Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Keeping up with the Jones

This is the platter of cookies my neighbor brought over the other day. I promptly handed her a bag of chocolate raisen clusters I had been so proud of! It's hard to compete with this. The kids absolutely loved them because they were so personalized.

Maybe next year I'll wow everyone with...well, getting my cards mailed before Christmas Day.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


One of the perks of Chris' new job is that we now have access to 3,000 acres of land in the Uinta Mountains about 40 minutes from our doorstep. It has a stream, lots of varied elevations, one building (a yurt) and plenty of wildlife.

Harry has really become interested in "off-roading" and asked if we could go, not even knowing exactly what it was - or realizing that our 22-year old bare-bones Range Rover might not be able to take the beating. A few weeks ago, and about 15" of snow ago, we took the kids up to the land and drove all over the land on the ranch road. The kids squealed and were thrilled to be bouncing around in the back seat.

As we entered the land, outside the fence, I noticed a baby deer. I couldn't help but notice him - look at those ears! In the midwest, we have white-tailed deer, but out here they are mule deer. I now understand the difference. He just sat and stared at me, waiting for his mother just as she told him, I'm sure.

During our "thrilling" and adventurous drive, we counted about 40 mule deer. It became a contest to see who could find another one. As the sun was setting, it became to difficult to discern them in the brush and we talked of returning when the snow fell. We would love to take our snow shoes up here and find the elk herd and the moose that also live on the land.

That is, after they put a bathroom in the yurt.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Where the hell have you been?

So...I received an email today stating that it's been almost two months since I posted. That's a long time. I can't really explain why, or how, the weeks compounded - they just did.

Our lives have been eventful and uneventful at the same time.

My job has proven to be stressful, challenging and somewhat fulfilling all at the same time. This is my 17th year in school counseling. Let's just say I'm in it for the summers off and the free health insurance. I know I am making a positive impact on the adolescents and families I serve, but I truly am so burned out that I may have a nervous breakdown one of these days if I hear too many more tragic stories.

Chris' job is a godsend. He is happy, motivated, and for the first time - content. His somewhat frequent travelling hasn't been too bad. The kids and I have adapted.

Harrison's second grade year is going so smoothly I just want to scream it from the mountain tops. He has yet to have any behavioral problems. He is academically on top of things - still loves to read, passes his spelling tests with ease and completes all his homework with a minimum of a stink. He has a couple of good pals and seems truly happy. His latest love is watching professional and college sports - mainly football and basketball. It's really cute to hear him yell to us scores of games we could really care less about. I'm just happy that he's able to focus on something that long. This is quite a change.

Ella loves Kindergarten, but has grown into this emotional, moody mess of a teenager. I know she's only five, but I really think she has the temperment of a 13 year old. It snuck up on us and we are rapidly trying to contain the behaviors before they suck us dry. She enjoys school, has a billion friends, but fights us on the learning-to-read thing. She'll do it, but only on her terms. I vaguely remember this exact behavior with two young siblings of hers before her, so I don't know why I'm so shocked.

Her big event of the last two months was a trip to the emergency room. She is a clutzy gal. (DO NOT TELL HER I SAID THAT.) My dad always called me a "clutz" and I am truly emotionally scarred, but she is my daughter so I guess I should have expected it. She runs into something, or falls down, every day. One day about three weeks ago, she fell in the lunch room and hit her forehead on the corner of a table. I received the call at five minutes after noon and at 4:55 pm we finally left the emergency room. Her cut was on her eyebrow and they decided to glue it instead of stitches. I really think they did this because the screaming that occurred when they tried to look at was so loud and distressed, they probably could imagine what would happen if they tried to touch it.

The remodeling around the house is making slow, but sure, progress. Chris has taken over all the work. He is a very thorough craftsman, and only one person, so it will still be awhile. The backyard deck/fireplace project is under snow, so at least I don't have to look at how "undone" it is. The downstairs, however, is taking Chris' attention front and center. We may be drywalling the extra bedroom and bath in the next few weeks. Then it's tile, plumbing fixtures, paint, etc. You know, simple stuff.

And that brings us to today. December 4th. The holidays.

