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Showing posts from May, 2016

Day 152: Holding Hands

As we set out for a quick boat ride between rains today, I grasped my middle child's hand and headed down the steps. I briefly swelled with gratitude when I realized how natural parents and kids hold hands.

Even when we're in a hurry or mad at each other or just having a terrible day, I instinctively reach out my hands and the kids seem to instinctively grab them. I take great comfort in knowing that and hope the kids do, too.

Day 151: Memorial Day

I'm falling behind again, and I blame my mom. The boys and I are staying with her and dad for a few days and we are totally being spoiled. I'm basically holding the whiny toddler or sitting on the couch eating ice cream and caramel rolls. Yikes! 
Yesterday Dad went to help out another farmer so mom and I took the boys to my hometown's Memorial Day program and I'm so glad we did! My generation seems to have lost the sense of responsibility our parents had to attend community events like this and to remember why we have "holidays" like Memorial Day in the first place. I'm hoping to instill those values I learned from my parents into my own kids. 
The program had me back in the gym that hosted my high school graduation, lot hear 16 years ago. My neice played in the band, directed by my former director. The atmosphere was a bit surreal to me. Our tiny town has lots of musical talent, and the high school kids did a phenomenal job on several musical selections. A…

Day 150: Childhood Shennanigans

Our nieces and nephews are the best. I'm grateful that on my side, our kids are the younger ones, and that the big kids are so great at caring for the little ones. I would highly recommend having 11- and 13-year-old nieces! Our kids and the grandkids of mom and dad's neighbors played and ran around all day. 



I reminisced about my own childhood as the pack of 9 or 10 kids aged 4-14 ran around playing kickball, basketball, baseball and kick the can. Kick the can! I'm so glad that game is still surviving and thriving! Adult intervention played little to no role in the activities of the day, besides just knowing vaguely where in the "neighborhood" they were, and ensuring people wore life jackets near the water. I'm pretty sure there was at least one application of sunscreen, I promise!
The day encapsulated what I feel is missing from many childhoods today: freedom to play, run, be bored, make up games, and get to know other kids all without adults looking over th…

Day 149: Date with Mom

Mom and I slipped away yesterday afternoon for a trip to town. We had a relaxing couple of hours away from all the chaos at the lake. We shopped, drove around town chatting, I visited the sacrament of reconciliation, and we picked up my favorite small-town pizza joint pizza for supper.

I love my hometown so much, but don't spend much time there anymore now that my parents live at the lake. I enjoyed cruising around town catching up on the changes and updates. Mom caught me up on local news, and I accidentally bought a dress, two shirts and a travel mug. That type of thing happens when I hang with my mom, but that's OK! 
It was a wonderful afternoon and I'm grateful for our little escape.

Day 148: The Funniest Frisbee Video

Yesterday was one of those seemingly never-ending days which included a long car ride, lots of fights, bad moods, and a sick baby. A generous blogger shared this video I'd seen a few times before but forgotten about. It's so great. I was laughing out loud and it's exactly what I needed at the end of a long day. My favorite is how hard the guy on the left chucks it.

You're welcome. 

Day 147: Chiropractic

I hurt myself during the Weekend of Cleaning Literally All the Things and finally got to the chiropractor Thursday. The moment he popped ye olde spine back into alignment was definitely the moment I felt the most gratitude that day! I'm not of those people who thinks chiropractic is the cure-all for every ailment, but I am one of those people who feels better after a monthly(ish) visit!

Day 146: Trashing the Place. But Not Our Place.

Today I'm grateful for generous friends who take us in and feed us and let us mess up their houses and yards so we can keep ours clean. We've managed to keep the house in good shape for the last two days of showings. I'm hoping for a sale sooner than later, obviously, but am pleased with how we've done not completely trashing the place. Of course, it's much easier not to trash it when you are playing in friends' yards and toy rooms and eating in their kitchens. Win!

Day 145: First Words

My one-year-old is kind of on my s**t list right now because he whines and throws hissy fits almost nonstop. He's a tiny tyrant! I know, that's just what toddlers do. But last weekend when he was with my parents he fussed and cried exactly 0 times. He loves torturing me.

Last night when we were trying to get bedtime rolling he pulled out some great material. He's learning to talk and it's really adorable. Sometimes, even though I have one, I forget how fun it can be to have a one-year-old. 
As we waited for the big boys to brush teeth, #3 and I looked at each other for at least 60 seconds and just said "hap-py" back and forth and it melted my cold, cold heart.

