Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sleep....beautiful sleep....aaahhhh....

I awoke this morning at 9:30 am.

That's not a typo, that's NINE thirty, as in two and a half hours after the kids got up.

I came downstairs to our children watching TV quietly, a fire in the fireplace with Christmas carols playing quietly in the background, coffee in the coffeemaker and an inch of new snow on the ground.

The only thing my husband wasn't responsible for was the snow. Aahhh...thanks honey!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

FINAL Thanksgiving Tale: Alas, an early ending

On Friday, we arrived at Wayne's parents house after a 3-hour drive. Since Marissa had skipped her nap, we figured that getting her down that evening would be a cinch. She had a bit of a cold and without a nap, we figured she'd go down easy. Instead, she goofed around and pretended it was a slumber party for an hour and a half, keeping Lindsey up at the same time and keeping Wayne and I from attempting to watch the final "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie in peace. We finally got them both asleep a little before 9:30, stayed up and watched the end of the movie and went to bed around 11:30.

We were awoken around 2:00 by Marissa's coughing. Deep, rattling coughs that had me concerned. After about 10 minutes she began moaning. I went over to comfort her, only to hear her say "I want in your bed." I tried to tell her no, but she began crying...LOUDLY. Keep in mind all FOUR of us are trying to sleep in a single bedroom, and right now the only one still sleeping was Lindsey. So we quickly swept her up into our bed where she immediately fell asleep cough free and Wayne took her place on the floor.

However, my being awakened in the middle of the night resulted in my OWN coughing fit, which I know kept Wayne awake, while both girls did not seem bothered by it. I finally fell asleep myself some time after 3:00.

We were awoken AGAIN around 6:00 by Lindsey, also moaning in a "I'm awake and want to get up" kind of way. Seriously?! Seriously! At this point we got the two girls in the bed with me; while they were quiet, they clearly weren't falling back asleep and weren't going to anytime soon.

So Wayne finally got up with them around 6:45 while I slept in until 8:30, feeling like a cement truck had run over my head once I awoke. The thought of another restless night with two sickies keeping all four family members up was too much -- we had to cut our visit short and traveled back to Minneapolis on Saturday.

We left the Horsman's at 3:35 pm -- Marissa was asleep by the time we hit the edge of town (3:40) and Lindsey was asleep around 3:50, with me shortly after. So we all napped on the way home, and both girls were in their beds fast asleep by 8:30 this evening. And now, I shall be signing off and catching my own shut eye as well. Hopefully everyone will be feeling better by morning.

Thanksgiving Tale #3: McKenzie

We were very excited to meet one of the newest members of the family at the Horsman's this year: niece Nicole's and husband Al's baby McKenzie, who was born October 17th. She is six weeks old and so sweet! I had to admire her from a distance, due to a cold that I have, but do have a few pictures to share. Marissa and Lindsey were having fun getting to know a little tiny baby again.

What a sweet smile McKenzie had for Marissa!

Thanksgiving Tale #2: Lindsey

At our house at Thanksgiving this year, Lindsey got busy showing Grandma how she could read, and trying to entice anyone and everyone into a game of "store." This game, Lindsey's latest creation, is made of her pretending to be a storekeeper, and the other person comes in to buy one of the beautiful pieces of artwork (Lindsey's drawings). While there is "real" pretend money in the drawer of the play cash register Lindsey uses, the other person is required to use a purse and play money that Lindsey made at kindergarten one day. The "purse" is a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper folded in two and stapled on the sides, with a flower drawn on one side. The "money" are scraps of paper of non-uniform shape and sizes with a dollar sign written on them in pink crayon. She then makes change by giving you the "real" paper money, which mimicks mostly 5s, 10s and 20s, in return for your scraps of paper.

The grandparents were able to get out of playing this one as it required sitting on the floor. I, however, was required to play this game for half an hour on Thanksgiving day. She finally was enticed to do some drawing with Grandma at the table, which was a much less painful activity.
Lindsey also discovered pumpkin pie for the first time this year. She was so excited about it that we cut into the pie that was meant for Thursday on Wednesday evening. She had her piece devoured before some of us made it to the table with our heated pieces from the microwave. Here's a picture of the resulting orange teeth.

Thanksgiving Tale #1

All in all, it was a successful Thanksgiving, though we cut our visit short to Wayne's parents' house due to illness. My own, in fact, and Marissa's. Nagging coughs, runny noses, miserable headaches, it's enough to drive a mom back to her own home to sleep in her own bed, with children who know how to go to bed on time in their own rooms.

We had a few tales happen on our trip, which are probably best served told one-by-one. So this is the first installment of our Thanksgiving Tales, 2008.

The holiday began at our house, as it usually does, with Wayne's parents arriving Wednesday afternoon. At one point Neil was going to sit down to watch a little TV, and was trying to entice Marissa to come sit close to him on the couch.

"C'mon," he said, "I won't bite you."

