Thursday, February 28, 2013

Skeptical Kitten

Poor Mr. Allan has adjusted very well this year to having a baby in the house after spending his first few years here in solitude with us all to himself.  Often, though, I catch him looking at Ben with a look of skepticism and irritation.  It's like he is thinking, "this person is so annoying, loud, and smelly!"  I try when I can to get pictures of it because I think it is really funny how an animal's face can show his feelings!  Poor kitten...he tries...
Yes, that is the strings for the blinds.  He loves them.  Don't worry...I know letting your kid play with tangled lengths of string is dangerous but he only plays on the couch like that with my close supervision.  I just don't understand the things he is drawn to!
This is a favorite of mine...he's just looks so annoyed!  And yes, he is on the table and no I don't approve of that.  The thing about our kitchen table is that it is not only the table for eating but also the first surface when you come in the door so half of it (the half he is sitting on) is like a magnet for piles and piles of crap.  During these winter days it not only gathers mail, my purse, sunglasses, shopping bags and keys but also gloves, scarves, hats, and Ben's car toys.  It is infuriating but I haven't been able to come up with a solution that would fit in the space available.  So Al is actually sitting on that end of the table and not the eating end.  I remove him if I catch him doing this (after taking pictures of course!).  
Allan, calm down...he just wants to read his "Little People Let's Go to the Farm" book with you!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tubes Update

The tubes procedure went fine.  The waiting around and food and liquid deprivation ahead of time was more stressful for me that the actual surgery.  The worst part for Ben was the groggy period after waking up.  I hesitate to even call it surgery although he was under anesthesia.  Only one of us could be in the pre-op room so Justin went with him.  They just used a gas mask and not an IV so that was good.  I went into the recovery room to greet a very groggy and disoriented baby!  He cried and flailed for about ten minutes and we finally got him to drink a bottle of glucose water and he calmed down.  He fell asleep on the way home, slept while we ate lunch at Pizza Hut and then slept for almost two more hours.  Then he woke up and was his old self again.  I am glad he got the tubes.  The doctor said there was alot of thick fluid in his ears which could have been affecting his balance in addition to being a cesspool of bacteria.
I don't think is very tasteful to put up pictures of kids going through medical procedures (would you want pictures of yourself in a medical setting on the internet?) but we took a few of Ben in his hospital issue pajamas this morning while we were waiting for his turn.  There was quite a line up for tubes since the doctor only does them one day a week.  The Children's floor is very nice and this play area was spotless and filled with very nice toys including these amazine tractors!  My brother would have been in a frenzy over these when he was young!  
This one has "duals" in the back! 

And look at this...a pedal combine! Pedal toys are common but I have never seen a combine before! 
The same day surgery patients are usually given a small area partitioned by curtains but they were full when we got there so we got him ready in a in a regular room and he was able to crawl around for awhile.  He looks so innocent with no idea what is going to happen! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bison Fix

Last Friday we went to Scheels to pose with the NDSU championship trophies.  The trophies were on a state tour apparently.  We saw the first one last year this same weekend and I was going to put a picture of my extremely pregnant self and Justin on here just for fun and comparison but it was so awful and I was so huge that I am just not going to do it.  I am usually a good sport about pictures and I don't mind if I look silly or not my best but those were just too much.  My face looked like a bloated, doughy marshmallow.  Wow was I big.  So I will just show the photo from this year...

They had a nice selection of baby and toddler sized National Champion shirts so we bought Ben's game day t-shirt for next year.  Only about six months until football season starts again!  Maybe we will make it to the spring scrimmage for some tailgating.  It's not really the same but at least we can get our fix for a few more months.  I don't know why he wouldn't smile in the pictures.  There was a crowd of people trying making fools of themselves trying to make him smile and he just stared. 
Tomorrow the wild man is getting tubes put in his ears.  I am nervous since it is surgical although it is very routine and many kids have them.  He has had a few ear infections and even when he was done with his antibiotics the pediatrician always saw fluid remaining and today we saw an ENT and audiologist and they confirmed that there is lots of fluid in there.  The doctor only does surgical procedures on Tuesday and they happened to have time tomorrow so we decided to go for it. 