Day 144: Roadtrip Music

After my 400-mile round trip on Friday, I added another 330 picking the boys up yesterday. I loaded up ye olde minivan with more CDs from the days of yore. The only thing that could have made this trip better, or more early 2000s, would have been taking it with Goldie, my old Ford Escort ZX2. We had some good times in our 12 years together. Sigh.

Anyway, I had the Dixie Chicks on my mind since Friday. I realized again that I have a heart for Texas Twang. And if it's accompanied by fiddle or steel guitar, I die. So great are the sounds! I used to say that if I could have a celebrity voice for a day or two, it would be that of Natalie Maines and I still stand behind that comment. I promise I'd use it for good! I mean, hasn't everyone else chosen Adele already? Or maybe Norah Jones? I'd also grabbed her "Come Away With Me" album and enjoyed it so much. The smoothness of her voice just amazes me. It's comforting and soft, yet powerful.

Since the Garth concert…

Day 143: Pentecost Dress

I'm falling behind because every waking, and some sleeping, moment(s) has been occupied getting our house ready to sell. 
I do remember my gratitude moment, which occurred early Sunday morning on my way in to 8:00 am Mass. I was happily walking in, enjoying the beautiful weather and the prospect of Mass alone, and I was also smiling widely because I was wearing my beloved Pentecost dress! 
I rarely take selfies, and if I do they are definitely not the kind where you see a phone front and center in a bathroom mirror. Those annoy me. If you catch me doing it for any reason other than to send you a picture of me in my bridesmaid dress from your wedding, feel free to call me out. At any rate, here's the dress just hanging in my closet. You can't see how beautiful it really is; you'll have to take my word. 

I got this dress last fall when my sweet friend Ashley entered the convent. Even if you don't know much about religious sisters, you know they don't need this dress…

Day 142: Grandma

My mom, with the help of my sister, nieces, and nephews, has the boys this weekend while I am busting my butt cleaning and organizing and staging (sort of) the house. I can't even explain how grateful I am for her generosity, because trying to do with with a one-year-old maniac would be counterproductive to say the least. Yay for grandma! And grandpa, but he's probably in the field.

Day 141: The Family Farmer

Yesterday I took a 400-mile round-trip tour of eastern North Dakota. Half of my trip was spent alone, which is food for the soul for a melancholic/ISTJ! I brought along a few old friends, CDs from the "rarely spun" category, to keep me company.

As I drove north on 281, then east on Highway 2, I noticed what seemed like a thousand farmsteads. I saw plenty of tractors working, people cleaning and moving equipment, and of course endless fields. I got to thinking about the memes I see online about how hard-working and under-appreciated certain people are, namely teachers and nurses. For the record, I don't disagree. Neither of those occupations are something I could do even adequately. However, rarely do I see anyone sharing about the family farmer, the heart and soul of our state and greater Midwest. The music, which was from the '90s, added to my nostalgic and sentimental feelings.

I realize I'm biased because I descend from a long line of farmers, and my brother a…

Day 140: The Library

I've been a fan of libraries since before I could read. I loved story time at our small-town public library. My grandma was the librarian for my mom's hometown library, and my favorite thing to do while visiting her was to hang out at the library while she worked.
Fargo has a great public library. The boys and I visit every few weeks to check out books, play, and sometimes get movies (them) and a latte (me). We love the Wiggle Room, a playroom for the six and under set. We went yesterday and it was so nice out that we ran around in the grass between the library and the civic center. I had one of those "why haven't I thought of this before?" moments. 
Probably my favorite thing about the library, though, is that I can pick out my book online and they'll grab it for me so all I have to do is grab it from a shelf on the way to the children's area. A book-loving mom's dream come true!

Day 139: Letting Someone Else Do It

I've been doing it for a while, in preparation for the upcoming move, but yesterday I took some concrete steps toward letting go of a few responsibilities I won't be taking with me. 
I love joining the things and holding the offices and writing the reports and sending the emails. I do. But over the last few years, I've filled too much time on my calendar with things I realized were good, but weren't filling me up in the best way. 
I have a fair amount of work ahead to help prepare those who are taking on my previously-held roles, but the feeling of taking steps in the right direction is a good one. 
I think the second half of 2016 is going to be one where we, as a family, can reevaluate what's important to us, where our priorities lie, and whether or not we are being intentional in our decision making. And I think it will be so good for us!

