Friday, April 30, 2010

Just Another Friday... OH WAIT

So, I have what appears to be mastitis again. And I haven't breastfed in 2 years. AND I don't have a fever, which is a prerequisite for mastitis, doncha know.

So, it's either mastitis or IBC.

I made the mistake of googling "mastitis vs. IBC"... BIG MISTAKE.

Because it turns out that if it's not mastitis or an inflamed/plugged duct, it's cancer. You know according to the Mighty Internets.

And it's not just any ol' cancer, it's a cancer that one site said had 100% mortality rate, and another site said it USED TO have a 100% mortality rate, but now it's "just" something like 50%.


My doctor is out of the office today (of course... OF COURSE SHE IS), and I don't see the point of going to Urgent Care just yet (because of the no fever thing) (and because of the general "heads up their asses" thing).

I do however have body aches and general malaise... so I'm sitting here telling myself that it can't be cancer if I feel achy. And then alternating that thought with OMFG my symptoms sound an awful lot like IBC.

A friend just called and talked me off the ledge, at least a little bit.

But I can tell you one thing, I'd feel much better about this whole "mastitis" thing if I had a raging fever.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Land Line

So now that I have a new! cell phone that actually works, I've been thinking about What To Do About Our Phones.

We still have a land line, with a phone number that's been ours for at least 12 years. My phone usage is about 85% land line; 15% cell phone. I have many people that I keep in touch with mainly via phone, and I do nearly all of these correspondences on my land line. Also any of my local friends always call our home number if they are looking for me. I like that having a home phone especially since it's sort of "old fashioned" now.

Also, a land line seems safer, specifically thinking of if the kids ever needed to make an call. The older two are just getting to the age where we feel like we can leave them home alone for a few minutes, and that "home alone" time will only increase over the next few years. I'm certainly not ready to get them their OWN cell phones but maybe wouldn't want to leave them my phone in every circumstance.... Besides, if I left them my phone, and there was a problem, who would they call?

David has been wanting to cancel our land line for awhile now. He uses his cell phone for at least 90% of his calls, and he's not here at home as much as I am, so our land line has very little value for him.

Also, we've been wanting/needing to cancel our cable (simply because we don't use it enough to justify the cost), but since our services are bundled (phone, internet, cable and DVR), canceling cable might actually cost us MORE since we'd have to pay for the remaining services individually. At the very least, canceling cable wouldn't save us much.

HOWEVER, if we canceled cable, and our phone line, we'd only have to pay for internet. Our savings would be significant. And it does seem sorta silly to be paying for a total of three phones (my cell, D's cell, and our land line).

Also, our home phones are dying, one by one. We have one of those "systems" of cordless phones, where a whole bunch of cordless phones are connected to the same base. However, the display screen is broken on all but one of them, which means you can only see the caller ID (another service we are paying for) on the one remaining working phone.

I'd hate to buy new phones, only to decide to cancel our line, so I've been putting up with these broken/half working pieces of shit for awhile now.

So tell me, do you have both a land line and cell phones? If you only have cell phones, has there ever been any problems with this? What do you do about leaving the kids or a babysitter at home with potentially NO PHONE?

Please advise.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Trailer, Phone, Class, Seester

First order of business today is for you to watch this trailer for the new movie "Babies". Please note that SQUEEEEEEE-ing will be not only allowed- but encouraged- in the comments section. I simply can't wait to see this. It's like Children Just Like Me, only in movie form and with wee ones! (Babies are my Thing... but you knew that, right?)

(Looks like you have to click through from Google Reader to see the trailer...)


Secondly, I got a new phone yesterday. One that I am highly under-qualified to operate. Like, I'm not even sure how to make a call. But I did figure out the camera and managed to shoot not one- but 85- photos of Kate giving me a crusty look. Man, I love her.

(It's the HTC Hero... Um? I think? It's a Hero-something.) (My phone, that is.)

