Friday, December 10, 2010

That is correct

While Omar was in DC, I told the kids about the capital and all that went on there. We discussed the Senate and the House and how Barack Obama didn't get to make all the rules himself... all that good civics stuff.

So Omar comes home and gives the kids little statues of DC buildings. The White House, the Capital Building and the Washington Monument.

I try to show off what I have taught the kids. So I ask Max if he remembers who meets in the Capital building. He scruntches up his face and replies "Uhm... the... Senate and the.... House!"

Well done son. Next question. "Do you remember what they call people in the Senate, Max?"

More scruntching... Then totally spontaneously says "Uhhhhm... Hold on.... Comedians?"

That is correct.

Monday, December 6, 2010

School Nurse

Being a school nurse can't be an easy job. You are not, after all, a doctor. You can't officially diagnose anyone with anything, but still have to call parents when you think someone might have something.

I got one of those calls today. It starts with "I have seen both Calvin and Spencer today..." Is it wrong of me to think "Ok, so who is the copy cat that saw a fun little distraction that got him out of class?"

She states Calvin is with her, and he has a red rash on the inside of his right elbow. Now, I know about this rash, and it's his eczema. We have been putting lotion and intermittent cortisone on it. He is such a dry skin kiddo. It runs rampant in my boys. So, I am still waiting to hear why this is a call-the-mom nursing encounter.

"Well, when Spencer was here earlier, he had a red spot on his arm as well. I am worried it might be ringworm." In my classic, least-caring-wife-and-mother MD manner, I tell her I will be happy to take a look at both of them when they come home tonight. This, of course, is not the answer they were looking for. "Well, they can't go back to class until treatment is started if it's ringworm." (And, by the way, who named this little infection? It's just fungus, like athletes foot, but on the body. Why would anyone ever call it worm-anything? 'Cause that's just gross.)

Ok, so I'm in the car and off to school. Grocery shopping for dinner will have to wait. I walk into the nurses office with Eucerin, Anti-fungal cream and Cortisone in my holster, ready to shoot. The boys bounce off the wall with how fabulous this day has become. So I say, "Spence, where is the problem on your arm?" And he points to his lemonade squeezer scar.

Now, this delectable little summer event was lost in the blogging dirth of early September, but our first (of two) ER visit for Spencer this summer was when he took a nasty chunk of skin out of his arm in a freak lemonade making accident. That's what you get for registering for some overly expensive Williams Sonoma shwag for your wedding that no one really needs. But that's a whole other post... Needless to say, if there is one thing I am 100% sure of in this world, it is this: That red spot is NOT ring worm. I can tell you that with both my MD's tied behind my back (ok, I only have one).

Cream placed, heads rubbed, boys shooed, mom exited, groceries bought.

Now the question is just how often these two little jokesters are going to play the School Nurse Lottery to see if they win the jackpot again.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Et, Voila!!

Take a moment, if you haven't already, to look at the photos that run the side of the blog. These were the "during." My home was baby blue and pink before the grand transformation. I will do some more before and after shots in the next post, but HERE IT IS!

The funny thing, of course, is that I have to move all the furniture back out again so they can do the final coat on the floor, but I was going to have Thanksgiving in this house! And NOT in the basement. So, after 17 people were stuffed to the gills with turkey last night, I was one very happy and THANKFUL person.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sooooo close

This remodel is in the final, you-can-taste-it, stages. The appliances are all sitting up there. The paint is on the walls, the windows are in and stained. The mudroom has cubbies but no hooks. The bathroom has a toilet and sink, but no medicine cabinet or working lights. The floors are just waiting to be re-revealed from under all the protective cardboard that was placed over it weeks ago.

We have been living in the basement since early June. Why is it that the first 5 months were no biggie, but the last 2 weeks are eternal. It might have something to do with Thanksgiving in 6 days, but even without that, I WANT MY HOUSE BACK!

After being literally and figuratively on top of each other for months, I really look forward to having no idea where Leo is again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

And the winner is...

... not us.

But that was not unexpected. Omar and I headed to Palm Springs this last weekend for the national Ernst and Young Enterpreneur of the Year award, having won the regional competition in June. But we had sun (i.e. NOT 8 inches of snow), rest, exercise and some quiet for a few days.

The guy who won our category is a man you may have heard of, Jack Link. Enjoy some jerkey if you would like to congratulate him. Other non-winners included CorePower Yoga, Sierra Nevada Brewing company, Sunny Delight, eHarmony, Noodles and Co, and, believe it or not, Magic Johnson.

So the way we look at it, we tied Magic Johnson. Who can say that?


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The kids are all right

Kids have a way of pushing your buttons. Some are better at it than others. Anyone who knows this family knows which kiddo is the one who really knows how to get to Omar and I. The one that we worry about and hope that in the big picture is "going to be OK."

