Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Day Fun

Ben & I made french toast for breakfast. Eating it was even better than making it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Watching Over Us

Here's an interesting thing about my neighborhood: you can't swing a cat without hitting a cop. Not that I would ever propose or condone hitting a cop, with a cat or otherwise. But in a two-block area, there are no less than seven officers. Earlier this summer, the neighbor behind me and the neighbor across the street added us to the soldiers and families that they pray for. Consider that: These officers, who go out every day and protect us, are praying for the soldiers overseas.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Life is Full of Little Surprises

One week ago, Minda rescued a beagle puppy from a trip to Animal Control. She was pretty sure where the pup had originated, and managed to explain to the extremely kind officer that she could get the puppy back home. By the next day, a little more of her story was revealed and it was clear that she needed a new home. Around the time that Dave and I were discussing the possibility bringing her home either on a foster or permanent basis, another couple stepped in and decided that they wanted to keep her. But of course that wasn't the end of the story, was it? Within 48 hours, they decided that although she is very sweet, she wasn't a good fit for their family situation. So last Wednesday, I got the phone call saying she needed a new home yet again.

Since we were going to Duluth this weekend, they agreed to keep her until we got back. So last night, Almondine Shultz came home!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Ben and I have been thrilled with our very special guest from China, Amelia. (That's her English name.) She, 19 students and one other teacher, arrived on the 14th, and will be here until August 3rd. Ben and Amelia are absolutely nuts about each other.

This weekend we're heading up to Duluth to see Lake Superior. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Twins Game

Sunday, my parents, Dave's parents, Pete & Kitty, Ben & I took the train to the Twins Game. I had free tickets for Armed Forces Appreciation Day, plus I had a time set up to video conference with Dave. Well... there was a bit of a mix-up with the tickets. But we got to see the Twins win, and we got to talk to Dave, and that's what's important.

When we got home, the neighbors were having a party. Their music was pretty loud. I had to play soft music in Ben's room to get him settled down. I slept with earplugs, and after a long, busy weekend, I slept very well.

In the morning I checked on Ben, and this is what I saw:

I guess he decided to make his own earplugs.

Fourth of July Weekend

What a busy holiday weekend! Friday night, Minda & Andrew came over, and we had fondue. We ate far too much good food! But we went for a walk between dinner and dessert, so I'm absolutely sure we burned off all of the calories.

Saturday, my parents, Ben and I went to Sandy's, where we did a little shopping, installed a TV onto her office wall, grilled some brats and watched a movie. Ben was an absolute angel all day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Camping Weekend

Ben's first time camping! We rode with Grandma & Grandpa up to Stony Oaks. Scott, Christy and their family were already there, and Amy, Jay, and their kids came on Saturday. We had freshly caught walleye for dinner Friday night, thanks to Scott. It was nice to enjoy some fresh air, a little sun, and occasionally a little quiet!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

First Drive-In Movie

Ben's, and mine!

Tuesday night, Ben & I met Scott, Minda & Andrew at the Cottage View Drive In and we saw "UP". Of course the trouble with a drive-in is the movies start pretty late for little boys, so I don't think Ben saw much of the movie. But it was a little cool, so it was a good night for footed jammies and snuggling up with a blanket.

We loved "UP", by the way.

Monday, June 08, 2009

What's on the Menu

Between bottles, Ben eats fruits, veggies, and cereal three times a day. I will also give him some small table foods like chicken soup noodles and pita bread. Today after Ben's nap his dinner consisted of canned peaches, raisins and noodles. He does really well with feeding himself all three. Missy hangs pretty close by in case there is any droppage. Today I cleaned him up, sat him on the floor, and he promptly opened his mouth and showed Missy that he had saved a raisin to share with her. Luckily, I was fast enough to thwart their plan. Poor dog will have to stick with the un-chewed, dropped raisins if I can help it.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Last weekend I decided to jump in and redo the upstairs bathroom. It had burgundy towels and rugs, and Japanese fans and a Japanese doll sculpture... Not really quite right for a little boy.

So I painted the walls YELLOW, and added a few accessories. I painted a picture for the wall. I still want to frame some photos of my monkey-boy, but it's looking really good for now.

Ben seems to like it, but maybe he's just happy to get at his toothbrush when I bring him in there.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Two Weeks, Really?

I've hovered over the keys, ready to do a blog post a couple of times. But a weird computing quirk causes me to not be able to keep my email open and log into blogger at the same time. So for some reason that hurdle is enough to keep me out of the blogging loop.


Ben is growing leaps and bounds, too fast, really. I was watching a movie the other night that had a new baby in it, and it really hit me that my baby isn't one of those little tiny burritos anymore. I miss it. But he does so many amazing things now, and there's no going back...