Day 138: Bullets of Gratitude

So much gratitude today! Here are a few snippets, because my bedtime is coming up quickly.


The weather: it was a perfect, sunny 73 today. As I age, my heat tolerance is diminishing quickly from the days of my youth when I wanted every day to be 90 degrees or above. Today's weather was spot on: a bit of wind, warm enough to feel heat from the sun, but not too warm that a certain mom gets sweaty pitching at the baseball field.A friend with a scary medical diagnosis had surgery today and last I heard the doctors were closing her up. Things could be better for her and her family, but they could also be worse, and I'm grateful for the village they have surrounding them at this difficult time.Advice from friends: I love it when I send a complaining text to a friend and she has helpful advice. It happens often, and I'd feel like a sinking ship without that simple, easy dose of friendship when things get tough. I obsess over the four temperaments, so I loved this podcast today from…

Day 137: We Made It

We don't take as many weekend trips as we used to. It seems we go less and less frequently with each kid we have! We just returned from a weekend on Minnesota's Iron Range. Grateful for the weekend, that Ben's whole family was able to be there (including a Philly surprise!), and for seeing old friends. 
I'm also grateful that we survived the car ride! Our kids are typically really good in the car, so it's not the feat you may think. But the big kids don't nap as much in the car, and the baby toddler's antibiotics are making him cranky, so it wasn't the most fun 4.5 hours we've ever experienced. I could sense all of us relaxing a bit as we pulled into our garage. Home! At least for now...

Day 136: Long Lost Friends

This is *technically* Sunday's post, but we got to see some long lost friends this weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. They weren't really lost; they live in Houston. But it's probably been 5 years since we saw them. 
Dave was a close friend of Ben's from high school, and I got to know him pretty well when I was in college. He doesn't make it to Minnesota often, nor do we make it to Texas. He and his wife, Kari, and their little 11-month-old daughter were able to hang out at my in-laws' house some during the weekend. 
The best part was that it didn't feel awkward or rushed or frantic, as it sometimes can when you try to pack years into one weekend. We just hung out, as though it was something we do all the time. We played Wii and had a couple of beers, went out for breakfast, and just got to hang out and chat. Beautiful! Our close (in proximity) friends are such a gift to us, but I'm happy for the reminders of those dear friends whose daily lives we are…

Day 135: Wake Up Sky

Yesterday I spent the last few hours of the morning on the couch. We had the curtains open, but the sun wasn't blazing in since the windows are west-facing. I woke up to brightness, a beautiful blue sky and fluffy white clouds floating by. It was different enough from the normal way I wake up that I took notice of it. Small moments of beauty are such a gift!

Day 134: Basement Hockey

I complain plenty about our house (less so since Purgefest 2016 and updating began), but one thing I realized yesterday that I am grateful for is our second family room area in the basement. For a long time before kids it was just crap storage, but over the last five years it has morphed into the toy room. 

This year we've gotten rid of about half of our toys, which means we actually have room to play. We're leaning toward moving into a rental temporarily, so I highly doubt we'll have a space available to play inside hockey (at least without  losing our deposit!). 
I think saying that someone plays hockey down there for an hour a day would be a conservative estimate. We will really miss this space!

Day 133: Beatlemania

Well, not quite Beatlemania. But definitely Beatles. 

About a month ago I put the Beatles' "One" album in the car. We still listen to CDs, so I like to change out the options to expose the kids to, well, music I like, I guess! 
They were confused by "Eight Days a Week" and they like "Yellow Submarine" but I haven't heard much other feedback from the folks in the way way back. 
My personal favorite is "Ticket to Ride" but the whole first half of the album is just so cheerful and upbeat, not necessarily lyrically, but in the beats and melodies. If you can hear "I Want to Hold Your Hand" or "Can't Buy Me Love" without at least a bit of toe tapping, I'm certain you don't have a heart. Of course, the later works have their merits, but those peppy, poppy numbers from the earlier years just make me smile.

Day 132: Average

Yesterday was a very average day. Much to be grateful for, but not much post-worthy material. And that's ok. I'm not to make something up for a post, and I do appreciate average days. A friend of mine got and unwelcome medical diagnosis this week and it made me keenly aware of the value in average days.

