Monday, June 28, 2010


I am wrapping up day two of my summer seminar. In a word, all I can say is WOW. I am learning so much, and appreciating things more and more. Some things I have learned in no order:
1. Being a white southerner is a burden. Many people (myself included) assume they are racist. Just because you are born in a region doesn't mean that.
2. We northerners will be way more open with comments. Southerners don't dare say anything that might be misconstrued as being racist.
3. Virgina is beautiful. The trees and greenery is amazing!
4. Rivers are used for recreation like our lakes are.
5. We went to two plantations today. They were gorgeous. When asking the tour guides about slave quarters at two separate sites, they both barely answered our question. That was shocking as the slaves were their number one source of revenue.
6. We toured the Henricus settlement. It was the second American settlement after Jamestown and very successful.
7. I now know what a tobacco plant looks like.
8. I have done a poor job (in my opinion) in explaining early American history in terms of everything.
9. Okay this one is crazy. Did you know that the pineapple is the southern symbol for hospitality? Seriously what???? Yes it is even on the roof of plantations as a sign of welcoming everyone.
10. I was at the plantation (and also a site of a major Civil War battle) where the tune Taps was created.

Okay that's about it for now. I desperately miss my family. I even shed a few tears last night over them. Kate lost her other front tooth and I got teary when Thad send me the picture. Ahh I am lame. But, I know this is such a good experience for me. Experiencing history is far more enriching than reading about it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Institute

This is where I am going tomorrow for the until late Thursday night. The seminar I am partaking in is called The South in American History. If you really were interested, you could go to their page titled Summer Seminars and check it out.
It's going to be a busy and intense week. I look forward to seeing and studying the southern perspective from early settlement to the present. Let's face it, us Yankees really don't fully understand the southern culture. I hope to be able to learn more about it, and more importantly, be a better teacher.
To date, my stereotypes on the south tend to be that many are (VERY generally speaking): rednecks, racist, white supremacists, twangy, bitter over losing the Civil War, and yet very religious and conservative people. I know I am wrong. I know that I shouldn't judge so harshly. I hope to walk in the shoes of the southern perspective.

Other than that, my life is in a bit of a rut. I am constantly running errands to get life back on track before I leave again. Thad has been working longs hours on a few trials. We are both stressed. Travel baseball has been time consuming.

If I can, I hope to post a little bit from Richmond. Oh, even though I am leaving tomorrow, I am spending the night with my friends Ryan and Kara in D.C. I have a long history with both of these people: elementary/high school classmates and fellow Kohls employee. And they happen to be a part of our Vegas group.

Wish me luck as I am about to go further out of my comfort zone than ever. I am one of 28 teachers in this group. I know no one. I am not sure what they will feed us (gasp!). I think it will be a great learning experience.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh Brady

See this adorable boy? He sure gets into mischief.Take for example just an hour ago....
I heard a noise in the kitchen, so I went to see what he was up to. I found these noodles in the garbage, and (look behind him).....

He was proudly working on his daily cooking project.

Sometimes he just has to look at what he does.

But it's also fun to stir it up.

Then he went in the pantry, got out the broom, and began strewing noodles across the floor.


Saturday, June 19, 2010


Ryan is on two baseball teams this summer. He is on "in house" Babe Ruth, and he also plays on a travel team. The pictures above are from his first travel tournament. I consider myself very lucky, because I am friends with a dad who has an excellent camera. He took ninety pictures of Ryan for me this weekend alone. He did the same for the girls during the ice show and Ryan's track meet. I have my fingers crossed that our boys play on the same hockey team next year.
Ryan usually pitches. Sometimes he is in short stop. I had the pleasure of watching Ryan's games recently kid free! Thad stayed home with the kids. I couldn't believe how much I got to take in! Last night, because Thad is on call and can't leave the county, Ryan and I went to Grand Forks for a tournament. When we pulled in, it began raining. The wind was 30 mph with gusts much higher. It was horrid to say the least. During the second game, Ryan and a few boys were playing 500. Don't ask me what that means. They were throwing it really high into the air. Someone got into Ryan's way (that or the wind took it), and he was smacked right in the eye with the baseball. I saw him hit the ground, but I thought he was playing. Then again, that's not Ryan's style. Intuition took over and I ran as fast as I could. He had tears coming down one cheek. His hand covered his eye. When he took it off, I about lost my breath. His eye was swelled shut. It was scary. Luckily the coaches and parents got ice right away. We left early.
He really wanted to play today. Ryan said last night, "Let's go to the doctor. They can stick a needle in my eye and suck out the blood. Then I will be able to play." That's my Ryan.

This morning once the sun came out, I drove all the kids back up to Grand Forks to watch his team win.
I tell you what. This watching your child get hurt business is no fun. He's only ten. I can only imagine what the next ten years have in store for us.

