Saturday, January 30, 2010

Have you seen it yet? If not, here it is!

The latest internet sensation came to me via email from my friend Becky...

Here is the scoop: A Physical Education teacher, Lynn Kelley who founded the Kings Firecrackers13 years ago, said the video of their performance at an Army vs.. Navy game in February was posted to the team's Web site in early April, and has ignited national interest.

If you want a feel-good-get-you-going kind of jumpstart to your day you will not be disappointed by this video! Plus, it picks up steam half way through and watch to see how the audience filled with Army and Navy personnel starts moving and grooving with excitement! Its totally worth 8 minutes of your time.

My own brand of entertainment today is helping our team both host and participate in a hockey tournament at our home rink... plus next week when I return I will have news about a couple of visitors coming to our house the next couple of weeks. Happy weekend!






Friday, January 29, 2010

Reminder of who I used to be...

I went to school on Wednesday to help in Colton's classroom. I was asked to help finish some mid-year math assessments. For a trained School Psychologist, assessment is a second language.  Having been away from it for almost 10 years now, I welcomed the chance to discover what first graders know about Math, as well as the chance to dust off some of my rusty assessment skills.

I had 5 kids to work with. The first 3 were fairly proficient and we flew through the tests.  I realized that first graders can do simple addition, and subtraction.  They can tell time on a clock. They can do basic word problems if you help them with the reading.  But then came my 4th student.

For the sake of privacy we'll call her Emily. She skipped happily out to the desk, sat down and instantly noticed her snowman art on the wall.

That's mine there! she said proudly. 

I look up to see the same round three balls in all the other pictures, but her's were adorned just a bit differently.  This snowman had a big lipstick red mouth, with Pippy Longstocking-like hair sticking out from it's head.  The background was a massive swirl of differing colors.  It was certainly "unique."

As she settled in her chair, her eyes gazing up at her picture, she says dreamily...

That's my picture, but that isn't my real name.   Emily is only my fake name. My real name is Roxie Hart!"

Let me tell you, Roxie, was a trip, in more ways than one.  The lines were quite blurred at times between her reality and mine.  She had an uncanny ability to "catch" herself wandering off mentally and she'd admonish to herself in a stern voice "Oh there you go getting carried away again."

Our time was cut short by the start of lunch. But it hadn't taken me long to learn a lot about her, and none of it had to do with Math.  What I can tell you is that Emily draws dots on her paper when she is mad.  She can keep up a fairly vigorous conversation with just herself.  And when she gets carried away, her snowman end up with Pippy Longstocking hair and garish red lips.  She has her own unique way of being in this world, but I learned the most important thing was not to get in the way of Miss Roxie Hart.

I can't draw any conclusions about Emily.  I have no records on her and I've had no conversations about her with her teacher or anyone else.  But my psych instincts kicked into overdrive.  And what she did do, was serve as a reminder of how much I miss working in psych some days.




Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What makes you...

Happy?




Thanks to Kelly at My Voice, My View for passing along this blog award. I am not always the best at keeping up with these when they come along but occasionally they come along at the perfect moment such as this one!




10 things that make me blissfully happy...

1. Sunshine, sunny days, sunrise, sunset. Sun = blissful, happy. Its my drug of choice.

By the way, does anyone remember the movie Sunshine from 1973? It was a beautiful but sad movie based on tape recording journals by Jacquelyn M. Helton who died of bone cancer at age 20. She left these recordings behind for her 2 year old daughter. In the movie her husband sings "Sunshine on my Shoulders," a John Denver song, to her. It is the ultimate tearjerker and while I was young when I saw it in a re-run, it has stayed with me for years. Please tell me someone remembers the movie?

2. Crawling into my bed with freshly laundered sheets. Its a pure bonus if those sheets were hung on the line to dry outside.... nothing beats the scent of fresh air.

3. A good story. Either in a conversation, a book or a movie. I am sucked in and won't come up for air if the story captivates me.

4. Travel. Anywhere. Anytime. I've been to Russia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Canada and Mexico. I've been to most of the states in the United States. But my travel partner has recently been struck by a bit of claustrophobia and that includes airplanes. I have my passport ready just in case. Anyone want to go somewhere with me?

5. A certain blond-haired, brown-eyed, seven-year-old named Colton. Colton smiles with his whole face, from his dancing eyes to his dimpled cheeks... he lights up when he smiles and instantly lights my world.

6. A certain brown-haired, brown-eyed, nine-year-old named Nolan. Nolan lives most of his life at 9.5 on the intensity scale. He is a study in contrasts, loud one day, and sullen the next. But he doesn't hold back in passionately pursuing everything he loves.

