Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The VIP.

Colton was the VIP in his class today in Kindergarten. The date has been inscribed on our calendar since the first week of school. He took it so seriously! Yesterday, in preparation, he wanted a HAIRCUT. This coming from the little boy that used to require THREE suckers to sit long enough for a few snips. He carefully edited my choice of clothes for the day and ended up deciding on a black Nike under armour type of shirt with jeans and his new slip-on shoes. And even though I offered to give him a ride to school along with his brother he wanted to take the bus to be sure to get to school extra early! This is a boy after my own heart.

We had the most FUN picking out all the things he wanted to include in his shiny tinfoil-wrapped shoebox he was supposed to share. Of course there were lots of pictures. And hockey pucks... the autographed ones of course. And his first hockey trophy from last year... which is really just a participation trophy but I am not bursting that bubble anytime soon. He also threw in a couple of golf balls and one dolphin webkinz named flippers. And then he came home with a big sheet of lined paper with all kinds of sentences about him, you know, like HIS story. He also had a little ribbon taped to his shirt. But in typical Colton fashion he didn't really want to TALK about it when he got home. Plus it took 3 jolly ranchers for him to agree to let me take ONE photo. Hey, some things will never change and he is clearly a boy still after my own heart!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hockey- Social-izing

We had a fun night attending the hockey social for our youth association Friday night. We talked to lots of friends, stayed out way too late, and shared many laughs. Its hard to imagine this is our fifth year of belonging to the hockey program. Each year I think we find our involvement increasing. I think when the president of the association talked to us his words really stayed with me. He offered the simple reminder that this is OUR association and that the more involved you are the more long lasting relationships you create and the more you feel a part of the community overall. Even though he has a son at the bantam level he almost sounded nostalgic already.

I know when Rick was first asked to design and publish the high school hockey game program I was struck by two things. First of all I was blown away by the talented and ambitious kids at the high school level and even a little awe-struck if you will. But the second thing I noticed as I would chat with the parents of the high school players it seemed that they were always humble and wanting to know as much about our boys as we knew about theirs. Not only did they care about the current program, they were equally invested in the future of the hockey program. Over the course of the last few years they have at times offered to coach our kids, offered equipment if we needed it, given advice when we've asked, included us in their graduation parties and celebrations, and genuinely cared about us and our two little skaters. They also openly welcomed us when we were the first to admit we weren't deep in the hockey tradition. No Stanley Cups, Gold medals or NHL contracts in our history unlike so many others in our community. Make no mistake, the hockey roots in this area run deep.

So I've seen how it works from the high school level down. And Rick and I see that you may as well get to know one another now. Because our time together will only be increasing. These hockey families weather a lot of ups and downs together. And they've warned us, its over before you know it.

So I took advantage of the hockey social Friday night and made a few more acquaintances and grew more familiar with this community. I have no doubt we have big "shoes"... make that "skates" to fill. But as I looked around the room and saw all the new faces with hockey playing kids I realized we have all the right people to do just that.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lions and Tigers and SNOW, oh my.

This is what greeted us this morning. I am usually one of those people that celebrates the first snowfall. But, in OCTOBER? Before HALLOWEEN? Honestly, I can count on one hand the number of times I recall trick-or-treating in snow. The irony however, is that by Friday, it is supposed to be SIXTY degrees. I think the weather is as confused as I am every time I go into a store and I see CHRISTMAS decorations next to the Halloween stuff! And we wonder why we have snow in October, I'm just saying.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Things that make you smile.

Rick called this morning with a HUGE surprise. He didn't make it to see the new school in Chicago that wants him to publish their yearbook, but he promised he would return to see them in a couple of weeks. So he called his parents and asked if they would stay with the boys when he goes back... and they said YES!!! I am not sure what I have done to deserve this little excursion, but I'll take it. Growing up we rarely went anywhere. Going to New Salem, North Dakota was like going to the end of the world... my mother made such a HUGE deal of the distance and the time we spent in the car that I both loathed it and secretly loved going at the same time. And now I have more than made up for it with the places I have been and realize that in the grand scheme of things the other side of North Dakota isn't so far, really. Switzerland is far, New Salem not so much.

So the fact that we can jump in the car and be in Chicago in about 10 hours time is really nothing for me. Now its only a 3 day trip so a lot of those 3 days will be spent in the car. But we will still get at least a day and a half to do a couple of things at least. I have always wanted travel to be a part of my life and I am so grateful that I get that opportunity. And the best part is that in order for me to even feel remotely like I can leave the boys I have to be able to trust whomever we leave them with. And I have that too. You couldn't order a more perfect couple of people to step in and take over and even though its never easy on them as the boys sure like to put them through their paces, my in-laws graciously and willingly agree to help. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Think I got it now.

