Sunday, January 31, 2010

Skadi's hero

The other day we were driving along on our way to work/daycare/preschool when Skadi announces, “LOOK! There’s Uncle Andy next to us!”

It actually wasn’t. It was a guy who works with me, but I can see the resemblance in a way.

This was the start with Skadi’s concern/fretting/adoration over Uncle Andy – one of our good friends and the father of one of Leif’s best friends.

Skadi decided last week that she was going to change her name and “Uncle Andy” was one of the two options she had picked. The other option was simply adding her favorite baby’s name into her full name to become - Skadi Jeanne Annika C------. It actually flowed pretty well given the whole four names thing.

Nearly every morning in the car Skadi squeals either, “look it’s Uncle Andy!” as she points to some random car or she asks, “where is Uncle Andy?” as she looks in cars when we drive by. And it is a good morning when she sees him dropping Niranjana off. She walks down the hallway holding her head higher and with a smile after giving him five.

Uncle Andy is also serving as “Assistant Coach” on the older kids’ soccer team. We needed to drop off an order form the other night for a t-shirt for him. Skadi was very concerned with not taking the normal route home and I told her we were going to go get a t-shirt for Uncle Andy ordered. (She missed the “ordered” part.)

Skadi: “YAY! Get a shirt for Uncle Andy!”

NM: “Well we are ordering it.”

Skadi: “Get him a soccer shirt!”

(We order it and leave the YMCA.)

Skadi: “Where is the shirt?”

NM: “I ordered it. We will get it later.”

Skadi: “Ok. But he might want it right now. He might want us to take it to him tonight!”

(The next night on the drive home.)

Skadi: “We have to go get Uncle Andy’s shirt!”

NM: “It’s not ready yet honey.”

Skadi: “Oh. When it is ready can we wrap it in a package and put a bow on it for Uncle Andy?”

I think there may be a bit of a crush on there… but Auntie Melissa is standing firm and Skadi has to go through her first.

Hypochondriac post #1

I mentioned the other day (after reading a book about Asperger's) that I suspect myself as having a gradient of Aspergers. And no, I am not normally a hypochondriac. And mild Aspergers, not like Jerry on Boston Legal. And not to the extent that John Elder does in the book "Look Me In The Eye". But AB agrees, I easily fall on that spectrum.

When I was in grad school I took one of those “help a fellow grad student out in this field and take this test” things. Afterwards she told me I had Aspergers. At the time I went “what? I don’t have Autism”, and I laughed and went on with my day thinking, "wow, wonder if she ever gets her degree!". I will admit though that this has always lingered in the back of my head. Moreso now that Leif’s teacher has been mentioning Aspergian traits. I just finished reading “Look Me In The Eye” by John Elder Robison and spent many evenings nodding my head. In some chapters I laughed and thought “ok, that’s out there, WAY out there”. Other chapters I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong with the stories he was telling, they sounded normal and a bit comforting.

I have been trying to figure out how to blog about this and have finally decided to just jump in with a series of posts hitting on traits of people with Aspergers and how or why, I see myself and Leif.

One of the weirder chapters I could relate to was Robison’s on naming things or people. The other night after reading that chapter I poured out my soul to AB. I had not talked to anyone about this before, but I have this problem and not only that, but I suspect from a few of Leif’s slip ups – that he also has this problem.

When I see a person, not everyone by far, just random people I know for some reason, I have to think before I say their name. And often, it is just easier for me to avoid saying their name. Because it does NOT fit and even becomes difficult for me to form my mouth and say their name. Want to see me squirm? Have me introduce one of these random people to you. I can usually come up with a name quickly, but the question is whether it is the right name.

The worst is when I slip up. In high school I dated a guy for about two months. He was a nice guy, but I cannot for the life of me remember his name. After 20 years this might make sense. But truth? I couldn’t remember his name when we dated. He was Keith to me. He fit the name Keith. And I slipped up enough in our short dating stint that he was sure I had another boyfriend named Keith. And I didn’t even know anyone named Keith. Explain this one to a new boyfriend… I couldn’t. This was back when I forgot to think hard about something before I opened my mouth - something I try to do, but not always successfully.

Another one? When I first started at the lab I worked with a specialist. He was introduced to me, but I knew his name just looking at him before he was introduced to me. It was Cookie. Yes, Cookie is a very odd name for a man my parent’s age. And amazingly enough it rhymed with his real name, Charlie. Panic comes over me when I see Cookie around the campus because I have to rack my brain to get the guy’s real name so that I can do what I have learned to do and say, “Hi Charlie, how are you?” Thank goodness I don’t work with the guy anymore. Though with most people put me in an instance where I get to know them better and my tendency fades and their name comes more naturally to me.

Calling animals by “The Cat” or “The Dog”. No problem. I do this (not sure if this one is weird or not.) Your pets names? Oh, I would have to think a lot about that. Leif is big on this one. He loves his cat, Lucky, and has declared himself a cat person. He isn’t terribly fond of our dogs but he goes to bed every night with “Cat” on him. “Cat” likes to lay on Leif in bed, which is kind of humorous since “Cat” is also about 19 lbs and Leif is just over twice that. As Leif is falling asleep and his eyes are fluttering he will ask me to “put Cat next to me and make sure he doesn’t leave, I want him here”. Leif knows his name is Lucky, but more often than not, he’s “Cat” to Leif.

One of the very obvious ones from an early age that I blogged about years ago was hearts. Leif still calls hearts “eskimos”. This started long before I suspect he had much of an idea what an Eskimo was, which still perplexes me – because believe me, I know what a cookie is. His teacher at the time found it cute and novel, though a bit perplexing. His current teacher? She calls it Aspergers. Leif has learned that hearts are called hearts, but 9 times out of 10 if you put a heart in front of him he will start with “eski – err, I mean heart”.

