Sunday, February 28, 2010


I can't help but wonder if all the sun streaming into our home is helping my mood. We pop vitamin D like candy around here - averaging 5-6 thousand {whatever the units are called} a day. I'm still running low on it according to my latest blood test, but spring is just around the corner. It has to be. At least that's what I keep telling myself. In the meantime we are doing our best job ever of making the most of winter. The kids are older now and can walk up the sledding hill themselves. Sam can ski for over a mile at a time and we've had the best snow pack that I can remember.

We are suppose to host an open house in a few weeks to show people how we make maple syrup here in the park, but we need some warmer weather for that to happen. Plan, plan plan, and then hope the weather cooperates. Such is life in the Park and Rec field I guess.

Speaking of planning...Sam has invited his preschool classmates to come climb on our snow mountains. It sounds like this coming weekend will be the Big Day. I'm planning to invite Julia's class too. My theory is that then I only have to get the house company ready once. It's going to be interesting with 30 families invited but it should be fun. I plan to serve hot apple cider and people can make S'mores over the fire. It won't be fancy and I hope I'll be able to set up our huge dining room as a staging area for getting ready. Ah! I get giddy just thinking about it! It's going to be so fun to hear all the squeals and laughter coming from our backyard!

If you couldn't already tell I'm in a pretty good mood today and while I do think the sun has something to do with it, I know that The Son has an even bigger role in why I'm feeling upbeat. I'm doing the Beth Moore Fruit of the Spirit study and am loving it - specifically I am loving my mornings in the Word. Beth said at the beginning of the study that "This study isn't going to just change your life, it's going to change your day!" Amen to that! Sure, I still have a lot on my plate but I have a clearer outlook about how I'm going to accomplish it all and I'm staying focused on what is important. The fallout has been incredible. Our kids are behaving better, we have more family time, we're talking about chores, responsibility, and allowances.....we're making positive changes and I am SO EXCITED!!!!!!!

and on that note, I'm going to wrap up this post and head home after yet another weekend of ski rentals. Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The letter Q

By far this is my favorite page in Julia's Alphabitty Moments book. I love the pictures and I love the Q word that PapaBear thought of for me. How can you not love that face and her priceless expression?! I took the top picture while we were in the hammock last summer. We'd been at the pool earlier in the day and this is how her hair dried afterwards. I am soooo ready for these days of frizzy, static-y days to be OVER!

I've been looking through my photo archives a lot lately because of various projects I'm working on and I can tell without looking at the date how old Julia is because of her hair. Age 1-2: curls were definitely there, but just beginning to form ringlets. Age 2-3: Ringlets are there in full force and she starts to get more length...finally. Age 3+: her hair is just beyond her shoulders now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What are winters made of?

What are your winters made of? (If you do a post about it will you come back and let me know? I may be 375 posts behind in my Google Reader, but I can make time to click over from a comment.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Musings

It has been so long since I wrote out my thoughts that many memories I had hoped to preserve are lost in the recesses of my mind. More times that I can count I've had great intentions of writing on a certain topic and then never have the time to do it. And now that I have carved out a few minutes, of course my mind would go blank. I can't remember what I wanted to say. Figures.

I was going to say something about the fact that I have 328 unread items in my Google Reader, something about how I've lost control of Twitter, and have to stop following so many people, something about the series I found at the library on Saturday, something about how I dropped Sam off for his first school friend birthday party over the weekend....oh wait! that I remember:

It was at McDonalds. The day after I watched Food, Inc. Nice. The McDonald's employee asked Sam if he wanted a hamburger, cheeseburger, or nuggets to eat. Of course he jumped at the cheeseburger since I only ever get hamburgers. She asked him what he wanted to drink and my little man said "water". OK, at least I haven't lost all my influence! I tucked a baggie with a couple of wipes into his pocket so he could wash his hands before he ate. He forgot to use them. He did eat apples instead of fries.

