Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tom Petty was right

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

The last couple of weeks have flown by in a blur. I'm still having a hard time figuring out which day it is when I wake up in the morning. Probably because Greta has had me up several times a night, I suppose.

Her surgery and hospitalization for pneumonia only lasted 4 days but it seemed like weeks. I have a new found respect for what parents of kids with medical issues have to go through. I can't imagine having to live through that on a regular basis. You sit and watch your "baby" lay in a hospital bed...thinking how you would do anything to change places with them... and wait. Wait for them to get better but prepare yourself for them to get worse. Wait for the nurse to bring the next dose of pain medication because they are writhing. Wait for the lab tech to come in and poke them again. Wait for test results. Wait for the doctor. Wait for the monitors and IV pump to alarm. Wait. Patience is a virtue but in this situation it certainly wasn't one of mine.

Just like when you yourself are sick, your own world stops when your child is sick. Unfortunately the world around you does not. Shift changes happen and those people go home and get on with their lives. You are still there, unshowered, the next day when they return for another shift. The outside world keeps moving as you stand still. It's hard to handle your daily family life too... our older kids still have school and homework and friends and, well, deserve to be living. Dustin had work but also had to juggle housework, meal times, and the kids too. All while trying to find time to come see Greta and be my support. Like I said, people that have to do this on a regular basis are a new form of celebrity to me.

Greta is slowly getting better. Her throat seems to be hurting more now than it did in the hospital but it may have to do with the healing. Her last dose of antibiotic for the pneumonia is today. Her coughing is much better. My hope is that when this is over the tonsilectomy will cure her apnea and she will not get sick as much. In the upcoming months we shall see... but for now, we wait.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

the end of summer

The hardest part about the end of summer is knowing our lazy days at the lake are over... until next year.


My mom pulled out some old junk last week and let Linus and Greta loose on it with screwdrivers, wrenches and a wire snips. They spent the better part of 2 afternoons taking things apart and saving the pieces in piles. It was the quietest they've been in, well, forever.... except, of course, when they were fighting over the tools.

saying goodbye stinks

This past week we had two tearful goodbyes. Kelsey and Amber both left for college; Kelsey to UMD for another year and Amber to Vancouver to an art school. My family is a pretty close-knit bunch so all of my sibling's kids are closer than typical cousins. My kids, Greta in particular, had a tough time saying goodbye for the school year. Kelsey and Amber have been our main source of babysitting and the kids love to hang around with them. We are already looking forward to Christmas vacation when we get to see them again!

Open House

Another school year about to start means another Open House at school. This year we had 3 rooms to stop in which meant a full night there for us. In each room we chatted with the teacher, filled the desk with school supplies and picked up lots (and lots) of papers. All of the kids like their teachers and are looking forward to the school year... well, as much as kids can look forward to school. :)

Miles will be starting 4th grade, Linus 2nd, and Greta will be in all day kindergarten. I can hardly believe that all 3 kids will be in school this year. Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was dropping Miles off at his first day of preschool, a 2 year old Linus and a newborn Greta in tow. Now my baby will be starting kindergarten!!

the Balvins visit

We were very excited to have the Balvins out to my mom and dad's place a couple of weeks ago. It's almost like a summer tradition to us... and a great chance for Steph and I to catch up! The only downside is that Brenton wasn't able to join us but we don't really like him anyway (just jokes B!) The kids swam and fished and played on the swingset. I think my favorite part was watching Izzy and Greta play together. It had been awhile since they were together but they just stuck to each other all day doing all kinds of things... they were so cute!
Now, if I could just talk them into moving back our way...


We took a short "vacation" last week in Otsego to stay at the Holiday Inn that has a waterpark. We started the trip with a stop at Fun City... they have batting cages, mini golf and bumper boats. We played there for awhile and then headed to the hotel. The waterpark is pretty cool... 3 big waterslides, a little river to float on, a mini whirlpool and a kiddie side for the little ones. We stayed 2 nights there and by the time we left I bet we had spent 8 hours total in the pool... we were waterlogged! Definitely worth the money spent!

