10 on Tuesday, Volume 4

Questions for Tuesday, March 15, 2011!

1. What is your cleaning style like?
The short answer: I’m not nearly as clean as I’d like.
I like to make the excuse that our tiny house with tiny closets make clutter an easy problem to have. But I try to remind myself that if I had more space, I’d just fill it up and it too would be cluttered and messy. So usually my cleaning style consists of moving enough crap around every night that I won’t trip in the dark, waiting until the house is a total sham and then pick it up. We’re taking steps in the right direction to fix the storage situation at home and a moldy storage room forced me to unwillingly purge half of our belongings last year too. So that’s fun. (Who’s idea was this questions anyway…sheesh, way to make a girl feel like a total bum)

2. What is your favorite thing to add to an outfit to take it from casual to classy?
A cardigan? Maybe a necklace? Perhaps scrape the boogers and crusty cracker crumbs off my shirt?

3. Do you like stormy weather?
It sure keeps life interesting. I don’t mind watching storms from my house, but I hate the thought of being stranded away from its safety net. The sky intrigues me. My Grandpa Waba is a storm chaser, it runs in my blood.

4. What is your favorite cold treat on a hot day?
Fresh lemonade. Super cold.

5. What is your favorite warm treat on a cold day?
Right now its definitely Russian Tea.

6. Who is your favorite animated character?
These questions are not easy, my friends. I really like the kid from Meet the Robinsons – Cornelius, before he was a Robinson. My least favorite? Caillou.

7. What do you keep your jewelry in?
A Lane mini cedar chest that my Grandma and Grandpa gave me when I graduated. I smile every time I see it.

8. Do any of the rooms in your house have a theme?
Not really. The boys’ bedroom will have a cowboy theme someday, but as long as Max sleeps in the crib, there isn’t a lot of room for d├ęcor.

9. Do you watch any interior design TV shows – if so, what is your favorite?
Nope. But I probably should. I’m certain they have themed rooms and ideas for cutting down on clutter, presented by really awesome animated classy characters.

10. When was the last time you did something risk-taking?
Yikes. I’m pretty safe. Though I did drive home from Aberdeen after the DI tournament on Saturday and the roads were pretty crappy in the morning. So even letting me behind the wheel was risky for our family. I knew the roads had improved or I would have never tried it that afternoon. I’m kind of a wuss.


10 on Tuesday, Volume 3

These aren't the real 10 on Tuesday questions. My answers for this week's questions would have been lame-o so my BFF graciously check the archived questions and picked these instead.

1. Fill in the blank. Sometimes I wish my life was more ______.

boring...Like almost everyone else in the world, we work hard to create a balance between work, home, family, friends and giving back. It’s a perpetual struggle to make sure everything gets the attention that it deserves. The easy part? Our kids come first.

2. How do you cure the hiccups?
Plug my nose and drink water. Really, I don’t cure them. I just embrace them and giggle. But if you need advice, watch any sort of kids show – there’s almost always a hiccup episode. For real.

3. What are three of your favorite indulgences?
I associate indulgence with food, naturally, so here it goes.
Mountain Dew – I know, its probably rotting my soul from the inside.
Crab Rangoon – I will never answer a question regarding how many I eat in a sitting.
Pizza – really anything pizza flavored, looking like a pizza or pretending to be related to pizza.

4. Where is the most exotic place you would like to travel to? The most mundane?
Exotic - Africa. I really wanted to go before we had kids, but Gage changed our plans. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Or Africa.
Mundane - I'd love to go to the Jack Daniels Headquarters sometime with Jack. Why not, right?

5. Does having your time planned out stress you or relax you?
Stresses. Me. Out. I like an outline, but we mostly like to wing it. However, if I do have something planned and it gets nixed or changed last minute it does throw me off. In that respect, I’m a bit like a toddler. With fewer naps.

6. What are your favorite fabrics to wear?
Cotton – is there really anything else? I could definitely use a wardrobe makeover if anyone's interested in styling me.

