home to gather Hope for our next appointment: her very first haircut! I took her to Lil' Whipper Snippers and she was perfect! No tears or fear, just patient sitting and a big smile when it was all over. Again, pics to come...

Meanwhile, Kris played outside with the boys, Grant had a friend over to play and stay for dinner, and then we colored Easter Eggs tonight. All in all, it was a fabulous, family-oriented day.

March 26, 2010

Getting back to blogging

Well, what the heck? I've been so busy at work and home that I've practically dropped off the blogosphere. Ross turned 4 on March 1. If I ever get my pictures organized I'll write a post about my precocious, charming middle child.

Hope is sick with a double ear infection and "bronchiolitis." The dr said the ear infection is a secondary infection caused by all the crud that's accumulated in her eustacian tubes because of the infection in her bronchioles (the "tree branch" part of the lungs or something like that). At any rate, she's napping a lot and being a real trouper. Antibiotics should take care of it, but you feel so bad for the little pumpkin because she feels so miserable.

A girlfriend of mine sent me this quote, and I think my fellow mommies will appreciate it:
Be the type of woman that upon your feet hitting the floor each morning, the devil immediately reacts with “Oh no! She’s up!”

February 26, 2010


Happy Friday! The good news is I'm feeling much better today. The bad news is I came down with strep throat early this week and have felt like crud for pretty much the whole week. Strep throat--I haven't had that for 20 years! Not since I had my tonsils out at 17. Let me tell ya, it HURT more than I ever remember it hurting as a kid. The doctor who looked at my throat actually told me, "I wish my med student were here to see this. From a medical perspective, that's quite impressive. We don't usually see throats like that in someone who's had their tonsils removed. It looks almost like you've got ulcers back there." Nice.

Anyway, this week also entailed two nights of conferences for Kris, a late meeting last night for me, going to the Wedding Singer musical Monday night, and generally just lots of running around. Pretty much a typical week for all of us, right? So, in the hustle and bustle of life, I hope you all find a few moments for yourselves and few more to enjoy your loved ones. Have a great weekend!

February 21, 2010

Grant Got a Haircut!

I AM GRANT!I GOT A HAIRCUT ON FRIDAY.I REALLY LIKE IT. my mom made a deal that if i got a haircut that same day that i would be able to get a toy. my toys are two packs of mightybeans and a bopbag. my hair is red now (but not forever).

Yep, we did it. Although I was Grant's strongest advocate for growing out his hair if he wanted to, it was finally time to go short again. He's had it long since last summer. He didn't fuss or complain at all once he decided to take me up on my "deal." We went to Lil' Whipper Snippers, which was great because Grant got to watch a movie while the girl cut his hair. His favorite part was getting red hair gel on the tips of his spiked hair. It took him a few hours to get used to it, but by the time we got home that evening he said, "Now that I'm used to it I think I like my hair short." We all love how it looks on him, and I'm excited to hear how his teachers and friends react tomorrow.

February 14, 2010

Goofy Kids

Here's a video of the kids "skating" around the den as they watched the pairs skating short program tonight. It's dark for a few seconds at first, until I remembered to turn on the light. Notice Grant trying to spin Hope around like Ladwig and Evora. Ross is skating in the style of, well...Ross.

February 11, 2010


Tonight after work, 4 colleagues and I drove to Minneapolis for a meeting tomorrow morning. And although I miss Kris and the kids, I have to admit that I'm enjoying a little slice of time to myself. The group of us ate steak dinners at Mabel Murphy's in Fergus Falls, so we didn't even pull into the hotel parking lot until 9:40pm. But the dinner and the good conversation were so worth it.

I'm sitting here in my very own hotel room, watching Celebrity Rehab and painting my nails. It's almost 11pm, and although I'm tired I'm not *sleepy.* Pretty soon I'm going to crawl under the covers with all the fluffy pillows and read my book. Tomorrow will be a busy day followed by a long drive home, but right now I'm looking forward to not having to rush when I get up tomorrow...and sleeping in until (gasp!) 7am!

PS--the two best parts of my week were (1) last night, reading to all three kids at the same time: Grant on my left, Ross on my right, and Hope on my lap while we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Mrs. Wishy Washy. It was an idyllic moment in time.

(2) Going to be early on Tuesday night and having both Grant and Ross climb in bed with me. While I read my book, Ross snuggled up next to me and Grant lay quietly next to Ross. It was so peaceful listening to their breathing get slow and sleepy, and glancing over to see their eyes drift closed. When I turned off the light, Lola barked at some unknown sound and roused the three of us. But you know what? That was okay because it meant Ross resettled back into a cuddle and we fell asleep holding hands. To borrow Bonnie's word, it was bliss.

February 6, 2010

It's Saturday night,

and we're all here in the den watching Mall Cop (yes, Mall Cop). It's sorta lame, but we all love it. I just tucked Hope in, the boys are eating bologna slices, Lola is drooling over the bologna, and Kris is playing World of Warcraft. There's laundry to wash and fold, bathrooms to clean, floors that need vacuuming and washing, a week's worth of mail to go through, but hey--this mom needs some time to veg.

Grant wrote out everyone's valentines today--all 18 of his, all the ones for Ross's class, and all the ones for Hope's daycare. What a huge timesaver for me! And the best part was that he did it all on his own initiative; I never asked him to--he just started the process and worked on them all afternoon. Earlier this evening we got all the candy treats taped to each valentine, too. So even though there's a crapload of housework to do around here, at least that job is done.

Do you ever get to the end of a post and not know how to wrap it up? Me too.

January 31, 2010

Copying my sister's post of

rambling thoughts. I haven't posted in a long time because I haven't had anything to say. It's been insane at work, and it's not going to ease up any time soon. I'm *so over* winter, too. I hate bundling children, buckling seatbelts over bulky coats, losing gloves and hats, and the ice that covers every surface of sidewalk and roadway. Tonight, I just bought the boys new winter gloves because we haven't been able to keep track of the ones we had.

Bonnie stated such a truth the other day on her blog:

My kids are all asleep. Why is it that when they are sleeping I miss them? Why is it when they are awake I feel like I need a break?

Um, I completely agree. Even Hope has been getting on my nerves. She's definitely showing signs of being two--whining, acting defiant at times, and clinging to her blanket and nuk.

I'm also frustrated with myself for not yet being able to build in time for exercising on most days. It seems like something else always takes priority--work, kids, housework, sleep. I know that it's my job to make it fit. It's like a puzzle whose pieces keep changing, and I'm getting sick of trying to solve it.

January 17, 2010

Dancin' Dudes

Grant and Ross recently finished an 8-week all-boy dance class through Just for Kix. Bonnie's girls are in Just for Kix and she raves about the teacher and the overall experience for the girls. She's right--Miss Carly is awesome, and the boys had a great time learning a routine to "Bob the Builder Mambo #5." It was really cute. Unfortunately, Ross almost didn't perform; he was nervous and kept saying, "It's too hard, mom. It's too long." I asked him to show me his saddest face, and he did (see pics below). When I showed it to him, he cracked a smile, so I asked him to show me his happiest face. Then I asked him to wink. That broke the anxiety and he joined his group after that. We also got to see Olivia's Wee Petites dance group and she was so precious.