Oops, My Bad

For some reason, the first contest that I decided to hold on my blog went a bit wrong, and it's all on my part (and yes, watch for more, I think it's a fun idea and I look forward to giving away more prizes). Anyway, the tie that I mentioned in my previous post was incorrect. Katie, you and Stef tied. But don't worry, I'm sending the three of you each a little something because it was my mistake. Just chalk it up to my dementia. :)

I'm off to finish my au gratins'.

Happy New Year!!!!

We Have a Tie

We have a tie. . .the winners are Stef and Roxane. I might point out that they were the only two to play my little game, but they were both correct. Anyway, watch you're mailboxes, ladies!

"Where do I begin? About a love so sweet la la la la la, where do I start?" If you can't tell, I'm in a musical sort of mood today. I was hammering away on the piano earlier and came across the sheet music for the theme song of "Love Story". Kinda makes me want to watch it again.

Anyway, we had a blessed Christmas. Due to the weather, my Dad couldn't make it (I imagine many of you were stuck or had family stranded in one place or another) but he and Maddie are on the way I as type. I can't wait to see him - as usual, it's been too long. I'm sure Maddie is getting so big! It will be a circus around here with a large puppy, crazy Rudy and cranky Nala. My guess is that the cat will find his hiding spot and we won't see him for a few days.

We spent Christmas Eve with my family on Craig's side. It was a fun-filled day and night. The boys had a blast helping Aunt Amy pass out the presents, which is tradition. I think she's been the present passer-outer since before she could read. It truly was a fantastic day.

The Lovejoy's were stuck in town for Christmas so they honored us with their presence for Christmas dinner and conversation. Their daughter, Mariana, and Murray played until they were exhausted (little Mari is a smart one; Wade and Kristine have a run for their money). Maggie entertained us all just by being herself. She's so funny and charming and all around wonderful. I'm so lucky that she's my sister. Thanks, sis, for not sharing your reasons for not eating pork. I'll remember to make you something else from now on!

The rest of our holiday included blowing snow, shoveling, clearing sewer vents, and more blowing snow. Sheesh! This one will definitely go down in the books for the whitest Christmas ever.

The best part of the whole time for me was feeling Christ's presence in my heart. For the first time in a long, long time, I truly knew (and still know) that He is with us always. What a wonderful feeling!

I'm off to prepare for Dad's arrival. I can't wait to have us all together again.

Most likely, my next post will be in 2010, so I pray that the rest of your 2009 is beautiful.

Have a safe and happy New Year.


Do you think I have the correct spelling of the title? The first person who posts a comment with the correct spelling will win a fun prize (for real!).

Too much to say, so many pictures and not enough time. Stay tuned; I promise a full post tomorrow (Wednesday).

God Bless,

A Tribute to Lemmondrops

I've been putting off publishing this post, because I fear that it won't be as eloquent as it deserves and I don't want to sound maudlin. With that in mind, bear with me.

Tomorrow will mark the death of our blogger friend, Emilie Lemmons. She passed away last Christmas Eve after a long battle with cancer. On earth she left her two young sons; Daniel and Benjamin, her husband Stephen, friends, admirers and faithful readers. Emilie had many gifts; first and foremost, her role as a mother and wife. She also had the gift of expression. I so wish that I could have just a tiny bit of her talent. But what's most important (as our fellow friend Roxane , stated much more eloquently than I can) is that her children will know their mother by the honest and true words that she wrote, and of course, Stephen's memories. Although I never did have the chance to meet Emilie, she was a true inspiration. She helped me find passion; in motherhood, in writing, and most of all, the faith that I needed to find so much when my beloved mom passed away. From what I gather, Emilie was peaceful and humble; so much so that she never knew how very many lives she touched. She reminded me of my own late mom, who passed just one year before Em did. Emilie and I never did have the chance to meet but thanks to her, I found a wonderful friend, Roxane.

It may seem strange that I'm so enthralled with a woman that I have not met, but if you could spare a few moments, please read some of Emilie's posts. I promise that you will find yourself enthralled with a woman who loved her family, her life, and her writing.

God Bless, dear Emilie. We all miss you and know that you are at peace. Could you give my Mom a giant hug for me? I will return the favor if I ever get the chance to meet all three of your "boys".

Sometimes, there are days when you can write and write and talk and talk, but nothing eases the pain and sometimes, nothing makes sense. Today is one of those days. My prayer for all of you is that you have something or someone to be grateful for. I know that I am blessed with many!

Be safe in your travels this week, and Merry Christmas!

The Reason For the Season

We celebrated another "first" on Saturday. Murray received hockey skates for his birthday. The weather was beautiful and the pond behind the Beckerleg's had a shimmery, clean sheet of ice. Craig and I were prepared for the fact that Murray would be scared, even to put on the skates, but as soon as we began to lace them up he was thrilled. He kept repeating, "skate, hockey, ice skate, hockey" and when we finally put him on the ice he was in his own version of heaven. Of course he's in need of a lot of help (one person on each side) but even when he took his first fall he just giggled and got right back on the horse, so to speak. When we explained that it was time for a break and took him in the house, he cried, so Craig trudged back out and let him practice. We are thrilled that he enjoyed it so much. I suppose it's time to start saving our pennies - I wonder if Moorhead Youth Hockey has a lay-away plan? I did take a ton of video, but I can't seem to get it to download. I'll keep trying.

As we prepare for the wrap-up of advent and the celebration of Christ's birth, I've noticed a pretty awesome change in myself these days. This year I've spent more time reflecting upon our blessings, asking questions and learning more about our faith, and pondering the wondrous gifts we received when Christ died on the cross for us. Tonight will be the first time I attend reconciliation in 5 years. I'm apprehensive, but I love the feeling of being cleansed and am so grateful that Jesus died so that we can be forgiven of sin. I pray that my faith journey will flourish in the days and weeks to come. I have to thank my friend Roxane for this gift of new-found faith; through her and her wisdom I've embraced Christ in ways I hadn't dreamed possible; of course I know that God gave us the gift of our friendship and for that, I am honored.

May you have a blessed Christmas filled with peace and joy!

Too Much Tragedy and TV

I'm on my way to pick up Murray early, but I had to post first.

First and foremost, I would like to request a prayer for babies and their loving parents.

A small bit about unemployment: it seems I've been bored for too long. My good friend informed me a few minutes ago that I need to set a schedule and stick to it. It works for him, so I'm going to attempt to act like I have to go to work tomorrow (plus I have an interview) and get on with my day. Instead of watching re-runs of "My Wife and Kids", "Full House" (which is completely cheesy and my guilty pleasure) and "Desperate Housewives" between loads of laundry, my plan is to get active again. When I'm not applying for jobs, I could volunteer or do something to help out a person or family in need. I want to get back to water aerobics as well.

This morning I woke to the sounds of one of the animals vomiting. Turned out to be Rudy, who has not been ill in his five years of existance. We're diligent about our vet check-ups, so I couldn't figure out what was happening. He was sick every half-hour from 2am to 6am. Every time I cleaned up the mess, he looked at me with those big brown eyes and you could just tell how embarrassed he felt. I called the emergency clinic at five am and after consultation they assured me that it was probably a diet issue. We are strict on their diet - 2 cups of Iams twice a day, so I surmised that he must have eaten something that wasn't dog food behind our backs. I held his food today until noon, and so far he hasn't been sick. I am so relived. I love our animals so very much, as you know.

I've discovered over the last year that there are so many hardships and devastation in the world. Our family has had several in the last month or more so today I pray that joy will come to those who have been afflicted by tragedy.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Peace to all.
P.S.Since I've written this post, I have set up a volunteer schedule that I'm quite thrilled about. More on this later.

Paris and Pigs

What has this world come to? Really, Paris Hilton and her pets and hair products? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE animals and would own a farm if I could, but is this really all she has to discuss? Aren't there more important things in the world? Honestly, I'm so annoyed I had to turn the channel. At least she got me motivated to do something productive. I'm off to go clean something that I never otherwise would have. Thanks, Paris. You are truly an inspiration. Oh, and NINE fragrences?

P.S. I just realized how annoyed I am. I have a few questions that are supposed to be statements. I guess I'm guilty of my own pet peeves.

