Monday, June 29, 2009

Blog Meme.



Both Liss at A Memory Forever and Missy at Is It Just Me? tagged me with this Premio Meme Award! The rules say to list 7 facts about myself and pass it on to 7 people. Thanks Liss, thanks Missy, its fun to be tagged and asked to play along!

  1. I have been jinxed on my birthday more times than I can remember.  Either someone dies, like my great grandmother or John F. Kennedy Jr., or I am sick or injure myself.  With my birthday coming next month I both love it and dread it all at once!  
  2. 4 days before my birthday Rick and I will celebrate 12 years of marriage, although we officially started dating over 23 years ago... Uff da! 
  3. This past May marks the 20th anniversary of my trip to Europe.  I graduated from college on a Sunday and flew to London the very next day.  I spent 6 weeks traveling with 28 other psychology students, through 7 countries: England, Russia, France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.  I've had the travel bug ever since.  
  4. I have always loved going to school.  I have my Master's Degree in Psychology but if I could afford it I'd go back and get my PhD.
  5. I have had the extreme honor and privilege to stay at home with the boys for 9 years now.  I am both fearful and excited about beginning this next phase as both boys will be in school all day next year.  I do have a possible short term job lined up and will reveal that at a later date... but after that... who knows?  
  6. I am double jointed in my left thumb and my left hip.  Aren't you excited to learn of that random useless info? 
  7. I had no idea how much comic relief my boys would offer me daily.  Upon hearing of Michael Jackson's death, Nolan said "On no, not Michael Jackson.  Ohhhhh no. Oh no.  "Pretty sad, huh Nolan?"  "Yeah, he says, he was such a great BASKETBALL player and all."  "Nolan, not Michael Jordan."  "Oh,"  he says. "Who is Michael Jackson?"  



Now to tag 7 others. Feel free to grab the "award" and pass it along if you'd like to play! I'll tag:

  1. Stephanie at Baseball and Tutus
  2. Jackie at A Teacher's Pet
  3. Robin at All Things Heart and Home
  4. Jill at Sneaky Momma
  5. Kaleena at McNabb Land
  6. Sara at Gitzen Girl
  7. Robynn at Robynn's Ravings

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Belated Happy Birthday Grandpa Jim!





I'm two days late with this! I didn't forget, I've just been a little... busy :) My father-in-law, Jim, is a familiar face around here; not only at our house and our business, but in the community in general. If I had a dollar for every time someone hears my last name and asks if I know him, we'd all be retired by now. Jim was a science teacher in Moorhead for over 30 years. He started at what was once called North Junior High School, and it housed 7th-9th grades. But they closed the school the year I was going into 9th grade. I was the first class of Freshman to make the move to the high school and Jim moved as well to teach chemistry. He was also the yearbook adviser and the school photographer.

When people ask me if I know him and I tell him he is my father-in-law, or Rick will say he is my dad, invariably the person asking will tell us, "he was my FAVORITE teacher." Of course, I was one of the few who didn't have him, although Rick did. What everyone seemed to love was all the interesting experiments they got to do in the lab. They also felt he made science applicable to everyday life. Not only did he make chemistry useful, but he made it fun as well.

Can you guess what that translates into as a father-in-law? Well who needs Tim the toolman Taylor? When we first moved back to Moorhead and Rick decided to tear down the single stall garage we had, it was Grandpa Jim to the rescue. Not only did he help Rick demo most of it, he helped oversee the construction of it. We subbed out very little of it, and all of us got our hands dirty. But Grandpa with Grandma at his side did most of it. They also did most of the work re-doing our basement at our first house in Moorhead, in getting it ready for us to rent out to college students.

And then whenever they finish a project at our house, they go to the next child's house to help them with what they need. Even though both Jim and Carole retired from teaching in 2000, they have not quit working in any sense of the word. They are both in the photography business with Rick and travel all across the state of North Dakota and still have schools in Idaho they shoot school day and sports/activity photos for.