So when the kindergarten teacher asked at conferences "How do you think it's going?" my response was "More importantly, how do YOU think it's going??"

And you know what? She had no concerns. None.

No spacy, spazzy behavior. No alienating other kids with jibberish or nonsensical wackiness. No meltdowns or refusal to maintain an upright body position.

He's just plain ol' normal.

Have you ever heard anything better?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Not a total ogre

The last time Tomkin and Julie came over, they brought ice cream sundae makings. This resulted in Redi-whip shooters for the kids, solidly locking Tomkin and Julie as some of the best ever friends we have.

Last night, in a reprisal of the same idea, looked a little something like this...

Spencer first, Leo captivated

Calvin next

Max more than happy to be third

And Leo wasn't about to be left out.

And yes, my kids refuse to wear PJ tops.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One lego

We are at an age when having MORE children in the house actually makes things easier. The crew that 5 minutes prior was so bored is now filled with invention, imagination and joy once the friends arrive. They happily skitter upstairs with sounds of great happiness filling the previously whine-filled air. So there was great hope for the evening last night when our neighbors with 3 kids came over for dinner.

All was going well, the kids were upstairs playing with toys that had previously been collecting dust. Objects of disdain were now ripe with new-found interest. Legos became fantastic again for one shining moment. We had at least 21 minutes of relative peace.

Then came "the blaster."

Now let me be clear. We have one kerchillion legos. All boys can build for hours (in theory) without trouble. That is, unless two of my sons want the same piece. The same piece in a pile of endless possibilities, shapes forms and sizes.

The blaster was needed by all. Compromise was not a possibility. Tears were shed. Body tone was lost. Time outs were had. Parents teeth were gnashed. Adult fists were raised to the heavens.

Just another night in paradise.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stitches are in the hiz-ouse!

I have been a mother of boys for 8 years now. The fact that I had not previously had to deal with a single stitch is rather unbelievable (that's if you don't count the stitches Max probably should have had but now has a large scalp scar instead).

So, of course, we were out of town when Spence went head-long into the coffee table. I asked the babysitter to text me a picture of his forehead... that sucker wasn't even borderline. There was NO question that he needed stitches (7 of them, in the end). Omar's poor mother inherited the duty of taking this bleeding child to the hospital and holding his hand. Second ER visit for the little chap in the past 2 months.

And the grim reality of my momma-guilt for not being there? I have absolutely on doubt that Spencer did better WITHOUT me. He was, apparently, a complete champ. No freaking, screaming, crying or melting down.


That is one way to mess with my head.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I could teach a class on Stubborn. Just ask my brother. He spent 16 years living with me. Then go ask my husband. He's working on year number 11... (though I DO think I have improved with time. I actually can speak the words "I'm sorry, I was wrong" now. I don't think my brother EVER heard those words).

So, can it really come as a surprise when I have a kid who throws Stubborn back at me. OOooooohh, I wanted to box Calvin's ears this morning when I got another 2-hour tour of No.

"Calvin, your iPad time is over." --- "Let me just finish this one thing..."
"Calvin, time to get dressed." --- "But I don't want to get dressed."
"Calvin, let's eat at the big table with Leo." --- No.
"Calvin, can you help your little brother with that." --- "But mom, I'm busy."

He's got his own agenda and schedule, and I am REALLY crimpin' his style with all my unreasonable requests... You know, like putting on underwear.

If this if 5yrs old, what is 15 going to look like??

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I must say, if I was going to choose a religion, it would be Judaism.

And this has nothing to do with the theology. It has everything to do with the holidays! Sweet mercy, there are a lot of high holy days! How do I know? Because of alllllll the days this past month when I didn't have childcare at the Jewish Community Center.

Yes, I know, this is a rather selfish way of viewing something so sacred, but of the 22 workdays in September, 9 of them were holidays. NINE! That is one REALLY holy month.

So, now we are to October. I have the first day off without one or more children home with me in over a month. AAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.

My massive To Do list has already been viciously slashed! Next up? Lunch and a run. I might even read a chapter of my book at the local coffee house before the bus comes. I know, I'm a maniac! heehehe

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New favorite pic

How delicious is this little guy, huh?


Legs of lead.

That's what that 4 mile run was. Oof.

Why does it sometimes feel so clunky? I know I looked like one of those people that you drive past and think "wow, is that supposed to be running?"

Some days you got it, some days you don't...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Getting old stinks

And no, I am not complaining about myself. I, though older, still feel pretty darn young and spry.

