Monday, July 30, 2007

National Breastfeeding Week

I just heard on the radio this morning that it’s “National Breast Feeding Week” and it made me think back upon my breastfeeding days.

All 6 of them.

Yep, 6 days. And I swear, if the Breast-Feeding-Nazi at the hospital would have succeeded in talking me into “just try it for one more week” – I’m pretty sure I would have gone crazy and killed my husband.

I was not one of those “lucky” women who gained satisfaction and intense joy via breastfeeding. I was a woman who gained…what?...hhmmph?...I guess I didn’t really gain anything. Maybe just some horrible memories and a touch of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. I spent most of the times in between feedings dreading the next one and hating my poor husband just because he wasn’t pressured into going through this excruciatingly painful, toe-curling torture like I was.

And somewhere inside my hormonal and sleep-deprived mind, that really pissed me off.

My kids have turned out pretty well considering they were fed formula through a bottle. They are healthy and functional kids…do well in school…have friends…love their parents...have all their fingers, toes, teeth, and internal organs.

So, thank God I didn’t breastfeed longer than those 6 miserable days… I’d really miss having my husband around.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bad Mother

Well I think I might win the "Bad Mother of the Year" award. Or maybe even the "Don't Let Your Kids Go To Their House" title.

Yesterday, we finally had the kids' 9th Birthday Party for a group of their friends. (Never mind that we are 7 weeks late. I told you it's been a crazy summer!)

Anyway, as part of a little treat bag, I let the kids pick some of their favorite songs to make a mix CD for their friends. They chose great songs like "One Week", "Good People", "Accidentally In Love", along with a little Jimmy Buffet, ABBA, and KT Tunstall. Sure, a little eclectic - but really great songs.

The last song they picked to add was "Tribute" by Tenacious D (led by Jack Black, for those you who may not know). Yeah, Jack Black. I should've know better. So as I'm adding it, I specifically ask them, "Does this have any bad words?...Are you sure?" I've heard the song myself at least 50 times and didn't recall any either.

So, there it was, track 17.

Then yesterday afternoon, we had just walked in the door from the waterpark, when Bill said to me, "Did you really put 'Tribute' on the Birthday Mix CD? You know there's a pretty bad word in there, right?"


I listened to the song. Twice. And yep, sure enough, there it is. It's stealthily nestled among a bunch a loud guitar jamming, screaming, and fast-flying words at the end. But it's there. And it's the queen of bad words. Way beyond the SH-one. Or the A-one.

It's the MF-one.

And I have just distributed it to a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds.

So last night I made several humiliated calls to parents. The ones I got a hold of just laughed and thanked me for the heads-up. I had to leave messages for 3 parents.

Please pray that they didn't head out on a family trip for the weekend in the minivans full of kids only to listen to the new CD they got at the birthday party.


So, here it is. I know you're curious. No need to clear your children from the room - this is the edited version.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Re-do please

I got my new driver's license in the mail today.

So, now I need a new hair style.

Oh. My. God. It is so hideous, I haven't even mustered the courage to show my own husband and ask the dreaded question I don't even really want to know the honest answer to: "Do I really look like that?"

It's really just a huge clump of fuzzy brown-ness busting out from all over my head. The frame of the horrible picture can't even contain the frizzy mass. It goes beyond both right and left margins. In the shape of an isosceles trapezoid.

Do you think I can get a picture re-do without revealing that the sole reason is simply vanity. (Although I think the fact that I've dedicated a whole blog post to this issue is definitely working against me in that department anyway.)

Maybe next week I'll show it to Bill.

Or not.

Maybe I'll just continue to hide it within my wallet behind a few credit cards until it expires in 2011. Then when the rare occasion arises that I am required to show it, the cashier at Rogers Wine and Liquor can get a good laugh and wonder what kind of weird hat I have on my head.

Wow. 2011.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

STMA SeaDevils at Finals!

Maddie had her last swim meet of the season this weekend at the Bloomington Aquatic Center. She qualified in 3 events, 50 m Free, 50 m Back, and 100 m Back.

Here are some little SeaDevils trying to huddle to stay warm. It was a cool morning...especially in a wet swimsuit.

Warming up for her events...


This is how the swimmers' siblings passed the time.

"Go, Maddie, Go!!"

Maddie and Emelia between races

C-Finals: Videos

STMA Sea Devils getting ready for the C-Finals swim meet

Maddie's 50 m Freestyle

Maddie's 50 m Backstroke

"Don't Buy It For Us...Buy It For Them"

I came home for work a couple weeks ago, and this is what I saw! These little philanthropists raised $18.62 for their Aunt Gina's Breast Cancer 3-Day walk.

Thanks, neighbors!

Random pictures of summer

Fourth of July at Uncle Dick's includes all kinds of games. Here are the 5-10 year-olds (Will & Maddie on the right) getting ready for the Three-Legged-Race...

...and here are the "veterans" supervising the festivities.