7. The first sip of my morning coffee.

8. Sharing the early morning with my husband and our coffee and the newspaper.

9. Watching Mark Ladwig and Amanda Evora skate in Sunday night in the AT&T US Figure Skating Olympic Send-Off. Did you see them?  Do you see why I am so excited?

10. You. Yes, you reading this. Blogging has certainly been a life changing experience, but the reward has been getting to know all of you and having you enrich my life. Bloggie friends=blissful.

Thanks again, Kelly!



I am choosing...

Susan

Kaleena

Happy Bend Girl  Be sure to check out her Valentine's Day giveaway too!

My Cozy Cabin

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where you will find me Sunday night...

I've often thought I could start my own Facebook group of all the kids I used to babysit!  So many of them are on Facebook now, but the only problem is that so many of those kids would have no idea who I was.

If you are from this area, you'd probably get quite a laugh at some of the stories I could tell.  I think a t-shirt with the caption "I survived babysitting the Haney boys" would go over really well. It took a fairly large group of rotating girls to tackle watching those boys.  With the reputation for starting fires, running away, and locking their sitters outside the house, it took a special kind of person to know how to contain the Haney's shenanigans.  It was really rewarding to move back to this area and discover the twins took over their father's photography business and are doing really well.  Gabe claims that all the vicious rumors of his pranks were highly over-exaggerated, while Greg looked at me and instantly apologized...  some things will never change... (she says with a big grin on her face.)

So this past week, while we've been flattened by illness, another one of my former babysitting charges, made the news.  While I was away for 10 years living in Idaho, Mark turned into a figure skating sensation.  I had started babysitting him when he was just 6 months old.  His mother would bring him into the nursery at church and I'd instantly grab him and keep him in my corner the whole time.  He was always content, happy, smiling and only wanted to be near me. His mother, noticing the bond we had, eventually asked me to babysit for all three of her children.  I continued to babysit the Ladwig children until Mark was 5 or 6 and I went on to college.

Two years ago, at our annual figure skating show, I got to see Mark and his partner perform.  I was thrilled beyond belief to see what a humble person he continues to be, and how talented and successful he is.  As he was warming up for his performance I was on duty to watch some of the younger skaters.  He was giving autographs and he asked me a question.  We chatted briefly and I told him I knew his family well and although he wouldn't recognize me, we were all so very proud of him.


The big news is that Mark and his partner Amanda, have qualified to compete in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics!!




Mark Ladwig of Moorhead, left, stands with skating partner Amanda Evora after the two received their second-place medals in the pairs free skate competition at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday in Spokane. Associated Press

And you can see Mark and Amanda perform for yourselves.

What: 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships: Skating Spectacular and Olympic Send-Off

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: NBC, Channel 11 in F-M area or your local NBC affiliate.

You know where I'll be come Sunday!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to lose 5 lbs. overnight...

Nolan is still at home from school today.  His fever has subsided but he now has congestion in his chest, coughing and lots of sneezing.  Tuesday afternoon, my own stomach started to feel a little funny.  By 3 pm I felt awful and went to lay down with a still feverish Nolan.  By nine pm the vomiting and diarrhea hit me full force. Yuck...  I have felt pretty miserable the last couple of days.

Except, I'v also never been more grateful.  The horrific scenes from Haiti are still entrenched in my mind.  While I could be sick in my bathroom which makes for minimal clean up, and have my husband come check on me and bring me things, and crawl into a comfy bed to rest, I thought of the Haitians, still stuck in the rubble, bleeding, injured, hurting, cold, hungry, lonely.

Even in sickness, I am so lucky.  Plus, I lost five pounds, but I don't recommend my methods.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I couldn't resist...

... the winter splendor...

... all because the sun danced across the sky briefly and so I ventured out to admire Jack Frost's handiwork last night...

... in spite of my fever-riddled oldest son who is residing on the couch with an ashen face and moaning "mom, mom, mooooommmmm..." every few minutes...

... and despite the fact I was in my Grandma pants from the day before and had hardly wiped the sleep from eyes let alone run a comb through my hair...


... when my dh handed me HIS camera and said I had 5 minutes....

... I just could't resist.





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Sunday, January 17, 2010

What hard work and effort can get you...

We weren't sure.  It was our first Squirt hockey tournament this weekend.  We had a lot of trepidation.  How do we stack up as a team?  Could we play with these other teams?  Could we compete?  Our first game gave us confidence.  It was a cautiously optimistic "yes," as we beat West Fargo, 6-2.