The fireplace has been on overdrive for the last two weeks. The Christmas decorations are slowly coming out and the tree will be up this weekend. But my thoughts continuously drift to my holidays in the past. We will not be going back to Minnesota for the first time since we moved to Utah. I was really upset for quite awhile, but have recently decided that this is the best decision for all of us. We are going to start new traditions, continue old ones and savor our family on our terms.

Now if I could just stop reacting to all the angels I keep running across.

Friday, October 19, 2007

H, I'm sorry

I’ve been missing my mom a lot lately. I know I have said this off and on for the past 22 months, but this past month it seems to be intensifying. When I miss her at particular moments, I’ll wear something of hers to feel closer to her.

When I interviewed for my new school district last year, I wore one of her blazers, her wedding ring on my right hand and her “just for fun” ring on my left hand with my wedding rings. I throw on her pearls when appropriate. I have many of her sweaters, jackets and tops – I wear them in streaks. Sometimes I think they are too “old-ladyish” and wouldn’t dream of wearing them. Other times they seem extremely elegant and I wear several of them. About two weeks ago, I looked down and one of the diamonds from her ring had fallen out while I was at work. I haven’t worn it since and feel lost without it. I know I can get it replaced – it was very tiny – but I still feel like I was careless and lost something very valuable. As if I’m her little kid still if that makes sense.

The beginning of this school year has been the easiest for my kids, but one of the hardest for me professionally. I have been challenged in many different ways and haven’t always handled it the best. I have to make new acquaintances and friends, in a new building, for the millioneth time and really don’t feel like doing it this time. Usually I’m one for change, but this time I’m sick of it. It’s a lot of work to get to know people. I have enough relating to do in my work. I don’t really have the energy left to bond with my colleagues.

I know this sounds a bit cynical and sad, but I think that my mother’s death might have something to do with it. 

In the past, when big things were going on in my life, I always turned to my mother. She would listen for as long as I needed her to. My dad can’t be her. He can’t even begin to replace this part of her. Not only that – he doesn’t really want to try. I understand, but can’t seem to fill this void. My husband isn’t my mom. I don’t want him to be, but I wish I had someone else. No…I wish she was still here.

One of my students lost her dad last June. She was the one who found him. His death was completely unexpected and he was only 50 years old. She struggles with it daily and has come to talk with me several times this fall. Today she was having a bad day. I had a couple of big issues going on- parents in the building - interventions going on – but this girl was having a bad day. She saw me between families and asked if I had time to talk. I had to put her off. She came back and I had to put her off again. In between her visits, I had about 15 minutes free, but decided to eat my lunch at my desk and read the newspaper instead of calling her down to my office. I knew that I probably wouldn’t have time to see her at any other time. It didn’t hit me, until she smiled and told me that it could wait until Monday, that I was avoiding her. I didn’t want to counsel her. I didn’t want to comfort her. I couldn’t alleviate her grief. I can’t bring back her dad. I can’t say anything that will make it better.
It had everything to do with my own grief and that really bothers me.

Now I have a dear friend who is grieving and I fear that I may be doing the same thing to her that I did to that sweet girl this afternoon. I haven’t gone to see her since she told me that she miscarried last weekend. I haven’t brought her a casserole – or better yet a bottle of scotch. I haven’t hugged her. I haven’t called. Until today, I thought it was me just getting caught up in the week…too much homework for Harrison, too many Costco runs or soccer practices, but that’s not the case. I haven’t reached out to her because death really pisses me off right now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another post without a photo

I wait patiently for Chris to come home from work so I can read blogs and surf the net. Usually I don't get on till past 9 PM. Then I'm too tired to sit here long. His new laptop is just a grander version of the last, but he's protective and has new rules. One of the hardest is that he won't let me download photos onto it. I could download them and then transfer them to a CD before deletion, but that just seems like a lot of work. I loved using Picasa and then picking daily what I wanted to post or just peruse.

I now have 274 pictures on my card. Tomorrow I have been asked to take pictures at a ground breaking . For a company. That's breaking ground. I'm not getting paid, but I there is another "job" on the horizon in about 4 weeks that I'm also scheduled for. If I do well, maybe this could turn into pay which would mean I could hire an electrician to finish my bathroom. Or I could hire a carpenter to finish my deck. Or I could buy a railing that would complete my front porch. Sure I want shoes and a new winter coat, but I REALLY want a second bathroom.