And other kids in Leif's class? Until he gets to know them well he doesn't use their name, they are "the kid that knocked his front teeth out" or "that one kid" or "the boy whose dad is a police officer". Is this the same thing? I am not sure.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Looking ahead

Awhile back… ok, years ago… Vargasgirl got me into cross stitching. It had always struck me as an old lady type of thing to do. But when I saw the things she was making and the options for patterns out there, I quickly became interested. They weren’t all cutesy scroll country kischey things! There were some really nice contemporary patterns out there.

I started in slow, became hooked and then quickly had more patterns on my hard drive then I knew what to do with.

I started on Chat Noir.

Then I had Leif. And Chat Noir went on the shelf.

I have this great desire to get back to crafting of some type.

Two areas constantly pull at my heart. Sewing and cross stitching.

I want to make my daughter a pillowcase dress before she grows too big and laughs at me for even suggesting she wear a pillowcase.

And have you even seen those summer dress patterns out there? I am way too sure that the fabric for those dresses are even cuter. But I wouldn’t know since I am not allowed in fabric stores. Self imposed ban and all.

I foresee my February goal getting my house to a point where I need to stop for awhile because the next step would entail large sums of money that I am not envisioning having at that point. Additionally I envision March being a busy month with it being our 10th anniversary month and Skadi’s birthday.

I am thinking I am going to take a side trip for the month of March and explore a personal goal…
Start sewing…

Or tackle The Orange Tree…

February Goals Defined

It’s been decided!

The February goal will be the kitchen.

The main thing here is to get pull out spice racks in the narrow cabinet next to the stove. It is the perfect location for a spice cabinet, but the design doesn’t work – it is deep, tall and difficult to organize. The pull outs should work wonders in organizing one of our most used cabinets in the kitchen.

My plan isn’t to stop there. Lately I have been feeling as though my kitchen isn’t organized as well as it could be. I don’t like to change things around at all. I like to get items in a place that works and leave them. This is a major difference between myself and my mom, who is always changing things around. I blogged about this at some point, but I can't seem to find it right now... Anyways, suffice it to say that right now, things aren’t working where they are.

I have a lazy Susan in a convenient place, but that is nearly unused. I have bowls I use regularly in a high cabinet. AB’s BBQ utensils (and he has a lot of them) are in a drawer that isn’t really big enough. And the Aluminum foil/Saran Wrap/Wax Paper/Baggies drawer is just way too little. Then there is the desk (that I really wish was a countertop – but that wish will just remain) needs to be organized and also needs a chair (shh… don’t tell AB this one, he needn’t know I have hopes of purchasing something else in the kitchen during this month since the pull outs are expensive enough!) and the cabinets above it organized. This should fit well also with the season – tax time – as I have our routine tax receipts in one of the cubbies up there.

The plan has been set and will be put into motion!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Skadi says:

“I want to do wha-ever me wants to do.”


“I want to pick wha-ever me wants.”


"I want to eats wha-ever me wants to eat."


“I want to pick panties wha-ever me wants to wear.”

(You get the idea.)

Leif = “WEIFER!”

To Freya as she has ahold of her fur so she can’t escape: “You no eat my toys, you hear me? I said you no eat my toys!”

Anything she likes:

“Oh it’s so beeeeauuuutiful!”


“Oh it’s so WOOOnderful!”

When she says something she thinks is funny she says to herself (and to us):
"That's a good one!"

When Leif said, "Skadi...", this morning she responded with, "call me Beaner".

Skadi and her best friend were sent to the office for not listening the other day. Apparently the entire time they sat in the office they giggled. One would look at the other and they would giggle. Then they would be told not to look at each other and this would last for about 30 seconds before one girl would give in and look at the other, and the giggling would start all over. I could hardly not giggle myself as the teacher is telling me this with a stern face. I mean, what did they expect as they sat the girls next to each other in the office? What makes me not smile about this is knowing that Skadi’s best friend is most likely moving in a few months.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


It was something like a wall hitting me in the face.

My baby is going to preschool!

While I keep telling myself she still has four whole months left in her toddler room, the school , more specifically, my son’s classroom, has begun their preparations to accept new children into the room for next year. This seems too soon, I moaned to the head teacher this morning and she replied with some nonsense about the 1st and 2nd graders schedule needing to coincide with registration somewhere else for something else. And I guess this becomes an immediate trickle down effect. Get the youngest ones placed, then they will be asking me to register my oldest for kindergarten and then they can deal with their older kids that are worlds beyond my kids. Right? Worlds away, right?

Placing Skadi is an easy decision for me.

Not necessarily for AB.

As far as I am concerned she needs to go straight to her brother’s current room. I like and respect the teachers in there. They are fair, but firm and she needs the consistency and defined boundaries. Not to mention the convenience of taking both kids to the same room for a year – yippee! And all the fall picnics, Christmas parties, spring parties, pumpkin patch trips… just one set! Oh my goodness, I won’t know what to do with myself to only have to go to one set of events! Then there is the fact that she already knows the room and has interacted a fair amount with the teachers. It’s a no brainer.

Then AB reminds me, “but what about Leif? How will this impact him?” We have already, had a couple years of ups and downs with him in preschool. We have finally achieved a happy medium.

We went through the list of other options for Skadi and I have to keep reminding myself that even the “worst” rooms (by my assessment only) are far better than every other option available in our area. (Also my opinion only.)

But at the same time I remind myself I am NOT going to make the same mistake with Skadi that we did with Leif. Not that we really had control over a teacher who had been there for a decade leaving… and after finding out recently that she left due to a nasty cancer it makes me sorely regret my grumbling over it at the time.

AB’s answer is to look to Skadi’s 2nd teacher, “Ms S”. Ms S. told us from day one that Leif needed to go in the room he is in now, but we didn’t listen to her. We jumped on another room based upon our observations and really liking the head teacher, who then departed. And then later we dealt with problem after problem in this room. And then after a brutal year, moved him to his current room. My task this morning was to talk to Ms S and see where she would put Skadi.

