Thursday, August 28, 2008

the blogging world

Some days I think it is so strange that I feel compelled to sit here and write about this or that. Many days I wonder if I am actually "talking" to anyone. Is anyone out there listening? Then I think about how it is hard to explain to other people (non-bloggers) about my "friends" I read about each day/e-mail with/comment to.

Then something like this happens. And I realize that the "friends" that I read about each day really are friends. I care about their lives, their families, their insight on being a Mom, and many other things about each person (you know they are all different, bringing great things to each own blog).

I was not a reader of Stephanie's (Nie Nie) blog before, but find myself reading like crazy now knowing that she is somewhere, battling with burn injuries, away from her family, and needing the supprt, love & prayers of so many. I read and think about myself and other blog friends, and the important things, about how you really never know what tomorrow will bring.

Blogging does that for me. It shows me things I do not see everyday. It lets me connect with other Moms going through a VERY similar life to mine, and it also connects me with those that are not like me at all. Blogging has let me read the intimate thoughts/feelings of a few Mothers that have lost children. They have made me slow down & appreciate the little everyday things (and not get as upset at the not so fun parts of motherhood).

Stephanie & Christian's accident is another one of those situations for me. A normal couple, a tragic accident, all leaving me to be aware of each day. Tell the kids how much they mean to me, let my husband know I think he is the BEST. All of those things you HOPE they will know in a situation anything like the Nielson's.


You can read updates on Stephanie & Christian on her sister's blog. And today there are many fabulous auctions taking place here, raising money for the long recovery process ahead.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Doing the Do

I was having a horrible day the other day, and nothing was going right. I was nauseated from the Fetus That Ate Cincinnati, my job was difficult, my husband's uncle died, my son wouldn't be quiet for two seconds in a row, and my daughter kept pooping her pants.

I was teetering on the edge of that moment where you crawl under the covers and refuse to come out.

Later in the day, a colleague casually intimated that I should have an abortion. (I KNOW!) At home two hours later, my daughter walked into the room I had just cleaned and actually handed me a pair of underwear steaming with fresh crap, leaving a trail of feces on my just-cleaned floor.

I don't think I need to tell you that in that moment, holding a pile of dookie, I was looking directly into the cuckoo's nest.

I'll admit that I shouted a little about what I was holding in my hands. But my daughter and I worked together to solve the problem-- we got her cleaned up. We washed the floor. I set fire to my bacteria-laden hands. (Not really.)

And I did not actually go crazy.

Being a mother, for me, is an exercise in constantly learning that I can. I can, because I will. And I will, because I must. Because my kids' development is really more important to me than having a clean floor. Most days, it's even worth a small shred of my sanity.

I do it because it has to be done, and that is the deep truth of parenting. There are tons of things I don't want to do in regards to being a responsible, supportive parent. I hate potty training, but she has to learn. I hate asparagus, but they have to see me eat it. I despise Chutes and Ladders, but they have to learn sportsmanship and fair play.

I do it because it must be done. And because the end result is worth so much more to me than the relatively temporary frustrations and trials.

I have beautiful, (mostly) well behaved, joyful children who love me, trust me, and turn to me in their hour of need. They are kind to others, independent, and love themselves. They are growing up to be just what the world needs.

Part of it is their own inherent goodness.

But part of it is, because, to my own shock, I have continued to be strong enough to just keep doing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Most of us are Normal

Minnesotans are not known for their strong fashion sense or their refined taste in cultural pursuits.

Some of us even like a good tractor-pull now and then. (I did as a kid. Hanging head in shame.)

If you look at pop culture, you probably think that Minnesotans are quite eccentric, although I'm fairly certain that there is no greater percentage of weirdos here than, say, L.A.

Hollywood doles out movies about Minnesotans like Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous. We look like a bunch of idiots, but in reality only half of us are imbeciles. The other half of us are Grumpy Old Men.

The celebrities that have hailed from Minnesota prove just how normal we are:*

There's the guy who sings songs but no one can understand what he's saying.

There's the guy who sings songs who was first known by a royal name, then by a symbol, then by a royal name again.

There's the girl who is named after a town who likes to get things at the five-finger discount.

There's the guy who was a wrestler when they insisted it wasn't fake, who then turned to politics.

Um. Okay then.

Maybe we are kind of strange.