Clint Black and Conflict

I've never been a person who enters contests. Even when the prizes are, for example, a vacation in the Bahamas or front row tickets to see George Strait. Besides, since I've been in the advertising world, I've not been legally allowed to win said contests. But now that I'm not, I called a radio staion a whim today. The prize was tickets to see Clint Black (whom I love) at a nearby casino. I answered the question correctly and won! The problem lies with the fact that Craig has to be in the cities for meetings and Murray and I had planned to join him. I can't help but thinking that the concert would be super fun but I wonder if I would have as much fun without him. Craig hates concerts so I'm thinking he will skip it.

I just realized that this a ridiculous problem to have - sheesh - what's happened to me? I've gone completely materialistic and selfish. Anyway, I don't know what will happen, but it was fun to win. My guess is that the tickets will be given to someone who really wants them unless Craig is able to be home,
More tomorrow. Much love!

Marriage Vows and Injured Noses

The wedding was beautiful. Ryan and Ronnie are officially husband and wife, the wedding party looked wonderful (especially Craig, if I do say so myself) and fun was had by all.

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that I'm a huge klutz. I constantly have bruises; I run into things when I'm in a hurry and fall down when I'm not paying attention. The most recent episode, in fact, happened on Saturday night.

Craig and I were cutting a rug on the dance floor. We took swing lessons before we were married, so I feel sort of comfortable dancing with him. The problem is that he is an awesome leader and I'm an incredibly incompetent follower. Two-Left-Feet is my middle name, but I love to dance so I do it anyway! Craig had just pulled me into the "skin the cat" move when we lost our grip and I went flying. I wasn't wearing shoes, so my pantyhose took over and I ended up across the dance floor. My nose of all things broke the fall. It really, really stinks (no pun intended) to have an injured nose when you have a cold. We don't think it's broken because thankfully, my eyes weren't black this morning but it's swollen and painful. My DH took very good care of me; bringing lots of warm washcloths and tissues to stop the pain and bleeding.

Murray was hysterical on the dance floor, as expected. He ran like a crazy man before the DJ started and after that it was no holds barred. He went home with Craig's parents (God bless them) and was so wound up that he went to bed very late. That was fine with everyone involved I think. He slept until 8:00am this morning.

If anyone has any funny stories to share about weddings, injuries or the two combined, I would love to hear your comments.

Dogs + Chocolate = Poison

Two years ago, about this time, our two golden retrievers ate two pounds of bakers' chocolate and three bags of chocolate chips. When I discovered the mess, I hauled them both to the vet where they spent the day expelling their bodies of the poison they had ingested. One large emergency vet bill later, they were both fine. It turned out that Rudy didn't have a trace of chocolate in his system, hence, Nala had consumed every bit. Since then, I've been extremely careful about where the chocolate is stored. Yesterday I found a half eaten candy cane full of chocolate kisses (it was in the stocking stuffer pile that I had hidden under the bed). There were no traces of foil or the plastic cane. This time, I decided to watch them closely and only take them in if one or the other showed signs of illness. Thankfully, they are both thriving. When I told Craig, he jokingly replied, "Well, we'll just have to see which one passes away first." We never would have let that happen of course, so I kept vigil yesterday and through the night. Anyway, I'm happy to report that the incident passed with no ill side effects. Lesson learned - again.

We have a busy weekend ahead. Tonight we will attend a groom's dinner for our friend Ryan, who is marrying a wonderful woman tomorrow. It will be so much fun to have the group back together again. Craig is a groomsman, so Murray is going to attend the wedding with me, and then Dennis and Mary will take him to the reception (spouses are invited to ride in the limo with the wedding party). We're excited to see him dance (you know how much he loves to rock out) and when he's partied himself out, Dennis and Mary will take him home for the night. I just love having kids at weddings; they are usually the first to get the dancing started!

For now, I'm off to continue my job search. Although it does get tiresome sending resume after resume, I hope that it will pay off in the end.

Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!

Red Tape and Rigmorole

I spent the last two-plus hours on the ND Unemployment website (a.k.a. UI ICE). I cannot believe the hoops I have to jump through to receive a very small sum of money each week. Don't get me wrong - I'm happy that they don't hand out cash to anyone who asks for it. I was just surprised at the amount of activity they monitor. I felt like I had to explain what I've been doing every moment since I was released from employment. Now that I have the initial red-tape paperwork complete, I have to report that I've applied for at least 2 positions weekly. It should be much less time-consuming from here on out.

So I've attacked that chore, and I'm sitting on my couch, guiltily watching "Wife Swap" re-runs. How pathetic can I get? That's a rhetorical question. Please don't answer it when you comment. :) Anyway, after applying for four jobs and dealing with the government, I feel like I have accomplished quite a bit for this morning. Unfortunately, I have a list a mile long today: bills, picking up after little one, getting my resume printed, laundry, present wrapping, etc. But you know what? I don't mind a bit. I'm really liking this work-at-home-mom business. I know it can't last, but I'm going to enjoy every minute. And besides, most people have to deal with these everyday tasks while employed!

If you get a chance, I was featured in The Forum in an article featuring parent blogs. You can check it out at: www.inforum.com I was honored to be included!

I can't end this post without mentioning Urban Hair, a new salon in south Moorhead. I've been friends with Lisa, the owner, for almost ten years and she's been taking care of my hair for a long time. They offer massage therapy, essential oils, special services, and of course, the best hair care in town. If you would like more contact info, let me know. I promise you won't find a more trendy, comfortable and reasonably priced studio anywhere. The grand opening is on Friday at 4:00pm - ribbon cutting, tours, and wine and cheese - all are invited. I don't mean to sound like a commercial, I just really think you will love Lisa, her staff and her salon. If you watch Valley Today on channel four or eleven, Urban Hair will be featured tomorrow morning.

Ok, I'm finally off to my chores. Have a blessed day.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace. . .

Murray and Craig constructed a fort last night. For some reason, our camera isn't working, hence the blurry image.

Murray took this shot; we're not counting on him growing up to be a photographer. However, at least he snapped it when the floors were freshly scrubbed.

One of my favorite times to attend Mass is during the week, when the students from St. Joseph's school attend. Today is The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, so I asked Craig to do the daycare run and I went the the 8:00am service. It's so heart-warming to see those little bodies participating. Their take on all things Catholicism is so innocent; I tend to get more out of Mass when the children from school are present. Partly this is due to the fact that the readings and homily are geared towards young minds; the other part is that I don't have a rambunctious toddler in tow. Although I love having Murray with us at church, sometimes it gets a bit hard to concentrate when I'm attempting to stop him from kicking the pew, shouting at the people behind us, or asking for something to eat. Today was the perfect beginning to a brand-new day.

Late Night Mutterings

It's 11:40pm. Craig is finally home from a ferocious week of traveling. He woke Murray up, but the cries have diminished and he'll be asleep soon (again). Meanwhile, I'm trying to concentrate on the latest novel I'm reading. I find myself distracted. I'm on page 423 in a seven-hundred plus page book. It was riveting at first, then at the very least, distracting, but now I find myself bored to death. I will finish the book; I've never been a person who could stop reading because I wasn't entertained. I will say that this is painful reading and I hope that the last chapter will be well worth it. The first work I read of Wally Lamb's ("She's Come Undone") was fascinating through and through. I just can't throw myself into this particular book at the moment. I have faith, though, that the letters to "Lolly" will be appreciated in the end. I love to read so very much; I can't give up on a book.

Due to my recent unemployment, I've been enjoying working around the house again. I love that my husband comes home to a clean house, dinner cooking and clean laundry. I love that Murray and I aren't in a hurry to go anywhere and that we spend more time with together. I love that I have the opportunity to explore my options. I love that I have more people interested in taking piano lessons (teaching and piano combined is a passion). I pray that this lasts until God has another idea.


This Isn't the Worst That Could Happen

When I last posted, I was at work and life was looking pretty great. Life is still wonderful, but we've hit a bump in the road. Yesterday at 12:40pm, by boss informed me that he had to make cuts and although he looked down other avenues, my job was the first to go. I was so much in shock that I was dizzy and sick to my stomach. He explained that it had nothing to do with me (thankfully) but that the company wasn't doing so well and changes needed to be made. I am heartbroken - I loved my position at MMC and the people that I worked with. However, we (they) are a small company and it makes sense to let me go. My boss was very sad too; he said that he really didn't want to see me leave, but at this point there weren't any other options. Tomorrow I will go in and clean out my desk, say my goodbyes and start anew.

