Four Years Together

Four years ago today, at this time, I was just stepping (ever so carefully) into the dress that I would wear the moment my life changed forever. Today is the day that I joyfully became Mrs. Craig Beckerleg. I love you, Craig. More than you could ever know. . .

I'm feeling pretty good today. I had an episode last night, and rushed to hit the record button on the monitor, but much to my dismay, realized that I had my wires crossed - literally. You see, there are two lead wires (like an EKG), one is black and the other is white. White should be connected to your right shoulder/chest area, and left goes under your left breast above your hip. OOPS. I had them backwards, so the tracing wasn't valid. Oh well. I'm sure I will have another. :) It was just a little embarrassing when I called the pacemaker clinic to send the tracing.

Murray has a sitter tonight (thanks K!), whom he loves, so Craig and I are going to go out for dinner. We are way overdue for date night, and I'm really looking forward to it. I rarely wear makeup or do anything special with my hair in the summer (it just melts anyway), so tonight I will pull out all the stops. We'll probably be home and in bed by 9, but that's life with a little one. I wouldn't change a thing.

The King of Hearts

Great news! I just received a call from the pacemaker clinic. They have a monitor available for me, finally (I've been waiting since last Monday, which feels like an eternity). Things will start moving now. I will wear the monitor 24/7 and every time I have an episode, I will record it. Then, I call the recordings into the pacemaker clinic, where the results are analyzed by my cardiologist, Dr. Otero, and my primary care physician, Dr. Jacobson. When they have enough information, they will most likely order an echocardiogram to really get in there and have a look. Armed with all of this data, they will be able to make a decision as to how to proceed. I am so relieved to be taking action. I want this over!

Michelle - you have been and will continue to be in my prayers. Love you.

Fun Pics From Our Latest Excursion

Here are some fun pictures from our trip out west:

Sleeping through the parade.

Murray was up with the sun. . . (hence the nap during the parade).

This is the view from our lodge. I didn't quite capture the true beauty, but you get the idea. Here are some cows walking in the parade. They did not throw candy (hee hee). Very funny, but very typical to have cows in the Flasher parade.

Be Still, My Heart

It's happening again. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with an arrythmia in my heart. Supraventricular Tachycardia is the technincal name, SVT for short. I had a procedure done, called a cardiac ablation, to correct the problem and have been good as new, until recently. It seems that the SVT is back, although we don't have any definate answers yet. I am on the waiting list for a King of Hearts monitor, which will record any episodes that I have. Doctors, in turn, will be able to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I have an appointment with my cardiologist on August 6, which will be a great relief to finally get some answers. This all began about 6 weeks ago, when I began having "little episodes" but I convinced myself that it was stress. Last Monday, I ended up in the ER and was in two more times throughout the week. I am on a beta blocker to control heart rate and angina, which helps some, but my doctor tells me that it takes about five days (it's been three). I live in constant fear that it will happen when I'm driving, which is the worst. It's completely debilitating, both physically and emotionally. I can't keep up with my household responsibilities, so Craig has taken on a double load, in addition to keeping a close eye on me. Murray's Grandma has had to pick up from daycare twice, which I'm beyond grateful for, but it breaks my heart to not be the one to see his smiling face at 3:00pm. Living this way isn't living, and I want my life back. I want to be able to carry on without the constant fear, or having to stop and get my heart back under control again. I had a rough morning today, but am feeling much better now. It's the waiting that's the worst. I just want this fixed, even if it requires another surgery. For now, it's day by day, sometimes, minute by minute. I still plan to go to softball tonight, because I hate sitting around doing nothing.

Despite all of this, we still went to the lake this weekend. Saturday was a good day -I felt great and we had a beautiful family day. Sunday was horrendous, and I was pretty much on the couch fighting to breath and control my heart rate all day. Poor Craig had to pack and load by himself, but not once did he complain. I know he is exhausted, and I want this cleared up for he and Murray more than myself. Again - he is amazing.

So, it's not a very happy post today. Right now, I embrace the good days when I feel like myself. I will be fine, and the sun will shine again, but for now, we wait.