To the Fair

There are 10 grandchildren on the Youngs side of the family and my dad has taken a turn with each one at the State Fair. This was Greta's year. She was counting down the days, rattling off a list of all of the food she was going to eat and all of the things she was going to see. On opening day of the Fair grandpa came over to pick her up at 7:30 a.m. and they were off. They didn't return until after 3 p.m.... and I think Greta gave grandpa a run for his money. He said that she didn't eat much... just some mini donuts and part of a milkshake.... but her main focus was on the rides. He bought 2 sets of tickets and when they were gone she said "But grandpa, you could just buy more." One other thing that Greta really liked was looking at the horses. They found one in particular who was named Norman that she had a chance to pet and feed a carrot to. I think that if Greta had her way she'd have grandpa bring her next year... and every year after that!

Greta meets her kindergarten teacher

Greta had the chance to meet her kindergarten teacher, Mr. Neumann, a couple of weeks ago. They have each child in to school for an assessment of sorts. She was so excited that she could hardly contain herself! He had sent out an introductory letter before the assessment to tell the kids a little about himself. One thing he mentioned is that he likes Oreo cookies and, without skipping a beat, Greta decided to bring a few into him. I think we have a teacher's pet on our hands!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

summer just isn't my season

As I was sitting in recovery from surgery, I realized that the hot months are when my body needs repair......

August of '09 - foot surgery
August of '07 - hysterectomy
August of '06 - colonoscopy
July of '05 - lithotripsy (to break up a kidney stone that was bigger than a pea)
June/July of '04 - stent for kidney stone, C-section, removal of stent

Let's hope '09 is where it ends!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Left Foot

My story isn't as gripping as the movie... although I haven't seen the movie so maybe it is. Anyway, I have a broken foot right now. It started back in early June. I had pain in my left foot for over a week that I had been trying to ignore. It grew steadily worse and so I could no longer put it off... I had to go into the clinic. The doctor looked at my xray and told me I had a small stress fracture. I was verbally chastised for wearing flip flops ("They have no support!") and told to wear firm soled hiking boots or something of the like. Since it was the middle of June (hot!) and I don't really own anything like that (and was not excited to have to hunt through stores to find some) I went to the one person that I thought might be able to get me through: my mom. Everyone that knows her knows that if you need anything, and I mean anything, she will probably be able to suit your needs. She came through for me with an older air boot that I could use until my foot healed.

A couple of days after getting the boot, I was out at my parent's house with the kids. I was picking up before going home and I didn't notice a new landscaping rock in front of me and WHAM!... I had kicked the rock with my boot. White hot pain went through my foot and I almost tossed my cookies. I made it through that night hoping to get back in to see the doctor on Friday morning. Turns out, that doctor isn't in on Fridays and they had no other appointments available that day. If I wanted to be seen before the weekend, it would have to be in the ER.

I went in and had another xray and sure enough, what had been a small fracture was now quite pronounced. I was given crutches and told to go back in to the clinic on Monday to see the ortho specialist. The next few days were torture. I have found out that crutches and I are not soul mates, to say the least. I ended up falling over a few times, usually landing on my face. I may have done more damage to myself by using those blasted things than if I would have just crawled around the house.

The specialist gave me a walking cast/boot and told me to come back in 6 weeks. No more crutches! I had been wearing the boot around 24/7 just like I'd been told and things did not seem to be healing. Then, I was taking the dog out to the bathroom and he saw a leaf bounding across the lawn and it was all over... in one swoop, he lurched toward the leaf and I didn't have a good footing. He pulled me right over, in my front yard, in broad daylight. I had hit my foot going down (and bruised my ego a bit too.) I was back into the clinic shortly after and the doctor told me that there is a good possibility that I will have to have a pin put in to have this heal completely. I'm hoping for the best... that I'll go in 2 weeks from now and they'll let me go sans boot.

For now, I'm thinking of writing my own sitcom based on my life.

a trip to the ER

It was after supper. We had just finished cleaning up and the kids were playing. The boys took Greta's new High School Musical microphone that she got for her birthday and she went running after them. They ran into their bedroom and she, unbeknownst to them, was right on their tails. They slammed the door shut and I heard a blood curdling scream... not one of anger, but one of pain.

