Friday, February 26, 2010

I am, I think, I know...

I am: living in black and white while dreaming of the return of technicolor days soon
I think: either way too much, or entirely not enough...
I know: less and less as the years move on
I want: another puppy someday... soon
I have: so many places I want to travel
I dislike: judgement of others
I miss: my dog Dakota, don't know if I'll stop missing her
I fear: time going by too quickly when it comes to my kids growing up
I feel: dulled and unfocused from lack of vitamin D
I hear: a hotly contested hockey game in the background
I smell: a freshly peeled orange, clinging to my fingertips
I crave: rearranging my furniture and totally accessorizing with new to me things
I search: for the questions I should be asking
I wonder: about so much really
I regret: not always realizing the very things I will grow to regret
I love: being part of things bigger than I imagine
I care: always, deeply
I am always: trying to live with intention
I worry: why yes, I do
I remember: things in minute detail sometimes from long ago
I have: no desire to throw sandbags again this year... double ugh. But I will...
I dance: with the girls when they come since the boys now laugh at me when I try
I sing: no, really I don't, you're welcome
I don’t always: eat my veggies
I argue: with my kids about NOT arguing :)
I write: to make sense of my world
I lose: track of time when I am writing
I wish: I knew what I was supposed to do next
I listen: as much to what is said, as to what isn't said... what isn't said says more at times
I don't understand: how I now find myself explaining "new math," when all I know is old math
I can usually be found: somewhere between my kitchen and the hockey rink.
I am scared: when I think about how much my parents now depend on me.
I need: to be mindful that I have so much of what I need already.
I forget: so, so, much, it scares me some days.
I am happy: to be exactly where I am.

How about you?

I took this from Septembermom, feel free to take it from me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The elephant...

The elephant in the room?  Well actually its not... in the room.The elephant is outside my house.  But it is there nonetheless.  Every time I go to write the date of an event for March on my calendar, the elephant intrudes on my thoughts.  Should I even bother to write down the dates?  Will we be able to go?  Or will much of March as we have planned, unravel before our eyes, just like last year.

If you are from the area you know.  Or if you followed my blog last March you know... the name of the elephant is "Flood."  And Flood is reportedly once again making his presence known.  All you have to do is look around outside.  The mountainous snowdrifts that you can't see around when backing out of the driveway, or when creeping out into the intersection, are some of the tallest I've seen since childhood.


In March, the temperatures start to warm up.  As the temps rise, snow melts and starts to run off.  But the ground is still frozen.  So instead of seeping down into the ground, the water pools and collects, and puddles and streams anywhere it can find to spread out.  Much of it, empties into The Red River which divides our two communities, Moorhead and Fargo.

Last year, the river crested at a history making record of 40.8 feet above flood stage.  I blogged about it here, and here, and here, and most of the month of March.  We sandbagged and constructed a huge super dike along the coulee a block away from our house extending down through our backyards for miles.  The river overflows it's banks and then backs up into the coulee, threatening our homes. Even if the water does not flood our homes directly, the water overwhelms our lift stations, which can cause sewers to back up into our homes. Or if a power outage occurs, our sump pumps can shut off again leaving water to "seep" through the basement into our homes.

So for nearly two weeks last March we filled sandbags around the clock.  School let out, colleges emptied their classes and volunteers arrived from surrounding communities to pitch in.  The national guard set up post outside my house and the neighbor across the street and I kept a constant supply of cookies and beverages and hot foods going out to them.  But then the Red Cross showed up and took over feeding everyone so we could go fill sandbags and work on the dikes.

The saga seemed never ending.  Adding insult to injury, a blizzard descended upon us shutting down operations for a bit.  Our hospitals and nursing homes were evacuated.  The national news crews circled our block as well as our town.  We were both exhausted mentally and physically, but buoyed by the outpouring of help and support coming from everywhere.

We were shocked the day the code red went out telling us to evacuate.  I still maintain, that largely because of the images of Hurricane Katrina victims staying in their houses, we all listened and left our homes when asked.  The national guard remained.  They walked the dikes and watched for holes or weakening walls.  The force of the water rams and batters the bags of sand.  The tiniest of holes can lead to a major breach which could be disastrous.

In the end, many homes were lost to the flood.  However, many MORE homes were saved.  Almost instantly our community leaders began looking to formulate plans for permanent flood protection.  At the cost of billions of dollars however, no perfect plan has been devised.  Too many of the plans call for a diversion of the river, which would in turn wipe out many communities further to the north of us.  Plus, its clear the solution won't come quickly enough for this year.

So we wait.  For the temperatures to rise.  For the sun to come out. For the water to run.