A Padded Room

Murray is in the early stages of pulling himself up on the furniture, which makes me want to pad the entire house in foam until we're done raising children. Just yesterday morning he was "helping" Craig fold clothes, and pulled himself up using the laundry basket as a brace. That would have been fine, because Craig was firmly holding the basket, but Murray let go and fell down. It's only the beginning. . .

In past posts, I've talked about how we were experimenting with homemade baby food, as well as giving Murray mashed table food. We still give him jarred food too, because of the convenience (with showing the house all the time, sit down family dinners are often interrupted). He's been merrily eating chicken and turkey from the jar for the last month or so, but all of the sudden he refuses it. He gags, chokes, screws up his face like we gave him poison, then proceeds to spit it out. VERY dramatic. We've tried numerous times, to no avail. Finally, last night, we gave him Gerber's ham dinner. You would have thought we were feeding him caviar. He absolutely loved it. YUCK. I had been avoiding purchasing that particular jar of baby food because just the thought of it alone makes me gag. But hey, if it works, it works. I don't have to eat it. At least he still like veggies and fruit. These, I can stomach.

It seems as though the lazy days of summer are almost over. I can feel the change in the air. I'm not giving up yet, though. There are still plenty more days of sunshine, and besides, crisp fall days are wonderful too.

New Blog

I found the greatest blog today by accident. I was reading a column by Devlyn Brooks in The Forum, and when I got to the end, I noticed that he has a blog. I immediately typed the URL into my browser and have been addicted ever since. But, for some strange reason, when I add his address to my blog list, I get the home page for Area Voices. So, until I figure it out, check out: I think I may have to enlist Craig's help on this one, because I've been having troubles getting Roxane's to add as well. He'll be able to figure it out.

Separation Anxiety - Mine or Murray's?

Today was the first day since Murray's transfer to the mobile infant room that he didn't cry when I left him. Our sweet baby just looked at me while I waved a frantic goodbye, smiled, and looked back at his teacher with a big grin. Big sigh of relief for me, though I know there are more tearful mornings ahead. One day at a time.

I have been reading up on separation anxiety theories. Many parents distract baby and sneak out (Craig was doing this until I informed him of the articles I'd been reading). Sneaking away only makes them feel like mom and dad can suddenly disappear, which can be pretty scary for a little one (shoot, I'd be frightened if Craig did that to me). We make a big show of waving, saying goodbye and an "I love you", while briskly walking away, even if Murray is sad. If this morning is any indication, I do believe this tactic is working. But, I'm a firm believer in doing what is best for your particular situation, so if the sneak away method works for you, by all means, go for it. Everyone is different, and different isn't wrong.

I just finished The Second Time Around by Mary Higgens Clark. It was a great suspense novel, but now I'm looking for something a bit more serious. I need a good beach read. Anyone have any suggestions?

Bulldog Country

I am so tired today I can hardly function. The reunion was an exhausting success. While we didn't have a pasture party, plenty (and I mean plenty) of fun was had by all. I have some hysterical pictures to post of the parade and the small community. Like I said before, it's a completely different world in Flasher. Gas may have been $4.09/gallon, but adult beverages at the bar are so cheap that I bought a round for my class and the total came to a mere $25.00.

Murray slept through the whole 15 minute parade. It's so small that they actually do it twice - up main street and then back down. One of the entries even handed out free fly swatters instead of candy. I'm certainly not trying to make fun, (Craig did enough of that) but I just can't get over how different it is out west. I love it there and it was a comfort to visit.

The lodge we stayed at was so beautiful. The views are amazing. The house sits on the top of a butte, overlooking lush fields, green pastures and rolling hills. The people who own it also have their ranch on the same property. Murray woke us up before the rooster could on Saturday morning (yep, they have a rooster) so we took our coffee outside to watch the sunrise. They raise pigs, cows, sheep, horses and chickens, so we had farm fresh eggs for breakfast. Craig had never seen a brown egg before (he called it orange) so of course, he didn't cook that one. It was pretty funny when he asked what kind of egg "that one" is.

