Wednesday, May 28, 2008


It brings me such great pride to see Harrison's joy of singing reflected in his face.  It's so fulfilling to watch him give his full effort especially since he was in the front row.

We don't have many extracurriculars going on, but of course baseball and soccer practice are at the exact same time on the same day of the week.  

Tonight the entire second grade put on a singing program about Africa.  I, of course, had a prior engagement.  One of the Top 10% students at the high school picked me as her "Most Influential Teacher".  It was called the "Evening of Excellence" and I was duly honored.  It was a meaningful event, but I hated to miss Harrison's program so I attended the dress rehearsal this afternoon. 

In a week and a half, the kids and I are heading to the beach in Florida.  We are completely estatic about this, but there is an amazing soccer camp opportunity for Harrison that exact same week.  He would have been coached by professionals from England.

Every week-long summer day camp that I have found for Ella conflicts in some way with our 13 day trip to Minnesota.  

August?  WIDE OPEN.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

IKEA run

It rained this weekend, so we had a few choices - clean the house or head to IKEA.  Duh!
We went to get some ideas for all the projects we have going on in the house.  I'd love to redo the living room and dining room (pretty much paint only).  Another room that needs LOTS of fine tuning is our family room.  We "need" a flat screen TV and some kind of entertainment/storage unit.  Also, we are adding a new office/guest room that will be MINE.    

We weren't going to buy anything.  Sure.  Who can leave that place without at least a new dish brush?

I really like the clean lines of this set up.

The dining room project.  Paint only - well....I wouldn't mind replacing the $50 table we bought from the want ads.

Here's an unusual desk/storage idea.  You can see that Harrison loves it! 

Another interesting look.

To keep the kids "engaged", we promised them a cone at the end of the excursion.  As you can see, my kids have very similar personalities.

Chris truly enjoyed the entire process.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Birthday reflections

His delivery was extremely traumatic.  His days as an infant were exhausting. And today, as he turns eight, I actually have a hard time remembering those days even though I remember thinking then that I never would.

Second grade has absolutely been my favorite year with Harrison.  He has changed in many ways.  For example, last Fall he suddenly became a football fan.  He would watch any NFL game that might be on and could stay engaged.  I loved watching him pick a team (usually by color of jersey alone) and then cling to that team as if he had been a fan of theirs forever.  What amazed me the most was that the loyalty would extend into emotion.   If "his" team lost, he would get pretty upset, although not always appropriately as often his emotion would be anger towards the other team.  He may have gotten this fanaticism from his grandmother.  My mother used to clean the house on Saturdays with the University of Minnesota football games blaring from every radio in the house.  They all had to be loud so that she could hear them from the bathrooms.  I can remember her screaming if they blew a play, or lost a down.  Sundays, however, she would sit and watch the Vikings play.  Most often, though, she would get so emotional that she would have to get up and leave the room when things got heated or exciting.  
His athleticism on the field has improved this year.  Through last Fall, his soccer ability was fair.  He was easily distracted and often had to be coerced into attending practices or games.  This Spring has brought a new player.  He actually has become somewhat of a leader on the team.  It's as if his limbs and coordination are finally all on the same page.  He also has gained a bit of speed.  We have no idea where this came from, though, as neither his father or I are fast runners.

Academically, he continues to perform well.  He still hates homework, but wants to please his teachers and hand it in done correctly.  This quality is something I love and hate at the same time.  I want him to want to achieve and perform, but I don't want him to be too hard on himself.  I really don't like it when he gets a 94% on a math test and then berates himself when he sees the problems he missed.  I never thought I'd have to worry about self-esteem issues this early with my boy.

I remember at the end of last school year, a neighbor was making some comments about the new principal.  She was having a hard time making an appointment with her as she wanted to get to know Ms. K.  I told her if she wanted to hang out with Ms. K - her daughter would have to misbehave and then she'd have lots of time with her.  Yesterday Harrison mentioned, on the way home from school, that he had not been to the principal's office at all during 2nd grade.  He even quoted the school's mission - "I've been responsible, respectful AND safe."  It was so cute.

He hasn't changed too much physically this past year.  He wants to keep his hair long like his older brother, but that's about it in the growth department.  He's one of the shortest boys in his class and he and Ella's height and weight are identical.  I am often asked if my children are twins.

Tonight, after his baseball game, we let Harry pick a restaurant for dinner.  He chose "Noodles" because it has fast service and is relatively close to home.  He really wanted to get home and finish working on the Star Wars Legos he received as gifts.  He's become obsessed with Star Wars the last few months.  He has watched most of the movies including one today - which he watched twice in a row.  The kids were off from school and I decided to indulge him in that birthday wish.  Now I don't know how to get him to stop humming the Star Wars theme song - or how to get the tune out of my head.  