I was devastated and am still saddened. However, I have no hard feelings or resentments and am looking at this as an opportunity to start again with a clean slate. I have so many dreams, and this might just be the perfect opportunity to pursue them. I'm going into this with an open mind and heart, and praying that God will guide me to where I need to be. As my sister pointed out, "This too shall pass", and "Things will be greater later." Also on my list of favs is "When one door closes, another opens". My resume is ready, but I've also made a list of options that I'd like to investigate before any serious decision is made. I'm so grateful for the things I've learned at MMC and for the friends that I have cherished while there (even through the rough stuff).

I'm off to bed; tomorrow will be emotionally exhausting, but I will prevail! Tomorrow is another day and the world is full of opportunities.

God Bless,

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I think our neighbors are wondering where "Mr. and Mrs. Scrooge" (a.k.a. Craig and Marie Beckerleg) moved to. For ten years of living in the same home, Craig has never put Christmas lights on the house. This year, he discovered a great bunch of brand new lights and those clippy-things that help keep the lights stay put. My mom must have purchased them after Christmas one year and never used them. So while I was napping on Saturday, I woke to discover Craig on the roof hanging beautiful white lights. I am thrilled! I had to take a picture from across the street - he did such a great job. There are 4 bulbs that aren't working, but we'll replace those soon. Murray lit up like the Fourth of July (no pun intended) when he first saw them; "WHOA!" was his response.

I'm reading a book by Wally Lamb, "The Hour I First Believed" (I can't find the underline button). This book is beautifully written and captivated me from the very first sentence. There is one thing about Mr. Lamb's writing style that is driving me bonkers, however. At least once per page, he begins the monologue with a question. For example, he'll write: "This one time? I got off the train at Grand Central? I raced to her apartment. . .". I have no idea why this is bothering me. I pose this question to my talented writer-friends: Is this a common writing technique that I'm unaware of? I realize that my writing needs a lot of work, so I hate to criticize a well-known and published author. I've just never come across anything like this.

I hope that everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We certainly did. We spent the day at Maggie's and I'm positive that I haven't laughed so hard or so often in a long time. I even helped her put up her Christmas villages, decorations, and lights. Decorating for any holiday is never high on my priority list, but Mag loves it so I acquiesced and ended up having a ball. Helping her upped my Christmas spirit a notch too. Thanks, sister!

The countdown is on: 24 days until Santa visits!

"One cannot have wisdom without living life."
--Dorothy McCall

Happy Thanksgiving

In honor of Thanksgiving, today's post will be a short list of the many things I'm thankful for, in no particular order:
Faith, family, friends, our pets, good books, support groups, good health, hot coffee, kisses, hugs, unexpected phone calls, good dreams, a roof over our heads, no car payment, God, Facebook, surprise visitors, an awesome bed, CDIOP, lazy Saturday mornings, warm weather, water to drink, my "team", Dr. Rondeau, food to eat, my job, Craig's job, our child-care provider, Pfizer, green grass, hot tea, health, Nick at Nite, Barnes and Noble, good credit, Weight Watchers, Earth, a good hair cut, new socks, a new day, breathing.

This was a fun exercise. I could go on and on - I am truly a blessed person! May you have a healthy, safe and very happy Thanksgiving!

May the new week come to us
For health, life and all good;
May it bring us sustenance, good tidings,
Deliverance and consolations.
--Women's Sabbath Prayer


Murray is a textbook two-year old. I often wonder how we were so blessed to have such a child. Recently, I received a gentle reminder as to who ultimately created our boy:

Murray recently learned how to "honk" noses, thanks to one of his aunts. It's hysterical; until he tries to "honk" complete strangers in the grocery store, or the nice old lady sharing our pew at Mass.

Murray also has a great love of music and dancing. Wherever and whenever we are listening to music, he always wants, "one more?". Much to our chagrin on Sunday (after several attempts to keep him quiet), when the choir finished singing the first hymn, Murray clapped and asked quite loudly, "one more?" several times (we were sitting in the third pew from the front). When it was time to sing the "Alleluia", he joined in with a rousing rendition of "la LOOO la" that lasted throughout the reading of the Gospel. Did I mention we were sitting in the front?

Taking a toddler to church is important. They have to learn sooner or later and it's wonderful to pray together as a family. However, taking a toddler to church is also sweaty work: distracting, funny, exasperating, and at times, even painful. Half of the congregation heard the loud thump that accompanied Murray's screams when he fell off the kneeler and banged his head on the seat of the pew.

The aforementioned events are only a few that happened in an hour's time last Sunday. By the time the final strains of "He is Exulted" were sung, I was sweating, shaking and wondering if we would ever be allowed at Mass again. He had a tantrum during the final minutes of Mass, which seemed like hours. Poor Marcia, who was steadfastly attempting to read the announcements, ended up nearly shouting into the mic.

I learned something wonderful that day. During coffee and community after church, Father Raul stopped by to say good morning. When I asked Murray to say sorry for being loud in church, Father let out a hearty laugh. He said to me, "Marie, he is a child of God. He can be as loud as he needs to be when I am preaching, so do not worry. When Jesus was preaching, there were thousands of people, and no microphones! I would be more upset if you were anxious about the noise he makes during Sunday Mass".

The next time Murray causes a ruckus in church, or anywhere for that matter, I will smile and remember that he is a child of God, instead of being embarrassed by his behavior.

Two Two-Year-Olds

Craig and I had a wonderful mini-getaway. Although Craig had meetings on Friday, I took advantage of a "free" day and went shopping. I can't believe that I actually have a head start on my Christmas list. I'm usually running around frantically on Christmas Eve trying to find the "perfect" gifts. I had lunch with one of my girlfriends, Tricia, that I haven't connected with in a while. It was awesome to catch up (even though I sent her to the Mall of America instead of the Rosedale shopping center - oops).

We went out for dinner on Friday evening, and then had brunch with our friends Amy and Jeff on Saturday. (Amy used to live and work in Fargo, but moved to the cities several years ago). I've missed them so much! Jeff cooked a fantastic meal, and I'm pretty sure he makes the best bloody marys in the tri-state area.

As relaxing as it was to get away for a while, we missed Murray so much that by the time he hit Moorhead, Craig and I were both so excited to see him that I'm surprised we didn't get a speeding ticket. I cannot believe what a little parrot he is. He just loves to show off all the new words he's learning.

Yesterday we went to Mass, watched the Vikes, and then attended our nephew's second birthday party. It was a great party; we're so lucky to have such a great family.

Have a fantastic Monday. I'm counting my blessings today, and there are many!

A Little Dirt Doesn't Hurt

I do believe the 2- year- old birthday party was a success. It was so much fun to be surrounded by our families, especially since Murray had a better sense of what was happening this year. I had hoped to post some pictures today, but of course, I left the camera at home.

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. I feel like one day it was August and the next day the holidays are popping up out of no where. Where did the time go? Much as I love the chaos, every now and then I wish time would just stop for a few minutes.

Speaking of time, remember how I used to be a bit obsessive-compulsive about keeping the house clean? Well, I am the perfect example that people really can change. I am to the point that I really have let go (sometimes, I'll admit, too much) of the housework. Don't get me wrong, I still prefer a neat and tidy home but in a not-so-perfect world, a-not-so perfect house is not an achievable goal. We're too cramped, too busy, and when we do have free time, who wants to spend it cleaning? I have a plan though! My Grandma Kate taught me the following, and it's worked for her, so I'm going to try to implement it in our household. She made a list of chores, and then assigned a day to each chore. For example, Mondays are laundry and dusting, Tuesdays are ironing and vacuuming, Wednesdays are cleaning the bathrooms and scrubbing floors; you get the picture. I just think it's genius. She said that a takes a few weeks to get used to (as does any new habit does) but once you do, it's wonderful. She said most days she's finished her housework by 10am. Isn't that neat? So that's the challenge I've assigned us when we get back from our mini-getaway. Murray is pretty good at picking up his toys when we remind him; now if I can just work on the adults in the house. . .

