Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from:
Brady the spider...

Olivia our Batgirl

Kate the Hippy/Flower child

And Ryan the Bleeding Skelebones...

In other news, Thad brought home a treat for our family, except for me. I consider it a trick. Thad rescued a little puppy who, without him, would be scared in the pound this weekend. I was one unhappy camper last night. On top of the cold and fever I had, I was not excited about a puppy...or at least a non bulldog puppy.

I am not a big dog person. I yellow lab/cross was not what I had in mind. Nor was a puppy when we have a house full of children, people who are running from activity to activity, and a lifestyle that doesn't seem conducive to a dog right now.
I can't win in this situation. My husband and children adore this little puppy. Thad has always wanted a dog like this. Kate has been begging for a puppy for the last few years. Ryan, has already willingly cleaned up poop. What's a mother to do?
I have decided to put my personal wishes aside and see how it goes. For now, the 'animal' as I call her, can stay. I am hoping I can develop some feelings toward this dog, but so far...we aren't there yet.
As of late tonight, we have finally agreed to name her Maggie. You see when we got her, Thad said it was a girl. After the kids went to bed last night, I didn't see what I thought to be girl parts. I told Thad this 'girl' animal is most certainly a boy. This morning, Thad talked to his sister, and she got us back on track. I guess the bulldogs I grew up with had more *ahem* pronounced parts. So Maggie it is.
Let's hope this goes well. If she isn't meant to stay in our house, I pray that we will find her a good home, and our kids will forgive us.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Tonight after a long day at work, scrambling to get Olivia (and Brady) to and from dance, dropping them off at my friend Jenny's tonight, and a quick change of shoes, I sped to MSUM for a dinner/lecture.
I am enrolled in a grant called Teach American History. It's a federally funded grant to give history teachers the opportunity to work with other teachers in the region, travel to various places, read historical books, and just plain learn more about history.
The kickoff dinner tonight was at the Comstock Memorial Union at MSU. If you were any sort of my childhood, you know that at a young age, my dad and I took several walks a week there to get candy. In college, I spent many a day there, eating their FABULOUS monster cookies, 'studying,' hanging out with friends, eating a Pizza Hut personal pan pizza daily, and attending Gamma Phi meetings.
Since college, I have only been back a handful of times: during Master's research, meetings for Homecoming, or whatever random reason I needed to go.
Tonight as I walked in, I instantly had a wave of nostalgia come over me. The sights, sounds, and smells were all too familiar. After dinner, we walked to the new Biology building to sit in on a guest lecturer from Auburn State in AL. My goodness sitting in a lecture hall brought back memories!
I can't begin to tell you what a big part of my life college and MSUM were. The classes, the stress, the friends, the drama, the fun, the Gamma Phi house, and everything else rolled into one came to me tonight when I was back at my alma mater. I miss it. I miss learning, studying, cramming, staying up late, rolling into class looking gross after a late night inspiration week with Gamma Phi, meeting new people, and everything else associated with college life.
How quickly I moved to the next phase of life after college. I got married, got a job, and got pregnant with Ryan within a year and a half. I remember just wanting to move to the next phase of my life. Looking back, it's sort of sad. Why don't we just stop to smell the roses? What was my rush?
I would love to take a few summer college classes as an adult just to learn. I want to take all those history courses again as a person who is truly interested in learning rather than taking the class to fulfill my required credits. In college, so many other things are going on that it's tough to really absorb all the information thrown at you. But let me tell you what: without a doubt, those were some of the best years.
A lot of times people around here say, "I'm just going to MSUM" like it's a bad thing. I am so impressed with all the changes that it's most certainly NOT a bad thing. MSUM is one fine institution. I would be so proud if my kids go there. Okay well Ryan can't, because he needs to go play some Division I sport so I don't have to pay for it! But, you get my drift.
Kate told me the other day that she doesn't want to go to college, because it will be boring. HA! There is nothing boring about those years. How do you explain to a seven year old that she will make many of her life long friends, grow into an adult, learn to see the world from a new perspective, grow intellectually and in maturity (hopefully), and become a more marketable woman all at the same time?
I fully realize my post is random in thought. I am tired, but I just wanted to share with you how good it felt to be back in college for the night. Now I am going to get ready for bed and fall asleep recalling some good old Dragon memories.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I had a(nother) stressful day at work today. Why, then, when I checked my blog to see if any of YOU had blogged, did they not show up? Tonight I noticed three new blogs that apparently had been written awhile ago. Hmmm...
Since I am not in the mood to reflect or anything deep like that, I think I will just ramble. Erin's top tv shows got me thinking about mine. Without thinking for even one minute about this I will give mine. Oh, and they aren't in any order. I am just going to do ten that I love(d).
1. Brady Bunch
I know every episode by heart. Enough said.
2. Little House on the Prairie.
Ditto. I remember being in 3rd or 4th grade and seeing a commercial for an upcoming (rerun) episode. I can't remember what channel it was on, but it aired at 6pm. This was newstime in our one television household. I remember begging my dad to miss the news so I could watch the special episode to see when Almonzo fell in love with Laura. He said yes. That one still makes me swoon. That and the one when he proposes....ahhhh.
3. Friends
Amazing, funny, amazing.
4. Golden Girls
The chemistry is divine between these four women. Simply perfect.
5. Family Ties
I vividly recall crying my eyes out during the episode where Alex met and fell in love with Ellen. I was only a fourth or fifth grader.
6. Growing Pains
Hello Mike Seaver!
7. Facts of Life
Golden Girls for pre-teens!
8. Sex and the City
Golden Girls for 20-50 somethings!
9. ER when George Clooney, Juliana Margulies, Sherry ?, and Anthony Greene were on.
Many a Thursday night in the Gamma Phi house was spent enjoying ER, or "George" as we called it.
10. Young and the Restless
No explanation needed.
11. Okay one more: Days of Our Lives in the early 80s-until Marlena became the Devil. WTF? But during that time, I can't TELL you how many tears I shed.
Jack and Jennifer, Steve and Kayla, Bo and Hope, Bo and Carly, Bo and Billie, Justin and Adrienne...
I am a total sucker for soap opera romances filled with pain and agony.
12. Entourage & Weeds are both excellent shows, but I Netflix them so they don't count.