The McDonald's party was one of two parties we attended on Saturday. Thankfully both were local. PapaBear's cousin and his wife turned 50 this year and their children threw them a giant surprise party. 150 people were invited and nobody sent their regrets. It was packed in there! Julia fell asleep in my arms at 8pm. We're wild and crazy like that. Sam couldn't stop talking about the Olympic skiers he saw on the TV in the bar area. They go 60 miles an hour Mama! he exclaimed while we were visiting the ladies room. Mom - this isn't the men's room! I explained that there was no way I was sending my 5 year old into a bar men's room by himself and he quickly changed the topic back to the skier who crashed.
He had gone skiing earlier in the day and was so excited to tell me about the hills he went down. We don't have big hills in the park, but the ones we do have are plenty adventurous for him.

Speaking of Sam....he got to go ice fishing for the first time this season. He goes more for the treats Grandma sends with than for the act of fishing, but when it comes time to eat the fish, then he's 100% on board. He's his father's son. He loves to eat fish. Lake trout, salmon, walleye, sunfish....he loves it all. I think I see a trip to the Boundary Waters in the near future for him.

What else is happening in BearCountry? Well let's see....I took a weekend off for the first time in forever. I turned my computer off at 3pm on Friday afternoon and didn't log back on until I was done with a taste test I participated in this afternoon. You know when I was contemplating getting a smart phone and I wasn't sure if it would be a help or a hindrance? No doubt that it's a huge time saver. I can make sure I'm reading emails in a timely manner and can return the urgent ones on my phone. Not feeling the need to keep my computer running keeps me from getting sucked in.

The kids have been on their best behavior lately and I'm sure having an attentive mommy helps. We've been playing board games, restaurant, and hanging out with friends. We are still renting skis on the weekends and it looks like that won't be wrapping up any time soon. We get more skiers on one weekend this year than we did all of last winter. At this rate we'll be lucky to get a 4 week break before the camping season begins, but at least our friends and coworkers, Dennis, Maryann, Jo, and Howard will be here to lend a hand. It is such a blessing to know that the camp hosts from last year will be returning. We miss our summer family during the long cold winter months.

Speaking of family....our family has grown by one with the addition of a brother-in-law. PapaBear's sister got engaged this month and wedding plans are already under way. While weddings are always fun to plan - knowing that she's found 'the one' and will be settling down a mere five miles from us brings tears in my eyes just writing about it. Sam and Julia loved him from the get-go and don't see what all the wedding fuss is about. Little do they know that their wedding attire has already been the topic of of discussion on more than one occasion.

I'm about out of time and don't really feel I've gotten even half of the stuff tumbling around in my head out, but this is as good as it gets for now. Bible study starts in an hour and I have some more homework to finish up. (I'm meeting with some local women that met through Kristina to do Beth Moore's Fruit of the Spirit study.) I've really been blessed by the women in my life lately. Women who I cherish even if I haven't known them that long. Remember the dinner with girlfriends I tweeted about last week? Raw, funny, encouraging, real women who I admire and can't wait to see at our next gathering. Don Pablo's here we come! And then there are my friends Jenney and Susan. I can't think about girlfriends without their faces popping into my head. They listen when I need to vent. They email me when they haven't heard from me in a while. They encourage, they trust, they are my friends and I am blessed to have them in my life.

And there you have it - my Mundane Monday Musings. It's Life in BearCountry. It's full of coffee, work, play, job searching, pizza, movies, board games, laughter, skiing, co-sleeping, baking, sledding, & hustling to meet deadlines. One of these days I'll get caught up on my blog reading. I miss you all and hearing what's new in your corner of the world. Thank you for sticking with me while I do mostly photo posts and Alphabitty Moments. I did manage to get a post up on my Blog Book site if you are interested in seeing what a travel book looks like. I've also been cooking up an idea to host a digital scrapbooking gathering for those of you who would like to set a whole day aside to work on your scrapbooks and/or blog books. I am thinking of hosting it here at our CommunityRoom sometime after we are done renting skis for the year. Let me know if you are interested in such a get-together by leaving a comment on this post or emailing me directly. Another direction my brain is going is towards New York City - yes I'm considering going to BlogHer in August. I have proposed a Blog Book making seminar in the Geek Lab, but it requires enough votes in order to be asked to participate. If you are signed up for BlogHer would you consider logging in and voting for my room idea? I love teaching and sharing the {God given} talent I have with others and what a treat it would be to do it in NYC!