Next up: a little bit about my trip to Chicago and my upcoming trip to Richmond, VA. As much as I love to travel, I hate talking about it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The party

Kate's party couldn't have gone any better. The ribbon flip flops were a huge hit. Coming from a woman who teachers and hears continual phrases like: "What do we do, I don't get it, and whaaat," I expected this to take awhile. Each girl made her own beautiful pair of Spud flip flops in no time.
The real hit of the party however, was Julia, my friend through hockey. Her brother and Ryan play on the same team. She came over with her HUGE supply of nail polish and nail pens. Each girl (and Brady and I) got a beautiful polish job with decorative art on our toes. It was a fun hour and a half. (That's the other secret--keep parties short and sweet!)

This has been an otherwise very stressful week. I am in a seminar all week for the Teach American History Grant I am a part of. On Sunday I leave early to head to the cities. Later that day, our group of 30 is flying to Chicago until late Wed. to see the historical aspects of the city.
So, my summer 'vacation' hasn't begun. In fact, until I return from Richmond, VA, on July 1, it won't start. I have lots of reading to do.
On top of that, Thad has worked every night for a week due to trials. He has been in court, preparing for trials, and even has to miss his grandpa's funeral that was scheduled three months ago because he has not finished testifying. Nice huh?
While sitting in a seminar all week, I have been putting out several fires on the homefront. Without getting into it, I am spent dealing with Ryan. He is aging me faster than I can relate.

Using my blog to complain isn't cool, but I had to. I am just about at my wit's end with everything right now....leaving Sunday is more stressful than it is exciting.
Okay, I'll shut up. Enjoy the pictures!
PS: Brady's toes are blue.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Kate is eight!

That was a dorky rhyme, I know, but eight years ago today (at 6:20pm to be exact), I became a mother for the second time. It was my first girl. She was my longest labor. My body wasn't ready to have her, but with Thad's bizarro work schedule, the doctor agreed to induce me. So today I am reminiscing...
We had spent the entire night up with a restless two and a half year old. He finally complained around 5am that his ear hurt. Duh an ear infection! So we gave him medicine and drifted off to sleep for about an hour.
The day was long. I was exhausted, and at one point, the doctor said that if I didn't dialate a little, he would send me home. That must have scared me enough to get my cervix going, because once my water was broken around 3pm, it went quickly. I got an epidural around 4pm, felt pressure around 5:30, and out she came a bit later. My doctor needed two pages to come. I remember harassing him about that, because that had been on an episode of ER. Dr. ? missed her page and someone died....anyway out she came. A girl! I was thrilled.
The was covered in what the nurses called "God's lotion." She wasn't as beautiful as Ryan was. I know that's sad to admit, but I honestly recall thinking, "Hmmmm she looks different than what I thought she/he would look like." Grandpa Wayne instantly started his "Katie has beautiful ears" comments. Yes they stick out. Okay anyway....
A few other thoughts....
1. I thought it was quite difficult to go from one to two kids. I was so worried about Ryan that it was overwhelming.
2. Of all my babies, I had the most post partum depression. I was exhausted. I became a hermit in my house. I didn't want to go outside. It didn't last long, but I remember just feeling blue.
3. I was a spaz about nursing her. Ryan never took to it, and I tried so hard for it to work. I am so thankful it did. There is nothing like that special connection you feel to your baby while nursing. If you didn't nurse, that is totally fine, but since I did both, I preferred it immensely.
4. (I have to just put a little "until recently" comment prior to this, because Kate has become a major diva, spaz, mouthy little girl lately--thanks Dad for that btw.) Kate is such a kind hearted, sweet, caring, sensitive, emotional, and easy child. I have told her many times that she is the reason I had babies #3 and #4. She was every thing Ryan was/is not: compliant, affectionate, and obediant. I was so at ease in her presence. On the flip side she is: whiny, helpless, not driven to do things, and flighty. So don't go thinking she is easy in every way...just in a different way.

I look at her and I still remember her pooping (at two weeks old) all over our new expensive comforter and ruining it. I remember her vomiting all over me at 8 months old due to what turned out to be a nasty bout of rotavirus I remember when she first pooped on the potty as Ryan and I cheered her on. "There's a montster coming out of my butt mommy!" she said.
I remember her sobbing for about 30 minutes the day Hope was born. We were driving home from the hospital. She was so hurt, because some girl sat with her on the bus, and her normal seatmate was angry with her.
She is becoming more and more confident with time. She is still shy, a rule follower, a nurturer, and a fun little girl. Happy Birthday to my sweet Kate!

PS: Her friend party is on Sunday. Pictures and an account of the chaos will follow.