Thursday, December 30, 2010

Belated Merry Christmas and How Things Have Changed

Merry Christmas to you all! I am completely enjoying vacation. My brother came home on the 22nd and left yesterday because of the weather. I am napping, reading and hanging out with my kids. They are so much fun to be with. The kids had a good Christmas, got a lot of gifts and are tolerating each other well. I got a Kindle, which is super cool and spent Christmas at- wait for it... MY DAD'S!! We went out there on Christmas day for lunch. It was the most delicious meal I have had for as long as I can remember. During vacation I've noticed some things that have changed over the years.
1. Apparently "sick" said like, "Si-ick!" means "cool, or great". When I was a teen "si-ick" meant stupid, corny, dorky, throwing up, having a hang-over or a fever. Noah declared all of his Christmas gifts as "si-ick and I don't think they qualify as what I called "si-ick."
2. Awesome. Awesome is an over used word and it makes me cringe as much now as it did when I was in college. In the mid-90's people said "awesome" to over emphasize they are too enthusiastic, therefore making them "si-ick" (dorky). I vividly remember one professor who would say "awesome" all of the time and she was a huge kook! Now, grown-ups, kids, and grand-parents say "awesome" all of the time. I hate the word "awesome".
3. Leopard print leggings. Three years ago if I told you, "the woman was wearing leopard print leggings..." What would you picture? Truly... Don't be all politically correct. You probably are picturing a trashy woman who is dressing "fancy" or a person much too heavy for leggings making them look like tights. I know I am too heavy for leggings, therefore I do not attempt to wear them. I also know I am not a fashion template by any means, but even I know if you weigh more than 105 pounds and look younger than 30, you should never, ever wear patterned leggings. Today I watched Regis and Kelly, and guess what's hot for the new year?- Yep- Leopard print leggings. Guess those girls really did hit it big.
4. Walmart still makes me go "hmmm" I know the dropping prices are tempting, but I found a lot of items are the same or even cheaper at Target- and made with better quality. Sometimes I wonder if sock companies have a "Walmart" way of making them and the "everyone else" way. I bought 2 package of socks, one for Ethan and one for Noah. Both were Fruit of the Loom, but Noah's was from Target and not worn out, Ethan's was from Walmart and came out of the package half way worn out. Also, Walmart 'managers' are scared to work. I asked someone to open the game case to get one and she had to track someone down and apologizing profusely for making that person walk all the way over- six feet- to the game aisle. Later my checkout lady noticed someone left her bag and the lady left to track them down. The 'manager' was standing three feet away and wouldn't finish checking my items. Weird huh?
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and the New Year Brings you everything you want!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas Letter

Someone- who shall be nameless, but he's a grown-up, said, "That Christmas letter is stupid." So to avoid judgement from some people AKA- My dad's wife- I will put it on my blog so the people who love me and are judge free can enjoy...

Tis the season! I’m a little bit surprised I got Christmas cards out on time. It took a lot of bribing and begging to get the kids to “dress up” also-known-as “getting out of your Jammies”. This year was pretty good to us. We took a family trip to Wisconsin Dells in early June. My brother Paul came home for about three weeks during the summer to help celebrate my dad and step-mom’s 75 birthdays. It was fun to see my cousins at dad's party as well as Henrietta’s kids. Apparently my step-brother and I are running in the 2012 Presidential Election. We are sponsored by the Miller Brewing Company. My sister Debbie came home for a week in September just in time for Ethan’s birthday. Noah is in the fifth grade at Robert Asp. He’s busy with K-Kids (a service learning group), and his various sports. He played Babe Ruth, as well as Traveling Baseball last summer. Paul happened to be home during Noah’s first tournament. It was raining, 60 degrees, and a 35 mile and hour wind. Paul made the comment if it was raining, or a 35 mile and hour wind in Arizona people would lock themselves in their homes. In Minnesota we say, “Rain, 60 degrees, and 35 mile and hour wind? It’s TIME FOR BASEBALL!!” I spent much of that tournament searching for a Scheel’s to buy jackets and sweatshirts. Noah also played football in the fall, and now he plays on a traveling basketball team. I personally prefer basketball the most. Ethan is in second grade. He loves school and his teacher. He played t-ball last summer (actually played- didn’t write his name in the dirt or make sand piles!)And flag football in the fall. Thankfully he didn’t break any bones this year, but those experiences didn’t slow him down any. One day I came home from school and noticed a bright pink highlighter on the roof. I asked Ethan why there was a highlighter on the roof and his answer was, “Well, I had to get my backpack down SOMEHOW…” Scott is still at the RDO business office doing the accounting for several stores all over the USA. I am still holding out hope he can be in charge of the Hawaii store so we can have a reason to go there. I switched schools this year. Roosevelt, in North Fargo, is experiencing dropping enrollment, where as Kennedy is busting at the seams. I elected to go to the school that has a more consistent enrollment, and had a third grade opening. This also means a much bigger class size than I am used to. At first it was a bit of culture shock. I went from having 8 teachers total at my school, to more than 65 teachers. I still see people at school and wonder who they are and what they do there. Sometimes for fun I just make up jobs for them in my head. It’s kind-of weird, I “created’ about six new third grade teachers, but my class size hasn’t any gotten smaller… Because change is never easy, the beginning of the year was a little hard. I was pretty worried that my class would chip away at all of my hopes and dreams, but after a lot of hard work they’ve really turned out to be a great class! Abby is still a beautiful princess. She had a bought of running away every Sunday, but has decided to stay home. Max is still a good boy. He is scared of everyone and is pretty sure he’s not a dog but a real boy. Sam broke his foot on Thanksgiving and is all better now. He’s the smartest one of them all. Who knew? At this point I wish I could freeze time. I’d keep Noah a responsible 10-year-old, and Ethan as a sweet 8-year-old who thinks his family is his hero. We are truly blessed. We hope 2011 brings you joy, good health, and happiness!


Scott, Sara, Noah and Ethan Fairifeld

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving and Something to Worry About?

I am so thankful for my family and friends, and my home and job. I am especially thankful for my family of four. Without any of them, I'd be lost and have no purpose. I'd like to take a minute to talk about what they've taught me. (These are in opposite order because the blog photo thing didn't cooperate.)
Sammy was the "unplanned" event in out lives. We did not look for, nor want a third dog. However, he turned out to be what we were missing- even though we didn't know it. Our lives would be less messy, chaotic, or loud without him, but also a lot less fun. Sam is the mixed-up-mutt- liquor dog. But he is also the smartest and most gentle one in the house. Sam taught me not all rash decisions are bad ones, and it's good to think with your heart instead of your head sometimes.

Max- I am so thankful for Max because with him I feel like I have a baby or toddler without the complications that go along with it. He is so cuddly and simple. Maxie's not too smart, but he's OK with it. He loves his mama very much. He's taught me what it feels like to be the most important person in the room.

I am thankful for Abby. She taught me how to not only put up with a dog but love them. I didn't like or want a dog until we saw her as a puppy. I grew up loathing dogs and I thought all "dog people" were needy and crazy. She started my collection. She is so sweet. She taught me that no matter what I look like, how I feel, how much weight I've gained, or the mistakes I've made someone will love me.

Ethan- I love him. He is my baby. He is so cuddly and sweet. I asked him the other day what a perfect world would look like and he said "every one in it would be just like you." He is just like me on most days. Happy when he's doing something he likes, cautious and cynical most of the time. He is so smart and loves Noah and his puppies with his whole heart! He's taught me to taker a closer look at my own flaws before wanting to "fix" others.
Noah- I am so thankful for him. He has always been, and still is such a great kid. He's always happy, and sweet, respectful and responsible, smart and thoughtful. He is the most caring kid I've ever met. I love him so much. The minute he was born, I knew my purpose in life was to be a mom. He's made it a wonderful job. He is such a great big brother. He is what I strive to be as a person. Noah taught me what it feels like to love someone with your whole heart. A child really is the meaning of unconditional love.