OK, Bible study awaits....

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

....a beautiful day for skiing.

Here's hoping the upcoming weekend is just as beautiful! I'm looking forward to lots of family time spent outdoors and plenty of snuggles inside in our jammies. What do you have planned for the weekend?

Alphabitty Moments - The letter P

Surprise! Alphabitty Moments is up and running and it's not even 7:30am! Shocker huh? It's another busy day in BearCountry and if I don't get this posted now, it will be late tonight before I have a free moment. That's been a trend lately - my 'me' time doesn't start until 11pm. Today that won't be the case. I'm meeting girlfriends for dinner at my favorite place - Panera.

This week I chose Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for the letter P. I love that this carnival gives me permission to use the pictures that wouldn't otherwise get printed. Julia with jelly on her face? Not usually printable material, but for Alphabitty Moments it's perfect! It's the little things that I want to remember and "I want a peanut butter jelly sammich" is most definitely a staple phrase around here...for now. If that ever changes, we'll have these pictures to remind of us sticky faces & simple pleasures.

What P word did you chose this week?

Remember you do not have to do a scrapbook page to participate in Alphabitty Moments.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

note to self:

Don't bother to put out our pair of reindeer next year.

Written any notes to self lately? Mentally or share!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Whispers of Winter

Winter whispers...

Put your skis on & listen.

Winter whispers...

I am so much more than snowy white.

Winter whispers...

Sometimes less is more.

Winter whispers...

Enjoy me while you can. My time here goes faster than you think.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The letter O

After a week off to recover, gulp antibiotics, and snuggle with my babies it's back to business as usual here in BearCountry. We're on the letter O this week for Alphabitty Moments.

I went with OUTSIDE for her page because I want to remember all the times we went outside on a nice day with hardly a care in the world. This picture was taken on our floating boardwalk - a favorite haunt of my kids. Julia still remembers falling off it and into the ishy water a while back while PapaBear and I were off on an adventure of our own.

Many times we left the house with no agenda except to see what we could see. Sometimes we ended up on the turtle bridge to count turtles, other times we would end up running and/or rolling down one of the hills in the park. I love sharing these adventures with the kids and see no end in site to the fun we are going to have exploring all there is to see and do here.

Now it's your turn - what O word did you come up with this week?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

i heart {kisses}

That one night that I didn't dress my kids in photo shoot appropriate clothes for a campfire program at our park yielded many a sweet photograph of Sam & Julia. I learned my lesson. Believe me.

Who cares about ratty old jammies when siblings are getting along and {gasp} being nice to each other! To see other entries in the i heart faces contest for the week click here or on their snazzy new logo below...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pneumonia - a play by play

Before I forget the details of Sam's sudden illness I want to record them here. I'm already mad at myself enough for not keeping up the kids' health notebooks that I started when they were babies (small notebooks to record illnesses, medications, well child measurements - nothing fancy but it's hard to remember who had x-rays when, who was the one with croup etc... so I had planned to keep a written record for when the doctor asked health history questions)

For some reason Sam has managed to be sick every time it's his turn to bring home the snack bucket from school. He should have brought it home yesterday. Instead he spent the day coughing and coughing and coughing. He started with a temp on Tuesday the 2nd after nap and was very lethargic and miserable. He threw up twice from coughing so hard. I called the nurse when his temp got to 102 under his arm, thinking that it meant 103. I couldn't remember if she said to call if it got to 103 or if that was when we should bring him in. Anyone else second guess themselves constantly when your kids are sick?