Ms. S giggled and got in her two cents, “I TOLD you to put him in A.T., but you didn’t listen!!” she joked. I was about to offer to bow down before her and promise something, not sure what, when she whispered, “Put her in A.T. also.”

Then she and the head teacher went on to tell us that in anticipation of this they had already spoken with Leif’s teacher and that she was fine with having the siblings in her room and anticipated no problems at all.

The school offers observation times to the parents to go observe the rooms and see what they are all about. Naw, we don’t need to do this. We have a pretty good idea of what each room has to offer and who the teachers are. So as long as there is no great teacher change up, we should be golden.

Phew. One of the most stressful aspects is dealt with. It isn’t finalized, or submitted in writing yet. But it’s very nearly a done deal before the majority of her classroom has any inkling of what is hanging out there waiting for them. I love having the “been there, done that” advantage.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You grew up where?

I often wonder what my kids will think about or remember about the area they grew up in. For now, and we expect for at least the next five years, we have no plans to leave the area.

When I was their age I lived in Casper, Wyoming. I was born in Casper, Wyoming and lived there until I was about 13. I loved Wyoming and truth be told, I still think back fondly on Wyoming and find it interesting that it is now becoming a destination. I loved the mountains, the open plains, the antelope and deer everywhere, the quiet, the ease to get away to places like Thermopolis, Jackson Hole, Sheridan and Cody and Yellowstone National Park.

Wyoming shaped me as being an outdoor, nature loving person. Our vacations as a kid were usually to outdoor destinations like camping at Alcova and Pathfinder with occasional shopping and zoo trips down to Denver – a long 6 hour car ride and my sister would usually puke on the car ride there. I was on cross country skis doing treks with my parents at age five and was finally allowed to downhill ski at Hogadon when I was 12. We fished and my dad hunted on occasion. I lived about 2 miles from my grandmother’s house where I spent a lot of time with her and Pa, we went to the fair and rodeo every summer. I played t-ball and hung out at my local YMCA where my mom worked when I was about 10.

We floated the North Platte in canoes and for fun played “whack a mole” with the paddles and the giant carp in the shallow sections, we caught frogs while on breaks to have lunch on the bank and grasshoppers to use while fishing. My dad once tipped the canoe with my mom, sister and I in it… my mom used to accuse him of not paddling as she paddled in the front and this time it was true – he had my sister standing up so he could retrieve a beer from the cooler she was sitting on when suddenly we were all dumped into the water.

I lived here until I was about 12.

I mourned Wyoming when we left for Colorado when I was 13.

Colorado was a different place. Something you notice when you cross the border from Wyoming to Colorado is the sudden green out the window. A transition from brown dusty plains to green fields. In Colorado my life was different. I didn’t ski so much because the drive to ski areas was long, and my mom and stepdad did not downhill ski. We spent a lot of time outside within the city of Fort Collins, which was a fabulous place to grow up.

Fort Collins, when I was there had the largest number of restaurants and breweries per capita. I passed my driver’s test there (after three attempts) and ran around town in my little 1979 Mazda RX-7. I remember saying I would never leave Colorado. When I did leave everyone expected I would come back, but Colorado hasn’t been my home in 14 years. I have found since leaving that when I tell people I grew up in Colorado many people tend to ask, “why would you leave?” or they tell me they are jealous, or the like. But things happen and life leads us down paths we don’t expect and it was my career that brought us to SE Washington state.

My region now is actually a lot like Casper geographically. Brown, dry and windy. I have noticed that since leaving life at altitude that my rice turns out well and my cakes rise differently. My kids know this area as home and it is rare that we go somewhere in town and don’t run into someone we know. While I wouldn’t say we love it here, we are awfully fond of it.

I think both AB and I get cases of wanderlust pretty regularly because we continue to bring up the topic of whether we will stay or leave between the two of us. Obviously we aren’t diehard Tri-Citians who never want to leave. We do enjoy our community and feel that we are a part of it and have things to offer back to our community. I hope that our children grow up and leave the region for college – my hope is that they will follow in AB’s and my, their Uncle Scott, Aunt Angie and Grandpa John’s footsteps and will attend the University of Colorado at Boulder. And then I hope that they will see the world at their toes with opportunities abound.

Of course I say this as a mom of a 5.5 and nearly 3 year old where the prospect of them striking out to discover the world on their own is more than a decade away. That’s forever!

AB and I are lucky that we can pretty effectively combat our boredom with the area and our wanderlust needs with weekend getaways. Weekend trips to Seattle satisfy (for now) our shopping, dining and culture needs (whereby we can usually expect Skadi to puke on the car ride, just like my sister only now I have a lot more compassion as her mommy). We are trying to make more habits out of getting to the mountains on the weekends and possibly justify a mountain land purchase in the next year or two with plans to build a cabin eventually. And we have identified our favorite family getaway. Then there are our trips to Colorado and Alaska fairly regularly that usually pre-empt any “big vacations”. But like I said before, we emanate from destination cities, so going to our roots for vacations isn’t always a bad deal.

I wonder what my children will look back remembering as they grow up in Southeast Washington? What do you remember about where you grew up?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I am guessing that I am right on par with my goals as most resolutioners right now given the state of the parking lot at the health club. It's still packed. And for me? January has been amazingly productive.

I don't mean to harp on it, but I think I got more done around my house this month than I did the entire last six months. Master closet cleaned, linen closet cleaned, deep freeze cleaned out and organized, the boxes in the Master bedroom emptied (not saying much has a place yet...) and as of today, Leif's closet has been cleaned out and organized. Phew.

And I still have another weekend left! Though I may suggest we take a break and go do something fun, like ski, or take the kids bowling, or something.

I have been giving thought to what I want to tackle in February and I have narrowed it down to two things. AB wants me to pick the least expensive, preferable no expense option since we are trying to save money for any number of things (mini vacation for our 10th anniversary, travel trailer, new TV...).