Fun fact- we do not own- nor have we ever owned- a SINGLE piece of Apple* technology! Not an IPOD, not a Macbook, not an iPhone.... nada, zip, zero, zilch. I know some of you just played a little sad trombone for us, but I assure you it's easier to not own any of this technology than listen to my husband rant about it. He's a PC man. (RAWR!)

*Is "Apple" even what the kids are saying these days? Is it even the right word? I mean, for all I know, "apple" refers only to reminiscent elementary school "open-apple a" functions...


Third: last night David and I took our first DSLR class. The class came free with our camera purchase, so I was a little worried about it. 1) I thought it might be suuuuuuuuper boring 2) I thought it might be one long product placement and/or 3) I was worried it would be waaaaay over my head.

I was pleasantly surprised that it was none of those things. I thought it was full of useful information (format your memory card EVERY TIME! Who knew???), had ZERO sales approach (in fact, the instructor often told us "don't buy that" instead of the other way around), and I was only slightly overwhelmed by the prospect of taking my camera off auto-mode.

We get to take one more free class, which is much more technically based. I also signed up for their Photoshop Elements class, as I think it will be 50 bucks well spent. For anyone out there trying to get the hang of their DSLR, I'd highly recommend taking a class. (Ours were through National Camera Exchange.)

Between my new phone that I don't know how to use (I can tweet from it! And do facebook too!... wait, how do I turn it on?), and the camera class, my brain! is! full!


Lastly, Seester was here this past weekend. It was awesome, and I wish she lived here.

We stayed up late, laughed too much at David (he's an easy target), went geocaching (where we were zero for two on finding the geocaches, but Seester did teach the girls how to make daisy chains dandelion necklaces.

We had a great time, and it sucks that she had to go home so soon. I hate living so far from so many of the awesome people in my life. Boo!

(Photos from her visit are here.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Our crab apple trees are blooming! It's officially spring!

I'm entering the I Heart Faces weekly photo contest with this photo of Marin. The theme is "Smiles".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunday Bike Ride

On Sunday when David and I announced that we were all going for a bike ride, all three of my children burst into tears.

Don't get me wrong, they like bike rides. In fact, I can safely say that riding their bikes is one of their hands-down favorite activities. From the time the weather barely gets warm enough, until well after the first snow fall, my girls are outside, on and off their bikes for hours/days/weeks at a time.

New bikes from Grandpa!

These are physical girls that love to play outside.

Even Marin gives her "big girl bike" equal time as her beloved tricycle. (And please note that in our driveway, our girls don't always wear helmets, but we're religious about it on bike rides.) (And I KNOW they should in our driveway too, but it's frustrating for them to get them on an off, and I'd rather they ride and be physical than be frustrated or avoid their bikes because of the Helmet Hurdle.)

Anyway, on this particular day, they were playing! in! water! for the first time this season, and none of them could bear the idea of being pulled away from that activity. Water play trumps biking... who knew! (They had a bowl full of soapy water and were washing things.) (SUPER thrilling, I KNOW.)

After calmly listening to their protests, we gently insisted that yes, we were still going for a bike ride, and yes they were all coming along. And oh, by they way, we'll also stop at the Drive-in for dinner on our way home.

They had their helmets on in 45 minutes, flat. Give or take.

So we started off. And this is where I realized just how much we forget to explain to our children sometimes, and then how often we get frustrated with them for not understand the very things we didn't explain.

First, we didn't communicate that we had to go around the lake first, before dinner. That dinner was our reward for finishing the bike ride. The Drive-in is quite close to our house, so they were confused by our direction.

Second, we didn't explain that the lake is a circle, and that NO, we don't have to bike ALL THE WAY back around it to get home. After we eat, we are almost home.

My girls are smart cookies, but never having to drive themselves around town, and not having a Map of Tiny Town imprinted on their brains, these things were not obvious to them. When I told them it was about 5 miles to the Drive-in, they thought it would then be 5 miles home. (It's about 6-8 blocks home).

Man, being a kid is hard!