So I called. Just in case. Oh it's not add a degree under the arm, it's subtract a degree. Really? That's not what I remember, but you're the professional so I guess I'm wrong. Thank goodness it's not as bad as I thought.

I slept at the foot of his twin bed that night. If you can call it sleep that is. He coughed all night long. No school for him. I took Julia to school on 45 minutes of sleep. Sam's teacher called to check up on him. I let Sam sleep in the chair for nap time. He slept 15 minutes.
We watch movie upon movie upon movie until bedtime. All day he's eaten 5 pretzels, a few bites of cornbread, & a little applesauce.

Seven pm and he's in bed. I have a video monitor set up 3 feet from his face. I have hardly left his side except to take Julia to school. I go up and check on him at 9pm. He's breathing hard, I can see his neck pulsating fast. I think of my friend Jennifer and get a small glimpse into her past. I take his pulse. 162. Is that too high for a five year old? Is that a sign of something that needs attention right away? (Mine can be as low as 50 and rarely gets above 60) I couldn't find the answer online so I called our insurance company's nurse line. By the time I got through the list of symptoms her recommendation was to call 911. (Oh and she said that it's add a degree under the arm.)

We decide that it's faster to just drive him ourselves. I cross paths with an ambulance three miles from our house. Extra glad we decided to drive ourselves. We arrive at the ER and a triage nurse gives me the 3rd degree on why we are there. In not a nice way. Whatever.

We get past the paperwork stage and into the room where that same nurse takes Sam's vitals. Temp of 104. Pulse Ox - a titch over what it needs to be in order to be admitted.
He's coughing and is moaning. He doesn't like for me to jostle him in anyway. I have to be careful as I stand with him. There's no way he can walk. The nurse shows he's human after all and hands my baby a kleenex and offers to carry Sam's blanket and my purse.

He leads us to are put in room number 9. Within a few minutes a nurse comes in and gives him Tylenol and Motrin. Didn't know you could have both at the same time...Then things move really really r e a l l y s l o w. Poor Sam is shivering despite being covered with his ThomasTheTrain blanket. I can see that he's having a hard time breathing and that his heart is racing.

They know what they are doing - they wouldn't leave us alone for 20 minutes if it were that bad. Right? They must be super busy despite only 4 cars in the parking lot. I ask a nurse who comes in eventually if it's good for him to be waiting this long in his condition. She agrees that someone should come in asap. We see a doc who orders a chest x-ray. I carry my baby down the hall to radiology. I hold his hand while the tech takes two pics of his lungs. He asks for a drink of water. Thank goodness he's able to keep fluids down and wants them. I give him the a sip from the hospital mug I used when I was pregnant with Julia.

We go back to our room. I offer to snuggle with Sam, but he aches and prefers the stillness of the bed. He snuggles with his plastic shark, Lucy. I tuck his sister's puppy up close for warmth. He's still shaking. But he's able to fall asleep - getting a break from the hours and hours he'd been coughing. I hold his hand. We wait. And then we wait some more.

Two nurses come in and explain the nose swabs they are going to do. Sam trembles from fear. He whimpers "Mommy" as I hold him down for the task of squirting water up his nose and retrieving the sample. It wasn't enough. It takes three of us to hold him down. They hose slips off and they have to do it again. He was so brave. Braver than I would have been if someone wanted to stick a swab that far back.

They bring him a superman balloon. "Is that an S Mama?" Yes. Do you you know who Superman is? "No" Oh my sweet sweet sheltered boy. I hate that we're there. I want him to be better. I want him to be able to stop coughing and for his heart to slow down. They offer him a Popsicle. They can't believe he's never had one. He defers to me when they ask him what flavor. I say I think he'll like the orange one. They bring him a red one. He loves it.