I am leaning towards fixing up our wine closet. I had picked out some inexpensive storage options totaling about $200. Then today I went to get baking decorations out of the spice cabinet and waffled when little glass jars came tumbling. Maybe I want the pull outs.

Pull outs, or wine storage? Pull outs or wine storage?

Have I mentioned that I suck at making decisions? And AB is NO help at all because he immediatly says, "they both cost money!"

I went in to count wine bottles and immediately arrived at the fact that the inexpensive storage options I had initially targeted may not work since we are within a case of that capacity.

I suppose we just need to work harder at drinking our wine!

On the verge of scurvy!

I suck at being “green”. I try. We try. But when it comes down to it, we suck.

One area I try every year to be good about is being a locavore. I love the concept and it makes sense. Support your local industry, eat food that is produced and grown near you and minimize the CO2 footprint of bringing your food to you. Great idea!

Except that nothing grows here in the winter!

Winter leaves us with apples (stored under nitrogen, which is fine, as a scientist I have no problem with this), potatoes and onions. And if I were a Top Chef contestant I am sure I could come up with loads of delicious combinations of these three ingrediants.

But about this time of year each year, we have had our fill of apples. Except Skadi, she could eat apples at every meal.

And then you buy the box of Cuties which are most definitely not produced around here, but the lure of citrus is irresistible in December. And mandarin oranges definitely do NOT grow anywhere near Washington State.

Then my son starts complaining. “I want fruit mom, I want blueberries.”

I am lucky to have a son that loves fresh fruit so much. I know many people who complain that their kids won’t eat fresh fruit. I am sure that it comes partly with growing up in Washington state, because as a kid, my fresh fruit consisted of Red Delicious apples, oranges and strawberries on occasion in Wyoming. Here in Washington States once cherry season hits in June it is an endless smorgasbord and we historically have eaten fruit salad as a side dish at nearly every meal on up through apple and pear season in the fall.

So that my kids don’t waste away to pale little scurvy ridden children I ran to Costco this past weekend.

And I loaded up.

We have kiwi from Italy, we have blackberries from South America, we have blueberries from Australia, we have artisan lettuce heads from who knows where. Or correction, we had blueberries. We don’t anymore.

Then the piece de resistance arrived – a case, big case too, of red Rio Grande grapefruit direct from the Southern tip of Texas.

Carbon foot print be damned. We need our produce.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My kids crack me up

Me: "... so once you finish your sticker chart you can pick something special to do or buy, what would you like?"

Leif: "Skadi wants earplugs. Skadi say you want earplugs."

Me: "Why would she want earplugs?"

Leif: "Because when you swim, then you wouldn't get water in your ears."

Me: "I didn't realize you had problems with water in your ears."

Leif: "Well you could."

Me: "Yes, you could, but so far you haven't."

Leif: "Skadi, say you want earplugs when you finish your sticker chart!"

Skadi: "No, I want a princess thing."

Me: "Leif what do you want?"

Leif: "Well not earplugs, that's for sure."



Skadi: "Oh look at this picture, she is SO beautiful. But mommy, it isn't me."

Me: "That's Cousin Celeste."

Skadi: "Oh, Cousin Lest is SO beautiful. Isn't she beautiful mommy?"

Me: "Yes, she is."

Skadi: "Cousin Lest was so wonderful too. Wasn't she wonderful mommy?"

Me: "Yes, beautiful and wonderful!"

Skadi: "Yep, just like me. She gets it from me."


Skadi: "Mommy, I going to read this book to you." (Holding up the CPR manual from before Leif was born.)

Me: "Well, let's go get a fun book to read, not that book."

Skadi: "NO! I read DIS book NOW! You sit down."

Me: "Fine."

Skadi: (Opens book to page one.) "Once upon a time there was a princess born!"

Skadi: (Flips book to pages 3-4.) "Once upon a time there was a princess born!"

Skadi: (Flips book to pages 5-6.) "Once upon a time there was a princess born!"

Skadi: (Flips book to pages 7-8.) "Once upon a time there was a princess born!"

Skadi: (Flips book to pages 9-10.) "Once upon a time there was a princess born!"

Skadi: "All done! Wasn't that the MOST wonderful book ever!"

Am I the only one?

Here is probably where I admit to myself where my son's OCD (diagnosed by me) comes from.

Every day when I walk down the hall I walk by an admin’s office. When she is sitting at her computer with nothing up on the screen I get this strange urge to go into her office, scootch her away from her computer on her rolling chair and clean up the icons on her screen. Her entire screen is COVERED in icons. This makes me nuts and I don’t have to sit in front of it, just walk by it! How can she possibly work this way? Find anything?

(For the record I have one, the recycle bin, and I *never* put anything in it there. In fact, if I could get rid of it I would.)


I have a coworker and routinely I am in her office chatting while she has her Outlook open, as we all do. She has a really great organization system for her e-mails. Folders and subfolders. However, what drives me UP the wall is that many of the folders are bold typeface because they have unread items in them.

Why? Why would you file something, but not open it? Or at least go to the folder, right click and click on “mark all items read”.

I really would like to slide my hand over to her mouse as we chat and "here let me take care of those unread e-mails for you".

I am finishing up "Look Me in the Eye" right now which is a true story about one man's life with Aspergers. There have been suggestions that Leif is on the Aspergers spectrum. As I read the book I have marvelled not at seeing my son in the role, but at all the times I sat there and nodded my head or wondered to myself, "hmm, is this weird? This seems perfectly normal to me."

I was told one time, when I took a test in grad school - you know those tests where you volunteer for a fellow grad student in another department - that I definitely had Aspergers. Then I went back to my lab and looked it up on the internet and scoffed, I wasn't autistic. Though lately as I learn more about Aspergers... I look back to that test and nod my head.

Severe? Nope. On the spectrum? Most definitely.