Thank goodness for the tech savvy people who are willing to reach out and help without making me feel too inept. I think we have a way around the problem... and it only took me most of my morning to get it straight. Anyway, as most bloggers would attest too we love reading the comments you readers and friends leave and then we sorta know that someone is reading and someone either agrees or disagrees or can help or relate or offer a new opinion or whatever. Very glad it seems to be fine now.

Comments still not working.

I see my comment section is still not working. I've been reading up on it and decided the comments quit when I put in the new header. So I took it down and went back to the old header-and still nothing. Anyway, thought I'd just let ya know I am aware that some of you can't leave a comment for me... but the phone sure is ringing! More later.

** more reading up and it appears many bloggers are having this same problem. I guess my patience needed to be tested today... we'll see how I hold up!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Part II

I can't get my comments to work right now so I'll give this a try. Tell me if this makes more sense! Rick was supposed to be leaving for Chicago this morning and he got off to a late start. So he waited until the boys went to school and as he was leaving he got a call from the office. He decided to stop by on his way our of town. When he got to the office he decided to check the money he had ready for deposit, over 2,000 dollars, and it was missing. He has also been in search of his ipod for the last day or so. He had last seen it on his conference table.

Without knowing where he had the cash, someone would have to search pretty hard to find it. And no. We don't just keep large sums of money on hand, this was a different circumstance. But this was where our first blessing came in and where knowing Lieutenant Carey of the MPD came in handy. Rick called his cell phone and told him his suspicions. He came right away with several officers and a detective. Another business in our building had reported a break in a while back. And there have been others in the area. Lieutenant Carey was kind and empathetic. There was no sign of a forced entry and the officers upon looking at the door told us any credit card would pop it open. We had already requested a new lock for the door guessing this might be the case after the first break in was reported. We also heard a lot of damage was done to some of the other businesses that were robbed, and we had none. Another blessing. The third blessing I would say was that nobody got hurt or threatened. Regardless, I am still just kind of left with that feeling that even if nothing had been taken, its hard to stomach someone boldly going in and going through all your stuff. Ironically, we were more worried about the area of Chicago Rick was going to than what was happening right underneath us!

Wordless Wednesday

Except for with words. Oh and no pictures. Unless you count the ones taken by the detective.

Dear Thief, As in, REALLY? Are you sure? C'mon. Times are tough, no doubt. And it is so, so, so, so, NOT about the money. Yeah, the over 2,000 that you took. Oh yeah, and the ipod. Because it would be just plain silly to leave with only the cash when you can grab an ipod too!

Not so happy about your unwelcome visit. Your violation of our space. The money we could forgive. If you were trying to feed your family or pay the electrical bill or dig your way out of some financial hole than we get that. But when you took the ipod it made yourself seem less desperate and much more like an accomplished criminal. And yeah, we're thankful nobody was hurt and no damage was done but you were pretty savvy to be able to get in the door without disturbing anything. You sure seem like you planned this out and must have been watching for quite awhile.

Do you know how vulnerable that makes us feel? Do you know we employ college students? Students who are willing to come in to the office and log many hours, alone. They trust us. And lets be clear. That building is already kind of dark and old and full of history and kind of "creepy" at times. And now it truly is unsafe? Because of you?

We talked everything over. Obviously we will be making changes. This isn't the end of it. When some of the disbelief and the hurt dissipates we will move forward. There are no victims here... only people who will be watching with wider open eyes so that the next person doesn't fall prey to you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just playing

I spent all afternoon figuring out how to do this. This blog stuff is not for the faint of heart. And now I don't know if this is the one I would use for the top of the blog. Too busy with all the stripes but maybe with a different background? Or something like it maybe. Feel free to let me know what you think? Or not.

Happy Birthday Mom!

For her 70 ahem something birthday mom gets to... take dad to the doctor for a check up! We will forever be trying to top her 70th surprise birthday party in which she truly was surprised to say the least. In fact, I didn't even try to plan something this year because it may very well be the lack of a big surprise today that is most welcome. We've had some pretty major surprises lately and we'd just as soon leave some of those behind. So here's to a non-hospital-staying, non-moldy-wet-asbestos-tiled-filled basement-discovering, non-back hurting, uneventful, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Friday, October 17, 2008

You're gonna miss this too.