However, after having lunch with my dear, wonderful 97-year-old grandmother, I realize that being 97 is just a bit of a drag. As she shuffled off to the dining hall at her assisted living, her stooped body pushing her walker forward, she said to herself "Now, stand up straight Virginia..." but the words were as far as that desire went. Standing up straight isn't an option any more.

We had a lovely lunch, which she insisted on buying for me, and if her memory would just click back into shape, she really would be just as sharp as the day I was born. But those minute to minute details are just lost somewhere in translation. That portion of the brain is like one of those windmills at Putt Putt... every once in a while, information will get through and hit the mark, but most bounce back, deflected from any permanent sticking point. I remind her of where my folks are (Italy), of how many kids I have (4) and what I did yesterday. We repeat that a couple of times during each visit. I ask her questions about the days she remembers clearly, back when memory was just a given. She still has a great sense of humor and thankfully doesn't have much pain. But her days consist mostly of meals and sitting in her chair. She has made it clear that though her life has been so full and wonderful, she is ready for the day that it comes to an end. Not in a morose way, but just accepting.

So here is to living our lives to the fullest with each day we have. Realize that a sound mind and body are truly gifts that we regularly take for granted. Love you, grandma.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another reason to love the 'hood

As I sit on the floor stretching, sweat still glistening on my body, I am proud to announce that I have just run the second furthest distance ever in my life. I pulled off 10 miles YEARS ago, before children or the number 3 started my age. But today, I have run 7.2 miles. This is longer than the 6mile distance that has kept me from even entertaining the idea of entering an Olympic distance triathlon. It is only .8 miles shy of the partial marathon I have entered with my family in October.

And you know what? It wasn't that bad.

I have finally hit a point where the cardiovascular part of running isn't the limiting factor. I felt the same at mile 1 as I did at mile 7, and that is something I never really knew was possible. Sure, my feet and legs felt a little different, but that's never been the part I HATED about running. It was more the chest-heaving, side-cramping, air-sucking part.

The funny thing? In this wacked-out crazy fit neighborhood of mine, running 7 miles is like bragging that I managed to shower and put my underwear on correctly. Between the triathletes, Ironwomen and marathon runners, I am just bringing up the rear. But how great is that? If I was surrounded by TV-dinner eating, couch potatoes, I would hurt my shoulder patting myself on the back for running 3 miles. But this gang keeps me pushing. Keeps me inspired.

So here's to all my fit friends and family! I'll see you all in the old folks home in our 90's!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Picture Day

Now that I have 3 kids in school, there is a lot of paper and general c-rap that has to be dealt with on a daily basis. One of those things, of late, is Picture Day forms. I am usually found staring at the 430,234 different permutations of wallet, 3x5, 5x7, 8x10 and class photos with a glassy-eyed look wondering if just wanting one solitary copy of these silly pictures makes me a bad mother.

Tonight was the night to get this done. And I was completely stoked to see that there was an online option for ordering. If I can accomplish something without having to pick up pen and paper, the chances of getting done will skyrocket. When you add to this that those papers then have to make it into 3 backpacks and arrive at the right place by the right day....? Sketchy at best. I know, this doesn't get me any closer to Mother of the Year, but that's the reality of life in the Ansari house...

So, I finished with the online form. I was feeling all smug that I could cross that little ditty off my To Do list. Then the final screen pops up.

"Print this Photo Voucher. YOUR CHILD MUST HAVE THIS PIECE OF PAPER ON PICTURE DAY to have pictures taken."

Really? See, cause, I did this whole online thing to avoid that! Don't you now have record (not to mention my credit card number) to assure this could be paperless? What is the point of online ordering if you still have to return a form with the kid?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cut bait

Ok, I keep not posting because I feel like there is SOOOOO much I have to catch up on. This is exactly the kind of mentality that caused my last diary entry to be in 1988. It's been a busy 22 years, so it's tough get the schedule clear enough for that monster entry.

So, in an effort to not ice this blog until 2032, here's the Cliff note version to allow me to just hit the reset button:

1) The McClusky and Nicholas brigade returned for the now-annual end o' summer frolic in Lone Lake. It rocked. I love these guys. There are too many pictures to post. But these give you the general idea:

2) My 2 five-year-old's started Kindergarten. And though I was living in fear that there could be some grade-A, last-minute cold feet, the monumental melt-down that was lurking in my mind never came to pass. I didn't have to push either of their tear soaked, boneless bodies onto the bus with a sheepish smile and thumbs-up to the driver. They hopped happily on board so fast the only picture I got was of the back of their heads. Good thing, since I have lost those photos in my temporary idiocy of over-jamming my hard drive and loosing data before having someone rip my lap top open to install 650GB of memory. Well played, I know... I'm sure not having pictures of the first day of kindergarten for 50% of my kids will NEVER come back to haunt me in some future family therapy session...

