"It's Nasty Weather Out There" (From the Mouths of Babes)

As I write this, we are in the midst of the worst blizzard that I've witnessed since the winter of 1997.  There's a one-hundred car pile-up on I94 and visibility in the city is approximately 50 yards. 

We are all home and safe, and I hope that all of you and yours are as well. 

I looked out the window this morning and thought that the local meteorologists were confused about the forecast.  I wasn't concerned about the weather, so I loaded up Murray, drove to daycare and arrived home with no trouble; despite the temps and wind.  I ran some errands, and only an hour later, I walked to my car to find that the conditions were worse than I expected.  I finished my stops and landed in a tired heap on the couch.  At one-thirty, I looked outside and realized that I had better pick up Murray before the worst hit. Thirty minutes, blowing snow, and icy roads later, we arrived at home safely (seven miles round trip).

Some things I think about blizzards and the people who live here:
1:  We are hearty people, and should be used to horrible conditions.  I beg you, SLOW DOWN AND STOP TEXTING!  If this is impossible, than please stay home.

2:  If you are an employer and haven't let your staff leave, I find that absurd.  Even the regional Law Enforcement is pleading for people to stay put; they can't respond to emergencies without risking their own lives.

3:  For those of you who don't have a choice but to travel:  Please, please drive with caution.  The conditions are horrible and I would hate to hear of another accident. 

As Murray said today, "It's nasty weather out there!"
Stay safe, warm, and alive,
M

Not a Partridge in a Pear Tree, But Even Better

The following is just a a TINY sample of things I'm grateful for.  Merry Christmas!
1:  Einstein loves me (but that could be because I have been filling in as the food provider).
2:  Both hounds like to wear the traditional red ribbon but were not excited about the candy cane headbands.
3:  New windshield wipers are most awesome.
5:  Christmas can still be exceptional, even if you are sad.
6:  Kirby does not appreciate Christmas bows (insert hissing, growling and a major fit that was so not worth it).
7:  Midnight Mass is fabulous (my first MM - we usually go Christmas morning).
8:  Murray is blessed, but we can't fit his Christmas presents in our house.  If you see a lot of debris on our street, it's because our house is bursting at the seams (that happens when you have 2 one-hundred pound dogs, a 20 pound cat and a three-year-old person).
9:  Our home is my castle and it doesn't matter how large or small it is (but if you want to hire me a cleaning person, no objections here;  I have the number of a great lady).
10: I bought three more dog beds so that Rudy, Nala, Kirby and Murray (yep, Murray too)  would all have a warm, soft place to sleep (better on our floor than in the the bed kicking our heads).
11:  I had no idea that Craig was so particular about his socks (eight years together, but it took a fall off the roof for me to discover this silly fact).
12:  I am incredibly blessed;  I have a roof over my head, food to eat, animals to love, and the best part?  My family.  Thank you, Craig, Mags, Dad, Murray and ALL OF YOU for making my life what it is. 
God Bless, Ree

Lazy Days

I'm having a lazy Saturday morning.  I know that I MUST get this house in order before the end of the day, but I'm using the excuse that I can't use my hands for a few hours because I just had a manicure (but typing is obviously okay).  Besides, Craig is resting, Murray is with the Grandparents, so that leaves me to some quiet time.   I also have this ridiculous addiction to Edgemont, which airs on CW every Saturday.  Ahhh....the beauty of "me" time.

Our shopping is nearly finished except for a few items to pick up tomorrow. As much as I dreaded black Friday (my first), it turned out to be worth it.  The rest of the gifts have been purchased online, so I don't have to battle the crowds more than once.  And believe me, once was enough.

My new Rumor Touch arrived yesterday.  I had been using my sister's Blackberry, but I discovered that I am not, and never will be a fan of them.  My new phone isn't as fancy, but it's user-friendly for someone like me, who is not tech-savvy.

So, a rather boring post today, but I just felt like writing.  We continue to do well and are adjusting to our "new normal".  Blessing for a very Merry CHRISTmas.

Clark W.: An Update

We just returned from Craig's 2-week follow up appointment.  He went in feeling confident that he would be back to work at least part-time.  I had my doubts, but went with it.

The CT Scan showed no change in his injury.  It was interesting to finally see the slides and disheartening to realize how serious this injury is.  The good news is that he will recover.  The bad news is that he is not allowed to go back to work until March 21 (at least), surgery is still a possibility, and his mobility will remain the same for the next 12-16 weeks.  We are both disappointed but are grateful that this is not worse.  We are well aware of how devastating spinal cord injuries can be and thank God every day that he'll be okay.

So it's time to break out the big guns.  Instant Netflix, a purchase of an upgraded lap top that he'll be able to play Civilization on, and probably some different furniture/devices that will aid in his recovery.  He just exclaimed, "This is horse crap, sweetie.  I am never going on the roof again."  I'm in complete agreement.  The highlights of his day right now are watching "Let's Make a Deal", "Judge Joe Brown", and if he's really lucky, someone takes him out for lunch.

So, we're facing a slight road bump, but it's not a mountain or even a hill, and we'll get through this!  Craig is resting after a long morning, and then I'll take him to see his boss and our human resources guru (God bless Ilene).  Thanks for your support and prayers! 

Oh - and by the way, Wade, Jon and Troy, get ready to take Murray to hockey on Thursday nights!
This message was officially approved by Craig Beckerleg, A.K.A. Clark W. Griswold.

I've Had it, and It's Only December

I can't help it.  I'm miserable.  I hate winter, I loathe snow, and I don't understand the "hearty Midwest attitude".  I would rather suffer through Chinese torture than have to put up with this weather.  If I hear one more comment about how beautiful the snow is, I might be sick.  I did not choose to live here, but I did choose my family (which is much more important than my misery) and so I will make an effort to be positive (after this post). 

That said, I ventured out today to take Murray to see Santa (thank goodness for Astro-Start).  It took all of fifteen minutes and we were back in the truck and on our way home.  The whole experience was worth it only because Murray loved sitting on Santa's lap.  A fuzzy picture and five dollars later we headed home to show Daddy.

Anyway, if we don't find jobs somewhere warm, I just might lose my mind.  For those of you who think I've already lost it, you're right; I live in Minnesota.  "Grumpy Old Men" makes this weather look fun.  But that's Hollywood for you.  Everything is perfect.  The only great part about our state is lake season, but I can find water anywhere.

So hear I am, complaining about the weather, when most people that I know and love have many tragedies happening at the moment.  I'm blessed with the health of my family and friends and for that, I'm grateful.  Spring will come eventually and until then, you won't recognize me because I will be completely covered in blankets, hats, mittens, and scarves in triple layers with Astrro-Start at the ready.

Seasons Greetings!

The World is My. . . Crab

I've been a bit crabby lately.  It's no one's fault, just a simple matter of running in several directions at once.  I  have to calm down and take life one day at a time; eventually Craig will heal and I will sleep again. Mornings in our house have gone from routine to complete chaos.  Take today, for instance.   By the time I had us clean, dressed, the car warm, and out the door, I realized that the car seat needed to re-installed.  It happens every time we need to have someone else pick up/drop off Murray at daycare.  I don't know why I can't remember to take care of it the night before.

Craig is hanging in there, but  the pain and boredom are wearing on him.  He did four loads of laundry today(leaving him exhausted and in pain).  Since he can't lift, I brought the clean baskets to him and he did the folding.  I'm getting a pretty good laundry deal out of this mess.

Murray is, well, Murray.   I miss him with these long hours, but I manage to find special moments with him in the morning and the evening.  Things will settle down work-wise when the students go on break, so it won't be so many late nights until after Christmas break.  I know it's for the best, and the best is all I can do.

On a final note, H family and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, Craig almost fell off the couch and broke another vertebrae when he received your "Get Better Sioux" card.  That said, I laughed, and I laughed, and then I laughed some more.  I'm framing the card.  Murray hasn't opened his present yet, but you will be hearing from him when he does.  Lastly, H family (because I know MH, you are reading), we love your card, we love you, and we wish you the very best in the weeks ahead.  Thanks for the super picture.  You are in our prayers.