We had to stop half way around the lake to discuss all of this because the MOM MOM MOM's were driving me batty. And I can't really talk to them while biking. Because we bike single-file. Because I don't quite trust them to NOT cut me off and cause a huge bike accident.

(It should be noted that Marin, though pictured riding her bike above, rides in a bike trailer or bike seat- we have both- on these sorts of rides. Her bike is for around our neighborhood only.)

So anyway, we made it to the Drive-in. It's one of those retro old-fashioned places where you pull up and place your order from your car. And then they bring you your food on a tray that clips to your window. Sometimes they bring your tray wearing roller skates.

(Marin and Daddy, waiting for our food. Gratuitous lake view in background.)

Though, since we were on our bikes, we ordered and then ate our food at one of the handful of tables they have for this purpose.

(As usual, more photos on Flickr.)

Corn dogs and french fries and root beer, all under a rainbow colored umbrella... YUM.

By this time, the girls were happy and hungry. They understood we were almost home and didn't have to bike all the way around the lake again to get there. And that their soapy water was waiting for them, right where they left it.


I've left several responses in the comment sections of yesterday's post about moving.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Left Behind

My brick and mortar peeps will all tell you that I have a policy, known far and wide, about becoming your friend. It goes like this: if you live in Tiny Town, and you are thinking about moving, I need a three year notice.

If you're not planning on being here for more than three years, you need to tell me ASAP. I need time to detach myself emotionally, and to replace you in my life. Upon receiving your three year notice, I will start the process of Pulling Away from you, so that by the time you actually move, there will be nary a glint of a tear in my eye.

I know that most folks living in any kind of suburban/metropolis deal with people coming and going all the time. But you see, therein lies the difference: COMING and going.

[Cool] People don't come to Tiny Town nearly as often as [cool] people leave Tiny Town.

One of the hardest times in my adult life was right after we found out our very good friends were moving. I grieved them going- am still grieving it in some ways- and it's been almost 4 years.

With them gone, I felt adrift, floating no where, lost. She was the first friend I had as a mom- we became friends as we became mothers, meeting when we were both pregnant with our first daughters. We were raising our kids together, spending holidays together.

In the intervening 4 years, I've seen beautiful results emerge from the mess of them leaving. I've met many more awesome people. I've gone from hating living here- and clinging to them as my life raft- to having lots of friends and loving it here. And if I'm being honest with my self, many of those changes probably wouldn't have happened if they hadn't moved.

But now, here I am again. Watching as another family- people we are very close to- is contemplating a move, applying for jobs, testing those waters. And it suddenly hit me the other day: this kind of thing is going to keep happening to me.

All joking about "3 year notices" aside, I AM going to be left behind, over and over again. People are going to move here, and we are going to fall in love with them, and then they are going to move away.

I'm not willing to actually live my life so guarded as to not let "Possible Movers" into my life.

But it still really sucks.

I want all of our friends to send their kids to high school here, to be on the Prom Committee with me, for all of us to grow old together, smoking weed on the porch long after our kids leave the house.

I want this great community that we've created/found to remain intact; for our kids to grow up together. Since my husband owns a business here, we are likely to be here for the long haul. Is it so much to ask that every one else is, too?

So I'm wondering, how do you guys deal with people coming and GOING from your life?

Thursday, April 15, 2010


-for the feeling that washes over me every morning when my girls leave for school; a sense of peace and appreciation for their teachers, their school, the positive, healthy experiences in that place.

-for not having allergies. And not living with someone with allergies. For being able to fling the windows open in the spring and not close them until it gets to hot (or, sometimes, too chilly). For being able to snuggle my cats, pet a dog, make a meal without worrying about it.

-for my husband, who WALKED IN THE DOOR yesterday at 5pm- much earlier than usual- and was able to help me finish making dinner. My head (OH MY HEAD)... I had such an awful headache, and we were signed up to bring dinner to a friend w/ a new baby... and oh MAN was I ever glad to see him.

-for this Early-June-in-April we are having. I know, global warming blah blah blah (I'm actually quite concerned about our planet and our resources etc); HOWEVER. I am enjoying this warmth, this budding, blooming, flowering, this... spring, I guess is the word. This must be the nicest spring Minnesota has had for YEARS.