I'm getting some personal stuff straightened out, and that should help with the day-to-day running of the household. I have felt so off balance from juggling everything. Next weekend, weather permitting, a friend is going to come over and do some work on the landscaping. I need to get the sprinklers turned back on for the season, but it just hasn't happened yet. Dave had a line on some people to mow the grass, but I'm not sure where we're at with that.

Otherwise... I still hate shopping and cooking for one. What a pain. I might see about doing Let's Dish in June just so that I have easy things in the freezer ready to go.

Happy Mothers Day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


In The Simpsons episode "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", Homer gets a computer and creates a web page full of animated gif and wav files. He proudly shows off his page and says,
"You'd think it'd be annoying, but it's not!"

It turns out I feel like that about a lot of web pages and blogs that have the cute little music players. Yes, I'm in the minority. Yes, I'm an old stick in the mud. Yes, I can, and do, avoid the music by hitting pause or the mute button on my computer. Still I wonder why these little pieces of technological noise pollution are so popular. What if it was quiet?

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
1 Kings 19:11-12 (New International Version)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In Pursuit of Stromboli Perfection

Last night my parents came up for dinner, and I'd say I made the most overall successful stromboli to date. I think photos and maybe even the recipe will be coming soon.

Ben has decided his break has been long enough, so it's time for tooth #5 to start coming. I bet it's all of the talk of eating stromboli that has his teeth racing to the surface.

Dave is now in Iraq, and I do have an address for him for those who might want it. He sent gifts from Iceland for Ben and I: He gave me a pretty and very comfy sweater, and sent Ben a stuffed animal. I really need to take photos of his menagerie while they're still in good shape.

Oh, and sweet darling boy has been letting me scrapbook while he plays. I think I've done about a dozen pages for his album in the last 72 hours. Turns out that when you have a thousand pictures of an adorable kid, the pages aren't too hard to do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Six Month Status Report

Yesterday, after several days of pain and crabbiness, two more teeth finally broke through. Where are your teeth, Ben?

Instead of being the top front teeth, it's a top front and the one to the side of it, so he's a bit off center for now. But for now, he is so very much happier. Happier, at least, until it's time for the next teeth.

What, more teeth??

I'm going to be able to cut back my hours a bit starting next week. My hats off to all of the single moms out there who work full time or more and keep everything running. I'm looking forward to being able to get to the Y a little easier, take Ben to the park when the weather's nice, and just keep up with the house.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Holy Stromboli

At lunchtime, Minda helped me roll out the dough for stromboli take 2. It was sooo good. It helped to get the dough rolled out thin enough, and to have less Parmesan cheese. I might be ready to try it out on my Dad.

Of course I realized after the fact that it probably wasn't the right choice for Good Friday. D'oh!

And, how could I talk about Mr. Bananaman without a photo?

Now He Wants a Motorcycle.

Chie sent this to Ben, and even though it's marked "12 Months", it fits him NOW. And it's so stinkin' cute. Right now he's working on his top front teeth, and it hasn't helped his mood the last few days. He's sitting in his high chair next to me, smacking on a banana in a self-feeder. Banana juice is running down his naked little chest and tummy, so it's lucky it's bath night!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I love this...

Stromboli, take one!

Ok, I can't remember if I mentioned it previously, but when we were in Florida, we had the most delicious stromboli, and it inspired me to come home and perfect a recipe.
Tonight, I made one, using a combination of a couple of recipes, and my memory of the one we had in Florida. It turned out yummy! The cheese was 2 mozzarella, 2 provolone 1 parmesan, and it needed less parmesan, maybe more mozzarella. I made the dough in the bread maker, and I didn't do a very good job of rolling it out evenly. So the crust came out thick on the edges and too thin in the middle. I'm going to have to try a different kind of sausage next time, too.
I should have taken a picture before I started eatin' on it...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

T'aint Funny, McGee....

Enough is enough already!

On a brighter note, Minda threw out a scrapping challenge on her blog yesterday to scrap a favorite hymn. My favorite is an uncommon Swedish hymn, "O Let Your Soul Now Be Filled With Gladness". I think it's one of my Dad's favorites too. It speaks to me because it talks of more than just "God loves you so be happy, happy, happy!". It reminds me that "when dark assails from every side, still yours the promise... that you are purchased as you are." The message is pretty deep and fairly dark for a peppy little Swedish melody.

Who can tell me who said, "T'aint funny, McGee"?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bye bye, Charter Internet

Frontier is coming to my house to install DSL in one week. Woo hoo. Once I set up my appointment, I called Charter.

Would you believe the "disconnect services" line had the most polite and intelligent customer service rep I've ever spoken to from Charter? There's some irony there, I'm sure of it.

