Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In Preparation

I am getting so stinkin excited for the Self Imposed Photography Challenge I almost can't stand it.  There are a handful of people that have shown me some interest, which is enough for me.  SQUEEEE!

So if you plan on taking part, there are a few things you can do right now to prepare.  First, go get yourself a free Flickr account.  Easy peasy to set up.  Once you do that, join the group that I've created here.  This is where you will upload pictures from your computer to the group pool.  I will be able to see them there, and will create a super cool post at the end of the two week timeframe.  Also, I'd really suggest trying to learn something new about your camera.  Set a goal for yourself.  Learn one thing per week.  The internet is a WONDERFUL tool.  Use it.  Google is your friend.  We are so fortunate to have all this information at our fingertips!  I can point you to some great websites, but I'm sure there are a ton that are all the same.  If I can make one suggestion - learn what aperture is, and how to adjust it on your specific camera.  This one is so fun to me!  If you don't learn anything else, learn that one.  You can get some really cool pictures using your aperture settings.

There are a few things to remember when you are playing along.  I don't want to make too many rules, and have it get all weird.  I'm not expecting this to get huge or anything, but I do want to say a few things up front.

  • By submitting photos to my Flickr group, you understand that there is a strong possibility that I will post your picture on my blog.  My blog is a public blog, meaning that your picture will be out there on the internets for everyone and their brother to see.  If you are uncomfortable with a picture of your daughter out there, please don't submit one.
  • If you become a world famous photographer and someone steals your picture from my blog and makes $1,000,000 from it, you can't blame me.  Or hold it over my head.  Or make me do jello shots.  Wait...
  • Please no profanity or nude art.  My 9 year old daughter will most likely be participating, and I'd like to leave anatomy lessons for junior high health class.
  • Keep it fun, and try to learn something.  Don't let this turn into work, or something you don't want to do.  Remember you don't have to participate in each assignment.  And if you miss a deadline, please submit your pictures anyways.  I want to see them all!
I think that's about it for now.  Maybe we'll have to tweak a few things as we go, and that's ok.  I'm already having so much fun coming up with a list of assignments!!  The first one should be announced this Friday, if I can wait that long.  Now, go recruit some more people for me!!



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Peachy Keen!

I bought a "lug" of peaches from our local Rotary club.  I figured the kids and I love to eat fresh fruit, so why not?  I was a little worried about how many peaches exactly I'd get in a lug, but it was for a good cause, and I could give some away if we ended up not eating them before they started to go bad.

I picked up my peaches and happily handed over my money on Friay afternoon.  I brought the peaches home, and the kids immediately wanted to try them.  They each had one, and didn't say much about them.  Saturday morning I decided to try one and Oh. My. Hell.  These have got to be the best peaches I've ever eaten in my whole life.  HUGE.  Juicy.  The exact right ripeness.  I knew I needed to act fast with them before that small window of opportunity passed me by, and they started to get too soft.

Not too hard, not too soft.  Still some good peach fuzz on the skin...

It was quite the process.  We had to peel them, and cut them first.  I had to call in the professionals to help.

And since this blog is about everything except cooking, I knew I couldn't do this project without the help of my mama!!!

I have a small red pot.  Mama has a big black canner.  See why I needed her help??

I had to take a break and get this picture of my cute helper.

And what a helper she is!!  Not only did she peel and cut the peaches, but she packed the jars...

And helped make the brine...

She says that the whole process was lots of fun.  I think she will turn out to be a much better cook than me.  Hopefully she will get that trait from her grandma!

The jars in the canner...

And the finished product!  I cannot wait to make something DELICIOUS in the middle of winter with these babies!  The helpers want some pie, cobbler, ice cream toppings, or "whatever".

It was such a fun time with grandma and yet another day that I'm so thankful I have her and her wisdom right in my very city, where I can call her with my crazy ideas at any time at all, and I know she'd drop everything and come over any moment to help.  I love you mama!

Peachy numiness...


Friday, August 26, 2011

Photography Challenge!

So, I've decided to go out on a limb and do something new and different.  I'm going to start out by inviting more people to read my blog, which is enough to make me nervous already.  The main reason I've made this decision is that I'm going to start challenging myself with a photography assignment, and I think it will be LOTS more fun with more people participating than just myself.

