What have I done?

Like it's not bad enough to try and keep up around this place, I just added another blog. Don't get attached. No doubt I will abandon it. But I hope not.


Here goes.

Oh fine.

But I Don't Run.


** Update ** Maybe it's not the bladder

We made it into the doctor before we had to make it an ER trip. Ella's a medical enigma. Another sample showed the bladder is good (although they're still running a culture).

So the mysterious left side pain is just as curious as before. It comes and goes. Sometimes it lasts hours, sometimes a few minutes. It leaves as suddenly as it comes. It is always in the exact same location. It does not seem to be related to activity, although when she's having it she won't stand, walk, or move in any way. It may come while she's completely distracted by a tv show or something, so I really don't think she's just trying to get attention.

In any case, I was terribly relieved that we have probably avoided the ER. And I was terribly frustrated that we still don't know what the problem is.

In other news, I think our little Lake Wobegon clinic is pretty lucky. I have not seen a doctor or nurse practitioner yet that was disappointing. The NP tonight was really good with Ella. She talked to me, talked to her -- encouraged her singing her new counting by 10's song and properly applauding.

There's more. (aka "Bladder Infection Fun")

A couple of weeks ago I had to take Ella back to the ER. This time they took a urine specimen, which the doctor told her they had to test. No really, his words to my 5 yr old: "Ella, we need to test the urine specimen you gave us." So I translated, "They're going to check your pee honey."

Bladder infection.

So we sat around biding our time til they could round up a dose of drugs to send us home on. Ella had Meow Meow, and told me some stories about him. Who knew he had cousins?

We got a bottle of drugs the next day, and then Captain America and I took off for the weekend, leaving her at Grandma (Hi Mom!) and Papa's. Guilt trip already taken on that one, by the way. She didn't have any trouble after her ER visit. We got home, and she ran out of drugs around Day 5 of 7. I felt like if we hadn't had any screaming or complaining since then, maybe we just wouldn't worry about it. (this is where, in retrospect, I blame myself for my daughter's illness)

So we headed back to the clinic with another urine specimen (or "pee" if you're 5) a week after the first incident for follow-up testing. Infection is apparently still present, but not growing. So she is scheduled to see the urologist Oct. 24. In the meantime, she's been pretty ok.

We've been trying to pump her full of water, but it's sometimes tough when she's at school all day. Today now she came home and is periodically screaming again. I have just handed her the third glass of water, and left a message with the doctor.

I'm frustrated this didn't just go away. I feel like somewhere along the line, I'm at fault. And really, I'd just like it to stop, particularly so we can stop buying $400 lollipops and staying out til 10:30 on school nights.

All comments with suggestions on how to ease bladder infection suffering are especially welcome.


And now I'm a thief.

This week I'm doing a Friday 5. Idea to do a 5 stolen from Jersey. (Amy, this is your assignment)

Five Things I LOVE About Fall
1. Pumpkin spices
2. Fall foliage
3. Back to school and all it's supplies
4. Honeycrisp apples
5. New fall fashion/colors
6. Eeking out those last warm days
7. Return of my tv shows (YAY Office!)

Sorry. Couldn't keep it to 5. I either love fall too much, or talk too much. Debatable.

In other news, today Ella is enjoying her first pep fest. She was really excited. She kept telling me that the Home Run people were coming to school. She needed a Home Run button. Ella, do you mean "homecoming?" Yes. In any case. She could not have been prouder to put on her school polo for Spirit Day. "The Football Guys are coming, Mom!"

Natalie the Drama Queen is in high form this week. I'm hearing a lot of "humpf!" I had warned her teacher that Natalie is nothing like Ella. Ella is very particular about following the rules (you know, away from home). Natalie is...well...less concerned about those things. I'd hoped it might be one of those things reserved for me. Until Miss Heidi burst my bubble yesterday. "I saw a little of the attitude you had talked about today." Oh. Good. Well. Apparently it was time to stop playing, and to do centers. Natalie didn't want to. So she sat, and she cried through the entire center time. I think they just stuck her in a corner until she was done or something (a tactic often employed here). In any case, shoot. We had a little discussion about what was appropriate school behavior (what the teacher says, goes). Hopefully it doesn't happen again. Or at least it's not a regular issue.

Ok, I'm off to enjoy a fall 82 degree day. With a honeycrisp apple. After my pumpkin latte this morning. And watching the Office premiere last night. * sigh of contentment *


Works for Me Wednesday -- Toy Chaos

This is my first time participating in Works-for-Me Wednesday, and I'm excited!