Time to get back to work, lesson planning, and reading up on history!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My "All Star"

Kate attending the MHS Danceteam's dance camp this past Saturday. When I arrived at the end of the camp to watch her performance, my friend (and coach) Mel said Kate was awesome. She sure must have been, because she won the "All Star" award. It was awarded to the dancer in each group who worked the hardest, had the most heart, and had a great attitude. Go Kate!
It was a treat to see earn such an award. I have commented many times that Kate doesn't like to work very hard at things. She has struggled to find her niche. She is only seven, so really I am not concerned. Then again, I have always sort of compared Kate to Jan Brady. She has a very bright and talented older brother (not that she cares), and a charismatic and loveable little sister. I am always a little more concerned that she feels left out of things.
Kate was beaming, and I have not let her forget that all she had to do was try her best and have fun.
Go Kate!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

sick of sick...

Yesterday I posted a perky blog about finding the good within the bad. Today, however, I am not nearly so happy. I am beyond sick of someone in our house not feeling well. Brady is still not well. I called the nurse line today after he got another fever. She recommended I head to Meritcare Fastrack (sp?) to have Brady checked. In her words, "You will not have any fun at the Pediatric Walk In today." After Brady took a couple of measly naps, I took him. Thad doesn't get as worried as I do, but even he agreed that for my own piece of mind I should. Guess what? The Fastrack doesn't take kids under eighteen months! She did check his ears and listen to his breathing though. Both ears were red (only one was red Wednesday), and his breathing is okay.
I know something isn't getting better though, because I can just feel it. Tonight he woke up screaming after an hour. He hasn't done that since Wednesday night. So we will see what tonight/tomorrow brings.
Back to my point though, it just plain sucks to have sick kids. The worrying, wiping, worrying about work, sub plans, the doctor, if I am overreacting, and getting crabby all the while.
Let's hope tomorrow is a better day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

When the going gets tough... just have to find things to smile about. This would include: my kids cuddling while a fevering Brady watched Baby Mozart, doing the girls' nails while the boys watched the Gophers, playing Memory with the whole family many times, getting to work on puzzles with Olivia, capturing a moment where Brady fell asleep in his daddy's arms, and getting a genuinely nice smile from Ryan.