-for East Coast Anne's upcoming visit. She'll be traveling alone with two kids (ages 1 and 4). And I am so glad she's willing to do that; so excited about her visit that I can't think about it too much without having seizure-esque episodes of pants-wetting. She centers me, makes me feel more like ME, and the world makes more sense when I'm with her.

What's making you happy right now? What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Utero

We were pregnant together, Tea* and me. Both of us expecting our 3rd babies. Somewhere, if I were to dig deep enough, I could find photos of our bellies, huge and "kissing". Our babes, greeting each other with kicks and nudges before they were even born. (I'll spare us all THAT particular search, as I'm sure you can all use your imaginations.) (My pregnant self is cuter in your imagination.)

(*I've called her Pammy here before, and she's commented under "T", and since I don't prefer one letter pseudonyms, I've decided "Tea" fits her perfectly.)

Anyway, during our pregnancies, she was having a girl, and I was having a boy. We were both confident in this.

She had her baby first, and when her doctor put her daughter on her chest and said "It's a BOY!", she was shocked. Her husband captured this moment, and if I had that photo, I'd share it for sure. Because it's awesome.

I met her fresh newborn the next day, in the hospital. Still hugely pregnant myself (with my own little boy, I thought) I held his squishy body and imagined my own soon-to-be-born son.

As I held him though, a thought started to whisper in my head and heart... A nudging, really... If she had a boy... then I must be carrying a girl. Mostly, I ignored it. But it was there.

Several weeks later, my own delivery day came. Sure enough my baby was a daughter.

(While writing this, Marin climbed on my lap,looked at this photo and said: "Sol's a little taller than me, Mommy. He's like the dad and I'm like the mom. We're going to have babies. He's going to have a boy baby in his tummy and I'm going to have a girl baby in mine. Two babies.")


Where was I? Oh yes. So Tea had my boy and I had her girl. Having a friend go through pregnancy and new-baby-ness with you creates a special place for bonding. We've nursed together. Held each other's babes. Commiserated. Talked about when to start solids.

We've watched each other's and our own babies unfold into wee little people. Watched them play together. Learn to walk. Go from gummy-smiled to toothed. Throw tantrums. Start talking. Learn to say each other's names.

I no longer see Tea as much as I used to; her family moved about an hour away. But we still make a point to get together. To get our babies together. After all, she is raising my boy.

All joking aside, it's funny how these things turn out. I can't imagine either of us having any child but the one we have. Despite our pregnancy convictions, Sol was her boy all along, and Marin my girl.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I was putting Kate to bed the other night when she couldn't stop talking about school. Perhaps it started as a stall tactic, but once that faucet was open, the words could not stop flowing.

I'm not sure if any of you have trouble retrieving anything significant about your child's day, but around here, it's nearly impossible. I always ask how their school day was ("fine"), I ask specific questions ("Who did you sit by at lunch?" "Did anything funny happen?" "Emily" "Not really."). It seems I am only granted one or two word answers; they don't usually want to go into any details.

So when Kate started telling me- really telling me- about school, I listened (stall tactic or not). She ended up grabbing her class picture and telling me specifics about each child. "He doesn't clean his ears very much" (??!!), "She likes to tell lies", "She's never moved a crayon, EVER." etc.

Then she got to a little boy and said "Mom, he's so into me. Like, so, so into me. If I even spill a little water, he jumps up. And goes and gets me a paper towel." She went on to tell me that she's informed him that she's not allowed to date, that dating is for high schoolers. And that she's not really that into him, but since they can't date anyway, she sees no point in telling him.

Then she pointed to another little boy and said "He's into me too. But I'm sorta into him. We're into each other an equal amount. I think that's best; being into each other an equal amount."

So, at the tender age of seven, I've had my first human relationship conversation with my daughter. She did most of the talking, and did a good job of summing it up, I think.