Emerging from a fog

Ever feel like a dense fog lifts? Like all of a sudden there just seems to be more clarity? Ok, so we have had dense fog around here lately and the last few days HAVE been relatively clear. But I mean in a less literal term. Maybe more motivation? Like things just become a touch (not a ton) easier?

It’s hard to explain and I am trying to figure out the root cause, but things have just felt easier, clearer, less vague the past few weeks.

I am trying to figure out if it is just 2010 and 2009 just had some bad juju associated with it.

Or maybe it’s hitting 38… my lucky number is 8, so maybe my age having an “8” in my age has added a spark.

And I don’t want to rule out the value of sleep. We are embarking on nearly two weeks whereby Skadi has decided to sleep through the night!

Or maybe it is all three.

Last year I felt like it was a struggle to stay on top of anything. It was frustrating and disheartening. My work life was fine, but with a little girl full on into her terrible two’s and moving, I just never felt like a sank into a routine. My blogs were uninspiring and often forced. Nearly daily I forgot things. Ok, so I DID forget my coffee this morning, but I had a backup plan. Plus, after a night where I slept nearly 9 hours and then got up and exercised for 45 minutes, who needs coffee?? (Ok, so I do a bit…)

I walloped my monthly goal to clean my closet and main linen closet out before half the month was over and then I hit it out of the park by cleaning out the boxes in the Master bedroom (ok, so some stuff just went into a pile, but at least there is no more cardboard and nothing on the floor by the windows) AND cleaned out the deep freeze and made a list of food in there.

AB tackled the garage the garage Sunday while the kids and I were at a birthday party. While we still have a ways to go there, I feel as though things are finally coming together out there as well.

I look around my house and see possibilities, where last year I saw... well I am not sure what I saw... probably just a long to do list with no end in sight.

This coming weekend I am vowing to help my husband out in the garage. Then my dresser could use clearing off and Leif's closet needs some attention. We will see how far I get!

I am not sure the end is anywhere in sight, but the scale isn't seeming quite so immense.

Just hoping now this continues for the rest of the year!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What do turtles say?

About 9:45pm last night, long after Skadi should have been asleep and I was starting to lose my patience.

Skadi: "What do turtles say?"

Me: "I don't know. Maybe 'snap, snap'?"

Skadi: Pause... "Well then what do crocodiles say?"

Me: "I don't know what crocodiles say, what do you think they say?"

Skadi: "Hmm, I think they say, 'I eat you now!'"

Friday, January 15, 2010

Another mystery

But this one (unlike my "allergy") may be nearly solved.

I love my new house. We bought it from a relocation company, so there was no one there to walk us through or to explain how things worked. No one to e-mail quick questions to, like our buyers have done with our old house.

I have discovered a few things with this new house:

-I will never again be without a boiling water tap. I use that thing constantly and never thought I would. I actually missed it while at my mom's house and either had to microwave water or put a kettle on the stove. Love the boiling water tap.

-I finally figured out how to work the wooden blinds. Huge accomplishement.

-Some of the light switches have funky push buttons. To work this you flip the neighboring switch and push the button. That turns the light on. (Now is where we ask "WHY?")

-The weird remote actually operates the fan in the play room and you turn on the light from there, not the switch. Changing the light bulbs was not the problem.

-To lock the back door you have to lift the lever handle up.

-There is no shortage of wall outlets. There are wall outlets in the kitchen cupboards!

There is still one mystery that we may be on the verge of solving. Back about mid-summer we noticed over the counter lights on late one night.

"Neato," I said and then proceeded to look for the switch. I couldn't find it. But no matter, they were off the next night.

Then a few weeks later they were on again. A few months later I was still looking for the switch.

AB, tired of my pondering the random off-on nature of the lights over the cupboards in the evenings, crawled up and reported that it was one of those strings of rope lights plugged into another wall outlet.

Interesting! So it was a wall outlet operating the switch. I returned to flipping switches downstairs while AB watched the cupboard tops. Then I actually started flipping switches upstairs.

Nearly 10 months later it dawned on me that the lights have been on nearly constantly lately. During the day and NOT just the nights before, that I think they are operating on a daylight sensor!!

It has been dark and dreary here and with the short days, we have very little daylight. And the cupboard lights are on nearly constant.

If the frequency decreases as it gets lighter I will have solved the mystery!

More about Me

I feel like so far this year (2010) I have talked a lot about me. My goals, my past year, my plans for the coming year, etc. Well might as well keep up the trend in an attempt to even out how often I talk about the kids.

Last weekend I realized how little Wii *I* have been able to do. I looked at WiiFit and it told me it had been 29 days since I had last logged in. It is just an issue with time.

I remember a few years ago while on maternity leave a woman lamenting on Oprah that she didn't have time to work out. Oprah brushed her off and said, "you just don't want to, if you wanted to, you would make time" and then she brushed her away as though she didn't matter.

I was so offended by her attitude towards this woman. Here was Oprah, a woman who had never had children, with enough money for personal trainers and private gyms and chefs placing judgement on a harried mom who said, "I am up multiple times a night with my baby, I work, my husband works, I have an older child who needs to do homework, I am exhausted."

As someone who well understands the physiology of exercise and how it DOES make you feel better, I understand the need to exercise and how it will lift you out of a funk. But there has to be time. There are times in us normal people's lives where we ask where is the extra time? It doesn't exist. Carving out time for you? Just not going to happen. Weekends? That's the time I get to spend with my family, it's precious.

Within the last few weeks, Skadi has started sleeping better. I hate to jinx this but in 6 nights, she has slept solidly through 4 of them. And each of those 6 nights she has slept in until 7am. This is huge. We might be on to something here...

Last Saturday in honor of this new string of successes, it dawned on me that I could get up 40 minutes earlier than normal and jump on the Wii Fit.

I dragged myself out of bed at 6am Monday morning and actually had a lot of fun!

Tuesday morning was more dragging, but knowing something fun was out there.