7. Do you sleep through the night?
Funny you should ask that. We have gotten much better about sleep at our house, but for the past 4 years saying we've struggled to get a good night's sleep would be an understatement. Some children sleep. Others don't. We tried everything, we tried nothing. We asked our doctor. He told us to give him Benadryl. Gage learned to climb in and out of his crib starting at 15 months. He prefers sleeping on the couch so we moved one in his room. It didn't work. At least (at just shy of 4 years old) he's basically able to take care of his sleepless self now. However, if given the chance, I can usually sleep 8 hours, no longer.

8. When you were younger, what did you think you would be doing at this age? How close is that to what you are doing?
Throughout school my answer was almost always that I wanted to teach. In elementary, I wanted to be an elementary teacher. In high school, I saw myself as a band teacher/director (no laughing). Then I decided to teach agriculture. Through it all, I think I realized that I really just wanted to nurture young souls and ultimately, be a mom. How close is it to what I am doing? Well I am a mom, and I do teach, just not in a classroom.

9. What has surprised you most about growing up?
How being married to a great guy can make all the difference in the world. Who knew? (You guys, he does the laundry. All of it.) Also, I always pictured myself raising three or four kids with dark brown hair and eyes. I'm surprised at how perfectly complete our family is with two crazy little boys with hair the bleaches out in the sunshine.

10. Are you good at keeping secrets?
You know it. Though it surprises me how few secrets there are anymore. People are terribly generous with the information they're willing to share. I subbed at the school quite a bit the year after I left and it blew my mind what information those kids were freely offering.


10 on Tuesday, Volume 2

Two weeks in a row. Look at me go. I really hate the snow. Its Dr. Seuss's birthday week you know...

Questions for Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1. What type of cell phone do you have and how would you rate it?
DroidX and I love it. Since Internet and email capabilities allow us to work from anywhere (more or less), this phone has made a pretty big difference. Is it perfect? Probably not. Do I use it to its full capability? Not even close. But, it lets me stay connected, capture candid pictures and videos of my kids and download enough aps to keep everyone happy when we travel. Or while I wash the dishes once a week (Pandora much?)

2. What has been your most serious injury?
I had surgery to repair acid reflux when I was 18, so that was kind of a big deal, but it wasn’t really an injury. I’ve only been treated in an ER once that I remember. We were at a 4-H calf show (yep) in DeSmet SD, and my steer tried to walk on the wrong side of a stationary post. Being 13 or 14 years old at the time, I should have known better, but instead of letting go, I held onto the rope halter and it pulled through my hand and rope burned my hand pretty bad. We’re talking instant blisters in places where the skin didn’t just peel off. So we went to the ER, where they treated it with burn cream, bandaged me up, gave me an ice bag and sent me back to the calf show. I felt like a big doofus.

3. What is one movie you hate and why?
Hmmmm. The worst movie I saw in the theater was probably Punch Drunk Love followed closely by Meet Joe Black. However, Meet Joe Black has offered so many hilarious memories with my BFF, that I can’t possibly hate it. I used to really be into movies, but not as much anymore.

4. How many email addresses do you have?
Only one that I check everyday. I do still have a hotmail account (I think?) that my grandma and grandpa use (hey Wabas!) but I only check that occasionally.

5. What website do you waste the most time on?
Lately its been Etsy. I swear you could look at stuff on that site for days on end. It inspires me and at the same time makes me feel like a slacker – who wants to teach me to be crafty?

6. Which Mexican restaurant makes the best salsa?
I love my Grandma Teresa’s salsa, but she's German so it probably doesn't count. I used to love Guadalajara’s in Brookings SD when it was readily available, but its kind of a long commute for condiments.

7. What is your dream car?
I’m indifferent. I’ll let me hubs pick me out something cool.

8. If you could spend up to $100 with no strings or restrictions or guilt, what would you buy?
Music, chocolate, shoes, or art for the walls at home. I’m terribly exciting.

9. What is your favorite board game?
I’m a Trivial Pursuit kinda girl. But I usually get owned.

10. How often do you change your hairstyle?
I try once or twice a year, but then I either cut it or grow it out so it ends up back at my safety zone.