3) My folks hit the cabin with us for Labor Day, and this was 2 days after my mom had somewhat surprise laproscopic knee surgery. Way to be a trooper Mom!

3) I have started yoga. This has reminded me that the days of cheerleading limberness are FAR behind me. No pictures of that, thank god...

4) Leo turned 2!! What a fantastically little joy that boy is in our lives. Unfortunately the Vikings weren't kind enough to give Leo on win for his birthday.

Ok. DONE! I am caught up. Now I can return to the day to day nonsense that makes this life fun. Like Spencer announcing yesterday "I didn't close the door when I went inside because my poopy was already coming out, but it DIDN'T get on my clothes! (huge proud grin)." Now THAT's the stuff that makes this baby sing!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Give it up for MARY!

So, my friend Mary was publicly saying she would like to finish her first (note I didn't say ONLY) Ironman somewhere between 12-14 hours.

Now, if you know Mary, you know this is the save face answer. The "I am trying to not completely shoot myself in the foot" answer. But even she was able to let some folks know that she would really like to rock this race. She has prepared SO HARD for this.


She rocked it. She ROCKED it!

So this blog has finally been resuscitated to sing to the rafters this refrain: Mary, you are a wonderful, beautiful, AMAZING Ironman!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010


I feel like a terrible daughter for not yet announcing with great joy that my parents are now Minnesotans! They have been unpacking like crazy for the past 3 weeks and are finally happily ensconced in their beautiful new home.

So, how do you say Welcome properly?
How do you say "We are so happy you are here?"
How do you thank them for all they do?
How do you celebrate the first night the boys got to sleep over at the new house?


That's how.

Calvin was at least kind enough to splatter the tile floor, perfectly wedged between two carpeted areas, so I really feel like this was a true success story.

Welcome to Minnesota!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Playing with scissors

This is what is left of the headphones that I work-out with.

And this is a result NOT of Leo playing with the scissors. Yes, he did get his hands on the scissors, but this is what happened when they were removed from the babies' hands. By my husband.

That's right. Omar did this.

Apparently it's safer to leave this scissors with the baby.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Musings from a working mother

And here we go again.

I came back to the cabin after a run, and there is Omar on the couch, reading a magazine in great peace and solitude. The kids are all up in the loft playing HAPPILY together. No whining, no crying, no pawing at dad, no chewing on each other. Just one happy family... as long as I am not there.

This fact really sticks in both O and I's craw. Why can't we all be happy together when we are together? I actually snuck into the cabin so I wouldn't disrupt all this healthy behavior. I sat down silently, putting my finger up to my lips in Omar's general direction, and I stretched like a church mouse.

But then, they saw me.

And then the wheels fell off. Down, down, down they come, "Mommy!!!" Smiles and hugs, yea! Then the "Can you do this with me, can you do that with me, can you read me this book, can you play a game with me, come upstairs we have a show to show you," on and on and on.

When I can't possibly do it all (nor, at that moment did I want to do ANY of it), then the whining begins, the "but you said...." or "please" or "you never (read: just 2 hours ago) do this..." And then I get incredibly frustrated that no one seems to be able to simply continue with what they were doing before I showed up.

So, what is the deal? Is it just a mom thing? Is it a boy-mom thing? Is it just us? This is when I start waxing all philosophical-like about parenting... Does this mean I spend too much time away from them as a working mom, and this is just a sign of them needing more of me in their lives? Or is it that I spend too much time with them, i.e. entertaining them whenever I am around. Do they simply not know how to "be" when I am there because we always "do." Did we have too many kids, and now none of them gets the 1-on-1 attention they deserver? Is it normal, healthy behavior from young boys towards the person they trust and bond with the most? Is is horribly unhealthy, clingy behavior from young boys that need to learn how to entertain themselves? Is it both??? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhghg!

Something tells me I may never actually have the answer to these questions.... But here's to driving myself nuts trying to figure it out anyway.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Yes, one of our babysitters charges an enormous amount of money. She is in her 30's, used to be a nanny and when we come home the house is clean and the laundry is folded.

Can I tell you how much that folded laundry thing meant to me last night?


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tri tri and tri again

This is going to be a long post... This past weekend was filled with fun, tears, blood and illness. And all that was before I even started my own tri. It all went down a little like this....

We woke the kids at 6:30am on Saturday for the big Chisago Kids Triathlon. Leo was with Omar's folks so we could take the rest of the happy family for a 45 minute drive to the kids' race on the shortened course that I would be racing on Sunday. Max was joining us as a cheering party. Having nothing but frustration in his attempts to master a bike without training wheels, he had no interest in being a racer. But the twins were totally excited to race, training wheels and all.