Poor guy!  He has no idea what he is doing in the morning! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Awards Season

OK I am going to be honest...I watch award shows (Academy Awards, Grammys, SAG, etc.) but I think they are pretty boring.  The best part by far is looking at the fashions.  The music related shows are slightly more interesting because of the live performances and they seem a bit wackier (for example, that wacky Kanye West outburst a few years ago when Taylor Swift won best video).  Right now I am watching the Academy Awards and I am really yawning.  I am also annoyed that I haven't seen any of the movies.  Not to get all "Woe is Mom" but it's not easy to get to a movie with a baby.  I have been to a movie theater since Ben's birth to see a certain summer release about a male stripper but for some reason that movie has not been mentioned during tonight's show!  I wonder why?  I want to see most of them except "Amour", which is a french language film.  I won't even pretend that foreign films are something I am very interested in.  Also, I could pass on "Skyfall".  The James Bond movies don't really do much for me although if I started watching I'm sure I would stay engaged.  I am most intrigued by "Siver Linings Playbook" because I just finished reading it this weekend and I really enjoyed it.  It's about a guy trying to recover his life after a mental breakdown.  The characters are all quite likeable.  Also, they do quite a bit of tailgating in the book and I hope the movie stays true to the original story.  I also would like to see Les Miserable.  I like most musicals turned into movies. 

I missed the red carpet show because I forgot about it and I was watching something else but not hearing it because I was listening to Ben being crabby and yelling loud enough to drown out all other sounds.  I will have to check out all the best and worst dressed lists tomorrow.  One that stood out to me tonight was Nicole Kidman's dress.  Ms. Kidman herself kind of terrifies me.  I don't care if people use cosmetic surgery and other procedures to feel their best but her face looks completely frozen.  But I love that dress!  So extravagant!

The other thing I was watching instead of the red carpet show was the NFL Scouting Combine!  I don't know how I never watched this event before!  I thought the draft was a delight for the eyes but this is much better!  Lots of displays of physical prowess by young 22/23 year old college players wearing tight fitting work out clothes!  It's on again tomorrow.  Yesssss...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Miscellaneous PIctures I have Been Meaning to Share

I took this picture almost a month ago and I keep forgetting to share it.  It is a shot of the two brothers lounging on the floor in the living room!  Haha.  For Ben this state of rest was very temporary but I captured the moment!  
That ottoman has become or makeshift baby gate to block Ben from that corner of the room, which contains a floor lamp with shelves, two magazine holders, an end table, and a mountain of crap we throw back there to keep it away from him.  Haha what a mess!  He is getting pretty close to being able to climb it so we will see how long it lasts. 
Here are a few other miscellaneous pictures from the last month.

 Looking out the window with the kitten!  This is Ben's new favorite thing to do and it is something they enjoy together!

I hesitated to share this because my face looks fat but I decided to say "who cares" and show it anyway.  These paper mule deer antlers that Justin's co-worker gave him lasted about 1 minute before they were snatched off the head and ripped to pieces.  That was fun while it lasted...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Try This Now!

I admit to being a Wal-Mart shopper for almost everything including groceries.  Well, not ALMOST everything because I do not buy clothes, shoes, or accessories there and probably never will.  But I have bought everything else, including picture frames, holiday stuff, cat litter, fabric and sewing supplies, makeup, sunscreen, well you get it because in America most people buy that and more there too.  And I admit almost all of our groceries come from there.  It is cheap.  It is noticeably cheaper to buy almost everything.  Regular items like cheese, pasta sauce, frozen pizzas, and tea can be almost $1 cheaper there and it adds up to a noticeable amount on a big haul and I have noticed a difference of $20 or $30 per trip.  Of course, as an educated person, I think about how Wal-Mart has caused the downfall of small businesses including the little Hardware Hank in my home town with its magical basement toy section (makes me sad just thinking about the creak of the floor and the bells on the door) and the many Ben Franklin stores around America that were filled with school supplies, toys and other fun goods that are now a remnant of the past.  I would like to buy local and try to but here in Bismarck, ND the choice is either Walmart, Target, or a few grocery store chains.  Here, especially in the dead of winter, there are no farmers markets brimming with organic locally grown produce or anything like that.  So, preferring to spent an extra $20.00 on formula, gas, some clearance clothes from Old Navy or countless other things I usually buy groceries at Walmart. 

Yesterday I was in Dan's, the very nice but more expensive grocery store chain that has many locations here and around Western ND, because I needed to go to the post office.  While waiting in line, I could see all the produce and noticed that, while alot of it was pretty costly compared to Walmart, there were several good deals on some of my favorites that were priced better than Walmart at the moment!  And I don't need to say that it looked very fresh and delicious compared to the often picked over shelves at Walmart.  I decided to buy a few things and that is when I discovered something wonderful...I had never heard of it before...Sumo Citrus!

This is a new citrus blend that just made it to the U.S. after being developed in Japan.  It is the combination of a mandarin and an orange and is large (with the peel it was softball sized) and has a loose peel that comes off with ease.  The sign said that it was the "sweetest citrus".  I was kind of hungry (you've heard the advice...don't shop for food when you're hungry!) so I bought one even though they were not in the Walmart price category at $2.50 per pound. When I was at the register it was $2.45 for one fruit. 