Tonight I bought a second card because I still don't know the best way to store my photos. I know I probably need to buy an extra hard drive thingy, but I'm just not that savvy about this stuff.

Cross your fingers that I can do this tomorrow. It shouldn't be hard. I just have to ask about 12 guys with shovels to stand close together and smile. We'll be up on a mountain in the middle of nowhere. If I don't get the shot - I'm hoping it won't be the end of the world. I guess I just have to pretend that they're cute kids - instead of construction execs and developers - I'm better at taking photos of kids.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


When I woke up yesterday, I was really tired. The kind of tired that made me question what day of the week it was - I ascertained that it must have been Friday, but NO it was Tuesday. Getting up in the dark is getting old. I usually wake up about 5 AM. Not to exercise - just to have time to shower and get to work on time.

I'm feeling better this morning even though I was at work last night until 8:30 PM. That's almost a 14 hour day. Surprisingly I feel better this morning. I am empowered!

For three days this week, I am coordinating a team of self-defense experts to teach all the female students in our school skills that will save their life. I've had to sit in on a couple of the three-hour workshops in case someone becomes uncomfortable due to flashbacks/memories/etc. So far it's gone extremely smoothly. We've educated about 300 girls so far and the buzz around the school is great. The girls have loved it.

Last night we offered a workshop to the community - geared towards our students' moms, mainly. One of the instructors approached me and asked me if I wanted to participate this time. I reluctantly agreed. I knew it would be "good" for me to have experienced something that I was asking others to do. The reason I was hesitant is because the class is very hands-on.

At the end of the workshop, one of the teachers dons a military protective suit and helmet (with a face cage) so that we can all take turns attacking him. Actually, he attacks us and we practice what we learn.

It was one of the best things I've done. I was the last "victim" and he did not take it easy on me. He came at me for only ten seconds, but it seemed much longer. All the other participants cheer and clap to encourage you, but all I could think about was getting him off of me. It was great!

I got home too late to kiss the kids good night. Due to my schedule, I have not seen my kids awake since Monday night. All I want to do is grab both of them and squeeze them tight - then I'll teach them the skills appropriate for their age level and risk. I sometimes think if I teach them - then they'll become fearful, but I doubt it. Life is risky. They need to know, as I now do, that they can protect themselves.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Stating the obvious

I've been without the ability to access anything worthwhile on the internet for days until now. Chris has finally returned from his jet-setting (literally) business trip. It is so good to have him home.

Single parenting is for the birds. I do not know how people do it. Children are a lot of work. Work is a lot of work. Running a household is a lot of work.

Anyway, he's back. I'll be fine eventually. The kids didn't fair much better. Harrison started having "behavioral issues" during after-care this afternoon and Ella just had a crying jag that lasted about 20 minutes. (Did you know that a bloody nose will not stop if you're crying?)

Routine is a funny thing. When you lose it, it upsets some to the core. Three different morning routines this week and my two collapse. Now I know.

Chris - if you're reading this - no more travel.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Our insurance changed with the job changes and I'm glad. Our office visit co-pay went down $5 just in time for us to go in twice in the last week. After our visit to the hospital for Harrison's minor surgery two Fridays ago, he was back in last Tuesday with a broken finger. I truly questioned even going in. He wasn't complaining, but the bruising and swelling looked pretty bad. Needless to say, he was not excited about going back to the doctor after his experience with the surgery.

During his time in pre-op, he was fairly calm. He fooled all of us. However, when it came time to put on the mask with gas, he freaked. His screaming brought both Chris and I to tears. He was so scared. The anesthesiologist apologized afterwards - as if it were her fault. It was that bad. So bringing him back to a doctor, a mere four days later, was almost cruel. He got a little nervous in the x-ray room, but overall came through like a trooper.

