Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Once more with feeling

It snowed today which inspired me to begin my yearly piano practice of "In the Bleak Midwinter." I love that song, ". . . snow on snow on snow." When you live in Minnesota that really means something, doesn't it?

My piano playing leaves a lot to be desired so it really adds to the overall mood of "In the Bleak Midwinter." It's my goal to one day play a piano piece in public. I don't think anyone should really be listening. Perhaps I am at the mall or background music at the party or the pre-pre-pre prelude, but it's definitely on my list of things to accomplish. Be sure to be on the lookout for a nervous looking late 30 something playing a depressing song about never ending winter. If you love me at all, you'll walk on by.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Amen, sister!

From The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford.

". . . I think housework is far more tiring and frightening than hunting is, no comparison, and yet after hunting we had eggs for tea and were made to rest for hours, but after housework people expect one to go on just as if nothing special had happened." She sighed.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Clean up on aisle 3

Well, we hosted the laws and in the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner again. We were trying to calculate -- we think this was our sixth year. I love Thanksgiving. All the fun and food without the heartache of the gifts. Everyone brings food so it's not very hard to host Thanksgiving, but it is the one time a year when I actually clean my house, so that presents a challenge.

This year we had mother/daughter cookie bake the next day so the after clean up had to be finished Thanksgiving night. The cookie bake was strangely fun too. Mom and her friend (our surrogate mother) Bonnie got into the cranberry cocktails from Thanksgiving and -- whoops! it was a party. (In the photo, Mom and Bonnie are showing you that they have stained their hands with food coloring in dedication to the cookie making process. Way to commit, girls!!)

So now I am done-done with Thanksgiving and that blob of Jell-O cranberry mold from Aunt Phyllis will just have to wait there on the side of the fridge until next year's Thanksgiving clean up.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Our church has a Thanksgiving Eve service entirely of music followed by pie. In the words of Food Network star Ina Garten, "That can't be all bad." Usually Brent and I sing, but this year I urged Brent to sing with Colin. They worked up a very nice little version of the Chris Rice song "Enough." Colin did the arranging. They got up there and Colin could not have been cuter. When they were done, the next people to sing popped right up to go on stage and everyone got excited and gave them a standing ovation. So it was an accidental ovation, but enthusiastic nevertheless. I cried. I wasn't the only one.

I am a little concerned it was a sympathy ovation for the "special" kid. I don't think there was too much of that. It was good, even if I am a little biased and we have been through a lot, but . . .

I am torn between feeling amazingly proud, slightly embarrassed and horrified that we have a kid on our hands who God created for a purpose so much bigger than our little life in West Central Minnesota. We'll just have trust Him to work it out. That always seems to be the best and least complicated plan.

So as corny as it sounds, I am thankful for my family today and the amazing jouney that I am on. It isn't the one I envisioned when I was small, but it is just right.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mother of the Year

I am afraid Family Court Services is going to come after me. Baby D has had a series of unrelated accidents which clearly would not win me mother of the year. Monday we were on our way to the grocery store to buy many groceries for our Thanksgiving party and I left my travel mug of coffee on the bottom step. BD decided he would like a drink. The coffee wasn't hot-hot, but it was warm and we had to have a very quick change of clothes. At the store, I had BD buckled into the cart but he still tried to make flying leaps over the side causing grandma-types to gasp loudly. I walked with one hand hold of his pants. Makes it very difficult to shop. Later that afternoon we started to crawl upstairs. I think I was still unpacking groceries. I wasn't that far behind him, but it was long enough because by the time I reached him, he had disassembled a night light and had a long scratch across his cheek about a quarter inch from his eye. Nice.

Monday, November 19, 2007

An unfortunate review

I love Lemony Snicket. Brent and I bought his newest book "The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story" yesterday in Fargo. We thought is was hilarious. For some reason, unremembered by me now, I looked the book up on Amazon last night. The only review it had was from a lady who thought is was going to be a beautiful and educational interweaving of Hanukkah and Christmas. She was very offended that Christmas was getting the shaft. As an evangelical Christian I can honestly say that's not the way I interpreted this book at all. Perhaps we need to get a sense of humor. So I am starting a grassroots campaign. Go on and either write your own review in praise of LS, or vote for mine. By the time Brent edited it so that I was not taking pot shots at this woman who was CLEARLY unfamiliar with LS, it's quite short.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Verily, thou doest boogie, baby!