But in between all of the work and projects, they still manage to find time to take on one of their most important roles, Grandparents to 3 boys, 1 girl and another little boy on the way next fall! Oh how our kids love their grandparents. Grandpa Jim was hands on with the grandchildren since the day they were born. In fact we would get the biggest kick out of his methods of helping them get to sleep. He'd take a fussy, whiny baby and swaddle it tightly in a blanket, and rock them and in no time they would be asleep. Grandpa had the magic touch every single time.

I finally got Rick and the boys to call him last night to wish him Happy Birthday. Most days neither one of the boys will talk to anyone on the phone. Knowing it was Grandpa's birthday however, they both wanted their turns to talk to him on the phone. I was happy to hear them both wish him Happy Birthday, and they remembered to thank him for their baseball bats. I was reminded that they have a close relationship with him and they felt comfortable enough to talk on the phone with him, even though they typically hesitate to do so. My one Grandfather passed away before I even met him, the other was extremely distant, "kids should be seen, but not heard." I never knew him that well.

So I am thankful and grateful, my kids own grandparents, on both sides of the family, have taken active roles with them. The "magic touch" of Grandpa Jim, may not be about blankets and swaddling anymore, but it hasn't stopped. Its about fishing, and golf and going places and learning all kinds of things. And we couldn't let his birthday go by without honoring all of that, even if it is a few days late.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Karma bites.



We played hookie from hockey yesterday to go to the pool in the afternoon instead. But I was a little hesitant to get overly joyous when I cut my leg shaving in the shower first thing in the morning. I was going after a part of my leg that has become impossible to get smooth. Plus, its karma, kicking my butt for all the times I teased my mom.

In the summer she'd pick up a razor for the first time, having not shaved for months at a time, because really, in the winter, what is the point? We need that hair for an extra layer of protection from the cold! So mom would attempt to hack at the forrest now growing on her legs and it was truly a hit and miss affair. I'd always find the place by her ankle where no matter how many times she stubbornly ran the razor like a hacksaw back and forth, she'd miss a few long hairs.

She'd get so exasperated with me. In my young mind, since the little blonde peach fuzz I had almost melted off my legs with an easy, breezy light stroke of the razor, I could only smugly think she was such an amateur! My mother has never worn make-up. Never dyed her hair. And without us kids coming along and requiring her to don a swimsuit and get in the lake with us, I am not convinced she would have been the shaving her legs type either.

Her only response to me however, stayed with me a long time... "One day you'll see. Your legs won't always be the same. Just wait. You can be smug now, but one day you'll see things like shaving your legs doesn't come as easily as it once did." Ha, I would think. We'll see. I took such pride in smoothing out my legs, how could I ever become sloppy?

But my mother and I would prove to have many such disagreements in life. The day Elvis died you would have thought we'd lost a family member. We watched tribute after homage after old movie. And it wasn't that I couldn't see how much of an american icon he was. But not having "experienced" a lot of it firsthand, and not having, grown up with him, I couldn't quite get the magnitude of the impact of those "Blue Suede Shoes." Enough already. Didn't she realize Charlie's Angels was probably on. Who cared if it was a summer rerun? Believe me, again, what I heard from my mother was, "you just wait, one day you'll understand!"

So yesterday I got a double dose of understanding. I cut my leg shaving. Not only are the contours of my leg changing, but I can't see them very well anymore! I miss so many of those not-so -peachy- fuzzy ones, more like stubborn-wiry-ones, now. I got my comeuppance. I would share it with my mother, but she has thankfully long since forgotten the basis for most of our disagreements when I was young.

But when I heard the news that first Farrah Fawcett has lost her battle with cancer, and then that Michael Jackson had suffered a cardiac arrest and suddenly passed away, it felt like such a double jab. Did I have to have my words come back and haunt me twice in one day? Can I really be that old? Suddenly, MY childhood idols/icons are passing away? And guess what, MY kids, completely don't understand!! But I did say to my husband last night, at least "Jon and Kate" suddenly sounds so yesterday, don't you think?