Anyway, if I can just make it through the day without falling over at my desk, I will be impressed. I sure hope Murray feels like napping this afternoon. :)

Flasher or Bust

(Edited for dumb title and content, though it's still a dumb title)
The last two days have been terribly sad. I just couldn't seem to pull myself out of the funk I was in. My mom's birthday hit me much harder than I expected. I am generally a pretty cheerful, the glass is half full kind of girl, but I spent Wednesday and Thursday overwhelmed with grief and I was hardly able to get out of bed. Craig has been amazing through all of this, and thanks to him, I'm back to myself today. I admit this because I think it's important to allow ourselves to be sad. Sometimes we have to give in and have some time to regroup. I know enough about myself to realize that if I fall apart once in a while, I am better equipped to handle the tough stuff on a daily basis.

We're off to Flasher for the weekend. Flasher is a tiny town of about 250 people southwest of Mandan ND. It's kind of like going to a different planet (Craig calls it BFE). It's cowboys and country music (think Chris LeDoux and rodeos), rolling hills and jagged buttes - beautiful scenery. Prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, and of course, pheasants are abundant. Ranchers raise cattle, sheep, and horses. You won't find more hardworking or friendly people anywhere. And boy, does Flasher know how to party. The parties that I went to in high school consisted of big pick 'em up trucks with loud pipes. The beds of said trucks usually had an old couch in the bed and a cooler of beer. We'd drive out to the middle of a pasture, back the trucks up in a circle around a huge bonfire, and whoever had the best sound system would blast the tunes. If it was calving season, the ranch kids would usually leave temporarily to "check cattle." Ah, the memories. I'm sure we've all turned into sophisticated socialites by now, so there probably won't be any pasture parties. That's a sarcastic joke. I sure hope we do have a pasture party!

Happy Birthday

May the road rise up to
meet you,
May the wind be always at
your back,
May the sun shine warm
upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon
your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in
the palm of His hand.
God bless you, Mom. Happy Birthday.

Small Town Girl

Murray's first day in the mobile infant room went beautifully. Apparently this adjusment is worse for me than him.

We never did get to go on the bike tour. Craig got injured at softball on Monday night, and was still in no shape to do 15 miles around the lake. Between his leg and my hives, Saturday morning was not a good day for exercise. My uncle did the 45, though, and it he did it in under 2 hours. WOW!

We are preparing for our trip to Flasher this weekend for my ten year class reunion. I graduated with 25 people, and 24 of us will be there. We are all looking forward to it. Our reunion coincides with the town's annual Summerfest, so there are lots of activites. A parade, a bull ride, and a street dance, to name a few. I am a small town girl at heart and very excited to visit beautiful Flasher again.

Not much else to report today. It's quiet for a change, and I rather like it that way.

A Bee in My Bonnet

Well, actually, it was in my bra and stung me about 4 times before I finally got it out. I was walking up from the cabin to the big house when suddenly I felt stinging on my you know whats. I looked, and there, trapped in my bra, was the baddest bee in town. I immediately panicked and started stripping my clothes off in the middle of the yard. Maggie and Craig were in the cabin and probably heard my shouting and carrying on but assumed that it was just another one of my dramatic episodes. Anyway, I got the bee out (by this time he was dead) and ran up to get my grandma to figure out what to do. She put a baking soda paste on all of the stings, which helped some, but soon my whole body was covered in hives. My hands swelled to the size of baseball mitts and I was so itchy I could hardly stand myself. They convinced me to run into the ER in DL, so that's what we did. The nurse took one look at me and told me that I was a giant hive. Yowsers. I've been stung by bees before and have never had a reaction like this. The ER doc recommended that I carry a bee sting kit, so I'm going to my regular doc on Wednesday to see if this is something that he thinks would be a good idea. Apparently, each episode from here on out will only get worse. I was fine after the Benedryl kicked in, but I still have the itchy stings on my chest. This is actually quite comical now that it's all over.

Today is Murray's 8 month birthday, and his first full day in the moblile infant room. I cried when I dropped him off. Dumb, I know, but it was harder than I expected. I am sitting here at work trying very hard not to call and see how he is doing. I think I will check in with him at lunch time. On the bright side, he is now ten dollars a week cheaper. :)

Father Time

One year ago today, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It got me thinking about the passage of time. I was thinking about how one year ago she was still with us, though very sick. I was thinking about how I was 6 months pregnant and struggling with elation and devastation simultaneously. I was thinking about how much has changed in this very short window of time. It's amazing really, when you realize the enormity and complexity of time and the higher power. How can my mom and my son not exist at the same time in the same world? What am I supposed to learn from all of this? Will I ever know? And of course, why?

