Monday, December 27, 2010

With Very Little Ceremony

I've been thinking a lot lately about how we picked Sawyer's name. I only recently got comfortable with it. I mean, I've always liked the name, but I'd been wondering if it was going to fit him. What if, when he's 5, he really is an Adam or Gage (yeah, that was Stephan's)? I mean, you have 24-48 hours to pick a name that's going to stick forever... that's a lot of pressure and I'd been wondering if we choose wisely.

Then there are all the naming ceremonies that are celebrated around the world. I think every culture has one. My friend who is Greek told me about a naming ceremony they had for their son more than a year after he was born. And then, as if that isn't enough, there's a whole 'nother naming ceremony when the kid gets older (I'm thinking the whole rite of passage/confirmation/adolescent thing).

We don't remember our parents' picking our names. We just grew up with them and learned to deal. If we're lucky we attach meaning to our adult naming... but most of us don't.

So with all of this in mind, I started to cry on Christmas when Sawyer looked right at me and- for the first time in his life- said "Mama." It was like our own little naming ceremony for me. It wasn't just a random attachment of syllables like it was when he said Dadadadadada.... this was him looking at me, pointing to me, and giving me my new name. We might have more kids, but this one is the one who named me.

I'm blogging this so everyone can point to it in a few years when I wish he'd never learned how to say Mama. I'm not sure that day will come, but until it does, I'm going to savor this one.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In the Spirit

Orkut Scraps - Christmas

Orkut Scraps

[soundtrack: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas]

Me: You've been awake for 20 hours.

Him: Yep.

Him: Shut up!

Me: Did you just tell Bing Crosby to shut up?

Him: Not him, his background singers.

Me: What do you want at Caribou?

Him: A small mocha.

Barista: Is that all?

Him: How many shots fit in that?

Barista: It comes with 2.

Him: I need at least 4.


Me: Look at this flier! It's for a metaphysical school.

Him: Uh huh.

Me: They have a 'Manifesto for Peace."

Him: You can take peace and shove it up your ass.

Barista: Small Moosed mocha?

Me: That's for this guy, right here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ok, so it IS a running blog...

...At least for the next 4.2 months. There just isn't much else going on.

Pre-training Week 2.5
(we screwed up our schedule, so we added this week)
today's temp = 19F
today's run = 5 miles
last week's miles = 15
this week's miles = 15
next week's miles = 17

Thought for the week: Marathon training is NOT sexy.
I had this vision in my head of those super-toned women running down the street in their tight black running-pants, sports bra tops, ponytails bouncing with every step. They breathe in time with their evenly paced steps. They wave. They have perfect arms, perfect form, and they run for miles just bouncing along.

That's not what this is like. This is putting on thick sweat pants over thermal underware, two bras, a t-shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a huge hooded sweatshirt, black facemask, crocheted yellow hat and black gloves. My legs usually go numb within the first 1/2 mile. My hands sweat in the gloves, my hair gets caked with sweat that freezes immediately, there's snot. Lots of snot. The snot also freezes. My eyes turn red with the cold air and water. The sweat on my cheeks freezes, burning my skin. My lips get chapped from the frozen air passing in front of them, and they've already begun to peel and bleed.

And this is still pre-training. It's been a relatively warm December. We have about 30 more miles left in pre-training. I haven't counted the total miles involved in training. It's a lot. None of them are sexy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Past it up

I pretended to ignore the aniversary of us driving out of Plevna. Although I did go back and read the blog entries for the move (which you can find here if you really want to take that trip again). We're putting up decorations slowly, lights, tree, nativity set...

So there's this thing that I want to write about- it's the thing of where, someone asks us where we moved from, and we tell them we lived in Montana. And they think we're from Montana, which we take time explaining away. So to people we are meeting for the first time now, we're not really from Montana. Montana isn't really part of what they learn about our lives. That makes me sad. Yeah, I know, still (sorry Melanie).

There's this other thing- it's the thing of where, when you meet someone new and you're not 'from around here' you have lots of questions and things to learn from each other. It's fun being from somewhere else. It's fun comparing stories about how different things are in different places. Meeting someone here you can say, "have you been to the Trader Joe's on Rand Rd?" and they will say, "no, but I've been to the Whole Foods on Dundee" and that's just not very interesting.

Then there's this other, other thing- it's the thing of where, when people ask me about my Ariat boots, or about my old job (owning Anjali Bodywork), or about where Sawyer was born, I start telling the Story. You know, the entire three-years-of-blog-posts Story. But guess what? People don't really want to hear about it. Yeah, yeah, you're the chick who lived in Montana and can't get over it. Yeah, it was cold, you lived in a small town, there were lots of cows, and you made really good friends. I've already directed two people to this website, just to try to explain what happened to us... but it really feels more like an elaborate story we made up. Or a dream. Or a really, really vivid, multiple-year, dual hallucination. But we did come back with a baby, so I guess there's the proof that it happened. And the boots.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Breathe in, Breathe out

We paid the money.

Him: And you're so cheap, that means it's going to get done, even if it kills you.

Me: Uh huh. I feel sick.

Him: Let's celebrate the only way we know how.... Chocolate Pie!!!

Me: Of course, it's too early for whisky.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not a runner's blog

But still, here goes....

Pre-training Week 2
today's temp = 15F
today's run = 5 miles
last week's miles = 12
this week's miles = 15
next week's miles = 17

What am I training for? Insanity. Pure insanity. Internet, this is my declaration (you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I don't do anything without a declaration). There are 143 days until I find out if mind truly does conquer matter. Can I be more dramatic about this? Sure I can! Just wait for the post declaring that I'm going to do this to raise money for the American Cancer Society in honor of my bum foot. Have Kleenex ready (or a non-specific generic brand of facial tissue, you're pick).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weird stuff happens here too

An old woman in her pajamas on a cell phone just ran past the house. She was being followed by an old man in an SUV. I saw her through the window and she gestured at me to go to my back yard. I met here there. She was still on the phone. She said a little dog ran into our back yard. I asked if it was her dog, but she said it wasn't. They lost their dog a month ago. She was on the phone telling the police about the dog. Her husband yelled that the dog was down the street. I went to see, and there was a tiny white dog booking it down the street. The husband told me they just lost their dog a month ago and offered a $1,000 reward. I asked if they got their dog back. They did. The man said the little dog was going to get run over. And yelled at his wife to get back in the car. She told me she was getting ready for work. Then they left.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Overheard: $!@% My Dad Read

Dad: "Good Morning, rainforest."

Dad: "Good morning, monkeys, playing in the trees. Are we ready to share a wonderful day?"

Dad: "Good morning, wetlands, overflowing with all sorts of living creatures."

Dad: "G'day divers, exploring the Great Barrier Reef."

Dad: "Hello, friends, joining together to keep the shore clean."

Dad: "Hello, friends, visiting the Great Wall of...." What the crap is this?

Me: It's Good Night World, by Gamble and Kelly.

Dad: They're not saying Good Night.

Me: You get there eventually, but you're following the sun around the globe. It's educational.

Dad: It's crap.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Overheard: wtf?

Me: How was your night?

Him (after drinking a Four Loko): Good. I got rid of the pee bottle in the car.

Me: What?

Him: Actually, I emptied it [the Pepsi bottle I peed in] out and recycled it.

Me: I thought we talked about this. No more pee bottles.

Him: Sawyer was sleeping. I didn't want to bother you.

Me: No more pee bottles.

Him: I make people pee in bottles all the time at work.

Me: There are lots of things-

Him: "Here, pee in this bottle. By the way I'm going to send part of it to the lab..."

Me: No more pee bottles.

Him: I didn't even drip down the side.