Finn and Nicole

The big-kids getting ready for the Water Balloon Toss

Dave, Billy, Bill and Jan at Balsam Lake

Spiderman and Spiderwoman at the top of their web

Fireworks on 44th Place

Remnants of the celebration

The Care and Feeding of Turtles

Whatever the kids are feeding him seems to be working...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Relay for Life

In a couple weeks my family and I will be walking in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in my hometown of Eureka, SD. We started participating in the Relay in 2001 following my mom’s diagnosis with inflammatory breast cancer.

The picture below is our original team. We were known as “Karen’s Team” in her honor. In the picture, you will notice my mom (with the pink corsage and purple survivor’s sash) and one of her best friends, Carolyn Oster (standing and wearing the yellow shirt, on the right). My mom’s journey with breast cancer lasted nearly three years. Carolyn was there to support her throughout the relentless battle. And on the day of my mom’s funeral, Carolyn received her own diagnosis of cancer. She, too, fought a dignified and courageous battle for as long as she was able.

It’s now been over five years, and nearly two years, since these beautiful women have been gone. It’s now up to us to carry the torch in their memory and to empower ourselves and those around us to take action. Did you know that 1.3 million new cancer diagnoses will be made this year?

But we can all make a difference.

There is hope.

This year, we’ve changed our team name. We’re now known as “Karen and Carolyn’s Team” in honor of these two amazing and inspirational women.

If you’ve never witnessed the amazing event that the Relay for Life is, I highly suggest you find one in your community and check it out. It’s a 12-hour walk through the night, full of laughter, games, fun, remembrance, tears and hope. It’s a night of community like you’ve never witnessed.

You can follow this link to our Team Page. If you are able, please make a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts. Bill and the kids will be walking with me, so just click on any of our names to donate.

Thank you!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Legend of Manner's Camp

It all started out of desperation. My kids were about 5 years old and we were on a routine trip to Super Target. I had just bought them unnecessary toys, unnecessary snacks, and was in the midst of breaking up their third fight of the hour. This one was about who spit on whom first. I was irritated by the fact that they both walked away from the nice little bakery lady who had given them free cookies without one single unsolicited word of gratitude in return, when I heard this little whiny voice from the back seat “Mom, I want…” Before I could draw upon the skills learned in parenting classes and formulate a plan, I opened my mouth and screamed: “YOU BETTER SHAPE UP RIGHT NOW OR I'M SENDING YOU BOTH TO MANNER'S CAMP!!!!”

Holy crap.

I knew I had to think of something fast in order to explain this threat. Because you know I don’t believe in idle threats. I may not have a problem with lying to my kids. But idle threats…no way.

So, from the deep, dark recesses of my mind, on the 10 minute ride home, between my fake-crying (due to the fact that I was going to miss them so much when they had to move away to camp), these are the important points of the legend I created that day:

1. It is located in New York City – a very, very, vvvvveeeery, long way from home.
2. The residents of this lock-down compound are the worst-behaved children from all over the country.
3. The kids at camp are divided into age-specific dormitories. And they're crowded. And you have to share bathrooms. And you have to do your own cleaning.
4. The menu consists of vegetables and chicken breasts. Every day, every meal. And dessert? Forget about it.
5. There are mandatory “Manner Classes” offered throughout the day, every day, from early in the morning to late at night. No TV, just classes.
6. Discharge from the camp occurs only when you have attended all the classes and are deemed “polite” by the instructors.
7. Manner Camp is the absolute last resort for parents who have tried everything else to teach their kids manners, and are at the very end of their sanity rope.
8. You can be reported to the Manner’s Camp authorities by other kids’ parents if you don’t use manners with them as well.

I know what you’re thinking. And no, it’s not one of my prouder moments as a mother.

But you know what?

It worked!

It may have taken a few weeks of reminders and some fake phone calls to the admissions office at camp. But it worked.

Today they’re nine and it’s been several years since I told them the truth. We still laugh about it sometimes. And they still have pretty good manners for the most part. In fact, today as they ran out the door after lunch, one of them shouted, “Thanks for the sandwich, mom! It was really good.”

So, then end justifies the means, right?

Now, you’re not going to call Child Protective Services, are you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Beware: Nine year old with camera

On the 4th of July, we spent the day at Bill's Uncle Dick's place in Ham Lake. He lives in a house on the lake with a hobby farm which is home to a varying collection of animals: horses, peacocks, llamas, and cows. So, when Will asked to borrow my camera to take some pictures of the horses, I gladly obliged, eager to help him develop a new hobby.

Maybe he'll pick up a love for photography...

Maybe he'll have the subtle knack for subject, lighting, and angle...

Maybe he'll become a famous photographer someday...

Or not....
Maybe he's just a nine-year old boy with a camera.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Camper Returns

Well, she's home and she loved it! They had three days and two nights filled with crafts, swimming, eating, games, campfires and singing. There were 8 kids from her Brownie Scout troop there, so lots of familiar faces. We picked her up on Friday afternoon and the girls from a couple cabins did a short little program for the parents. Very cute!

And she says that she didn't even miss us.

And she's somehow integrated a type of, like, valley-girl lingo into her speech pattern.

And I think if I hear one more cutsie little rhyming chant/song, I think I might have to, like, implode.