After stepping on tiny toys for the one millionth time, I was reminded of a little something I learned from my mother (Hi Mom!). I remember my mom getting fed up at all the stuff my Dad and I left about the house (Lisa, I think you were already at college). Mom grabbed a garbage bag, bagged up all of our stuff that wasn't where it belonged, and hauled it out to the trash. How sad it must have looked to have Dad and I out there rummaging through the garbage. Anyway.

I was inspired. I gave my girls warning. Anything that is not put away by bedtime will be taken away. Over a few days, I removed 5 or 6 large storage totes of toys. Whoa. If they miss something, they can do a chore chosen by me and get it back.

Around the same time I also cleaned out a hallway linen closet, and sorted some toys into it. Puzzles, games, Littlest Pet Shop, things to play with dolls, things to play school, etc. Everything is grouped together. You may take one thing out at a time, it must be returned before you take something else. It's a toy-dedicated closet -- I took out everything else so they know they're allowed to play with anything in the closet. I used some of the shoebox sized storage boxes and some actual shoe boxes. Things are grouped together, and stay grouped together. No more random animals or tiny hair brushes.

Ella (5) doesn't seem to miss anything. Fine. Natalie (3) is more interested. She has earned a few toys back. She does really, really well with the closet toys. She goes in and gets something herself, and puts it back without being told (usually). I think she enjoys the responsibility. They both seem to play better and longer with the Closet Toys as well. Probably something about deciding what you want to play with, and having it all in one place.

What I care about is my feet. I'm stepping on far less toys. Their rooms look way cleaner (they have practically no toys in them now). And they can't play the "I don't know what to do so I'll just dump out this huge bin of unrelated toys all over my floor spread it out as best I can and then leave" game. I don't have to nag them all day to pick up. They get a warning or two, and then it's just taken away.

On a side note, any toy that causes some sort of strife (I HAD IT FIRST!) is put in toy jail. We put it somewhere that they can't get to it, and when they decide they're ready to play with it, they get it back. Usually someone has to cave by not wanting it or saying the other one can play with it first.

My next task is to sort through the bins and get rid of a boatload of toys. Some will go to younger cousins, some to Goodwill, some to my in-laws' church for their new nursery and Sunday School rooms.

It's only been a few weeks on this system, but I am loving it!

Check out the Works-for-Me headquarters for more great ideas and recipes! I'm headed over to see #116 on killing flies. Before I go insane.


And so it begins.

These past couple of weeks have really been giving me a lot of flash forwards with the girls. Now that Ella's in school full time and Natalie's preschooling, they seem so much older. I've learned one thing.

We are in for it.

We are so very in for it.

First day of school, Ella has a small, embarrassed meltdown because a boy is sitting in her seat. Even though the teacher has said to sit anywhere for now. She sees her name. She knows it's where she's supposed to sit.

Yesterday the girls and I are all in the bathroom getting ready for church. One on the potty, one brushing teeth, me attempting makeup. We need more bathrooms. Already. What on earth will it be like when we have two teenage girls??? I mean aside from the fact that Captain America will probably live in a tent in the back yard to avoid us?

Today Ella came bounding home from kindergarten.
Me: "Hey, El, did you have a good day?"
Ella: "Yes, but not a great day."
M: "Why not?"
E: "Because we didn't have time to do the music in music class. We played a game, and there wasn't time to do music."
M: "Was the game fun?"
E: "Yes. But I wanted to do the music. There were too many kids. The game took too long."

Later, when Captain America comes home, Ella falls to pieces. I mean, sobbing hysterics. She is out of control. Her only reasoning, is music class. I have a high-strung student at 5. Lord have mercy. (really, please)

After baths I asked Natalie to go pick up the toys in her room. I got nothing. "Natalie, I asked you to go pick up your toys." "I'm going, I'm going." Seriously? Already I get the teenage attitude? She's 3.

I am really, very fascinated to one day learn God's purpose in giving me girls. Because there are days where it seems like that was a mistake. I am not qualified to parent girls. For now, I cling to the thought that He not only chose them for me, but he also chose me for them. And He knows what he's doing. Thankfully better than I do.

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Ecclesiates 11:5


Tag, I'm it!

I've been tagged by Mrs. Sprinkles! So I'm having a meme Friday. I should do these more often, just to keep myself moving. Especially this kind -- I'm good at random.

The "rules" of the game are as follows:
1. Post the rules on your blog
2. Write 6 random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4. If you're tagged, DO IT and pass on the tag

1. When I was in high school I went to French camp. Twice. And loved it. A lot.

2. I'm not a very good regular cleaner (in the clutter sense particularly), and it sort of builds until the day I can't take it anymore and go gangbusters.