Things I'm worried about:
Sammy is still limping. He went to the vet on Friday and had an x-ray. The vet said he just sprained his paw or pulled a muscle. He was fine on Saturday. All day Sunday and today he's been limping. I made an appointment for him on Wednesday. It doesn't seem to bother him because he's just as playful- but gimpier.
Ethan worries me. His teacher told me he is a loner. Every day I ask him who he played with and he always "forgets". His teacher said he prefers to work alone, color, write or draw at his desk during free time and swings at recess. I asked him about it and he said, "Well, I like to work alone because the others bring me sown. Like they are silly or make me slow." He shrugged when I asked why he doesn't play with kids at free time. He thinks swinging next to someone is playing with them. Last spring at his "track meet" all of the other kids ignored their parents and ran around with each other while Ethan hung around with his dad and me. I'd tell hi to play with his friends, but he'd always gravitate back to me. Last weekend Scott took Noah and a friend and Ethan and a friend sledding. Ethan only wanted to play with Noah. Didn't do hardly anything with his friend. I asked him why and he said, "Well, I only wanted to go with Noah. YOU wanted me to invite Justin. He doesn't like to sled fast like me." That may be true, but still wouldn't he rather socialize? I don't get it. I asked him if he's ever lonely. He said, "Only when I sleep." He tells me he has lots of friends, but just can't remember their names. He's turned down play dates because it would mean getting out of his jammies. I'm so worried he'll grow up to be a loner and be lonely his whole life. He prefers Noah first, the dogs second, then his dad and I. What will he do when we're not there? Don't get me wrong- I'd LOVE for him to live with his mama forever, but will that make him happy? I want grandchildren and Noah will probably marry some snotty girl who will walk all over him because he's too nice to tell her to stop. She'll probably keep me from seeing those grandchildren. Today as I was going through Ethan's backpack and pondering whether I should be worried about him or not, I saw his latest writing project. He was supposed to write a new ending for Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. He wrote, "The bears broght Goldilocks to the bus station so she could go home. She got on the wrong bus and went to Alaska where some bears malled her. That was because she was notty to the 3 bears. The End" Now I think I have a new thing to worry over about Ethan...
I better go play with him before he breaks out the imaginary friends.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Poor Sam

Last night Sam-alamba ding-dong went to bed with Noah like always. A few hours later, he came limping out of Noah's room. He wouldn't put any weight on his left front paw or even put it down. I gave him puppy pain reliever and went to bed. This morning he was still limping. Poor Sammy. Scott took him to the vet and he had an x-ray. $150.00 later, we found out it was sprained. He must have landed wrong when he jumped off Noah's bed. As I write this he is starting to put some weight on it.
Well today is Black Friday. Last night I spent ten minutes explaining to Ethan what Black Friday is. He kept saying, "I don't get it..." Either it is too foreign of a concept for an 8-year-old, or it was a good way to delay bedtime. I didn't get up at the crack of dawn, but did go shopping in the early afternoon. I still got great deals. I'm done with two people on my list , bought myself a sweater, and got Samadoodle a pet bed. I ran into tons of people I know, so that was fun. Earlier this week the kids and I decided we would decorate for Christmas today. However, all of us are opting to "chill" instead. Now Noah says, "Christmas stuff already?" I have a bad cold, and Ethan wants to do it himself. Speaking of Christmas, I asked the kids what they want from Santa. Ethan is asking for "Lazar Tag" which is $400.00. Noah is asking for an iPod Touch which is North of 200.00. I told Ethan that Santa doesn't believe in fostering violence, and Noah that Santa could never "make" and iPod Touch in his workshop. Noah later told Scott that he suspected that Santa isn't real. He said it's because his friend got her Santa gift in a Walmart bag last Christmas. Great. I purposely buy special wrapping paper every year that is just used as Santa wrap so the kids don't get suspicious and now this girl's lazy mom spilled the beans to my baby. This makes me sad in so many ways. I would have gladly continued the Santa charade well into college, and after he has his own kids. I asked the kids if they want to see Santa. Ethan said he wants to write to Santa instead. That ends an era for me. For the past 10 years we have gone to Santa's Village. I love Santa's Village. Why are they growing up so fast?! I thought about having Santa write back. His letter to Ethan will be;
Dear Ethan,
You have been such a good boy this year and your teacher says you are doing well in school. I bet your mom is glad you help out out with the dogs. I can't create Lazar Tag in my workshop, but I'm sure I will find something you will like. Stay your mom's sweet innocent little boy. Never stop believing.
Love, Santa

Noah's would be;
Dear Noah,
You should have continued to believe, now it's your loss buddy.

I clearly remember the Christmas my mom told me there was no Santa. I was in Kindergarten-5-Years-Old!! Are you kidding me Claudia? I was your last chance of having a "baby" forever. I came along late, as a tag-along, and you treated me like I was 10 years older right out of the womb. She told me at Christmas Eve Supper. I cried and cried. I even got up Christmas morning at the crack of dawn and ran to the tree hoping she was wrong. Christmas was never the same for me after the ripe old age of 5. It lost its magic. You know the song, "Where are you Christmas? Why Can't I Find You..." I could have written that during my Kindergarten nap time. I didn't have the Christmas Spirit until I had my own kids and they believed in Santa. Now "Mrs. To Lazy to Put a Gift in a Gift Bag" wrecked that. At least Ethan still believes. So I better quick hide all of the Walmart bags...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back to College

Today we had a field trip to the planetarium at MSU. As we drove through campus, I pointed out for my students where the library was, where I ate when I lived on campus, my dorm, where I hung out, etc... It was so nostalgic. As we walked into the building where the planetarium is, the smell, look and feel of college life hit me like a racing time machine. I was instantly transformed back 17 years. I walked taller, felt excited and eager for the future. Then I realized not only are the 24 loud, short people with me, but I'm in charge of them. For a split second I was transformed back. During the entire presentation, I kept dreaming about my college life. It as though there I was still in astronomy class fighting to stay awake, questioning why I decided a class where they turn out the lights would be a good choice for 8:00 am, and dreaming of what it will be like when I someday bring my class to the planetarium. It's kind-of ironic that I spent so much time daydreaming in astronomy of bringing my students there someday that today, when I did, I kept daydreaming of my old life. I was so young and hopeful, my future was so bright, and I had so many wonderful options. I was sure of myself, happy and so very naive. Sitting there today I realized that was half my lifetime ago, but it seems like yesterday. Now I'm old, the path I took says my future is be a teacher 'til I die because we won't have any retirement by then, and I'm wishing I was naive. I kept wondering, if I could go back would I? Hell YES! In a heartbeat!!! In college all I wanted was a regular job I liked and it always ended at a certain time, now I miss the freedom from responsibility. I miss being "top of my game" in every aspect of my life. Would I go back and change things? I don't know. That's a lot harder. Up until that point I only did two things I regretted. If I could go back to 1993 knowing what I know now, I'm not sure what I'd chose to change. I wouldn't have taken English 103 with Dr. Short, or Personalities with Dr. Nic... something because even though he taught a class called personalities- he didn't have one. I wouldn't have wasted my time with the whole "I'm and artist/speech therapist/gym teacher" (I know where did THAT one come from?) phase. I defiantly wouldn't have driven my Cavalier up and down hills in the lakes area being she was too tired and timid for it, and I really would not have bought the Cutlass (Do they even MAKE those anymore- maybe my letter writing campaign worked!). I would have spend more time with my mom and made sure she felt like I thought it was an honor, and not a burden. I wouldn't have lived in a basement apartment- or would have moved before it flooded. All of my decisions and paths taken lead to my two boys and me teaching 3rd grade in Fargo. Those I would never change for a minute.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Am, I Think, I Know

I am: wishing it were summertime.
I think: I should start doing my weekend cleaning.
I know: that I want to change lots of things about myself.
I want: to go on vacation!
I have: no tatoos or body piercings
I dislike: when people use religion as an excuse to be super judgemental.
I miss: my boys being babies
I fear: mascots and clowns. And mimes. And my children being seriously hurt or sick.
I feel: oversensitive at times
I hear: not so well on my left side
I smell: good?
I crave: happiness
I search: through my closet and drawers all the time. I can’t keep track of my stuff.
I wonder: what work out routine I could do that would stick
I regret: making rash decisions
I love: sleep.
I care: too much for my own good.
I am always: reading
I worry: about everything
I remember: nothing. I have to write stuff down
I have: not enough time
I dance: with my kids or when I get ready in the morning
I sing: all the time…even for my students. They pretend to like it.
I don’t always: have patience although I try to.
I argue: very rarely, only if provoked, or if it's a cause I feel strongly about.
I write: texts and emails a lot
I lose: track of time on facebook
I wish: That I had super powers.
I listen: to my children. And Pandora! I love pandora
I don't understand: cruelty
I can usually be found: at home, work, or at Target.
I am scared: Of snakes
I need: to change a lot of things
I forget: where my pop is all of the time
I am happy: that I have a four day weekend!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

How Did You Spend Your Extra Hour?