"Birth Day"

Our boy turns "toooooo" on Saturday. I can't help but reminisce about where we were on November 14, 2007, as well as the days prior to. After all, it's our "birth day" too!
It was a tumultuous (to say the least) time for us. As you know, our darling mother passed away on November 3, 2007. I was hugely pregnant (and when I say huge, I mean enormous). As cloudy as those days were before Mom's funeral, I distinctly remember walking into the maternity store at the mall in search of appropriate attire for her funeral. The sales lady was appalled - she actually said that she had never seen anyone as "pregnant" as I was. Good grief, what a thing to say! I found a knit dress which probably looked hideous, but at least it fit.

The days following the funeral are impossible to describe. We were all completely devastated, though we were filled with joy at the anticipation of our child. I was also completely exhausted - emotionally and physically. Craig and I took many walks around the block (he wouldn't let me stray too far from home) hoping my water would break.
My due date was November 16th. On November 13th, I went to see my beloved OB for my weekly appointment. I went in knowing that I was going to ask her to induce. Before I could say a word, she asked me if I was ready - she had been well aware of our situation and was concerned about my stress level. In no more than thirty seconds, she had my induction scheduled for the following morning.

I hardly slept that night. I was completely confused. Of course I was unbelievably excited to meet our child, but I was also so completely lost in the grief process that I felt like I was living in a cloud. Craig and I left for the hospital early the next morning. It was a strange sensation to know that we were leaving our home as two and would be returning as three.

Dr. R. arrived exactly at 7:00am to attend to the business of inducing labor. My best Grandma Kate and my best Mother-in-law Mary arrived around 11:00am to sit with us. They were so supportive and patient. After a full day of labor, it was time. Everyone except for Craig left the room. After two hours of pushing, Dr. R. decided that the baby's head was too big and a C-section was necessary. At 5:56pm, our beautiful Murray was here. What a miracle! Just before Dr. R. delivered him, she said that we had one last chance to guess the sex. I was sure the baby was a girl; I wanted to name her Kathleen. Well, you all know how that turned out. We had a boy, and Craig suggested that we name him Murray, after my mom's last name. How perfect! I've never heard such a beautiful cry as that of Murray's first wail. Craig went with the nurses while Murray was weighed and cleaned and then promptly brought him to me to see. I was terrified that I would drop him, but Craig was fantastic - I've never met a man more supportive and thrilled than he was. The first time I looked at Murray, I knew that he was exactly what he was supposed to look like. He was so beautiful! Craig followed the nurses around with our new babe and showed him off through the nursery windows to our family.

When I was FINALLY done with post-delivery - which felt like hours, I was literally aching to hold my babe. I was wheeled into recovery where we had a fantastic reception. Craig was holding our son, and our family and friends were there to celebrate. Our labor and delivery nurse asked that everyone leave for a while so that I could recover and we could learn about this little tiny life that we had produced. I learned how to nurse a short time after, and everyone returned to hold our little one. I remember thinking that he was ours! Ours! We brought a life into this world and he's ours! I had never felt God's presence so strong, so intense.

Now that little tiny life will turn two. From nine pounds, two ounces, he now weighs thirty pounds and speaks and throws tantrums and dances and loves most everyone. He's a charming boy and I will never, ever forget a moment of the best day of our lives. Happy Birthday, Murray!

Conflict of Interest - Update

As most of you know, I've recently decided to take part in the March of Dimes fundraiser this year. I received a random call at work one afternoon asking if I would be interested in the MOD's "Jail and Bail" program. I immediately said yes, assuming that the organization is vitally important to pre and post-natal care. Thanks to your generosity, I've raised $170.00 for the cause. I'm grateful to the many individuals that have supported my quest.

Recently, a good friend of mine (who is a faithful Catholic, fellow mom, author, and a very wise woman), enlightened me about the March of Dimes organization. Unfortunately, the MOD supports ideals of which I cannot accept. I have struggled with this decision, but after much research, have decided to opt out of the March of Dimes fundraiser. To those of you who donated: Your online donations will still be received by the March of Dimes. For anyone who mailed a donation, I will shred your check (or mail it back to you if you wish). Again, I do thank you for your generosity, and I apologize for this turn of events and any confusion I may have caused.
Click on Resource Center and search for March of Dimes.

I realize that this is a controversial subject. By no means do I intend to offend any of you. We are all entitled to our beliefs, and I respect yours. I just cannot go through with this after what I've learned. Please contact me if you have questions, concerns, or comments. Again, I thank you for your support, generosity, and understanding.

"When the most important things in our life happen we quite often do not know, at the moment, what is going on." - C.S. Lewis

Boys Will Be Boys

Last Saturday, I went to play bingo with the "ladies" of the family, while Craig, Jon and Troy stayed at home with the boys to watch the Gophers play hockey. This is what I came home to:

It was kind of like watching miniature sumo wrestling. The camera is shaking because I was laughing so hard.

After a while, the boys decided that dancing would be a great idea. We adults weren't so sure:

Life has been crazier than usual with Craig traveling so much. I'm going to tag along on his next trip, hopefully to get some Christmas shopping done. Murray will be staying with my sister so Craig and I have a mini-getaway.

We had a lovely Sunday at the lake, celebrating my Grandpa's birthday. Craig's Grandpa's birthday party was the same day, so we had to split up. I hope they both had a wonderful celebration!

Murray is turning 2 on Saturday and he is very excited. If you ask him how old he will be, he shouts, "TWOOOOO" (while holding up his index finger). We're having a small family gathering to celebrate.

I leave you with this:

"When we are no longer children, we are already dead."

. --Konstantin Brancusi

Up and Coming

Hi faithful readers,

I have a bunch to share, but I've been so busy that I only have time for a super quick post. All is well. Stay tuned - tomorrow will be worth the read!

God bless,

As Long as you Remember Me

As long as you remember me,

my love will fill your heart

and help to ease the sorrow that you feel while we're apart.

With thoughts of me,

perhaps you'll see the wonder of each day,

the joy of sunlit afternoons,

and nature's grand display.

As long as you remember me,

I always will be near

to lend you sweet tranquillity

as nighttime stars appear.

The bond that we have shared will link from me to you

to give you hope for brighter days and strength to see you through.

*Author unknown.

God bless, dear Mom. We will always love you and miss you.

The Aftermath

Maggie and Murray
Fredster and Murray

Mari and Murray

Murray's first trick-or-treating experience went much better than we expected. He loved his costume and when we showed him in the mirror, his face lit up like a Christmas tree. We went to close friends and family members and finally got home at about 10pm with one very tired child.
Despite the crazy night before, he was a perfect angel at church yesterday. Usually we have to take him out. I think sitting closer to the front helps so that he can see what's taking place. He even danced in the pew to the children's choir!
Happy All Souls' Day!

Croup, Be Gone!

I stood in front of the medicine cabinet this morning, toothbrush in hand, not remembering why I opened it in the first place. It took me about 30 seconds to remember that I was going to brush my teeth and for that I needed the toothpaste. That's when I realized that I'm sleep-deprived.

Murray was diagnosed with croup on Tuesday. He slept peacefully that night, thanks to a steroid that he took at the doctor's office. Even so, Craig and I were awake every hour or so checking on him. Last night was a completely different story. To make a long story short, Craig and I each took a couch in the living room and Murray slept in the recliner; Shark Tales was on repeat and muted. This was the only way we could get him to calm down enough to at least doze for an hour or so at a time. Craig took him to the doctor again this morning. He received another dose of steroids and we are under strict instructions not to let him get riled up. In a toddlers' world, this means he pretty much gets whatever he wants; for the time being anyway! Unfortunately, he didn't get to wear his costume to daycare today and celebrate Halloween with his "frens". We have cool mist humidifiers running throughout the house, we've run out of hot water in the bathroom several times, given him several glasses of warm juice, and even stuck his head in front of the open freezer. Poor Craig; he can't leave Murray for a second or he starts to wail. I'm sure he's ready to catch up on some sleep.

It could be worse. It's not the flu and we are thanking God for that. I remember that last year it took Murray several days to get over the croup. We'll just wait it out.

One of my very favorite charities has always been the Meritcare Children's Hospital. As most of you know, the doctors and nurses in the Neo-Nicu saved our nephew's life. He's almost 2 years old now and doing just beautifully! Anyway, in addition to this wonderful cause, I've decided to join the March of Dimes Jail and Bail fundraiser this year. If you didn't receive an email from me, check out my website: http://jailandbail.marchofdimes.com/beckerleg My goal is to raise $750.00 by November 17th. If you are able to help, any amount would be greatly appreciated. Your donations are completely tax deductible - contact me for a receipt for your records.

