That was fast!

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Christmas 2015

What a difference a year makes!

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Christmas 2016

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The mind of a teenage boy

Below is the resident teenager’s Christmas wish list from 2015. In the heading, he noted that it was “mostly sub twenty” — meaning less than $20 per item.

  1. A sharpening stone of some sort for pocket knives, oil requiring or no doesn’t matter.
  2. A watch with a sturdy long-lasting band (not plastic/rubber) that is water resistant to the point I could swim with it on.
  3. Fifty plus feet of para-cord.
  4. If you can find cheap waterproof or really water resistant winter gloves with a longer wrist to go under my sleeve that would be really good too.
  5. The usual cash, some sugary poison, preferably some kind of chocolate—I’ll take any, about 95% dark and under, Swedish fish, Nutella, Eggnog, or something like bit’o honey (Caramel/Cream bite size candies) No sour, fizzy, root beer flavored, ect. [sic]
  6. Beef jerky, also preferably no weird flavors, such as teriyaki or mesquite.
  7. Random items that you think I might like appreciate.
  8. And, if you really want to invest, by any means feel free to get me something really nice, a good bike, a backyard pool, some nice outdoor stuff, a horse and somewhere to keep it, a trip to some exotic place, a working lightsaber, scuba gear, a hang gliding trip, etcetera. Use your imagination, besides, look on the bright side, if you do this, the next few [years of getting me] birthday and Christmas presents might get called off for you, or I might get spoiled and demand more.

 

DSCN7126  My memory is as out-of-focus as this picture.

My memory is as fuzzy and out-of-focus as this picture of the Christmas tree.

 

You’d probably like to know what we ended up getting him for Christmas. I’m curious myself! On Christmas Day, I was one month out of surgery for my trimalleolar fracture and on some pretty strong pain medicine. I do know that we are not the proud owners of a horse and stable. 🙂

I was curious enough to look up previous orders on my Amazon account (the only way that any Christmas shopping got done). He received, in part, some new running gear. The fact I still have Amazon Prime is proof that those were some pretty strong pain meds; I forgot to turn off our free 30-day trial and ended up paying $99 for the entire year. Never mind that I was too busy to shop the special Prime Day sale on July 12th.

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What sort of  gifts have you (or your kids or someone else you know) wished for that would fit in category #8 above? 

 

And all the children are above average

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.**

Wait, no — that’s not right.

I’m not really sure what to call the past 2 weeks. At times it has been joyous, but it has also been challenging in an unpleasant way. But first, the good stuff:

DSCN9396  unplanned outfits, WEBSIZED

I’ve gotten to visit the next generation family twice over a 4-day window.  I visited on a Saturday nearly 2 weeks ago . While The Scout and SuperDad were off Riding the Hiawatha, I had the privilege of riding with my little buddy. It had been 6 weeks since my last visit and I felt about three weeks overdue for grandson snuggles.

DSCN9357 Big boy smiles, RESIZED

I cannot get enough of this sweet boy. SuperDad hadn’t seen him in person since Mother’s Day, so the two of us drove to their town again last Wednesday. I love seeing my husband being a grandpa.

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DSCN9478 Opa helps Little Foot listen to Daddy, WEBSIZED

Listening to Daddy’s voice coming out of the tube at the park…   It’s so fun to see Little Foot clearly working his brain to figure out his world.

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DSCN9509  Drake, websized

We were chillin’ at the park (literally, we were keeping cool at the end of a hot day). The Author, who loves all birds and had at one time wanted to become a veterinarian specializing in bird care, enjoys feeding the ducks. And then she caught one!

 

Little Foot was curious at first but then became jealous of the creature in Mommy’s arms where he rightfully belonged. It was clearly bedtime for baby.

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Little Foot, standing!

 

Little Foot is 7 months old today.  Time is passing by so quickly and his babyhood is already slipping away. His mama sent me this picture just a few days ago — Standing! 