Late last night daylight saving time started. We "fall" back an hour on our clock. I was so excited all week because this meant I'd get an extra hour for the weekend. The options on how to spend it were limitless! I decided I was going to spend that hour doing things I WANTED to do, not HAD to do- something that is a huge gift for me. I was not going to clean, do laundry, drive children anywhere, cook, or did I mention cleaning?? I thought about sleeping, but I didn't want to waste my hour and it seems I hate getting up at 6:00 in the morning on the week days, but can't stay in bed past 6:10 on weekends. This is how I spent it...
-30 seconds trying to figure out what the flashing red light is across the golf course- it's a cell phone tower.
-A minute and a half going pee.
-8 minutes looking up, reading the direction, and contemplating performing mouth to snout resuscitation on Abby due to her wheezing and running to me for help.
-10 minutes petting and talking to Abby telling her she's a princess and princesses don't rub their butt across the carpet.
- 17 minutes teaching Ethan how to play Black Jack. He won.
- 13 minutes reading the back covers of my book collection to determine which book I should read next.
- 45 seconds realizing conferences start next week, and I'm NOT SICK! YAY- but I do still have my awful headaches.
- 8 minutes trimming the split ends off my hair, and trying to decide if it looks uneven.
- 1 minute caring that my hair looks uneven in the back.
And then my hour was up and I cleaned the bathroom. Seriously. I know I don't nasty up the bathroom in a matter of four days. I am quite sure it's the BOYS- mostly the grown-up one that gets it so gross. I think maybe HE should use the downstairs bathroom. Now I know why growing up my mom and dad had her bathroom and his bathroom. -Or the girls and boys as I called it. I hope you spent your extra hour doing what you want.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


This week I had the boys' conferences. Both kids are doing well. Noah is smart and well behaved. I'm not that impressed with his fifth grade teacher. He seems distracted and a bit of a slacker. I think he'd be a good "on-line" professor where he doesn't have to talk to the students, or teach, but instead write the assignment and play on the computer. Ethan is smart, well behaved and a loner. I was surprised, although a part of me wasn't, to hear from Ethan's teacher than he is a bit of a loner. When he can chose to work in a group, he never does- he works alone. He often draws or writes during "free time" rather than socializing. I'm not sure why this surprises me. To Noah, friends are everything. When I was in second grade I would have defiantly leaned over to the social/I wanna work in a group side. However, in college, I was the "work by myself" because I knew even if you work in a group, one person (me) would end up doing all of the work while the rest slacked off. I actually remember one time when I was paired up with two elementary ed. guys in a group. I really drew the short straw that day. Don't get me wrong- there ARE some wonderful men elementary teachers, but the majority that "start" in Elementary ed. do it because it's 95% girls. One of the guys, "Joe" was like that. The other one, "Ben" was like me, a double major- math/El.Ed. Ben and I had a deal. He'd help me decipher my notes in trigonometry and I'd do the work. We would do this as a joint effort- he'd create a "trigonometry for dummy's diagram" while I did the project at the same time in the library. Joe didn't show up or do any of the project so when I handed it in, I only put mine and Ben's name on it. When Joe found out he totally freaked out! I remember him yelling at me so close that he was spitting on me and I was sure he was going to punch me. To make my long story longer- I learned not to work in groups if given the chance. Maybe Ethan has already learned that lesson. Ethan's been so funny lately. The other day I came home and the boys were playing basketball. I was watching them and I saw a bright pink marker on the roof. I asked, "Ethan, Why is there a pink marker on the roof?" "I had to get my back pack down SOMEHOW!"
The next day we were in the house and he asked if he could go outside. I told him to put on a sweatshirt first. He skipped down to his room. An hour later he was still in his room playing. I asked him, "I thought you were going outside?" "Oh, ya. I forgot." Last week was a short week for the kids. I told him he should ask a boy in his class if he wanted to come over during the days off. On Monday Ethan forgot, Tuesday he forgot again. I told him he had to ask on Wednesday or he can't come over because we don't know his phone number. In Wednesday I asked Ethan if he asked the little boy if he wanted to come over, "I couldn't find him! He usually wears green, but he wore gray today." I said, "Really? He's in your class right?" "Yep". I guess gray is the new camouflage.
I don't want to jinx it- but my head-aches have mostly gone away. It turns out all I needed to do was keep a log of them. Huh. Now my new problem is involuntary twitching of my good thumb. I'll be holding a book or something and unless my thumb is totally straight or bent, it twitches. It freaks me out a little bit. I've just been keeping it straight.
I've decided the Swiss are lucky. They've got the army knives, cheese, Miss...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Martha (NOT Sara) Stewart

One of my friends is a home-ecky Becky and she gets the Martha Steward magazine. Apparently when she re-newed her subscription, she could send a "free 3-month-trial" to a friend. I am that friend. I flipped through it today. There is a calendar of "to dos" that I found kind-of funny, and mirrored my own to-do list. I can't remember all of Martha's but here is the gist.
October 1- Make nice warm homemade potato soup with fresh venison (my version- Eat some warm potato soup from Bennigans)
October 2- Consider harvesting the remainder of your tomatoes. (Mine- decide tomatoes are too "tomato-y" and take them off my food list)
October 3- Pick fresh pears for canning. (Mine- laugh at people who pick their own pears to can 'cuz you can get a can of canned pears at CashWise for .89 cents)
October 4- Go apple picking, set some aside for apple sauce, apple pies, and apple crisp. Set the large ones aside for caramel apples and bobbing for apples later in the month (mine- get hungry for apples and go by some at the store)
October 5- Finish pickling your cucumbers from your garden. (Mine- Pickles come from cucumbers?)
October 6- Take your dogs to the groomer to get a fall "spruce-up" (mine- brush Abby since she's the only one who won't run away when I brush them).
October 7- Take out your Halloween decorations and add new gourds and baby pumpkins to your decor. (mine- Hee hee- Silly Martha- pumpkins don't have babies).
October 8- Choose a pattern to make a festive Halloween costume. (Mine- My kids are going to dress like Hobos- all they need is their dad's mow-the-lawn clothes.)
October 9- Winterize your garden with your hoe. (Mine- The only hoe I know would never winterize her garden)
October 10- Create a fall wreath using eucalyptus, fall flowers and crab apples. (Mine- I used all of the crab apples to throw at the neighbor kids)
October 11- Arrange for a fun family portrait take in the fall foliage. (Mine- remember that I was running late on the kids' first day of school and neglected to take their "first day" pictures. - Re-in-act their first day of school and take a picture.
October 12- Visit a pumpkin patch- remember the video recorder. (Mine- Have your aunt deliver you pumpkins from her garden.)
October 13- Enjoy some delicious Apple cider. (Mine- Enjoy some delicious SPIKED Apple cider).
October14- Get a haircut for a fresh fall look. (Mine- cut your bangs you are growing out as you tell yourself "I should never cut my own bangs")
October 15- Get your flu shot. (Mine- Take a shot at the local bar)
October 16- Make some wonderful pumpkins squares. (Mine- you can make pumpkins become a square?)
October 17- Make a delicious yam stew. (Mine- throw all the left overs in the fridge in the crock pot, turn it on and call it supper).
October 18- Sew a fun Holiday vest or smock. (Mine- really? What's a smock and who'd wear one?)
October 19- Enjoy time by the fire snuggled up with a loved one. (Mine- OK- that one isn't so bad)
October 20- Go on a hay ride. (Mine- Are you kidding? It's a school night! And- the sun goes down at 6:00 in the frozen tundra of the north).
October 21- Finalize the guest list for your Halloween party. (Mine- Halloween is on a Sunday right?)
October 22- Watch Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin (Mine- Sally's voice makes me want to stick pins in my ears and Charlie Brown is annoying and pathetic).
October 23- Make home made duck pot pie. (Mine- mmmm. pot pie)
October 24- Start getting the treats ready for trick or treaters (Mine- really? If you wait that long all of the good candy will be gone).
October 25- Make a festive garland with mini marshmallows and cranberries. (Mine- Why?)
October 26- Sew festive Halloween place mats for the ghouls and goblins. (Mine- I don't invite ghouls and goblins to my table)
October 27- Make 2 dozen caramel apples. (Mine- Get a caramel shake from the DQ)
October 28- Make popcorn balls with a dash of honey and crasins (Mine-eat popcorn, and what's with the cranberries?)
October 29- Volunteer at a child's school Halloween party (Mine- I do, but it's not voluntarily)
October 30- Put the finishing touches on your Halloween party. (Mine- collect crab apples that have fallen off the neighbors tree)
October 31- Hand out treats to all of the neighborhood children. (Mine- Get ready to throw crab apples at them when I run out of candy and they try to "trick")

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Headaches

I am pretty sure I have a brain tumor that is related to my itchy foot. Every night I am awaken in the night because my right sole of my foot itches. The part that itches is the outside across from my arch, and it's only on the right foot. The reflexology foot guide says it's my liver, gall bladder, and intestines. I think it's related to my headaches because I also wake up every morning with a headache and that's a symptom of a brain tumor. My headaches last all day. Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Excedrin can't come close to getting rid of it. My magazine said to keep a headache log, so I've started keeping a headache log but THAT'S not getting rid of them.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Funny Kids

I thought I better have a more upbeat post so here it is...
Kids are funny. Ethan's teacher said, "take out your writing and put on your thinking caps."
Ethan- "Oh man... I lost my thinking cap..."

The pants wars have started up again at our house on school days. Ethan has to wear a slim 8 in running pants with a drawstring to "cinch" them up.
Ethan "I need more pants"
Me- "I just bought you eight pairs"
Ethan- "they are too fat"
Me- " You are too scrawny!"
Ethan- "I can't help it if I want to be a football player." What?? I think he is confused.

The other day at school I told the kids to write about their dream vacation. One girl wrote, "I wood go to Hawly. I'd take my hole family. We'd be there for 14 days. It wood be fun." I hope she meant Hawaii and not Hawley- because that would take 14 minutes- if she went slow.

We were drawing self portraits and I had the kids put their thumb on their chin and at the corner of their eye. I told them to freeze the distance on their hand, then move their thumb to the corner of their eye and the finger ends up at the top of their head. I said "That means your eyes are in the (middle)..."
Kid- "In your brain!!"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Ethan!