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Before and After Plus Test Results.



Before:

This was a photo of Nolan's room we took after he moved all of his belongings up from the floor before the big flood moved us right out of our house completely. His walls were blue and all that stuff was nicely organized in his closet.





After:

Nolan has asked for a Sydney Crosby/Pittsburgh Penguins room for a long time. Part of our trip this weekend was spent at Ikea getting a new bed and frame for him. His old bed, which took up so much of his room, will now go to the guest bedroom which is formerly the toy/clutter junk room. And sadly, the toy/clutter junk, is now in my former clean and once useable family room!! Hopefully this will either become a garage sale or a donation pile, and either way its fine with me :)








Just a another shelf to go up on that top exposed board and a few more accessories and the room should be done. Nolan was in bed when I came to get the last photo and he made sure I got a picture with his bat in it. The boys are so proud of the Louisville bats their Grandpa Jim and Grandma Carole gave to them. They have their names engraved on them. Nolan placed his on his shelf in his room next to his Kent Hrbek bobble head and Colton likes to take practice swings around the house with his. Thank you Grandpa and Grandma, the boys loved their bats!!






Finally, I have test results back from my cardiologist!! If you remember this post here you know I had some concerns about a rapid heartbeat and have been waiting on some test results. After I found out an office visit to my cardiologist is billed at $342.00, I decided to call for results instead of going back in. (Our insurance has a very high deductible) It took me 3 calls, in which I talked to 6 people, at two locations, over the course of a couple of weeks, to hear the news that I am going to be okay, if the dollar amount on the bill doesn't give me a heart attack first!!

To briefly summarize, there were some lesions found in the pumping chambers of my heart, but at this point they are not considered to be a significant enough finding to warrant any treatment. As for the tachycardia it too was not of a significant duration to treat since it does come down when activity is diminished. And I can't say I've had many runs of it lately. So I've been told to exercise moderately, eat right, and see my doctor in 3 months barring any other significant re-occurrences. That is the extremely condensed version, but essentially that is it.

Seems sensible to me! The news has left me feeling lucky and extremely blessed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Twins Adventure.













In what is clearly becoming the Westra way, we decided last Wednesday to go to a Minnesota Twins baseball game in Minneapolis this past weekend. We got a cheap hotel room, not so cheap tickets, a day off from activities and a free dog sitter. We left mid-day Friday and 3 and 1/2 hours later we arrived at our hotel.

Nolan and Rick have been to a few games before, but this was Colton's first one. He proudly donned his Justin Morneau jersey that he bought with his Birthday money and was set for the game. We were there so early we made it in time for each one of us to get a promotional Kent Hrbek bobblehead that the dome was giving away as part of the legends of the dome series.

As we sat watching batting practice, Colton looked a little disinterested. Finally out of the corner of my eye I saw Justin's number on the back of his jersey facing us. I pointed to Colton and he let out a yell "Mom, its the REAL Justin Morneau, I didn't know HE was going to be playing here tonight!!" I laughed at the sound of surprise in his voice. He was an enthusiastic participant in the rest of the game.

Nolan also seemed to enjoy the game and provided us with our biggest laugh of the night. As we neared the 7th inning stretch, we told the boys to get ready. So as the music played Take Me Out to the Ball Game, I noticed Nolan had dropped from my line of sight. Colton was singing like a pro as he had just learned this song in Kindergarten, but what on earth was Nolan doing? I finally look down to see Nolan bent over, touching his hands to his feet. HE WAS STRETCHING! He kept it up the entire time, as his father and I sat with our sides heaving with laughter, our literal son was getting in a good stretch!

We arrived home late last night and have been playing catch up again. With a hectic Monday on the agenda, I spent the day getting ready for it. I have much more to blog about, but I'll leave you for now with that visual of Nolan's 7th inning stretch!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Zorbaz.