I've noticed this Trace Adkins song (You're Gonna Miss This) on many blogs lately and I can see why. The boys are preparing for the start of their hockey season today. I have to admit I both dread and look forward to hockey for various reasons. One of the parts I struggle with is the challenge of getting the boys dressed in their gear. Now, I've been around the block a time or two, so I can dress them in my sleep if need be. But it helps so much if they just cooperate the tiniest bit. And each year I have to say we make strides in their independence. So today we calmly stated we should go to open hockey today because clinics start next week. The boys seemed okay with this idea. So we got their gear and told them we needed to leave at 12:30 so we should begin dressing at 12:00. I also mentally noted that I needed to make sure they were properly fed and hydrated well in advance of this time. And then the strangest thing happened. Nolan began laying out his gear. Then he began putting it on. All of it. He tied his skates, he tied his breezers, he snapped on his helmet. And went and found his stick. By himself. And I was silent the ENTIRE time. But I made sure he knew how proud I was of him and we made a special point to call dad and tell him. Not wanting to be left out, Colton attempted the same as well. He truly does need just a bit more help, but he has made progress too and we are equally as proud. As they were about to leave Nolan gave me a quick hug. I about fell over. Literally, with his skates on we are almost on equal footing. It scared me and Rick as well. We went for the tape measure. On his skates Nolan was 58 inches tall, and Colton was 51. I'm left wondering where my little boys went. Yup, we are really gonna miss this.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coming home.

TODAY. Dad will be coming home from the hospital. We couldn't be more thrilled. The hardest part will be the waiting. While the brain only takes a few moments to process such news, the process itself can take hours. Of course dad is a pro at this discharge business. My mother said he heard the news and promptly picked up the phone... to order his lunch! And we'll probably spend the next couple of days embracing the everyday and mundane and couldn't be happier about it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Friends + blogs = all kinds of new things!

How fun is that! I stumbled across a site that makes me feel like even I can learn photoshop! Its called picnik and if you've ever wanted to play around with photos but were too intimidated to delve into photoshop... than try picnik.

Nolan and his friend Ethan went door to door today asking the neighbors if they could rake up all their leaves.

"Are you trying to earn money I asked?"

"Why would we ask for money? They pay us with their leaves!"

Silly me.

A little rough patch.

Dad's words, not mine. We had high hopes yesterday that we had turned a corner and would perhaps even be bringing dad home today. According to my mom today the doctors found "something" on his kidney and want to do more tests. And dad said he actually felt pretty sick for awhile this morning and went through a "rough patch." I always try to operate under the impression that a doctor is really trying to figure out what is, partially by figuring out what isn't. I am hoping the kidney is an isn't and therefore we'll still be bringing him home soon! We'll see what the rest of this day brings.

One thing the past few days have brought to us are well-wishes, visits, a ride for mom one day when she needed one, and a myriad of things that have been SO appreciated. We don't have to go it alone and we are grateful to everyone for that. I know it won't be long and my posts will go back to being about... turtles and hockey and little boys and their adventures!

Monday, October 13, 2008

When it rains it pours...

right into the basement of my parents house apparently! I think we sometimes forget how much we rely on others and it has always been my dad's job to check the sump pump. The sump pump didn't stand a chance with the big crack it had in the pipe connected to it. So my mother and I have been in cahoots trying to tip-toe around the subject of the flooded basement while we're in front of the HEART patient with HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.

So when I logged on the computer this morning I can't tell you how much it warmed my heart to see everyone who had commented or offered a kind word or said a prayer. My family and I so appreciate all of you! I've spent most of the afternoon with my dad and lucked out in being there when the doctors made their rounds. He had been referred to a specialist earlier in the day and the specialist arrived with his posse of other docs. It seems that they all concur that he is on the appropriate course of treatment for his lungs and heart. The last thing they want to check is to make sure there are no blood clots that are lodged in his chest somewhere as there seems to be an area on the left side of his heart that has a lot of pressure in it which doesn't allow for the heart to relax properly. I think we all felt like the specialist gave a good account of the present situation and were reassured they won't be sending him home before they have a clear picture.

Physically, dad looked a hundred times better today. And when we briefly brought the boys up to see him he lit right up. We still have a few more blips to figure out but we're so GRATEFUL it seems to have started to turn around so fast this time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rainy day news.