My baby is eight years old. I still catch myself thinking of him as a young child who likes to be called "honey-bunny", and lists mommy, ice cream, cookies, candy and Baby Einstein as his favorites. Now he looks at me like I'm a nut when I call him Honey-bunny or ask if he wants to cuddle with mommy to watch baby Einstein. He started Second grade this week. I don't want him to be in second grade. I want him to be in Kindergarten. Why can't he just stay little? My happiest days are when he and his brother were babies. There are so many of Ethan's actions and personality traits that mirror my own- for good and bad. He is enthused about writing, reading, and drawing. He likes to be home best of all. He gets stuck in a "food rut"- although I've never had a "hot dog" rut, nor has mine ever lasted 6 years, but the popcorn rut did last five. We have the same sense of humor. We both think the same things are hilariously funny. Noah will give his obligatory chuckle, but Ethan and I will still laugh about it days later. We both really internalize our troubles and only wear our feelings on our sleeve with a very few select people (for me, that list is getting smaller and smaller all of the time). We aren't quick to trust, and maybe too quick to dismiss people, but when we love someone we love them with our whole heart. My pregnancy, delivery and toddler-hood was very different with Ethan than with Noah. I looked sick and exhausted while pregnant with Ethan. My white blood-cells were in the billions when I was pregnant with him, yet I wasn't sick. The labor and delivery were not as peaceful. Seven words- Dropped Me Off at the Hospital and Pitosin. However, when I held that screaming newborn I knew I'd love him forever, even if he landed in jail- which based on both years of his "terrible two's" was a real possibility. Ethan straightened out and he's now a thoughtful, kind, sweet little boy. He's a little more independent than I'd like (he won't even fall for the TRICK of holding my hand anymore), and maybe more of a loner than I can understand, but he's my baby.
Because I am behind on posts, here is what I've been up to:
For the past three weeks I've had a headache. I doesn't go away when I go home from school, go to sleep, or wake up. It is always there. I also have been SO tired. This past week, I went to bed at 8:30 every night. I even had a after work happy hour drink and was home by 7:00 so I could go to bed. The headaches were really concerning me. During the week I blamed it on the fact that I am the only Elementary teacher in Fargo with 25 students!! (By the way there is a North Fargo school that has 2 classes of third grade. One has 11 kids, the other has 12- together they STILL HAVE LESS THAN ME!!!!!) I blamed it on my needy students. I took count and 11 out of 25 have serious issues. Coincidently those 11 are the ones who are always in my face demanding something. The ones without issues are quiet , nice and good students. I even blamed my headaches on the air quality of the brand new building- I am used to the old asbestos filled building, my body is going through asbestos withdrawal. I even contemplated getting a EKG because a teacher from Horace Mann had an aneurysm on Labor Day. She is my age and has two very small children. She was healthy one minute and in an induced coma the next. The aneurysm was close to her brain stem, so she is on machines to keep her alive. They are thinking of slowly weaning her off in the next seven weeks. Who knows what will happen from there. Of course I freaked out because she's so young and healthy, and my mom had a brain aneurysm and they run in families. Well, yesterday I woke up with a horrible sore throat. Today I had a sneaking suspicion that it could be strep being I get it at least four times a year. I went to the "Fast Track" clinic, at the Stanford- Not Meritcare any more clinic. I found myself sucking up to and brown-nosing the doctor. I really felt like death, but I was certain the change of Stanford or Obama's death panels would give the doctor the choice to treat me or not. I thought if I got her to like me, she'd give me medicine. I know it's ridiculous, but the change of Meritcare to Stanford and Obama's plan to change health care scares the crap out of me. Sometimes at night, I wake up and wonder how to go about getting a passport so I can go to Canada to buy some over-the-counter antibiotics in case the doctor just says "no- drink water". The doctor did not in fact say "No medication for you." But, "You have had a headache for how long? And you didn't get seen? You woke up with a fever for two days? You had to rest between taking a shower and combing your hair? You need to drink lots of water, take three of these horse pills a day, and you can not go to work tomorrow." I asked, "What if I'm better tomorrow?" She said, "If you are better, and you go to work you will infect your students, who will in turn re-infect you, or you will push yourself too hard and end up being sicker for much longer- which is why, I suspect you get strep throat four times a year. No work. Stay in bed." OK thank you Meritcare Ooops I mean Stanford doctor...
My thought for the day is more of an observation: MapQuest really should start out on turn #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dog Days Of Summer

The good thing is, the pool is set up and working like a charm. The bad thing is, it's been too cold for the past 6 days to use it. Oh well, during the past six days I spend two of them in the hospital with Noah getting his appendix out, and the other four unpacking my 97 boxes in my new classroom. Noah's main nurse was a neighbor growing up! She told Noah she used to change my diapers when she babysat me as a baby. I love my new room at my new school. It's in an awesome location. It's sized and shaped nicely, there's tons of storage, and everything is shiny bright and still smells like new carpet. However, yesterday as I unpacked I felt I was on the verge of tears the whole time. I think it's the unknown, you know? I don't know if people will like me. Will I "fit in" or always be an outsider looking in? Will the kids and parents be nice? I know NOTHING about any of my students. It's scary. Yesterday I thought, 'I'll never see Andy Panda running up to me with a note pinned to his jacket ever again,' and it made me really sad. I'll never see "Hector" who wrote a note and left it on my chair last year when he was in fourth grade saying "You said I wus smarte. so I wuz." What if no one ever believes in him again and he ends up on the streets? I won't be in my room when he comes back to see me in the fall. I won't be there when Andy Panda comes in and sits down for the first half of the year because that's his routine. Who will tell him, "Andy, look around. There are no other students in here. Is this really your classroom?" I'll never have another Watson child. It was a four year tradition, and I love the Watsons. I also won't get Evie's little sister, and I love Evie and her little sister. This morning I find myself dragging my feet and not wanting to go in and organize, but I have to because in less than a week, the kids are going to show up if I'm ready or not. I haven't found that damn magic wand that will do stuff for me, the genie with three wishes, or the winning lottery ticket, so I guess I better shower and go in. I wish I had one more month of Summer vacation. I'm tired of parents saying, "Thank God school is starting next week!! My kid needs it!" Because what they are really saying is, "Good Lord! These kids are getting on my very last nerve and it's about time their teacher to have to put up with 'em!" Oh!! Another good thing- I ordered new swimsuits on-line today from Amish Swimsuits R Us. I'm hoping it does get hot again so I can use them before I break out my long-johns.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Old" People?

My dad turns 75 next week. When I was younger, like 20, I used to think 75 was old. Now I like to think of it as middle aged. I know my dad isn't going to live to 150, but I hope he has a good 25 more years in him. I have noticed a lot of changes in the past few years- other than the "What? I didn't know I had a daughter, let alone two! And all of MY grandchildren are in their 20's..." That's due more to his wife than old age. But he forgets things a lot now. He loses stuff. He never used to lose things, but now he puts the house key in a "secret hiding spot" also known as his shoe, and then he forgets his "secret" spot. He'll spend two days looking for the key and when he tells me about it I think, 'how did you not wear your shoes for two days?' He's also gotten so nit-picky. I only talk to him maybe twice a month, but the last two times the conversation revolved around how he and his wife "saved" spots at a table at the local polka fest for four of their friends. Well, one set of friends brought some of their friends that my dad's wife can't stand- that's a shocker- she can't stand me either, and I am awesome. Anyway, I got the half hour low down on how mad they were because these friends brought other people to their "saved" table. I wanted to tell him, like I tell the third graders about lunch- "You can't save spots, that's rude. How would you feel if you didn't have anywhere to sit and all of the spots are 'saved'? You'd feel like no one likes you, that's how you'd feel- so stop saving spots." Today's conversation revolved around how they went to a family friend's funeral. Dad and his wife were mad because none of dad's brother's wives "saved" them a spot, which made them have to sit in the pew in front of the others. Guess they got the short end of the "saving spots" stick. Anyway, I don't like to think of my dad as old. There are too many things left undone and unsaid, which will remain that way and I know it'll bother me to no end one day. Who knows, maybe he will live forever- Victor and Kay on the Young and the Restless are still alive and they have been old my whole life. Victor continues to have children even though he's about 190-years-old, and Kay is finally showing her age. She just yells randomly "Ahhhhhhh!!!!" when people are fighting around her. Wouldn't it be a hoot if my dad started doing that?
Yesterday I passed a hobo and I wondered, where did he get the sharpie marker and cardboard to make his sign?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I hate in less than 20 days, my summer vacation is over. I always have such great expectations for summer, and it goes by WAY too fast. Everyone likes summer, but I Love, Love, LOVE summer, I think more than the average person. I don't know if it's because I am on vacation (except this year), or because we have six months of winter and I absolutely HATE, HATE everything about winter (except Christmas, which has nothing to do with winter, it just happens to be in the winter). Soon I will be getting my new pool, in one to three weeks. However, I am not sure if I should put it up because school starts in three weeks- YUCK. I start a full two and a half weeks earlier than the boys. Next week, I start unpacking my stuff at my new school. All of my belongings are officially (I assume) at Kennedy waiting for me to come in and give them a new home. I am a little excited and a lot nervous. What if the parents are mean to me? What if the kids are mean? What if the principal doesn't like me? What if my co-workers don't like me? I already know one doesn't like me- what if she sullies my name and people don't give me a chance? What if I don't have room for the 29 and a half students I will probably end up with because that school is already busting at the seems? What if a kid freaks out? What will I do with him/her? At my last school I just sent him/her to Special Ed, even if they usually didn't see Ed. Special Ed doesn't have a classroom right by me anymore, Ed's classroom is upstairs and I don't know who Ed sees. Kennedy is literally out in the middle of no where. What if I get lost going to school on my first day? Or worse- If I get lost going home? I'd drive around, and around, and around Fargo all night and be way too tired to teach on day two.
I also don't think I like the idea of Noah going into fifth grade. I don't want him to grow up. Next year he'll be in middle school. I want him to be going into third grade. I also don't like the idea that I am getting older. It's seriously a lot harder to lose weight. The other day I was shopping and saw my reflection as I was walking, I thought "Good Lord that woman looks tired! And fat!And I have that shirt she's wearing. Oh..." I have these horrible, puffy bags under my eyes. It doesn't matter how much I sleep. I read on-line you should drink more water. I drink about 7-9 glasses a day. They also said to make yourself some tea and use the tea bags on your eyes. Really? How could you not get tea in your eyes? I just got a new pair of eyes, I think if I wreck these, I'm out of luck- they'll never give me another pair. The website also said to put cucumbers on my eyes, and take an hour nap. First of all, I can't sleep on my back, secondly- who wants to keep cucumbers on their eyes for an HOUR? It also said Preparation H for hemorrhoids works. Today I bought some, rubbed it under my eyes, and it. does. not. work. I accidentally forgot I had it on and rubbed my eye, so now I have hemorrhoid gel in my eye. I guess the puffy eyes match my puffiness everywhere else. Maybe the eye puffiness can work in my favor. The mean parents might think, "Oh I won't harass her... she looks so tired, and puffy..."