A few years ago, I splurged on a new digital camera for myself since I was tired of getting crappy pictures of my kids.  I bought a Canon S3 IS.  I had some little Nikon somethinerother that I'm pretty sure I got in high school before that, and it just wasn't living up to my expectations of the quality of photos I wanted.  It seemed like the only good pictures I could get were taken outside with the sun just right, when I would stand only on my left foot and the right one was 4.5 inches off the ground and I was wearing my I <3 BEER tshirt (which earned me a few stares at school functions).

Enter, new camera.  I think I was expecting the new camera to come out of the shipping box and take pictures that would make me instantly look 30 pounds lighter.  No such luck.  But it was a huge step up from the old Nikon, and now I could wear my Old Chicago beer tour tshirts instead of the redneck one. 

I was so excited to have this camera.  My first impression was that it was a little bulky and would be hard to take to Matchbox 20 and Little Big Town concerts, but it had so many features and better megapixels (whatever those were) and so surely I'd get AWESOME pictures of the kiddos.  So I set my camera to "Auto" and began shooting pictures.  I put that huge manual away in a drawer and would learn all about the other settings some other time.  Auto was my friend, and he took much better pictures than Nikon, so I was pleased.  I took lots of pictures with Auto.  They were cute, got me through a few years of scrapbooking and sharing moments on Facebook, and I was happy.  My pictures from hockey games and dance recitals still left something to be desired, but according to my big brother, it's very hard to take good pictures in both of those places, because the lighting is crap.  So I left it at that and went along my merry way.

Fast forward to about a year ago, when I started really reading blogs online.  Like good, popular blogs, that were full of amazing photographs, so clear and crisp and artistic, and I wondered if this camera that I had splurged on could give me something remotely close to those beauties.  I decided that I would dig out that manual and get to know some other friends other than Auto.  So I spent a few days reading and reading and reading, but what was the most disappointing to me was that sure, I learned where my power button was, and how to turn the little dial to the Av, Tv, and M settings, but my manual really didn't give me the guts of what I was looking for.  What do all of those foreign settings mean and what do they do?  When should I use them?  I thought about taking a local photography class, but didn't have $700 laying around, so I started searching the internet for free tutorials that would help me get my feet wet.  HOLY COW was it overwhelming!  There is so much to learn!  I ended up getting the majority of my information from this very cool blog; My Three Boybarians which had a 31 day instructional section.  I would get frustrated when I'd think about all the stuff I had to learn, but this site broke it down so I wasn't thinking about just how to take awesome pictures, I was learning it piece by piece, and just a little bit each day.  There are cool little assignments in there too, so you can go practice the stuff that she's teaching with each post.  I am so thankful I'm learning this stuff in the age of digital photography and not back in the day where you had to pay $8 for a roll of film that you could get 24 pictures out of, and would have to pay another $10 to have them processed and printed out for you.  I cannot imagine!  I love that I can go take 500 pictures and come home and delete 495 of them.  I've learned very quickly that photography is like anything else you want to be good at - you have to practice.

So anyways, two of my other favorite blogs are The Pioneer Woman and Quiet Life, where I have gotten countless tips on photography and many, many other things.  Those are two very talented ladies!  I suggest you check them out when you have time.

If you are still with me, and I haven't bored you to death yet, I'm sure you are wondering where the challenge that I mentioned in the post title comes into play!  Here goes:

In order to challenge myself and keep my photography subjects new and interesting, I'm starting a bi-weekly photography challenge.  Every other Friday I will post an assignment to be completed within the next two weeks.  It may be a certain subject (clouds), or a certain style (cheerful), or a certain processing type (black & white), or any other idea I come up with along the way.

I've created a group on Flickr, so you would need a Flickr account, and you would upload photos right to the group page.  For now, you can submit as many or as few as you'd like, and I'll post some of them here at the end of the two weeks.  You don't need to sign up for the challenge, and you don't need to participate in every one of them.  I just thought it would be fun to take pictures while focusing on an assignment, and then share them with others, and hopefully see what other people do with the assignment too.  There won't be any cool prizes (I'm not rich like The Pioneer Woman) except what you can learn, and of course the great photos you will hopefully end up with.

I really hope you'll join me for at least a few of these, I think it will be so much more fun with a bunch of people!  My photography still has a long way to go to get where I want it.  I don't have the high end equipment that allow me to get those crystal clear pictures , but I am a little closer than I was a year ago, and hopefully this will push me forward even more.

Soooo, who's in?



Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Today, I'm really having a very "blah" day.  I really don't know why.  I just can't put my finger on it.  Surely I'm not the only one that has days like these.  It's bright and sunny outside, so it can't be the weather.  Hubs is back from his fishing trip and cooked me an awesome steak dinner last night.  He even picked up wine for me on his way home from work.  I made a sucessful Pyrex purchase yesterday on Craigslist and my awesome sissy went and picked it up from the seller in Madison for me.  I got some knitting time in last night.  So I don't know.  Must be tired of work.  Yeah, I'm gonna chalk it up to being tired of work.  I'm running out of vacation time, and there are still 4 months left in the year.  Good thing Labor Day Weekend is coming up, and we have NO PLANS!!!  Three glorious days of being at home.  I have a date with my washer and drier, and let me tell you, I hope they don't ruin my weekend!!

It's a good thing I gave myself a fun pedi on Sunday, so today when I need to feel better (and since they don't let me drink at work) I can just look down and see a diamond (ok it's fake - so a little sparkly piece of plastic) on both of my big toes.

Sometimes ya just gotta grasp at the little things that make you feel better.  Right?

blah, blah, blah...



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hockey Weekend

I love that my son wants to play hockey.  I love watching him.  I love watching his team improve.  He is very committed, and truly enjoys playing the game. 

This past weekend, we went to "the cities" for a tournament.  I'm hoping that these memories we are building are ones that he will never forget.

There is plenty that I complain about that goes along with having a son who plays hockey.  It is a huge time and money commitment.  But I know that he loves it, and appreciates that he gets to play.  And he makes me so proud!

FYI, it's very very hard to take good pictures in a hockey arena.  The lighting is crap.

Being on a team is teaching him so much more than how to play hockey.  We are so fortunate to have a bunch of great people that we have played with.  The friends that he has made will be with him for life.

Friends that will do anything to protect their goalie!  Even if it means taking a trip to the sin bin.

The fact that he carried his own bag, sticks, and jerseys in and out of each game this weekend made mama very, very happy.  I have not actually weighed his bag, but I think it comes very close to weighing the same amount that he does.

Of course, it's always a bonus when you WIN THE WHOLE TOURNAMENT! 

First place baaaaabyyyyyyyy!  I'm so proud of all of these boys.  They played a great tournament.  I think they all were smiling the whole way home, and won't forget this weekend for a long, long time!

A proud hockey mom...


P.S.  Diet and exercise are very hard to be good on over a hockey weekend.  :(

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blackbirds and Blueberries

Last night after work, a group of us went out to the Blackbirds and Blueberries farm near Cloquet to pick berries.  The owners are the parents of a family friend that we met through hockey.  We arrived near 5:00, and the weather was HOT.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing at us, and the blueberries were ready to come home with us!
We were instructed to head back to the south field, where there would be plenty of berries for us to nab.  We made the short quarter mile (or so) hike to the back area, and chose an area to begin in.

If you looked across the field, you could see heads of all the "pickers" popping up within all the rows of bushes.  The bushes were taller than what I was expecting, although my only previous blueberry picking experience was with wild blueberries up the Gunflint Trail many years ago, and those bushes weren't more than a foot high.

Aren't they pretty?  As we were picking, you could hear the plunk, plunk, plunk of each berry as it hit the bottom of the empty buckets.  Plunk!
And then, when your daughter finds a berry with a slight imperfection on it in the shape of a heart, of course you must take a picture of it.  Practically a requirement.

It finally started to cool down a bit, but then the rain started.  And stopped.  And started.  And stopped.  And then it let loose on us, and we were drenched, and laughing, and having so so so much fun!  We collectively decided to stop picking though, since we were pretty soaked.  It was very hard to stop.  I knew I didn't have as many berries as I'd hoped for, and walking back to the car right past several berries screaming at me to take them home with me was so hard!

Of course, when we got to the shed to have our berries weighed and to pay for them, the sun came out in all its glory.  That's ok though, because it really poured on us again on the drive home.  Luckily we were inside the car at that point.

We brought our loot home, gave them a quick wash, and laid them out to dry a bit.

We packed most of them up in baggies for the freezer, and left some out to enjoy now.  I really have no specific plans for them, other than to eat them on ice cream whenever we feel like it! 