That brings us to last Saturday - the big party. I looked pretty good. My hair calmed down. My outfit was semi-flattering, even slimming if I stood the right way and sucked in enough, and I was in a good mood. Until I decided to be domestic. I was hurrying around trying to keep busy because the sitter was here, but Chris was not ready. This particular sitter is extremely shy - oh hell, she's mute. So making glib conversation with her is pointless. She's great with kids, but not with adults. So I decided to take out the trash. As I was taking the bag out of the can, it caught on the edge and the heavy, metal IKEA can came crashing down on my big toe.

It hurt. A lot. I winced and waited for the pain to subside, but it didn't. Until I drank wine. I actually wore heels to the party and was so excited to be in a social setting that I didn't notice the intense swelling and pain down below. When I finally laid down after midnight, I was well aware that my heart had inexplicably moved into my big toe. The throbbing was very distinct and heartbeat-like. The next morning it was pretty clear that something was wrong. I googled "toe injury" and learned that I probably had a subungual hematoma. Treatment: DRILL HOLE IN TOENAIL. Over. My. Dead. Body.

I suffered all Sunday with intense pain. I waited for it to subside, but it just got worse. Parent Teacher Conferences were yesterday and I wore Birkenstocks with dress pants. Yes. Really. With socks to cover the purple mess that is my left big toe. After hobbling around for hours, I finally decided that I had to go to the doctor. I whined, begged and groveled for lenience. That's when he told me that he had just done this procedure on a 5-year-old two days prior. LIKE I CARED.

It didn't hurt. I know that's what the doctor told me, but I wasn't just going to take his word for it. The smell, however, was unexpected. He used a drill - on my toenail - and it burned my nail. Then it bled for about three hours.

I feel better, but still have a lot of pain. It's not broken. (Of course I was in an X-ray room for the second time in seven days) It's just badly bruised.

Things could be worse - it didn't ruin my party!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

43 going on 22

Today has felt a bit like a weekend day in college. I went to an Indoor Cycling class (not to be confused with Spinning class, of course) at a local college’s fitness center. The class was small, probably due to its early hour (11:15 AM), and that meant I was forced to interact with the few college students without hangovers. They complained about homework, fretted about upcoming tests and papers, and of course spoke about their upcoming nuptials to returned missionaries.

The music during class was great. It saved me from collapsing due to the intense burning in my lungs and quads. Exercising with college kids is a tad different from my usual classmates at my spinning class – let’s just say that I’m one of the younger members. We listened to “My Sharona” – The Knack and “Beat It” – Michael Jackson right off the bat. I knew this was the class for me. As another song came on, the instructor (a.k.a. na├»ve’, Mormon, 21-year-old bride-to-be) asked if any of us had heard it before – as if it were new. I burst their bubble and told them that it was really old. It was “Come On Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners (I looked it up) circa 1982…THE YEAR I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL. They were dumbfounded. Then one of the other students said, trying to make me feel included, “Music from the eighties is the best!” At first I laughed, but then remembered what I revered musically during college – sixties’ songs: Van Morrison, the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, the Stones, etc.

After class, I was released from taxi duty for the kids and actually took a shower and worried about styling my hair. Why? Because I cut it off and now have to do something with it. Thursday night I paid a ridiculous amount of money for someone to take away my comfort – my long hair. It is shoulder length now – or should I just say “old lady length”. At first it looked great. I’m convinced they put magic potion in the water at salons. They massage and rub all the frizz and tackiness out of your hair so that for one day you look trendy and attractive. I knew that once I washed and dried my hair the magic would be gone. I wasn’t prepared, however, for how ordinary and boring it looks. I wouldn’t care as much if we weren’t going to a party tonight.

Back to the college reference, I’ve spent a large portion of the day worrying about going out tonight. I am fretting over my hair (check), I do not know what I’m going to wear but have four options on the bed ready to try on (check). I bought a new tube of lipstick (check). I tried on multiple trendy shirts at Target only to be completely disgusted and deflated (check). Doesn’t this sound a bit like college? Actually having time to fret and plan about the evening ahead.

The sisters that are giving the party are beautiful and fit. They dress up for their soirees and truly enjoy entertaining. This will not be an ordinary party. There will be large buckets filled with ice for the white wine, fancy hors devours, and tons of attractive, intelligent guests. It’s great, but a little nerve wracking at the same time.

Can you imagine how freaked out I’d be if I were single?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Of course he got a laptop...