We feared this may have been a grave error when Spencer kicked things off with a HUGE meltdown. Kicking, tears, complete freak-out. Can you believe I DARED to put milk in his Frosted Flakes. Make them all squishy like that? I mean, really? What kind of a mother am I?

After a time-out and a touch of force feeding, we were in the car. Omar was looking at me with one of those "why must you share your tri mental illness with the rest of us" kind of faces.


We unloaded the car, and Cal and Spence both wanted to ride their bikes to the transition area. They were on the bikes ~3.5 seconds when they collided and both went down. This is on a road, mind you, and Spence's head landed far too close to a passing car's rear tire. But the bloodied knee was really his biggest concern. We were in the Med Tent before we even put our stuff down.

Ok. Knee bandaged. Bikes set. Kids excited. Friends from the 'hood all around. NOW we are set to have some fun! They call all racers to the beach. Here we go!

(yes, my kids all have faux-hawks...)

...Clearly, the race organizers aren't parents. They released the kids in reverse order of age, starting with the 12 year olds. Then waited ~7 minutes.... then the 11 year olds... 7 minutes... you get the idea. So there we are, at 9am in nothing but swim trucks, for 45 minutes of standing in the same place on the beach. Do you know how well 5 year olds stand in one place for 45 minutes with nothing to do? I will tell you. Not particularly well. Ooof.

NOW it's really race time. Really. The kids line up in the lake! Here we go! This is what it's all about! The love of racing that will carry my kids all the way to Kona! Why is Spencer weeping? There he is, clutching his bandaged knee, "It's burning!! It's burning." And with that, he's on the DL. Pluck him from the water. His race is done.

OFF goes Calvin. And this really was the highlight of the day. He LOVED it. Did the whole race (all ~10 minutes of it) with a huge smile on his face.

He looked like he had won the lottery when they placed the medal around his neck as he crossed the finish line. It was truly fantastic. Max was running along side him cheering him on and being such a proud big brother.

And god love Cal's kind little heart. When he saw Spencer was weeping at the news that there wasn't another chance to race, and he was not going to get a medal, Cal took his off and put it around Spencer's neck. Then Max bought his brothers donuts with his own money. (this is, of course, after we found Calvin... he got lost in the crowd for about 10 minutes after the race).

But we aren't done yet! Time for a photo of all the neighborhood kids! Yea! Let's capture all that we love about these friends and all of our kids, together! Why is Max crying... sobbing in fact, separate from the other kids? Well, one of the older kids told him he couldn't be in the picture because he didn't race. He was completely devastated. But this is one of those tough parenting moments. Do I force the issue, put him in the picture when, ya know, he DIDN'T race. Sure it would have been nice to have it be a neighborhood picture, not a racers picture, but when all was said and done, there was a bit of a lesson to be learned. If you choose not to participate, you won't necessarily be included.

So, I think we have all learned a lot of life lessons here today. Max came home and spend much of the afternoon trying to ride his bike (he's closer, but still working on it). Cal has worn his medal to summer camp every day. Spence... well, I'm not sure if Spencer learned much, but we will try to incorporate this experience into future decision making. And I learned that Omar should ABSOLUTELY not bring the kids back out on Sunday to cheer for me.

It was in the car ride home that we realized Omar was in the process of spiking at 102 fever. And when Cal was rifling through his race packet on the way home, he opened a little squeeze packet, sucked the contents out a bit and then asked us why it tasted yucky. That is lotion Calvin. Lesson learned.

And yes, I did leave my husband home with the kids the next day. I had a great time on Sunday, finished 3 minutes faster than last year, and took 2nd in the Athena. The winner was from Seattle?!!? So, the way I see it, I took 2nd in a national competition. Mary, Jen, Nathan, Jon and I were all pretty happy with the day.

And Mary took 3rd in her age group for the HALF IRONMAN. What a major stud that woman is...

See you all again next year, same crazy bat-place, same station.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Why would you sign up for a race that you have already won?

What an idiot I am. Here comes the Chisago Triathlon this weekend, the one I took first place in last year (as an ATHENA!...). Now, I'm all sweaty palmed about the race, wondering if I am going to repeat my previous glory or go down in pathetic 8th or 29th-place flames.

How does that old phrase go? "Quit while you are on top" or "No place to go but down?" And my training has been... fine? I haven't really been following a "plan," per se. I have just gone out there many times a week and worked out. When I was sick of running, I biked. When I was sick of biking, I swam.

Well. Wish me luck. I hope I don't curse profoundly when I look at the winner board. But hey, at least if I completely stink up the joint, there is no place to up but up...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Keeps ya guessin

Spencer is the cuddly kid. Max is the kid that feels most comfortable around his home and his people. Leo's in that phase where he cries whenever I leave him.