Despite these random thoughts today, I'm still feeling cheerful, just contemplative. I feel like I should be sitting on a rock somewhere, chin resting on my fist, just thinking. As a matter of fact, I think that when we get to the lake this afternoon, I will do just that. It's time to think.

*Edited for spelling errors*

Bad Momma?

Murray is napping, so I sat down at the computer to read past posts. One of my favorite aspects of blogging is to read what I've written because it really puts things into perspective. While I was reading them, I started to realize that I always write as though life is perfect, motherhood is perfect, and so on. But you know what? It's not. Don't get me wrong, I love my life and being a mom is the best thing that we ever did (thanks to Craig). But I have to say that this is very hard work. Rewarding, yes, but stressful also. Just yesterday morning, I felt terrible because when I dropped Murray off at daycare, it was actually a relief. He has been so clingy that we can't put him down, and even if we don't, sometimes he's still fussy. The stress of trying to sell the house and do things "perfectly" was getting to me and I just needed a little break. Sounds awful, I know, but it's the truth. I wouldn't change a thing, but it finally dawned on me that it's okay to share some honesty, even if it's not "perfect". We're only human, and writing and rereading my posts is just another way to remind me that we are.


Well, the house that we had our eye on is as good as sold, but not to us. We were fairly disappointed, but have decided to make the best of it. It wasn't meant to be, I guess. Now that we know exactly what we want in a home, we can build it or buy it. There are wonderful lots for sale, not to mention existing homes. Either way, mum's the word from here on out. You won't hear anything about our future living arrangements until we've signed the papers. Losing the house is exactly why Craig and I were trying to keep our privacy, but we have learned that it's best not to tell anyone anything. We were a little too excited to keep our mouths shut last time.

I do have to say this: Selling your home is very stressful when you have 2 dogs and a cat (and a baby). We have had showings every day this week, and each time we get "the call", we have to scramble. If we're at work, one of us has to leave and go corral the animals and find a place to put them so they aren't home. If we are home, we have to drop whatever we're doing and get out. Last night I was just going to put pork chops in the oven and go out to mow, when we got "the call". Off we went, 2 cars, 2 dogs, one cat, one baby and one diaper bag. Sheesh. Then, when we returned, we realized that we had locked ourselves out of the house and had to call Craig's mom to come over and let us in. Today we have 2 showings and a realtor's open house, so Rudy is at doggy daycare, Nala and Kirby are at Craig's parents. If anyone would like a cat for a few weeks until our house sells (hopefully it will only take a few more weeks), feel free to temporarily adopt ours. Though Craig would tell you that you can have him forever, I still like the big guy.
I love to read, and will read pretty much anything I can get my hands on. I just finished The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It's a memoir, chronicling her unbelievable childhood and journey to adulthood. You won't believe the craziness and poverty that her family lived in. It's fabulous!

I'm No Lance Armstrong

I may have done a very dumb thing yesterday. Water Carnival is this weekend in Detroit Lakes, and since we are going to be there anyway, I signed Craig and I up for a 15-mile bike ride. Too late now, the check is in the mail. My uncle is doing the 45 mile tour -yes, that's right - FORTY FIVE MILES. I have 4 more days to get ready, and it's doubtful I will make it the whole way, but at least I'm going to try. This biking thing really is an awesome work out. And like my aunt says, at least I have the courage to get out there and try. It drives me bananas when people complain about how they need to lose weight, but refuse to do anything about it. What's the point in complaining then? My philosophy might not be right, but it's just the way I feel. And I am the first one to admit that it's way past time for me to get on the exercise stick.

Speaking of losing weight, I broke down and ate McDonald's last night after softball. I haven't had it since last summer after one of my mom's chemo treatments (it's my favorite fast food). I could eat McD's french fries until I turn into one. I am pleasantly surprised to say that it was terrible, and my stomach is still rolling around this morning (not to mention my conscience). It could have been due to the fact that they were extremely busy, but either way, it wasn't the gourmet treat I was expecting. UGH. I will think twice before doing that again. When a craving strikes, I will try remember this experience (yeah, right).