 

 

So now, let’s discuss the other young member of the family, our resident teenager, who has had a couple of painful lessons in life in the past month. As you might have read in yesterday’s post, he had his bicycle stolen  a few weeks ago. I have sympathy for his plight; at the same time, I had mentioned a time or three that leaving the bike overnight at the school was unwise because a single bike in a deserted area was an invitation for thieves. Granted, the bike was stolen in broad daylight, but the school grounds were empty which is the same premise.  So, bike gone, lesson learned. (I hope.)
Wait, did I use the word LESSON? Ah… this was the school year of taking an online Spanish course. The Scout struggled through this course, not really understanding much of anything. He’s our last kid and we are pretty hands-off at this point because he has been so responsible. What we didn’t know was that this was a “homegrown” course for the school district and by the end of the year, a majority of the students had dropped it, were failing it or in danger of failing it. We turned to a neighbor for help — he had taught high school Spanish before he retired — but even he couldn’t understand what the English directions were asking the students to do. With the neighbor’s help, The Scout took a “pass” on the course, scraping by with a D-.  Now he is trying to catch up with students who took Spanish 1 in the classroom by taking a 6-week remedial course online for summer school. Unfortunately, this course began one day before said teenager left for a week of scout camp and will end with another week of scout camp , leaving him 4 weeks to do the work. There’s a strong chance he may end up repeating the course in a classroom in September. So that’s painful lesson #2

The Scout went off to Rendezvous with minimal supplies. Many items were strictly forbidden due to the fact that they hadn’t yet been invented and/or in use during fur trapping 1830 North America. The boys waded to an island with their burlap sacks, built and slept in tepees, kept mosquitoes away with smoke, swam with beavers, and generally did things that mothers shouldn’t know about. It’s the sort of week where scout safety is quietly set aside for realism. I’m pretty sure the district office allows this to operate on a don’t ask/don’t tell policy. Our young man learned some useful skills and had a wonderful time. After picking him up on Saturday, we drove home with the windows open. 

It wasn’t all mud and beaver dams and mosquitoes; they also did sewing and bead work, shot with black powder, and learned a lot of history.

Painful lesson #3: It hurts when you fall out of a tree. Sunday afternoon he took a walk through the park — and because he is a teenage boy, he saw a tree and decided to climb it. He was 23 feet in the air when the branch broke. He landed on his back, blacked out briefly from the pain, got up and walked home. Ice and pain pills got him through the evening. Amazingly, he did not hit his head or break anything. Or die. The CT scan was “normal.”

**
“Where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” – Garrison Keillor

I have discovered something about myself over the past 30 years, that when the truly frightening events occur — when the kid falls 2+ stories and lands on his back, when that same kid chokes and has to be thoroughly suctioned when he’s 6 hours old, when another kid totals the car, or I hit a deer at 50 mph –all those times and more, I enter a state of calm that is almost frightening in itself. It may appear that I am lackadaisical or don’t have a true understanding of the situation. It’s quite the opposite; I understand all too well.

When little boys grow up

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This sweet little guy, whose photo I took on Valentine’s Day in February of 2000, is now 16 years old and has been down on the couch with a virus this week.

Hopefully he’s back in action soon.

 

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The Scout, before he was a Scout or a SnakeMaster, was a Kindergartner trying on SuperDad’s Kevlar helmet and bulletproof vest prior to deployment.       Photo taken October 2005.

 

 

 

Attitude? I have a few of those…

Procrastination sign

  1. For my 50th birthday, I got up early, had fresh x-rays taken of my ankle and then went to visit the surgeon. The news was good: everything lined up with surgical repairs has stayed lined up and is healing. He and SuperDad were nearly giddy with relief over it, being the medically-minded people they are and knowing all of the potential pitfalls and poor outcomes we avoided. I was too emotionally spent to react with anything other than tears (which I avoided… barely) as I was clawing my way out of 24 hours of quicksand-like depression. Some people are hounded by the Black Dog; I flounder in quicksand. The doctor wondered why I wasn’t smiling, but since he had proven to be a rather single-minded orthopaedic surgeon, I didn’t bother explaining.  Talking would have brought on the tears, and I didn’t need a lecture about why I should be happy.

    A&K, 50 in 3x4 pic

    The day did indeed improve. Some very good friends brought a dinner party to my house that evening, complete with entertainment and tiramisu. I was beyond blessed.