Greta came running over to me with blood running down her hand. When I looked at her finger, what I saw wasn't pretty. Her middle finger on her left hand had been slammed in their door. The fingernail, at the bottom where it is usually covered by skin, was popped up and pumping blood out. The other side of her finger had a small cut that was bleeding too. I wasn't sure what to do with the fingernail like that or if her finger had been broken... and so off to urgent care/the ER we went.

We were not the only ones there who had a hand injury. There were 2 other kids there with towels wrapped around their hands. The nurse told us Greta had to be seen in the ER so we took our seats and waited... and waited. Luckily (and it seems funny to say that!), because the fingernail was up and letting the blood out, the pressure wasn't building and Greta wasn't in too much pain.

Once we were brought back, things moved a little quicker. Greta was taken to xray where she charmed the pants off of the xray tech. When he told her to lay her hand on it's side with just her injured finger sticking up she shot him a look of confusion and said "I can't leave just that finger up. That's the bad finger." Thanks to her school age brothers, she knows all about the middle finger. I think she may have made his day... and he made hers when he went around the corner and brought back a small horse beanie baby for her to bring home.

I was happy to hear there were no broken bones and that they would be leaving her fingernail alone. The doctor put a little glue on the nail to keep it from snagging on anything and put a big bandage over the whole finger to keep it padded and safe.

The fingernail may or may not fall off, only time will tell. For now we're going to keep it covered and we'll be heading back to the pediatrician to have it checked out this week.

Unfortunately, kindness from the boys only lasted last night. They kids are already back to battle this morning. You know what they say.... kids are resiliant!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This is what my brother Nate bought Greta for her birthday:

...And this is what she's doing with it right now:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Unbelievable. It really is. My baby turns 5 today. I can't seem to remember where all of the hours went. Believe me, there have been days that seemed like years... but 5 years? Really?
I can remember Greta's birthday as if it were yesterday. After weeks of living with a kidney stone and then a stent that only made the pain worse, my OB took pity on me and decided that 37 weeks pregnant was enough. At my regular appointment, I remember him asking "How would you like to have a baby today?"
She came into this world on July 15th rather than the expected due date of August 6th. She was born by c-section rather than the old fashioned way. And in the words of Roald Dahl, "She is a rather extraordinary child."
We traded in our lightsabers and action figures for Barbies and lip gloss. Greta can be as girlie as they come yet she can wrestle the boys down and leave them crying. It amazes me how much she can be like each of her brothers, who are really nothing like each other. Does that even make sense?

Since the minute she was born she has captivated Dustin in a way that is different from the boys. Not to mean that she is the favorite, it's just a different relationship... one that, I suppose, can only be held by a dad and his little girl. What I can tell you is that she is going to have a heck of a time trying to date once she reaches that age. Here's an example that has a little forshadowing intertwined: Greta has had an imaginary friend named Calvin for a little over a year now. A while back, she informed us that Calvin was now her boyfriend and they were going to get married (imagine the look of disdain on Dustin's face!) Calvin seemed to pop into everyday events and conversations frequently ("Calvin lives with us now because his grandpa said he could" and "Calvin doesn't like it when we eat that.", etc.) Then one day a harsh blow came: Greta told Dustin "Calvin can play the drums just like you dad, but his drums can't be broken if you hit them too hard." Ouch. A few days later came another blow: we were at my mom and dad's house on the lake and she looked towards the bay, the deepest part of the lake. She asked "Can I touch the bottom there?" I told her no. "Can Linus and Miles touch?" Again, no. "How about you, mom. Can you touch there?" No. "What about dad?" Once again, no. Then it came... "Guess what? Calvin can touch there." Dustin looked at me and said "Calvin is my nemesis." And so it goes.
That's my girl in a nutshell. A little bit sassy mixed with sweet. She's only 5 and she's already given us a run for our money. I can't really imagine what the future will bring with this one.
Happy birthday Greta!

Friday, July 03, 2009

As far back as I can remember the Dodgers have held a place in my heart. I can remember being very young, my uncle Kim wearing an old, faded Brooklyn Dodgers shirt. I would use my eyes to trace over the cursive letters over and over again.

When the Yankees canned Joe Torre as manager and the Dodgers picked him up I was elated.