Have a safe and fun Halloween.

Did You Know? Day 6 & 7

Murray was tired of pictures, but we made him pose with Maggie:

Day 6 & 7:
1. Give your child (over 1 year) honey for a cough and sore throat; it coats the throat and isn't worrisome for overdosing.
2. If you go to the pumpkin patch and put your toddler on the barrel trains, he/she may be reluctant at first. But after the first time, you end up spending the rest of your tickets on the barrel trains. Tears will prevail when you take him/her off after each time until he/she is distracted with the goats.

3. Pygmy goats generally have twins (a young girl taught me this today, as one of her goats is ready to give birth). When I was very young, we always had goats at Fort Detroit, but it's been 25 years; it was great to re-learn.
4. Just when you think that your toddler has kicked a habit, it comes raring back. Murray decided that it was time to wake up at 3:00am this morning. After checking to make sure that he wasn't ill, we left him to cry it out. Forty-five excruciating minutes later, he finally realized that he wasn't getting out of bed and went back to sleep. The problem was, our human alarm clock slept until 7:45 this morning, so we were all late.

We had a fantastic weekend. We arrived at the Pumpkin Patch right when they opened at 10am. It was perfect timing; there was hardly anyone there, so we were free to spend as much time as possible at each attraction sans crowds. Murray's favorite things were the goats and the barrel trains. My sister loved the Peanuts display in the not-so-scary haunted forest.

Family photo op:

How about those Vikings? What a poor display against the Steelers yesterday. There were times during the game that I was so frustrated that I had to walk away from the television. Certainly, the referees were not great (that tripping call was bogus), but our running game was just not up to par. Turnovers, sacks, penalties (sheesh, enough false starts anyone?); my heart would soar and plummet through the entire game. Oh well, the Vikings will certainly come back for a win against Green Bay! I still have faith. . .
Have a great Monday - I think we'll see some sunshine today!

Did You Know? Day 5

This will be short and sweet, as it's family night and it's late.

Today I learned:

1. Cleaning the house gives you a great work out - crank the music and dance your way through the chore. Before you know it, it won't be a chore!

2. If your cell phone gets wet, take out the battery and place both your phone and battery in a baggie full of white rice. The rice draws the water out and usually restores your phone. Sometimes, it can take 48 hours or more, like it did for me, but my cell is now like new.

I'll catch you tomorrow - I'm off to sleep.

Did You Know? Day 3 & 4

I was incommunicado yesterday; I had so much going on that I just didn't have the time to sit down and post. So, here's what I learned yesterday:

On Parenting:
1. Murray is a heck of a lot more stubborn and sneaky than we thought. Yesterday morning, after Craig finished ironing, Murray wanted to play with the hot iron. Of course we said no and put it in the linen closet. We ignored his temper tantrum, which lasted about 15 minutes. Craig left for work, and I finished preparations for the day. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him drag his step stool over to the closet door. He climbed up, but still couldn't get the door open. After another 10 minutes or so, I walked by and saw that now he has a chair placed strategically next to his step stool so that he can climb on his stool first, then the chair. At this point, I explained that he could get hurt climbing, and I had to put all the chairs in the bedroom. He went on for another 10 minutes or so and finally gave up and was back to his sunny self. I had no idea that an almost-2-year-old could analyze like that.

2. Here's the sneaky part: Craig was digging through his pockets and found a couple of Match Box cars that aren't part of our collection. Turns out, he's been swiping them from daycare! How in the heck do we handle that one?

Today's Lesson:
On Assertiveness and Stress Management
1. Do you ever do something or go somewhere that you really don't want to but you do it anyway because you feel like you have to? Well, today I learned to say "no". If I end up doing something that I don't have the time for or if it's just not something I enjoy, I end up feeling more stressed out than I would be if were honest and said "no" in the first place. Assertiveness is not a bad thing as long as it doesn't turn into aggression. So, "say yes to say no" (I borrowed that from a commercial).

We hope to visit the pumpkin patch this weekend. So far, the weather seems to be holding out, at least until Sunday. Enjoy the sunshine today!

Attitude = Gratitude

I generally tend to post once a day, but today brings some thoughts that I'd like to share. I was thinking the other day about how much fun life is. Don't get me wrong, I'm not "little miss sunshine", but it suddenly occurred to me that even though we have rough patches (sometimes daily), I've found that that it's the simple things that count the most. For example, ladies, you know how fun you feel when you have under garments on that make you feel "good all under" (as my very wise Grandma says). Do you ever wake up and think, "hey, I'm alive today and well!" Do you feel like you make a difference? Men, do you ever just feel like you are making such a difference with your job, wife, child, significant other, etc. that you are almost on an endorphin high? Do you ever walk out the door feeling confident and feeling loved and cared for? I think both sexes feel that way, and if not, each of us should strive to find something each day that brings a smile and all over fuzzy feeling. I recently read an article about gratitude. Studies show that even if you fake gratitude, eventually, you will feel genuine gratitude. The same principal applies to attitude. When in doubt, fake it. Since I answer phones and deal with clients face-to-face, I've found that even on my worst crabby days, if I fake it, no one notices, and I feel so much better when I receive a compliment about how cheerful I am. So, my soap box for the day: Attitude = Gratitude.

Did You Know? Day 2

I've retitled my posts for my trial week of learning something new each day. Please feel free to share what you have learned today. Learning new things can be funny too! For instance, Roxane, Peace Garden Mama wrote that she learned that even after her mom comes to stay and does the majority of the laundry, the minute she leaves, it's all piled up again!

Today I've learned:

1. When you exercise in the water (i.e. water aerobics), you generally work 2 (or more) muscles at a time vs. exercising on land, when you work one muscle with each activity.

2. Getting up at 5:15 to get to the Y was way too early. I had plenty of time and sat around waiting for class to begin when I could have grabbed another 15 minutes of sleep.

The day is still young; maybe I'll learn even more new things!

Gas Tanks and Olive Oil

The old saying, "you learn something new everyday" is true. Just for fun, I'm going to experiment a bit. For one week, I'm going to keep track of at least one new thing that I learn each day. So here goes (I'm starting with Sunday):

Sunday: I learned that you can tell which side your gas tank is on by looking at the fuel gauge. In the middle, there is an arrow that points to the direction of the gas tank. I was so excited when Craig pointed out this fun fact. I'm constantly pulling up to the wrong side of the tank, since I switch cars so often. Now I won't have to be confused (well, at least about how to gas up the vehicle).

Monday: Extra Virgin Olive Oil is much more fattening than plain Olive Oil. Who would have thunk it? The words "Extra Virgin" lead one to believe that it would be lower in calories and fat. Not so much - it's just the opposite.

Feel free to share something new that you learned. This could get interesting!

Mama and Murray's "No Good, Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Morning"

5:00am - Murray wakes up for the day and rouses the puppy in the process.

5:15am - The mayhem has begun. Maddy (the puppy) won't leave Murray alone, causing whining and screaming.

5:30am - Murray and I are snuggled up in my bed trying to get some sleep, but the cat enters the room and gets in a fight with the puppy.

5:35am - Separated the 2 crazy beasts, but now the big dogs want to go outside.

5:45am - Big dogs out, but it's raining so they are barking to come back in. My floors are black with mud. Too tired to care.

5:50am - Back in bed to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Diego, and Handy Manny.

6:45am - Finally rouse for the day. Murray eats breakfast while I clean up Maddy's accident and let her outside.

7:15am - I'm dressed, Murray's dressed, Maddy is running around like a miniture devil. Forgot to make coffee, I'm in desperate need.

7:30am - Murray is ready to go - coat, hat, shoes, and mittens and we're on our way. Wait! Where are the keys?

7:45am - Still searching for keys, my phone doesn't work, so I can't communicate.

8:00am - Finally found one key, but it will only start the car, not make it go.

8:15am - Near tears, but trying to stay calm. Murray is crying because he wants to go see his friends at daycare. Still can't find the keys. Desperately texting Craig in the cities and Maggie to find out if they know where they are.

8:30am - I'm still searching, Murray is still crying, and the puppy is crying in her kennel.

8:45am - I give up. Murray will have to accept the fact that he's stuck with mama today, but he isn't cooperating. He keeps crying for his "frens" and saying rather tearfully, "I go". I distract him by playing cars and having a snack.