Monday, June 28, 2010


Abby has made running away from home part of her Sunday morning ritual. She has done it the past two weeks. Yesterday she ran away four times. Luckily she wears her collar and we were called each time by someone who found her. I keep asking her "why she wants to run away" and "why she doesn't like us anymore", but she doesn't have a straight answer. It doesn't help that the neighbor kid pets her through the fence, making her realize that yes, she can escape. She sneaks out of our backyard fence, because we need a new fence really bad. I think we also need a backyard above ground pool. Scott doesn't think it's a good idea. I think it's a wonderful idea. The one I want is 48 inches deep and 16 feet across. He thinks it's not big enough for the kids to swim in, yet too big for the 4,671 square foot back yard. The only draw back that I see is the neighbor kid might constantly be climbing the fence (which aids in it breaking, which leads to Abby running away) to swim when the kids or I am in the pool. Yesterday the neighbor kid (who is Ethan's friend) asked Ethan to come over to play. When Ethan got there his mother's best friend's kid was there because my neighbor was babysitting him, so Ethan was sent home. I totally understand. When Cole, Stacy's kid, comes over I'd rather it just be the two of them. However, we were going to set up the slip and slide. The neighbor kid saw it and he and his friend put on their swimsuits and were relentless about coming over. I can tolerate the neighbor kid. Not the friend. The friend is, for lack of a better word, "trash". I know his mom thinks I'm all snobbish throwing around my college degrees and fixed roof, but I can't stand the mom or kid. She thinks I'm a bad mom because I let the boys be in competitive sports. Really? Aren't all sports competitive? Well, gymnastics and ice skating aren't but they still have meets to find out whose the best. Even duck, duck, goose is competitive. Long story short- I didn't want him here. We decided to hide out in the house until the neighbor kid's friend went home. They kept ringing our doorbell asking if it's time. I finally said, "Hey, neighbor kid! It's not gonna happen today." Then they went home and got a basketball and started playing basketball with OUR hoop. One of our cars was in the driveway getting hit by the ball. Seriously. Who babysits a kid then pawns them off on the neighbor? Or lets them play at the neighbors house. Oh the best part about it was Ethan went outside to play basketball with them (in our driveway) and they said he couldn't play! As I right this I realize there is a great need for a sarcasm font.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trench Foot

I am reading a book that is about a 12-year-old boy whose father ran off, his mother died on the couch of a meth overdose, but he doesn't want anyone to know. Obviously it is fictional. Anyway, the mother dies, he drags her body to the bathtub, and when the apartment starts smelling he wraps her up in the shower curtain and puts her in the deep freeze. As I read that, I had to chuckle. I pictured him thinking, "what should I have for supper... hmmm... hot dogs. I think there are some in the freezer, right below mom's left shoulder..." Actually, it's not that funny. Three years ago my in-law's small lap dog died in November after the ground had frozen. They couldn't bury him, and didn't want to pay the vet to "store" him until spring, so guess where the dead dog ended up? Yep. IN THE FREEZER!! Imagine my surprise when my mother-in-law asked me to run down and get some meatballs for Christmas supper. I opened the door, thought, "where the heck are the meatballs? Maybe they are in this white plastic bag... OMG!! That's NOT meatballs!!"

Well, in the story the boy avoids the bathtub while his mom is in it, and then later because he is a 12-year-old boy. He wears the same socks day and (literally) night. Because he wore the same stinky, sweaty socks all of the time, his feet started to rot and he had "trench foot". I can't believe it's a real thing- but it is! I looked it up on the internet and everything. It happens when you are in cold damp conditions and never change, or get out of, your socks. Your feet literally start rotting off. When I was going through my autism phase in the third grade, I was obsessed with clean feet. I used to wash my feet every night before I went to bed because I could not fall asleep with sticky, dusty, or just got out of clean socks feet. I also had to have my teeth brushed and carmax on my lips. This is the same ritual I follow today. If carmax causes some sort of lip cancer, I will undoubtedly get it. If there is some drug in carmax, I am absolutely addicted to it. My mom told me if I kept washing my feet before bed, they would get moldy and rot off my ankles. My grandma fully agreed with this, so I thought it must be true. So, to avoid foot rot, I started wearing socks to bed. My mom warned me not to wear socks to bed because that also would rot my feet, but I was desperate and could not sleep without them. I did it once and my mom knew! To this day I wonder how she could figure it out. I'm not sure what my plan of attack was after the sock issue, but I am pretty sure I must have found a way to have clean feet because I did sleep, and I still have the issue. I thought it was kind-of funny, not in a ha ha way, but in a ironic way that trench foot is a real thing, because when I was in the sixth grade I decided my mom was making things up to foster my autism just for laughs. Turns out she wasn't! Huh...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Room

Something I’ve always wondered about is “good living rooms”. Growing up my aunt and uncle, Marlys and Stanly, as well as my good friend in high school, Marvin had “good living rooms” They had the regular living rooms where you’d watch tv and well, live, but the “good” living rooms were like a forbidden haven. Both of the “good living rooms” had plastic on the carpets and furniture, and were not to be stepped upon by my feet. Marvin’s parents would yell from the actual living room downstairs, “You damn

Kids ain’t in the living room are you?” Marv would yell, “Nope, we’re drinking beer in the kitchen.” You’d think they would have rather had us in the living room. Once I asked my mom why Marlys and Stanly had plastic on the carpet and furniture in the good living room and she said, “people do that to keep it nice for company.” I always thought, ‘well, what am I? I’m company aren’t I? Who do I have to be to be considered good enough to go into the “good” living room?’ Once I remember spilling Kool-aid on the garage floor at Marlys’ and I thought, ‘great. Now I’ll never make it into the good room.”