That's all I have for now.  My couch is calling (because my bed is hosting an injured, snoring man).  Until next time. . .

No Shirt, No Work

On the ride home this evening, Murray pointed out where Craig works and the following discussion ensued:

Murray:     "Mama, Dad not at work?"
Me:          "No, Dad got hurt, remember?"
Murray:    "Oh, he fall off roof.  He can't go to work 'cause he no shirt to put on." (insert silent laughter here). 
Me:          "Why doesn't daddy have a shirt?"
Murray:    "Because he fell off the roof, MOM!"

 After a lengthy discussion about getting hurt and getting dressed, we walked in the door and Murray cried, "DAD, you don't have a shirt but you can do dishes!"  Oh, be still my heart.  My son gets it. 

I do my best to make sure that my husband is clothed, but he gets extremely hot while wearing his brace, so he wears a cotton tank underneath that the prosthetics company provided, and nothing over the brace.  

For Heaven's sake.  The boy is three years old.  Where does he come up with his chatter? Peace Garden Mama has precious stories about her son's hysterical dialog and points out that we will miss these words and ideas before we know it.

Embrace the innocence!
P.S.  Craig biggest concern is that he can't take Murray to open skate, as he starts MYH Tots in January.  Volunteers needed!  I'll be on the ice too, but I'm afraid my figure skating isn't up to teaching a three-year-old.

"They Keep Moving the Cheese"

I'd like to begin by stating our utmost love and respect for the "F" family, you know that you are and will continue to be in our prayers.  We're with you all the way.

The title to this post is taken from a an excerpt in the book, "Who Moved My Cheese?", an inspirational and phenomenal look at change in the workplace.

Today was my first day at the Foundation.  Kim (whose job I will assume) is an amazing woman and an excellent trainer.  I met some of the students that I will be supervising and am looking forward to meeting the others on Wednesday evening.  I spoke with my soon-to-be boss today, and she and I will work on my job description as the month progresses.  My initial responsibilities include coordinating the annual Phone-A-Thon and the Campus Campaign.  Event planning is in the near future and I'm thrilled already at my new position.  The staff at the Foundation is fantastic and I'm thrilled to be a part of the team.  That said, I will miss my bosses and supervisors in the President's Office, but this is an amazing opportunity.  The chips landed in such a way that I just know that God is with me (not to mention all of those who went to bat for me).

Craig had his first outing today.  I drove Miss Daisy to his office and to Human Resources to complete some paperwork.  I think he had fun getting out, but I know he was pretty sore and tired when I deposited him back at home.  I feel so helpless; I'd rather it was me than him.

I didn't get to spend more than ten minutes with Murray tonight, but every second was precious.  When I walked in the door tonight, he shouted, "Mama, you came back!  You done with work?  I missed you!"  Words can't describe how my heart swelled.  I am an incredibly lucky woman.

Thanks to Jon and Troy for providing food and company for Murray and Craig tonight while I was away.   Everyone who has volunteered to help us out means a great deal, and don't be surprised if we take you up on your offers.  The meals and help with Murray are a real blessing, especially with my work transition.

Many, many thanks to all.
Blessings,
M
P.S. Did you know that I despise, detest, and loathe winter?

Progress

It's Sunday afternoon, and Craig and I are watching the Vikings; finally a fun game to watch.

Craig is hanging in there, but I fear what boredom will do to him.  Last night he couldn't sleep, so he sent me to the couch.  It apparently didn't help, because he's tired today.  He's also getting a tad ornery, but I can't blame him.  It must be terrible to be stuck on the couch or in bed all day for this long (and he still has at least another week).  He told me today that his goal was to have his brace off by January 9th, because that's when Murray's first hockey season begins.  I wanted to tell him that even if his brace is off by then, he won't be taking to the ice any time soon.  I just didn't want to dash his hopes; anything is possible.

In the mean time, I'm attempting to keep up with the housework, but hit I a road bump on Thursday night.  For some reason strange reason, my right calf spasmed and I could hardly walk for two days.  It's better now, though a little sore, but at least I'm functional again.  I'm thinking it was probably nerves.  So it seems that with every step forward, I take two back.  My sister walked in the door yesterday and said, "What happened to your house?  You write about cleaning all the time!"  I've gotten to the point of realizing that our home isn't going to be perfect any time soon, or maybe ever.  It's sanitary, but there is just "stuff" everywhere.  So, if you come over for a visit, I'm apologizing in advance now.

Anyway, we're going to finish watching the Vikings and then it's off to a family dinner, which I'm looking forward to.  Craig hasn't been out of the house since the accident, and though he would love to join us, he's home bound.  Thanks to the H family in advance for bringing dinner tonight.

Tomorrow is my first day of training at what will become my new job in January.  I'm very excited!

Happy Sunday, Monday will be here before we know it.

Downs and Ups

PLEASE NOTE:  THIS POST WAS WRITTEN ON WEDNESDAY  I APOLOGIZE FOR THE DELAY.

Have you had a day when you just know, without a doubt, that God is with you?

I spent the morning at home with Craig to observe his independence level.  Craig isn't allowed to shower without an adult in the house because it's one of the two instances that he can remove his brace.  This scares me silly.  Clark G. (a.k.a. Craig) requested a BLT for lunch, so this morning I cooked the bacon and then realized that I needed to move the remaining ingredients to the top shelf of the fridge.  He can't bend, so I have to think ahead, but I'm working on making life a bit easier.  Today, his first day alone without nurses or me, he managed pretty well.

This is where it gets crazy. 

Last Tuesday, I was gently (and tearfully) informed by President Edna that due to the economy, my temporary job would end on January 4th, 2010.  She offered references, help finding a job, and letters of recommendation.  What a compliment!  I was devastated, but I do understand what the budget crisis in Minnesota is doing to the MnSCU institutions.
 I hesitated to say anything to anyone. I needed to process and think things through.  I completely forgot about the situation when Craig got hurt; obviously, work was the least of my concern.

I walked into work at 11:30 a.m today and was greeted with smiles, welcome backs, and many "how is Craig?"  It was so worth it; beautiful to realize how much human nature is kind, compassionate and caring.

About 30 minutes later, I was asked  to see the VP for the Alumni Foundation.  After she closed the door, she explained that one of her best employees was leaving, and asked if I would be interested in taking a modge podge of responsibilities.  I accepted.   I will be mainly handling events and some fund raising (the Phone-A-Thon) and whatever else they send my way.  I'm thrilled, excited and eager to learn.  I will do what is needed and beyond; I'm tickled!. 

It's been a roller coaster of a week.  My goal for the weekend is to finish the housework (I did get the floors scrubbed, dusted, and the cleaned the bathroom, but the bedrooms are another story).  I also hope to make several dishes that can be frozen into small portions for Craig (and me for work).  Recipes welcome!

Craig is healing slowly, but surely adapting.  He is bored to tears, and I can't blame him.  When he looks forward to laundry, I know without a doubt that I have to get creative.

Miracles DO happen

I'm not quite ready to share my news, but when I am you'll find it here,

Until then,
M

Home Sweet Home

I just got Craig settled on the couch, although he won't sit still.  Imagine that.  He's thrilled to be home and thinks he should go blow snow.  The doctor made it very clear that he is under no circumstances to work, drive or lift.  He can take his brace off at night or for a quick shower but that's it.  He is to be on his back and taking frequent but brief walks.

The plan is to see Dr. Eichler again in two weeks for another C.A.T. scan and follow-up check.  This should determine if the brace is working or if surgery will be required.  He also hopes to return to work in the physical form at that time.  Either way, he will have 4-6 weeks of physical therapy after the brace is off and/or surgery (pray no surgery).

In the mean time, I am gong to finish housework so he can move around when he needs to without tripping on anything, and so that I can pull the extra weight while he's on bed rest.  I'm sure that Craig agrees with me that pain meds are a gift; the combination of the three help immensly.