Happy Birthday sweet boy - what a joy you are to your father and I.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I absolutely believe that Kindergarten is the best thing ever invented!

Monday, May 19, 2008

"How to drive your parents crazy - a guide book for all kids" by Harrison and Ella

1.  Ask for toys/candy/computer time non-stop.

2.  Suck on your straw hard enough so it makes noise - then pull it out of the glass and let the drink drip onto the table.

3.  Say you're "SO full" after a meal and then BEG for dessert.

4.  Run around in Costco, or the grocery store, until someone gets hurt.

5.  Talk and giggle at bedtime in your bed.  (Harry and Ella share a room)

6.  Pick at your sister or brother and then run to a parent and tattle.

7.  Leave the door open just enough so the air conditioning or heat pours out.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

Gin and Chocolate - how else does one celebrate turning 44?

Sunday, May 11, 2008


While I was slowly reading the paper, catching up on some blogs, etc. this beautiful warm Sunday morning (no snow in our yard)  - my husband emailed me this picture.  Attached was a message that told me that he made it to the top of Big Mountain in one hour and 42 took him about 60 minutes to get home.   

Aren't all mountains big?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Harry thinks a tiara would be an awesome accessory for me.

I have so much to say about work, but I can't yet.  Chris suggested I start writing the "tell all" post, to be published much later, just so that I can get some of my frustrations off my chest.  What I can say is that things were looking up, but now I've hit a bit of a bump again.  I'm not going to get too worried, though.  What good will that do?  It just causes stomach aches and insomnia.

On a positive note - I am truly enjoying the kids more.  Harrison and Ella had a fun school event tonight.  I usually hate these things, but liked this one.  I mentioned to Harry that his teacher had been smiling at me a lot lately whereas earlier in the year she barely acknowledged me.  Chris mentioned something lewd about me looking "attractive" and that may be why Ms. C was ogling - I was laughing and appalled all at the same time, but mentioned that his theory might be true - I have been dressing up lately.  Harrison piped in and stated that Ms. C always dresses up.  "She likes to dress up because she used to be a queen."

I wish I had had a video of him saying that.  His face was completely serious as if this was a completely normal explanation.  We burst out laughing and between our gasps for air, and wiping of tears, we dragged it out of him that she used to be a rodeo queen when she was younger.

Only out west.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"I run for you..."

Left:  My mom's high school graduation picture, Right:  My parent's wedding day

I'm fairly positive that life relentlessly throws things at you just to keep you hopping.  Right now I'm feeling tired.  I've been in a game of dodgeball for about 7 or 8 weeks now.  Since I can't write about the progress of my work situation yet, I will write about what else is bugging me this week.  I wish I could talk to my mom.

My mom died over two years ago.  Some days I rarely give it a thought.  Other days I think of her often, but in a casual "remember when..." way.  And then there are the days when someone will say something, or I'll hear something, or even see or smell something that will cause me to burst out in tears.  Today I heard that Melissa Etheridge song, "I run for life", and nearly broke down right on my spinning bike during our cool down.  If you know someone who's had cancer, who has cancer, or you yourself has cancer - then you'll understand the emotions that swell inside of me when this song is played.  Two years ago in May, I was completely pumped to run the local "Race for the Cure", but last year I couldn't do it - 2006 was too painful.  I just didn't find any fulfillment in running with a bunch of other people who have been deeply affected by breast cancer.  That song was blaring from speakers throughout the race.  Since then, I can rarely listen to it without tearing up.

This Saturday I am going to try it again.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I want to contribute and I usually enjoy races.  Chris' company is forming a team.  There are going to be thirty of us.  Many from his office, many spouses and friends.  I'm hoping that the light-hearted atmosphere, that a team will probably inspire, will keep me positive and hopeful.

I feel like two awful injustices are colliding this week.  My mom's death and my work issues.  I know the work issue is pretty clear, but I do feel that my mom's death was an injustice also.  She never asked for cancer.  She ate healthy her entire life and never had any vices.  She always saved for a rainy day and never indulged.  She was always thinking of the future - would she have enough money for my college fund?  for my brother's?  enough cash to buy a new car outright?  and of course enough invested for retirement.  I feel cheated and I believe she does too.  She was my best friend and most loyal and staunch supporter.  I think daily of how outraged she would be about all that has gone on to me at my school.  But I guess that's what moms are for.

Unconditional love.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Still a tad bit bitter

Right now I'm hoping that she wants to become an engineer or architect instead of an educator.