...and a new fancy phone with email, a private office, lunches out downtown and a trip out of town. Usually business travel is unexciting - dreadful to some - but no, not for Chris. He's going on a private jet, bringing his golf clubs, attending a meeting or two (between sushi and drinks) and then ending it all with tickets to the Monday Night Football game in two weeks.

I'm not jealous exactly. I'm not sure what I am. Probably just angry that I'll be planning a bake sale (seriously), for the club I advise, so that we can continue to contribute money to needy families in our school. I know, I know. I'm in an extremely noble profession. I help people. I change lives. Blah, blah, blah. Some days I just want a corner office with a view, a coffee maker to use that someone didn't bring in from home, and more than 28 minutes for lunch.

I'm thrilled for my husband. He deserves this extraordinary, new opportunity. He's worked for years to get to this point. Some days, however, I just wish that my profession had more solid validity in our country. I know there is a bumper sticker that says something like this - "What would happen to the military if it were funded with bake sales?" I think that sums up my feelings pretty well.

I know we need to protect our country, resources and other countries, but I just dream of a day when this country could wholeheartedly support its children. How many issues and problems would disappear if our children were properly cared for and educated?

Ok - no more soap box. I'm just mad that I don't have a laptop nor access to blogs during the day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One for the road

The last few weeks have been a blur. My job has calmed down a bit, but continues to challenge me and push me. These are good things. The kids seem to love their new schedule. School all day and then a fun aftercare program right in the same building. Skating ended tonight and now they each have one activity. Much saner! Harrison plays soccer and Ella finally agreed to a dance class. The house is in disarray - all home improvement has slowed to a halt. We will try to catch up financially and start again in a few months.

Just when I thought we had everything under control, Chris decided to follow his dream and start a new job on Monday. Tomorrow is his last day as Harrison is having minor surgery on Friday so we are both taking the day off. We're cautious and nervous (about the anesthesia), but know that he'll probably be just fine.

Bottom line - I have to give up this computer. It's Chris' work laptop and I guess they want it back. I don't know if he'll get another laptop, and I can't blog or check email at my work (incredibly cruel employers that block all things interesting since I work in a school district), so I don't know when I will post again.

Here we go again - on another new adventure.
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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Have you seen these? Greatest things ever invented - little Ben & Jerry's cartons...50 cents.
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Monday, September 03, 2007

My baby....

...starts Kindergarten tomorrow morning. This is her "first day" outfit of choice, but we've settled on a more subtle pink and brown number.
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Don't try this at home

Well the day finally arrived. The rocket car, which was given to Harrison on his birthday back in May, was launched this afternoon.

This day took hours and hours of planning. Harry became bored with the whole thing after about the first 20 minutes of assembly. Then I think it took Chris about two more hours to finish it.last June. Of course it wasn't completed in one sitting. So after it was done, we did what any sane, normal parents would do - we hid it. Chris just couldn't bear to see all of his hard work damaged in one fell swoop!

Harrison knew it was on top of the china hutch in the dining room, but patiently waited for us to come to our senses and let him use it. Since our driveway is short and steep, we knew that it was not going to be launched at home. We also needed fuel. Lots of vinegar and baking soda. This involved a special trip to the store.

So this morning, the rocket car was down. The "fuel" was on the counter. And Chris was ready to sacrifice his lamb. We all climbed in the car and headed to a large, flat parking lot in our neighborhood. We had enough vinegar for three launches and it was really great.

Sometimes these things turn out better than you think they will, but Chris glared at me during preparation and said, "Do not EVER buy a model ANYTHING for this boy." I guess he doesn't get into tiny, tiny plastic parts and lethal stick-forever glues.
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Someone's ready for Kindergarten

She and I have talked about it off and on for about a year. Usually in a threatening manner while combing her hair - "Ella, if you don't stop screaming/moving/fussing/etc I'm going to cut your hair." She always said that she didn't want that. She liked her long hair....until two days ago.

I got home from work and she ran up to me and asked to go get her hair cut.

So we did and we love it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good and Bad: UPDATED

"Wonderful" team building activity they put us through in a hotel ballroom last week.

