Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cute Pictures and Nothing More

I feel like I am not taking as many pictures of Tessa as I did of Ben.  The main reason is that I can't have the camera just sitting around within reach anymore because Ben will try to play with it.  I still think she is the cutest thing and I always think, "I will take her picture in this outfit when I get a chance since it's so cute and it won't fit her forever!" and then pretty soon the outfit is soaked in drool or something.  So I made an effort last Friday to take a few pictures of her in a cute outfit while Ben was sleeping.  
Unflattering angle!  She should enjoy it while she still looks cute with two chins!

Awwww...she's too cute...
I also feel bad that I am taking fewer pictures of Ben but that is because he won't sit still for two seconds so I can take the picture and if he is sitting still he won't look at the camera or has his hand shoved in his mouth or is doing some other unphotogenic thing (such as sucking on a pink pacifier).  So here are a few recent pictures of him anyway.   
Having fun eating rasperries.

Playing with Tessa. 

I told him to look at me and he thought I wanted to see Mack instead.

It's so cute when they play together!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Great Outdoors

I admit that, over the last few years, poor Allan has been lost in the shuffle on this blog.  I promise he still gets attention in real life but his antics can't compare to the other fascinating things going on around here such as Tessa drooling alot and Ben getting new shoes.   So here is a post just for Allan, just like in the old days between October of 2009 and March of 2012! 

As I have mentioned before, Allan was born at the Humane Society and was adopted by us when he was four months old.  Our old house was on a busy emergency route street so we never let him go outside.  I don't know what indoor cats think about what they are gazing at out the window for ten hours a day but I do know that he loved sitting by open windows and smelling the fresh air. 

Now that we don't live on a busy street and we have a quiet deck and backyard right off the kitchen I started to entertain the idea of introducing Al to the great outdoors.  I just hated the thought of him living his whole life without being outside even though he has a very happy life as it is.  It is worrisome because who knows if he has any of the cat instincts that I regularly observed in the many farm cats we had when I was growing up.  By that I mean I wonder if he could find his way back to our house if he wandered too far, if he could climb a tree (he does still have his claws) and if he would find shelter from bad weather.  I don't want to imagine what would happen if he ate a bird or rodent based on the displays of stomach weakness that happen on a weekly basis around here. 

A few weeks ago Justin returned from a trip to Runnings Farm and Fleet with a leash and harness.  So, we are now "those" people:  The people with a cat on a leash.  At first the harness made him very uncomfortable and it made me a bit uncomfortable too, since he looks like some sort of deviant in it. 

The first two times we took him out he got scared and spent the whole time slinking around looking nervous.  One time he got scared of the UPS truck and ran to the door (at least he ran to the right place!).  On Monday took him out a third time and he was much more adventurous and comfortable and wanted to explore.  My hope is that he will become used to it and maybe we can let him out to lounge around the deck when it is nice out. 
And...since he is already embarrassed about the harness photos...here is another unflattering angle!

Monday, April 21, 2014


Easter has passed, and it might have been the nicest, most spring like Easter ever in the history of North Dakota.  I was trying to remember an that not only as snow free, but also had a daytime high temperature of over 70 degrees and where I felt comfortable wearing sandals or a skirt to church in the morning.  Nope...can't remember one.  I think the next nicest I can think of was in 2006.  It stands out to me because I took a lot of pictures that day and there is still a Facebook album from it way back in my archives. 

I was excited to take a lot of photos over the weekend and then like the space cadet that I am I forgot my camera.  So all I had was my phone camera and my phone, like my life, is full of excess and digital clutter and has so much music and so many pictures on it that I kept using up all my storage.  It seems like I delete music, I clear the photo album and put the pictures on my computer, I clear space and before I know it the thing is full again.  I didn't have a computer to clear it on to so I had to use other people's phones and send the pictures to myself. 

This was taken after church. 

Baby's first Easter!

Ben had an exhilarating weekend of almost non-stop outside time.  His clothes were filthy but he was a happy boy. 

On Saturday we each took one kid.  I took Tessa to Fargo for two baby showers for babies that are already born. 

Here is Tessa with my cousin Katie's daughter Lauren.  She was born on March 30th.  The other shower was for baby Leah, who is my dad's cousin's daughter.  She was born five days before Tessa in November.  It's hard to imagine that she is in the same generation as me and is my second cousin! 
Meanwhile, Justin and my dad took Ben to Grand Forks.  They went to an Easter party and egg "hunt".  Hunt would be a very liberal description since the hunt for Ben's age group of two and three year olds was this:

Yes, what you see is a large convention hall with hundreds of eggs strewn on the floor.  When the hunt started, it was a free for all and everyone just picked up all the eggs they could.  Some of them had coupons for special prizes like bikes and toys in them but Ben just picked up eggs with candy inside. 