I also love a good underdog story.

I wanted so badly for the Dodgers to do well under Torre... if for nothing else, to show those Yankees where they could stuff it.

When Manny was suspended for failing his drug test, I'd like to say I was surprised. Unfortunately, his character has not always been, well, upstanding. I hate the phrase "It's just Manny being Manny." He is an adult, not a 2 year old... although you might not know it by some of the tantrums he throws.

I digress. Back to the underdog.

When Manny was suspended the Dodgers had been doing pretty well. I remember hearing "What will the team do without Manny?" across the board. It seemed like everyone had written them off because one player was missing. The Dodgers have pulled together and pulled off a great underdog story. They have thrived and have a record anyone in baseball would covet. All without their star. The thing I love most about this story is one of the things I love most about baseball: One person, no matter how good they are, cannot make a team or win a championship. It is why the Yankees, no matter how much money they spend on players, don't win the World Series every year. It takes a team to play and a true team to win. Home run hitters will do well for you but small-ball can be equally effective.

I hope that as Manny returns the Dodgers continue to do well. Heck, maybe Manny will even tone it down a bit. I would love to see a Twins/Dodgers World Series.

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's been awhile

I have been neglecting my blog.

Over the course of the last 2 years Dustin bought me a camera and Photoshop Elements and I have not been using them to their fullest potential. I decided about 2 weeks ago that I was going to learn everything that I could about them. I've spent the majority of my free time experimenting with photoshop trying to learn it. I had used it a little, mostly to crop pictures and to edit out a zit or two (I mean I would have edited them if I had any zits.) I digress... But now I know how to turn this:

into this:

and also how to do this:

Now onto my camera... and Dustin got me a book (and I mean a book) about our camera model.

I've got to write this down

I have got to be better about writing the funny things my kids say down. I bet there are several times a day when I think "I'll write that down in a minute..." and then forget to and the moment is lost forever.

Yesterday Greta was at the table asking me how to spell different words so she could write them down. This is a daily occurance here so I was spelling for her without even thinking about the words.

Greta: "Mom, what makes the letter sound BL, BL?"
me: "Like in the word black? That's B-L. Black."
[she writes a few letters, I continue to load the dishwasher and fight off the dog.]
Greta: "How do you spell believe?"
me: "B-E-L-I-E-V-E."
Greta:[in a whiny voice] "But you said B-L makes the BL sound."
me: "It does. B-L makes the sound BL."

Then I realize why she's upset. She thought that bElieve was BLieve. It reminds me of the time Linus thought that the word tree was chree.

Anyway, this is what she was writing:

Enough to make her Sunday school teacher proud, methinks.

Another funny thing she says that always makes me smile is "Mom, what today is it?" instead of "what day is it?" when she wants to know which day of the week it is.

One last pic for your viewing pleasure. Greta made this last week, when she was aparently upset with her brothers:

Gotta love it.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Miles has officially started his baseball season. Practice started in April and we had his first game on Tuesday. This is his first year on a traveling team... which is much different from the Community Ed teams he's been on in the past. Before the games started, he had practice 3 times a week. Now we will only be at practice once a week and will have games 2 times a week.

The first game was a doozy! There was a rain delay about half way through and it was windy and chilly. Still, the kids had a great time. The game ended in an 11-11 tie because it got too late to finish. The best part was in the last inning...we were down 11-9 and Miles scored to make it 11-10 and his cousin Quinn scored a run to tie the game.

I am looking forward to more games and warmer weather!


How is it possible that my boy turns 9 years old today?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

PG 13 Dora?

The other day, while in the van, Greta started singing a song she learned from Dora. Well, most of it was from Dora... the middle line was a misheard lyric:

"I speak Spanish and English too,
I like nibbles
How about you?"

Now, that by itself is a little funny. But let me back up and tell another story. A couple of years ago Linus was asking about the "bumps" on his chest. It was a little akward but I told him that those were his nipples. We had a 5 minute conversation about it and he was satisfied and went on his way. A few minutes later I overheard Linus telling Miles about what we had talked about:

"Miles, did you know that these are my nibbles and that they don't do anything? Girls have nibbles too but they are private. Mine aren't private because I'm a boy."