Day 131: Nieces and Links

We had a regular day, followed by a super busy night which included lots of cousin excitement. I could write an essay about how grateful I am to have been the last one in my family to have kids, and that my brother's kids are girls. His 13- and 11-year-old daughters pretty much take care of my kids whenever we are together. Tonight they got everyone in their jammies and helped them brush teeth. Winning! One of my favorite bloggers once said that the top baby thing she'd recommend for a first-time mom was an 8-year-old girl. Truth!

So since I'm tired and I barely even remember what happened today, here are a few links for you.

Podcasts! I firmly believe that everyone needs more of the sweet, soothing baritone of Father John Nepil in their lives. Today, I re-listened to The Four Temperaments podcast. I'm obsessed with the temperaments. And last week, I listened to this one about Moms. Both excellent. Take a listen.

Music! I haven't ever listened to anyone else's …

Day 130: A Sweeping Realization

Sometimes you just have to take pleasure in the small things.

Sweeping the floor hasn't been a thing I've really done as a housekeeper. I usually just vacuum, then swiffer, then mop. We have a broom but it doesn't get much action unless its haircut day. Lately it seems like the only time I have to clean the ridiculously crumby floor is when someone is sleeping in the next room or several feet away on the couch, so I started getting out the broom almost every day.

Today I realized that silently sweeping the floor has become therapeutic to me. It's more relaxing than the loud vacuum, and seeing the fruits of my labor in a small large pile reminds me in a little way that my work is not in vain. Housework has to be done, and it's actually OK to enjoy it. There are certainly tasks I don't like, but it's nice to have a few throughout the day that can provide a few minutes of relaxation in addition to a sense of accomplishment.

Day 129: Mom!

Guess what day it is?!? Mother's day, actually. You'll know that by looking at any advertisement, Facebook, Instagram, your children or your mother.

I mentioned back on her birthday, which I neglected to acknowledge properly, that I am one of those lucky people with a great mom! She deserves a World's Best Mom mug, but she's a little too classy for that. Her mugs are pretty. At any rate, an ode to my mom:

Jan. That's what I call her when I don't use Mom or Grandma. She's quick to point out that she's actually not my grandma. Legit. 
I don't suppose many kids appreciate their moms as they should, and I know I didn't. Even after I became a mother, dealing with pregnancy and labor and newborn life, I still didn't "get" it. But now, a few years in, I'm struggling to figure out how exactly she did all the things. 
How did she withstand my constant, non-stop, incessant talking? How did she get Christmas shopping done without Amazon? …

Day 128: Garrrrrrrrrrth

Feeling all the good feels about today! My parents returned to their native land after 5 months of snowbirding. The weather was beautiful yet again, and my sister's family showed up, too.

Cousins + Grandpa = Little Boy Heaven. 
We ate pizza in the driveway because we are classy, and then 6 of us headed off to the FargoDome to see Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood.

We beat the rush and found a great parking spot, which proved useful when we had about a one minute wait to get out after Garth's 2.5-hour show. On my way to get a beer, I ran into some of my hometown folks, which is always fun for a small-town gal. 
I knew the show would be good, because, Garth. After a long wait and an OK 4-song opener (with one song called "Summers Like That" which I really liked), he appeared! Unfortunately the sound was terrible at the beginning and any time the lead guitarist played, it was extremely screechy. A couple songs in the sound engineers appeared to have it figured out and …

Day 127: All the Treats You Can Treat

Well, today I took three small boys shoe shopping, blew up the pool, and withstood a whiny pool party in the midst of an unexpected (by me, at least) cold front. But my dear friend Monica brought me an enormous Caribou iced coffee! Any whine-filled event's hardships are lessened with iced coffee. 
Then, after all three kids had simultaneous epic bedtime meltdowns, I treated myself again, this time to a Magnum ice cream bar. If you've not had a Magnum bar yet, you are missing out. Even though #2 caught me in the act when he came up for a drink, it was worth it. 
All the treats you can treat! I did it! And I'm not sorry, not one little bit!

Day 126: The Obv

I forgot to post yesterday, probably because we were outside most of the day!

I can hardly believe it, but I've lost track of how many days of excellent weather we've had in a row. Maybe eight? I think this is the eighth day of just beautiful weather we've had. This is not the norm for spring in North Dakota, so I'll take it.