10 on Tuesday, Volume 1

Something new to try. Hopefully it'll get me thinking more about getting my ideas down on paper. You know, because someday I'm certain my (future) teenage sons will need a reason to shun me.

Questions for Tuesday, February 22, 2011

1. What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day. Do you love it? Hate it?
I’m pretty indifferent really. Do I celebrate it with my husband? Sometimes, but not on a Monday. As far as scheduled holidays go, I’m alright celebrating for the sake of eating cake (or chocolate, or turkey, etc.) but I enjoy doing nice things for people when I think they need it most. And its probably not when I know they’re getting plenty of presents and well wishes anyway. That said, since we’ve had kids, we celebrate holidays for them so they can form their own ideas about life.

2. What is your favorite romantic comedy?
Yikes…I don’t get to watch many. Sweet Home Alabama is a standby for me and I like Pretty Woman. Does Harry Potter count? No? Hmmmm, how about The Big Bang Theory? Pawn Stars? Myth Busters?

3. Meg Ryan & John Mellencamp: what’s your first reaction?
Are they together? Good for them I guess. I’ve tried to get my hair cut like hers about 13 times. Its always a different style I clip out and take in, so I must really like her style. And John has some great work out there you can’t help but love.

4. All time favorite poem or quote?
“Live so that when your children think of integrity and fairness, they think of you.” And “Faith can move mountains, but don’t be surprised if God hands you a shovel.”

5. What’s the longest amount of time you’ve gone without sleep? (like consecutive hours).
3 years, 10 months. Ok, not really but suffice it to say that our household is rarely well rested. I anticipate having a super hard time getting Gage out of bed as a teenager. He has lots of catching up to do. The longest without sleep is likely TEC in high school. 48 hours at one point I think. It took lots of Mountain Dew.

6. What color ink do you prefer to use?
Blue. What’s my favorite kind of pen you ask? http://bit.ly/frIr9l There is definitely a perfect pen for everyone. And I can probably find it for you. I’m a bit of an office supply junkie. It’s what I do.

7. Share with us a blog that you recently found and fell in love with (and link us!)
I had seen this once before and kind of forgot about it. When I found it again, I enjoyed it even more. Its beautiful. http://bit.ly/bQce1q

8. If you could be on a reality TV show which one would you choose?
American Pickers. It has become my American Idol of 5 years ago. Gotta love watching big dorks do what they love. It doesn’t get any more real than that – ha!

9. Mountains or Beach?
I will pick mountains every time. Namely, Bear Tooth Pass in MT/WY – heaven on earth right there.

10. With the Oscars around the corner, what’s your pick for best picture?
Yikes, I probably haven’t seen any of them. The best movie I saw in a theater last year was Harry Potter 7.1 and I spent the first half worried that my kid was going to have nightmares about it. And he wasn’t even there.



Here's the story that needs to be told before I completely forget. Because someday, Max will want to know. Its a story that isn't finished, hasn't been particularly easy and one I'd love to give back. But sometimes, the universe has other plans. So here ya go.