Sometimes my gut talks in an overpowering way to me. It was working overtime on Wednesday and although all was found to be okay at the time with my dad... I couldn't shake the feeling. I can't say it was a surprise when mom called last night. She said she came home from Saturday night bingo to find the groceries my dad had gone to the store to get earlier strewn all over the floor. She went to find dad sitting in his chair with a very flushed face. He simply said "I've just been waiting here so you could take me when you got home." Mom called me and repeated dad's words to me and I knew he wasn't asking IF he should go to the emergency room. I concurred he should get checked out right away. And while everything is always downplayed, dad had all of his paperwork lined up ready to go. The early reports that I have gotten are that his heart is flip-flopping and they may decide to put in a pacemaker at some point. He also has fluid built up again and his blood pressure is pretty high.

Mom stayed with him until 3:30 this morning and then left after they settled him in his room. He is on the cardiac floor this time. She said his spirits are still high and even when they said he will be staying awhile, he didn't protest. I'll be going to visit in awhile and post news if there is anything new. I joked last Wednesday that the events were just a warm up and I was testing everyone. I sort of felt like I was crying wolf... but apparently I knew somewhere inside that something was wrong, I just didn't have the timing right.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The big scare

You would think that a post containing the word "scare" in October would have to pertain to Halloween. You would be misguided to think that today! There are far scarier things than witches and ghosts so I've come to find out.

There are a few things that my dad needs help with once in awhile. I've been trying to get over to his house to help wash his comforter and blankets and clean some spots in the carpet. Not only does my dad have a very arthritic knee but he is on oxygen and these make everyday tasks hard to manage. Yet for the most part he manages alone during the day just fine while my mother is at work. On my end the challenge is juggling everything. My "help" can be had as long its before 10:30 am. Or you will get "extra" help in the form of a Kindergartener who may or may not be cooperative with the plan. I then have a chunk of time until 2:30 in which I need to be home for when the "tornado", otherwise known as Nolan enters the picture. I assure you its like a whirlwind when he walks in the door based on his level of pent up energy and emotion from having had to pay attention and be good all day! So everyone knows there is a very unpredictable element as to whether or not I an available after 3 pm each day.

So yesterday was the day my dad and I and Colton agreed to. Dad would be at a clinic appointment until 1:00 pm. Colton and I would arrive shortly thereafter. It took me until 1:30 to convince Colton to go with me. We arrived. And this is the scene that greeted me. First of all my dad's pickup was in the driveway, the hood up and a battery charger hooked up to it. I instantly assumed dad had missed his appointment and would be waiting inside. We came around to the back of the house and the back door was standing open. We knocked on the door and shouted inside as we waited a minute. No answer, no sweat. We went inside. The first thing I noticed was dad's oxygen tubing snaked down the stairs going to the basement, unattached to anything. A half finished bagel was on the kitchen counter. The lights were on. But still no signs of dad. We hollered. First down the stairs, then throughout the house. No answer. And then I saw something that caused my heart to drop.

Dad's portable oxygen tank, the one he uses when he leaves the house, was sitting in its crate next to his stationary machine. When you grow accustomed to spending time with an oxygen dependent person, they can almost always be found attached to the other end of the supply! And if they are not the question becomes how long can they go without it? I assure you, in the case of my dad... NOT LONG!

By now PANIC had set in. I called my mom's work. She had left for the day a half an hour ago and nobody could provide me with any other info. Dad was probably not with her. After walking around the block, and checking every square inch of the house I called in reinforcements. It took about 10 seconds for my husband to hear the panic in my voice and he was on his way. And he brought along his mother in case we needed someone to watch Colton. You can only imagine the scenarios that were running through my head.

Within minutes we heard a car in the driveway. Imagine the look of incredulity at the sight of a tan car pulling in. My husband's car is blue. It was my Uncle Ernie. As he got out of the car and made his way around to the passenger side for the second time that day my heart dropped. The car door slowly swung open and a cane appeared first and then slowly emerged the face of my father. I almost didn't know what to say. I was a little shocked to hear the words and voice of someone who sounded an awful lot like my mother... except I quickly realized they were coming from me. Ernie looked a little amused when he saw the expression on my face and then when I addressed my dad with a "How could you! I was so worried!" his grin widened into a knowing look. Willard was in trouble and getting one of those "Brainerd" scoldings made famous from my mother's side of the family.

But for the most part my dad was largely unscathed. It seems that the oxygen company had just recently sent out a new portable tank that my dad was using. With a dead battery on the truck he did the most logical thing, he called Ernie. He went to his appointment and then he got hungry. So he and Ernie went and had a bite to eat. He was a little confused about exactly what time it was but assumed he'd be home before I got there.