No Brady is not feeling well. In fact, he has been feeling quite crummy since Monday evening. Today his fever is done, but he has been exhausted and zombie-like. I am hoping that by Monday he is back to his old self. While I am on the subject of wishing and hoping, let's hope Kate doesn't get sick either...or Thad or I.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Same stuff, different year

You won't remember these pictures, but I sure. In fact, it doesn't seem that long ago that little Brady was getting squashed by a loving Olivia.
The only thing that's changed is that chubby Brady is getting squashed by a loving Olivia.

Brady has a fever so we are home. Olivia is keeping us both entertained.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Ryan has always been my independent child. One thing about being so sick is that a child like that lets you love him. Most kids love to be loved. One of my favorite parts of having a newborn is just holding and loving them. My girls love to be loved too. Ryan, however, is a different story.
He doesn't really want me to hug him or even touch him. Sadly, even though I tell him several times a day that I love him, he doesn't say it back. I wish I could change him, but I can't.
I have been allowed to spend more time in the last three days lying with him, caressing his hair, rubbing his back, and hugging him. At the doctor yesterday while he was miserable, he had his head on my shoulder.
Today as he was feeling better, he was back to his old "don't touch me" self. I felt instant disappointment even though I was relieved he was better.
Tonight his fever is again high. He is listless and so tired. I am again high alert and slightly anxious. Another part of me is looking forward to getting to love on him some more. He won't have the energy to reject me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I can't begin to tell you how many "Swine Flu" jokes I have made since school started. Now that one of my very own has it, let me tell you it's no joke. Ryan told me on Tuesday when I picked up around 4 that he had a scratchy throat, headache, and his legs hurt. I always take Ryan's complaints seriously, because he rarely complains. Oddly, when I picked him up he was playing football. So either it hit fast or he was in denial.
So began the Motrin game. When he had Motrin in him, he was feeling pretty good. In fact, just this morning, he was hoping to get to take Motrin tonight so he could go to his friend's birthday party. This afternoon was another story. I returned from taking Brady to his one year check up to see Ryan coughing a lot, trembling, and just miserable. He was at the peak of his Motrin, so this wasn't good. I brought him in to the walk-in for fear of pneumonia or something. Nope, just good old H1N1. His fever there was 103.8. Ryan barely could stay awake while we waited to be seen.
Tonight his fever was spiking again so I tried Tylenol. He threw that up immediately. I called the nurse line to find out that his underarm temperature of 103.4 was really 104.4. I guess you add a degree. Nice huh? For now we just have to watch him. It's so scary to see someone who doesn't even sleep after being up all night with the stomach flu try and sleep. He is so restless though.
This is our experience thus far. Thank goodness school is off. I can only hope that the other kids don't get it, especially our four and one year old. We have all heard the scary stories on the news. This crap is really no joke!
This is our experience with it. If you are dealing with it too, you aren't alone....

To end this post on a happy note, Mr. Brady is a strapping 23.8 lbs! To say he is chubby is an understatement. His appointment went perfectly. The four shots were tough for him. Luckily his big sister Olivia was there to try and make him feel better. She got the flu mist while there. She also fell and hit her cheek rather hard. Can we say hectic?!?!?!?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