The fever reducers start to work and he perks up a bit. He wants to go home. I tell him we have to wait some more to find out what's wrong with him. RSV? Influenza? My memory gets fuzzy here (I've only slept 3-4 hours in the past 48 hours) but I think the doc came in to say that that we had to wait on the test before we could know how to treat him. Whatever the actual order of events - it was a long wait. Every time someone would leave the room it would be 20 minutes before we saw someone again. That's a long time for a little guy who's exhausted and sick.

PapaBear had said I could call anytime. I still didn't know anything and it was already after 11pm at this point. Almost two hours into our ER visit and all he's had is some meds I could have given him at home. Wave of second guessing rolls in. Tears roll down Sam's face as we wait for the doctor to come back. He and I talk options. Tamiflu is metioned as an option if it turns out to be influenza. I've never been more grateful for internet on my phone so I can look up Tamiflu side effects. He sees something in his lungs on the X-ray. Need to wait for the test results. The doc leaves. Sam cries some more. We look at maps on my phone. He likes to see New York City.

At 11:45 the doc returns to say that the tests were negative. I ask for his pulse ox to be retested to be sure that it has improved enough for us to go home. 95. We're good to go. We wait another 10 minutes for someone to come with discharge papers. Sam cries some more. "Why is there something in my lungs that is making me sick Mama?" I don't know baby but we're hear to find out how to make you better.

The nurse comes in with our blue folder of paperwork. I sign a couple of things. She tells us we can fill our prescriptions using the InstiMeds machine in the lobby. I have to ask her if there was an official diagnosis.


OK. Good to know!

We're out of there! But not very fast of course. Walking too fast make Sammy's tummy hurt. I fill our prescription in the futuristic and frankly, a little creepy, machine in the lobby. Sam coughs. The receptionist asks us to put a mask on him. We leave. I eat M&M's on the way home and drink ice cold coffee left over from the morning. It's 12:45 in the morning when we get home.

I felt terrible that PapaBear was in the dark the whole time we were gone. I kept thinking about calling him, but never really knew anything until we were walking out the door. I get Sam tucked into his bed and have a light bulb moment about my sleeping arrangements. Sam's room is TINY but we have a crib mattress that will fit on the floor. I slept like a baby on it. Ha! I wish. I do think I slept through a lot of his coughing, but I know that it was a comfort to Sam to know that he could ask me for anything in the middle of the night. He would call out "Mama?" and then say "Just checking to see if you were in here" I tell him that I will stay in his room with him until he feels better. He tells me he loves me more than Daddy.

Last week he told me he loved Daddy more. Now we're even. But not really. I don't keep score. I can't these days or I'll go mad. PapaBear spends WAY more time with the kids than I do. I focus on quality since I'm not getting the quantity. This week I'm getting quantity and quality with my son. I wish it were under different circumstances. It does my heart good to know that he knows I will be there for him when he needs me. Sometimes I worry that he's not sure about that since I leave for work so much.

We 'sleep' until 9 this morning. I prepare his meds and we decide to set up camp in my bedroom. Less germs spread around the house that way. I called for a follow up appointment and get in at a clinic I've never been to before. I felt it was important for us to see a pediatrician today and not a family practitioner. I liked Dr. S right away. I told her that she was the very first doctor Sam saw in the hospital when he was born, but it was by mistake. Her practice was 40 miles from our house. We were suppose to be seen by the doctor 1 mile from our house. She didn't skip a beat. She said, "So Sam, how've you been since I saw you last?" I told you I liked her!

We talked medical history (once again wished I had been better about filling out the medical notebooks!) and we decided to do another chest X-ray to make sure that he wasn't getting worse. His pulse ox was in the mid 90's but his color was terrible. He could barely stand to be weighed. Thankfully the x-ray showed that he wasn't getting any worse so we could go home and not to the hospital. After last night, Sam isn't all that excited about a trip to the hospital. We picked up a second prescription for another antibiotic - we're going to hit this from all directions she said. I vowed to get a full dose of acidophilus in him tomorrow. No more mixing it in his Cream Of Wheat. This time it's going into one spoonful of applesauce and going down all at once. He'll thank me later. Or maybe not.