I have some other exciting news...I am getting a piano!  Well, not a traditional piano.  Every time the possibility or even idea of a piano is brought up Justin freaks out about the idea of moving a piano.  This piano is actually a clavinova which is a digital piano that has a special design to the keys that makes them feel like a real piano.  It also has all kinds of crazy settings and features so it can sound like almost every instrument you can imagine, from a pipe organ to a steel drum.  You can record yourself paying and speed up or slow down the tempo and you can o crazy things like play duets with yourself by recording one part and then playing along with it.  Most important, it is very light!  And the legs are removable so transporting it is easy!  It is coming from my parents' house.  They bought it for us (my sister and I, the only piano players in the family since my brother did his one year penance like many boys did before they were allowed to quit) and I was the one who played it the most.  They have wanted me to take it for years but I have wanted to wait until I had space and I kind of wanted a real wood piano since I don't have much use for all the crazy settings on the clavinova.  I finally decided to take it since what am I waiting for?  No need for it to sit and collect dust so I can play it every once and awhile while I am visiting.  We were going to take it yesterday but our vehicle was too full.  So next time...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

So THAT"S the Problem...

This morning was yet another beautiful mid-April day with a lovely high of 30 degrees, flakes of snow sporadically falling and a biting wind.  When I was out this morning and the wind was blasting poor Tessa in the face because I removed her car seat cover last week and the blanket wouldn't stay situated I was about to lose it.  It doesn't need to be said that everyone has had ENOUGH of this
SH!T weather! 
Then, I realized as I was pulling into my driveway, that it might be all my fault.  I noticed that this hokey, Americana door hanging that was a castoff from my mom is still hanging on the door.  And it says "Winter Welcome". 
I also have a "Let it Snow" one somewhere but I already blamed a previous bad winter on that one.  This one is facing the street for all to see.  Winter, you are not welcome anymore. 

I have an Easter sign but somehow the month escaped me and I never took out my Easter decorations.  This is a shame because I love Easter and the spring optimism that it brings.  Jeez I am so lazy.  At least Ben and Tessa are too young to remember that year that I forgot about Easter until the week before it was happening and still had a Winter Welcome sign on the door and a Valentine's placemat on the dining room table in the middle of April. 

I don't think I have a door decoration for the time between Easter and the return of fall.  I will have to get a nice springy wreath or some sort of 4th of July thing to hang there. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tessa at 5 Months

It's hard to believe that at this time five months ago I was laying in the hospital, exhausted but too wound up to sleep after giving birth to Tessa!  She is at the height of cuteness right now.  You can't help but love a five month old.  They are so smiley and cuddly and alert and are always discovering something new.  For example, this weekend Tessa discovered that the dangly toy on her car seat can be pulled and that it vibrates as it retracts.


She is at the height of baby dishevelment.  She has started pulling her socks off and putting them in her mouth.  Also, she drools so much that she is always wearing a bib and the bib is always sopping wet and under the bib her shirt is wet.  If she didn't wear a bib her shirt would have a drool ring down to her waist!  She has her two bottom teeth and I wonder when the next one will show up. 

Everything goes in her mouth which adds to the drool!

The precious baby days are flying by!  I wouldn't be surprised if she was crawling by this time next month!  She is starting to love baths, and is starting to sleep without her swaddle. Also, she is getting very vocal!  She squawks and talks constantly and is figuring out that being really loud is a way to get attention.  One morning I woke up to both her and Ben talking to each other in their rooms.  Ben was standing at the gate in his doorway and I heard him saying, "Good morning Tessa!  Mama sleeping!"  and she squawked back at him.  Very cute. 
In other news, I have a cold and am uncomfortable.  At least, now that I am not pregnant, I can take some real medicine (Hello Dayquil and Nyquil, my loves!).  However, as any parent knows there is hardly a worse job to do when you are sick because there is just no opportunity to get any extra sleep.  I would be in heaven if I could get, say, ten hours of sleep some time in the next few days but that will just not be happening. Especially since Tessa has taken up trying out her new vocal skills at odd hours of the night.  Last night I felt kind of lame sleeping instead of watching the "blood moon" eclipse and the moon was visible right outside the window by my bed and I told myself that if she woke up at night I would just use it as an opportunity to see the eclipse.  She woke up right after it ended at around 5:30!   I hope I can fight this off before the weekend and also I really hope that Ben and Tessa will dodge the bullet. 
Also, I know this is a Tessa oriented post, but I have to share some good news about Ben.  It is not a big deal but for me it is very exciting!  He had his two year doctor's appointment today.  It was month late because the doctor had a conflict and had to reschedule a few weeks worth of appointments in March.  I am so excited and relieved to say that he gained five pounds since his last appointment at 18 months and more than doubled his percentile!  This is such a relief to me after months (actually more like a year) of stress over his lack of interest in eating to the point where he would go days without eating.  He was gaining so slow for awhile and I was at the end of my rope.  I tried all the advice the internet had to offer about "offering healthy snacks, cutting back on liquids, don't give up and offer the same foods over and over until they eat (and then eventually throw away the food over and over again), they will eat when they are truly hungry (wrong, by the way, he didn't).  The appointment today took a huge weight off my shoulders.  Just in time for Tessa to start eating baby food in a month or two! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Trucks and Trunks