But then we saw them.  Our next team.  They were big, and physical.  And they were from... Canada.   Our boys started doubting their ability before they even stepped on the ice.  We suffered through a miserable loss at the hands of a Canadian hockey team that lived up to their reputations of being amazing competition.  But we weren't finished facing Canadian teams yet, our next team was also from Canada and they also proved to be a formidable foe.

But Sunday we got just a bit smarter.  When the boys asked if we were in fact facing Canada again, our coaches said "no, they're from Montana, and they aren't known for their hockey!" Now this could not have been further from the truth, but we saw a new glimmer of hope begin to simmer in their eyes.

We built a slow lead and managed to hang on, defeating, yes, a Canadian team.  After experiencing the sting of defeat twice yesterday, an early Sunday win was the perfect balm for our wounded pride.

The Championship Game for Pool C took place this afternoon.   We told Nolan to get out early and score some goals.  He looked at us, smiled, and then asked, "how many?"  I smiled back and said "a hat trick would be nice."

It was a hotly contested battle.  But the boys refused to back down.  As tired as they were.  As defeated as they had been.  They battled and fought.  And eventually when the time ran out on the clock... they won.  Not only did they get to hang blue medals around their neck, but they took home the first place trophy in Pool three.  True to his word, Nolan scored a perfect hat trick, as did two of his team mates.









It doesn't matter if I speak English and you speak French, because we both speak Nintendo DS!



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To me, the look on his face, says it all.








Thursday, January 14, 2010

Black and white

I'm surrounded by white mostly with just a few hints of black for contrast. But with all of the shades of the rainbow missing in between, these one note tones tend to dull my senses after awhile. I'm awash in white and bland and blah. My creative life force simmers below the surface, rarely coming up for air.

But then the boys come home from school. They are all rosy-cheeked and filled with the promise of 22 degrees above the doughnut. Its our one day off from going to the ice arena for hockey. And what do they choose to do? Why go to the outdoor rink of course.

I was reluctant at first.  I'd rather hibernate.  But they insisted, and I know it won't be long and they not only will they not need me to go, they won't want me to go... so I went.  I trudged through the snow and boot-skated myself across the ice.  I heard laughter fly down the sledding hill and heard the staccato of the puck bouncing off the boards in the rink.  And for a few brief minutes, the sky glowed orange as the sun went down.  And when I squinted my eyes really, really tightly, and turned my face to the sky, I could almost feel the sun.









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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Frozen fireflies

We awoke Saturday morning to the smell of hockey in the air. It was a brisk -22 as we jumped in the car at 7:30 for our first of 4 games that day. It was jamboree time.


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As if mother nature knew of the thrill of the big day, she sent shimmers of frozen ice particles to dance in the sun drenched air. They reminded me of what frozen fireflies might look like.

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We sat in the arena and cheered on our Mite-y skaters as they reveled in playing their first full ice game. For the first time of their "storied" hockey careers they skated all the way down the ice and back again. They learned that two minute shifts, on big ice, can make your legs burn. Scoring a goal on big ice, is really, hard, work. But victory tastes even sweeter after you have left all your sweat and effort on the ice. They also felt the sting of defeat, when exhaustion kicks in long before the minutes on the clock expired.



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We bring our hockey loving, living, eating, breathing kids... to the rink for a day... and they leave with rosy cheeks, sweat-filled-hockey-stink-soaked gear, and hockey-filled dreams as they nod off to sleep.


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more to come soon...

Friday, January 8, 2010

If you look at their faces...


If you look at their faces, you'd see the thrill of playing in the snow after the first big snowfall!








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 Until someone smacks you in the face with a snowball when you were already getting cold. So when that frozen ball of cold, wet, and compacted snow hits you, it sends you over the edge. Good thing mom is waiting on the inside with the stuff that makes everything better on wintery days... a mug of hot chocolate.

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But first she captures a shot of the culprit trying to slink away... the smirk on his face gives him away every time.
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Even though, he tries to convince you he is an angel...
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the evidence he leaves behind allows you to think... only maybe...
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And now with everyone tucked away inside where it's warm. Mom gets to go outside to play... with her camera. She makes it about a block away before she can't feel her fingers, and notices they are red and turning white in places, and then they stop working. She hurries home and when the blood flows again in her fingers, she downloads her pictures and knows it was worth it.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

But then this happened...

Just because I chose the word reach for my one word challenge doesn't mean I knew what I was getting myself into. I'm beginning to think our words choose us. I wanted to "reach" beyond the cliches... like reach for the stars, and reach for the sky. Especially as I think of January, and I know I am digging deep, in snow, and whiteness, and blah... I wanted to reach outside of all of that.  But then this happened...