I can't send enough thank you's to everyone who has visited, called, emailed, texted, taken care of Murray, and everything else I can't remember at the moment.  I know that God, friends and family will get us through.  Besides, Craig never lets me take care of him when he's sick, but now he has no choice. Think "Misery"; insert evil cackle here.
Thanks again and blessings.
Craig, Marie and Murray

Clark Griswold - An Update

First of all, a HUGE thank you to our friends and family for the support.  Your thoughts and prayers mean the world.

I arrived at the hospital this morning to find a weary Craig and the news that he would not be released today.  We hope for tomorrow, but it could be Wednesday.  The L1 vertebrae is broken, and 30% compressed on one side (he shrunk).  This means that he'll wear a brace for 4-6 weeks; hopefully avoiding any surgery.  He was measured by the nice man from Hangar, and are praying that the that the brace will arrive tomorrow.  When we get home, he will need to be flat on his back for two weeks, after which time he hopes to back to work.  He will only be allowed to sit up for 45 minutes at a time, and then will either stand up or lie down (flat again).  I think I'll get him a cot for his office for Christmas.

I left him in the good hands of the Fink's and hope to get some housework done so that I will be organized for his homecoming.  He was in good spirits (laughter, hydrocodone and strong muscle relaxers did the trick) when I left and now I hope he'll nap for awhile. 

In all of the hoopla last night, Troy took Murray home so I could be with Craig.  Stef had us in fits of laughter recalling the events of the evening.  Apparently, he walked in the door, took his coat off, looked at Stef with a deadpan expression and said, "My Dad fell off the roof.  They might shoot him."  Stef changed the subject and they did the laundry.  Apparently we need to have some discussion about guns.  We hope to have him visit the hospital this evening, depending on how the day goes.

Again, thank you to everyone for offers of help and support.  I'm as calm as I am because his injuries could have been so much worse, and I'm thankful that he will prevail. 

Slippery Slopes

Please note:  If this post sounds a bit hysterical, it's because I am.  Humor me, please.

Last weekend, before the snow hit, Craig and I hung the Christmas lights on the house.  All went pretty well, except that when he got to the peak of the roof, he slipped and was hanging from the gutter.  Luckily, I was able to brace us both and helped him down before we both hit payment.  After the scare, I proclaimed that there would not be lights this year.  He agreed.

We had a very nice holiday, though we missed my family members.  I even went black Friday shopping and survived with only a scuffle and a bruised shin.

Murray has been asking to build a snowman ever since the first dusting of the hateful white stuff.  Today, it was finally sticky enough to go out and build the best snowman on the block.  The three of us were rolling snow into different sized balls, when Craig asked me if he should finish the lights.  I said no, but Murray replied with an enthusiastic yay!  So Craig climbed the ladder and not 2 minutes later, I heard an expletive and looked over to watch him twisting in the air from twelve feet above, and landing in a heap.  As terrified as I was, I assumed he had the wind knocked out of him and would be fine when he caught his breath.  Three minutes later, that was clearly not the case.  He refused medical attention and Craig being Craig, insisted we finish the damn snowman while he laid in the snow in agony.  I finally coaxed him out of the heap and into the house, when he promptly asked for pain meds(the man won't even take an aspirin).  That was when I decided this was extremely serious and called Troy and Stef, followed by  911.  The ambulance was here in less time than it took me to call them, and off he went on a stretcher, away from his hysterical wife and in enormous pain.  The entire time, I was a hot mess and Murray was asking Troy if the Paramedics were going to shoot him (too much tv, I say). 

Craig spiked a fever at the hospital, and after X-rays and a C.A.T. Scan were performed, it was determined that indeed, his back was broken.  The L7 was the vertebrae in trouble.  Our hopes are that he will be in a brace for 3-4 months, but surgery could still be required.  We'll know more in the morning when the specialist arrives.

In the mean time, he's whacked on pain meds and going to be knocked out most of the night (the doctor said the pain would get worse).  I am home with the dogs, and Murray is with family so that I am free to head to the hospital again after a few hours sleep.

Please pray for him, or if you aren't the praying type, positive vibes sent our way would be appreciated.  I'll update tomorrow.  Have I told you that I hate snow?

Love you honey - see you soon.

Conversations with Angels

We speak candidly and often to Murray about my late mom, Grandma Kathy. He can recognize her in pictures, knows details about her life, and he knows that she is in Heaven. A recent conversation went something like this (I actually had to write it down so that I wouldn't forget):

Murray: "Look, mama, it's you and Grandma Kathy!"

Me: "Yes, that is Grandma Kathy and mama."

Murray: "Grandma Kathy died? She in Heaven?"

Me: "Yes, Grandma Kathy is in Heaven. Even though we can't see her or talk to her, she

is with God watching over us" (tears well, I start to sniffle).

Murray: "Mama, she an angel. She say it's OK, she told me" (bursts into "Twinkle Twinkle",

which he sings to anyone who is sad).

Me: Speechless, now my tears are flowing freely.


This three-year-old wisdom astounds me. I don't really know if he gets it, but his thoughts and actions are such a comfort to me. I love that he's growing up to be such a gentle, sensitive, caring boy; the angels get all the credit.
I'll leave you with a picture from the first snowfall of the season; a whopping 12.5 inches in less than 24 hours.



L.O.V.E

Last night when you arrived home, you sat down next to me and made me feel better. We bundled up and watched the stars while you held your hand in mine.

You snuggled up to me in the wee hours of the morning and held me tight, just when I need you most.

Before I went to work today, you gave me a kiss and a smile and said, "have a good day."

When I see you again, it will be the very best part of my day.

This is motherhood. This is pure love.

Every Prince Should Have a Castle to Call Home





It's always interesting when Craig decides to go shopping. You never know if he'll come home with a new laptop, dog toys, or some crazy scheme to improve "life as we know it." So when he came home on Saturday from a trip to Fargo (he actually crossed the river), I wasn't a bit surprised with his purchases. As you can see, he bought a "castle" for Murray, complete with the plastic balls and tunnels to crawl through. The look on Murray's face was priceless. We ended up squeezing the contraption into his bedroom and it's now his favorite hang-out/play/sleep spot. He even likes to have his snacks and read books in his "castle".


Murray has been wielding the camera again (JP #3, Stef?). Samples of his work:

Boot Camp

5:00 a.m.
Murray: "Mama, I sleep in your bed?"
Craig and I simultaneously: "No, go back to your own bed until it's wake time."
Murray: "WHAAAAA! I sleep in your bed!"
Craig: "We said no, and when it's wake time we'll come and get you".
Murray: Sounds of stomping back to his room, crying the entire time. He goes back to
bed. . . until. . .

6:00 a.m.
Murray: "It's wake time! Can I have cookies?"
Me: "Not for breakfast, let's find something else to eat before cookies".
Murray: "I WANT COOKIES, MAMA!"
Melt down ensues. Cookies not granted.

This is just a sample of what the weekend was like. We are dumbfounded; what happened to our normally thoughtful, polite child? He was bossy, his manners non-existent, and whiny. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Murray is a very stubborn little boy. Even when we've made it clear that the discussion is closed, he doesn't give up. He'll sit in time out and yell at us as we pretend to ignore him. We thought we were strict, but Murray's behavior of late is proves that we haven't been strict enough. Therefore, 2-year-old boot camp has commenced. We can, and will, take away his birthday party if we have to. Sound harsh? Maybe, but as parents, we are responsible for raising a good, kind, human being. If a strong(er) hand is what it takes, so be it.

Three Years Ago Today - Gone From My Site

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strenghth.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white coud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone".

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her dimished size is in me - not in her.
And, just at he moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"there are other eyes watching her coming and other voice ready to take up the glad shout,

"Here she comes!"

And that is dying. . .

Death come in its own time, in its own way.
Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.

---Anonymous

God Bless you, Mom. We miss you.

Mish Mash

This was taken at the end of the night at my Aunt and Uncle's house. Doesn't he look cozy? I love the way his ankels are crossed. Milk in a fancy glass, a bowls of cheetos, a comfy chair and a great tv show. Who could ask for more? Scooby and M trying to soothe an angry lion:
Scooby, lion and M:



Scooby Doo and M, ready to go:



Not sure what exactly is happening here. . .