Do babies at 7 months get night terrors? If not, then I don't know what the heck Murray is going through lately. He cries out in his sleep, sometimes waking himself, sometimes not. It's a cry like no other, and we can't figure out why it's happening. Last night we didn't get any sleep whatsoever due to Murray's waking (and Craig's snoring in between Murray's waking). We both would fly out of bed, go running in, and the only thing that worked to get him back to sleep was to give him his blanket back. We always take it away after he's asleep so he doesn't smother himself, but now I'm wondering if he's old enough to sleep with it all night. Anyone have any parenting feedback?

Back To Reality

The Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday. This year was no exception. We had fantastic weather and great fun. Some highlights of the weekend:

Saturday was on the windy side, so we loaded up the pontoon and headed across the lake to the sand bar. Murray HATED his life jacket. He was so mad at us, he didn't even have tears, he just screamed. Once we were anchored, we took it off and he was perfectly happy. But as soon as we started moving again and put it back on, the screaming ensued. He'll get used to it soon enough.

On the morning of the Fourth of July, the whole family gathered for a tribute to my mom. To make a long story short, my mom loved cheap beer. No fancy stuff for her! We all cracked open a Keystone at the same time and toasted her. We cried and laughed, and it was an awesome way to start the day. I do believe we'll make it a tradition.

After drinking 2 beers before 10am, we decided to ride our bikes around the lake. Several of my relatives are experienced cyclists and in excellent shape. The trip around is only 9 miles, but extremely hilly. For someone in my very unconditioned body, it probably was not a smart way to begin my exercising regimen. However, I made it, although my legs were comparable to jello afterwards. I didn't realize that there was so much to know about riding, but I am learning a lot. It was the wake up call I needed - my poor out of shape body was begging me to exercise it A LOT more often. By next year, I hope to be able to double the miles without a hitch. It's a bit hard on the ego when my aunt and uncle can lap me twice (they didn't, but could have).

Stay tuned for pictures - I forgot the camera at home this morning. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend, however you celebrated.

Fun In The Sun

I have been so busy relaxing this weekend that I haven't even thought about using a computer. I have taken a ton of pictures and will post the best tomorrow. We have had an absolutely fantastic weekend. I'm completely depressed that we have to go home tomorrow. Besides the fact that Murray HATES his life jacket (more on that next post), it's been a picture perfect few days. I'm off to relax a bit more - such hard work. :)

Happy Fourth of July

Today is Murray's last day in the nursery. When we return on Monday, we will drop him off in the mobile infant room. I am pretty sad about this, but proud too! The care that he has received in the nursery has been stellar, but I'm confident he will receive top-of-the-line care in the mobile infant room as well. We just love our center.

Murray had a rough afternoon and evening yesterday. He was obviously exhausted, but we couldn't get him to go to sleep. We tried everything, to no avail. We finally let him cry it out in his crib. I felt like the worst mother in the entire universe. I lasted 3 minutes (Craig was running errands), which felt like three hours, and then I caved. I picked him up and rocked with him, and once he settled down, he fell asleep in my arms (against my better judgement). We almost always put him down when he is still awake so that he learns to put himself to sleep, but desperate times, desperate measures. He slept until 7:30 this morning so we know he was very tired, just fighting sleep.

Tonight we will pack for the lake so we can hit the road in the morning. I can't wait to get there for a long, hot, relaxing weekend. The amount of gear we pack for a 45 minute trip never ceases to amaze me. We even keep some things there - Murray's life jacket, the pack and play, his pool, etc. but still we manage to fill the truck. Of course, two 100+ pound dogs and their equipment doesn't help our cause, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Here's to hurrying up to relax! Have a safe holiday.

Daddy Rocks

Lately I've been noticing how much of a daddy's boy Murray is becoming. Don't get me wrong, he loves us both, but if Craig is in the room, Momma becomes invisible. Murray and I can be happily playing on the floor, but the minute Craig walks into the room, he lights up and squeals in delight. If Craig walks by without stopping to play, Murray cries and fusses until he drops whatever it is he's doing to join us. It absolutely tickels me. How in the world did I ever get this lucky? These pictures were taken Monday and Sunday, respectively.