But Calvin has always been the one that is rock solid when it comes time to part ways. He used to run into his Pre-K class and never look back. I would have to seek him out in order to get a goodbye hug. When the whole family is snuggling in bed in the morning, he's the kid that's sitting on the curb in his PJ's because he would rather see the garbage truck than hug.

Thus, I am completely stymied by the fact that he is now heave-sobbing when I drop him off at summer camp. Like crying to the point I can still hear him when I am 200 yards away.


I have tried to explore if there is something at camp that scares him, or someone who is being mean or nasty to him. His answer? "No mom. I just miss you."

And Max and Spencer are flitting off without a second glance in my direction.

Just when you think you have some things nailed down....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Top Hat

When Omar was out of town, Max had a great soccer game. It was officially the first time he has ever won a soccer game, and we started soccer last summer.

So, I was encouraging Max to tell dad about the game. Here's how that went:

Max: Dad, we won!
Dad: You guys won! That's awesome.
Max: Yeah.
Dad: How did you play.
Max: Really good. I got a top hat.
Dad: You got a top hat?
Max: Yeah, a top hat.
Dad: What does that mean?
Max: You know, I got 4 goals.
Dad: Oh! You mean a Hat Trick?
Max: Yeah. A hat trick.

Then Max filled in our buddy Vince last night. He let him know that he had a Trick Hat.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Dear Omar

My dear husband is living the life every ex-liberal arts graduate dreams of... drinking beer in Prague while playing a week of Ultimate Frisbee. The wife, i.e. Me, is at home with the kids and workin' and getting lots of help from the fam. I have been in OKC for the past two weeks, only the first of which included my hubby. So, we are officially in the middle of the longest time we have ever spent apart.

The problem is that our communication is a little sketchy. So, you good people are going to have to bear with me while I use the blog as my main source of contacting him. Gotta love the Interweb.

Hi, my love. It's Tuesday night. I am trying to get all the 4 backpacks, lunches, bathing suits and sandals and such together tonight so I don't lose my mind tomorrow before work. The cabin was a blast. While Max and I had races running in the water from the edge of the dock back to the beach, Leo stood in the water (naked as a jaybird) just laughing his head off. He even started to try to race with us. This usually resulted in me losing because I had to stop and pluck his fallen-over self out of the water. The big three and I went around the lake in the speed boat for a long time this morning. Unfortunately that meant I ran of out gas shortly after the tubing began. I found that one paddle doesn't move a speed boat one solitary inch. The neighbors had to drag me back to shore.

Your dad was going to come out and get us (thankfully we were still in shouting distance of the dock), but the pontoon wouldn't start (big surprise). Never did get the thing to start for the entirety of our stay. And wouldn't you know it, the two kids stranded in the little tubing boat were Spencer and Alex. It was interesting.

I got two great swims in. I am ready for that Open Water part of the tri. We saw a bald eagle 3 seperate times. I wondered what I would do if one of the eagles thought I looked like a tasty morsel down on the water. The kids are all in bed and Spence even let me take out a splinter in his hand (with the promise of a quarter, the hand holding of big brother and the dancing of Cal all over the bathroom as comic distraction).

Oh, and Leo now says "Okey dokey!" which is pretty cute.

I love you and can't wait for you to be home.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Why must all children go through this. Why does my always-happy, smiley, contented little baby have to become a 2 year old?

Granted, he won't be 2 until September, but I have always found the real "terrible 2's" start and ~20months. And, ladies and gentlemen, we are there. All of a sudden, he wants to do everything by himself. He wants to sit on the tall bar chairs with his brothers. He wants to eat what the big kids are eating, and drink out of the big kid glasses. Sippy cups are for loosers.

We are trying to work on "more milk please" instead of "aywaaaannnittt!"

Here's to the next 18 months.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My home

This is my home. There used to be a wall where those pipes are sticking out of the ground. I didn't previously see the back yard when I stood in the front! It took 3 days for them to remove damn near everything from the house.... Now just 5 months to put it all together again.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Go ahead...

... and ask me if he won.

It's OK. I know it's been 3 days since the big Ernst and Young Gala and I haven't posted. We are busy with birthdays and anniversaries and getting away from this crazy dust-covered house of ours for the weekend.

But you can ask.

'Cause my hubbies A BIG WINNER, BABY!

That's right. Entrepreneur of the Year with a trophy to prove it. We now have one winter vacation on the books, because Palm Springs HERE WE COME. National awards are next, can you believe it?

Frank Vacellero hosted this gala. Jay Leno will be the emcee at the next. Good thing I have just the gown!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bring on the wrecking ball

This is the week. On Wednesday they start tearing apart the kitchen and main living area of our house. We moved much (but not all) of the kitchen into the bar area in the basement yesterday.