I've never been afraid of change, but I do think I'm starting to see why other people aren't in love with it. It's been a crazy couple of weeks starting my new job. I love the people I work with and the students (doesn't always work that way), but I'm starting to feel overwhelmed. Here's my cursory summary before I have to leave this morning.

The building is under construction.
I had to move a lot of boxes, file cabinets, small couches from upstairs to downstairs without an elevator.
No one has time to train me nor really help me get situated.
Still don't have access to necessary computer data. Printer doesn't work.
Building still isn't temperature controlled.
Have to start at 7:00 am .
Commute is 35 minutes.
I ran out of gas two days ago.

I can now email and have a working phone.
The students I've met so far are amazing.
I've already met a few people who I think will become good friends.
I have a huge office with a window.
Chris has been really supportive and didn't even mind that I pretty much blew off his birthday last week.
My sitters have all shown up consistently and my children seem to like them all. (I have six to cover the three weeks until their school starts.)
I'm home by 4 or 4:30 so I can spend more time with my kids than my last job.
We get great health insurance.

Gotta run - already running late and it's only 6:01 AM!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

More Ellastyle

She picked out the bike for her birthday this past April. The helmet was a "must-have" she found last fall.
The outfit was put together the morning this was taken last week.

The girl has definite opinions.
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Monday, August 13, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

If you're female, single and over 50 - watch out for this guy.

My dad was just here for a week and it went pretty well. I took care of him and he lapped it up. (Glenn enjoys being mothered.) Other than having meals and dishes done for him, he seemed to have a nice time, but it’s hard to tell. He doesn’t really like children and we have a couple.  He seemed to manage, although at times I felt as if this trip to visit his daughter was somewhat of an interruption in his fairly full life.

People often ask me, in a very concerned way, “How is he doing?” – in reference to the fact that he is a widower. I always say, “Great!” because he is. He seems more energetic than ever. He plays golf often and walks 2 miles about four days a week. He is 78, but seems younger. Not youthful – he definitely has fuddy-duddy tendencies and would NEVER be referred to as “hip”, “trendy” or “cool” - but he is aware of world happenings. For example, he hears about Lindsay Lohan occasionally while watching Fox News (his favorite news source) and now actually knows who she is after watching “Parent Trap” in the back of my brother’s minivan on the way to a family reunion two weeks ago. And when we took him to Sundance to see the home of Robert Redford’s acting studio/institute, he was able to reference it as “…near the place that Lindsay Lohan is in rehab now.”

He’s also been dating on a frequent basis. Watching my father navigate the dating scene at 78 is about as fun as watching someone in traffic pick their nose when you’re all stopped at a red light. I cringe, look away, feel a little nauseous, but eventually have to turn back and take another glance.

Ok, it’s not that bad, but it is pretty disgusting. He has a few “singles” groups that he gets together with while he’s in Minnesota for the summers. One of them is a spin off of the grief group that he went to for about six months after my mom died. He didn’t use the group for therapy – no, it was totally about the chicks. His friend found his second wife through the same group, so my dad thought he’d have the same luck. Now the grief group has formed a spin-off group. He claims that the “‘…grief group is just too ‘grief-y.’” Wow, it’s hard to believe that people would actually attend the group strictly for the purpose of finding solace or comfort. No, Glenn attended to find a cook or housekeeper.

While he was visiting I daily created activities or outings for the four of us. The kids and I took him to IKEA one afternoon and bought some storage units for their bedroom. He took the whole purchase very seriously and helped me determine colors and size almost as well as Mom used to. When we got home, he and Harrison put the units together and for a second I think he actually thought Harry was okay – instead of just the whiny, annoying, misbehaving gnat that he usually thinks of him. Well, maybe my dad doesn’t dislike Harrison that much, but he certainly doesn’t go out of his way to bond with his grandchildren. He “tolerates” and “cohabitates”, more than “enjoys” or “engages with” them. This hurts me at times, but I have grown too old to get seriously irritated with him. He has always been this way, and the fact that he is now starting to become much more self-aware (dating does that to you), I am encouraged. Encouraged that he can look beyond himself and see that there may be other ways to live life.