By Wednesday and Thursday I was jumping out of bed. And this morning AB didn't have to work, so his alarm didn't go off. And the notion of staying snuggled in bed did cross my mind.

Then I got up and did my Yoga and biked 3.5 miles and waved at all my Wii family and friends with Lucky running by my side.

I am hooked.

Goals update

January is done!

Closet is organized and linen closet is done too!

I admit to planning the January goals as low hanging fruit, but they are two things that I am truly thrilled to have done.

I have two weeks left in January and so I have decided to add a bonus item.

I debated between two things - my son's walk in closet that is bigger than my own and somewhat more of a play room. Truly it is a fabulous space and the kids use it as a hide out routinely. It has boxes and stuff all over the floor. It needs organized.

Then there is the stack of stuff and boxes in the Master that needs put somewhere.

I am going to be totally selfish here and admit that the Master "put away all the stuff" has won. My reasoning here is that I organized my linen closet and was made aware of two empty shelves there. And with the Master closet organized it appears as if there is a few shelves in there too.

I have places to put all that stuff still in boxes and stacked randomly!

I figure I better tackle that one before that space disappears.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

When the halo is present...

I whine a fair amount about my crazy little redhead. How her moods change with the wind... How she has yet to routinely sleep through the night... How she was *that* kid in daycare for some time... And occasionally regresses back there... How completely emotional she is... And totally irrational...

But there is a side of her that not many people see.

The side when the halo is centered perfectly over her head and nothing buy pure joy radiates. Those days - as she approaches age three - are becoming a wee bit more common.

I got a beautiful bracelet for Christmas and Skadi is still quite proud of it. Daily she comes in and asks if I have my bracelet and not only that, but then she helps me put it on.

These bracelets aren't the easiest things to put on even if you aren't a klutz. Skadi very meticulously brings the end around and sticks it ever so perfectly in the clasp end. She is amazingly patient with it. Her tiny fingers are perfect at the task and she decreases the time it takes me to get the bracelet on by at least two thirds.


I complained the other day to AB that I haven't been taking enough food to work with me. I am usually starved by the late afternoon. Skadi has decided to do something about this and recently every morning while picking out the after school snacks that go in my bag (that VargasGirrl made me that is the perfect size and shape for all the stuff I haul to work and daycare outside my purse), she has also grabbed me a granola bar and puts it in my purse.

"For you mommy," she tells me.

And wow that granola bar has been my saviour lately.


This evening we were playing Skadi's favorite game - hide and seek. She loves to play in teams. Normally it is she and daddy against Leif and me. But this evening we changed it up and I got to hide with her in her favorite ever hiding spot - under the covers on my and AB's bed. She got the giggles, which made me giggle. But I finally got her to be quiet.

In a hushed voice she says, "mommy?"

"Yes Skadi?" I whisper back.

"I think you are beautiful," she whispers.

Talk about melt my heart!


Skadi is also an incredibly compassionate little girl. In fact, her teacher at daycare has marvelled about this. When a child is hurt, Skadi is the first one there saying, "you okay?" and offering an icey. This happens at home too. When I recently crushed my toe, Skadi was the one there patting my back and bringing my iceys.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A mystery of sorts

One night when I was at my mom's house we were sitting around the table eating a nice dinner when I suddenly felt my face get warm. Then it got hot. Then it got itchy.

I contemplated a Benadryl, but since I wasn't having other symptoms I held off out of fear it would zonk me out since I had had a glass (or two) of wine as well. The itching persisted a little through the evening, but went away about morning.

New Years Eve we were at my brother in laws house with pizza and beer in front of us. A few slices of pizza down and a half a beer and the heat came back, then the itching started.

I had thought things had resolved and we were back home. I made a fabulous dinner of chipotle short ribs in my new Le Creuset Dutch Oven (LOVE that thing) and wouldn't you know that my face swelled, got read and started itching.

At that point the swelling was new, but still no breathing issues. I itched throughout the night and that morning when I woke up to my swollen face I waited anxiously for the doctor's office to open so I could phone in.

Thankfully they fit me in early in the day and the doctor (a new one at my usual office) didn't really have to ask me what was going on, why I was there. It was quite obvious.

We chatted about the obvious. Affected areas being face and neck, no torso or leg involvement. Obvious hives and itching. Ruled out detergent. (I had thought it an option since we had been at my mom's and I had washed our clothes there.)

Truly I didn't care what it was, I just wanted it to go away. I declined the offer for blood work and jumped on the steroid and antihistamine.

I expected the meds to wipe it out quickly. Much to my surprise, it lingered. It lingered while AB and I worked as detectives to try and deduce what was causing this.

I don't really have allergies per se at this point in my life. At age 18 I tested positive for everything INCLUDING the negative control, when I had skin tests. And at that point, yes, I was allergic to everything. But slowly over time my allergies abated and I don't even experience seasonal allergies.

So a food allergy? Seriously?

I was a touch skeptical, I asked if he was sure it wasn't rosacea. The doc repeated, "you have hives and frankly I am surprised you aren't having breathing issues".


We have come up with some suspects and eliminated them from my diet and reintroduced suspect food slowly.

I have ruled out wine. (Thankfully, that was one of the first things I decided to rule out.)

I have ruled out pork. (An unlikely allergen, but I can say it isn't active in me.)

I have ruled out gluten or wheat.

Likewise milk and dairy.

Also ruled out seafood.

What have I not ruled out?

Yeast is on the fence. Most of the time I get no reaction, but there have been occasions that have made me wonder.


And the big one, the one that I have eliminated for just over a week and the one that AB thinks it is... beef. Beef is the only food that I have consistently eaten prior to each of the attacks. Beef... wouldn't be as bad as gluten. But when you live with a BBQ loving husband... well let's just put it this way, it's what's for dinner. Often.

I haven't done the strict elimination test since I haven't had anaphalactic reactions. More just messing around trying to figure it out.