On another note, Stefanie started a blog to update everyone on Miss Ava. Check out this beautiful addition to the Fink family by clicking here. Congratulations!

Grandma Kate and the M&M

When I was growing up, store-bought costumes were unheard of. Mom would spend evenings and free time sewing everything from Minnie Mouse to a very professional looking Nurse costume. Sometimes, she would get stuck, or run out of time. Though we lived 10 hours away, Grandma Kate would always come to the rescue; whipping up the last piece for the perfect costume and popping it in the mail.

The first two years of Murray's life, we didn't go trick-or-treating, instead choosing to stay home and pass out candy to the neigborhood kids. Last year, I gave in and purchased a pretty cute Candy Corn costume. This year, though, I just couldn't bear the thought of him wearing a store-bought costume (after all, it's tradition in my family to wear homemade). I did some research, picked out an idea, purchased my materials, called my Grandma for instruction, took a deep breath, and sat down to begin my project. After approximately 30 seconds of staring at the copious amount of fabric I'd purchased, I picked up the phone and and invited myself to Grandma's house so that she could "help" me.
I should preface this with the fact the my Grandmother is a brilliant seamstress (and multi-talented too). She can create clothing that would make Ralph Lauren weep with envy. I arrived on her doorstep with all of the materials I thought we'd need, but without a pattern. She quickly fashioned one out of newspaper, we pinned it on my fabric, and I (sloppily) cut it out. Then I basted the seams (kind of), and that is where I stopped working and started watching. In no time at all, Grandma had created this:
This is not a great picture, because of the way Murray is standing (it looks like he has wings). In reality, he's dressed in white pants, a white turtleneck (the white hat and gloves will come later). On top of all that, is a perfectly round, red M&M in soft fleece (did I mention she free-handed the "M"?). I hope to get some better pictures on the big day. Here we are heading out the door:
Murray acting the part of photographer:
When all is said and done, I can thread a needle, but the buck stops there. Thank goodness for Grandma Kate; Murray probably would be at home passing out candy to the other kids had she not saved my behind. I guess sewing isn't like riding a bike; it's been too long since seventh-grade home economics class. I better get started on next year's costume. . .

Rename That Blog

I just checked my blog to see if I had any comments to post (sadly, none) when I realized that it's time to change my subtitle. You see, as of mid-June, I officially entered my thirties, which means that I'm no longer a "20-something new mom". But even though I'm not in my twenties anymore, I still consider myself a new mom. After all, every day brings new parenting challenges, and besides, Murray is only our first in what we hope will become a brood.

Any ideas? Throw me a bone. . .I could use some creative assistance.

Dragon Pride



We celebrated Dragon Home Coming last week. I decided that we should enter the office decorating contest.




In case you are wondering, the photo to the left means: The Dragons will Dam the Beavers. I thought it was very clever, but apparently the committee didn't.




Below: Student helper's desk







To the left is the volleyball team, surrounding a photo of our four living presidents. Below is the football team.














Left: From my desk looking out.












Can you belive we didn't win?

Duwoof


Last weekend, Craig had a conference in Duluth, MN. Duluth being one of my top five favorite cities, Murray and I decided to tag along. Following is a synopsis of our "adventure in Dulwoof" (Murray's words)

Day One:
Hop out of bed and hit the pool. Murray was out the door wearing only (yes, only) tennis shoes before I could fully open my eyes. After reigning him in and getting dressed, we swam for a good couple of hours, played in the arcade, and then it was back up to the room to dress for lunch.
We treated ourselves to a delicious lunch and breath-taking view at the JJ Astor, the hotel's roof-top revolving restaurant. After that, it was off for a long nap.


















After nap, we had time before Craig was finished with meetings for the day, so we decided to visit the aquarium. Although I've grown up with fresh water fish, there were many exciting species that were new, and besides, every thing about the aquarium thrilled Murray.








Craig met us after our aquarium adventure for a walk on the beach; stopping along the way to watch the bridge rise and let the ships go under. We had a fantastic Italian dinner at down-town Bellisio's. We all fell into bed; all five senses having been stimulated to the max.












Day Two:
Murray and I were exhausted, so we slept in, ate a late breakfast and walked a block south to board the Northshore Scenic Railroad, which took us to the edge of the city and back. One of Murray's greatest loves are trains, so you can only imagine his delight at the prospect of riding on a real train. His eyes were round as saucers, and when the whistle blew, he joined in with a merry "WOO WOO"!





One of the advantages of having a two-year-old is that they still need naps. So after our train excursion, we headed back to our cozy room for a long rest.

Craig finished his convention shortly after we woke, so we met some friends for dinner, and took another walk to watch the ships come and go at night. Beautiful!

Day Three:
Finally, family day. We decided to drive north. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story (unfortunately, we forgot the camera in the car when we were at Lutsen).











When it was time to leave on Monday morning, Murray and I both had tears when we drove away from Duluth. At one point, our little traveler even tearfully exclaimed, "I want to go b-back to Duwoof!" Me, too, Murray, me too.

Murrayisms-Update

Murray's latest vocabulary:

"Oh man!" (when something is just unbelievable)

"Oh DARN IT!" (if he has made a mess)

"Daddy, light is green, you can go." (pretty obvious)

"Stupid Daddy!" (he said it once and I guarantee, he'll never say it again)

"Don't forget the M&M's, Mama." (very nonchalantly while Craig and I were making a grocery list and we assumed he wasn't paying attention)

"I wanna go back to Duwuth, pwease?" (big crocodile tears rolling down his cheeks while driving away from the big "yake")

"I'm going swimming!" (this, at 7am; Murray walking out the hotel room door wearing only underwear and shoes; Craig and I still in bed)

"Hey, what's that?" (every five seconds)

"Nawa, kenn up!" (asking Nala to stop barking "kennel up" is her command to stop, but it rarely works)

"Mama, sing garage song, pwease? "(he is referring to Bed of Roses by Bon Jovi; yes, I do sing rock, country, classics as well as nursery rhymes, i.e. Winken, Blinken and Nod - I like to mix it up, even though every one I know other than Murray begs me to sing "SoLo")

We hear so many new words, phrases, and confusing sentences from Murray every day that we are amazed at the ability of a soon-to-be three to think, act and speak as we do. Of course, we think he's a genius, but when all is said and done, we know how completely conceited we are.

Here's to celebrating children. What better gift could God bless us with?






The Noisiest Birds On the Block

Lately, every morning, just before dawn, we are greeted by the very noisy call of some obnoxious birds. In fact, these so-called feathered friends are so loud that one day Murray woke up, climbed on his bed to look out the window and cried, "What's going on out there?!" This rude awakening prompted me to do some Googling. Here's what I found:

The bird in question is known as the Common Grackle. They are longer than a blackbird and smaller than the American Crow. They eat anything and love to congregate in trees and make people's lives miserable with their early morning parties.

After several crack-of-dawn observations, I've come to the conclusion that the Grackles are holding a sort of religious ceremony. The leader begins with a long, solo, cackle which includes variation in tone, pitch and timbre. When he/she is finished, hundreds of others reply by screeching as loud as they can; each seem to have a different call. If the leader goes on too long, his/her "congregation" cuts him/her off, only to cause a cacophony of very angered birds. I've noticed that they'll retreat only when you've finally managed to fall asleep again and just a few seconds before the alarm goes off.

Sheesh, and I thought the cat was annoying in the morning.

Has anyone else experienced the attack of the Grackles?

Dear Mom, It's Me, Marie

Warning: This is a pretty maudlin post, so if you aren't in the mood to feel down or cry, don't read it. Some may say that it's inappropriate, but it's my blog, and my blog is my therapy, so I'm posting it anyway.