She said, in all seriousness, "I won't bite you either," and proceeded to sit next to him. In typical Marissa form, she charmed him and everyone with her little sayings (always with a straight face, of course), and her smile.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mystery Injuries vs Mom Injuries

Remember back in college, when you perhaps imbibed a few too many, and the next morning you woke up with a strange bruise on your shin, your hip, your forehead, or some other place and you wondered about it and thought to yourself, "I don't remember doing THAT..."

I had a similar experience over the weekend, but this had a difference context.

On Sunday morning I woke up and my index finger on my right hand was sore. I mean, SORE. After a while of trying to function I determined that it was definitely sprained, though not severely so.

"'d I do this?" I wondered. I didn't remember slamming it in any doors, having it bend backwards unnaturally, it just didn't make sense.

Then later on in the morning Marissa tried to pull me in whatever direction she wanted by pulling on that same index finger...HARD.

Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow.

Yup, that's how I sprained it, a 3-year-old gave it a good yank the day before and I had pulled it away.

Said 3-year-old is now re-learning how to use her words to ASK her mommy nicely to come, instead of trying to pull her up by her index finger.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In this house, we keep our clothes on when our friends come over

Not something you hear every day, right?

But every now and then, statements like that just have to be made!

Now for a little background:

This past Saturday Lindsey's good friend Emma came over for a playdate. At one point the two of them were in Lindsey's room giggling and laughing, and Dax was standing at the door wanting in. So I opened the door to let Dax in, only to find Lindsey taking a picture of her bare butt with her toddler digital camera.

I'm not sure how ideas like this make it into our heads, but clearly it starts at a young age. I would post the photos, but I don't want to be accused of distributing child porn.

Thus the reason for the statement made above.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Power of...Huh???

My last post I wrote about how intrigued I am with Eckhart Tolle's book, The Power of Now.

He has now officially lost me.

Whenever someone speaks to something called "unmanifested energy," I go...huh?? (Cue photo of cute dog with ears pricked up and head tilted sideways.)

The power of this book had been in its simplicity -- it just plain made sense. Now it lost me. And he speaks of people in such terrible relationships and desperation in their lives and says there's a way out of that. Well...I don't quite relate to that, I don't feel that I'm in terrible relationships OR desperate. I'm generally a very happy person, so it's not a stretch for me to believe that I can be happy now...because usually really I am. Apparently there's this thing called the "pain-body" (an inner energy that some of us tap to feel badly when we should be feeling good) and unmanifested energy out there bringing us down. Bummer.

Oh well, I'll just pick what I like from the first part of the book and ignore the rest.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the Power of Now

I am finally reading a book that's been on my "I mean to read it someday and really probably should but other lighter books are tempting me" reading list.

Interesting interesting read, and much simpler than I had expected. Some of you may get it as a gift for the holidays, if you're up for it.

The 30-second version is:

You don't live your life in the past. You don't live it in the future. You live your life NOW. In the moment. Millisecond by millisecond. Sounds really simple, right?

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?? Because if not, life is passing you by.

Some theories of his are:

Stress is caused by the rift between the fact that you live in the now and your desire to move to the future to do whatever it is you're thinking about. "I need to make sure I get the groceries tomorrow." "I need to talk to my boss about XYZ." "I have so much to do tomorrow!" Stress stress stress, all because you can't time travel. Plan it out, then forget about it. Live in the NOW.

This book is really intriguing to me because I'm not a very spiritual person. Or I should say, I'm not a very religious person. I've never felt a real connection when I walk into a church, I've never walked out of a service and said, "Wow! I feel uplifted!" The only reason why I would consider joining a church today is because my kids should probably get exposed to religious teachings...but how hypocritical would that be of me as I don't get anything out of church myself?? I'm pretty sure they could see through that one if they ever started asking me about God. Thanks to others, we have many versions of children's Bibles in our home and Lindsey in particular gobbles up those stories, which I'm glad for because it's about the only place she'll hear these stories.

But just because I'm not religious doesn't mean I'm not spiritual, and I do believe in the existence of energy that is beyond us. I deeply believe in the power of prayer. As Eckhart puts it in this book, he simply calls it Being. So not only is it something (a "being") outside of yourself, it is also a state of...well, Being. It may be outside of you but it is also a part of you. Trying to understand what Being is is like a fish asking what water is. A fish doesn't understand water because it is always surrounded by water, and never by anything else. It takes water for granted, the water runs through its gils with every movement, and it's never known anything but water.

I also like that he refers to this "energy" by many names, including God. So for some people they may need to think of it as God, for others it is energy, for others it is a presence or Being. Whatever it is, it is all about capturing and cherishing the moment you are living right now and feeling the peace, the stillness that can encompass us all.

I could go on, but I won't. All I have to say is, it's an intriguing book and I'm really fascinated by it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's okay, we're sisters

This past weekend I flew to Chicago to spend the weekend with my sister, who celebrated her 40th birthday. It was a ball. An absolute ball. Let's just say, I'm sure it was lots of fun for people who were around us at the bar that we barely remember leaving.