9:15am - Craig texts to tell me that the keys were in his pajama pants. Sure enough, I find them in the bottom of the laundry basket.

9:20am - We're out the door!

9:30am - Murray is so happy to be at daycare. Phew. I'm wiping sweat off my brow.

10:00am - Sit down to blog and try to fix my phone. It's soaking in white rice. I can text and call but no one can hear me. Grrr.

10:30am - I'm going to take a nap and then start the day over. Isn't life grand? Always good to have a little chaos to remind us of the little moments that count. Happy Friday!

Water is Only for Drinking

I'm beginning to think that I should stay away from water of adWny kind. Rivers, lakes, oceans, sinks, bath tubs, and even water bottles. I was driving home after picking Murray up from daycare when my water bottle tipped over onto the seat and my ph0ne. You may recall that I'm on my third phone (in about 6 months). This one, by far, is my favorite. I would replace it, but I forgot to take the keys from Murray when he went on an Aunt/Nephew/Uncle bonding evening. So now I'm stuck without a phone and it's driving me bananas. Funny thing is, what the heck did we ever do without mobile phones?

This is such a hard time of year for me. I didn't realize why my mood swings were off the charts and my crabbiness level was way out of control. When it finally dawned on me, I realized that all of this is because we're nearing the anniversary of our mom's death. Isn't it strange how we are so unaware of what are emotions are telling us? Now that I've figured out what has been bonjtrkh;nlbvlfglflcvl,vlr09t0y0t0totititi,y,g,ghbyfmjffjad of telling everyone to go to heck. znxjnxnnnnxnnvjvgjbnkcvcjjvjgtjtitit868i6i8y9yiyiyt9yt8iytiittiy76ncnsjsdjx n,vmcjmvkjmfchyxsxbgbxxxxmmx,mvmfjgntgggg b z

Sorry for above. Murray got a hold of the keyboard when I was away for a moment.

I've been researching my Catholic faith. I've found that there is so much to discover, even though I was born and raised Catholic. I know that if it weren't for God, so many things in my live wouldn't be present. For example: DH'ierrururutututueyeyd family (Murman again)pegs d a roof over our heads, to say the least. Sometimes I question Him - I feel like he's taken so much from our family. I know He has a reason, but I won't figure it out until it's my time.

Speaking of God, my prayers are with T.S.F. and S.B.A. Love you guys!

Introducing Maddy

Puppies are very much like having a newborn, except that babies are much easier. Little Maddy, my dad's 7 week old Gordon Setter arrived on Saturday morning. She is quite the handful. I'm used to Golden Retriever pups, who tend to be on the timid side. Not Maddy! She doesn't walk; she runs, and runs and runs until she finally collapses into a deep puppy sleep. Our poor big dogs aren't quite sure what to think. Rudy did play with her yesterday, but Nala tends to ignore her or growl at her to stay away. Kirby the cat, on the other hand, hasn't been seen since the arrival of Maddy, except for at meal times. Otherwise, he's hiding in the basement where she can't get at him. Next is Murray; he has a love/hate relationship with her. He thinks she's so funny, but when she jumps on him, even though she's tiny, it scares him. This morning we had to do a complete change of clothes because Maddy got excited and jumped on him, knocking him right into the big dogs' water dish. He was soaked. Introducing Maddy:
On Saturday, we gathered at the Grandpa and Grandma's to help take the docks out of the lake for the season. It was the strangest weather I can recall on dock day. I thought this picture was so beautiful: The deck is covered in clean, white snow, and on top is a thick layer of bright green leaves. Note the lone orange Maple leaf in the middle.

Here is a picture (taken from the snowy/leafy deck) of my Grandpa, Craig and my uncle getting the docks out in the snow:

I attended Mass by myself yesterday; Craig wasn't feeling the best, so he stayed home with Murray. I wanted to say the rosary before our service began, which is impossible with a toddler in tow. As much I as I missed attending Mass with my family, there was something peaceful about being able to sink myself into the presence of God without worrying if Murray had colored on the pew or trying to corral him between us. I think next week, we'll try the nursery. I do want him to learn to enjoy Mass as much as I do, but I'm thinking he may be a bit young. Any thoughts?

I'm not even close to being ready for this weather, but there are worse things to complain about! Be safe in your travels!

"Rudy, I Mean, Maggie!" (quote from our late Mom)

I just want to clarify that my human sister, my beloved Mags, is not a dog (see her comment, previous post) nor do I view her that way. The funny part of all of this is that when my mom was alive, she would constantly call Maggie by the dog's name and vice versa. Never me, just her. So, sorry Mags, you may be my best friend, but you certainly aren't "man's best friend"! Love you sister!!

Polly Want a Cracker or *#*&#&****?

I haven't made an effort to sit down and write for several days. I have been tackling some personal issues which have zapped my energy on a regular basis. I'll spare you the details, but just know that I'm back with bells on.

That said, we've been spending a lot of family time together whenever possible. Craig is traveling so much these days that we try to take advantage of every moment we can. Since my last post, we've discovered that we don't have a toddler - we have a myna bird (do myna birds speak? Maybe I mean a parrot). Everything, and I mean everything we say and do is repeated. Anyone who spends time with children will understand exactly what I'm talking about. We've come to the realization that every action and every word counts. What Murray doesn't mimic immediately is stored in his brain and haunts us later. When we thought that we knew this day was coming, we had no idea what we were in for. I still cringe every time he says the word "truck". You can imagine why. When Craig begins to yell at yet another stupid driver (he is the only decent driver on any road in the lower 48, any passenger of his would derive), he stops himself abruptly and out comes some hilarious mumbo jumbo under his breath. I would translate it for you, but it's not appropriate for any age. Anyway, we're learning right along side Mur-man the do's and don't's of good manners. And we thought we were well-behaved!

I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of my dad's new pup on Saturday. My new "sister" will be seven weeks old, and is already paper trained, as well as doing very well "going" outside. We will have her for a week, and then my dad will come to take her permanently. I will post pictures as soon as she's in our arms.

Find some sunshine today. If it's not outside, check your heart.
Peace out.

Shake Your Money Maker: Featuring Murr-Man

I'm battling writer's block today. As my friend Roxane would say, the only cure for writer's block is B.I.C. - Butt In Chair. Unfortunately, B.I.C. isn't working so well for me today, so I'll post a video clip instead (I know, I know, I'm taking the easy route). Maybe I'll find some inspiration as the day progresses, but for now, I'll leave you with some kid-comedy. Don't forget to turn the sound up.

M & M's

Murray, myself, Jamie and Nadia had a special Mom/kid day. We began the day with Yunker Farm.. The two of them are hysterical, and Nadia is an absolute beauty.

After the kids wore themselves out, we went to McD's, which is a very special treat for Murray. He didn't care for his chicken, so he ended up eating my whole cheeseburger. After lunch, we went home and napped (me too).

I wanted to find something creative and fun after nap, so we wound up at "Clay Your Way". We had so much fun - we may go back tomorrow after church. Murray loves to paint.

We are going to be an aunt and uncle again. Craig's sister and brother in law just found out that they will be parents to a babe in December. We're all thrilled! In the mean time, if you are a facebook friend of Amy and Todd's, please don't post anything other than you are happy for them. The two of them are going to fantastic parents, and we are all thrilled to have a new addition on the way.

Cheers to the S's on their new their new arrival!
Check Spelling

I have a few more (or MOE in Murray speak) but unfortunatley my timing is off. I hope to be back at it very soon!

Special prayers to Dee Tangari (our great and talented) great aunt. We will miss you!

Marie, Criag and Murray Beckerleg


The guest of honor (aren't these 2 gorgeous women?):

We had so many silent auction items that we almost didn't have room for people to sit. Good thing we had a tent set up outside!

Some of our family:

The benefit was a HUGE success. Over 600 people attended and every single one of the 250 silent auction items sold (not to mention the many raffles). The outpouring of the community was amazing and I'm so grateful. Thank you to all of you who donated silent auction items, attended the benefit, made a monetary donation and who have kept Flynn and her family in their prayers. This is the John Deere pedal tractor that I bid on and won for Murray. It even comes with a front end loader and a trailer! He just loves it.