Me: I can't believe I have to have this conversation with you.

Him: I'm still going to pee in a bottle if it behoves me.

Me: No. More. Pee. Bottles.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Very Different

Two nights ago the charge nurse approached Stephan about training to take a few shifts as charge nurse. She actually said, "You were Charge Nurse in Montana, right?"

Him: Uh, yeah. I was in charge of myself.

His training is going to be somewhat abbreviated. His first shift as charge nurse will be November 27th. To punctuate the difference between a 12-hour shift in Montana and a 12-hour shift at Loyola Stephan had a crazy half-night this week. I asked him about it this morning at the kitchen table. He was a little reluctant to let me post it, but I'm doing it anyway.

Me: Tell me about the other night.

Him: Tell you about it..? I don't know. It started off slow. We had a couple of psych patients in three rooms waiting for transport. We wandered around helping other nurses with their assignments, but as a whole the ER was slow.

Me: When did it change?

Him: What time did he come in? We got an ambulance call... an ambulance came in about 1:00am for an elderly patient who had been feeling sick for the last 2 days. The patient lived home alone so called an ambulance. Came in talking to us and said he just didn't feel good and thought he was bleeding. All he needed was a little oxygen and he felt better. We tried to put in an NG tube but his nose had been broken previously so it didn't work. So he was waiting to be admitted to the hospital. The admitting doctor came down from the floor and the man started getting confused and pale. His breathing became more congested. We increased his O2 and the doctor gave me a worried look.

Me: He was your only patient right now?

Him: Pretty much. When his condition started to deteriourate and we put the O2 mask on him I made sure the other nurse was with him all the time. He was a DNR so nothing heroic could be done. We started IV fluids, and he was still talking, just much slower. He was still ok. His breathing got even worse so we called his family. It became obvious he was going to pass really quickly. This was probably 4am already.

Me: Really fast. Wow.

Him: Yeah. Got him a little morphine to take away anxiety and pain so he could breath more comfortably. There was a trauma going on at that point so there was a ruckus. A few beds down there was an obvious heart attack, so I left a nurse with the man and helped get the heart attack sent up to the cardiac cath lab. With the extra commotion in the trauma I jumped in there to help put the four-point restraints on a combative drunk. The drunk needed to be sedated and intubated. I came outside to find our elderly gentleman had a doctor and nurse with him and was still deteriorating slowly. An ambulance showed up to transfer another patient so I took over in the trauma bay to let the nurse get the transfer patient out. The family got to the dying patient and we spent some time talking to the family. Another nurse helped us out by transferring a patient out who was waiting to leave so we could stay with the family.

The gentleman passed away then, and we left the family with him when another ambulance dropped off a drunk driver car wreck patient who was having trouble breathing. We were worried about a pneumothorax or something. He was arguably a trauma, but since the car didn't roll over he didn't count as a trauma. He didn't fit the critria technically. Calling something a "trauma" changes a lot of things.... anyway, then it was change of shift. So that was the end of my day.

As I was walking out the door a woman who was going through drug withdrawl needed to get to the bathroom, so I helped her there before she made a huge mess. She almost passed out there, but we got her back to her room safely.

Me: You seem to interchange "me" and "we" a lot when you talk about work. How often are you doing things alone versus with other nurses and techs to help you?

Him: When someone first gets to the ER, especially a more severe patient coming in on an ambulance, everyone who isn't busy gets together to help settle the patient in. We help each other transfer patients from an ambulance cart to an ER cart, start IV's, draw labs, do EKG's, and get basic information about the person into the computer... Everything that goes into getting the patient ready to be seen by the doctor. Once they're settled in, you're pretty much on your own unless they're critical, or something changes.

From the outside of this post, it seems like the big ER is very different than Baker. But sitting across the table from Stephan I really feel how similar it is to him to be present with a patient and their family as they pass on. He still takes the same moment, despite everything that is going on around him, to love the family, care for the patient, and be what he is: a truly great nurse.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Open Letter


While we're remembering things

Do you guys remember this??

And then there was this crazy emotional post that prompted a lot of people to call me and ask if I was pregnant (which I wasn't).

Shortly after that was this.

Well, Internet, guess what? I actually ran a 10K this year. Then, today, I finished my own personal 5K in 33 minutes. When I got home and uploaded the run I found out that I've run 500 miles so far. 500 miles in 2 years. 500 miles since Cancer. 500 miles on 16 stitches in the bottom of my foot.

Dear Life,
I win.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

One Year Ago Yesterday

I’m awake. I think I ate something bad at the Plevna Bar last night. Maybe chicken strips and sweet potato fries were a bad idea at 39 weeks pregnant. Regardless, I’m in the bathroom, and I think I’ll stay here for a while.

Stephan’s awake. He asked me if I’m ok. I told him I’m fine, I just can’t leave the bathroom. He’s worried.

Stephan is wide awake now. He tells me that he’s going give me until 5:15 to feel better before he drives us to Glendive. I insist it’s not necessary, this will all go away soon. He convinces me that, since we have a doctor appointment at 11am anyway, it wouldn’t be a waste of a drive, just a little safety net planning. I argue. Stephan stops listening.

Stephan has started packing the car. He drops the dogs off at Kodie & Clint’s house, gets my purse from Gary’s house, and makes himself espresso. Meanwhile, I have no idea this is going on. I’m trying to deal with the Toilet Pain. Stand up? No. Sit down? No. Lean over? No. My body tries to prove to me that it’s not what I think it is. I’m still not buying it.

Stephan drives the car around to the front door so I don’t have to deal with stairs. I’m wearing yoga pants & a green shirt with enormous SmartWool socks and too-small slip on shoes. Stephan’s rocking black sweat pants and a Jack Daniels t-shirt. It’s pitch dark and a light snow is starting to fall.

We pull into Baker to get gas. Gary’s there- a fun coincidence since he was also the only one at the gas station the night we first arrived here 3 years ago. He waves at me through the window and tells Stephan he hopes I’m not mad at him (Gary had been pushing for an October baby when I was insistent it would be November). Stephan eats a hot dog and drinks a Mountain Dew. I have a stopwatch in my hand to time the “gas pains”. This means nothing to me, as I still believe it’s just something I ate. I grab onto Stephan’s shoulder with my left hand every time I feel one, just to let him know I’m still in pain. The car ride isn’t fun.

We arrive in Wibaux, just over ½ way there. The snow is starting to slack off. I curse the car and try to figure out how to get back to Plevna without ever sitting in the car again. Is there a train? A bus? It’s not to far to walk…

I squeeze Stephan’s shoulder when I [finally] realize that I’m in labor, and that we’re probably going to have a baby today!

We’ve finally arrived in Glendive. Outside the off ramp is a gas station. Stephan stops there to use the bathroom and to get me something to eat. I ask for apple juice and a doughnut, “Let me tell you what I want in a doughnut…” I get specific. Glazed. Not doughy, as close to a Krispy Crème as you can. Stephan leaves me to time the contractions. If they’re 5 minutes apart or greater then we’ll get a hotel room. 3 minutes or less and we’re off to the hospital. He gets back from the bathroom and we take off for the hospital.

We walk into the ER, Stephan much faster than me. He’s got the paperwork we pre-signed a month ago, my purse and our overnight bag.

Katie is our nurse. She gives me a big pink gown that immediately reminds Stephan of a circus tent. We realize we haven’t called anyone to tell them we were at the hospital, so Stephan called his parents and mine to let them know today’s the day!

Doctor Stewart arrives and checks my ‘progress’. She has to see patients this morning and promises to return around 10:30.