On Friday there was an auction at my parents' farm held to sell the farm equipment and miscellaneous items (think old snowblowers, gas tanks, etc.) that were owned by my grandpa.  I wasn't sure what to expect since I have never been to a farm equipment auction.  I have been to household estate auctions and I think those are fun.  Farm auctions seem to be almost exclusively the domain of men.  The only women there were my family members, the women who worked for the auction company and maybe one or two other ladies.  But the men poured into the yard.  It seems that farm equipment auctions are the perfect "friend date" for men because many of them came in groups of two or more. 

This sale wasn't especially nostalgic to me since farm equipment comes and goes over the years but a few things made me stop and think of the implications of them not being there anymore.  Mostly, these two grain trucks will be missed. 

I have never driven one, never especially enjoyed riding in them (so dusty and hot!) and never thought much about them but it will be pretty strange not seeing them out in the fields and hearing them rumble up and down the driveway.  They have been at our house since the 1970s and they have always been together!  I hope that wherever they are now they aren't missing each other too much!

The auction company business office was in this very large semi trailer which just happened to look like Mack!  There was a happy little boy roaming around the yard that morning. 

If you look in the background you can see the cars parked along the road.  It was a sight I had never seen before!

Nothing beats a morning spent outside and when you add Mack and also many other trucks and tractors and lots of attention it will be hard to beat!
The main topic of conversation was the fact that there are two rather large houses standing next to each other in the yard.  The new farmhouse is almost done which means moving day is coming. 
We moved to the farm in 1991 and I switched bedrooms around 1997 (I think...it was the summer before 9th grade) so there is almost twenty years of crap built up in my old room and the time has come to clear some stuff out.  I will probably never be completely moved out of there and fortunately the new basement has a large storage room but I decided to take some things with me on Sunday. 
This trunk was given to me (and all of the girl cousins on my dad's side) by my grandma in the early 90s sometime.  I would guess it was maybe 1993 or 1994.  A hope chest has always been a common gift for a young girl but what makes these different is that my great aunt did the painting, which is a traditional Norwegian art called Rosemal.  If you don't know much about it, I can tell you that her work is very good.  Also, my great uncle and her husband (my grandma's brother) built the trunk.  So it was a very special gift.  I know hope chests are intended to store special things that a girl saves until she gets married.  I think of impractical and obsolete things like embroidered handkerchiefs and fancy tablecloths and stuff like that.  Mine was full of old chapter books from elementary school and high school keepsakes like my graduation hat and my high school diploma and some prom memorabilia. 

My "letter" was in there.  Now this is the letter of a girl who was well rounded.  I can't believe I did all that stuff. 
Why do theater masks have to look so creepy?
My girl scout sashes were in there too. 
The Brownies sash actually had all the patches sewn on both sides.  It doesn't seem like much but I was one of the few girls who actually had this privilege because my mom didn't have a job (outside the house) and she sews.  Most of those were earned when we lived in Wyoming and I remember some girls having their patches stapled and pinned on!  I secretly was proud of mine.  Then we moved to Hatton and I was a Junior (the green sash) and I guess she got too busy!  Haha.  Now I can sew so there is no excuse!  Maybe if Tessa is ever a Girl Scout I can sew mine on when I sew hers on her sash. 