For the elephant named flood to be heaved off our collective chests, so that we may breathe freely again.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Skate with the Moorhead Spuds

Ask any of our youth hockey players.  To them they're heroes, and role models.  To the rest of us, they're known as high school hockey players.  But when Colton's mite team along with all the other mite teams get to skate with the Spuds... its a pretty big deal.  I don't know who gets the biggest thrill.  Our little boys and girls who want to grow up and be just like them... or the big boys and girls who get to soak up the limelight just a bit.  The Spuds go out and race the boys and girls and skate with them, and then they give "autographs" to the kids.

We've quickly discovered that hockey is about community.  The younger ones want to emulate the older ones.  The older ones are asked to act the part and demonstrate teamwork, hard work and dedication to their sport.

Big or small, old, or young.  The one thing they all have in common, is their love of hockey.  After 3 games of our own today, we left for home to do the one thing any good hockey-loving person would naturally do, watch the Americans play Canada in hockey.













Friday, February 19, 2010

Thankful...

For all of your understanding and compassion and kindness and for taking the time to soothe the rawness of our grief with the comfort of your words. Nolan took the news well about baby Eli. His school brought in the school counselor who undoubtedly answered a lot of questions and assuaged some of the lingering sadness.

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Without being conscious of what I was doing I realize I took pictures this past week based on some quality in the photo that meant something to me. This is pretty much our week in review.

"My girls" came back for a couple of days this week and Grandma Mary Ann came to love on them while I went to school to facilitate Colton's Jr. Great Books discussion. I was pretty much in awe of how quickly the girls warmed up to my mom, but I have always been in awe of my mom's ability to enter their world and draw them to her.




We tactfully avoided the sign on the other side of the hot tub that read "capacity 3." Why stop at 3 when you can fit 13 hockey players in one hot tub before it starts to overflow?





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I'm not certain who was in the pool, and I didn't think there was anything particularly interesting in the photo. Except, the sun was streaming through the windows and if I scrunched my eyes up really tight, I think I smelled summer.
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This is Olivia... We played tag in the hotel and she kicked my butt. But she let me rest in between and said we should get pretend drinks. I asked her what kind and she said "a latte." We can so be friends Olivia, we obviously speak the same language. Is that swimsuit not the cutest thing?


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Rick said you should never take a photo with a pole in the way. I agree. But then I never got a better shot and how else can I tell you that we got to play at the Little-Ralph in Thief River Falls on Valentine's Day?

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For some reason our Squirt team has been blessed by playing in the trifecta of hockey arenas this year. State-of-the-art, does not begin to describe this amazing arena.

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Okay, whats not to love? But wait, theres more. As if her ridiculously cute face weren't enough, if you spun her around and saw the curls springing out all over the back of her head you'd see why she is utterly irresistible.

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When a father of three boys long out of carseats... stops to help carry a mom's girly pink carseat? Pretty much melted me right there.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What I wanted to say...

What I wanted to say...

 Sunday afternoon, Valentine's day I received the news of an answered prayer. A liver had been found... for sweet baby Elijah, Nolan's teacher's newly adopted baby.

We'd been following the ups and downs of this journey since we first heard the news of the adoption the day before Thanksgiving vacation. We got a note simply explaining Nolan would be getting a long term sub at school, while his teacher took family leave to care for their newly adopted baby boy.

We sent baby gifts instead of teacher gifts at Christmas. Nolan insisted on a baby Minnesota Wild hockey jersey. We heard Eli was oh so cute. I could imagine the joy this newly created family was experiencing.

About the time we anticipated news of Mrs. Johnson's return to her classroom, sad news arrived. Baby Eli had respiratory problems and upon further examination the doctors had discovered a failing liver due to the spread of an infection, as well as some other health problems.

A Caring Bridge site was started, and an arduous journey began to find Eli a liver. Many prayer warriors went to work. His site was filled with scripture and bible verses, and prayers lifting up this family.

Nolan's class and the rest of the teachers in third grade, made a baby quilt to send to Eli. A note went out to all of the parents that assured us all of the teacher's in the third grade family would help Nolan's sub stay on top of the classroom and their work.

Then Sunday, the news that a liver was found. I could think of no bigger Valentine's gift, than the gift of life. When I said I was surrounded by love on Sunday, this is the event that was at the center of my thoughts.

We awoke Monday morning to the news that surgery would begin just before noon. At 7:30 last night, the last entry for Eli was entered. Baby Elijah went to be with Jesus sometime yesterday.

It wasn't what I wanted to say...

In fact, I didn't say anything to Nolan this morning. I didn't want my own emotion to set the stage for his. I didn't know how to tell him, or what words to use. I'm waiting to see how or if the news is shared at school. In the meantime, my heart is breaking for Mrs. Johnson and her family.

I shared last year about our own family's journey through loss. While it will be nine years ago at the end of February, I can't say my emotions are ever very far from the surface in remembering.

What I am going to say... is that I still don't have the words. They fail me at times like this. Maybe, that is all that can be said, and the tears are meant to fill in the gaps.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Congratulations Mark Ladwig and Amanda Evora!