I’ve moved back to the toilet. My brother had cautioned me not to poop on the baby. To avoid this I make the extra trip to the bathroom just to make sure nothing like that is going to happen. Once there, I wanna push. Stephan calls Katie to tell her about this new development. She rushes over and tells me NOT to push; she’s heard of people delivering babies on toilets and prefers not to do that today.

I’m back on the bed. Since Doc isn’t available, Katie checks my progress. She leaves to get Doc right away. I can still move freely so I try every position we can think of to get me more comfortable. I keep telling Stephan I want to push and he keeps reminding me not to. During one contraction my water breaks. Stephan, startled, says, “Did someone just throw a water balloon at you?” Stephan runs to get the nurse.

Doctor Stewart is back. She checks me again. People just keep telling me NOT to push. Doc’s next instructions were to give a little push, and then let it go right away. She puts her fingers in my hand and tells me to focus my energy into squeezing her fingers instead. All of this sounds ludicrous to me. I start to get discouraged, but I don’t say anything. I just keep concentrating.

Doc checks again. She gives me to go ahead to push. Doc puts on her working clothes: huge, blue boots, a gown, gloves and a hat. The bed transforms in seconds. This pushing is serious. Stephan keeps telling me to “ground out,” which means to push all the energy out the bottom of my body. I rest between contractions and lock eyes with Stephan so I remember to breath and enjoy the peace between pushing.

Part of a thought runs through my mind, a phrase I heard over and over again in a meditation I’d listened to during this pregnancy, “…ready to join all the women who have ever gone before you, and all those who will come after you…”

The baby’s head is out to the nose. Stephan tells me one more push and we’ll have a baby. I can see the exploding excitement on his face. There’s one push left, but I need a break. I take a quick deep inhale.

With one last set of 3 pushes the doctor tells me to reach down and pick up my baby. The baby is slippery, warm, wet, and soft. He is very dark purple, with a swollen head and lips. He’s moving, but slowly, and I don’t hear any crying, but that doesn’t bother me. I hear the doctor ask Stephan if he saw if it’s a boy or girl. He takes a second and says, “It’s a boy!!” I can’t believe it. A boy? Really? The nurses are on top of me rubbing the white coating into the baby’s skin. A boy? Sawyer’s here?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Overheard: Google Maps

Me: It's next to the Whole Foods.

Him: Do you mean the Starbucks on Ogden and 355!?

Me: Oh. Is that where it is?

Him: I love you, but you're on the wrong highway.

Me: Is that a metaphore?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Overheard: In the Car, after 45 minutes of fretting

Me: I'm nervous.

Him: What about all that Zen-breathing stuff?

Me: What about it?

Him: I need you to make some progress.

Me: ...

Him: Right now.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Overheard: Looking at his cell phone

Him: Kodie just sent me a chain mail.

Me: A chain mail?

Him: Yes.

Me: A chain letter?

Him: YES!

Me: Junk mail?

Him: YES!!!!

Me: Huh. Chain mail.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010


The other day I craved a buffalo burger from the drive-up restaurant. It made me sad. I'm not going to talk about that.

Here's the thing about being a Mom... You know how they say that Moms seem to just know when something bad is happening? Or that they have the ability to predict when their children will be sad/hurt/upset? Wow. Those people don't have a clue how it really works. Let me tell you the secret...

Just like I magically learned to cook when I said "I do" to Stephan 3.5 years ago, as soon as Sawyer was born I entered a state of near-paralizing worry. Everything that could possibly happen to him went through my brain constantly. It's the reason I slept with him next to my head with my hand on his tiny chest the first night in the hospital. I was convinced that if he stopped breathing I would wake up immediately and be able to do something. It turned out that I just simply didn't sleep that night. But, whatever.

Over the next 11 months the woman who is known to friends and family as the one who has plans for things like black holes swallowing the Earth and spontaneous pole-shift, has thought of every possible danger. I've pictured cars careening out of control on our quiet suburban street, crashing into the wall of his room. What if there's a fire? What is the fastest way I can get to him and get out of the house? I've made sure I know how to kick out all the screens in all the windows of the house. I've thought about how to tether the stroller to myself in case something bad happens to gravity while we're taking our walks.

With all of these things going through my mind on a near-constant basis, if something were to go wrong, I could just say, "see! I knew it!" But the odds of something going wrong during one of the 1440 minutes I'm worried about him in a day is pretty high.

That's the secret. It's not that the worrying is rare, it's that the accidents are more rare than the worrying.

Now you know.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Uh, that's confusing

It took me about two weeks to put this post together detailing step-by-step how to get rid of fleas. But when I published it, it went way down there... so click on this link to read it.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

As a friend says, "sending up a flair"

Just saying hey. Hi. We're still here. We haven't seen a flea in a few days, but the work schedule is getting really crazy. A sample of the two week schedule...

Monday- Anna works
Tuesday- Anna works
Wednesday- Stephan is in class
Thursday- Stephan works
Friday- Stephan works
Saturday- Stephan works
Sunday- Stephan works
Monday- Anna works
Tuesday- Anna works
Wednesday- Stephan is in class
Thursday- Stephan works
Friday- Stephan works
Saturday- OFF!!!!
Sunday- Anna works

Uh huh. That pretty much sums it up.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Overheard: Standing over a pile marked "Good Will"

Me: Can I give away your skirt?

Him: Well, what if we move to the South Pacific? I'll get to wear skirts again.

Me: You wore this skirt?

Him: Yes. Well... only a couple times here in the States and I got a lot of funny looks.

So there's a cute floor-length sundress at the GoodWill on Rand Rd if you want it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How to get rid of fleas

It's almost the end of Flea Week 5 (while not as exciting as Shark week, it's drawing a comprable amount of blood). In all of the internet research I've done in the last month I haven't found a good step-by-step guide for treating your pets & house with fleas. Most of it centers on particular products. So... get your book-marking finger ready. You know, for when your house gets infected and you think, "Hey, Anna did this, I wonder what her advice is?"

Step 1. Identify enemy: You'll probably notice your pets scratching a lot first. Then you'll see a bunch of small mosquito bites, mostly on your ankles and lower legs. You might see jumping poppy seeds. If you're really fast you'll catch it between your fingers and try to squish it. But it won't squish. I suggest putting the flea in a little baggie. Then you'll see something that looks like this- note the long back legs.

Step 2. Formulate a plan: bookmark this page. Have a plan before you start rushing around willy-nilly. We reacted before we thought the process through completely and ended up doing things more than once.

Step 3. Dress appropriately: Here's the uniform... put on a white shirt, long sleeved is best. Tuck it into your pants (do you have white pants? Wear them!), put on white socks, and tuck your pants into your socks. Shoes are optional. Why white? Because fleas are attracted to white and you can see them much better against the white fabric. It also helps when you start to feel itchy- you'll be able to quickly confirm what's biting you.

Step 4. Sequester pets as best as possible: Frontline. Frontline. Frontline. Wash the animals immediately with your choice of anti-flea soap, then apply Frontline immediately. Once they have the Frontline on them they become flea-killers. Any flea that bites the animal will die! Yippie! We also added flea collars to the pets. We aren't really sure if that's necessary. So that part is optional.

Step 5. Laundry: Fleas can live in clothes. If you've had clothes out near the pets wash the clothes immediately. We were very lazy about putting clothes away and closing drawers, so we had to wash all of our clothes. A really simple way to do this is to get a bunch of big black garbage bags and bag everything right away. If you're taking things to the laundromat, bring white garbage bags and put the clean clothes in the white bags. Fold and put away these clothes as soon as possible, or leave them in the plastic bags. Be careful with the clothes. Keep the clean ones clean (we had to wash ALL our clothes twice. Not good).