About a week after Max turned one and had a well-child checkup with our regular physician, we noticed a bump in front of his right ear. I called the clinic right away and was told by a nurse that as long as there was no fever, redness or pain just to give it time. A week later, I called again. A week after that I made an appointment with our physician. He had "never seen anything like it" but contacted an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist in Bismarck where he relayed the information that we should do warm compresses and massage to the area every 2 hours and call in 2 weeks if it hadn't improved. Well, it didn't so we made an appointment for the first week of December. Initially, they scheduled us for a CT scan and then appointment at the clinic but called the day before to cancel the CT scan because they realized they couldn't do a CT scan on a 15 month old at the clinic, as the procedure would require sedation. In the meantime, the bump had continued a slow growth until a few days before the appointment in Bismarck where it grew much faster, and started turning red. We headed to Bismarck the night before his appointment and stayed at a hotel so the boys could swim. I grabbed a few shots the morning of his appointment (a Friday).
 I can tell you that it didn't look this bad for the 6 weeks prior to his appointment. While it did continue to grow at a slow rate, much of this occurred in the few days before we headed North.
 When we met with the doctor, he started by saying that he didn't want to order unnecessary tests, we hadn't tried antibiotics so he thought that was the first course of action. And then he touched "the bump". His decision changed immediately and they called the hospital to get us in for an MRI that afternoon. He said depending on the results, we may still try antibiotics or opt for surgery. We had to wait for him to digest his breakfast which made for a long afternoon. The MRI showed several pockets of fluid that were not properly draining, all related to the salivary gland. There was one main pocket of concern, but no abscess relating to the swelling which was good news. We talked with the doctor on the phone and chose to do the surgery, but in the meantime they had woken Max up from anesthesia, and we didn't want to put him back under right away, so we were admitted to St. Alexius in Bismarck to let some IV antibiotics combat the infection that had developed from the pockets not draining.
 For the most part, the kids had a blast at the hospital. There were great toys to play with, game rooms, halls to walk and Gage got to stay at a hotel with Jack and swim, swim, swim.
 Looks like fun, right? About 48 hours after we were admitted, both boys started puking. Gage at the hotel and Max at the hospital. They puked the first time within 15 minutes of each other. I can tell you that Jack had it way worse at the hotel. After Max's 2nd bout, they started him on anti-nausea meds and bumped his IV fluid intake. He was in good shape in no time. Gage had to tough it out on his own. The nurses worried about dehydration and suggested calling our physician or taking him to acute care. Good stuff, right? He was such a trooper. I only left the hospital once and never made it to the hotel, but Jack said it looked like a war zone. Not cool. Somehow, we managed to keep the pukes at bay ourselves.
 Meanwhile, we let Max have the weekend to try and combat the swelling. I think we'd have had better luck if an allergic reaction wouldn't have developed the first night we were there. They aren't positive it was the antibiotic, as the poor boy also has terribly sensitive skin and could have reacted to the scrubs/sheets but at any rate, it wasn't fun. They had to stop that medication and then wait for the doctor to call in something else. The standard-issue hospital lotion they gave us only made it worse and the tape used on the IV left pretty good marks too.
 It wasn't until the 2nd or 3rd day that we found this window at the end of the hallway where he could watch the traffic. We put a few miles on trying to keep Max busy and happy and walking helped a lot. Every 2 hours (like clockwork) they wanted us to do the warm compress. At this point, the bump was infected, red and tender so he screamed every time for the first 2 days. Then I got a VHS copy of The Lion King and he sat as still as could be on my lap watching that while we pushed on his head.
 Seriously? We couldn't have asked for a better patient. I cannot even begin to imagine the same experience with Gage at this age. They had all of the equipment we needed to try and keep him happy. We ordered a la carte every meal and snack for him, had hundreds of movies to choose from and a few blond ponytails to flirt with. He really preferred the young, blond nurses most. Try explaining that to the middle-aged brunette night nurse who can't figure out why he cries when she enters the room.
Putting on the miles...once Gage started puking we tried to contain our germs to our room and him away from the hospital a little more. But by Sunday night it was evident that Max would be headed to surgery on Monday morning so they woke up super early and joined me about 7:30 to head downstairs. They estimated the surgery to take 30-45 minutes and it took 11. Our ENT doctor was awesome and with four little kids of his own, understood a bit what we were going through.
 Post-surgery dressing. It didn't last long before it fell right off. Way more impressive-looking than it needed to be. The incision was less than one inch long right in front of his ear lobe. The doctor actually said its the same place they make an incision for a face lift and also a place where most people develop a natural crease. Max did great during both trips of anesthesia and our biggest post-op concern was eating too much too fast (they'd pulled him off of feed and fluids the night before) and walking too fast in the hallway. He only had 2 doses of Tylenol post-op for pain management.
Same window, different day. I was feeling a bit claustrophobic at this point. Max too. We actually borrowed a stroller from the hospital to walk the halls as my arms and back were screaming from hauling him around and he walked too fast for the short IV leash. 
So when we checked in, the regular infant rooms were all full and they put us in a PICU room as "overflow". Thankfully we didn't have to use most of the equipment in the room. But the baby jail did come in handy when I needed a break. Or a sandwich. Or a nap. The one piece of equipment that was used at the nurse's station was the in-room camera. They'd wait until they saw him wake before they bugged him for vital checks at night. And at one point during the day a nurse came running into the room to tell me he was trying to crawl out of the crib. Dressed. Like. This. He figured out to put toys along the edge, stand on them and reach over the rail. It was great fun.
Watching The Lion King, no doubt. I didn't keep track, but I'm guessing 20x and many more times since.  
 I think this was morning of discharge. Somersaults in the crib. Outstanding.
Since the five day stay at St. Alexius, we have done warm compresses to the area 2-5 times a day (five at first, now it needs it less often), been back for 3 follow up visits (#4 this week) and seen marked improvement. Its possible he'll need another operation, but at this point we are happy with progress. We have reopened the incision at the office visits to give the drainage a change to leave through the side of his face instead of his saliva duct, which hasn't been able to keep up 100% yet. The duct probably collapsed or shrunk in the time it wasn't being used and needs time to get back to normal. I wonder if without extra saliva production from teething we'd be further ahead. Speculation. The healing is definitely not linear meaning it might look better one day and then regress a bit for a few. Looking back at these pictures is good for us in that we can see how far we've come. Its sure been a trip. Probably a fluke deal and so terribly rare that there's nothing to tell us how long the healing process will take or what we can expect for the future.