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Did you see them? Were you watching last night when Mark Ladwig and Amanda Evora skated their short program at the Olympics? I wrote about my connection to Mark previously here. Even though we had been out of town at a hockey tournament all weekend, we came home in time to watch. I have mounds of laundry, many blog friends to check in with, and stinky hockey gear endlessly stretched out across the floor. But it all had to wait last night.

I watched Mark and Amanda's skating performance with tears in my eyes.  I could feel the joy, and their passion just shined through.  I held my breath through their jumps and after they landed their first triple side-by-side perfectly, I could tell they were going to give us a great performance.

I heard Kristi Yamaguchi say this morning that this year's field of pairs figure skaters is the deepest they've had in decades.  While Mark and Amanda achieved a personal best score last night, they finished the night in 10th place, in the competition.

When the camera panned the crowd after their performance they showed Mark's wife and her mom while the announcer said who they were.  What the announcer didn't mention, as far as I could tell, was that Mark's mom and dad, Carol and John, were seated next to Mark's wife and her mom.  The last brief image of the crowd was of all three women wiping away tears.

Mark's former figure skating coach, Dawn Franklin, is our friend and neighbor. She is still at the helm of our local figure skating program and has been as far back as I can remember. We've delighted in watching her receive so much well-deserved media attention. I know how proud she is of Mark and Amanda.


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While my family may not have exchanged tangible Valentine's presents, I'd have to say I felt the love all the way around. There were so many "gifts" yesterday, I have one of Oprah's serious happiness hangovers today!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

9 1/2 Nolan

I'm sharing a story about Nolan today because he is growing up so much.  I find myself standing up to hug him, instead of leaning down.  Plus, I have to barter more for my hugs.   So I am trying to capture his 9 year old self before he turns double digits in a couple of months.

Rick went to a yearbook meeting at Nolan's school the other night and Mrs. Sailor, the art teacher was on the committee.  When Rick went to introduce himself, he mentioned he was "Nolan's Dad."  Mrs. Sailor got a big smile on her face and said "Oh yes, let me tell you a story about Nolan after the meeting."

Rick said he couldn't fathom what she would have to say.  You just have to know Nolan.  This is what she shared with Rick after the meeting.

In first grade Nolan's class made a clay quilt wallhanger, that they were to bring home for a Christmas present for us parents.  She said to the kids when the art projects were done "They are so fragile, if you would like, you can ask a grown-up person to come and pick these up for you and bring them to your house!"  She said she is always wondering if the kids are truly listening to her.  Apparently Nolan was.  His hand went up and he asked one simple question... "Mrs. Sailor?  But how would that "grown-up person" know where we live?"

I am sure "grown-up person" must have translated to "stranger" in his mind.  As I sat listening and envisioning Nolan's sincere and very literal question, I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face.  Mrs. Sailor says she rephrases her instructions now, to "parents, or guardians."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Not even the weather could get in the way

Lucky boys. Nolan's Squirt team got to play at the Urban Plains Center. The Urban Plains Center is a new 5,000 seat hockey arena. The UP Center is home to the new USHL hockey team the Fargo Force, Fargo high school hockey, the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championship and many other special events.

Moorhead Squirt Orange played the Fargo Raiders and won the game 8-3. It was an enjoyable game played in a beautiful facility, with a fairly nasty winter storm raging outside. But we were warm, seated in luxury and feeling pretty special... and the weather took a back seat to it all today.













Saturday, February 6, 2010

"You can't make this stuff up..."

It's the phrase my friend IRL as well as in blogger land, Bonnie, uses to title her posts and you just know you are in for a hilarious account of what its like to be a mom of 4 kids.

Today I stepped into her shoes with the help of just one child.  Here is my version of "You can't make this stuff up..."  Bonnie, this one's for you!

I go to bed last night anticipating getting up in the morning and traveling 2 1/2 hours to an away hockey game for Nolan's team.  At 3 am I get a poke in the side.  It's Colton with a stomach ache.  I give him an antacid and settle him down next to the side of the bed, on the floor.  Antacid does not work.  Pull out the big guns and give him Emetrol.  Quiets him for awhile and just as I am drifting off to sleep I hear mad dash running to the bathroom.  He proceeds to vomit 3 times over the next hour.  Settle him back down finally a little after 4 only to hear him run to the bathroom again, this time with explosive diarrhea.  Now the whole family is not only awake, but up.  Finally a little after 5 am and we all doze back to sleep.  Colton keeps down a few sips of Gatorade.

Obviously I decide to stay home today.  Colton continues with one more bout of diarrhea, but vomiting  subsides.  Feeling I am in the clear after Rick and Nolan leave,  I head downstairs to start washing soiled... everything.

I come upstairs and hear Colton call from the bathroom...