I know this seems like a lot of blueberries, but I know it won't be enough to get us through an entire year.  I'd really like to go back some time next week and pick again since there were still several green ones around.  I'm not sure if I'll get the chance with two upcoming hockey tournaments and a husband on a fishing trip, but we'll see.  I'm happy I was able to get what I did, but more would be good too!

So even though we got soaked, it was a very fun time, and we came home with some delicious snacks!!

Check them out at http://www.blackbirdsandblueberries.com/



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This is what happens when...

Your cousin comes over and drops off an extra football uniform.

You get this.  A stinkin cute sister who wants to be one of the boys.  I don't think I have too much to worry about, because this was her "mean" face, and I think she'd be too worried about what her hair would look like under her helmet.  So, they decide to go throw the ball back and forth and after Morgan dropped three passes, I hear Andy say, "that's ok Morgan, you'd probably be an awesome defensive player."  Ohh I love those kids.

Also?  What happens when your co-workers find out that your birthday was two days ago?  They get you one of these:

A Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks.  Yes please, and thank you.

Happy girl...


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Morning Backyard Visitors

Something caught my eye this morning as I was getting ready in my bedroom.  I looked out my window and could see something moving in the neighbor's yard behind the trees.  I waited a little longer and this little cutie wandered out into my view.  I grabbed my phone (of course, because it's rarely more than 10 feet away from me - I'm totally aware that it's a problem) and snapped a few pictures.

I watched for a few minutes as she sniffed around for something to eat, thinking how cute she was.  And then the little bastard took a crap in my yard.  Fantastic.

And then her sister (or maybe her brother - I didn't go look very closely) came out from behind the trees with their mom.  I couldn't get a picture of them with their mom since they started to mosey out of my view, and I was running out of time (I had to leave for work soon and hadn't done my hair yet!) .

So, little family of deer that live in my neighborhood, you are cute, and you are welcome here.  Just stay the EFF away from my garden and nobody gets hurt.  Awesome.


Monday, August 8, 2011


I have lived in Duluth my whole life, except three summer months in the summer of 1996 when I went to Brainerd and lived with Nate's family while we both worked summer jobs.  I really love everything about my city.  The winters are long and cold, but I really couldn't imagine a Christmas without snow.  The summers are usually just the right temperature, though this year our July seems to have been hotter than most I can remember.  We usually get reprieve from the heat at night though, so we don't need to rely on air conditioners 24 X 7 for survival.  There is plenty to do here, and is one of the prettiest cities in the world, in my opinion.  Many mornings in the winter I'm driving down the hill to work in the morning just as the sun is rising over Lake Superior.  The colors that I've seen in the sky over the lake are not something that can be replicated by Crayola or Sherwin Williams.  The sights in my city are something that I'll never get tired of, and will never take for granted.  I realize these aren't the best pictures of Duluth, I'll post more later, but these are two I snapped on my lunchtime walk today.  I wonder when I'll be smart and remember to bring my good camera with me so I can post pictures other than those taken on my phone?

Feeling nostalgic and very well loved since as of 2:50 PM I have 56 Happy Birthday wishes on my Facebook page...


Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Good Day of Exercising!

I am happy with my day today.  The last few haven't been as good.  I know I have a long way to go on changing my eating habits, but I'm pretty proud of the amount of exercise I've been doing.  Both yesterday and today Andy had hockey practice at UMD.  Yesterday I walked laps around the indoor track that is two stories above the sheet of ice.  Morgan and Jennifer walked with me.  Unfortunately my dang pedometer on my iPhone didn't work, and I didn't keep track of how many laps I completed, so I'm not really sure how far I went.  Today for his practice, the upstairs walking track was locked, so Morgan and I were going to go for a walk outside instead.  We couldn't watch the hockey going on, but that was ok with us.  We headed outside and were going to walk the entire perimeter of the campus, when we realized that the gate was open to the football field, which has a track running around the outside.  Morgan decided she wanted to walk laps in there instead of walking the campus, so we headed in.  It was warm out, but not too unbearable.  Morgan did about 3 laps with me, and then decided she wanted to practice some dance moves on the turf, since we happened to catch an episode of "Dance Moms" on TV yesterday (Lord strike me down if I turn into one of THOSE parents!!!) and she saw a few things she wanted to try.  I will say that having her watch that show is some good motivation for her.  There really are some very talented dancers on that show, and they are nine years old, just like my Morgie Pie.  Anyway - I'm pretty sure my pedometer was working properly the whole time I was walking today, and it told me that I walked 2.056 miles.  I know I did 8 laps, and I'm pretty sure I remember hearing somewhere that 4 times around a football field is one mile.  I felt good after that walk, and I probably could have gone farther, but Morgan was getting very hot and her face was pretty red.  We decided to call it a day.  When we got home, I cut the grass, which was in desperate need of a good trim, which burned off a few more calories!