I started my morning with what can only be called my favorite early morning reach... my trusty coffee mug filled to the brim with as dark and rich a blend of freshly ground bean as possible, and usually a swirl of vanilla caramel running throughout...












and as I sat reaching to come up with a blog post this morning... I heard a surprised yell... and wondering what the heck all the noise was about... looked down inside the mug to find this...























I screeched too!

Oh, one word challenge, you were not supposed to reach me first!!!

And this is what I get for picking the word reach...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Uff Da... my baby brother turns 40 today!

My baby brother turns 40 today!   Its more of a stretch to call him 40 and baby in the same breath, but some things will never change, regardless of how stinkin old 40 is!



The following is a small selection of photos I found from his previous birthdays. Growing up it was only at the special occasions it seems, when the camera came out.


That is me in the photo below and I was already assuming my protective role with him at the tender age of 3.








Too bad I couldn't protect him from the gift of the "uff da" shirt when he turned 6 in 1976.







True to our Scandinavian and Minnesota roots, notice the Minnesota Vikings football sweatshirt for Lee's birthday in 1977. It takes a hearty soul to not only survive Minnesota winters, but to endure being a fan of the Minnesota Vikings. When Lee moved to Pennsylvania there was some talk of him becoming a bit of a Steelers fan... but his girls have apparently straightened him out and last I heard he is back in the Vikings fold.





This photo is from 1979 and I don't know which is more vintage, Lee, or the wallpaper and giant wooden fork and spoon in the background?





1981 is the last year of birthday photos that I found. I don't know if Lee was truly digging the bass... Perhaps, but what I am really digging, is the Star Wars blanket on his bed. Vintage Star Wars, we're talking vintage!



A big gap of time exists in the photos I have. I hope mom has them tucked away somewhere. But I think I raised him well. Fast forward a few years (okay, a lot of years) and the next picture is of Lee becoming a dad. While there are many things I could share with you about my brother, like when he played football in high school and his team won the Minnesota State Football Championship which is an amazing feat, I am certain the day each of his daughter's was born would be what he would tell you made him the most proud.

My favorite story of when Madison was a baby, was that both Lee and his wife Kelly were still teaching elementary school in Houston. And eventually Kelly's leave ran out. But in an effort to continue to keep Madison at home, my brother took a couple of weeks off to stay with her. He called me one day, from the mall, he and his baby girl, were going shopping.

Lee with Madison.



After Alex's arrival Kelly hit the ground running juggling two young girls. It was Lee who called saying how he has lost the car keys and couldn't find his wallet and that two girls suddenly felt like 10. What is more obvious however, is that he adores those two young girls. Rumor has it he even recently learned how to do ponytails in the girl's hair.



Happy 40th Birthday Lee! You may be 6 foot 4, a father of two, losing a bit of hair on top of your head, and turning 40, but you will always be my baby brother!



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Just for fun...

I found a few more nods to the seventies... go here for the full list. You know you're a child of the 70's if...

You remember having a rotary phone.

Your first musical purchase was an 8-track tape.

Schoolhouse Rock played a HUGE part in how you learned things like grammar, math and history. (A big hint here is if the only way you can recite the Preamble to the Constitution is by
singing it.)

You tuned in regularly to the adventures of the Bionic Man and Woman, Wonder Woman, and/or the Incredible Hulk.

This rings a bell: "My name is Charlie, and they work for me."

You tuned in regularly to the adventures of the Bionic Man and Woman, Wonder Woman, and/or the Incredible Hulk.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What 33 degrees below zero looks like!




I've been wondering about how to describe cold. There are certainly a litany of words you can use to describe it. But can you actually portray the depth of cold? Or the degree of being cold?

Friday night, with the promise of a "cold snap" due to settle into the region, I got up in the middle of the night to snap this photo. I was intrigued with the rush of hot air meeting the cold air and instantly creating a steamy, foggy, cloud on my front step. I grabbed the camera so I could capture what cold looks like. You know its cold when the heat of your home escapes through your open door and suspends in the air, as if frozen in time.


The house had been literally "cracking" all night, making sounds like that of a piece of pine kindling in the campfire. The sound would rip through the house and jolt us awake momentarily, signaling to us it was getting drastically colder throughout the night. We awoke to the news that it had gotten down to minus 33 degrees overnight and had broken the previous record of 32 below zero on January 2nd of 1885.

I get quite a kick out of the all the facebook status' that read "It's cold! Brrr, its a high of 20 degrees today!" And I just want to say, unless that says 20 below... are you sure thats cold? Cuz, I beg to differ.

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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