It's Wednesday night here in good old Moorhead. After two l-o-n-g days of school and parent/teacher conferences, I am off! I enjoyed the conferences actually. As a new teacher, I literally made myself sick with worry over them. Looking back I realize I was foolish, but I was so scared that someone would get mad at me for something. Now I enjoy them even though the days are quite long. This year I experienced something new: I have not one (as I previously thought) but two students of people I went to High School with. Small world. Both kids are great! It's pretty fun to have that happen....
As always though, we have a sick child in our house during break. Poor Ryan is our latest victim. He has the symptoms of influenza. Ryan is a tough cookie, so when he is dragging, I know he is miserable. Right now his goal is to improve by Saturday so he and his dad can see the Sioux/Gopher game at UND. I told him he would likely miss a birthday party tomorrow night. Ryan is holding out hope that he will miracuously improve by morning. I didn't have the heart to give him a reality check.
Kate had a party tonight. She has such a nice group of school friends AND a wonderful group of friends here in the 'hood. That girl is lucky.
As for the rest of us, Olivia, Brady, my mom, and I went to Red Lobster tonight. Wow was that yummy. Brady kept us busy, and Olivia talked our ears off. You might think I am kidding, but she didn't shut up once between the ride out there until going to sleep. I swear that girl never stops! We also went to Pout to buy Ross the puppy backpack for xmas. I bought Brady the monkey one. If you need a cute gift for a boy, I am telling you to get this! It's nice for a cute 'diaper bagish' type bad, but not so huge. It will be great for outings, church, and travel.
Really I had nothing to post. But, Thad is at hockey, the kids are in bed, and I told Ryan I would stay downstairs while he tried to fall asleep. I told Ryan tonight that although I was sorry he was sick, I was definitely enjoying the extra cuddles with him. Ahhh the joys of children growing up.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Signs of winter

Maybe it was the snow falling last night, the freezing (literally temperature), or the winter activities kicking into full gear to make me realize winter is around the corner. Before I get to those though, I have to tell you about Kate's acting debut.
Kate was in The Wizard of Oz this week. It was a week-long theater program at her school. Auditions were held Monday night. Rehearsal was every night this week until 7pm. On Friday night, they had their performance. It was a sweet little show. (Okay I am being nice here, but she had fun)
My sister in law and her two kids came up this weekend too. They got to see the play, run around, giggle, and just have fun with one another. I told Stacy sometime WE will get to do big girl stuff like shop when we get together. I can't tell you how lucky my kids are to have the best cousins both near and far. It's such a treat to get to see them all play.

Okay, back to winter. The girls both began figure skating today. Although Olivia had her heart set on hockey, we said not this year. Ryan will begin traveling this year (he starts in another week), and the cost and time involved were a bit overwhelming to add another Stafford to that mix. For now, she will skate. Kate is now in level four and Olivia is a tot.
Ryan is actually "off" for two weeks from all activities. Football abruptly ended due to the heavy rains last week. I think he prefers to stay busy, but within a week, he will be going strong again.
And then there is Brady. He isn't walking or standing on his own. Don't let that fool you though. The boy is crazy busy. This week when I was up brushing my teeth before school, Olivia yelled to me that Brady climbed up our stairs and was coming for me. What?!!? He has grabbed his share of items on the end tables, rips toilet paper to shreds in no time, and digs through the garbage. I am having flashbacks to baby Ryan. He also eats like a horse.
Brady is also quite possibly the most friendly baby I know. The child wakes up smiling daily. I need to stop and realize how lucky we are. Most days I stress over money, time, and other stuff. Seriously though, we are dang lucky. Now if only that luck would come in the form of WARM weather again.
I so don't like winter.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two peas in a pod

Of our four children, Olivia is the one who seems the most like me.
Here is why:
1. Olivia talks non-stop. I tell her that all the time. My dad used to tell me (in his loving way of course) that I never shut up.
2. Olivia is the pickiest eater I know. I was always the pickiest eater.
3. My dad and I clicked early on. I learned that with my dad, I could...well...influence his decisions more than the other people in our family. Olivia is the same way. Thad is getting wrapped tighter and tighter around her chubby four year old finger.
4. Olivia is funny. I have been told I have a good sense of humor.
5. Olivia loves music. I love music. She can take any song on the radio, and start singing the lyrics in no time.
6. She has a good memory for things. I have a good memory.
7. She is friendly to everyone she encounters. I have always been very outgoing.
8. She is such a little ragamuffin. My bet is that I was too.
9. Olivia tries to make the best excuses as to why she can't clean. I mastered that at a young age.
10. Olivia calls it as she sees it. I call it as I see it.
11. She is a tough cookie, but it doesn't take much to have her feelings hurt. Ditto for me.
12. The final reason??? My best friend Stephanie who spent more time with me than anyone else as a child met her last year. After five minutes Steph said, "She is a Bonnie junior. She has to be in the center of attention doesn't she?"
Enough said.