But for now, we'll take it.


A Quick Rundown

Since I last posted we:
  • successfully pulled off a great After Thanksgiving Sale at The Current Connection. Cider consumed: 1 gallon. Coffee consumed: 3 cups. Not sure what everyone else drank but I sure was thirsty that day. It couldn't possibly have been the 4 dozen cookies I ate.
  • barely recovered before we headed to Bismarck for what we thought would be a quick night in a hotel and appointment with an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist for Max. Five days at St. Alexius Hospital, an MRI, surgery, an allergic reaction, 18 viewings of The Lion King on VHS, THE STOMACH FLU and several gallons of Mountain Dew later they finally released us. Max and I have been back for three follow-up visits since, with another next Tuesday. This experience will get its own post. Some day.
  • drove across SD to fly to California and spend the holidays with family. The kids met Mickey Mouse and Jack crossed 'change poopy diapers on airplanes' off his Bucket List. The week after we came home, it snowed in LA.
  • knocked out a couple of walls at home. Pretty routine.
  • celebrated my birthday with dinner, a movie and a full night's sleep. Thanks to Chuck and Koreen for watching the boys and everyone who sent gifts, cake, flowers and well wishes. I felt much older than 28 as Max decided to help me celebrate the day by waking up several times in the night. We've since learned that he's cutting molars that keeps him in a constant state of pain and misery. But we still love him. And Tylenol.
  • celebrated Wrangler's birthday. He's 5 now (in human years) and enjoys eating leftover birthday cake.
That's all for now - hope you're feeling up to speed!


...And Counting

In precisely 56 hours, we will open doors at The Current Connection with a fresh look, great deals, cookies, coffee and cider. In the last 56 hours, we have unloaded, cleaned, assembled and filled new shelving at the office, and received and unpacked truckloads of freight among many other important preparations. At any rate, we are working hard to ensure a seamless, exciting Black Friday experience for our customers. I'm happy to highlight a few specials now, and as long as we stay on track, I can get you even more information tomorrow.

Toshiba 40" LCD TV - $529.99
TVs in stock 10"-55" including SONY 3D packages!!
Dell Vostro 230 Desktops (with monitor, keyboard and mouse) - $449.99
Dell Vostro 3500 Laptop - $599.99 (that's a $100 savings off the normal price!)
Great pricing on Digital Cameras and camcorders
10% Savings on all Toys in stock before 10am
Close-out pricing on all TV stands

Don't forget - we do accept the 0% Christmas loans offered through local banks in conjunction with Lemmon and Hettinger Chambers of Commerce.

It's not too late to change your weekend plans to include a trip down Main Street in Lemmon on Friday.