I ate it last night and wow was it delicious.  After the first bite I thought it was nothing special compared to a very good standard orange.  But the sweetness really built as I ate it and it was very juicy.  Everyone should try one of these! 

I looked at the website for Sumo Citrus and they are rare in the U.S. since they were developed in Japan. Last season they were mostly found at specialty stores on the west coast.  There is a farm in the U.S. that started growing them in California and the season lasts from February to May.  I can't believe they found their way to ND!  Everyone try one if you can! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Win! For a Few Minutes Anyway...

Ben and I are constantly at war over the technology in the house.  He wants it and I want to protect it from his destruction and also be able to enjoy the amenities I am so attached to.  I rarely have this computer opened anymore because he had pulled it onto the floor several times, chewed on the monitor and he mashes the keyboard whenever he gets a chance.  If I have to have it open I end up perched on the arm rest of the couch while balancing the computer on my knees while he whines and reaches for it.  The TV remote continues to be a obsession even though he has two old remotes to play with.  Nothing compares to the real thing.  And of course, my phone is a popular target even though he has two obsolete phones to play with as well.  And then...there is the most special treasure, an item he yearns for...the iPad.  It doesn't help that the iPad is also within my reach if not in my hands almost constantly if we are at home.  And if a baby decides to throw it on the floor, step on it, spill on it, or get some sort of fluid on it a replacement will not come cheap. 
I had a fabulous idea this morning.  I was reading the lastest blizzard related stories from Eastern ND (my parents came home from Mexico last night and it took them over two hours to make a 70 mile drive North of Fargo) and Ben was standing at my knees reaching and lunging and whining for the iPad.  I should point out that he rarely uses it for screen time and instead just likes to hold it, drop it, and chew on it.  I don't know why I didn't think of this before but I slipped it out of its protective case and gave it to Ben.  And he played with it for awhile! 
Oh...never mind...he's bored with it already...where is the real thing? 
I sometimes wonder, as I sit surrounded by my beloved technology, none of which existed when I was Ben's age, what new advancements will he see in his life?  It is strange to think that he will probably never remember phones with cords or computers and TVs that aren't two inches thick as opposed to two feet.  I don't want him to become a total screen fiend but does he stand a chance when both of his parents are just that?  I already know it will be one of my parenting challenges.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

I tried to get some cute photos of Ben is his hand me down Valentine's Day appropriate shirt but it was not easy getting him to be still for a photo so you can kind of see the the early afternoon he peed through his diaper so the shirt didn't make it through the day!   
Sharing the couch with his favorite kitten...

 There you can see the shirt! 
Earlier this week he wore this other shirt with hearts on it.  Not his favorite!  Haha...
We had a low key Valentine's Day.  I gave Justin a Sam's Club size bag of peanut M&M's.  I will try not to eat any...HA!  He gave me a replacement globe for my globe stand.  Ben broke the globe a while back and Justin glued it back together but it wasn't the same.  And we both bought each other the same card with two orange cats on it.  Oh, I got flowers too. 
I have to share this was on my phone and I remembered it when I was uploading the other picture.
I need to throw that box away but Allan loves it so it has been there for two weeks!  It's not a good hiding spot any longer!  You can see the wreckage surrounding him...I spy...a cat toy, a discarded pacifier, instructions for my electric toothbrush, an Easter basket, wipes...jeez what a mess! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday has crept up on me this year.  It usually does I guess.  Since it is the start of Lent it means Easter is on the way and Easter makes me think of Spring.  However, Ash Wednesday falls in the middle of February, which around here is the depth of winter.  This time of year it feels like Spring will never get here.  From now on, each Wednesday will bring us closer to Easter and Spring, although I have to admit that Easter around here, with a few late April exceptions, often feels and looks quite wintery.  Tonight the Wednesday night church services and soup dinners begin.  When I was  Confirmation student I spent all afternoon and evening at church during Lent and I'm sure I was bored sometimes but I don't think I minded! 

Also, this time of year I think about my surprising appendectomy that I had back in 2007.  I think it was the 11th or 12th of February.  I spent the rest of the week laying on the couch and watching TV.  After having Ben via c-section I thought often of that wonderful week of rest for a surgery much less invasive than the one I just had.  I don't know how new mothers do it even after I have done it! 

This time last year I was sure I would be going into labor at any moment.  At the beginning of February the doctor informed me that I was starting to dilate and I woke up every morning dissapointed that I hadn't gone into labor during night.  Little did I know I had quite a wait in front of me! 

A trip down memory lane...