Dad's 75th Birthday

Warning: this blog is long, so get a drink of your choice, a small snack and perhaps a pillow. I waited a week so I could give you the more entertaining, rather than the painful ranting version. So here it is, I spent last weekend celebrating my dad and his wife’s 75 birthdays. His actual birthday isn’t until August, but he and his wife had a big party in my hometown at the local “bar/grill/supper club”. It’s the typical small town dance hall complete with brown paneling on the walls and vinyl orange chairs for the décor; the bar completes the Hicksville appeal by using various taxidermies. This party was a big deal; my brother even flew in from Arizona. My step-mother has three children who live in Chicago, Minneapolis and Indiana. They all came back along with her two youngest grandchildren who are in their twenties. The wife’s youngest granddaughter is 20 going on 5 1/2. She literally made LOUD random bird calls periodically throughout the night.
My relationship with my dad has been quite strained for the past five years. I am learning to accept I can’t expect him to be the dad/grandfather I want and need him to be, so I have to lower my expectations. I just find it so incomprehensible how a parent cannot love their children or grandchildren. It’s not like I’ve done anything shameful. I have a successful career as a teacher, I’ve worked hard and gained a lot of education, I don’t visit the area drug dealer or loan shark to pay for a gambling habit, never been in the clink and I’m not a screw-up. The kids are really well behaved, smart and act mature. I understand how a person can fall out of love with someone else, and how friends drift away because you have nothing in common; I even understand how you can love someone but have to set up a ten foot thick barbed-wire wall for boundaries because they are not good to or for you. However, I don’t understand how you can fall out of love with your child.
When I found out Henrietta’s children were planning this party, I got a sick feeling deep in my stomach and contrary to popular belief, it was NOT the gut rot you get from drinking too much. Friday I met up with my step- siblings, at the dance hall to plan our decorating. We also drank beer and my step-brother Dan and I decided we need to step up our campaign plan for our presidential election in 2012. Our platform is sponsored by Coors Light and Miller, and we plan to get the religious vote. He wants our first line of action to be the legalizing of growing your own “plants” because that should eventually take care of the health crisis by itself. Friday was fine; it was actually a good time. Saturday, the day of the party, was a different story. I woke up with what I thought was a hangover from hell, but turned out it was more likely the party. I am not trying to come off as petty, and if any of the things that happened would have happened signally, I’d blow it off, but they kept on adding up and up. I felt literally sick the whole way to the party. I felt this deep dread that makes you sort-of light headed and it hard to breath. I told myself to plaster on a smile, suck it up and get it over with.
Henrietta’s daughter in-laws created a power point with photos of dad and Henrietta growing up, their younger years and them together now. It was a really nice gesture and fun to watch. There were photos of my dad holding my cousin’s son when he was a baby in 1985, which dad has always referred to as his “grandson”. The photo even read, “Russ with Great nephew Cory”. There were photos of Henrietta holding each of her babies and grandchildren along with her grandchildren while they were growing up. There was not one single photo of my children with dad. It was as if they don’t exist. Right after I got done watching the picture video, dad wanted to introduce my brother, my kids and me to the band. Dad is friends with the band, which everyone thinks is hilarious and calls him a groupie. I think it makes him a weird old man who thinks he’s 16 and wants the latest Joan Jett poster. Anyway, he introduced us, and one of the members said, “Oh is this the grandson that has an answer for everything” as they were looking at Ethan, I said, “Yes,” Dad interrupted and said, “oh no, that’s my nephew’s son. These kids don’t talk, they are real quiet, they just like sports.” Five minutes later I stood near dad as they greeted their guests at the entrance. One lady shook my hand and said, “Now who are you?” I said, “Sara, Russell’s daughter.” She replies, “Oh- I didn’t even know he had a daughter!” Really? Cuz he has TWO!!! You would think one time of that happening would be enough? Nope! It happened three more times!
Next, as we sat down to eat, I realized that they didn’t count our family and there weren’t enough chairs for us. This really didn’t come as a surprise to me because growing up, I was the tag-along on my dad’s side, having a six year difference from my cousins who were pretty much all the same age. I think they were all sick of looking at, and being around kids by the time I arrived. On my mom’s side I was plopped right in the middle with my next older cousin being 9 years older and my younger one 8 years younger. Until my little cousin came along I was pretty much on my own at every family get together. I don’t think my invisibility factor was ever on purpose, I like to think of it as just bad timing on both sides of the family. Anyway, I took the table right next to the head table, only to be told by my dad’s wife, “we need that table for the guests!” WTF? I replied, “OK. I will take my children and sit in the bar where there is room for me!” Somehow they made room me (not my family), probably as they were thinking ‘wow! She really IS a freak.’ The whole time I was eating I was on the brink of tears, I was literally shaking. My best friend’s parents walked in. Gloria hugged my dad, and dad’s wife said in front of Gloria, “Who’s THAT?!”… wow- THAT’S charming. Then I hugged Gloria and burst into tears. It was kind-of ‘thanks for coming to the party where one nutcase yells at you as you get in the door and the other starts crying.’ The majority of the night went better. There were over 200 guests. That’s more guests than I had at my wedding. 93% of them were his wife’s relatives, friends, or friends of the couple now. Seriously? How can someone so mean and nasty have that many friends? It’s like the school yard bully. You better be their friend, or they’ll beat you up. I knew about 24 people there, not including the ones that put it on.
Also while we were eating, her youngest grandchild (the bird caller) blurts out, “How much did that necklace around your neck set you back?” Considering the only necklace this girl would wear would be a studded dog collar, I was torn between saying, “none of your damn business,” and “This? Oh it’s nothing. I was a gift from the hit man I hired for your gra...” Then clamp my hand over my mouth and whisper, “Crap. I said too much.”
In the middle of the party, dad’s wife took my beer and told me to dance with my dad. “You don’t need to drink all night, get out and dance.” I wanted to say, “I will have more dancing and less drinking ON YOUR GRAVE ONE DAY!…” But I held back.
I had some drinks with my cousins who I now consider my same age, but they literally think I just graduated from high school and have 10 and 7-year-old children. That was fun. I spent a lot of my life wondering why I didn’t fit in with either side of the family. Now I spend it wondering why I don’t fit in with either side of my children’s families. As the night was ending- at 10:30… The super club turned on the lights as a hint “get the heck out, you don’t gotta go home, but you can’t stay here…” I helped dad’s wife’s daughter-in-laws (whom also loath her) pick up the decorations and extra left over cake. Dad’s wife cornered me and said, “Your dad is so upset that you didn’t call to see how his colonoscopy went. He waited all day and you kids didn’t call. They found a whole toothpick you know.” I asked how he swallowed a whole toothpick to distract the attention of my negligent behavior when one of her daughter-in-laws asked when it was. “June 3.” Hmmm. Let me see. June 3 I was scrambling to pack up my classroom so I don’t lose any of my crap, put in final grades, fill out my student’s cum cards, and try to keep straight what the sporting schedule for my children- whom I left home alone because I forgot I’d need daycare that day- was and where. I worked a 13 hour day. Apparently I didn’t leave enough room on my calendar to write “Dad’s colonoscopy” Then I thought what I would have said, “Hey dad, how’s your ass? Does her knee still hurt? Does she still hate the cats? How the hell did you swallow a whole toothpick and not know it?” I hope HIS 90th birthday celebration will be a bit better. My children will be recognized and he’ll apologize for the years known by my brother as “the sleigh ride through hell.”Until then, I am planning on finding and collecting the most unflattering photos of his wife to plaster on his next video slide show.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Weekend

I had a very quiet Memorial Weekend. I announced each day I was going to give Abby and Sam a bath, do laundry, sweep, mop the floor and vacuum. However, announcing it was as far as I got. I went to school to pack up my stuff, bought and planted flowers. I played 47 rounds of Sorry with Ethan, and four hours of Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, and Deal or No Deal on "Games Show Wii", as well as wii dodge ball with both boys. I now have wii arm- which means my right arm is sore from playing wii. I looked last night and noticed I have definite muscle definition on my right arm, but not my left so I might need to start playing wii with my left arm. On Sunday I watched four hours of Lifetime. I flipped between Lifetime and Soap Network because they were playing a Young and the Restless marathon. I made a deal with myself, if both channels had a commercial on at the same time, it meant I was suppose to go into the kitchen to get an oreo. Oreos were my lunch and supper on Sunday. I realized the kids would rather be with their friends than their mom. Noah spend Friday night at a friend's. Had a friend over on Sunday and went to their lake all day on Monday. Ethan went to the neighbor's house for most of the day on Sunday. I have this week off while the kids still have school! Woo-hoo!!
Things to Know:
If at first you don't succeed, go through the trash and look for the directions.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Today I was cleaning out my closets and I came across the photo album from when I was in college. I looked so young and happy. I wish I could go back in time and warn that girl about the future, tell her to remember and cherish that happiness, and give advice about things that worried me that didn't need to. I also came across a photo of my mom at Christmas. She was opening a gift- of scissors! Seriously? Who wants scissors? Well she did. She made lots and lots of quilts and new scissors to her is like new socks for everyone else. I probably took a picture of her opening it because I spend most Saturdays and summers between the ages of 7-17 looking for %^& Damn blue handled scissors that did not exist! I'd tell her, "We don't have blue handled scissors!" and her reply would be, "We don't any more because you lost them!" After I got my license I offered to go into town to buy her a pair, but she wouldn't let me. Wouldn't she have crapped her pants if I showed up with blue handled scissors, "Oh, here they are Claudie..." Anyway, my mom looked happy. I miss her. I don't know if it's because it's Memorial Weekend, around Mother's Day, or because I am going through a particularly stressful time right now, but I started crying. I. could. not. stop. I sobbed and sobbed for at least an hour and a half. The kind of sobbing that happens when you think you are done crying but tears keep rolling out of your eyes. I kept wondering, 'what's wrong with me?' I even checked to make sure I took my b&tch-be-gone pill and I did, not knowing what my problem was made me bawl even more. I just couldn't stop. It's not like she'd be much help, or even give advice, but she'd be able to tell me it's a phase, things will get better. OK she probably wouldn't say that, but she'd listen and I'd be able to tell that's what she'd want to say.
While I was cleaning out my closet, I also found tons of scented lotions. I am not sure if it's a teacher thing, or if people think I smell, but I never buy lotion and I can literally never buy lotion again and I'd still have plenty. I am pretty sure most of it came from students, or my children. I also have more baby blankets than you can shake a stick at. I'm not sure what to do with them. They are taking up space, but I really don't want to part with them. I used one to wrap Max up like a baby and he's still, four hours later, laying on the floor on his back wrapped up in the blanket. One more thing I realized while cleaning out my closet is if a piece of clothing says, "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" it means I will never wash it - ever. Maybe that's the reason for the lotion?...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This, That and the Other Thing...