The weather is finally at the exact right temp for me, and it's supposed to be all week.  Highs are supposed to be right around 75 all week!  Perfect! 

Tonight I believe we are headed over to my sister's house for some dinner on the grill.  yummm!  I think I burned enough calories today to enjoy a few extra endulgences tonight!

Still tryin' hard to fit into smaller pants...


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Nights

Last night I texted my brother and invited myself and my family over to his house for some grilling and hangin out.  I couldn't think of a better place to be on a Friday night.  The weather was awesome again, and we brought over pork chops and potatoes and onions to be cooked on the grill.  The cousins played together, there were some adult beverages consumed, the Twins were playing on the TV inside, and s'mores were made.  I am so so fortunate to have such a great family that I love spending time with.  I love being able to provide my kids with memories of happy summer nights with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and each other.

And so, to quote the great Richard Marx, "I remember all the moments of those endless summer nights..."

Happy Summer Memories...


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Doin' Good So Far!

This morning as I was getting in the shower, I stepped on the scale and cringed at the number staring back at me.  I guess it’s good motivation to keep you going and lose that weight.
My eating today has been pretty good so far.  Last night I had a bowl of ice cream though.  I couldn’t resist.  It’s not good to completely deprive yourself, right???  The kids are old enough now to be able to dish the ice cream themselves, so I think they would have been hurt if I didn’t have some.  Wow.  Look at me trying hard to justify myself…  J
Zumba is cancelled for tonight because my teacher will be marching in a local parade.  Bummer!  So since I knew I wouldn’t be able to Zumba tonight, I decided to go for a walk outside on my lunch break.  It was VERY warm out, and I got VERY sweaty (I hate coming back and sitting down at my desk when I’m all sweaty).  But I’m glad I went.  I do love my city.  It’s very pretty and I’ve never been anywhere quite like it before.  One request I have if you don’t live here and decide to come and visit; If you don’t want me to call you a “touron”  (tourist+moron=touron)  please do not feed your popcorn to the seagulls.  They are rats with wings and they poop a LOT.  While they are flying.  And they don’t care if you are walking under them when they poop while flying.  I’m not sure about you, but I prefer to take my showers at home, with clean water.  A shower of seagull poop is not appealing to me.  Thanks!
Anyway, according to the pedometer on my iPhone, (a free app called Pedometer PRO GPS + in case you are interested) I walked 1.687 miles in 44 minutes.  I had to dodge tourons on the boardwalk and stop for a few red lights though, and when I go to one of my favorite websites www.mapmyrun.com to check the route I took, it is looking like its closer to 2 miles.  Either way, it’s more exercise than I was doing last week, and now I don’t feel bad for missing Zumba tonight.  I even walked right on past the mini donut stand, popcorn stand, ice cream stand, about 27 restaurants, and THREE bars that had open outdoor seating.  Oh how an icey cold margarita would have really hit the spot today!  But I had to hurry back to work, which was probably a good thing.

Cheers from the boardwalk!!