She asked me if I had had problems with the service. I told her. Man, did I tell her. I was extremely polite, composed, and thorough. She offered to give me a free month ($50) if I didn't disconnect. I said no thank you.

DSL may or may not be slower, that remains to be seen. But at least I might be able to reclaim one more piece of my sanity by never dealing with Charter Internet support again.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Camperdown Elm Tree

(coffee, internet, sleeping boy... check check check)

There was a sign in front of this freaky tree in Port Gamble which read:
State Champion Camperdown Elm
It was in 1640 that the "Earl of Camperdown" in Dundee Scotland noticed a branch growing on the floor of his elm forest. He grafted it to a Scotch Elm tree and it took hold producing the first Camperdown Elm. The Scotch Elm is the only root mass the Camperdown Elm will grow on. The tree is a mutant and cannot self produce. Every Camperdown Elm tree in the world is part of the original and they must be grafted to a Scotch Elm to get started. When the graft starts to grow, the Scotch Elm branches are cut off, leaving only Camperdown Elm. This magnificent tree depends on humankind to keep it alive as a species.
This Camperdown Elm is the new state champion. This tree was planted in 1875. It measures 20 ft. in height with a 26 ft. crown and a 7 ft. circumference.

Proof: Humans love a freakshow.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Washington Weekend (part 1)

I have internet. I have coffee. I have a sleeping baby. I am thrice blessed. And so, Washington.

While I was in Florida, Dave called and asked if he got a 4-day pass if I could come out to Washington (state) to see him. I said I would love to. So we got reservations made, made arrangements for Ben to stay with Shultz's for a few days and Grandma & Grandpa Nelson for a few days, Missy to stay with Shultz's, and eight days after getting home from Florida, I was back on a plane to Seattle.

I arrived, I picked up the rental car and I drove to Ft Lewis, about 45 minutes south of the airport. We had lunch and hung around post until his Chief Warrant 2 promotion ceremony. I got to put the new rank onto his uniform. That was very neat. I wish that I had been able to get his hat back on a little better though.

Once leave started, we headed to Poulsbo to The Green Cat Guest House. What a beautiful place. I can't say enough good things about the property and Ken, one of the owners. We absolutely loved it there. I would have loved to stay there longer, and see more of Poulsbo. Hopefully some day we can go back.

I still have internet, and I still have coffee... but my other blessing is awake and ready for some attention. More later...

Rant Over! Time to Catch Up...

The only thing Irish about this boy is his hometown's school mascot. But Happy St. Patty's day anyway! At five months, he now loves to sleep on his tummy- more precisely, he loves to sleep on his face. He's getting much more steady when he's sitting up. And he loves books, music and listening to people talking.

Scum Sucking Bottom Feeders.

Well, my intention was for my next blog post to be about my trip to Seattle. But we interrupt that fantastically happy post with a rant about your friend and mine, the cable company.

I hate them. $^%!$*& Charter. Did you know that JD Power ranked customer support across ALL companies, and all three major cable companies fell into the top ten WORST? More evil than lawyers, more evil than insurance companies. Their customer (dis)service? If they were Aetna employees, they'd be fired before the ink was dry on their timecard.

I can't even remember how many times I've called technical support in the last 72 hours. Each time I had unique, but painfully bad, and incorrect service. It turns out that they have a support center in Mexico City. It turns out that English skills are not a priority. After being given incorrect information for the third time, I asked for a supervisor. This supervisor told me that she had the most technical knowledge of anyone at Charter. But there might have been a language barrier. She might have meant to say she was a middle management drone who could read a script more carefully than the people under her.

So, I called the City Cable Coordinator because I was told that's where I would file a complaint. It turns out that internet falls under the jurisdiction of the FCC. So if I don't like it, I've gotta take it to the Feds. Interesting. I had a very nice talk with the Apple Valley Coordinator, a very friendly and chatty man who agreed that it would be more fun to have my internal organs pulled out by rusty hooks than to try to get internet technical support. Another interesting fact? Cable companies DO NOT have any kind of non compete agreement. What they do have, thanks to our friends at the FCC, is a setup where all of their lines are their solo property. So for another cable company to come in, they would have to run all new underground lines side by side with the existing company's. Very expensive, so it really doesn't happen. This practice is not legal for the phone company, so why does the cable company get this deal? Good question.

I was told that either my modem was broken or my lines were bad, both of which absolutely could not be fixed without an onsite technician. I was given an appointment time for a technician to come to my house next Thursday (my internet would be down for a week, so much for working!) Then I was told they set me up with an appointment yesterday, but that turned out to have been a lie (shock). I now have a confirmed, set in stone appointment for today between 2 and 4 pm.

So imagine my surprise when I went into my office this morning and saw my modem was working.