3. I finished college in three years (hooray for summer school!).

4. My favorite color is purple, although I hardly ever wear it. I was sort of happy to see all the deep purples for fall this year.

5. When I was growing up I hated my name, because there was no nickname for it. I made many unsuccessful attempts at getting an unrelated nickname.

6. My favorite in-state vacation spot is Grand Marais, on the north shore of Lake Superior. My favorite out-of-state vacation that I'll probably never be able to repeat (we went through work) was The Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia. I also love Wyoming. And North Carolina. And Seattle. And actually Phoenix/Sedona area was beautiful. Disney World is good (although I do hear a constant cha-ching in my head during one of those trips). I like to travel, ok?

Ok, the following should consider themselves tagged:
My sister at At Least We Know
Aimee at Libby Land (she's sporting a new design that I love)
Jersey (in case you're looking for a Friday post)
Amy at Living with Intention (because I MISS YOU!!)
Kim at What's that Smell?
Torrie at Schneid Remarks


Tear-filled farewells

Last Friday my parents had to say goodbye to their dog, Lumpi. We got her the summer before I went to college, and they forever referred to her as my dog. "Can you come let your dog out when we're gone?" "Can you take your dog to the kennel?" "I have to go let your dog in." For the record, this has been going on for 12 years.

In any case, it was Lumpi's time.

Our girls were spending the weekend there while we enjoyed some time in St. Paul for Captain America's work conference. So my mother suggested it would be best if I broke the news to the girls before they got there. Yes. Probably. Shoot.

Sad, sad news.

Me: "Girls. I have something sad to tell you. Lumpi got very sick today, and she died." (I left out the part about Lumpi having an appt. to do so. And yes, this is exactly where I started to cry.)

Girls: "Ohhh...that's sad."
Ella: "I wish I wouldn't have said yes to hearing something sad."

Me: "So Lumpi won't be there when you go to Grandma & Papa's this weekend."

Things sort of started spiraling out of control about now. Where was she going to be? When was she coming back? Rather than explain cremation, I opted for burying in my story. What if we got a shovel? Oh dear.

Me, really starting to cry now: "Girls. Lumpi's not coming back. Lumpi died."

I don't even remember which girl this was: "That means she won't take our toys anymore!"

Um. Yes. I suppose.

"Will Greta die someday?" Yes. Cats & dogs don't live as long as people. But it will be a long, long time.

"Then Greta wouldn't put our toys under the couch!!"

Ok. Nevermind. Mommy's done now. So Daddy swoops in.

Captain America: "Do you remember Grandma Vickie & Papa Murph's dog Bailey?"
Ella: "I do!"
CA: "She died too."

Yup. I'm done. Best do some packing for the weekend. Now that we're all heartbroken & what have you.

In memory of Lumpi, A Very Friendly Dog, 1996-2008


Heard lately

Ella on her first day: "Kindergarten, here I come!"

Natalie has decided for the past week that I will now be Mama. I'm not opposed, it's just a sort of random change from Mommy or Mom. She's been amazingly consistent with it too.

Natalie eating chicken sticks: "I like to call these fish sticks."
Me: "Ok, but they're really chicken sticks."
Natalie: "But I like to call them fish sticks."
Me: "And that's fine, but if you ask for fish sticks, this is not what you'll get. You'll get actual fish sticks."

Natalie upon seeing her preschool which is in a church: "Mama, I know that's a church. It has X's."
Me: "Those are called crosses, honey."
Natalie: "Well we can call them whatever we want, and I like to call them X's."
Me: "Really they're crosses. Jesus died on the cross. Remember?"
Natalie after a pause: "Did he die on THAT cross?"

Me: "What am I going to do with both of you girls gone at school?"
Ella: "Mommy, you'll get a lot of work done."

Captain America: "One day I will refer to this as the bunny incident that broke the camel's back."

Me: "I'm going ho tubbing." (sorry, just can't get enough)

Natalie when picked up from Day 1 of preschool: *sigh* "I'm going to miss Miss Heidi." How will she survive to next Tuesday??

Natalie: "Look how fast I'm coloring!"
Ella: "My teacher says to take it nice and slow..."

Last night I got to spend another couple of hours with Ella in the ER. Bladder infection. Great. Once she started feeling better, she started talking about Meow Meow. "Mom, next time I draw a picture of Meow Meow, I'm going to use a bariety of colors. I'm going to use a bariety." She went on to tell me about Meow Meow's cousins. Seer, who is a girl, and Jake, who lives with his Grandma.