To wind down from our fishing adventures, we headed over to Detroit Lakes. Summer and DL go together like the Fourth of July and fireworks, one just doesn't exist without the other. Detroit Lakes is a resort town with Big Detroit and Little Detroit Lakes at the heart of it. There are condos and motels and cabins to rent, a big public sandy beach to swim at, all the boating and skiing you could want plus tons of things I am certain I have forgotten about.

While its hard to pick just one favorite place in Detroit Lakes, one of the places we can't seem to get enough of is Zorbaz. Its a pizza and mexican restaurant/bar. Its an institution that has been around for many years. Its the type of place where sandy feet and bathing suits are the norm. The food is great, the atmosphere is relaxing and fun, and it feels like a mini vacation just minutes from town.

It was the perfect respite from our fishing adventures! We were all ravenous, so all bickering ceased as the boys munched on their macho nachos. They come on a tray, cause a plate wouldn't suffice to contain them all, and are covered with melted cheese, cilantro, sour cream, onions, peppers, tomatoes and beans. We about polished them off and then the pizza came. The boys wasted no time in demolishing that as well. And slowly we finally relaxed. I think this is the vision we hold for ourselves when we want to go someplace and take the boys. We tend to put adult-size expectations on small children and forget they require a lot of teaching and instructing.

It occurred to me that last year at this time, going to Zorbaz was still a little bit of a stretch for the boys. Nolan got distracted by the video games inside and Colton complained he didn't like anything on the menu. They slid off their chairs and fought with one another, and half way through our meal Rick and I were ready to run from the whole scene.

But here they were, sitting nicely, eating with good manners, and not fighting. As our stress melted away, the sense of humor kicked back in. I reminded Rick that growing up I longed to do the very thing we had done with the boys that day. While it was a lot of effort and exertion, I felt good that we were trying.

The boys were so tired on the way home they almost fell asleep in the car. It was a peaceful ride home. As we turned into the driveway and prepared to unhitch the boat, Colton piped up. "Don't take it off Dad. Just leave it" he said. "Why is that Colton, I asked?" "Cause. When we go back TOMORROW then we will just have to get in the truck and it'll be all ready to go!" I couldn't help but smile.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fish tale.
















I'm writing this while keeping in mind the one request Rick had pertaining to our fishing excursion... "Just don't say it was all happy." This was said minutes after we pulled the boat from the water and being the trooper that he is I understand where this came from. So I'll share with you my best Dr. Phil version of telling it like it is, or was...

To be fair, we put in a tall order on Sunday. We got up in the morning and began cleaning out Grandpa Jim's boat to use that day at the lake. Rick and the boys vacuumed and scrubbed and spiffed it up all morning. We left at 1 in the afternoon already beginning to tire, but the beautiful 80 degree days aren't a guarantee. And when you have winter for 6-7 months out of the year, you won't waste an opportunity to be outside enjoying nature and sunshine.

So we drove a quick 45 minutes and decided to go to Lake Sally. When you live in Minnesota, going to the lake is an iconic part of your existence, especially when there really are over 10,000 lakes to choose from and a big concentration of those lakes is only 45 minutes away. Nolan had already practiced with Rick on Saturday, clinging to his daddy most of the time as he got over his initial fear of being on the water. So after being peppered with 6,352 questions about how fast we would drive the boat, and how deep the water was, and how big the fish were etc... we finally arrived and prepared to put the boat in the water.

I have two big regrets that might have saved us a little of the agony we were about to endure :) For one thing, the access was busy with people putting in all kinds of boats. We had to act quickly to drop the boat in and get out of the way. I jumped in the boat and grabbed the dock while Rick went and pulled the truck up to a parking space. At the last second I forgot to tell him to grab our drinks and snacks for the boat. With no lunch break yet, and dinner time approaching, the rumbling of our tummies and the grumbling of our kids set in all too quickly.