"Good news mom!  I had diarrhea again while you were downstairs and I did NOT get it on the floor!!  But just a tiny spot (read BIG WET SPOT on WHITE chair) got on the chair... oops sorry."

I get Colton in the shower, clean him up, dry his hair and go downstairs to retrieve clean clothes for him.  I come upstairs to find him in the bathroom AGAIN.  I remember we are out of wipes and go to find him some and he calls out "I already wiped mom, its fine, I used the new pack I found on the counter!"

I run into the bathroom in horror.  He has wiped his raw little behind with the only wipes left on the counter, TOILET CLEANING WIPES!!!  Thank goodness they are Method cleaners and the worst he got was probably a little Eucalyptus... which hopefully smells more strongly than it feels!

Seriously, "you can't make this stuff up!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Guess who came back for a few days?



With a big girl haircut and all of the swagger her newly 1 year old self can muster, L came back to my house, powered by her own two feet.  No more baby carrier, she is more toddler-like and a dynamo when it comes to walking.  But one look at that big smile and crinkled nose and I remembered exactly who she was.

Big sister E walked in and as soon as she asked for squares for breakfast I knew she remembered.  Without hesitation she dove into our routine and reminded me she is smarter than her three years predict she should be.  She was downright giddy when we negotiated how many books we'd read before nap time.  Even though she was a bit subdued overall by the sniffles, she settled in on the couch and instantly requested Caillou.

My own two boys have also gone back to a truce for their now daily squabbles, and instead are thrilled every time L does something new, or E asks them to play with her.  Without hardly skipping a beat, the girls are back and I can think of no other thing I'd rather do than be with them these next couple of weeks.




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Monday, February 1, 2010

She's reaching...

This last week our travel hockey team has been preparing to host our first home Squirt tournament. It was definitely a week of firsts. It was also a weekend of stepping out of our comfort zones... in a big way. I faced more challenges, obstacles, decisions as well as emotional ups and downs, than I have faced in a long time. The really rewarding part, however, is that I didn't do it alone.

There were two "teams" involved in the success of our tournament... the players on the hockey team, and the parents of the players running the tournament. We've quickly discovered there are no manuals, for running a tournament. There aren't lists, or flowcharts or how-tos and how-don'ts anywhere. You have to go outside of yourself and figure out the best way to navigate the rocky waters.

So behind the scenes the planning begins... as well as the worry and stress. Long before it becomes visible to everyone else, the "coordinating" of the event begins. I feel so very fortunate to be sharing the coordinating position with my friend Kim. Because quite honestly, she has been the driving force to making sure it has all gotten done. But no decision has been made without the two of us having hashed over every detail. We have shared hundreds of emails, dozens of calls and many face to face conversations in coordinating our efforts to help plan this weekend's tournament.

When you look at the pages of notes I have, its overwhelming considering so many of the tasks are so foreign to us. Check credentials, passports, birth certificates? Determine brackets? Run a chuck-a-puck contest? What? Who me?

But thats what we did. One challenge at a time we figured it out. We relied on the help of our parents who all stepped up and played a role in the success of the tournament.

Perhaps we only needed to look to our kids to figure out the formula for success. They easily won their first game. Lost a heart wrenching second game at the buzzer, and came back to win a close game in OT, for third place.  How fitting that Kim's own son scored the game winning goal!!

I'm weary... tired doesn't begin to describe how I feel... mentally incapacitated or tecnically I have mushy brain syndrome.

But as we were leaving for our inhouse game last night as a night cap to our weekend of hockey, I started a mini pep talk with Nolan realizing how tired he was and that he wouldn't want to go play another game. I told him that we were down to our last month of hockey starting today. He screeched at me "What? No way... we barely just started and now our team is getting good and its going to be done? I don't want it to end! I am not tired of hockey!"

As usual, my nine year old managed to give me proper perspective.  Anytime any of us have asked him to step up and deliver, he has.  When we needed him to play defense, even though he dislikes it, he does.  When we've needed goals, he has found a way to score.  When we need him to skate down the ice, and back, and then down again, he will.  He doesn't tell us my legs are burning, and my lungs are on fire, even though we know they are... he just does it.  We forget sometimes, we ask a lot from him... from ALL of them.

We asked them to step up in a big way, why shouldn't they expect the same from us?








Our warm up to the big tournament was Colton's 8 am game playing goalie for the first time!  He would hate me for saying this... but does he not look totally cute in all that big goalie gear? His coaches also said he made a lot of saves and did a good job.




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Nolan was beside himself, not only getting a medal, but having it placed around his neck by some of his favorite Moorhead Spuds hockey players that he has long admired. They give him their broken sticks and he cuts them to his size and uses them in his games. He so wants to be them some day.

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Congratulations to the Squirt Orange team in their third place finish of their first home tournament!

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When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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