I also enjoyed when the doctor told her he needed to "test her urine specimen." "I know a girl who's older and taller than me at Kindergarten. She's 6." Yes. Well. Good then.

And my favorite of today:
Natalie: "Mama? I love Daddy. Instead of you."
Aren't they precious? These little people? Just warms the heart to overflowing.

On typos and such

I'm not sure if it's my newspaper family upbringing, or the fact that I'm so easily amused, but I love glaring typos. Let me clarify. I love OTHER PEOPLE'S typos. My own typos fill me with shame. But anyway.

I find great pleasure when I'm reading a book and find a typo. I mean, a book -- that's got to have a team of proofreaders that went through it, right? Newspapers, magazines -- love to find me a typo. It probably comes from all the people stopping us on the street to show us one in the newspaper. Hearing the "Doesn't anybody proofread these?" for the millionth time. I'm not saying we shouldn't strive for excellence. Typos are a fact of life. Get over it.

I mean, who doesn't crack up over the Pubic Library? Or worse, something about the pubic access at the lake? I mean, when it's not your mistake. And let me tell you something, spell check isn't going to flag that.

So when my friend emailed and asked me this week if I wanted to come over to her ho tub this week, I was thrilled. First of all, heck yeah. Second, a ho tub? Hilarious. I may never call it a hot tub again. I thoroughly enjoyed announcing I was going Ho Tubbing. Gonna spend some time in the ho tub. I'll check on that tonight, after I get back from the ho tub. The ho tub was great for my back.

Anywho. Easily amused. I think my life is better for it.


Just the facts, ma'am.

Alright. Remember in elementary school, when people tried to establish their coolness by making someone else look less cool? Totally how I feel about election years.

I read this yesterday, written by an immigrant. And that made me think a little more. I wish everyone would read it and think about the things he mentioned.

SO. Here's what I would like to see happen. You know, in my little perfect world where there's a Starbuck's in my kitchen. Or at least out my back door.

What if we all researched both candidates? What if we didn't buy the spin? What if we stopped passing on the negative rumors about either candidate? What if we stopped automatically believing the negative rumors?

With the way things are now, it's difficult to discern what is true and what's a rumor. How can we do that? One party says one thing, the other denies, etc, etc, etc. HA! There's a website. Fact Check. Guess what? NOT PARTY AFFILIATED. Their goal is to educate voters, and hold politicians accountable. ALL. OF. THEM. Am I alone in thinking that might be a good idea?

I don't think we can really rely on news media to give us the straight story. The big news stories right now aren't something I can base my vote on. It's not like they're all sitting around saying, "What does the public need to know to make a wise and informed decision for our country?" No. More like elementary school again, "Oh my gosh -- did you hear? It's totally true, because I heard it from so and so."

I'd really encourage everyone to give it a try. Otherwise elections are like a giant game of telephone. We're all just passing things on that we think are true, and it's getting a little skewed every time. Check out the website. You can even get email updates, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

On a side note, all I kept hearing in my head while writing this was the episode of Friends where Ross finds out Marcel is no longer at the zoo. The janitor saying, "Do you believe everything the zoo tells you?" Cracks me up.


On top of it all, it's raining.

So I'm pretty sure this is what the kindergarten mommies do. We walk home in the rain (helps the misty moments), and settle in to look through the baby pictures.

I feel like we were just there. And now we're here.

On the way out the door she said, "I'm READY for KINDERGARTEN!!" I hope I catch up quickly.

I must say though, Natalie and I are sort of enjoying a little more quiet.


This is it.

Life as I know it is about to change. And yes, I do have somewhat dramatic tendencies.

Here's the deal, I'm sending my baby out into the world. I mean, preschool was one thing. Just a couple of hours. Two potty breaks. One snack. Now she will eat breakfast at school (Our school qualifies for free breakfast for all elementary students, so they eat it together as a class. But not tomorrow -- in case my sister's checking up on me -- I did see that note). She will eat lunch at school. She will have a snack (will she do anything but eat?). She'll have Phy Ed. She'll play on the playground.

She's going to meet new friends. She may have girl drama to deal with, and bullies. She's going to learn all sorts of new things. Some things I'll wish she didn't know.

I don't question whether she's ready. Tonight I told her how it was going to work in the morning. I'll pack your lunch. I'll put your lunch box in your backpack. When we get to school, we'll put it in your locker. And when it's time for lunch, you will go to your locker and get it. "Mom, you don't have to walk me to school. I know where my room is." OK. Well. Clearly, she is ready.