Cable company, heal thyself.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunny Sunday Walk

Wordle: Sunday Walk

In Florida, we walked every day. I want to keep up with that habit. So today I loaded Ben into the stroller, and took Missy for a walk. I have to check the distance of the short loop, it's somewhere between 1 and 1.5 miles.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A fun time was had by all.

We had a very uneventful flight home from Ft Myers yesterday. The weather was predicted to be all sorts of nasty in Minnesota, but when we arrived it was above freezing and misting. So there was time for my parents to get home and for me to pick up Missy before the winter storm arrived.

While we were in Florida, we went to outlet malls and thrift stores, a preseason Twins game (they won!) went to see the manatees, went to a flea market, went to Walmart too many times (push the blue button to get your receipt), went to cousin Patty's, went to Rib City and Skip One and Vincenzo's and Icabods, went on a lot of walks, fixed things, did sudoku puzzles, swam in the pool, read, and took naps. The trip was splendid and exactly what I needed.

Benjamin now rolls front to back and back to front at will, and has decided that sleeping on his side or tummy is the way to go. He also started figuring out his pre-crawling skills. He spent a lot of time with Grandma & Grandpa, and loved to touch the little waterfall in the pool, just like Grandpa.

Now I need to upload photos to get them printed, and think about putting some food in my refrigerator!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Just Hangin' Around Florida

We had been searching thrift stores for a Johnny Jump Up, and yesterday at a children's consignment shop, we found two! It's a good place for Ben to sit and play, and it will fit in my suitcase for the trip home.

Friday, February 27, 2009


After an extra-long time in the airplane yesterday evening, waking up in Florida this morning certainly was nice!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


This last week (actually, the last month) has just flown by in a blur. So I just need to take a bit, catch my breath, and write down the things that have happened so that I don't forget.

Dave came home from Georgia on Feb 1. He finished WO school and earned distinguished honor grad. He went back to work for two weeks, and then got ready to deploy. He left yesterday for Ft. Lewis in Washington. He'll be heading back to Iraq in a few weeks.

I've been working overtime, and scrapbooking when I get the chance. Had a lot of ups and downs this month.

Ben has been growing and constantly changing. Now that his first two teeth are in, he's back to his giggly, happy self. He loves being fed rice cereal and veggies. Sweet potatoes got rave reviews, but green beans gave him an all-over body shudder. (he kept eating them, though). He rolls over both directions regularly, and would rather stand (with help of course) than sit. He acts like he wants to learn to run any day now. I am constantly amazed by him.

Today, Ben and I are leaving for Ft Myers, Florida with my Mom & Dad, to go and spend some time with Aunt Sandy. Well, if the weather here cooperates, anyway. They're forcasting a winter storm to start any time now, and our flight is scheduled to leave in five hours.

Before Dave left, Minda took a few pictures of us. Here are a few favorites.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Watch Me Grow

Weight: 7 lbs 12 oz
Length: 20 1/2 in
Weight: 7 lbs 4 oz
Length: 20 1/2 in
Weight: 7 lbs 11 oz
Length: 20 1/2 in
Weight: 10 lbs 11 oz
Length: 22 3/4 in
Weight: 12 lbs 8 oz
Length: 25 in

In my brain I always substitute "the pediatrician" with "the vet". Whoops. I've just been a pet owner much, much longer! Anyway, Ben's vet wants to see him gain a little more weight, but I don't know what to do, the kid just exercises too much!

Maybe table scraps?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Welcome Baby Klara Therese

Kevin, Carrie, Julia and Eva welcomed baby Klara into their family yesterday morning. She is a beautiful girl! Ben needs to wait a few months for her to catch up and then he'll have a fantastic playmate.

Four Months Old

Friday, February 06, 2009

No Way!

Ben's been drooling and chewing more than usual. Then, about a week ago, we noticed that a spot in his gumline was a little swollen. And he's been a smidge crankier, but not bad. Last night, I realized I could see it, and today, it's broken through. But it turns out it's really hard to catch a photo of that first little tooth.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

So Much to Say, So Little... Sleep

Ben got a wee bit overstimulated yesterday, and I paid for it last night. He has discovered a new thing: Anger. Hey, at least he learned to laugh first, right?
Anyway, I wanted to update the ol' blog and I thought I had plenty to say, but now that I'm here, I'm not feeling too eloquent.

So here's Ben! Minda took a whole mess of 3-month pictures of him yesterday. I think he's thinking, "Hello baby, did somebody put you on your tummy too? Mean lady."

See what I mean? Blech. I need more sleep...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Four Generations

We had our last Christmas celebration of the season by going to my aunt & uncle's farm. My grandpa didn't feel like going out, so my Mom, Brother, Ben & I went to go visit him. He'll be 91 next month. And, just as a bonus, I got a good picture of my brother and I.