The doctor suggested that we do blood testing if I get a positive response, after the steroids and antihistamines. Of course, there is also the chance it is also a fluke and I will never get another response off anything. We can hope!


For the first time since we moved in, my closet is organized.

Truly I had huge plans for this closet with shoe cubbies and shelves galore when we moved in. But stuff got stuffed in there and forgotten about. Yes, sad to say, for nearly 10 months.

Like I said before, life just kept moving on, not paying any attention to the fact that my closet was unorganized.

I spent about an hour and a half on Sunday. Really, I know, that was all it took! I had anticipated 6-8 hours.

Now that it is done I kind of just want to hang out in there.

I take my time getting my clothes out in the morning because I am not worried about what I might be stepping on or what might fall on me.

Organization, once finished, is a serious destresser. A nearly cathartic feeling comes over me when I walk in my organized closet.

I am thinking the linen closet can be tackled in two evenings while the kids bathe.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Welcome 2010

I have never been a huge fan of resolutions. I am not really sure why, but I don’t really remember ever making “New Year’s Resolutions” even as a kid. Maybe it’s because if I labeled it such, it was bound to fail simply because of the failure rate of resolutions.

A few years ago thanks to a suggestion from a friend, I embarked on a new concept. Goals.

Goals strike me as a much more forgiving concept. You can strive for your goals hard, and never quite make them, but the important thing is you tried, right? See so much more forgiving than resolving to do something!

2010 brings the return of the goals since I dropped them off big time in 2009 while we packed up our house and moved.

As usual, my goals are going to be home based. I realize I could make goals that have nothing to do with the house, but this year more than others I need the home based goals.

We bought our new house this past year and life kept moving along. Life didn’t seem to want to stop and give me a chance to unpack, set up, settle in or simply to make my new house a home.

Sure, it’s our home. But as I look around I don’t find that homey home home feel. It needs stuff, it needs attention, it needs paint, it needs organization. And I wonder routinely (and a touch concerned-like) if I will ever get a house to a point where I don’t feel like I am working on it all weekend, every weekend. I eventually want days where I can just cook and do laundry and sit around my perfectly decorated, exactly how I want it home. I need to work to get it to that point.

A new year seems to me to scream organization. It’s cold outside, so naturally I look inward. Straight in to the guts of the house. And if my house has guts, they are located in the Master Closet and Master Bath Linen Closet #2.

(Yeah, I had to get that in there… my previous entire house had only one linen closet and now I have TWO in the Master bath!)

I had grand intentions when we moved into the new house of not letting my Master Closet plummet to the depths. But plummet it has. There are clothes on the floor, a few boxes that haven’t been unpacked and clothes hanging up that I will never, ever, ever wear again.

We have a Goodwill pick up arranged for January 15th where we are getting rid of a few very large items and I would like a few boxes of clothes in there as well.

My closet IS January Goal #1.

The closet must be cleaned out, clothes and shoes sorted through and boxed up for surrender to the needy. Have you noticed me wearing old clothes the past two days? If so, I will tell you why… because I am going with that 6 month rule! If I haven’t worn it in 6 months it is moving on! And well, there are a few things in there that I don’t want to have to place the ax to, so I wore them this past weekend. But that’s our secret, right?

Once the closet is cleaned out and clothes and shoes organized there are a few things I will need to buy. I bought a key hanger from Target and used it for belts at the other house and now I want it. And since I am not going to go and ring the doorbell at the old house with a screwdriver in hand, it will require instead a trip to Target. Same for the hooks that I hung purses on. I need a place to hang my purses.

The biggest problem with BOTH of these plans is where to put the hooks and belt hangers? See our Master Closet has LOTS of shelves and built in things. Great, right? Yeah, but someone forgot about the purses and belts! This is something that will have to be figured out.

January Goal #2 is my linen closet. I never really emptied and organized anything. When we moved out of the old house I just took the organizer bins that held everything and put them in a box. Then I took them out at the new house and haven’t done anything with them. The linen closet needs purged and organized.

Neither of these tasks are large or time consuming, but both are things that NEED to be done and will contribute to my peaceful calmness I attain from having organized bits in my house. I can do these things while the kids bathe, and it isn’t going to impact my weekends or our budget (that is recovering from a holiday trip) adversely.

I have vague thoughts on the coming months… but of course AB wants buy in on anything very large or major. Organizing the closets brings only a sigh of relief from him that I am not going to be waving paint chips around or barking orders.

-We want to transform our wine closet from being a non-descript closet with cases of wine on the floor into a welcoming walk in closet with a wine rack and other miscellaneous things. Cost estimated at about $300 and two solid days of work.

-Pull outs-ville. Love my pull outs in a few of the kitchen cabinets. Love my big (recently organized) pantry. Cannot for the life of me figure out what to do with our spices. And we have LOADS of spices. We had in mind what we wanted – those hidden cute little pull outs nestled in next to the stove – but since we aren’t redoing our entire kitchen for spice racks, I had to go back to square one. Or at least to Google. And I found these:

Ready to be installed pull outs that hold spice bottles! And that will fit PERFECTLY in the current spice jamboree cabinet that is 10” wide and each pull out is 3” wide. In theory, we can fit three in the cabinet side by side by side. Cost estimated at about $400 for hardware and two days of my husband’s time whining and moaning. But a large payoff is anticipated.

-Dining room. Have the table, have the buffet/china cabinet. Must paint. Must, must, must get rid of the swirly 90’s stenciling done over the doorway and the maroon curtains and light fixture. Cost anticipated at about $500 including color consultation with a friend who has been newly annointed with the label interior decorator. I will have a nicely painted, color coordinated front of my house. I will.

-Play Room. Oh my. This is a big one. AB wants to rip out the carpet and put in bamboo flooring. The carpet is awful and AB has a deep seated need to put in a floor. It is a very square room and will be a great place to start. The needs for this room though are endless. An organizing unit for toys, a TV/entertainment center, a sofa or other seating… we would use this room more as a family if it were more organized/user friendly. This goal has so many layers to it.