8/3/11 Time To Get Serious

So the blog thing didn’t last too long the last time I tried this, but I’m hoping for a different outcome this time.  I read several blogs on a daily basis, and really enjoy them.  I can do this.  I can.
I also want this to be a tool for me in my weight loss journey.  It’s REALLY time to get serious about that.  I have literally ballooned in the past year or so, and it makes me very very ashamed.  I wish I didn’t love salty snacks and ice cream so much.  Darnit!  So instead of buying more clothes, since the number of things I have that actually fit me is embarrassingly low, I’m going to get back on track and work my tail off (literally) until that huge stack of jeans in my closet fits me again. 
Isn’t it funny how you don’t see the chub when you look in the mirror every day, but when you see yourself in a picture, you look completely different? 
Last Friday night, I attended an outdoor concert at Bayfront Festival Park, right here in my hometown.  The weather was seriously PERFECT, the music was awesome, and the company was even better.  Glen Templeton, an up and coming country music star, opened the concert for Trace Adkins.  I had never heard of Glen before last Friday except in the ads for the concert that I heard on the local radio station, but I was very impressed with his music. Enough so that I decided before he was done with his set that I would buy his CD from the souvenir stand.  Much to my delight, he announced at the end of his set that he’d be at the souvenir stand ready to sign autographs and pose for pictures for anyone that was interested.  Yay!  So I made the trek over to the stand with my $15 in hand and waited my turn in line to get this:
When I look at this picture, I feel like a cow standing next to her fencepost. 
And thus, my desire to really get serious on the weight loss.
Last night I returned to my Zumba class even though it was 94 degrees outside and I felt like I was melting.  The class had fewer people in it than normal, because, well, it was 94 degrees out, so I wasn’t able to hide behind everyone.  I still secured my spot in the back row, but there weren’t many people in front of me to block the view of myself in front of that dreaded wall of mirrors.  I look the same in these mirrors, by the way, as I do in pictures.  How is that???  There must be something wrong with my mirrors at home.  Well, I worked my butt off during class, sweated a LOT, and felt really good afterwards.  This is IT!  This is my start!  I’ve done this before, and know that I need to be consistent with the exercise, better about the snacking, and watch my meal portions to be successful.  I’m throwing the blogging in there with hopes it will keep me honest.  I forgot to jump on the scale this morning, but will tomorrow morning, and that will be my official starting weight.
I hope you will either join me in my journey, or just offer words of encouragement along the way.  I can use all the help I can get!
Tryin' to get skinny with my Yee-haw on!


10/8/09 Lunch With a Girlfriend

My word for today is overwhelmed.

It's the one that keeps popping into my head when I take a step back and try to figure out where everyone needs to be and at what time, and what they need to bring with them.

It's dance night, bowling night, picture day for my little toothless wonder (crap!  Did I send her with her picture money this morning???  Oh, yes I did.  Ok.  Moving on.) and hockey was cancelled for tonight.  Apparently ice in the area is a requirement for holding hockey practice.  Who knew???  Sometime before Sunday morning I have to bake something for the social after mass that we won't be able to attend due to a noon hockey practice (assuming the ice is in and, well, frozen by Sunday at noon).

I got to let my mind take a break today for a very quick hour in the middle of my day to eat lunch with a really good friend that I haven't seen in a while.  It was a friend that I used to w ork with, and we got to go on and on and on about all the stuff that 's bugging me at work.  Ok, I guegss I must have gone on and on and on.  Oops.  Well, you know how sometimes it just feels really good to complain about stuff to someone who really gets it, and is just willing to agree with you an will give you an, "OMG!  THAT TOTALLY SUCKS!" or an, "I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT!" and then somehow you magically feel like you aren't just imagining things, and sometimes things do really suck?  I had one of those lunches today. :)  I don't know that I necessarily feel better about stuff, but it did feel good to have someone agree with me, and get all that garbage off my chest.  I heart friends like that.  Plus my Cranberry Turkey Panini was simply devine!

To girlfriends who get it...


10/7/09 Changes

I'm not a huge fan of change.  I can see that I've passed this trait on to my daughter.  The poor thing.  I like routine.  Fall is a very hard time in our house.  New teachers, new schedules, new places to be on new days.  I am forever worrying that until I get the new routine stuck in my head, we are going to forget something.  It's bound to happen, but I still feel like crap when it does.  So far this year, I don't think we've forgotten anything.  Well, anything too important anyways.

Morgan feels the anxiety of change just as much as I do.  there are always tears the night before she tries something new, goes over to a new friend's house, or her routine gets altered too much.  She gets herself so worked up, that she talks herself into vomiting.  Ugh.  This is not a fun thing to go through as a parent.  I understand the nervous feelings she's having, but if I feed into them, it will get worse, not better.  I don't want her to think I don't understand or care though.  I just hope she doesn't ever realize that if she throws up in the morning, she technically shouldn't be in school for the day.  Stinker.  I see myself in her every. single. day. and it scares the crap outta me.  The teenage years should be a barrel o' fun!