Don’t get me wrong. The man is incredibly intelligent. He knows a little about everything, and a lot about most things. That said, he chooses to disagree with most of it. He has a very FoxNewsPresident BushTheOldDaysWereGreat perspective on life. It makes it hard to have long debates with him. Everything inevitably gets back to Iraq and those “damn” Muslims. As an educator, you can probably guess that we have opposing views on almost everything.
Sending him off yesterday I felt okay. I don’t think I’ll worry about him as much as I have the last 19 months. He is definitely figuring out how to be alone. He would love to have some permanent company, but if he doesn’t find anyone I know he’ll be fine. He is comfortable with himself. Still willing to learn and change, but content with himself and the life he has created on his own. He actually feels blessed that he has had such a nice life. He often says that he didn’t deserve it. I think he did.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

If I write this stuff down, I'm more likely to do it.

I was just reading a post about a person who is in a relationship that is going nowhere. He’s with someone who is already involved and was cautious to write about it because it’s a difficult subject – especially because he doesn’t feel guilty about it. So instead of writing about it in his blog, he posted photos for awhile.

I do that. All the time.

No, I’m not having an affair, but I definitely have found it harder and harder to write about the “important” things in life. I tend to think that certain subjects would make a great post, but if the computer is not at home (we all use Chris’ work computer which is only around at night) then I tend to blow off the thought. Or I'll overanalyze and wonder if I'll be judged on what I'm thinking of writing about. Photos get posted instead so that the one or two of you left reading this blog won’t get too bored.

I don’t particularly like to write, but I do like recording things that go on in our life so I’m making a goal. One of many.

Goal #1: Write more often. I’ll try not to overanalyze everything to the point that I don’t write at all. This blog is supposed to me for me – so why do I care?

The rest of my goals have nothing to do with my blog.

Goal #2: Exercise more than 4 days a week, but incorporate strength training.

Goal #3: Eat less. I’m 43 years old. You’d think I could figure this one out by now. When you eat whatever you want – you get fat.

Goal #4: Stay organized. I’m trying daily to get more organized. It’s pretty simple during the summer when I’m home, but next Monday I go back to work full time. I don’t want life to take over.

Goal #5: Have more sex. No, I'm not going to elaborate on this one.

That’s it in a nutshell. I feel like life is going pretty well right now. I want to be proactive and I have found that if I feel happy about myself (ie. Positive body image) then those around me will be happier. It’s simple in theory, now I just need to follow through!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Updated with definition: An afternoon at Sundance

Playing "Pooh Sticks" - a game invented by Christopher Robin to play with his animal buddies. You stand on a bridge with a stick. You drop the stick in the creek/river current and run to the other side of the bridge to see it come out from under the bridge. It's totally simple, but always elicits TONS of giggles and laughs. It becomes really interesting when the stick doesn't come out or gets stuck. Then you have to grab a stick and help (see above.)

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Our summer has been fun, but full and busy. We have travelled to Minnesota, had LOTS of guests (and now my dad is coming today), and have been under constant construction since April. The backyard has been unusuable this summer, the toy room has been overtaken by a teenager with a large amplifier and big shoes (that are left all over) and even bedtime is often later due to summer outdoor activities.

None of this is good for a boy who thrives on routine and structure.

Harry has been struggling, behavior-wise, for the last three weeks or so. He is emotional, annoyingly mischievious and has become a terrible dinner companion (his manners are atrocious...again). After disciplining him last night about something, I suddenly hit the wall. The camel's back broke. Call it what you will - I was done. I calmly told him to go to his room and said that he had just lost the privelage to go to the family bowling outing with Ella and Dad. I would be staying home with him.

Consequences. Why are they so hard to give? I pride myself on offering solid parenting advice to the families I've worked with for the last 15 years in my profession. I have read books on parenting and have even attended parent groups and the occasional evening seminar. I know what to do. I know how to set boundaries, offer consistency, focus on the positive, and the importance of follow-through. is ALL easier said than done.

Last night Harrison and I, after he calmed down enough to have a discussion, talked through the missteps he took which caused his demise. He was able to tell me that the hurried and disheveled life we lead is causing him stress. (It wasn't that coherent, but I got the point.)