Back to Greta's interpretation of Dora's song:

"I speak Spanish and English too,
I like nibbles
How about you?"

I'm guessing it's not exactly what the writers had in mind for Dora.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

difficult times

After a week of being missing, Jelani Brinson's body was found yesterday. I didn't know him but a friend of mine from the blog world did. I can't imagine what his family and friends are going through right now. Please remember to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, April 17, 2009

broken record

A broken record... that's what it's beginning to feel like in our house. Miles and Greta are sick AGAIN. Miles is at school today for the first time this week. He's been battling a fever, sore throat and upset stomach this week. Yesterday I had Greta in to the Minute Clinic for an ear infection (or, as she calls it, an "earring-fection.") She has had a high fever as well. It has been a long couple of months here as far as illness goes but I'm confident that with the windows open and my Clorox Hard Surface out, we will prevail.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Miles and Linus were talking to Dustin this afternoon. I'm not sure how the conversation turned in this direction, but the boys mentioned something about public bathrooms and the "urine-hole." We were puzzled until we thought about it for a minute... "urine-hole"... urinal. Kids are the best entertainment.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

There are no specific decorations to put up. Most people don't spend weeks anticipating the day. Heck, our society hasn't even found a way to over-commercialize it. Good Friday might just be my favorite holiday.

An emotional day, that's for certain. For me, it is a day of reflection too. The challenges I face on a daily basis are nothing compared to what Jesus faced that day. Amazing sacrifice, amazing grace.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Our new puppy is here! Dustin picked him up after work on Friday. He is doing well, although it's like having a baby in the house. No more toys left on the floor and we are watching him constantly to make sure he's not chewing on anything he shouldn't. We named him Jack after one of our all time favorite baseball players, Jackie Robinson (and it should be noted that Jack Bauer from 24 and Dr. Jack from LOST also played a small role in the name consideration.) The kids are in love with him and the feelings are reciprocated. The whole house training thing is going o.k.... we're bringing him out about every half hour to go. He goes almost every time we go out but if we are lax on getting him out he'll just pee in the house. He hasn't quite caught on ... but we're hoping that it won't be long before that changes.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

out like a lion

Dreaming of this...

...but staring out the window at this:

[Insert defeated *sigh* here.]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

pride and joy

Greta came home from preschool last week with a 'work of art' that I was impressed with. It is the city/country unit at school and she had a picture that she had not only colored, but had added drawings to as well. We were looking at it together and she was telling me all about it. "Look mom, the bird in the sky is singing so loud they can hear it all the way to the city. And do you see the boy swimming in the lake? And the girl taking a nap in the grass?" Wow, my girl is really smart I thought. Probably much more mature than the other preschoolers. Then I glanced to the city side of the paper... "What's going on with the cars here" I asked. "Oh," she answered, "that's just the bad guys shooting the cops."

Mother ego deflated.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Hurley has gone back to live with Grandma Judie. He was here for 2 weeks but was still terrified of the kids (and Dustin and I most of the time.) We are looking into a golden retriever puppy to join our family.

I had to go back in to the doctor on Friday to get new antibiotics... my sinus infection was getting worse. They also put me on steroids to help with my sinus infection as well as the fluid in my ears.

I woke up last night at 2 a.m. with a sharp pain in my mouth. Somehow a piece of my back tooth had broken off. I made it to the dentist today and they were able to patch it up. I'm still numb and am not looking forward to when the novacaine wears off... they had to dig around the gum tissue quite a bit and I'm guessing it's going to be sore for a few days.

This week is spring break for the kids. We are ready for the rain to be done... not too much fun when you're stuck inside all day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

quarantine... again

The Minute Clinic in the Buffalo Cub Foods certainly made some money on Monday night. All 5 of us went in to get tested for Strep. It turns out that everyone but Greta has it, plus Linus has an ear infection and I have a sinus infection.

This strain of Strep is a wierd one. No one was complaining of a sore throat or fever... we had all just been under the weather a little and had a few stomach aches.

So yesterday the boys were home from school and Dustin had to work from home. Unfortunately for me, Miles and Linus couldn't be at school because they were still contagious but they were feeling fine... and bouncing off of the walls!