So that brings us to tonight. His cough isn't as frequent, but he can't keep his temp below 103 without Motrin. We are suppose to call the clinic in the morning to check in.

I want to say thank you again to everyone who's prayed for our special little guy. Any sickness whether it's a cold or something much more serious is hard for a mom to watch her child suffer through. It's nice to know that others were thinking of us - somewhere out there - as the title of Sam's favorite song says.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Big 4-0

I know, I know....who celebrates a 40 month birthday?

{waves hand high in the air}

We don't call them month birthdays - we call them special days.

Julia was born on October 2nd so her special day falls on the second day of every month. Sam has a hard time waiting the eleven days until his special day, but somehow he survives.

So what is a special day?

It's means a variety of things depending on the day of the week it falls on, but here are a few ways we celebrate: that child gets to pick what we eat for dinner, gets to pick which movie we watch, gets to get a treat at the gas station, and most of all gets lots of extra special lovin' from Mommy and Daddy. It isn't anything huge, but just some extra special treatment - our way of letting them know how extra special they are.

Notice (other than a cookie at the gas station) that there are no gifts involved. Just good old fashion bonding.

On one of Sam's special days I wrote this post and so today on Julia's 40th I decided she needs a list too....

To my baby girl......

1) I love the way your finger dimples show when you hold a crayon
2) I love how you talk in run-on sentences as you describe the dinosaur 'skit' you are going to perform with Daddy
3) I love the way you eat your veggies
4) I love the way you say "Oh-tay"
5) I love how you prefer to dress yourself - even if the combo is way off

6) I love the way you say "Here Mommy" and hand me part of your cookie just because you like to share
7) I love the way your ringlets bounce on your shoulders
8) I love how you color pictures in a rainbow of colors
9) I love that you can sing the words to songs that you've only heard a couple of times

10) I love coming to your tea parties
11) I love the way you come running into the sanctuary to find us after Children's Choir
12) I love snuggling with you in Sammy's bed at bedtime
13) I love watching you on the video monitor as you play with your stuffed animals in your bed
14) I love giving you horsey rides

15) I love the way your hair still curls at the end of your braids
16) I love listening to your conversations between your animals

17) I love your T-Rex noises
18) I love that you are independent enough to fix your own diaper if the velcro slips before bed
19) I love the way you gasp when you hear really really good news
20) I love that you announce Grandma and Grandpa will be coming over 'today' if you haven't seen them in a while
21) I love that you sing "This Is The Day" with me every time we drive somewhere
22) I love that you call Conor "Puppywuppster" because Daddy does
23) I love that you are not shy at school
24) I love the big hug you give me when I come back into Miss Ann's room for circle time
25) I love that you are perfectly happy to look at the toys at Target and don't ask to buy one
26) I love that you are practicing your sounds at home after only a couple sessions with Mrs. S.
27) I love the way you hand the phone back to Daddy with a quick 'by!" even though I'm still talking
28) I love the way you play with your doll house
29) I love your rosy cheeks from being outside in the cold
30) I love that you're always thinking.
Case in point: "I want to wear sandals Mommy" "Oh sweets, your toes would get all covered in snow and be cold." "That's OK Mommy! I'll put my wrist warmers on them!"
31) I love your version of dressing up: Safari hat, pj's, and a tu-tu
32) I love that you still need me and aren't afraid to show it
33) I love the way you write your name (the U is upside down sometimes)
34) I love that you offer to kiss my owies - even when they are on my feet
35) I love that you still let me take pictures of you
36) I love that you want to read so many stories at bedtime
37) I love that you aren't afraid of splashing in the lake
38) I love your hugs & kisses
39) I love your dimple
40) I love all of YOU!

Monday, February 1, 2010

School Spirit Beanie Crochet Pattern

Beat those winter blues and cold winds with this a FLEECE lined brimmed hat! It seems like everyone is wearing a beanie these days - me in...