*Who are they?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Olympic Sacrifice

I would like to offer some parental insight, some morsel of advice you haven’t heard before, but instead what I’ve got for you is this:

Michael Phelps.

Matt Grevers.

Aaron Peirsol.

Yes, girls, I’m in deep. I am absolutely exhausted because—imagine—NBC has the nerve to air the Olympic events live, which means that I am up until almost midnight waiting to see our American boys swim. I keep planning to TIVO it—just go to sleep and let the TV do the work. (Truly, I just like saying TIVO. What I mean is that I can tape it, yes, tape—that ancient but highly effective and inexpensive technology.) It only makes sense. Tape tonight, watch tomorrow. But no. I sit through the gymnastics or beach volleyball or whatever—all of which I like, but, truly, I am here for the swimming—and then can’t seem to click the tiny little button that turns that bright screen OFF.

Please note that this is extremely unusual at my house. It’s the other people who live here who watch television. Don’t misunderstand--there are plenty of TV shows I enjoy, there just aren’t any that I watch on a regular basis. I can’t seem to find the time. I’m well aware that this makes me a bit odd; with three boys I have plenty of reminders.

Sports, however, are an exception, the Olympics in particular. I can remember watching as a child, way back when, and being entranced by Nadia Comaneci. That dates me, I know, but I was as amazed by her then as I am by the young men and women today. I’ve been an athlete for as long as I can remember, and have always been intrigued at the depth of these young men and women. It’s a life I can’t imagine, one totally dedicated to a single pursuit.

Watching and cheering will keep me up at least until midnight for the next week or so, but that seems little sacrifice compared to theirs. Go USA!

Monday, August 11, 2008


I am not sure why it has taken me so long, but this summer I have really learned to appreciate things that are homegrown.

Maybe it is because quite a few of my friends & family have gardens this year, and I have been able to share in their bounty. Maybe it is because of the econmony, and how great it feels when I buy homegrown fruits or veggies - knowing that there is little cost to the grower, so the people make good, honest money for their efforts. I can not pinpoint exactly why the change has occured, but it has, and I feel great about it.

The kids & I visited the local farmers market on Saturday. It was our first time, and I had plans to stock up on some summer fruits, and some corn. Oh my goodness, the corn. My family LOVES sweet corn, and we eat alot of it this time of year.

So, we go to one of the larger farm stands at the market, and the family working there looked to be German Baptist. There was an older couple, and a younger woman I assumed to be their daughter. They had so much stuff there, it was hard to choose what we should buy. We chose some blueberries, peaches, some yellow plums, cherries, tomoatos, and the corn - and the older man was the one bagging up our things.

There was something about the sweet, gentle man packing up my stuff. I watched his hands as he bagged my fruits, and he took a second to pick a bluberry from the pint for each of my kids. I melted. His large hands pikcing up those tiny berries one by one. I imagined him planting, and nurturing and picking each of those berries, each of those fruits, and I was completely sold on homegrown all over again.

*picture found at

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Third Time's a Charm

Well, this little conundrum has been effectively settled-- I am pregnant with our third child. And with the discovery of our March blessing to come, I have entered into an era of motherhood that is strange and foreign to me.

I have entered the land of The Last.

This is the Last time I will pee on a stick and celebrate, worry, cry, and giggle. It is the Last time I will tell my husband that our love made a child (I know, gag me, right?) It is the Last time I will carry that particular secret, doling it out carefully to the need-to-knows, and letting others discover only when my belly is too large to ignore.

Some of these Lasts are welcome. Hopefully, it will be the Last time I spend entire days nibbling on crackers and rushing to hover over the toilet bowl every ten minutes. It will be the last time my body is stretched to popping, the last of the stretch marks, the last of the attempts to sleep around a bowling ball.

Most of these Lasts are bittersweet. When this baby is finally felt, it will be the Last first flutter I feel of growing a life. It is the beginning of the Last of so many firsts-- first breath, first smile, first steps. While each of these milestones will be met with pride and a smile, they will still be the Last time I watch my baby do those things for the first time.

I am blessed in this pregnancy in a way I was not with my daughter-- I wasn't sure if she was last, and I had a one year old at the time she was conceived. I missed so much. I just didn't pay attention like I wish I had now.

But I am paying attention now, you'd better believe it. I want to remember all of this, this Last time.