The next step is our grand prize raffle. For $10.00, you could win the following:
4 front row tickets to the Vikings vs. Phoenix game in Phoenix
Airfare for 4
2 nights lodging (2 rooms)
This is an awesome prize - if you would like to purchase a ticket, please contact me. They went on sale yesterday and are selling like hotcakes!!!

P is For Peace Garden

I think we have everything set for the benefit. It's been an awesome journey and I am so excited to raise the funds that the Murray family needs. Every penny will go towards Flynn's fund. The benefit should be a ton of fun; great food, wonderful people. and a ton of raffles and silent auction items. Please join us on Sunday!

Murray is a very silly boy. I've been wanting to tape videos of him, but our camcorder is missing. Plus, Criag keeps forgetting to bring the memory card home from work. We've missed a month of memories - I'm so sad. I can't wait to post pictures of him. He continues to learn new signs and words and his dancing is something that would make a group of the saddest people in the world laugh. I will post a video soon!

This afternoon we are taking Murray to the homecoming parade at MSUM. The last parade we attended he fell asleep, so we're hoping he will really enjoy this one.

Last night, my friend Roxane came over to visit and sign her book (for the benefit) "P is for Peace Garden". We had an awesome chat and are looking forward to many more. She is so amazing. Roxane is a mother of 5, a fantastic wife,mother of five, author and she sings too! Goodness, I'm lucky to have such a special friend who also has become my mentor. se

Hope to see you on Sunday!

Be There or Be Square

Just a quick update today. If you are free on Sunday, September 20, please join us at the American Legion in Moorhead for a spaghetti dinner, silent auction and live raffles for Flynn Murray from 4pm-8pm. It's going to be a blast and you can even get your Christmas shopping done early. You will be truly amazed at the items we've gathered. Hope to see you there!

Random Happenings

Where to begin today's post. First of all, we spent the weekend at home for the most part, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. On Saturday, Craig cooked a turkey (his first ever) and some good friends and my sister and her boyfriend joined us for football, Wii, dinner and cocktails. I do believe we all had a good time, but I can only speak for myself.

Saturday was my day to sleep in, so Craig and Murray went shopping. When I woke from a pleasant slumber, I discovered that Craig had re-arranged the house. I do like it, but long for more space!!! Most of the problem is that my crafting/scrap booking supplies take up a ton of room. I must find a system to organize it all, so it's not so daunting when I want to work on Murray's album, or even clean around it. However, I am so thankful for our home that it doesn't matter. I will find a solution; I just have to get creative (and motivated)! You should excuse the prose - I just finished re-reading Heidi, and I'm afraid I've caught the 1800's language bug.

On Sunday, we thought about heading to the lake, but decided to go to Buffalo River State Park instead. Our good friends and their daughter joined us. It was a beautiful day and we couldn't get the kids out of the water, even when their lips were blue and they were shivering. Unfortunately, our camera was out of juice, and for some strange reason, we can't find the video camera. We've searched and searched, to no avail. I sure hope we find it - how does one lose a video camera anyway? Maybe if I dig through my disorganized clutter it will turn up. In the mean time, I will pray the patron saint of missing items and hope he can help!

This week brings a busy week again, with hopes to head to the lake on Friday. In the mean time, I'll keep plugging away with a smile in my heart and on my face. Hurray for an abbreviated week. We still have until September 22 until summer is over!

Tonight I'm off to an event meeting and tomorrow another. A shout out to Dacotah Paper and the UPS Store, as well as many others (did I really just say that) for their donations for Flynn's benefit.

Later. . .

Addendum to Previous Post

It's 8:45pm on Friday night, and I'm happily at home. However, DH is SHOUTING on his cell phone - he doesn't understand that cell phones work just as well as a land line. . .then again, he did the same thing when we had a home phone. Sigh. If he wakes up little one, he will have to deal.

I was with the twins today, and boy are they growing. At 7 mos, Master Will is getting up on his hands and knees; slow and steady wins the race. Lady A. is doing the army crawl/roll and also gets where she wants to be. Both are chatting away; each day I'm with them brings something new. It's funny how quickly one forgets theses stages. Thank goodness for video cameras - it's hard to imagine Murray at the same age .

We are planning a quiet but fun-filled weekend at home. I, for one, am needing a weekend sans packing, loading, unpacking, packing, loading, unpacking and then laundry when we find our way home. I will miss G & G and the lake, but frankly, I'm just tired. We may decide to go on Sunday for the day.

The dogs went to Wags and Whiskers today for their quarterly groom. Rudy is hilarious -he prances around as if he were royalty when he's clean, brushed, and trimmed. Feeling good about yourself is important, even if you are of the canine variety.

Have a super three day weekend. Be safe and God bless.

Happy Labor Day

Have a fantastic and safe Labor Day weekend!

Quick Update

The last seven days have flown by. We had a long weekend at the lake, and I've been busy with evening events, work, and the twins. I'm hoping to find some free time soon to work on Murray's album. I really would like to have it caught up before Jen P. takes our 2 year pictures in November.

In the midst of all of this, I am working on the Flynn benefit commitee, as well as planning a 65th birthday party for a dear friend of ours. I had forgotten how much I love event planning!
Hmm. . .new career on the horizon?

Murray is doing a fantastic job at night - we're relieved and proud. If he does wake up, it doesn't take more than a few minutes of whining before he's back to sleep. I received my Goodnite Lite and as soon as I can find the direction to program the thing, I will implement it in his room. Craig doubts me and the Goodnite Lite, but my therapist said that it even works on rats. I expect it to take a couple of weeks, but I'm determined to prove Craig wrong. He has no faith in me!

Dreaming of Sleep

We survived night number one of the "crying it out method". Murray woke at 4:00am like clockwork. His cries started out as whines, which soon turned to sobbing, but Craig and I shut our door, put pillows over our heads and ignored him. An excruciating hour and a half later, Murray had fallen asleep and slept peacefully until 7:30 this morning. I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride - tonight should be a bit shorter stint, and the next night even shorter, and so on. We can only hope. It's so sad though; his cries are hard on the heart. We look forward to a happy ending.

I'm home today with Murray, as our daycare is closed this week so "Linny" could have a vacation. I am so excited to have a mama and Murray day. We'll go play with the twins this afternoon and then I'm off to a benefit meeting this evening.

Please keep Flynn and her family in your thoughts and prayers as she continues her journey of rehabilitation and recovery.

Breaking Up is Hard To Do (with the pacifier that is)

It's going to be a rough week. Craig took Murray to our pediatrician today (we love him) to find out if Murray's sleep difficulties are due to a medical condition . He checks out beautifully - no ear infection, cold, or head trauma from his recent fall. Turns out the problem is behavioral. Even though we have been letting him cry it out, we weren't going about it quite right. Dr. G. said that by no means do we set foot in his bedroom the first few nights. If this doesn't work, he gave us a few more options to try. Either way, we're purchasing ear plugs (an idea my therapist gave me yesterday). Hopefully, he'll find a way to soothe himself soon. Dr. G. reassured us that all four of his children did the exact same thing when it was time to say goodbye to the pacifier (which we did about a month ago).

Anyway, things are looking up. We're busy, busy, busy, but having daycare closed this week allows us to get some neglected housework up to date. I let things slide when Craig was away last week, and then slide even more what with state softball all weekend. It feels good to catch up.

We're almost to Wednesday already!

Wild Weekend

We had a very busy weekend and are feeling the effects today. It was fun, but chock full of activity. Murray is still waking up anywhere between 3 and 4 am and generally not going back to sleep. I have a call in to the pediatrician. At this point, I'm thinking maybe the problem is medical and not behavioral. We've tried every technique out there to get him back to bed, to no avail. We aren't letting him get away with anything either - we've always pretty strict about bedtime and crib sleeping. Anyway, Craig and I are at our wits' end. I'm hoping to find a solution soon. The strangest part? He's happy as a clam and sticks to his normal nap and bedtime schedule. I'm completely baffled.

Murray thought that having the dogs in bed was super funny:

Have a great week!