I have decided Ethan has an aversion to wearing matching clothes. Every day he comes up from his room wearing bright green running pants with a red shirt. I tell him to change his pants. He comes up with the red shirt and burgundy running pants. Yesterday He was wearing a light blue shirt with dark blue writing. He couldn't find any shorts- keep in mind there were plenty of tan, and black in his drawer. I looked in the dryer and found a red pair, and the dark blue pair the shirt came with. Guess which one he wanted? I told him "no- wear the blue". He begged and begged to wear the red. Today he had a soccer game. He put on a red long sleeve t-shirt under his orange and black jersey coupled with the damn green running pants! Are you kidding me? I keep thinking "this is just a phase..." What if it isn't? What if he grows up and never, ever matches? He'll never find a wife. He'll have to live with me forever... HEY- Maybe I should let everyday be a dress-like-a- clown-day... Speaking of girls, there is a "get around girl" that has "gone out with"- even though they don't "GO" anywhere- all of Noah's friends and now she has her nasty eye on my baby. She calls him and texts him ALL of the time- as in 5 times an evening. I am torn between a) telling him he is way to young to talk to and text girls. b) Teasing him relentlessly so he tells her to stop. Or c) Me texting her back saying, "My mom says, 9-year-old girls who go with this boy then that boy and call and text them non-stop are trash. Don't be trash." I really am not sure what to do!
The other day I was sitting at a FEA (Fargo Education Association) meeting where they were telling us unless we retire in the next five years, all of the money we put into our teacher retirement fund will be gone. That's thousands of MY dollars- GONE! The guy who is the head honcho of the teacher retirement funds committed suicide, so you gotta believe it's true. Anyway, They kept saying "stock market". I kept giggling because I remember being a senior in High School and Mr. Berg was trying to explain the "Stalk" Market to us. I heard "stock market" and immediately thought 'well that's a warehouse on the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey where you go to find someone to track and follow someone elses every move'. I even went as far to make mental lists of who I would have stalked, and I wondered how much it would cost. Mr. Berg was going, "blaa blaa stalk market, blaaa, blaaaa, stalk market,,," and I was thinking, 'I wonder if I pay extra if they'd break their knees when they were done stalking them?' Now I am older and wiser and I know what STOCK market is. Even so, when they were talking about the stock market at this meeting, I kept giggling because I remembered what I thought it was. Then instead of making a list of who I'd have stalked, I made the mental blog entry in my head. It was like, "We will run out of money unless we blaa blaa stock market (giggle giggle) bla, bla, blaa, blaaa, stocks and bonds" at that point I thought, "I bet stalks and bonds are when the stalker kidnaps the stalkee and ties them up (the bond part)... right before they break their knee caps." Giggle giggle.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


When I was growing up I promised myself I would not use mom-isms. My mom used a ton. Here are some of hers:
"Just because it's mashed up and held together by condensed soup, does not make it any less of a balanced meal."
"If all of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" That one usually confused me because I thought, 'What does jumping off a bridge have to do with wearing designer jeans?' Or a few years later I thought, 'At least my dead tangled body would be cute because I'd be wearing designer jeans."
"Why buy the cow if you get the milk for free?" Really? I had NO CLUE what that one meant until I was in my late 20's. Being the daughter of a dairy farmer I kept wondering, 'why would you even want the cow? They are a lot of work. Why not just go buy milk at the grocery store like normal people?'
"Don't wear so much make-up, you'll look like Wanda Gardner." Who happened to be a trashy girl from my home town who was 15 years older than me. I had no idea what she looked like, but she apparently wore too much make-up.
"Wear sunscreen on your face or you'll get wrinkles."- I still follow that one.
"Always wear clean underwear, you never know when you'll get into a car accident, and if you go to the hospital, you'd be embarrassed." Strangely I always thought, 'But Mr. Loegreen told us when you get in a car accident, your bladder either bursts leading to immediate death, or you pee your pants.' Even so, I still follow that one too.
"Quit crying or I'll give you something to cry about!" This one is hilarious! Even when I was little I saw the absurdity of it. I can't even say it out loud without giggling. It's sort-of like the time my father-in-law spanked my nephew for hitting someone. "Come here- I'll smack you so you'll learn not to hit!"
"Dive safe" Well THAT ruined my plans! I was hoping to drive fast and take chances.

I asked my kids if I have any mom-isms.
"It's always fun and games til you break your neck!"
If someone is being mean to either of them and they tell me about it, I always say, "You should've punch them in the eye, that's what I'D do!"
One I tell my students when they are doing something unsafe, "I'm a trained teacher, but a terrible doctor. I sure hope you don't get hurt..."

My mom's last mom-ism:
"Call when you get there" That one was my favorite. I wish I still could.

No one loves or cares about you like your mom.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lunch With Girls

You may remember last year when I had lunch with three giggly girls and I ended up wanting to poke my ears out due to their, "Do you know what? Haa ahaaa- I forgot!!" I swore then and there that would be the end of having lunch with three girls. Well, things change.
I reward good behavior once every two weeks by drawing three names from the "good behavior bucket" and those students have the fabulous opportunity to eat lunch with the Queen- also known as me. Today I drew three girls' names. Usually I get a combo, especially since I have 12 boys and 10 girls. The girls I chose are very sweet girls. The kids go to recess and then lunch. After they came in from recess, they go to the bathroom. I was in the bathroom at the time, but the girls didn't know. These three were talking about how exciting it was to eat lunch with the teacher and who in our class has had a turn. One girl asked, "What's the best thing about third grade?" The second girl answered, "I like when Mrs. Fairfield dresses up on Fridays." I wear jeans on Friday. I think it's hilarious that she thinks I am "dressed up". She always tells me on Fridays, "You look nice today. You must be going to a party after school." While we were eating the third little girl just casually said out out of no where, "I've had a stuffy nose pretty much since the first grade."
All in all, it was a much better dinning experience than last year's.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lots of Things

It's been so long since I've blogged, I have lots of things to say. I want an amazing reading machine, pool for the back yard, expensive sandals, and the money to buy it all. I wonder if all of you get sick of people being overly peppy and happy that you know it is fake? Do you, like me, want to punch them in their perky head? Do you get sick of listening to people brag about how wonderful they are at (A, B and C) when you and the rest of the people they are bragging to know they really SUCK at A, B and C? Worse yet- they brag (but really suck- AND are peppy about it). Hopefully am not one of those people because I do have some bragging to do about my kids.
First; I want an amazing reading machine, also known as a kindle. I think they are super cool. However, I will not hold my breath waiting for one for mother's day because Scott believes, "I got a gift for my mom. I don't have to get you one, you're not my mom." Noah and Ethan can't drive to the store and it is a very long walk, so like every year I'll keep my expectations low and hope they made me something in school. Unless their teachers also think "I got my mom something. I barely know your mom..."
Next; I want a backyard pool. I think the boys and I would use it a lot in the summer. Well, of course in the summer, why would we use it in the winter? I wonder though if it'd take up too much room in the backyard.
Third; I bought the Sketcher Shape-Ups. They are the ones they advertise that you will lose weight by just wearing them. I wore them for a month while I sat on the couch and it didn't really work. However, after wearing them for a day I realize I have muscles where I didn't think I had any, so they must work. I like them very much. Sketchers made a Shape -Up sandal. They are really expensive, but I would wear them a lot.
Fourth; I need the money to buy my new obsessions. I wonder how much a kidney goes for?
Next; OMG! Do you get sick of overly perky, FAKE people who are all, "My life is da bomb and everyone LOVES me and I am so perfect! God loves me best- he told me so!! It makes sense because I AM everyones favorite!! Don't you LOVE me too?" I am all for people being happy. I want everyone to be happy, just stop being so fake and get out of my face about it.
Sixth; How can it be that some people really suck at certain things, but they can't resist the urge to brag about how wonderful they are at it. For example; I can't read music or play any instrument. Imagine if EVERY conversation I had with anyone resorted to what an awesome piano player and music composer I am. "Well, hello there Sara. It's a beautiful spring day today. Are you taking your class outside to enjoy the weather?" "Why, yes I am. After I tell them about the wonderful new song I wrote and play it on the piano for them. I am a self taught musician you know. I hear music and then I play it on my piano, only making it awesomer." "That's nice. Did I tell you my cat died?" "That's too bad, do you want me to write a song about him for you? I could play it the funeral. I will give you a discount for my services being you are a friend." GAG ME!!!
Last; OK now I really am going to brag because I am not a sucky parent, so I can brag. Noah got a very high score on his Math MAP (standardized test) yesterday. The teacher told him it's the highest in fourth grade. He also got nominated to be president of the K-Kids club. It's a service learning club. Kids voted him in. I told him he should make people call him Mr. President or President Noah. This morning I was getting ready in the bathroom and he was putting his contacts in and I called him President Noah. He said, "It's so cool that I am the president." I said, "And Ethan can be your no good alcoholic brother..." Then I turned and saw Ethan was standing in the doorway. Hee heee. I will be waiting by the mailbox for my mother of the year award. Ethan has become such a good reader. It amazing how well he can read!! I am so proud of them both!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Noah!!