Dear Mom, it's me, Ree,

I woke up this morning thinking of you; wishing that I could feel your arms around me just one more time. Oh, how I would give anything for a hug and a conversation. Since I couldn't speak to you, I did what you've always told us to do when we're far apart: I wrapped my arms around myself and pretended it was you. And then I pondered how things would be different if you were still here. If Heaven had an airline, I would be on the next flight. I pose the following questions knowing that you can't answer me in person, but with the faith that you are answering in spirit.

What would you have done when Murray woke up at 5:30am this morning demanding to watch a movie? (we said no)

How would you have reacted when he threw an enormous temper tantrum when I said "no"? Lord knows, you've dealt with more than your fair share of tantrums when Maggie was Murray's age and when I was Maggie's (current) age. Ha! (we took the dvd player away and let him cry it out)


What would you say if I asked you how to make french dips for the millionth time? We're craving them and although you wrote the recipe for me, it would be so much easier just to call you. (You'd laugh and patiently explain every step and detail)

Did you know that our phone bill has decreased by 50% since November 3, 2007? I miss our multiple daily chats more than I could ever have imagined. (although Craig used to complain, even he wishes our phone bill was high again)


What would you tell me to do if I called and said that I'm sad? (you would probably tell me to look around and find something, anything, to be happy about, even if it's the dead of winter)

What would you say to Murray if you could speak to him? (my guess is that you would tell him how much you love him and you would teach him things that only Grandma's can)


What would you say to Craig if you could speak to him? (I think you'd tell him that he's doing a fine job as a husband and father and that you are proud of him)

What would you say if you could speak to Mags? (OH, so many things, but mostly how proud of her you are and that she's turned into a fabulous woman)


Do you visit us in our dreams? (I think so)

What's Heaven like? How's God? How's Mary? (I don't have an answer for this one, but my guess is that everyone up there is watching out for you, for us, for our loved ones)

I have so many more questions, but I think you get the idea, Mom. How would we all be different if you hadn't gotten sick? I heard a quote the other day: "God makes no mistakes." It struck me dumb because even though I'm horrified that you're gone, I have to keep reminding myself that you really aren't gone, that you are with Him.

In a conversation with Grandma Kate while I was in labor with Murray, I started to cry and asked how I could possibly be a good mom without your help. Her answer was simple. She said, "Marie, she's already taught you to be a mom; by raising you!" So though your life was infinitely too short, I am so blessed to have had you for the time that I did. We all are.

I love you mom.

Murray's Big Dip

When I heard how hot the weekend was going to be, my first thought was "lake". Despite the fact that Craig had a departmental party to attend, there was no way I was going to sit around in the heat. So on Saturday morning, Maggie, myself and Murray hopped in the car and hit the road. Forty-five minutes later, we were reveling in the beauty that is the lake. With the dogs, Murray and I all away, Craig was happy to enjoy 24 hours of solitude.

It turned out to be one of those "golden days" (as my mom would say). The August-warmed water looked like a sheet of glass, the sunnies were loving their "free" corn dinner from Murray's hook, and I enjoyed a good book and a long nap in the sun.

After nap, Murray wanted to take a boat ride. Grandpa and Grandma were on the pontoon with friends and it's been years since I've driven the fishing boat, so we opted for the paddle boat. The two of us had a great ride; Rudy followed us on shore while Maggie relaxed in the waning sun in a lounge chair. When we returned, I unloaded Murray and began to crank the lift up. I turned around, ran into Murray and the next thing I knew, he was in the lake. Maggie almost had a stroke. No worries here - the kid loves the water - he was wearing his life jacket. I calmly leaned over, pulled him up and after he caught his breath, he giggled. I made light of the situation so as not to scare him for future swimming and lake activities. It worked; he wanted go swimming about 10 minutes later. Poor Maggie; she was scared out of her mind. Hence the reason Murray is not allowed on the dock without his life jacket, which has been our rule since day one. He's been having a blast telling his story of how he "fell in the lake deep!". After all, he is a lake kid.

The Case of the Missing Bike

It all started on Tuesday, August 3rd. I left work at 4:30, eager to ride my bike to Weight Watchers and then get home to my family. As I headed for the bike rack, I noticed that something was missing. You guessed it: my bike. SOMEONE STOLE MY BIKE!!! In the middle of the day, no less. I was so mad I literally stomped over to the security office to report it missing. They said that they would file a report with Moorhead PD. I felt pretty violated.


After my meeting, I walked home, and when I got to the driveway, Craig asked me where my bike was. When I told him the story, he looked at me and said, "I KNEW you wouldn't lock your bike up correctly". That comment was just enough to send me over the edge. I went from mad to steaming mad.


Days go by. Friday morning, I wake up feeling like someone had stabbed me in the chest. I went to work anyway, figuring that it was Friday and soon, I'd be able to rest. At 9am, my two bosses lectured me about taking care of myself, while shoving me out the door with commands to go to the doctor. If I wouldn't have acquiesced, I think President Edna herself would have handcuffed me and taken me in. Anyway, I did as told and was diagnosed with bronchitis. I left the clinic with intentions to sleep the rest of the day away.

Ten minutes after I returned from the clinic, the office calls. "So much for rest", I thought. But it turned out to be good news: my bike had been recovered! A detective with the Fargo Police Department found my treasured Trek 3400 in Fargo at a pawn shop. The men who cut the lock (yes, cut the lock, Craig) were arrested on felony charges due to the value of the bike. It turned out that the morons had stolen a total of 14 bikes all over the city, and were pawning them for drug money. The best part? Craig finally believed that it wasn't my fault. Sheesh. I wonder if I'll always have to get the police involved to prove myself?

As I write this, my bike is safely stowed in our garage. Until I can get a U-lock, that's where it will stay. I'm not taking any more chances.

Dum Dum or Sucker?

Last week, Murray decided that his bed was not as comfortable as ours. We let it slide when he climbed in at 5:00 am; after all, we only had one more hour to sleep (we've been getting a bit lazy regarding this situation). HUGE mistake. We quickly learned that that one extra hour was not worth the pain involved with Mur-Man in our bed. You would think we would have learned by now.

We changed tactics. We explained that he was a big boy and his big boy bed "wanted" him to sleep in it. This idea coaxed him to go to sleep, but sure enough, at 1:30am, little man was crying - make that screeching -to sleep in "mamadaddy" bed. We let him cry it out for three nights. Finally, I was so tired I resorted to bribery (Mama Stubborn + Daddy Stubborn + Murray Stubborn = Sleepless Nights) .

The next part of this story goes completely against my grain: On the fourth morning, I explained to Murray that if he went to his bed with "no crying, no whining and no getting up in the night", he could have a treat in the morning. Worked like a charm.

But (and a big but here), it worked for three nights. The first day, I didn't expect him to remember, so I didn't have a anything special on hand. At a very early hour, Murray was tapping me and asking for his "teet". We ended up letting him pick out something from the gas station (candy corn is his favorite) on the way to Lynsay's.

This brilliant bribe of mine worked until last night. Craig and Murray went grocery shopping and came home with a bag of dum-dums. The problem lies in this: Murray feels he should get a sucker every time he uses manners, washes his hands, or whatever he deems good behavior (in his world, that means a whole lot of things).

Last night we were back at square one. When Murray finally exhausted himself with the stomping/crying/screaming/begging routine, he fell asleep. But lo and behold, the witching hour arrived (midnight), and he woke up and demanded a sucker and TV.

So here we are: the TV is unplugged and the dum-dum supply is stashed.

We try so hard to raise our son with a firm hand, but I'm afraid that we are the "suckers". Who's the dum-dum? That would be us, too.

Big Momma, Big Murray, & REALLY BIG THUNDER

Yesterday, as I was pretending to be a human jungle-gym, Murray wrapped himself around me and cried, "OH, big Momma!" If I hadn't just re-joined Weight Watchers, I may have been a bit upset by the comment. But then, just this morning, I had a "eureka" moment.

Murray and I were snuggling on the couch while I waited for the coffee to finish brewing. When it was ready, I slid off the couch and said, I'll be right back, Murray. I'm going to get some coffee". He looked back at me with those big brown eyes of his and said, "Momma, coffee too me". "You can have water or milk, but you are too little to drink coffee", I replied. He chose water, and I went to the kitchen to fill our cups.