Steph 5a. Bug bomb during this step if you're going to do it. We avoided The Bomb for about two weeks. This was a mistake for us. We were really unfomfortable with the concept of unleashing toxic chemicals throughout our entire house. But we got to that point. If you DON'T bomb the house, you don't have to be as dilligent about the rest of the steps, but you do still have to do them.

Step 6. Wipe down surfaces: use hot soapy water. Look for flea egg nests. These are little piles of dirt that look like blood when you get them wet. Sometimes there will be dead adult fleas in the nest. If you've bombed and you're not ok with it, wipe down all walls, floors, doors, wash all dishes, wipe down everything in the cupboards, throw away any food you didn't cover up or get rid of already.

Step 7. Vacuum: Start with the furniture. Every inch of it. Top to bottom, cushions, skirts, pillows, everything. Get into the crevices. Enjoy this first vacuuming. You should continue to vacuum everything made of cloth (furniture and carpets) every day for at least 8 days. Once the infestation starts slowing down you can alternate rooms every other day. Continue to vacuum in an obsessive-compulsive way for 28 days (the life-cycle of a flea).

Step 8. Tear apart all furniture: see above.

Step 9. Empty all rooms: this should already be done.

Step 10. Eat something & drink a pop: Be prepared to eat a lot of fast food. With all of this extra housework cooking falls to the bottom of the list.

Step 11. Cry: This is stressful. You have bites all over your body, the stupid things don't seem to die. The housework is neverending. Once the first week is over you have at least 3 more weeks to go. This is not a sprint. It's a marathon. Take a deep breath and know that every time you plug in the vacuum more of them will die.

Step 12. Contemplate moving: it's tempting.

Step 13. Dip into emergency fund for supplies and cash ($400 so far): This process will take a few hundred dollars, from flea-powders to Frontline applications, dinners out, laundry detergent, and bug bombs.

Step 14. Bag up every cloth item that’s not nailed down and bring to Laundromat: see? This is where we were redundant. Learn from our mistakes. Do the steps in order.

Step 15. Bleach bathroom (maybe not necessary, but definitely needed it): You'll want your house to be as clean as possible now, just so you'll feel better. I mean, why not, right?

Step 16. Buy booze: It's nice to relax in a clean house.

Step 17. Ask help from in-laws: You might not be able to attack this whole thing yourselves. Take another deep breath and ask for help. Maybe the kids need to spend some time at the park, or someone needs to drop off a pizza. Whatever it is, you're not going to survive this without a healthy dose of realism.

Step 18. Try to take a nap: it's not a sprint, so understand that you need to bring your A game.

Step 19. Leave for work, hope that things get better in the next 5 hours: life happens. Good luck integrating your new OCD with your existing plans.

Step 20. Totally forget about the fleas: it helps to get out of the house. Day 2 we went to the zoo. It helped.

Step 21. Come home, happy that some progress has been made: a fresh outlook also helps. There might be fleas in the carpet, but you've cleaned so much that it'll feel good to walk into a clean-looking house.

Step 22. Beer

Step 23. French Fries

Step 24. Beer

Step 25. Sleep: keep your socks and shirt tucked into your pants while you sleep. Otherwise they'll still getcha.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Full Week

We discovered the fleas a week ago. I haven't posted anything because we're still trying to get our head above the proverbial water about all this. I figured I'd let you guys in on what we do every day since last week:

1. Wake up, strip beds, take off pajamas and put that all in the laundry.
2. Start by vacuuming Sawyer's room, chair and carpet. Wipe down all hard surfaces.
3. Vacuum bedroom, moving bed and nightstands.
3a. Breakfast
4. Vacuum hallway, then dining room, moving chairs & table. Wipe down all hard surfaces.
5. Vacuum livingroom floor, then all couch cushions and couch, front and back
6. Vacuum livingroom floor again. Wipe down all hard surfaces.
7. Change laundry to dryer.
8. Put baby down for a nap.
9. Clean kitchen, bathrooms, fold laundry.

That usually takes about 3-4 hours. The rest of the day is making dinner, babyfood, lunch for Stephan, or visiting friends and family. The dogs are still living in the kitchen, the cats have made a permanent home outside until I decide what else to do with them. We're breaking down and bombing the basement because there's just too much stuff down there. I get to go to work tonight, so I'll have a few hours of a break before starting it all over again in the morning. I really thought we were gaining on all this, but last night I found more than 12 new bites on my legs and torso.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Seriously?! THIS makes me miss Montana??? SEROUSLY?!?!?!


How to deal with the first day of a flea infestation in 25 easy steps**:

Step 1. Identify enemy
Step 2. Formulate plan
Step 3. Dress appropriately
Step 4. Sequester pets as best as possible
Step 5. Laundry
Step 6. Wipe down surfaces
Step 7. Vacuum
Step 8. Tear apart all furniture
Step 9. Empty all rooms
Step 10. Eat something & drink a pop
Step 11. Cry
Step 12. Contemplate moving
Step 13. Dip into emergency fund for supplies and cash ($400 so far)
Step 14. Bag up every cloth item that’s not nailed down and bring to Laundromat
Step 15. Bleach bathroom (maybe not necessary, but definitely needed it)
Step 16. Buy booze
Step 17. Ask help from in-laws
Step 18. Try to take a nap
Step 19. Leave for work, hope that things get better in the next 5 hours
Step 20. Totally forget about the fleas
Step 21. Come home, happy that some progress has been made
Step 22. Beer
Step 23. French Fries
Step 24. Beer
Step 25. Sleep

**I actually typed the first 7 steps for myself just so I could look at them to know what to do next. After only 3 hours of sleep and about 2 dozen flea bites on my back and legs, the enormity of the situation completely overwhelmed me and I reverted to my obsessive list-following days.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


What a funny word with two different meanings. Stephan would hear it and do something quickly. I saw it attached to my blog and I curiously wanted to know more.

The most clicked on blog post is found when someone googles "bull fighter".

The second most read post is a result when you search for "Rodeo".

Cooking Antelope comes in third.

The third one is a complete mystery to me.

Most people who find my blog do so when they search for 40 Miles South, or "Cooking Antelope."

My readers come from the following countries, in this order: US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine, Brazil and Peru.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just be glad you didn't Overhear: adult content

First of all, I know that more than 5 people have read the blog since I put up the "where are you now" poll. Too many options? Annoying that it's randomized? (I did that so people wouldn't realize I could only name 46 states off hand and I got impatient trying to remember the rest)

Tonight, er, last night now Stephan and I had a conversation that I thought would have been fun to blog. But... it ended up with me in a hysterical laughing fit about Keanu Reeves and {this part has been edited}. So... not so appropriate for the blog.

Wow. What you just read was a blog post about how I didn't post a blog post. This is why you click here, isn't it?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Feature: Overheard-Playlist

Playlist: Rodrigo y Gabriela

Me: Hi! How was your day?

Him: Okay. Are you cooking dinner?

Me: Yes! It's an E-mealz meal....

Playlist: They Might Be Giants

Me: Moroccan Supper!

Him: ...?

Me: Where is Morocco? Not in Turkey?

Him: No.

Playlist: Paul Simon

Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting Around to it

I have a baby-book for Sawyer that sits on the dining room table most days. But I started filling in some of the details recently and my new favorite detail is this:

#1 song the Day I was born: Fireflies by Owl City

I didn't recognize the title at all, so I looked it up. SO COOL! I love this song!

And just because we got interested in it... here's the #1 song from the day Stephan was born:

And mine didn't have embedding available.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stephan explanes Music to Anna

Me: So, was Rush related to Guns N Roses?

Him: Um, no. Rush put out their first album in 1974.

Me: So before Guns N Rose?