It's my baby's birthday. I scanned both photos, but I couldn't successfully upload them onto my blog so I took pictures of my photos. Can't say I'm not a good thinker!
My baby is 10 years old. How can he be ten? That means in less time I've already had him, he will want to move out and not need me anymore. Noah was the best baby. He was so cuddly and happy. He never cried except when he was hungry and that was exactly every two and a half hours, so if you did a preemptive strike and fed him, he wouldn't cry at all. I wrote in his baby book when he was four months old that he went a whole day without crying. He crawled at five months and walked at eight and a half months. So he didn't see like a baby for very long. From the day he was born until I had to leave him to return to school the following late August were the best days of my life. I waited so long to be a mother. I told him today, that 10 years ago was the most important day of my life because I became a mom. However, since then I've noticed I can't remember a time when I wasn't at least kind of tired. Noah was a good toddler. I can only remember one time he threw a tantrum in public and it was the night my mom died, and we were shopping for a suit. You could always reason with him. When he'd lose things he thought the moon took it, and when he found it again, he'd run to our big picture window and hold it up and say "Thank you moon! Thank you!!" He was so easy to potty train. I told him a week before Ethan was born, when he was two-and-a half, "Mommy can't buy diapers for two babies. Here's some Bob the Builder underwear. Don't pee on Bob." "OK Mommy," and he was trained from that point on. When he'd ask for his "bobble" (usually when he was tired) I would tell him all of his "bobbles" were dirty. He'd run to the dishwasher to find that they never left their same spot. He wouldn't pitch a fit, but say, "You should wash my bobbles tomorrow mommy." There never was, or is any food he won't eat, he's not picky at all. He was a great pre-schooler and school age kid. He is so generous and thoughtful and smart. I know- it sounds "braggy", but if you knew Noah, you'd know it's inborn and has nothing to do with me. He's always loved babies. His cousin is three days short of being exactly one year younger than him and when he met her he was enthralled with her. Even now in church he entertains himself by looking for a baby to watch. He is such a good big brother and has been since Ethan was born. When they were little I'd put Ethan in the stroller to go for a walk and Noah would ask, Do you have his bobble? His "pasipire"? His shoes?- as if Ethan could get up and walk, but oh well. Even now, I rest assured that Ethan is more likely to make good choices if Noah is with him. Maybe I can convince Noah that he, like me, goes backwards in years on his birthday? That or lock him in his room so he can't ever escape.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Exactly nine years and 363 days ago I was about to be a parent. I wasn't scared at all. I couldn't wait to have a baby! I knew how to take care of babies, how to deal with toddlers and what to do with grade school kids. However, I really wish someone would have told me about the other stuff.
1. When I was pregnant with my babies, no one told me someday some kid will say or do something to hurt their feelings, or they will physically hurt them and I will feel so angry that I will literally see red and want to physically hurt that person back.
2. No one told me that I will live vicariously through my children.
3. When they were babies, I didn't realize that every decision I'd make from that point on would be centered around their well being.
4. Bedtime will come as a relief because you are so tired by 8:30 you could fall on the floor and go to sleep and finally the house is quiet, but it will also be a little disappointing because your time with them that day is over.
5. No one told me how children have no tact. Especially when they ask for the tenth time, "Are you having a baby because your tummy is sticking out", then they come over to "measure" in the air how much it sticks out.
6. You no longer sleep soundly, and you understand how when you hear about animals that can find their offspring's voice among thousands of others.
7. It breaks your heart to realize everything you do for them, yet they say something mean to you, or they can't wait to go to college or move out.
8. That you will feel regret for telling your own mom when you were 18, 19 and 21 "Good God! I can't WAIT to move out!!!"
9. I was very worried when I was pregnant that there would be something wrong, that I'd lose the baby, that something would go wrong when they are born, that I wasn't eating/sleeping/exercising enough. No one told me one day I'd remember the feeling of being pregnant and think, "At least then I knew who they were with, the choices they were making and no one was treating them badly".
10. I didn't know how amazing it would be. How one day there is this basketball that moves around under your shirt, then the next you have a whole new human being. That the baby will grow to a child who has your good and bad traits.
11. The majority of my paycheck will go to sports related things; sports gear, shoes, clothes, camps, new clothes, different shoes, etc...
12. That I should have bought stock in a sock company, and it's really hard to find quality socks and pants that don't get holes in them.
13. If you get the vibe that a kid is a punk or bully, you are right. Don't give them the benefit of the doubt.
14. You are excited to wake up in the morning if you know they are already awake.
I wasn't worried about childhood, but the teen years terrify me....

Monday, April 5, 2010


Last night we were watching a great show on Discovery that's on Sunday nights. I even told my students to watch it. It's called Life and it's narrated by Opera. It's about animals in their natural environment. Anyway in the middle of the show, Ethan asked, "How are babies made anyway?" Like the good parents we are, Scott and I ignored him and silently prayed that something spectacular would happen on the show to distract him. He asked again. Again we prayed, more desperately this time. The third time, Noah responded, "You'll find out when you are older, you're too young." I asked Noah if he knew, because as far as I know he thinks the mom and dad have to pray really hard to have a baby- I've told him this several times. He replies, "Well, I have an idea..." I asked where he got his information and he said they will get to watch a movie at school soon. Two things made me laugh. Earlier in church that morning, Noah whispered to me that he wants a baby sister like the one in front of us and wonders if I could make it Chinese. The other thing was a movie in school? I wonder if they taped it off Showtime? Later, when Noah was reading to Ethan and I we were talking about personification (no we are not the nerd family)- it's when inanimate objects are given human like actions. As in the "ax bit through the wood". We somehow ended up giving lots of examples and Ethan said, "oh like if the toilet talked and when I'd pee it'd say, 'hey you- turn down that hose'. " Yes. Exactly.


Lately I've been feeling old. I watched a commercial where Addy McDowel tells us "You'll be proud to say your age, if you use this product..." and it goes to a "50-year-old woman who looks 30". That's 20 years younger. It's never crossed my mind that maybe she really is 28 and just saying she's 50, so I bought the product. I can't say I look like a teenager. I play this game with myself and the Sunday paper. I did it when I was thinking I'd be an old maid- even though I got married very young. Back then I'd look at the engagements and look for people who were older than me (to give me hope that I won't die alone as a barren woman). Now, I still play the game just to see if people my age- or older, still find true love. The way you play it is, everyone you see and think "Oh! They are older than me!" you read their announcement. I first scan to see when they graduated high school/ college. Six out of six that "qualified" for the "they are older than me" round were not. In fact two of them graduated from Fargo South in 2004, which technically would make them old enough to be my first students!! Do I look that old? I realized this year, I am no longer considered the "young" teachers, but one of the "old hags." I completely skipped the "middle of the road". Last year I was young. This year, I am old. I have more than likely lived over half my life already, yet I feel like I've haven't done that much. I spent a great deal of it looking for the damn "blue handled scissors" that never existed, and now I spend it looking for Andy Panda's pencils. When I look at the "old" teachers- who really aren't that old but think they are, and think of my mom who thought she was old when she was 30, I notice they are feeble. They can't carry in their own school bags- that's on WHEELS, so they make their husbands do it. They can't be expected to teach (not even a classroom of kids, but short little classes that are constantly canceled) AND be responsible for calling Jimmy Jon's to put in an order of subs because "that's too stressful". So they take the morning off from seeing classes to get the order ready. They think microwavable soup is a "new wonderful creation" and they read the directions on how to make it out loud just so you know it's easy. They are scared of technology and think all of the students are out to get them. Then I look at me. Yesterday the backs of my knees hurt so much from playing basketball with the boys on Saturday, I could barely walk. It even crossed my mind to make Noah carry in my purse to church. Last year, I was sure the fifth graders at my school were out to get me. I don't use the TV in my classroom because I think if I touch it, it will fall from the ceiling!! My students asked me how old I was the other day, when i told them to guess one kid said "60" one said "21". After I reminded her that I would have only been 17 when I taught her in Kindergarten, she said maybe I was 25, but this is the girl who tells her ma, "she don't like it when you says ax." Oh well. I better go put some Ben Gay on my achy knees before I put on my "house shoes".
Thoughts I think: Kids like April Fools jokes. They really think it's funny when you tell them you're taking them to Disney Land and then drive to an old abandoned parking lot of a burned down warehouse and say, "damn, Disney Land burned down..." They'll cry and cry, but deep down, they'll think it's a good April Fools joke.