  2. With my surgeon’s approval, I’ve been putting weight on my securely booted foot for a week now. Of course, I do this using my walker, and it’s probably only about 15% of the normal amount of weight one would use, but this is progress. It’s been nine weeks since I broke my ankle and 7 weeks since I had surgery. I honestly didn’t expect to be at this point already. The doctor had been purposefully vague about a timeline during the immediate post-surgery recovery period, and even prior to surgery. All I really knew was that his other patient with such a bad/complicated break had gone back to work after 4 months of recovery. (That patient had a job requiring standing.)
  3. I don’t feel like I have 4 months to wait. It’s already been 2 months and I’ve been working from home as much as possible. For the first month, I didn’t even have a replacement at work; now I do, but it is the busiest time of the year with annual reports (one is financial which goes to individuals, per IRS regulations; one is comprehensive and built from multiple sources of input.. now if only those multiple sources will all turn in their individual reports in a timely manner) and this is on top of the regular monthly reports which are due at the same time. My sub is awesome; she’s organized and loves the work. (I see vacations in my future!) I’ve gone into work for a few hours the past 2 days, but having my foot down for more than an hour or two causes painful swelling. So I don’t really know when I can fully return to my part-time job. 
  4. I’m currently on a twice-a-week schedule for physical therapy. After Monday’s session and a short shopping trip, we pulled into the garage and I shuffled to the back of the house to remove my CAM boot and elevate my foot for a few hours. This was my first real PT session, and it only took a couple of hours before the pain hit. Luckily, Wednesday’s session was not as bad, or perhaps it is because I kept up on the ibuprofen and acetaminophen dosages.  I’ve been off “the good stuff” (or bad stuff, as I think of Dilaudid) for a week now. For several nights before and several nights afterward, sleep was elusive and getting comfortable was equally difficult; if my foot wasn’t spasming to try to relieve pain, the weight of the blankets was too much to bear. SuperDad solved this  by building a blanket cradle. He misses the weight of the blankets on his feet, but my ankle in its soft boot for sleeping (a.k.a., a Dorsiwedge™ boot without the wedge because I still can’t really get to a neutral position) is very happy to not have the extra weight.
  5. After Monday’s PT session, I accompanied SuperDad to Costco; he pushed the cart while I wheeled myself through the store in a wheelchair. He only picked up about a dozen items, one of which was a packet of photos that I could reach but not see if it was mine from my seated position. I’m seeing life through very different eyes these days. The world is not, for the most part, wheelchair friendly:  poorly maintained sidewalks and ramps, handicapped-accessible parking areas not de-iced or salted on freezing days,  heavy doors that close quickly –these are all things that I’m noticing in my slower-paced world. I had hoped to get one of those knee scooters, but the doctor has told me to get up and walking with my walker. On the plus side, as long as I can safely get myself in and out of the vehicle without help (this includes folding and unfolding the walker from the back seat), I have a little freedom: I’m now allowed to drive!  Whoohoo! 
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TBT:  Here is The Engineer as a 14-month-old, playing at “driving” our parked minivan. I don’t display that kind of joy behind the wheel.

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April 1991

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MM’s first birthday, celebrated with his older cousins

5th birthday with James (the red #5 engine from Thomas the Tank Engine series)

5th birthday with James (the red #5 engine from Thomas the Tank Engine series) — yes, the birthday boy helped to decorate his cake!

Happy 13th Earth Day birthday!  Mom made the cake, MM did the decorating.

Happy 13th Earth Day birthday! Mom made the cake,  MM did the decorating.

MM's 17th birthday

MM’s 17th birthday

High School, June 2010 College, May 2014

High School, June 2010                                        …and…                           College, May 2014

You’ve worked hard and found happiness and success.
I am so proud of you and excited for your future.

The Lovebirds at home

You grew up and moved away but you will always be my firstborn son.

Happy Earth Day Birthday, MusicMan!

Throw-Back Thursday: the Collegiate Edition

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8 month old MusicMan, who grew up to become a Cougar instead of a Husky

 

I married a Washington State Cougar and the two older boys have attended their father’s alma mater. H-J is breaking the mold. Tomorrow I will drive my third-born son to college. He is attending the same university that I went to thirty years ago.

For the rest of the weekend, I will be meeting up with old high school friends at the 30-year reunion. I was much younger then, too. 😉