This is when I struggle with parenting. This is when I wonder if his behavior is my fault. And this is when I usually back down and wonder later which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Today we have to ready the house for the arrival of my dad tonight. I'll try to provide three solid meals, on time. We'll have a quiet time after lunch and we'll draw and read books at some point. No outings, no pool, no nothing. Hopefully this will quell whatever goes on in his little head. It's all I can do - control this one day.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Brotherly Love

Found this posted at the top of the basement stairs the other day.
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Friday, July 13, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pacific Heights, San Francisco

I don't understand why life can't be like a great vacation. During our trip there was a minimal amount of conflict. I think we slightly raised our voices one day over which road to take when we got lost in the Napa Valley. (Do not snicker - it can be done.) However, the minute we drove into the driveway (and I saw that "someone" had moved my rose bush in 100+ degree weather during a drought in a desert climate) the stress and conflict began. He went back to work - I went back to full time parenting - and the drama we call "life" began all in an instant.

There must be a way to achieve balance. I wonder if this is normal. Was I really that naive to think that this wouldn't happen?

I guess so.
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Friday, July 06, 2007

The 4th in San Fran

What better way to spend a romantic vacation with your husband than to hook up with two young Irish backpackers we met in an Irish pub?
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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

pigeons and pretty views

This is the view from our window in San Francisco. I know I should've taken more of the incredible cityscape, but the pigeons are fascinating me. They are right outside my window and make those cool pigeon coos.

We arrived yesterday afternoon and immediately decided that a little run was in order. Chris mapped out this great route that took us down by the marina. Quickly we learned that there are hills here. Big hills. I have to admit that we ran for an hour and only stopped a few times for traffic. Until the end. Chris ran straight up this long, steep hill and that was when I had to yell "uncle". Today we are sore. We walked a few miles to and from our drinking hole last night and that about did us in. (Try walking up a super steep hill's not fun.) We took the car today to tour around. Only the flat places. We have a stick shift and don't want to roll back into anybody.

More food and drink tonight. Fireworks over Fisherman's Wharf. A little more sightseeing this afternoon if Chris wakes up from his nap.

Life is really great. I can't believe I get to do this.
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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A vacation...not a trip

View of Napa Valley from Rutherford Hills Winery

Often, after traveling with the kids, I'll return from time away more exhausted than when I left. A good friend of mine in Green Bay told me early on..."You need to rearrange your thinking - you're not going on a vacation - it's just a trip." So I would drag car seats, diapers, toys, etc. all over the country and swear a lot, but at least I got away.

I have not felt this way this time. I desperately miss my kids. Worry that they are not having fun, or that their routine is getting so screwed up I'll never get it back, but not enough to go home. Chris and I are having a great time. We began by driving acrross the surface of the moon (some call it Nevada) and then landed in Lake Tahoe for the night. (I NEED to own a cottage there.) Sunday we came to Napa. (I NEED to own a villa here.) And now we're heading for San Francisco. We have reservations for two nights and then we'll see how we feel. I think we may stay a third night there and then head back to Truckee, CA for another night. We brought our road bikes and found some great routes that we want to try.

I can see why people like vacations. This is really cool.
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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stuff we did this weekend

Went to a pirate-themed birthday party.

Tore stuff out of our basement, took out that door on the right and framed in a new bathroom.
Tore down some plaster and lathe in our new bathroom.
Practiced baseball at a park up out of the heat in Park City.

Ella at the same park.

My attempt to be artsy at the park

I think it looks pretty great so far!
We also went to one of Harrison's baseball games and had dinner with a great couple and their kids. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera to capture the hilarious attempts to maneuver a Slip 'N Slide for the first time or Harry's two amazing hits.
I also finally planted my pots for the new porch (so I could take photos and show that off), but it's been so hot that over half my flowers have died. I planted them anyway and will give them a chance to come back. I watered them four times today to make up for missing yesterday. Now I'll probably kill them with too much attention!
Feels like this post is a laundry list, but this is all I have in me right now.
Looking forward to the end of the week. My in-laws are driving out from Wisconsin later this week.  My in-laws are keeping the kids next week so that we can go on our first overnight trip for four years. We're heading to Napa and San Francisco. It's hard to even imagine that much time away from the kids.
I'm sure I'll manage.