-Outdoor area. We have been talking about what we need as far as an outdoor living area and are working on reaching consensus. It will be a big one, but one that I know we will enjoy and use based off of the success of our pergola/patio at the other house. We need this outdoor living area in this house and presently we have nothing that works for this. I expect this will be a multi-month project this spring.

-Master Bedroom. Our Master Bedrooms have never been anything to get excited about. We need paint and storage space and something nice to sit in. And frankly, I just need all the boxes lined up under the window unpacked. Of course then I need somewhere to put the stuff, which means some type of storage thing. I am thinking about a long bench for under the window with storage underneath. I could use two of them – one for the library too – anyone seen anything like this?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Farewell 2009

I am no numerologist, but I like numbers. I like good numbers like 8 (my favorite) and 4 and multiples of such. Odd numbers have never been my friend. And I truly find it just perplexing that the two best things that happened to me were born not only on odd numbers, but on prime numbers. My sister loved the number 3 and so it should come as no surprise that I despised the number 3. The only thing worse than 3 is squaring it or even worse than that is raising it to it’s own power.

Given this, I expect the year 2027 to be a bad year only because 2009 really left much to be desired.

To this point in my life I can’t look back on a year in general and say, “that year just really sucked”, except for 2009. Because really, when I look back on junior high and high school and while I may not have liked them – they never held a candle to the complications of adulthood.

2009 was the year my mom faced the battle of her lifetime with an evil foe – cancer. And it wasn’t an easy cancer (like my squamous cell carcinoma on my nose that also occurred in 2009), nope my mom’s cancer is one of those nasty, rare cancers where little research has gone into it – cholangiocarcinoma or cancer of the bile duct. If you are faced someday with getting to select a cancer, don’t pick this one. It is evil. It is one of those cancers that is something like a lottery, no clear indication what causes it or why a person was selected which probably makes it harder to swallow when the unlucky recipient has been very health conscious for so much of her life. Negative cubed.

Life… ‘tis not a fair venture.

2009 was the year of my daughter’s terrible twos which was repayment for all those times I marveled that “Leif didn’t have terrible twos!” Don’t ever utter such proclamations or karma will bite hard.

2009 is the year one of our closest friends battled lymphoma, my best friend in Colorado’s dad was ill with pancreatitis for months, she was laid off her job and it seemed that everyone around us was affected by illness or hardship in some way.

2009 was also the best year in my and AB’s respective careers.

2009 brought us a new home and all the joy and frustrations that accompany that venture. The whole moving thing… all the boxes… wondering if boxes will eventually unpack themselves… wondering if the trash can may be the best place for all the boxes… selling the house we brought our babies home to… learning how to navigate stairs… sweaty or frozen nights trying to figure out how to heat a two story home comfortably… and a whole new “To Do Someday” list. Despite all the frustrations with the moving process it is still far better than the cramped, too small, ineffective house we moved from.

2009 was the last full year before Leif will enter “real school” aka kindergarten, thanks to the decision we made to give him another year to mature. 2009 also brought mostly all kudos from people who agreed with this decision but was not void of criticisms from those people completely unaffected by this decision who felt the need to tell us what is best for our child and on occasion still take that opportunity to nip at it. But that’s part of parenting – listening to the people around you who you love and respect and then coming to the conclusion that is right for your family and moving on without regret. (Even if that regret is in not socking someone in the face for their comments…)

2009 brought a year of little sleep coupled with lots of middle of the night hugs and loves from a tiny little red headed girl.

2009 was my 50% year with yeast based breads. One failure for Easter and one success at Thanksgiving.

2009 was a year of reconnecting on Facebook and sudden realizations of why certain friendships were dropped so long ago. As well as some ponderings of why I would have let some friendships drop off because they are truly one of a kind. And can’t forget those paralyzing moments of seeing ex’s faces on my Suggested Friends lists… then a little bit of curiosity that comes up and forces you to click on them and “just see” how miserable they have to still be. Followed by the reality that they look darn happy. But mostly it was a year of wow – everyone I knew in high school, for the most part, really rocked it and are doing superbly as well.

2009 was the year I found out the boy I had a major crush on in junior high, died at age 37.

2009 was the year I became a touch obnoxious (or obsessive) with my iPhone.

2009 was the year of the Wii and AB’s and my first foray into trying to figure out how much is too much for a 5 year old.

2009 was the year of wondering if we will EVER see another good movie? Star Trek saved us from just assigning a big, huge NO as the answer to that question.

2009 was a most frustrating year with my 86 year old grandmother who should not be driving, nor living at home by herself. It has required patience and a sense of humor approaching her repetitive statements, her stubbornness, her paranoia, and reconciling them with her lucid moments. It is hard to understand how a person can believe that those people who surround her and love her the most, would be identified as so horrible in her mind.

2009 brought a decent sushi restaurant to the area (blocks from our home) and not only that, but it has become my kids’ favorite place to eat. Umm yay! Want a guarantee that my kids will eat and enjoy the food? Then let’s go for Japanese. 2009 – Leif loves miso soup.

2009 was the year my son first questioned whether Santa was real or not… but has not yet asked where babies come from. Phew.

2009 brought weeks… maybe months… of debate over vehicles and many declarations about “not buying new” and trying to reconcile our need for a large towing vehicle with the current “go green” mentality. When we got over it all, 2009 brought us a shiny new 2010 Toyota Sequoia along with a hefty car payment that is painful after years of no car payments.

2009 introduced us to a new church that felt amazingly like home.

As I type this out I look at all the good. All the blessings. All the love. All of these things that goes along with the sadness. The despair. The knowledge that I cannot move mountains.

But I can hope and pray and look towards a bright 2010. Because that is what we do, we persevere. We lift up and move forward. We do what we can full of love.