The problematic part of this plan is the "but not all." So this is how my morning went at 5:15am getting ready to go to work.

Go to basement, make coffee.
Go upstairs to get bagel.
Go to basement to put bagel in toaster.
(dry hair)
Wash coffee mug upstairs
Go to basement to fill mug with coffee and get bagel
Go upstairs for cream and cream cheese
Scratch head and come up with creative solution of how to stir coffee and spread cream cheese without silverware.

The nice thing about this? Living in the basement, once everything is down there, is going to seem nice!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Why is Calvin crying?

Not because Leo was coloring on him with a marker.

He's crying because we were all laughing about it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Night Shift

Ah, nothing like blogging at 2:40am.... I suppose the fact that I haven't blogged at any time when the sun is visible in the last couple weeks should tell me something about this life of mine.

As I sat at a restaurant having breakfast with my eldest the other day (late start for school), I realized that each of my children could be summed up by how they would sit in the booth with me at a restaurant. Let me explain.

Max, as he always does, sits next to me. He would rather be side-by-side, in position to allow me to put an arm around him, or allow him to lean over at any time to put his little noggin on my shoulder. And if it's a really good day, he might even whisper "mom, you are the best." This position also allows the occasional whisper or inside joke.

Calvin, on the other hand, will always sit across from me. He has no time for this lovey-dovey stuff and would want to be able to look me in the eye to have a detailed discussion about whatever he is currently fascinated by. That, or he would need the table space to work on something.

Spence wouldn't be sitting at all. He has trouble keeping his keister in contact with any chair surface, whether that means he is on his knees or on his feet. He is the one flitting all around the table.

And Leo, of course, is in the high chair. Taking in all of the madness at this table I have set for you, trying to make everyone giggle as much as he can. That is, when he isn't throwing food on the ground and giggling.

And Omar is the one asking for the check!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Catching up

So, in the process of moving our existence into the basement in preparation for ripping our house apart June 1st, I have to get organized. This means putting all the kids art in SOME home. Usually it is just floating around the house in some sort of perfect entropy.

This made me read over Max's Mother's Day card he made at school. It is so perfect:

"My mom is the most awesome person I know. She is very funny, and blue-eyed. Very tall too. My mom is the best doctor in the world. She reads the best books, and once in awhile, she washes the dishes and makes dinner. She does puzzles with us. Every once in a while. She has friends over to play games. I love my mom!"

This comes with a fantastic Max rendition of me.

This is the stuff that just makes parenting so fantastically wonderful. Even if I only wash the dishes every once in a while...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I present to you... husband.

Let's start back a bit. When O and I first met, he was running the business his dad had taken over ~30 years prior. It was a manufacturing and distributing company of industrial abrasives (you aren't the only one thinking "huh?"). It became clear over the first 2-3 years of our relationship that Omar was going to be around a lot longer than that business. The looming question, however, was what was Omar going to do when bandsaw blades and grinding wheels just didn't pay the bills.

This was a source of some real stress. Omar had never had a boss other than his dad (unless you count his days as a waiter at the Lincoln Dells), he had started his MBA but didn't really see a future in joining some other business or being a consultant.

Of course, anyone reading this blog knows how that story turned out. But let us recall some of the steps....

He went to brewing school. He changed the law of Brooklyn Center which explicitly banned breweries when we first toyed with the idea. Then there was the self-demo of the building which included a little carbon monoxide poisoning and a punctured water line (whose turn-off valve was buried 6 feet under the landscaping in front of the building). There was the actual brewery (you know all the big metal tanks, kettles, fementers) bought second hand from the Dominican Republic, a portion of which turned out the be the equivalent of a very heavy paperweights. These also arrived the same week as another "arrival," Calvin and Spencer. And who can forget the bartender who, after proclaiming his favorite beer was Bud Light, spit the beer out when Omar first hit the streets to sell his wares.

There were industry folks who told him he would just go the way of the many failed breweries that had proceeded him. There were people who told him the only way to succeed was to be a distributor, not a producer. And of course, there was that spitting guy.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Because yesterday, Omar was named a regional finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award! He and I will attend a black tie gala in June to hear the announcement of who is the winner for the Midwest. Spit on that!

I am so proud of my hubby. Way to go babe! You have worked so hard and deserve this so much. I love you.

Monday, April 26, 2010


You would think that by the age of 37, I would have the ability to let the little things slide. In general, this is actually something I take a little pride in.

But poking holes in self-perception is one of the reasons children were invented.

Spencer loves to speak in jibberish. Who cares, right? Big whoop. So he jabbers on, with no meaning, no purpose. No sweat.