I love that girl. Or- as the kids these days would say- I'm so into her.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

For Maddie

I don't think I understand death, not really.

I've been following Maddie's story, and whenever her mom or dad writes a post about mourning the loss of their daughter, I take a moment and feel it for them. I hurt for them. I remember their daughter. I am aghast that she is no longer here. I try and put myself in that place, even for just a nanosecond, even as unequipped as I am to actually understand.

It's the least I can do, this remembering their daughter. Trying to understand their feelings of loss. Feeling outraged for them- for there are no good "answers" as to why. It's the least I can do, to take these small moments of my time.

But then, when I see photos of her- looking very much alive and vibrant- part of my brain thinks she's not dead. And I have the ability to be able to do that- to deny their awful reality- because for me, Maddie is in the internet; I can visit her there anytime. She's not missing from my arms, from my bed, from my car seat. I don't have empty clothes, and empty high chair, a silent piano. I only have the internet, where Maddie smiles at me any time I click in the right places.

This line of thinking usually makes me feel so very "lucky" to not have experienced death very often or very hard in my lifetime. But then I realize that "luck" has nothing to do with it... for if we all die- and news flash, self: WE ALL DO INDEED DIE- then at some point death will visit me too*. Or perhaps it's better to say that death will visit someone that I am not ready to part with.

*Joan Didion points this out too, in her book A Year of Magical Thinking, this concept that facing the death of a loved one will catch up to all of us, eventually.

And this brings me back to my original statement: I do not understand death. Also, I cannot prepare myself for death. So instead, I take a moment. I take a moment for Maddie, but mostly I take a moment for her mommy. For her daddy. And I try to feel it as they are feeling it- and I fail... but oh, do I try.

Other times I just enjoy her smile, enjoy reading about her parents' memories of her. I let her "be alive" for me. Here, in the internet.

It's a small token- a speck, really- remembering. I don't have anything unique or elequent to say about death or about Maddie or about how to keep on living. Nothing that hasn't been said, and said better, elsewhere.

Holding my own babes close. Kissing their curls and thinking, however briefly, of her. That's what I do.

But it's the least I can do... in fact, it's all I can do.

For Maddie.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Do you ever get a glimpse of someone else's life and start romanticizing how lovely it is?

Recently, that happened to me- for just an instant, anyway.

When my mom and brother Kiner were here this past weekend, we went to visit my aunt- my mom's sister- who lives about 40 minutes from me.

I don't see my aunt all that often. Our lives are very different, and we are both busy in our own little worlds.

My aunt's world is not one I usually admire. She's had a hard life: teen pregnancy, domestic abuse, divorce, a mentally ill child, money problems, a grandchild at age 32 (OMG- totally not kidding), and most recently breast cancer. To name a few.

She's handled it all with grace and a smile. A good sense of humor. A resilient spirit.

Recently her passion has been running a greenhouse on her property, which is where we visited her on Saturday.

Everything about a green house in spring is wonderful: the smells, the glowy light, the warmth inside when it's chilly outside....

Even the bags of dirt looked cheerful.

My girls were in heaven: getting dirty, planting flowers, filling pots with soil to "help" my aunt.

Marin was so excited to wear her new gardening gloves, that- on the way there- she fell asleep with them on. She loves her gardening gloves... and digging in dirt.

The wee little sprouts, popping through the soil, looked so fresh and hopeful.

The flats upon flats of tiny specks, soon to be blossoming flowers.

The vibrant colors of the plants a little further in their growing were cheering.

It was a lovely way to spend a chilly spring afternoon. We packed a picnic. We got dirty. Kiner even talked to my uncle about buying a greenhouse. What was involved, costs for heating/cooling, etc. (He's always up for a new project.)

We were all charmed, I think.

But then I looked across the rows and rows and rows of things growing, things needing to be watered, tended to, groomed, and cared for.

Rows and rows and rows of plants that would die if not given proper attention.

And then I realized that my aunt planted ALL OF THAT. (The next photo is half of her greenhouse).

And then I realized I'm much too lazy for a greenhouse.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

The Easter Bunny was here.