Monday, February 11, 2013


I heard over the weekend that Ben and Justin were spotted in the Bison Illustrated magazine!  Bison Illustrated is a magazine that is distributed for free around North Dakota and also can be mailed to you if you subscribe (but then it's not free!).  It mostly deals with sports.  There are other NDSU publications like the newspaper style alumnae mailing where I can read how people I graduated with are doing great and successful things and getting promoted while I have no career to speak of.  Maybe someday I will be in that thing.  There is also a more scholarly magazine with articles about interesting things professors and students are doing.  Justin and I also each get a publication from the departments we studied in.  Bison Illustrated is the most fun though! it is!  Ben's claim to fame! 
Isn't he photogenic?
My sister texted me this photo she took of the page in the magazine.  I am going to search Bismarck for a place where they give away Bison Illustrated.  First stop...Scheels! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I'm sure everyone heard the news...about the new Monopoly token!  I remember hearing about how they (whoever "they" is) were going to retire one of the classic tokens and have a contest where the public would vote for a new token.  I thought that was kind of interesting and then I forgot about it. 

Today it was announced that the new token is...a...CAT!  Yeahhhh! 

The choices were between a robot, a ring, a cat, a helicopter and a guitar. 

The cat would have had my vote if I had voted.  They are all pretty cute though.  I don't know what would have been my second choice. 
I really want a new Monopoly game now.  I can't say I have played it that much in my life.  We had a little kids version we used to play quite a bit.  There was a phase in high school where my friends and I played it after school for a few days.  I remember it because I somehow ended up getting all four of the railroads and started taking everyone's money like crazy. 
On a rather cat related topic, I think Ben said his first word yesterday.  He says Mama and Dada or Da-deee or Mmmmmaaaaaa when he is mad at me but I never know if he is really applying the words to us.  However, yesterday I carried him into his room and Allan was sitting in a empty box on the floor and he said "Ki-Teh!"  Get it?  Kitten?!  Haha I am not surprised.  I point out the kitten to him whenever Allan comes in the room. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

God Made A Farmer

I thought I better write something about my Grandpa Glenn who died on January 26.  That "God Made A Farmer" Superbowl commercial stood out to me even more than it would have normally because a picture of Grandpa Glenn at any stage of his life could have been incorporated into that commercial seamlessly.  He posed with his birthday cake in work clothes while taking a break from harvesting on his August 12th birthday as a teenager and posed in front of a new tractor with a cane at 82 years old just last fall (the picture on the front of the funeral service bulletin).  He could spend hours and HOURS in machinery not even stopping to eat.  Don't worry, someone delivered food to him!  He died suddenly while playing in a pool tournament which is something he has always enjoyed.  When my dad was a kid he and a friend opened a pool hall to entertain themselves and everyone else during the winter months.  As everyone has been saying, it is good that he was doing something he liked!

This is the photo from the bulletin.  I took a picture of the picture so it isn't the greatest!

I found this picture that I think is neat.  It was taken by my mom it appears as my family arrived home after a long absence back in the years before my dad moved "home".  We only visited once or twice a year and our visit was during harvest so of course no one was sitting around waiting for us to show up!  We found my grandparents working on the way to the house.  I can just hear my grandpa telling my dad to get to the house to change and then get in that truck so he could kick my grandma out of that combine!

This is a photo from the weekend.  After church the family took the bouquets and plants and my parents brought this one from his pool team over to the bar where he enjoyed playing Bingo (and where some of his grandchildren and nieces and nephews might have been having a drink in his honor) and set it by the Bingo area and set a dabber next to it.  Very nice...

Monday, February 4, 2013

More Animals Please!

Just like many people, I watched the Superbowl last night.  It was a pretty wild one, wasn't it?  The lights going out, the exciting I will probably remember.  I honestly hardly remember who played from year to year!  Watching the commercials was fun, as usual.  The ones I remember were later in the game so I guess they started out kind of mediocre.  My favorite, and based on what I have been seeing on Facebook, in articles, and on TV this morning, everyone else's favorite, was the "God Made a Farmer" Dodge Ram commercial.  I am not even going to link to it because I think everyone has seen or heard about it.  Even those, including myself, who don't prefer Dodge vehicles liked it. 

There were a few commercials with baby animals, such as the traditional Budweiser clydesdale commercial for this year.  So cute.  I also like the McDonalds commercial where the basketball coach hid his player's All-American jersey in a fast food bag to surprise him.  Cute.  And for some reason I have been craving some Bud Light and Doritos all day...where would I have seen those items?

All of the "best and worst" lists this morning made me think of my favorite Superbowl commercial of all time.  Truly, most of them are quickly forgotten or lose their impact after they get played regularly but I will always remember...CAT HERDING!

This commercial was for some now obsolete HP computer program or printer or something (I had to look up the year...2000!) and featured a wild west family of cowboys who specialized in herding cats.  So cute!  Hahaha!  HP needs to revisit this concept!