Monday, October 5, 2009

From Olivia

A little humor for you:

Me: "Olivia you are an angel sent from heaven above."

Olivia: "You're a carrot."

The other night at dinner as we were saying grace...

Olivia: "Uncle Jesus be our guest..."

Me: "Honey it's not Uncle Jesus, it's Come Lord Jesus..."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Party time!

He could have cared less about the presents, cake, company, or anything else. But boy did Brady have a nice first birthday party!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Whatever happened

to good old family television? Now I consider myself a very open-minded person, but I have a beef with the lack of family shows these days. Thad and I were discussing this the other night. Remember all the good shows we grew up on? Family Ties, Growing Pains, Who's the Boss, The Brady Bunch, Little House on the Prairie, Facts of Life, and The Cosby Show were shows that I watched weekly. That may seem like a lot of television, but they were good shows. Each episode taught me something. They were appropriate for me to watch. They were funny. Why is this so hard to replicate in the 21st century?
There aren't any shows (that I can think of) out there today that a) are good, b) have your standard nuclear family, and c) are appropriate for the entire family to watch. I have no problem with single parent households, gay couples raising kids, or any of that. It's reality. But is it so wrong to have a show on television--network television--to promote this?
Let's take the Disney Channel for example. They are geared toward young kids or 'tweens' if you will. The problem is that the acting is horrible, the kids are constantly undermining one another, being rude and disrespectful to adults, and seem to have no point.
Last year we tried to watch a tv show together as a family. The only show we found was The Cosby Show...on TV LAND!
I want my kids to have their Elise Keaton, Cliff Huxtable, Mike and Carol Brady, Charles Ingalls, Mrs. Garrett to look up to. They loved their children dearly, yet had rules, expectations, and even consequences for poor decisions. I loved Mallory, Alex, Blair, Mike, Carol, Laura, Marsha, Jan, and Cindy. I also loved those parents. It's a shame that my kids don't have that at all.
These are just my two cents, and I am curious to know if any of you out there have found a decent show. For now I will stick to enjoying (by myself no less) The Hills (even though I gave it up when LC left), Sex and the City (awesome show, but not for kids) reruns, Larry King Live, and any other pointless show.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

One year

One year ago....
--I would never have posted many of these pictures of me. I was so swollen! Now, I realize it's all part of the gift of pregnancy.
--I was ready to scream I was so irritable
--I wasn't even sure I would be induced on the first. I had to be checked at 4pm on the 30th to see if I was ready.
--I had no idea that my entire labor (including putting in the pitocin drip, breaking my water, etc) would be four hours.
--I was frightened because my epidural wasn't working. The baby was coming too fast.
--The nurse anesthetist who gave me my epidural is a friend. Her husband and I teach together. She bailed when she realized the baby was coming!
--I remember feeling sad that it all happened so fast. The baby was in my arms, and I felt like it was a dream that I woke up too early from.
--After three hours of having no name, I let Thad name our fourth and final baby...for the fourth time.
--One year ago the flood of feelings, tears, emotions, and most of all love swept me off my feet again.

A year later:
--Other than the throwing up business, I would STILL have ten more kids if we could afford it. I have always said that.
--I am sad to realize that I will never have my own baby to snuggle with, sits still in my arms, and nurses.
--I now have a baby who throws everything, flips his head back when he cries, freaks out when I change his diaper, wakes up at night just to know where are there, rips up his siblings' books and homework, gets into everything, laughs uncontrollably, makes a mess, and is incredibly happy.,
Happy Birthday Brady! Your mommy loves you more than you could ever imagine!