Truly though, I have a daunting task ahead of me sorting out that room.  There are so many dust gathering trinkets in there!  And I have, several times over the years, cleaned out the room and donated and thrown bags of items and it's still bad.  Most of what is there is not going anywhere (pictures, scrapbooks, collectibles) so I guess I will have my own corner in the new basement.  Ughhh...clutter clutter everywhere.  I was clearing off this stupid little wood shelf with a heart carved out of it (straight from the 80s) and I asked my mom how she would feel about it going to a rummage sale and she said, "I would feel really good about that!"  Goodbye, dust gathering shelf.  I have dusted you for the last time!

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Buddy and Me

All of you of a certain age (late 20s or older) who ever watched TV have to remember the commercial for the "My Buddy" doll.  It was a DOLL marketed toward BOYS, which was a bizarre thing for the 80's and for the history of the world.  I don't know which boys actually would have wanted this doll and no boy classmate of mine ever had one (that I knew of.  They might have not admitted that they played with a doll when they weren't pretending to be Michael Jordan and playing with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
You all know it..."My buddy, my buddy, wherever he goes I go...my buddy and me!"
Ben does not have a "My Buddy" doll.  I don't know if they make them anymore.  It seems pretty quaint and simple compared to most of the toys marketed toward preschool and elementary school aged boys today.  The reason I thought of him at all was because Ben has his own favorite toy buddy of the moment and he has consistently been attached to it for almost two weeks now.  His buddy is Mack, the red semi truck from the Disney movie "Cars". 
At the Y daycare there is a "Piston Cup" semi from the movie, which leads me to believe that you can purchase every obscure car from the movie, including the ones that never talk or are mentioned at all and that you only see for a few seconds.  It is navy blue and he always plays with it.  There might have been a minor fit thrown when he had to leave it behind one day.  I told Justin about how he was attached to this one truck from "Cars" at the Y and when I was in Mexico Ben got a present:

It is just like the one at the Y except it is Mack, the main truck in the movie!  He's cute.  It looks like he is wearing a trucker cap!  His trailer holds a toy Lightning McQueen.  Now Mack and McQueen  go everywhere with us.  Ben brings him to his room when he naps and goes to bed for the night. 

This particular Mack lucked out when Justin plucked it off the shelf at Target or WalMart or wherever it was because now he gets to sleep in a bed and gets to be someone's best friend!

Ben is quite protective of Mack.  A few nights ago I was trying to shovel yogurt into his mouth while he was playing and a spoonful accidently dropped on Mack.  He looked horrified and started crying!  I made sure Mack got a bath a.s.a.p. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The 10th Anniversary of my 21st Birthday

I was my birthday a few days ago, on the 4-4.  I have always liked that my birthday month and day  were the same number.  I still can't believe that it didn't even dawn on me back in 2004, when I turned 21, that it was 4-4-04.  How did I miss that?  Oh yeah, I know...it was because I was so excited to be 21 that I didn't care about any details.  FINALLY!  No more arrangements to be made with a buyer to get some beer, no more watching my friends head off to the bar.  I was at the younger end of my class so I was one of the last to turn 21.  I will never forget the youthful energy I felt during that spring and summer after I turned 21.  I had a lot going for me and the possibilities were endless.  I hope I can feel that way again some day but I probably won't because you can't get your early 20s back. 
Ahhh...the carefree glow of 21 year olds...
I had Justin take my picture with the babies on the 4th since my shirt and Tessa's coordinated.  She planned it.  Haha. 

Justin went out to rent some movies from the Redbox and came back with an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.  It's hard to see but it has my name on it.  That is one huge cake for two adults and one toddler to eat but we are up to the challenge when it comes to ice cream with oreos in it!

Ben is saying "Cheese" excessively in the picture which is why he looks so ridiculous.  Tessa is very worried about that cake. 

I also had an Edible Arrangements bouquet delivered to my door from my parents/mom since I'm sure my dad didn't have much to do with it!  Sorry Dad!  The first to go were those chocolate covered ones. 

So it was a perfectly nice but bland "mom in her thirties" birthday.  It was nice and I am glad it's over.  And now I am 31.  When I turned 21 I drank in a bar every day for ten days after my birthday.  It's safe to say that won't be happening at 31.  I already missed two days! 
Also this weekend, I took some pictures of Ben and Tessa.  Ben's pictures are going in their own post later.  I saw this funny picture idea on the Internet so I thought I would try to take my own "baby in a cup" picture. 

Hehehe...so silly and a bit weird but also cute because she looks like a miniature baby! 
I also dressed her in the dress I bought her in Mexico to take some pictures.  It sure looked cute but it was hard to get on because whoever designed these little tourist bait dresses did not think about putting a slit with a button in the back or anything so she was not very happy with me!

Very photogenic!

And one oddball because she is cute...