Chocolate was consumed at 8 am.

We've had a delicious breakfast, went to church, ate ham dinner...

Now we've all escaped to our own quiet, for awhile.

The sun is shining and it's a beautiful spring day...

Happy Easter!

Please note that the dolls also have matching dresses.
I've become THAT mom.

...but it makes my girls so happy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


My mom and Uncle Kiner with my kids. More photos here.

My mom and baby brother Kiner are here this weekend, to celebrate Easter with us. As usual when we have company, we've been playing hard and sleeping little.

Yesterday we all loaded up and went geocaching for our first time, and we all loved it. Well, all except my brother, who was more frustrated by his GPS than he was enjoying walking in the woods.

I don't see Kiner as much as I'd like, so I've really been enjoying his visit. He's fun and easy to be around and my children adore him. He's an awesome brother, and Seester is an awesome sister, and my other brother is... less than awesome. (Remember this?)... but as far as siblings go, I think 2 awesome ones out of 3 is not bad. Not bad at all.

In other interesting family news, my dad broke up with his girlfriend. (You can read more about her here.) And moved (temporarily, I think) in with Kiner. Since he was still married to my mom when he moved in with his girlfriend, his girlfriend purchased the house in her name only. Therefore, she was able to kick him out.

First and foremost, I was concerned for my dad. I don't like seeing him kicked out and left "homeless". He has a large lab that is a mostly-outside-dog, so renting a place is not easy for him. Kiner owns a beautiful home- much closer to my dad's work- and lives there alone. So for now, the two of them are enjoying each other.

(My dad is a crazy-fun person to be around.)

However, beyond hating seeing my dad in a vulnerable position, I'm soooooo relieved he's not longer dating THAT WOMAN. After Christmas... oh, you guys.... I've been dreading (DREADING!) seeing her again. Or letting her be around my kids. Or dealing with her in any way. Dreading it in the way that my stomach literally hurt and I felt physically ill when I thought about it too much.

I don't trust her. And frankly? I think she's crazy. CAH-razy.

So, we'll see how this all pans out. I suppose there's always the chance that they'd get back together....

(My fingers are crossed.)

Anyway, our weekend has been great so far. We spent the afternoon at my aunt's toasty-warm greenhouse, planting and looking and smelling flowers. My girls came away smelling like soil and sunshine, so content.

We've dyed eggs.

And been shopping.

And every evening all four adults have spent quality time together. Each on our own laptop, of course. But there's something strangely comforting about this too: we've been together all day, and we still want to be together, while we each check into our virtual worlds.

It's quiet and cozy.

Occasionally, someone announce something funny to share. Or we'll crowd around one laptop for 45 seconds of Youtube. And then it's quiet again, as we all go back to our own corners of the internet.

(My mom is also single again, and INTERNET DATING via her new blackberry while she's here. My mom, you guys. MY MOM! Internet dating!)

Ahhh, families.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Afternoon Delight

Early Summer has arrived- however briefly- these past few days. I can't tell you how soul-feeding it has been.

Sun dresses are being worn

reminding me of my own knock-kneed days of childhood.

(though my own development took me straight from "knock-kneed" to "chubby-kneed" without the stopping at "normal-kneed". SIGH.)

Chubby knees aside, something about the "early summer" weather is incredibly nostalgic for me.

The release of pent-up winter energy....

remembering bringing my own books out to fresh green grass for reading....

Kate especially has be into writing in her diary lately. My sweet girl, who reads like a fourth grader but still sometimes writes diary "biary". This simple blunder makes me smile.

I had a locked biary too.

We've been spending as much time outside as possible, for this wonderful "heat wave" is predicted to be short lived.

The girls already have bruised shins and skinned knees....

But it's worth it- just ask them- because nothing beats the sun warming your skin while you lay outside smelling soil and grass and things growing.

My mom and brother are coming (tonight!) for Easter weekend, and I can tell you that finding myself inside- cleaning- has not been happening.

Do you think they will understand?