I'm not ready yet for all the sweating, all the sunscreen, and having to bathe everyone more often, but it's worth it. I believe I was placed in a location with a legit winter so that I could both enjoy a season of not applying sunscreen to small wiggly people and also to appreciate the goodness that is feeling the warmth of the sun. Praise God for giving us seasons, each with their own wonders.

We attended a meeting with several other couples (and a fantastic priest, too!) last night and we ended up being able to do the whole thing outside. It's a little early for mosquitoes to start taking over our lives, and typically still cold aft…

Day 125: Oh Yes I Did

What did I do?

Well, yesterday I purchased and today I wore - wait for it - capri pants.

Not just any capri pants, mind you.

These are non-maternity elastic waist capri pants, and they are legit. By that I mean they are "real" pants, not yoga or sweat pants. I stood there in front of the pants table yesterday (at Sam's Club, no less) pondering whether or not I should take the leap, and I decided to go for it.

After all, I am a thirty-something mother of three, including one 10-pounder. I feel like I deserve these comfy, yet socially acceptable capri pants.

I shall wear them proudly.

Day 123: Behind the Music

As usual, my Wallflowers Pandora station is killin' it today. I've mentioned a zillion times before how large a role music has played in my life thus far. Today I started listening not as much to the songs but to the memories they brought to mind and the people who will live eternally in those songs for me.

Since the Wallflowers station is primarily '90s and early '00s, most of the people I thought of were from my high school and early college eras. I started thinking about how, even though we may no longer be in touch, or even though I feel the role they played in my life was minor, each of the people behind the songs have impacted me in some way. Some people's impacts are more profound than others, but through them I grew in virtue (or not), learned lessons about authentic relationships (or not), or just had a lot of fun. I will let those memories live with me forever.

For instance, when I hear Seven Mary Three's "Cumbersome," I will always remember…

Day 124: The Church

My day 123 post is sitting half-written on the computer screen but I'm tired, so I'll publish that one tomorrow. It's my blog and I'll publish out of order if I want to! 
I just listened to this amazing homily by Father Mike Schmitz at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I'm grateful for his priesthood, his courage, and the way he confidently speaks the truth. I'm grateful my parents raised me in the Catholic Church, because I often wonder I would have the courage to convert. I'm grateful that Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against his church and that he would be with us until the end of time. 
Check out the homily (5/1/16) here: http://bulldogcatholic.org/heroic-confidence/. Then make that amazed cat emoji face. That's what I did. 

Day 122: The Simple Show

I have exactly 3 minutes while the waffles cook to post. I meant to do it yesterday, but life.

Last week and over the weekend I listened to a couple episodes of The Simple Show podcast. I don't listen to every episode of this one, as some just don't interest me. I scrolled through and picked out a couple and they were both so great. I mentioned one of the episodes in a prior post.

The one that kept me company while cleaning my closet this weekend was Episode 19: Strength in Someone's Story by Mary Carver. Check it out here. 

Day 121: May Day! May Day!

How is it May first already? This morning Facebook said it was my dear friend Callie's birthday and I was all, "Ha! Facebook, you crazy. It's probably only April 29th or something." Unfortunately, as it turns out, Facebook was right and I was wrong. Darn you, Mark Zuckerberg.

Apparently the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen is the year in which Ashley's prepared thoughtfulness comes to a screeching halt, so if you have a birthday coming up this year and are expecting a card from me, set yourself up for disappointment. I can't get organized this year, at least when it comes to acknowledgements where sending a card is the social norm.

So like I said, it's my dear friend Callie's birthday. I've written about her before when we got a quick, unexpected visit a couple of months ago. She lives a million miles away (or two states, but still) so we don't see each other often, but when we are together it's like we were never apart. She is one of…

Day 120: Random Silver Linings

Yesterday I was cranky, the selfish, prideful, pity-party type of cranky. But there were a few silver linings throughout the day. 
1. Beautiful weather. Like a perfect 68 degrees and sunny. 
2. We got some of our crap out to the curb for cleanup week. Lookin' at you, rickey 42-year-old crib, destroyed bubble machine and broken toilet. More to go today!
3. Dos Equis was on sale at Cash Wise. I'm not always grateful, but when I am, it's because I'm drinking a bottle of Dos Equis. XX
4. I receiced a cute little handmade bookmark I ordered from Etsy in the mail. 
5. We had a delicious grilled pork loin dinner. I love grilling season! 
I'm sure there were more. I'm tired. I've no reason for crankiness today! Onward!