The theme of the entire weekend was set at Geja's Cafe, a romantic fondue restaurant where we first had dinner. After dinner we both decided to use the bathroom before taking a cab to the next place of business, a bar called Howl at the Moon.

We got to the bathroom to find that it was a single stall, the kind where one person enters, locks the door, and everyone else has to wait outside until that person is done. Well hell, we're sisters, we've been peeing in front of each other since we could use a toilet. So we both went in together and took turns.

I open the door to leave to find a woman standing out there, clearly waiting for the bathroom. How awkward for the two of us to come out of a one-person bathroom! Perhaps the fact that the cafe was billed as being romantic and a great place for intimate dates was what made me feel uncomfortable about this situation. So as we exited I said, "It's okay, we're sisters."

That was it, the theme of the weekend. No matter what happened, it was okay, we were sisters!

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Contrast in Voting Experience

I was glad I was able to steal away from work long enough to go vote. I had to drive back to my neighborhood and stand in line for an hour to vote. At least the weather was good and I didn't mind standing outside for the majority of my wait. Once I finally made it into the building the line snaked through the hallway and doubled back. I did see many of my neighbors and parents of our kids' friends, and ended up spending some of the time chit-chatting with the woman behind me, who had lived in the neighborhood her entire life. I finally got to where I could vote, voted, and left.

This, on the other hand, was the experience of my sister-in-law, Sherrie, in Tracy, MN:

After years in the big city and now living back at home in rural Minnesota, I thought it quite interesting and something of a blast from the past when I went to vote last night.
"You know you live in a small town" came to mind..................

I was the only voter there, the 3 attendants were a local accountant Bill, farmer's wife Jane and local farmer Jeff.

Jane had made cookies and hot chocolate and they were also serving coffee. They would be insulted if you didn't stay to chat and sad to see you leave................. I stayed the 15 minutes (not too long, not insulting) and went home chuckling to in a small town is good! :0)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Giants in the Earth

Finally finished Giants in the Earth last night after a long read. (That's how books go when they get read 10 minutes at a time at the end of the day before falling asleep.)


And not the way you would expect it, kind of like in "My Sister's Keeper" when the book ends in tragedy. All the way through the book you think it will be tragic but hope it won't, yet at the end it's not the tragedy you expected, it's a different one, which makes it all the more heartwrenching.

Not bad considering it was translated into English from Norwegian back in 1927.

Highly recommend this one, it was an incredible journey.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thank God I am a US citizen

And I don't mean that because I was grateful for the single hour I got to spend in line today, voting for whomever I wanted to.

I think that today because a news story I read on Sunday, all of about 3 sentences in an inside page of the front section, has really stuck with me. A 13-year-old girl in Somalia, who came forward to report that she'd been raped by 3 men, was stoned to death in a stadium of 1,000 spectators for the sin of adultery.

Read the story here if you wish.

I am so thankful my two girls were born in this country, where they are safe from such harsh judgment, and where victims are not further victimized by a system ruled by religion.

God bless that poor child's soul, and her grieving parents.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Tradition

Just another note from Halloween that I got a kick out of.

When my sister and I were young, after we went trick or treating we used to go home and immediately dump out our buckets and assess the take. How many candy bars? Gum? Sweet tarts? And of course mom would come around and take the ones that we couldn't have, namely, the candy she liked. And what came from our own bucket was OURS -- not to be confused with our sister's, and our buckets stayed in our bedrooms from that time on, off limits to the other sister.

Then...there's Lindsey and Marissa.

They got home from trick or treating Friday night, dumped out their buckets to assess the goods. Okay, so far so good...but then things got weird. They wanted to play "trick or treat." So they could come up to Wayne who had a few candies left over from the evening in another bucket, and say "trick or treat!" He would give them a candy, and they would do the same to each other, swapping out candies between all three buckets. Eventually all the candies would end up in one bucket, then get dumped into the other ones and re-distributed among all the buckets.

Amazing. I've never seen this kind of behavior. Are these my children?

And guess what, as the mom, if I ask for ANY piece of candy, even ones they LOVE, they always say "yes." Wow, who's kids are these?


Today I was reading in a magazine something about siblings similar to what I've read before -- that your sibling relationships are the longest relationships most of us have in our lives. The author of this article talked about how she and her sister didn't get along as kids at all, only to finally learn to appreciate each other as adults. She lost her sister at the age of 31 to a rare disease, and wishes today that she had cherished more of their adults moments together. I was thinking of this as I get ready for a weekend in Chicago to celebrate my sister's 40th birthday, and thankful to have her still in my life.

I went downstairs to check in on the "other" sisters in my life. They were both sitting on opposite ends of the couch watching TV, absorbed and at least not annoying each other. I got on the computer for a little bit and overheard the TV program, in which one of the characters got scared and his friends were trying to re-assure him.

Suddenly I heard all kinds of shuffling and moving around. I peeked in to find the two girls sitting next to each other on the couch with the dog lying between them. They had blankets over their laps and up to their chins, taking comfort in proximity to each other.

Now that's one meaning of sisterhood.