Him: Yes, they were in the same era as Led Zepplin.

Me: Okkaaay...?

Him: Ok, so in the 1950's you had music that was all pop-y and like, gay.

Me: ... ok...

Him: And the 60's was all acid-induced Woodstock which transitioned into the hardcore rock bands in the 70's with two guitarists and a singer.

Me: I'm getting out the computer.

Him: WHY?

Me: Because I don't know what's worse, me not knowing this already or your description of the last 60 years of music in 2 sentences.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Overheard: I Miss.....

...not why you'd think...

Me: Hello?

Her: Hi! I'm drunk dialing you!

Me: It's 7:30pm

Her: YEP!!!!

Me: What did you drink?

Her: RUMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!

....I miss being drunk at 7:30pm

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sigh = More Mommy-Blogging

a.k.a. Anna whines about life

Sawyer is fussy lately. I think he's getting more teeth... how long does teething last? He fell asleep at 8pm for the night. My dad is coming to babysit in the morning so I cleaned the kitchen from dinner; washed, cut and froze green beans from the garden; peeled, shred and froze a gallon of zucchini; scrubbed the kitchen from top to bottom; threw in a load of laundry, and now it's 11pm which might be why I just totally misused semi-colons many many times in a row.

And now I forget why I started typing. But I can't erase it because I did that funny semi-colon thing and I don't want to waste it. So... uh... OH!! Yeah, so there comes a time during the night when I'm looking around a living room/dining room combination trying not to be dismayed by how much is left to do. Then I pick up a throw pillow in one corner of the room and just vow to work my way around the room from there.

I guess I got distracted by blogging. Sorry. Back to work.

More Smiles for You!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Overheard: 12:38am

Me: You're using WebMD to diagnose me?

Him: No. I can't diagnose anyone. I'm just reading.

Me: I trust you though.

Him: If I end up in the ER this week....

Me: .... ??

Him: No, I mean, if YOU end up in the ER this week...

Me: Yeah, I was going to say, you have to work this weekend, so you better end up in the ER.

Overheard: Guest Blog (kind of)

Him: Ok, what do you like about living here?

Me: The food? Hanging out with our families so often, except that that's offset by how much I miss hanging out with our Montana friends.... why? What are you doing?

Him: Um...

Me: Are you BLOGGING????

Him: I'm just writing it in a Word Document and you can make it pretty.

So, here it is: Stephan's take on this whole moving thing...

Him: OK…it’s true, we miss our Montana friends daily. It’s also true that if one more son of a @#$%^& cuts me off in traffic only to slam on his brakes and flip me the bird, that I will be facing charges for aggravated assault and battery. I figure Blagolavich got off…so can I. I do want to say that this new phase of our life is filled with good things. Watching family members smother Sawyer in kisses, seeing grade school buddies for a Sat. night beer, and yummy ethnic foods are all good for the soul. We have a beautiful home (with curbside garbage and recycling!), a membership to the Field Museum, and the greatest football team in the history of the NFL plays 40 minutes down the road. Someday, we might win the lottery and be able to afford a ticket! I’m learning a ton at the ‘big city’ ER and both Anna and I are checking out adjunct staff positions at community colleges.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Miss Montana

Kristen is in Montana right now, visiting. Stephan and I just cancelled our planned trip for this fall due to (several) financial constraints. Wednesday marks the start of the 2010 Fallon County Fair. All of these things add up to Stephan and me being crabby about missing Sawyer's birth-state.

So what did we do?

Played a little Chris Ladeux, drank a Coors Light, and made fun of the president for a while. I'm fighting the urge to buy a deep-fryer and throw some dough into it.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I took a lot of comments very seriously about my last website/company name ideas and I came up with a different solution to the whole thing. Amazingly enough, it's the old solution with a different phone number!

Check out the new website and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's not just Me

A friend from Montana posted this as her Facebook status and it made me cry:

I love living in the country. I enjoy the smell of the grass, the smell of dust hanging in the air after hearing a car go down an dirt road, and even the smell of grease mixed with dirt in the breeze near the equipment. I know, I'm weird.

It brought back a very distinct memory for me of the first week after we moved to Chicago. I remember going outside and the air being completely devoid of smells. No scents at all. I know, it was winter, but still- no smells. No cows, no dirt, no car exhaust... I've often heard people from other countries talk about how America doesn't have any smells. Well, it's true. I could tell exactly where in Plevna I was just by what I was smelling at the time. Food cooking? The Bar. Hay and horses? The West road out of town. Cow manure? Somewhere near Fuzz's farm. Wheat? Hwy 12 West toward Miles City. Grass? The North road past the Plevna School.

My brother is known for tracking scents and naming them, driving around and around just to locate a good one. But isn't it weird that things don't smell in the city (I'm excluding some obvious city-smells: garbage, sewage, homeless people)?

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Never Thought I'd Miss...

I posted this photo album to Facebook a few weeks ago, and wanted to reproduce it on the blog but there are 50 photos involved and I'm just not that dilligent.

So if you want to check out the 50 Things I Never Thought I'd Miss about Montana but Do Now just click on the link.

Warning: This will take you to a Facebook photo album. You need not be logged into Facebook to see it, but if you have, let's just say for instance, sworn off Facebook for any specific length of time (let's say 90 Days for example) you may not want to click on the link.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Matter of Scale

I'm going to skip linking to the many entries I've made extolling the virtues of the Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner ("extolling" was for you, Kristen!)... but it's become an important symbol once again. Picture this: In Montana I plugged the vacuum into the wall in the kitchen and vacuumed my whole house.

In Illinois, I have to plug the vacuum into three different outlets to get the house cleaned. Does that mean that this house is 3 times bigger? It sure feels like it. Now, every time I vacuum the house I think of how much more compact that house was. And I miss it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Begin starting... NOW!

What am I starting? A new massage and Healing Touch company! I've named it, given it a website, scheduled a few publicity dates, and thrown the proverbial dove into the wind. When I started a business in Montana it seemed easy enough. I had a cheap but amazing space in the hospital, and instant clients. Here, not so much.

Although the process for gaining and maintaining a client base is the same, for some reason I'm much more nervous about the stability of a company in "the big city". In Montana I had nothing to lose, and, I suppose, I still don't. But overcoming the fear and doubt that ride along with the decision to start my own project is something I'm working on.

Even saying that it's my own, like I own it, gives weight to this ephemoral massage therapy company.

Check out the website, email me with comments and suggestions. I may not change what I'm doing based on what you say, but I like getting the feedback.

Check it out: Your Place or Mine

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Radio in the City

I can't find the post where I described the radio stations in Baker, MT. But you remember that we had 2 stations: classic rock and Western (not country). One thing I noticed just today was how annoying the commercials are i the city. In just one commercial break tonight the commercials were:

Cash 4 Gold
Debt Consilodators
America's Lost Masterpiece
Some weight-loss pill that's not a pill
Mortgage Reduction Help

I'm not sure what is bothering me about all of these. Maybe I'm just too used to listening to public radio... but I'm not all that concerned with being poor, old, or fat. And if I was, I wouldn't call any of those people to help me with it.

Am I wrong?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Words of Wisdom

A few weeks ago we were in Missouri hanging out with my family from Oklahoma. My grandma and aunts told me a little about Dr. Spock (NOT of Star Trek fame) who apparently wrote many books and columns about child-raising. His website claims he's one of the world's top pediatricians. My grandma told me he had no children of his own (which I just found out isn't true). My grandma also told me to not listen to the advice of anyone who has not actually raised their own children.

A few days later I gathered up my courage and prepared to take notes: I asked her, since Dr. Spock's instructions were of questionable repute... what was her advice (she raised 9 children on the salary of a high school math teacher)? Her reply? Her sage wisdom? The honey that dripped from her decades of experience?