Plus we were HOT. Now nobody was complaining about it, because we've waited a very long time for it to warm up outdside. But hot on top of hungry and tired do not mix well. Which leads me to my second mistake. While I had slathered everyone with sunscreen, I seemed to have forgotten my own shoulders and arms. After a couple of hours on the boat I began to sense the magnitude of my mistake as my skin started to pink up and I too now was on the verge of misery.

But in true Scandinavian-stubborn mode, we were so determined to fish! Despite trying to keep 2 small boys from falling out of the boat. And preventing them from tangling their lines. Or trying to keep them from hooking someone with their lines. We all still managed to get our poles in the water a few times.

And then we heard a shout from Nolan. Now we'd heard quite a few shouts from him already. Like "Hey, not so fast!!!" And "Daddy, don't drive over the drop-off, what if we fall in?" This time, he felt a big tug on his line.

We watched it bend and bend. He was fighting with it, but he kept on it and with the help of Rick and the net he finally landed his big fish. We have a guesstimate at best as to the size but we figured it was a 7 to 8 pound northern pike. Since we didn't have a way to bring it home or anyone skilled in cleaning it, we let it go. But needless to say there were a few more smiles after that for a brief time.

Eventually, smiles gave way to fatigue and hunger and heat. When Colton hit the end of his rope and the sweat pouring down his face started to commingle with his tears, we left. Rick managed to snag one smaller northern as we neared shore. I didn't even get a picture of it before it came off the line and splashed back into the water.

After another half hour of securing the boat back on the trailer, we left the lake, tired, dirty, hungry, and hot. And we all knew just the place to assuage all of those things... stay tuned for the rest of our fish tale... and see what a difference a little food, something to drink and a little time to relax can do for a perspective :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday...

I had the best of intentions to share some fish tales with you. But not much of my day went according to plan. It turns out that golf I thought was scheduled for 9:30, was actually not till 11:00 and not over until 12:30. Which put us in a severe time crunch for hockey at 1:00. But I might have squeaked by, except that when my dh said he had packed all the gear for hockey in the car? He actually meant all the gear EXCEPT for the hockey sticks. So I drove 15 minutes to golf and back and to golf and back again. And I got to drive 20 minutes to hockey and back and to hockey and back again, and then one more time. Plus I forgot we started our park program this afternoon. So in between trips to the rink I had a a few trips to the park. But I barely got the boys dropped off finally at the park and I had to go pick them up because we had pizza's to pick up for our fundraiser. So we drove the 20 minutes out to the ball field and back. And then we had baseball scrimmages tonight, right before we went to baseball pictures.

No wonder I feel like I drove to timbuktu and back, because I really did :) Oddly, the boys were pretty darned good today too. I have no complaints. They were probably lulled into a near coma from all of the tedious treks about town. So tomorrow I'll start fresh and pray for a little breathing room. A little less running about.

I've had the words to this Bangles song floating through my head as I typed, so for fun I searched for the song. I just had to listen. I would have been listening to this back when I was in college. The irony to me is, then, 20 years ago, I felt so "stressed" and in actuality I had far less to be stressed out about. So the 40 year old me would tell the 20 year old me to chill out and enjoy college. I wonder what the 60 year old me will someday want to tell the 40 year old me about today? What do you think?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blues Baseball Batboy and Babe Ruth


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Nothing says summer to me like baseball.

Lots and lots of baseball.

But, between Colton's t-ball games last week (2),

and Nolan's Babe Ruth baseball games last week (2),

and the Moorhead Legion Blues Baseball tournament this weekend,

in which Nolan is the bat boy (5),

we had 9 games of baseball in a matter of a few days.

And do you know how we cope with THAT much baseball... ?



Today, we're going fishing instead!!

Because tomorrow, we go back to golf in the morning,

hockey in the afternoon,

and baseball tomorrow night.

Again.

Really though.

If you think about it?

Could there be any better way to spend our sunny summer days?

I didn't think so!

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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