Nate and I were fortunate enough to go on our annual trip to Lutsen this past weekend with some great friends, while the kids went and stayed in Brainerd with Nate's parents.  This is one of my very favorite things we do every year.  There is just something about the time of year on the shore of lake Superior with friends.  We have a bonfire on the rocks on the shore, huge home cooked meals with good wine, and lots of relaxing, playing games, and enjoying each other's company.  A hike through the woods this time of year always gets me giddy.  For some odd reason, the smell of rotting leaves on the forest floor is a smell I could never get sick of!  Our weekend was rolling along perfectly until we got the call that Morgan was homesick to the point of throwing up.  We were told she'd be fine, but they might be making the trip back to Duluth earlier than planned and spend time at our house instead of their house in Brainerd.  *biiiiiig siiiiigh*  The next call came a half hour later, and she was sleeping and all was well.  Except my worry meter went up a few hundred notches.  I truly believe this is the universe getting back at me for doing these very same exact things to my mom when I was younger.  Buggah.

Stupid universe.


9/30/09 Happiness and Hugs

So, I'm back.  Whaddya know!?

I've been spending quite a bit of time lately thinking about my own happiness.  Kind of stepping back, taking a look at my life, and evaluating different aspects of it.

There are certain recent changes at work that have made me very upset.  I try very, very hard to leave work at work, and nothing makes me feel worse than bringing crabbiness home to my family.  I have lost a lot of the flexibility that I used to have, have been informed that it will be several years before I'm eligible for a pay increase, and may have to work later into the evening, when I was actually hoping to chang emy hours to start earlier in the morning and get done earlier in the afternoon.  Not to mention the changing job function, new location, etc, etc, etc...

I tell you what.  My kids might not notice the dirty laundry in their rooms that they step on every day.  They might not notice the video games strewed all over the living room floor that weren't put away.  They might not notice that the once dirty refrigerator is not magically cleaned.  But man, they sure can tell when I'm stressed out.  And nothing cures my stress like a pair of 7 year old and a pair of 9 year old arms squeezing my neck a little too tight.  Nothing.  How do they know when I need their hugs?  They are magical.  I have always loved little kid hugs.  Something about a little piece of their energy that magically transfers from their little bodies into mine when they are squeezing with all their might.  I hope and pray that my kids will continue to want to hug me at any given moment, even if it's in public or in front of their friends.  They always, always, make me feel better.

So when I'm stressed out about work, or my weight, or how we're going to make the next mortgage payment without having to eat ramen noodles for dinner for the next three weeks, i try hard to think about the things that make me happiest in life.  My kids and my awesome husband are in that #1 spot on my list.  How lucky am I to have this perfectly perfect little family?  Of course the kids fight, what kids don't?  But when Morgan is helping me cook dinner and tells me that her brother let her wear his jacket when they were waiting for the bus together that morning, and my heart begins to gush, GUSH I TELL YA!  I realize I must be doing something right.  I have a job that provides me with a pay check every other Friday, and allows me to buy the new brown gloves that match the new brown and pink jacket and snow pants set, which puts the most beautiful toothless smile that you've ever seen on her face.  That is one of my favorite things to do.  We might not be able to buy the most expensive goalie stick out there, but there is a goalie stick.  And it is red and shiney.  And it also put a smile on one of the most important faces of my life.

Yes, kind of a gushy posting, I know.  I hope they aren't all like this.  I'm just getting the really important gushy ones out of the way right away.

Smiles and little kid hugs...


9/25/09 To Blog or Not to Blog?

That is my question for today.

I've thrown around the idea for a few weeks.  I have a lot of thoughts in my head that would probably be fairly entertaining to write down and then read again.

The problem with this whole idea is that I'm worried it will turn into a chore.  I don't know if I will ever post this online and invite others to read it, or if it will remain a more private journal.  I'm a little hesitant to open up every thought and feeling I have to everyone "out there".  I don't want to feel like I need to apologize if two months go by and I have not blogged.  And even if I don't feel the need to apologize, I don't want to feel guilt over it.  I hate feeling guilt.

I've been reading a few other blogs that have really inspired me.  They are entertaining and funny and sometimes sad, but they allow me a glimpse into other people's lives that I might not otherwise be able to see.  I think it's really cool to read about the little things in people's lives that make them feel good.  Or an accomplishment that they've worked hard to achieve.  Or an accomplishment that their child might have achieved.  Well, I can achieve things, and my kids can achieve things, and I want to surround myself with my happy moments, and maybe I can even work a little on being happier more often.

So there you have it.  I haven't answered my own question yet, so I suppose we'll just have to see what this turns into.  Maybe I'll never post another entry, maybe I'll post another one tonight!

Until next time...  (maybe)