Later, I handed him his water and settled in for a few more peaceful moments of coffee and Murray. Out of nowhere, I heard: "eee ig, Mama, eee ig." Completely confused, I asked hm to show me what he was trying to tell me. He hopped off the couch, stood tall, raised his arms and yelled, "ME BIG, MAMA, NO LITTLE! He had to repeat himself several times because I was laughing so hard.

Last night, when the tornado sirens sounded, Craig carried a sleeping Murray downstairs where we would wait out the storm. I carried: a flashlight, 3 pillows, 1 Pooh Bear, 1 Moose, 1 Puppy Dog, one quilt and Murray's blanket, all while trying to coax two spooked golden retrievers and one large cat down the stairs. Not only is Rudy afraid of thunder, but he's terrified of stairs. Two or three are okay, but ask him to go down a flight and he locks up and won't move. Sheesh. Anyway, the storm passed, we hauled everyone back upstairs and settled in. Murray kept talking about BIG thunder and it took us a while to get him to relax. Finally, sleep came. . .until "REALLY BIG THUNDER"! I sat straight up in bed; Craig mumbling something about a transformer. I don't know that I've ever heard thunder that loud. While driving to daycare this morning, we discovered that a huge tree to the north of us had split in two and lost a limb. My guess is that's what the "REALLY BIG THUNDER" was about.

Moral of the story: Murray is big enough for coffee, I am big enough for Weight Watchers, and well, neither one of us is big enough for "REALLY BIG THUNDER"!

Sleep? What is That?

I went to bed at 8:00pm last night and I don't think I moved a muscle until 6:00am this morning. I take that back, when Craig got up with Murray to go to the bathroom, little one crawled in with us and I did get stabbed by toenails once. But for sleeping that long, I wasn't bothered.

I don't know why I've been so exhausted lately. Life is grand; my family and friends are great, my job is great, I'm eating good foods, even exercising (a small amount) I'm happy. . .so what's the missing link? Maybe it's just adjusting to a new job, though the transition itself has been smooth. And no, before you ask, I'm not pregnant. Then again, maybe it's just that time in life when a person is on the go until you collapse into bed, only to wake up and do it all over again. Oh, don't get me wrong - this is life and I love it - I'm just tired. I'll chalk it up to chasing Murray around, and that's the part I wouldn't trade for anything.

That said, I'm taking a break tonight. I have a sitter and a date with a girlfriend (and former boss). I can't wait to see her (she does a fantastic Grover imitation) and catch up. We'll make it an early night, so hopefully, I won't be complaining about being tired tomorrow.

I read a sad article today about a man who "doesn't exist". Apparently, some Burger King employees discovered him outside their dumpsters one morning, wearing only his briefs and having no idea who he was or where he came from. This was in 2004, and experts across the country have worked on his behalf. He's the only missing person reported missing that's not actually missing. Apparently he's a bright, charming and kind individual, he just doesn't know who he is. Talk about a real-life soap opera. If you get a chance, google "the man who doesn't exist". It's fascinating.

It's quitting time, and I have to lock up. Hope all is well in your world - count your blessings!

Hot Spots

I started this post last night, but was too tuckered out to finish, so I'm taking a few minutes of my lunch break to finish.


We are battling hot spots (skin lesions that are caused when the dog licks his/herself too much)with Nala and Rudy. Nala is beyond help, but Rudy has one small spot that we are hoping to stop before it gets the point of no return. I cut up a pair of pantyhose and that worked for a while, but then Nala ate it. We'll keep on them both, but now we have another problem: eating of the pantyhose.


Craig, Randi and Mary traded taking the the boys last week, since our "Lynnie" was on vacation. I, also, had them both on Saturday morning. We've found that it's easier to have them both - despite the fights - than it to have one. They play together and we only have to step in occasionally to break up a boxing match. I expected tears when I dropped Murray off at Lyn's house today, but he literally pushed me out the door and then slammed on my toe. Sheesh.


The event at President Edna's house went well. In fact, it was a bit reminiscent of my Food and Beverage Management days. I had fun connecting with those I knew through Craig, and was pleased to meet those I haven't. There is so much expertise and wisdom amongst the retirees - it was quite an experience.

I'm off to work on the next event - a BBQ for Greater Moorhead Days. Let the planning begin!
Have a fantastic Monday.

Changes, Fish and Other Random Thoughts

I know, I know, it's been forever. I believe I'm back in the swing of things. It takes time to adjust to many changes at once. What changes, you ask? Here you go:

I was happily employed part-time at GPIM, when I received a call from Human Resources at MSUM. Turns out, a position that I was in the running for two years ago opened up, and they asked if I would come in and interview. I did, got the job and two weeks later was off and running. My official title is Office and Administrative Specialist, Office of the President. Isn't that a hoot? I miss GPIM, but I'm having a ball now that I'm a dragon. My days are exciting and busy. Tonight I am to attend President Edna's annual Garden Party. She hosts a gathering at her home annually for MSUM's retirees. Since one of my responsibilities is to work closely with the Retiree Association, it's appropriate that I go and network. I'm looking forward to my first MSUM event. Bonus: Craig and I can have lunch together, and even walk to work together.

I suppose not much has changed, really, although I went from being unemployed, then employed full-time, then employed part-time and now I'm employed full-time again all in a few short months. That's a lot of transition in my book!

We had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend at the lake, despite packing everything but the kitchen sink. I remember the days when Craig and I would throw a small suitcase in the car, load up the dogs and off we went. These days, the truck is so packed there almost isn't room for us. Craig even purchased a trailer that hooks on the back so that we have more room. Even so, I'm usually squished in the passenger seat holding equipment and/or suitcases. Good thing it's only a 45 minute drive.

Speaking of the lake, the fish have really been biting this year. Either that, or we've been lucky. Last weekend I caught a 3-pound bass, and Craig and I both caught several northerns'. We didn't keep any this time around, but that just means they are back in the lake to catch again!

I think that's it for now. . .I better get to work. It's gonna be a long day. Have a happy and safe weekend!

What?

Does anyone know what's going on with Blogger? When I view other pages, all I see are words; no graphics or design. Help? Can you see my page?

I Need An Editor. . .

I've been looking back on recent posts and realized that my writing has gone downhill. I don't know if it's because I'm lazy, or not paying attention, or lack of imagination, but it's driving me bonkers! Especially the last post - I'm tempted to delete it - it's so cheesy! I'll leave it as a reminder of things not to write.

Watch for 30th birthday pictures - I forgot the darn cord again. Enjoy this weather!

My Next 30 Years

Initially, the thought of turning 30 terrified me. For those of you groaning audibly, let me explain. Not only am I entering a new decade, but it seems as though an era is slipping away. I've been pondering the inevitable for several weeks and I've come to a few conclusions. A trip down memory lane reminded me of how much I've learned; from living, from family, from friends, and even foes. Here are a few in no particular order:

1) Never burn bridges - no matter the temptation.
2) Keep an open mind - much easier said than done.
3) Money and status are of no importance as long as you work hard and be honest.
4) Love and hard work does matter.
5) I am responsible for my own happiness. I can't control the happiness of others, but I can be kind, caring, and compassionate.
6) Sometimes too much pride can be a negative. I've learned to be honest about who I am and I am okay!

Of course, I expect I'll forget these lessons from time to time (although I hope not to), and I expect that I have a lot more to learn. But the basics are there and with the guidance of God, family and friends, I'll keep growing. I've chosen to look at turning thirty as a blessing - the alternative is much worse!

As Promised (A Very Long Time Ago)

Please note: I attempted to upload several videos, but apparently the site is having trouble.


Okay gang, here it is. I put together a (brief) montage of the last several months, in no particular order.



Hanging with Mag: Ready to ride trike (don't blame me for the goofy helmet; not my choice, but at least his noggin is safe):

Murray painted my snowman:





The boys on the carousel at breakfast of the farm in Rollag (I'm blocking Owen):



Murray chickened out so I hopped on:


The camera was a bit sick (blame it on the owner), so I didn't get any pictures of Murray at the lake (yet). Good thing the camera is healthy again and we have a lot of summer left.