Marie's Mission

I know that I just posted on this subject yesterday, but felt I needed to reiterate. Anyone who follows my blog knows that my cousin, Flynn Murray was in a serious car accident in March. She arrived in Moorhead last week after a lengthy stay at Craig Hospital in Denver. We are having a benefit and silent auction on September 20 at the Moorhead American Legion from 4-8pm. My mission is to collect as many donations as possible for her cause. Her parent's home has been modified to suit Flynn's needs, and there are many travel, medical, and various other expenses that are not covered by insurance. If there is anyone out there who is willing to donate or volunteer, the Murray family would be honored. For more information, please contact me via my blog, or at beckerleg@hotmail.com

Flynn is a woman of great strength and tenacity, and if you know her, you are lucky indeed. She is loved by many, and your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
I am off to bed soon, but I wanted to share a few things first. I would have posted sooner, however, I finally have Murray in bed (and sleeping).

Last night, I attended a meeting for Flynn's benefit. I was bowled over by the amount of work co-workers, friends and family who are contributing. I am currently seeking anyone who can donate something for the silent auction or raffle. The benefit will be held on September 20 from 4-8pm. For security, I won't disclose the location, but please contact me if you would like to attend or donate.

Another horrendous bedtime. I know it's molars and one eye tooth, but this is so sad for Murray. He can't sleep through the night and we are up with him every hour after about 3am. If any of you can't sleep, call me, we'll catch up because no doubt I will be awake anyway!

I'm off to bed now. Yawn. . .God bless.

Addendum to "Let's Talk Seriously"

A couple of more things to preach: if you need to sneeze or cough, use your sleeve. Also, if you use a Kleenex to blow your nose, wash your hands immediately after. None of us want to get sick, so if we try to make these ideas a habit, we can avoid the spread of very serious disease.

On that note, I promise to post something a bit more positive tomorrow. I am not a health care expert by any means, but I have done the research. I will stop sounding like a know it all and hope that my point gets across.

Stay tuned. . .

Let's Talk Seriously (and please,wash your hands)

Before we even thought or knew about H1N1, we were aware that we needed to stop spreading germs. Now that things have become more serious than ever, we MUST take every precaution. I've preached about this before, but I have two issues that need to be taken vitally:

1. Washing hands. Yes, I know this is common knowledge, but many people don't understand proper hand washing technique. One of my very close friends is a health inspector. The rules are to scrub VIGOROUSLY; underneath nails and jewlery (especially rings), on top and bottom of hands, between fingers and up to the elbows (pretend you are a surgeon). Then completely dry and use a paper towel to touch the faucet, door knob, etc. on your way out of whereever you washed.

Bring on issue number 2: IF YOU ARE SICK, DO NOT GO TO WORK, DO NOT GO ANYWHERE! For crying out loud, stay home, rest and heal, and then disinfect your home, and again, DO NOT COME TO WORK! I know the guilty feeling about not reporting to your job, but really, our safety is at risk. My co-w0rker decided she should come t0 the office on Monday (she's famous for coming to work hacking, sneezing,etc) and I explained to her that the next time she shows up at work ill, I will go home.

Another easy idea is to always keep antibacterial lotion in your purse, car, and home. It's not always the best source, but will make a big difference.

I realize that this is a crabby post, but health is so important to me. Please help stop the germs.
On that note, I do hope you all remain healthy. More to come. . .

Lazy Days

Relaxation was the name of the game this weekend. We decided to stay home, which is rare on weekends in the summer. We missed the lake,but it was fun to enjoy our home.
Thursday evening was the highlight of our week. Flynn arrived in Moorhead, just released from Craig hospital. She will continue physical therapy in Moorhead, and eventually, I do believe she will move back to Bozeman to finish her degree. We are SO unbelievably proud of her and are thrilled to have her just across town again.

On that note, on Sunday, September 20, there will be a supper and silent auction for Flynn. The benefit will be held at the Moorhead American Legion from 4pm-8pm. The goal is to show support for Flynn and her family, as well as to raise funds to help cover not only medical expenses, but the cost of modifying their home to suit Flynn's needs. I am asking for everyone to join us, as well as donate any silent auction items you can contribute. All will be extremely appreciated by the Murray family and extended relatives, friends and those who care about Flynn. There is also a fund set up at State Bank and Trust for Flynn Murray. Not only will you help a wonderful person and family, you will have a blast at the benefit! We Murray's are pretty fun people.

Yesterday we attended a birthday party for our good friend, Kristine. We had a fantastic time. We were so happy to share her special occasion!
We attended Mass this morning, and were informed by Msgr. Mike Foltz that his mother has a terminal disease. Our hearts and prayers are with his mother and family. God speed.

Murray fell asleep in his highchair today. This is the first time in his 22 months of life that he has chosen sleep over food. He refused to get out of his chair for his crib, and wouldn't let pooh bear or his blanket go anywhere. So we left him until he was completely out and then moved him. I'm sure most parents have a picture like this of their own children, but I couldn't help but share ours.

The "Eye" of the Tiger

They've finally popped. Murray's eye teeth, that is. Unless my memory fails me, I am pretty sure this was the worst teething experience since the first tooth. He's been as cranky a tiger with a thorn in his paw for several weeks, not to mention the fact that we haven't slept through the night in quite some time. When I picked Murray up from daycare yesterday, Linsay informed me that the first one was through, and the second one was almost there. This morning I checked his mouth again, and sure enough, there was eye tooth number 2. The best news of all is that he slept until 7:15 this morning - no midnight interruptions. He is also a much happier little boy, which makes for much happier parents.

Seems as though summer has arrived. That's the good news. The bad news is that the weekend is supposed to be humid and stormy. I suppose it's best not to complain and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts.

Musical Mornings

Murray went to bed last night like an angel. This is the first peaceful bedtime we've experienced since we took his pacifier away - almost 2 weeks ago. Serenity finally reigned again. . . or so I thought. Murray woke up at 3:30am, and instead of going back to sleep, decided it was morning. First, we let him cry it out. He has learned how to jump up and down in his crib, and in the process of his tantrum, hit his chin on the railing. Thirty excruciating minutes and a bloody lip later, I went into his room and attempted to settle him down by sitting on the floor next to him( Craig needed to be up at 4:30am for work, so I wanted him to get every extra minute of sleep he could). My attempts at getting the stubborn child back to sleep failed miserably. Nothing worked; singing, holding his hand, rubbing his back, ignoring him, or even reprimanding him. I finally gave up at 5:00am and trudged to the living room, where Murray merrily played with toys and watched "Diego" while I fought with every ounce of my being to stay awake. At one point, I dozed off. I can't tell you how long I was out, but I can tell you that I woke thinking I was at a concert. "Amarillo By Morning" by George Strait was blasting out of the stereo. I bolted upright - startled - and the sight I saw almost brought me to tears (at the time they were tears of frustration, but looking back, the whole incident is hysterical). Murray was dancing like a crazy fool all over the living room. Arms flailing, jumping around, turning in circles - the whole bit. The dogs were staring at him as if he were an alien, and the cat was hiding in the china hutch. Murray was oblivious to everything except the joy of dancing to the musical magic that is George. So even though I'm sleep deprived again, I have another happy memory stored in my heart. However, we won't be converting his crib to a toddler bed anytime soon. I like the fact that he can't get out of bed on his own. . . yet.

A ZOOper Weekend

We had the best weekend. Craig has been talking about visiting the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck since before we got married (not an exaggeration). Bright and early on Saturday morning, we packed up and headed west. Murray slept most of the way so he was in great spirits when we arrived. The weather was cool and rainy, which was perfect for zoo day. It wasn't very busy, and the cooler temps bring the animals out and they are super playful. We had an absolute blast. Murray LOVED feeding the mischievous goats, the noisy donkey (who brayed quite loudly anytime someone put money into the corn machine), the enormous Clydesdale horses, and my personal favorite, a beautiful family of white tail deer (probably because it brings back warm fuzzy childhood memories). I could have climbed right in the pen with the deer. The buck still had velvet on his antlers, the fawns still had their spots and were nursing, and the brown-eyed doe look wiped out (can't blame her, I can relate). After the zoo and lunch, we went to our hotel for swimming and resting. As usual, Murray didn't want to get out of the water.

On the way home, we stopped in Valley City to visit some good friends. Thanks for your hospitality, B & C! We loved seeing you (and Lily, Izzy, and Monster too).

We polished off the weekend with a backyard barbecue at Craig's brother's home. The boys had a terrific time playing in the pool and only had a few minor tussles. We adults always enjoy good conversation, so it was the perfect end to a perfect weekend. If you turn the sound up on the clip below, you'll hear that all four adults are laughing at the boys. Might as well let them fight it out, right?