We have been to darling stepdaughter's college play "Two Gentlemen of Verona: The love-rock musical adapted from Shakespeare." No really, that's the title. I love, love, love Shelby, but it is hard to know exactly what to say after an afternoon like the one I have just had.

"We are so proud of you!"

"Wow! Who knew a Chinese dragon and sombreros could be incorporated into Shakespeare?"

"I think my favorite song was 'I Come from the Land of Betrayal.'"

It wasn't the cast. Truly it wasn't. It was the show. Bless their hearts.

Oh my stars! I have just looked it up on Wikipedia. It won the Tony for best musical in 1972. I will be darned. It just goes to show . . . something, doesn't it?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Shameless plug

Visit my sister's blog. The link is on the left. She has a most amusing blog today about life before kids and after, but under that is a link to a very nifty website that is giving away food to the United Nations World Food Program. (Plus you get to play a little game. Bonus!) Seems like a smart thing to do Thanksgiving week.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Milk, bread, eggs

I am having a grocery list trauma. For many years my beloved spouse has tried to get me to use a Palm with varying degrees of success. I am a paper and pen sort of girl. I like the physical action of crossing things out. But I play games on the Palm. I keep an address book, but the thing I use most often is a grocery list program. It's great. You can have separate lists for all kinds of things. I have a Target list, a travel list, a license plate list (just in case anyone has actually read my blog from the beginning. Brent, maybe). Since Baby D has been born, since I have dyed my hair somewhere in the vicinity of its actual color, I am getting brave enough to say -- deep breath -- I am tired of carrying the Palm around just so I can play Chuzzle. I bought myself a small date book I can carry in the backpack.

The real problem, of course, is the grocery list. I always felt so cool, so Mom-on-the-go with my Palm list, but I sort of didn't like it because you have to hold the Palm in one hand, the stylus in another and you have to keep tapping it on. I felt buried in the Palm with no free hands to reach for groceries. I didn't really want to set it in the cart. It's expensive. My jeans may be of a certain size, but my pockets aren't big enough for it. I don't know.

I have been experimenting with lists on the web. is the winner so far, but they're a little weird. They want you to leave the list in the cart so someone else can mail it to the website. Apparently they get a strange sort of kick reading grocery lists. is my experiment this week. I have just downloaded something to the computer my husband will have to clean off later if I don't like it. Poor man. If only I would just do what he suggested in the first place.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Testing one, two, three . . .

Colin was three or four when we went to manditory preschool screening and he flunked speech. We were referred to early childhood special education where they decided he "fell on the autism spectrum" (ouch!). He does so very well now. He receives speech, occupational, and social therapy and attends a mini session of adaptive phy ed two or three days a week.

We are so proud of him and know for certain that God is creating Colin to be exactly what He needs for his kingdom . . . and yet there is a part of me that still kicks myself in the rear. I knew something was a little off with Colin, but I come from a long line of quirky people. I married quirky. I am definitely quirky. It didn't surprise me I might have a quirky child. But I should have been more firm, made more of a fuss.

So Darling Mindy, the sweet and lovely early childhood special education elf has been here today to look at Daniel. She declared she would like to come back and work with him because he is so cute, but there is no need. She will come back in six months.

All right for now.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Things to remember

My last prenatal vitamin is sitting alone in the bottle on the table waiting to be consumed in the morning. I remembering a year and a half ago how completely freaked out I was about getting those vitamins. I had to have them. The baby HAD to have them. I was responsible for him. Before I found out I was pregnant was becoming -- again -- very, very focused on myself and what I needed and what was important to me, but then all of a sudden I was sharing living space and I had to take care. What I ate mattered. What I did mattered. Proper diet, exercise, vitamins.

The past year and a half has gone so quickly. Newborn hats have been packed up and given away. The swing has been taken out to the garage. The crib has been lowered once and probably should be lowered again. All of it happening without much thought. We are too swept away in the necessity of daily function to notice.

And yet there is my last vitamin . . . the last vestige of pregnancy and nursing . . . the end of an unexpected time of blessing, excitement, promise.