Times are changing for our family, but for the best. As I (we) transition, please bear with me. I hope it will be worth the wait. Thanks for reading. Blessings to you and yours - M.


P.S. Surprise contest: The first person that can name the Patron Saint of Law Enforcement will win a gift card to Barnes and Noble (Mags, sorry, but you are exempt, hee hee). Leave me a comment with your answer (sorry folks, first correct comment gets the prize).


video

I'm Still Here

A friend of mine recently asked me if I had given up blogging. The answer is no, but I do admit that I've been awfully lazy. In addition to said laziness, our Internet hasn't been working at home and since Craig has been busy on the road, he hasn't had the time to fix it. Anyway, here I am. I didn't go far, but it's been too long.

Despite my silence, it hasn't been quiet around our home lately. Murray is thriving, Craig is traveling and I've been holding down the fort. That said, we are hoping that things will settle down a bit for the summer.

For now, though, I'm off to finish up at work. Stay tuned - I promise to have something more interesting on murraysmomma.blogspot.com very soon!

I Got It and He Did It!

Yes, I got the job. Wait - let me back up. Since mid-March, I've been temping as a sales assistant for Great Plains Integrated Marketing (a local radio group owned by the Hennen family), while their permanent s.a. is on maternity leave. I fell in love with the people (several I had worked with in the past, several new to me), the company, the ideals and standards they live and work by, and of course, the position itself. I knew when I started training that I wouldn't want to leave. God smiled on me today; they decided to hire me on a part-time basis. The opportunities for growth are fantastic, and I couldn't be happier. While I was devastated when I was terminated from my last job, it just goes to show that when God closes a window, He opens a door. I've had jobs that I've been happy at, but never have I looked forward to going to work until now. Anyway, I'm thrilled and proud to be a member of the GPIM family.


Speaking of new endeavors, I have an exciting writing project that I am going to be working on beginning Monday. I don't want to go into details yet, but stay tuned. I'll need a lot of advice from my professional writer friends (yes, you, Rox and Sherri), but I think with patience and perseverance, I can get the job done.

One more piece of good news: Murray has successfully used the potty every day this week. He got one sticker on Monday, and 2 stickers (he gets one each time he goes) the rest of the week. I swear Lynsay is magic. I am so excited to be nearing the end of the diapers. Go Murray!

I'd give today an A+.


The Heatbeat of a Home

I woke at 3:00am, just as I always do, but this time was different. I heard the deep breathing of Murray from across the hall, Craig's gentle snoring, Rudy lapping up a late night drink, Nala's heavy breathing, Kirby purring at my feet. It dawned on me in one instant how lucky I am. I was at complete peace. I suppose I've always heard these sounds, but I finally listened to them. Instead of being annoyed at the noise, I was comforted; in fact, I was so thrilled with the noises that are my home that I couldn't go back to sleep. By the time my eyes were heavy with sleep, I knew, with all my heart, that I was exactly where I needed to be. My heartbeat is strong, steady and unwavering.

"Two Year Olds Are People Too"

Murray woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Everything caused a meltdown. Silly things, like the fact that he wanted to watch Pooh Bear and Curious George at the same time. Or not wanting to wear pants to daycare. Or the fact that he wanted to wear his "Hockey Gopher" (insert huge wail) for the third day in a row (which reminds me, we need to buy stock in "Hockey Gopher" shirts because that's all he wants to wear). Craig and I were baffled. Our normally chipper morning guy was suddenly acting like someone took his birthday away. I was discussing possible reasons for this behavior with a co-worker, Bouge. He looked at me and simply replied, "Two-year-olds are people too. Just because they're small doesn't mean they can't have bad days". This, from a man who never seems to stop working, never complains, and cradles a newborn with the comfort and ease of a veteran OB nurse (he's a very sweet man, but he probably wouldn't admit it). How true! Why didn't I think of that? Every now and then I have a morning when I want to cry if anyone looks at me wrong or if the coffee isn't brewed on time, or my routine gets a little bit out of whack or for simply no reason at all. Why shouldn't Murray be entitled to those feelings too? Sometimes I think I get so caught up in trying to raise a polite, well-behaved, caring child that I forget that he too, is human.

Speaking of being two-years-old, Murray caught on to trike-riding. We've been practicing all spring, but Sunday was the day when everything clicked. It's hilarious to watch, especially if he gets on an incline. In that case, he needs a good push and he's off again. Another "first" to put on the books.

Language Logistics

Murray is n bed but that doesn't mean he is sleeping. The latest request from my darling boy was "Mama cover up me". That done, I'm hoping I can have 30 minutes to relax and then hit the hay myself. Craig is traveling - again - and I am so tired that I can't think straight. With that, I'm leaving you with the latest "Murray-isms".



"Fine, mama, time" (he put himself in a timeout)

'No daddy work, no work!" (Craig had to travel again)

Me: "Let's have fun while daddy goes to work." Murray: "NO FUN!"

While riding in the car today Murray clearly states, "Fun at Lynnies. Co (Cole), Awee (Allie) and Own (Owen), we play. Fun mama!"

When wanting to swing: "Spider gone? No spider!" (he made wide circles around the swing until both Criag and I assured him that said spider was gone).

The latest from his room: "Mama I wake up, cold, cover please!"

My mom was right. I clearly remember her telling me that when your child learns to speak, you will evaluate your own language tendencies. For instance, Murray says, "mere daddy", instead of "come here, daddy". He also uses slang such as 'mon (for c'mon which isn't correct anyway and I'm so guilty if saying that) as well as many other goofy expressions. Some of this, I realize, is part of the learning process. My fear is that he will grow up saying things like, "I seen the sign the other day" or "It don't happen overnight" and the like. Either way, Craig and I are astounded at this advance in vocabulary. It's almost like it happened overnight. I've heard many parents state the same; one day, their two-year-olds' are impossible to understand and the next day, words are not only clear, but stated with absolute conviction. Yikes. I only hope we're ready for this.

On the other hand, I'm sure there are professionals out there who thing my grammar is appalling. My hope is that we can all learn from one another.

I'm off to dream about double negatives.

Folicle Fiasco

Well, the pink foam curlers certainly worked, in fact, they worked a little too well. I was so excited to take them out this morning, but after the first one, I knew I was in trouble with a capital T. This wasn't even a bad hair day; it was a hair disaster. I looked like Nellie from Little House on the Prairie, only Nellie's curls didn't stick straight up in the air. Brushing it only made it worse, which made me look like a St. Bernard with a perm. Murray pointed and giggled at "mama hair!" and Craig laughed and laughed and laughed. I ended up with a pony tail. I realized that my hair reached my waist when my mom would put curlers in my hair, which is the key to success with pink foam rollers. Ah well, I'll save them until I have a little girl and put her through the same torture that my mom put me through. I almost took a picture for posterity, but then realized that no one would want to see it. Tomorrow is back to straight hair and then I will have my monthly cut and color. Lesson learned: Pink foam rollers do not work when you are over the age of seven or over the age of 95.

Curlers and Connundrums

And. . . we're off. To a new week that is. There is something about Sundays that I find a bit sad, but more importantly, I feel excited for the week ahead. Part of it is that I (for less than another month) get to go to work. The other part, of course is the fact that I'm a physical contribution to this great planet. The best part? Spending the week with DH and Murray, not to mention the prospect of getting together with friends. Because Craig was absent last week, the thought of having the three of us together - if only for 4 days (he travels again on Thursday, then again next weekend for a political convention) - is a wonderful sensation. Murray and I really miss him when he is away. That said, we love him for his passion, work ethic, and dedication to our family.

Tonight I am sitting here in my pink foam curlers, praying for awesome hair tomorrow. I don't have my 6-week cut and color until Tuesday, so I'm improvising. I can't stand it when my hair is out of whack. Besides, wearing these silly foam contraptions reminds me of my mom. And even though she always got good results, time will tell what will happen when it was me, not her that rolled up my damp hair. If Craig makes fun of me one more time, I may put curlers in his hair while he is sleeping.