As for me I think I am slightly embarrassed and yet mostly just grateful. Its reassuring that so many people are willing to drop what they are doing and come to the rescue of not just my dad, but myself as well. Even when I just need rescuing from myself!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Colton and the pumpkin patch

It was a beautiful day... really perfect for exploring the pumpkin patch. The best part, both MOM and DAD got to go with Colton. It seems to be a rite of passage for the Kindergarten classes to go. It was my first time and I'd go again. You could go on a wagon ride, search for the perfect pumpkin, run through the maze of straw bales and pet the animals in the barn (except the donkey who had a reputation for kicking!) We were surrounded by fall, and earthy scents and vibrant colors and grinning little faces with rosy cheeks wherever we went. Perfection.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The "Cool" Aunt

When it comes to aunts I happen to have a lot. They all seem to have such distinct personalities and I admire each one for their various unique talents and abilities. I have one who is a great story teller. I probably have laughed the most and the hardest at her unique ability to draw everyone in with a well-spun story. She is a master at her craft. I have one aunt who I will always remember for her baking and cooking. I have secretly tried to duplicate many of her recipes in the hopes of capturing just one dish. I've come close, but not until I get that flood of memories with the first bite will I know I've got it right. That just accounts for two of my aunts and I happen to have 7 others.

Having such inspiration around me I had no doubt that I would be great "auntie" material. But then we didn't live anywhere near my nephew and nieces that joined our family. Probably the biggest obstacle was when we had children of our own. Its hard to form a bond with a new baby, especially when you have one of your own! But I've still stolen from the pages of the book of how to be a cool aunt and tried my hand... but usually felt like I fell a little short. And then I saw what was posted on one of the blogs I love to read... you can find it here... (scroll down to her post entitled "My Privilege"). So being the "cool" aunt that I am, in anticipation of a visit from my nieces, I truly set out planning in my head the most crazy fun jam-packed two days two little girls could endure all the while knowing in my heart I could never pull it off the way I envisioned.

And then Alex and Madi were here. And in a flash they were gone. As I sat sorting through all of the pictures I realized something I hadn't focused on before. There WERE some bonds being made. They were REAL and GENUINE. They just didn't happen through any of my doing. I realized the role we get isn't always the one we signed up for. But when I look at those smiling sweet faces it doesn't matter. I'll settle. I'll just be the mom and the aunt of 4 really COOL KIDS!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Only if you live in Minnesota. As kids growing up we didn't think anything of the fact that our school mascots were agriculturally based... for that is the region we came from. Turns out not all school mascots are created equal. We questioned the razzing we took until we discovered other schools had trojan and warrior and eagle mascots representing their schools. And make no mistake... we from MHS were FEARED, FEARLESS and FIERCE. We were afterall, SPUDS, as in potatoes. Remember, I said fierce, but potatoes nonetheless. But it got better. Having tired of all of the "mashed" and "fried" jokes in high school you would think since we choose where we go to college, my brother and I would choose a school that say had a "dragon" mascot... but no. We went from being potato heads... to corn cobs. We were maroon and gold Cobbers. We taught others to FEAR THE EAR... of corn. Menacing, I know. I hadn't really thought about the irony of our school "mascots" in a long time. Enter, my brother.

It was homecoming at our high school this weekend. We had originally planned to
be in Minneapolis spending a few days with my brother, his wife and their two girls. However, due to the nature of our mom and dad's medical situation we were unable to travel this weekend. So they all came here. We attended both the homecoming parade and the football game that followed. And it was a homecoming on so many different levels.

My brother will always have the distinction of having been a key player in the 1988 state football championship that our school won 20 years ago. Those things seem to become more and more treasured and valued as the years go past. The field has changed location and been greatly improved. The crowds have increased. But the football fervor amongst the fans is the same. Some of my brother's old teammates were at the game and they reminisced. Our cousins, firsts and seconds, were both on the field and in the stands. And we watched our kids run around playing as once we had run around with our friends. We shared stories. My brother watching Nolan mimic the high school players and try to imitate their plays commented that he used to do the same thing at that age. And he laughed as he recalled that is where the dream begins.

We drank hot chocolate. We were cold. It was "black and orange" day. It was Homecoming. We were still spuds. And cobbers. But mostly we were a community of people that all just enjoyed being with each other.

PS. Rick captured some great shots of the game last night. Click on the link to his blog on the sidebar on the right!!!!!

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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