Grandma: Well, that baby looks pretty happy, so whatever you're doing, just keep doing it.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Overheard: Not What You'd Think

Me: Oh, I didn't think they'd transfer my call to you...

Village Employee: Yes?

Me: I know there's a thunderstorm right now but...

VE: Yes?

Me: It sounds like someone is lighting quarter sticks of dynamite near my house.

VE: What does it sound like?

Me: Almost like a gunshot, but deeper pitched. Deeper than my husband's .370 and with a flash of light.

VE: Do you want an officer to follow up with you?

Me: No. Just make it stop.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Overheard: In the City

Me: So can we do it?

Him: We'll have to call J.U.L.I.E. first.

Me: Well how deep would we have to dig?

Him: It depends on the soil consistency.... standard is 2 meters, but with hard soil it would be 4 feet and sandy would be 8 feet.

Me: Oh.

Him: And if you're putting cement around it you'll need rebar.

Me: Really? Cement?

Him: Well, you didn't think you'd just have your a$$ hanging out in the breeze did you?

Me: ...

Me: I love that you know how to build a latrine.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wow = customer service!

Hi. Have you all given up on me? I haven't posted in such a long time! Why? Too much going on, but nothing really new. I quit my job, we went on vacation, our camera died, Sawyer is crawling backwards and eating lots of yummie home-made foods...

But something did happen that was really cool! I got a personal email from these people thanking me for talking about them on my blog. Huh. Cool! That got me thinking more about customer service and really taking time to thank people who help you succede. And guess what? I'm starting my own business again.




Declaration to the world: I'm going at it again. This time, Anjali Bodywork presents: Your Place or Mine? A referral based at-home massage therapy business. It's like doing business in Baker, but without the awesome room in the hospital. Totally word-of-mouth marketing, with the same awesome attention to detail and customer service I was able to give my Montana clients. I'm really excited and scared to take this leap again.

Gigantic thanks goes out to Melanie and Lauren for helping me with formatting, graphics, and wording. I'm accepting new clients now, and also any advice on starting a small business!

Just keep swimming... what do you think of my marketing so far?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

End of Visit Wrap Up

Sunday we went to Harvest Bible Chaple in Rolling Meadows, then back to our place for a "small" family meal. It was the first meal we'd ever hosted at our house, so things were a little hectic. Not to mention our outdoor BBQ plans were literally washed out when it poured down raining. We had 20 adults, 5 toddlers, and 3 babies in the house. It was nice, but would have been much nicer if the outside could have held some people.

Again, I had not noticed how crowded even the simplist things can be in the city. When everyone poured into the house it got very loud and very... well... crowded. People were gone by about 6pm, babies in bed by 8, and adults awake and visiting until about 11pm. Visiting (remember from our Montana dictionary: hanging out talking) was really nice. Things get so busy here that time spent with friends is ususally spent 'doing' something, not just sitting and talking.

The next morning we woke up at 6am to get our friends to Milwaukee airport by 9:30. They made a cute picture, Mom, Dad, little cowboy and littlier cowboy disappearing into the big metal airport with all of their gear. Little Cowboy was excited to be flying on the metal chicken again. We're already planning our next trip back to Montana for Sawyer's first birthday (sometime in October). I miss Montana.

For a lot of reasons.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

So They All Rolled Over and One Fell Out...

...and the little One said, "Too crowded!!!"

I just posted on Facebook that we're having a great time showing off our city to our Montana friends. This is very true. So far:

Thursday night
11:05pm friends arrive to Milwaukee airport

12:30am Stephan arrives to pick up friends after the worst traffic he's ever seen on an interstate highway.
2:00am friends arrive at house
3:00am friends get to sleep after exciting trip
9:00am Stephan wakes friends up with coffee
11am - 3pm ZOO! but we didn't know that if we had worn Blackhawks clothes we would get in free. There were tons of school groups there in addition to the regular summer crowd of families. The weather was pretty good, but still pretty sticky: 80F with a high humidity. With two strollers and three children (not to mention only a few hours of sleep), we all tired out pretty quickly.
5:00pm Phil's Pizza. Stuffed and thin. We ate more than human beings should be allowed to eat.
6:00pm Bourbon Street to watch the Blackhawks take a powder in game 4. Again, pretty crowded, and a pretty rowdie (that's how cheerleaders spell that word, how do you?) South Side crowd. It did give our friends a good taste of that part of the city!
11:00pm pick up 3 kids from a tired Grammy and Papa's house.
12:30am arrive home to SLEEP!!!

7:00am wake up!
10:00am spray tans to make the girls bronze beauties for the day
11:00am leave for Chicago driving tour (courtesy of Stephan)
11:08am experience a near-crash and hear Stephan use some Chicago words while honking the horn.
12:15pm realize that traffic SUCKS but see a lot of the city from the car, including Wrigley Field, Lake Shore Drive, Millennium Park, Grant Park, the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, Soldier Field, McCormick Place, the ghetto, the Museum of Science and Industry, Northerly Island, Oprah's Condo, and Cabrini Green. (Google all those yourself, my fingers are getting tired of typing links)
1:30pm arrive at Navy Pier to [pay $24 for parking and] ride on the big farris wheel, eat hotdogs, shop for souvineers (I don't think I spelled that right, but I'm really getting tired), take pictures with Obama statues, eat roasted almonds, and get very very tired.
3:00pm get back on I90 to go home. All three children sleep in the car. YEAH!
5:15pm girls go shopping and out for coffee.
8:00pm boys go to some bar, girls put kids to sleep and turn in early.

That's a lot in just two days. We have church in the morning and a good old-fashioned family bbq in the afternoon.

As we were driving and walking around I started to notice just how packed in all the people are here. I mean, I knew it intellectually, but looking around through the eyes of our friends, it is truly exhausting to be so close to so many people constantly. There's pushing and shoving, noisy conversations, walking single-file, maneuvering strollers... Even sitting in the house in the suburbs right now I can feel the press of all of our neighbors around us.

As if I needed another reason to miss Montana.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Get your clicking finger ready

I have a new FAVORITE (in capitol letters) thing!! Do you remember how much I love my Dyson vacuum cleaner? I spent, like, 3 days just posting about how it changed my life and I'll never be able to fully express my love for something inanimate? Well, this is better than that.

Uh huh. Better.

Also remember that me and cooking don't get along too well? I got that job cooking at the assisted living facility and it was kind of a big joke. So now, here's the new thing... it's E-Mealz. Click on the link and go "wow." Ok, I'll tell you what it is first. You sign up ($5.00 a month, seriously, I've saved at least $40 in two weeks so far) for 3 months at a time. Then, you choose what and how you shop for dinners. The categories are, like, "low-carb for two" or "family low fat" or just regular meals. You also pick your grocery store. Then, once a week, you download a shopping list and recipe sheet for all your dinners for the week. They've looked at what's on sale at your store, and what's in season, and HOLY COW are these EASY recipies. And amazingly delicious. Like, we're eating better (more healthy, unprocessed food) for cheaper (like I said, about $20 less in groceries per week) than EVER.

Here's the link again, CLICK THIS. It's worth a look, especially since trying it for 3 months is only $15. Stephan and I can spend that in one trip to Taco Bell.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kiss a Nurse Week!

Just keep your hands off of MY nurse. hee hee

Internet, my hair looks cute today. Just thought you'd like to know. But watch me turn this into something relevant...