With that; good night, and if you see Craig with a 'fro, (or maybe bald?) it wasn't me!

Easter 2010

Christ is risen! How cool is that? God bless us all!

Murray and I took a trip to the emergency room this evening. I attempted to take him to the walk-in clinic, but they were closed, so to the e.r. we went. Three hours, two breathing treatments and a dose of steroids and we are finally at home. I know that croup is not as scary as a person might think, but to me it's horrific. I remained calm on the outside, but inside, my heart was breaking. He was terrified - I had to use physical force to hold him down during the breathing treatments - absolutely nothing would soothe him. The telemetry didn't help; the wires made his anxiety sky-rocket. Murray's tearful and downright demanding requests were as follows: "All done?" "Go home?" and "Croy's (Troy's) House?" (sorry, Stef) over, and over, and over. Finally, I promised him we would call Troy when we got home (which we did) and by the time the doctor checked in on us at 8:00, we were equipped with enough stickers to last us for several years. Murray wanted to go home so badly. I explained over and over that we would go home and be "all done" when the doctor said it was ok. After I repeated this for several hours, he suddenly stopped crying, put on his best "get me the heck out of here" look and shouted, "DOCTOR, DOCTOR!" To his credit, it worked. The doctor immediately responded and laughed, saying that he had never been summoned by a two-year-old, and that it was a good sign that he was good to go. Honestly, the child never ceases to amaze me. Now we are watching Curious George and getting ready for bed (better late than never) and I'm praying that we won't have to go in again for another treatment (I was warned that this is a possiblity).

Aside from the drama tonight, we had the best Easter. I was disappointed when my dad couldn't make it on Friday due to the huge storm west of Bismarck, but he surprised us all by showing up late Saturday afternoon. The power lines where he lives were down (still are and will be for the better part of a week) so he couldn't even get fuel until the generator arrived at the local gas station. Anyway, his visit was way too short, but wonderful. Today was so wonderful; we spent time with more family and I can now retire on Murray's earnings from his Easer egg hunt (pictures to follow soon). I swear he made more money today than I do in a week.

I'm off to bed, although not necessarily to sleep. Murray will take Craig's spot in the bed, and even though we have a king-size, I know that I will wake up with bruised ribs. Nala will join us until she gets too hot and I make her get off the bed, Rudy will go back and forth (alternatly doing security duty and comfort Marie duty) and the cat will sleep wherever he darn well pleases, making it impossible to get away from the two-year-old iron feet. But you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. Life is good.

Hope you had a blessed Easter.

Eye-YI-YI

Is that how you spell that?????

I am completely out of the loop, too tired to think, much less write, so please bear with me.

Quick catch up: Overtime, strep throat (me last week), more overtime, Murray sick (last week), Craig misses work and volunteer activities due to Murray being sick, I work overtime on the weekend, all is well. So we think. Murray gets sick again yesterday, I'm still working my tail off so Craig can't work, now Craig is sick and I feel like a lot of dirt has hit the fan. There are a hundred other things that I am praying for and worrying about, but it's hard to get out of the box when all I can do is run, take care of sicklings, including me; run, run, work, work, and never mind anything to do with our home chores. Honestly, "Little Miss Picky" has done a complete one-eighty - I can't keep up and if you come to our house, well, so be it if it's a huge mess.

Now that I have THAT off my chest, I will tell you that I am quite happy. I love, love, love my job - although it's bad timing for me to be working so much - but some things I can do at home (said things I'm doing now, but have taken a break to post). I'm still hoping that this will turn into something permanant. GPIM is just that fantastic. I love what we do, who we do it for, and even the everyday "drudgery".

That said, I'm off to see if DH needs more ibufrofen, water or cough drops. After that, I will check Murray's temp, give myself another dose of antibiotics and ibuprofen, finish a bit more work and FINALLY, hit the hay. Tomorrow begins our billing cycle, so the more I accomplish at home, the less stressed I will be in the morning (one can dream, but still, I love it).

Please, keep reading. I promise to post more when I can. Thanks for your loyalty.
God Bless you this Easter/Passover,
Marie

Compromise,Compromise, Compromise

Our new neighbor (Iwas unaware we had one) just knocked on the door to complain about the dogs. He was polite, but said that the barking was keeping him awake.
Me: "I'm so very sorry. What time do you sleep?"
Him: "About 12am to 10am."
Me: "Well we don't let them out after 9pm unless it's urgent, but now that it's spring, they like to be outside during the day."
Him: "If you could keep them from barking until at least 10:ooam, I would appreciate it."
Me: "We can do that, but they will have to go out in the morning to use the bathroom, but we'll let them right back in."
Him: "I like dogs, and I've heard you are very nice people, and I hate to complain, but I'm a very light sleeper."
Me: "Again, I am very sorry and will work with you as much as we can. I appreciate you telling us in person."

I have no problem letting the man sleep, and I appreciate the way he approached the situation. However, now the dogs won't be able to be out during the day because Craig and I are both at work by the time our neighbor gets up. I feel bad - for the man and the dogs. Maybe we'll have to get a bark collar, although I don't believe in shock treatment. Sigh. Just wait until the dog who lives across the street starts running aroun the neighborhood and barking.

I'm off to go shopping. When DH is away, Mama will play!
Special prayers to SATF - YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Career Crisis

Question: Do you apply for your dream job, or do you let it go and look for a position that would require less time away from your family?

God and Craig will help me come to a conclusion. It's the typical mom/career/wife conundrum.

Scary Spiders

Thanks to those of you who responded to my last post - I appreciated your comments! Even yours, Brad. :)

What a weekend! Murray had a fever on Thursday and Friday, which finally broke on Friday night. With the big Gopher/Sioux rivalry, I didn't see much of Craig. Murray and I and Maggie went to the St. Patrick's Day parade yesterday; we watched it from the balcony of my temporary office building. Murray loved it, but I don't think Mags was all that impressed.

This morning at 3:30am, Murray felt he should get out of bed and sleep with us. We don't let him do that unless he's sick, so since he was feeling better, we let him cry it out. I got up an hour later to check on him. He wasn't in his bed, so I panicked until I found him passed out on the dining room floor. It was so funny and with Rudy was nearby, not taking his eyes off Murray - no doubt doing his security duty - we let him stay there until morning.

Tomorrow is my first day flying solo at work. Lacy will be back in May, so until then, I'm on my own. She is an amazing person - she created tutorials complete with screen shots for everything I need to know as far as running reports, the daily deposit, etc. I have loved working beside her these last weeks, and wish her the best as she and her husband prepare to bring their first child into the world.

Last night was the first time I've been out of the house on my own in a very long time. Craig took Murray to the Fink's to watch the game and I went to play bingo with Craig's Mom and Dad. While we didn't bingo, it was a fun evening out.

The events of the weekend are not in the order I'd prefer, but I'm too lazy to change it. For some odd reason, Blogger doesn't have a cut and paste option, so my thoughts are typed as I write them, not necessarily sequentially.

I can't sign off without the following anecdote frome today: This afternoon, I asked Murray if he wanted to help me water the plants. As I filled up my watering can, a spider the size of a silver dollar tried to climb out. I panicked and ran to the other side of the kitchen while yelling for Craig to come and help get rid of the thing. He told me to get over it and continued folding the laundry. Realizing I was on my own, I decided to suck it up and turn the whole episode into a science lesson for Murray. I set the watering can (full of water) on the floor and Murray and I waited for the spider to climb out, at which point I had planned to dispose of it with the nearest heavy object (sorry P.E.T.A.). Before I could pounce though, the spider poked his huge and hairy head out of the can and Murray ran screaming and crying for cover. The sight of the spider again, in combination with Murray tearing out of the room like a frighented rabbit, sent me scrambling for cover too. Craig just shook his head at both of us, calmly disposed of the spider, called us both fruitcakes, and went on with the day. I still have the heebie-jeebies.

With that, I'm off to bed, hopefully not to have nightmares about spiders.