Right now Baby D is upstairs wailing because he does not want to go to sleep, but I am the Mom and I say that 10 month old babies should be asleep at 9:30 at night. He is exerting his own will and his own thought. This little person who depended on me for his very life declares that he is not tired and will not sleep.

And here we begin the process of letting each other go.

Damn vitamin.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's all worth it

Pregnancy hormones and I had a real struggle the past two years. Up and down we went with what seemed like a real emphasis on the down. I have not been entirely sad to see them go . . . until today.

Last year I got my very first flu shot and I remember thinking, "That was just a tiny prick of an immunization. I must be sure to do this from now on." One year later and I am thinking," Oh, my stars, where can I get a new arm?! How am I supposed to hold up my baby with this debilitated lump of flesh hanging off my shoulder?!"

I just know it's worth it. The only thing longer than a Minnesota winter is flu in the Minnesota winter.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fly Away

Our neighbors across the street, Louis and Barbara, are packing their cars to head down south for the winter. It is everything I can do not to pack myself a little bag and jump into one of those cars.

I know global warming is a serious and terrible thing, but it's sort of hard not to see some of it as a benefit here in Minnesota. Winter is a long, frustrating event here. There's a pretty fall for four or five weeks and then it is cold and brown or cold and white until April. Prince had a song years ago "Sometimes it Snows in April." Yeah, it does. And even though we may not be the ice, frozen tundra all year round I imagine some figure us to be, winter is long and cold and dreary and, frankly, I don't look forward to it.

Well, thank goodness, I am not a prairie pioneer girl getting settled into my sod hut. At least I have cable.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's all in the way you say it.

Colin and I were watching Survivor the other night when one of the contestants, feed up with his camp mate, told the camera she needed to "Get over it, B***h!" Honestly, why must we have this in the "family hour" (HA!) of television?

A couple of years ago we heard this same word uttered during the seven o'clock hour and I said to Colin, "That's not a nice word, okay, Colin?"

"What word, Mom?" he asked.

"The word that man just used. It started with B."

"Ball?" No. "Beans?" No. "Bull----?" Um. No. Although, you're right. That's not nice either.

So I am not naive. I know my child is hearing all sorts of things out on the playground, but we certainly don't need to hear it on television in our home. Do we? So I start again this time.

"That is truly not a nice thing to call someone, Colin," I said.

"What, Mom?"

"That B word that man just used."

"What word?"

Well, now I have learned my lesson. I do not want to hear out of my precious boy's mouth all the bad words he knows that start with B, so I just go ahead and say it. "It was b---h. That is not a nice thing to call someone. Okay?"

"Okay, Mom. If someone calls me a bench, I will say, 'That is not a nice thing to call someone.'"

"Well, yes, honey, but I don't think anyone is going to call you a bench. It's b---h and mostly girls get called that and it's not nice."

I have this vision of my son, age 25 or 26. He is having his first fight with his lovely intelligent girlfriend. A la his father it's sort of hard to tell he is fighting but he's really frustrated and he turns to her and says, "You are just really being a bench." And she just laughs and says, "What?!" And the whole thing is over. Well, good for her.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

And the Oscar Goes to . . .

I am thrilled that my dramatic personality has once again over reacted in proportion to the situation and that the Room 406 Harvest Party was a great success. Mrs. P. has her students whipped into perfect third grade shape. Games were played in rows. Everyone said "please" and "thank you." One little brown noser stood up and gave a speech about good sportsmanship. (That's right, honey! Every does deserve a big "Good Game!" for tossing their styrofoam ball into the Halloween -- oh, sorry -- harvest pumpkin cutout bucket.) The hysteric meylay of spitball throwing, angry urchins fighting each other for the "good" prizes after the "lame games" were no where to be found, and I am profoundly grateful.

I know that I sometimes appear more worried (or upset or excited or disappointed) than I really am, but for some reason, this event really had me sweating. My sister, as usual, nailed it right on the head. I just hate the unknown. I felt like had agreed to something without knowing all the details and I was expected to perform in a way I did not feel I was gifted. I was particularly worried about the games. But here's the thing: I found someone who was talented at that sort of thing and she took over. Before we left, she was even talking about what games we could play at Christmas. She even seemed excited about it!!