I was talking to a coworker the other day about which grocery store in the area has the best produce. Since we have thirty (30, three. zero... THIRTY) grocery stores in a 2.5 mile radius from the house, this is a pretty extensive conversation. There is a store so close to my house that Sawyer and I often walk there to pick up odds and ends. But this store happens to be one of the largest in the area, and also the most crowded grocery store in the whole northwest suburbs. I don't know how, but that place is hopping even at 2am. The coworker doesn't like going there because... get this... there are, "too many options." Too much to choose from. Not just 3 or 4 brands of toothpaste, and entire AISLE of toothpaste. Human brains were not meant to deal with that many choices.

For my Montana friends I want you to know that I'm not just talking about "Wal-Mart" selection (Wal-Mart being the standard against which all other shopping is compared). The grocery store is the size of a Wal-Mart, but without the clothes, housewares, electronics, and toys. Granted, a large part (I think more than half) of the store has non-edibles like greeting cards, seasonal items, cosmetics, etc. But still, the place is huge and is a grocery store.

And... internet... I hate going into that building. At first I blamed it on my lack of organizational skills as a mother. Bringing a baby into a grocery store should be reserved for only the hearty of heart. But really, it's just too much. I actually started to miss Reyolds- the Baker grocery store. Sure, it was the size of a large 7-11, but it was manageable. I didn't have to choose between 12 brands of canned diced tomatoes. I could set aside a reasonable amount of time to sniff every brand of conditioner to make sure that I could live with whichever one I made a commitment to (yes, choosing conditioner is a commitment... it's the one smell that stays with you all day).

To sum this all up, today I found a great grocery store with just enough variety packed into a manageable shopping experience. And, yes, I sniffed all the conditioners, found one I liked, and, Internet, my hair looks cute today.

Ta Dah!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The First Visit

You read my blog (obviously) so you'll find the following fact really out of character: I didn't take any photos of our trip last weekend. We did take some video, but it was mostly of the family hanging out. Stephan put me in charge of driving out of town, which was a TERRIBLE idea. I pulled over twice and told him I couldn't do it. Why go to Chicago? Grrr. It stunk.

More to come when I have more of a stomach for it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sawyer's First Food

To celebrate Sawyer turning 6-months old we fed him! He really loved the cereal, and of course we taped it! Enjoy the cute.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Overheard: Um, yeah.

Him: I read your blog.

Me: Yeah? The old posts are cool aren't they?

Him: It's crazy.

Me: I don't write like that anymore.

Him: Because nothing happens now. We're boring.

Me: ...

Him: ...

Me: We are!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Getting Ready!

Stephan and I are firming up our plans for the short (very VERY short) trip back to Montana soon, and I'm feeling much better about it. For one, it's been very hot in Chicago the last 2 days (yeah, I'm complaining about 80 degrees) and I think the humidity and air pollution are really starting to wreck havoc on my lungs. Sawyer doesn't like the heat either- he's been fussy, unable to nap for long, and waking up more at night. I can't wait to breath in the Montana air again. I might have to bring gym shoes and go for a few runs just to remind myself that I am in shape, just not 75% humidity and smog shape.

We're dragging our friend Kristen along with us for the ride. She's another Chicago-Montana-back to Chicago-person. It's funny that there's a group of us now.

But anyway, we're getting ready to go, and I'm sad. We're missing the Branding (assuming the weather is good). No waking up stupid early to go watch guys on horses round up and cut a bunch of cow-calf pairs... no drinking beer at 9am... no running from a boy chasing people with uncooked bull nuts... no awesome hair and beef-burning smell... I'm sad.

But we're going anyway! Fun!

Check out The Branding from our very first year- 2007! Sigh.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Goings on



Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Something-That-Rhymes-With-Easter


"Anna gets down with her bad Metaphore-self"

Because it's just before Easter as I'm typing, but we celebrated Easter today at my parents' house, and we're celebrating again tomorrow... So, just be happy celebrating whatever it is you're doing right now.


We're planning a trip back to Montana. Here's what it feels like: it's like when you were in college and you had this really intense relationship with someone for years (YEARS!) and when college is over you break up but you promise to stay friends. So you start off ok, but you're in two different places, and new things start to happen and you realize you're kinda drifting apart. That you'll never really be totally involved in that person's life anymore. So that sucks. But you REALLY loved them, or, at least, loved the time you spent together. So you plan to hook up.

No, Mom, not like that.

But you're going to see them again. And, truthfully, you don't want to hook up, you just want to visit and re-live old times and catch up. But to do that makes you kinda sad, because a small part (or big part) of you wants to go back and be with them forever, in college, when times were simpler and you could split a large Papa John's pizza with a friend, wash it down with a bottle (or 4) of Boone's Farm, and wake up the next day feeling FINE!!! So then you're all conflicted because part of you wants to leave the past in the past and move on to the next adventure, but the other part wants to just hug that old dear friend for hours and never let them go. Ever.

That's what it's like to visit Montana.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Timing is Everything

People keep saying to me, "Enjoy this time!" referring to Sawyer's baby-hood. And just this morning I cried for 10 minutes when I realized that he'll be getting teeth in a mere 2 months(ish). But here's the real thing about being a parent: time becomes completely irrelevant. It's like Einstein would have had totally different theories if he had been a parent. There is no space-time continuum when a child is involved.

Sure, the popular notion that time just goes too quickly is still valid. Sawyer will be 5 months old on Monday. Who knew 5 months could actually fly by? So much has happened in 5 months, but I can still remember (muscle memory included) how it felt to sit in the back of the car on the way to the hospital October 29th, hating every minute and every bump.

But as soon as he starts crying, or at 1:30 in the morning when he wakes himself up screaming, every second ticks by like a bad slow-motion film maneuver. He's sad. He refuses to be comforted, for all of 5 minutes. But during those 5 minutes I manage to convince myself that this moment is going to determine the rest of his life. Because I let him cry he will grow up an untrusting deviant who believes his mother never truly loved him so how could he find love for the rest of the world????

And then it's over. He farts long and loud, and smiles at me as if I was the one to relased the pressure valve on his tiny tummy. He coos, tilts his head, and squints his eyes as his empty gummy mouth opens to smile and laugh. Why can't this moment feel as long as the last one? I just want to hold that exact second in my heart forever. But soon enough, the poop follows the fart and it's wipes and diapers everywhere and life moves on. I look up and it's 9pm already, time for the tubby and bedtime. Then all is quiet and I punch the "mom" time clock (for a few hours at least), and I miss him and can't wait for the next day to start again.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bunch of Stuff

So, we just watched the House episode with Laura Prepon where she is a blogger who writes about her life in a way that's TOTALLY obnoxious, alienating her boyfriend, and telling "the truth" to her readers. Guys, if that turns into me, I hope someone will tell me.

By the way, I love the homepage for House that I linked to. That's the only time I've ever seen a picture of Hugh Laurie and found him even remotely attractive. TMI? Sorry.

In baby news, Sawyer is doing amazing. He's in this wonderfully perfect stage of being cute, easily confined, undisciplined, adorable, AND sleeping 10-11 hours a night with only one feeding (usually around 5am). We just bought all new clothes (12 month cloths because he weighs 20lbs), and started taking walks in the stroller. He LOVES walks. He doesn't sleep like a normal child, he stays wide awake, looking all around him. We also took him for a ride in the hiking backpack this week. Photos to come, as they're on Stephan's phone (my camera battery died). He loved that too, but the view of the back of Daddy's head was boring so he fell asleep.

With nicer weather comes more Montana homesickness. We tried to walk in a forest preserve, but I missed the solitude of the road West of Plevna. The air is also noticeably ickier. Some days it feels like breathing through a scarf. Maybe that's just the humidity that I'm not used to. We're trying to plan a trip back to Plevna/Baker in April! I'll be writing TONS about that when it happens, so look out!

Monday, March 15, 2010

About Some Friends

I know that the political and religous views of my readers are vast and varied... so I'm posting this knowing that some of you might not agree with it. Sorry, doing it anyway. I support the ability for gay people to be legally married in this country. If you don't, you might want to just skip this post.

Check out this website to read a sweet story about a friend of mine from high school. Actually, he's not really even technically a friend- I bet he doesn't remember me at all. Regardless, he is in love, and is going to get married. They registered with Crate and Barrel's Ultimate Wedding Contest along with tons of other people. It's become somewhat of a large controversy over there, and they are asking for positive support from anyone who cares to share it.

To vote, you do need to register your email address, which I did, but no junk email has resulted. If you don't wish to support them, please just don't click on the website. They only need positivie support right now.


[steps down off of soap box]

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crawling Back into My Hole

I'll have access to my next MPH (Masters in Public Health) class In less than an hour. It's Biostatistics. Whoow. So this'll be interesting to see how fit studying into being a mom. A friend of mine laughed at me, saying I reminded her of one of MTV's 16 and Prgnant girls. That's cute, there's only a 15 year difference! Oh yeah, and a responsible and wonderful Baby-Daddy.

So far, I love the few hours I get out of the house at The Welless Center doing Massage and Healing Touch. It's wonderful to touch people again: physically and emotionally. I can't wait to throw something exciting at my brain! Stephan is on his last of a 4 day stretch of working. He's tired, but it's nice for all of us to get into a routine.

The little man? He's doing a lot of talking lately. He looks us right in the eyes and babbles. There aren't many consanents yet, but the laughing and cooing is the best sound to my ears ever. I'm trying to catch it on tape. As soon as I do I'll get to share it! WARNING: cutest thing ever. Ever.

So far.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Overheard: In thr Car

Me: Wow! With the trees behind you, and the angle of the sun it almost looks like we could be driving to Glendive.

Him: Yeah-

[sound of tires squeeling, horns honking, and a lady screaming obscenities]

Him: Almost for a minute there, huh?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Living in the City

So you know when it's time to go to sleep, you make the room all dark and quiet, you lay down somewhere comfortable and you close your eyes? That's like Montana.

You know when you're trying to sleep in an airport, it's bright and there's noises everywhere, and you just can't quite get comfortable in the chair? That's like the city.

Don't get me wrong- it's always nicer to be at the airport with people you know who will stay awake and tell you when your flight is bording, watch your bag, and let you lean on their shoulder. But you're always going to fall asleep better in your own bed.

Friday, February 26, 2010

End of Feb Photos

Stephan fell asleep last week and Sawyer and I were bored. So we played dress up for about an hour....

Friday, February 19, 2010

Back on Schedule

A week ago, Stephan and I were clinging to each other, me in tears, baby monitor clutched in our trembling hands. The first night following Dr. Ferber's plan he cried on and off for an hour. The second night it was only 30 minutes, and, more or less the times got shorter and shorter after that. When he first cried I told Stephan, "he's mad at us!" and Stephan told me this will not be the last time he will be mad at us, that I have to get used to it. There will be plenty of times in his life that we do things to help him that he doesn't like. At 2am I sat up staring at the baby monitor (it's a video monitor, totally worth the extra price) and sighed...

Me: There will be a day, in about 17 years when we are sitting up at 2am and he's not at home, and we want him to be safe, but we can't protect him from everything... and it'll me much worse than this won't it?

Him: Yep.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Original Sin Loses a Nail Biter in Overtime"

After nearly 4 months of shouldering the burden of original sin, Sawyer was baptised on Sunday. The following video condenses 4 hours of hoopla into a 1 minute and 45 second highlight reel. Thanks to Uncle Jimmy for capturing a unique selection of the festivities.

A Post Where I Talk about Religion

Sawyer was baptised this weekend! Yippie for the Holy Spirit! We don't much talk about religion on this blog, mostly because it's such a hot topic, and so many of the people who read the blog have strong and different opinions about it. But, here I go anyway.

The thing I'm thinking about religion today is: why is this an all-or-nothing topic? It seems that people either have very strong beliefs (i.e. "I believe this and therefore YOU MUST believe it too, here are the 1,000 reasons I've prepared to convince you of that"), or they are totally apathetic. Where are the people who just believe in something (whatever that means to them) and practice their religion (whatever tht means to them), are open and honest when asked about it, and then go on with their day?

I think this was the dilemma Stephan and I faced when it came to deciding how we wanted to raise Sawyer. Do we have to pick between these two opposites? Or can our family just quietly do our thing? When selecting godparents we really struggled with finding people who would support us in our walk, no matter where that walk would lead us, and not ignore that walk either. We wanted people who will sit down with Sawyer when he's older and talk to him about their own lives. People who, more than talk about being Christian, live Christian lives. I think we found those people, and I think that's a pretty smart way to do things.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Doing the Do

Not much to report here. Life as usual: Stephan working nights, I'm gearing up to start work next week, and The Little Man is working on growing and learning things. We play every day and it's so amazing to watch him discover his body a little more each day. Last night he found his ears and thumb, so he alternated hands poking himself in the head and face. He's also trying to roll over by kicking his chubby legs in the air and trying to throw them over his shoulder. We have little conversations sometimes where we take turns imitating each other. Last week he repeated "Ahh OOO Gooo" after I sang that I loved him. There's dancing and supported sitting up lately too. Hopefully with Stephan's next few days off we'll get some of these things on tape.

And, no, I didn't feel the earthquake yesterday. I'm sure I woke up when it happened at 3:59am, but then again, I also probably woke up at 1:30, 2:45, 5:15 and 6 am as well. And (blush) I'm still loving every minute of it. One day I'm sure I'll sleep more than 3 hours in a row again, and maybe then I'll realize what I've been missing. For now though, I really don't mind snuggling a crabby baby. I feel honored he picked us anyway.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Not my First Rodeo

But it sure was Sawyer's! My brother thought that 3 months old was a little too little to bring a baby to a rodeo, but I tried to tell him that rodeos are where Montana babies are made (hee hee). Last weekend the PCBR came to the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates. Stephan's parents, two sisters, one brother-in-law and a niece and nephew all piled in a car and met us up there. It started at 7pm and it was indoors, so already it was different from the rodeos we had been to in Montana.

The first thing that stuck me was all the different ideas of what a person should wear to a rodeo. There were lots of people just in city clothes, and a few actually wearing the pearl snap shirts with tight jeans and boots. But the in-between dressers were really funny. Button down Western shirts tucked into baggy low-rider pants... girls in tight jeans, wearing Uggs (those are boots, aren't they?)... lots of boots tucked into jeans (a pet peeve of a few friends of ours)... and hats that weren't quite 'cowboy' hats everywhere.

The rodeo started as they all do, a long tribute to America (eventhough 1/2 the audience was Latino) and a prayer to God that everyone stay safe. They bucked 35 head that night, and had 8 barrel racers do their thing in the middle. It was weird being indoors, with dirt trucked in to cover the cement floor. But the rodeo clown was funny, and the bull fighters kept everyone safe. Stephan and I knew just enough to appreciate the AAA-ness of the bulls and riders. Only one or two bulls were really rank, the rest were pretty tame.

The biggest difference was the arena pricing. $7.00 for a beer?? Heck, the Lutherans bring their own beer and keep it in their trucks!

[I just realized that I never posted the story about when we played Luthran vs Catholic softball in Montana and I realized the true difference between the two religions. The Lutherans brought beer and kept it in their trucks in the parking lot. The Catholics had no beer. So, knowing that, the last sentence of this post should make a lot more sense.]