I. Can't. Stand. It.

It drives me completely insane. I have actually told him to "speak in English!" and then have this crushing sense of being the evil mother that belittled his creative spirit at a very young age, forever scaring him and limiting his potential to ever become the next Picasso.

Jibberish shows creativity. It shows imagination. It shows he isn't stuck in this A-type, purpose driven, goal-oriented cage I keep striving for.

It shows he really knows how to push my buttons...

Monday, April 19, 2010


After a fun filled afternoon of bathing suit shopping with Mary and Rox (yes, I said FUN. Great little shop that brings you suits according to size and body type), I headed off to Spring Break with my new suit.

It wasn't at all what I expected to buy. And the gal pals actually had to talk me into buying it because it was a black one piece. It seemed kinda boring after all the other ones I had looked at, but they just kept saying "You look so HOT in that" that I had to buy it.

The key component to the look of this suit is the deep cut V neck. It's not J-Lo-green-dress kind of deep cut, but you are getting into the neighborhood.

The first day I wore it, Spencer looks at my cleavage and says "Mom, you aren't covering your private parts."

Nice, huh?

It only got better when Cal said "Yes she is. She only has to cover the really fatty parts."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


My teeth are my Super Power.

I have perfect teeth.

I have never had braces and they are all perfectly straight. I have never had a filling. I never floss, I brush once a day and ~10 years ago the dental hygienist I saw (after ~3 years of not seeing a dentist) told me I need not even return for 2 more years because she couldn't believe how good my teeth looked.

So, today was the day for my now-annual teeth cleaning. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they say to go every 6 months, but that is just what the Medical Establishment says to get all my hard earned money (earned from the Medical Establishment...).

They said I need 3 fillings.

WHAT!!?!?!? I don't DO fillings. Did you miss the fact that my teeth are perfect?? What are you doing bringing your dental Kryptonite into my lovely day off? And the dentist just said it all with such casual, matter-of-factness. "It will take an hour. Just set up the appointment on your way out...."

I am speechless. What the hell happened? Why would my teeth betray me after 37 years of perfectly established benign neglect? Does this mean I'm getting old? You might as well start crafting the dentures now...

Monday, March 22, 2010

One Dollar

We have the best cleaning crew around. This place looks utterly spotless every time they come around, and you would never believe 4 kids lived here.

They do this by hiding things.

Missing a big pile of junk? Look in the china cabinet. Legos missing? Well, they are under the stereo, of course.

The lesson I have learned is this: if you want to know where something is, you had best put it away BEFORE they clean.

Unfortunately, I forgot this rule when it came to Leo's blanket this morning. Bed time rolled around tonight, and that thing was no where to be found.

So, Omar and I puttered around looking for it for ~15 minutes to no avail. Finally, Omar announced to the kids "I will give ONE DOLLAR to the kid that finds Leo's blankie!" Max gasps - "A WHOLE dollar???" Calvin starts saying "I am going to get that BIG dollar...." And the search is on.

Now, of course, you know who ends up finding the silly thing. That would be me. In the bottom of one of the laundry baskets. So, I toss it in a fairly findable place, and Spencer "finds" it. Well, then Max starts in with "but I SAW it first..." And in the distance we hear the wailing cries of Calvin.

".... I ..... NEVER.... get.... the.... dollar!!! (heave sob)."

Mind you, this is the first time this offer has been made, ever.

Last thing Cal says as I tuck him in 1 hour later: "Mom, I never get the money."

It is so hard to be cheated out of such cold, hard cash.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Part of the daily routine is getting Leo packed into his backpack and getting a slick ride to the JCC on mom's back. But, with the snow melted and the sun shining, today was the first day Leo got to put on his big-boy legs and walk there all by himself. (Ok, not BY HIMSELF, but you get the idea).

Big brothers were there to make sure he did it right!

Also today, Omar and Max took off the the annual father/son ski trip. They returned to the scene of last year's crime, Big Sky Montana. Max, with his endless empathy, yet again made me want to squeeze him until his head pops off this morning. He came in at 6:30am to wake me before they headed out to the airport. He looked at me very seriously and said:

Mom. Don't let Leo cry because I'm not here.

or was it

Mom. Don't let Leo cry, because I'm not here.

You see, Max is the first in Leo's room every morning, the minute he hears a peep. He sloggs his lanky 7 year old body into the crib and plays with the baby he loves so much. Then he climbs out, lugs Leo over the rail, and brings him into our bed. So, I don't know if Max was telling me that it was MY turn to make sure someone tended to his brother since he wasn't going to be able to this morning, or if he was concerned Leo would cry because he was going to miss Max so much.

Either way, I just think that kid is such a good egg.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sweet mother of Abraham!

I did it!

I survived the 9 of 11 working days. It was extra grueling because it was almost all evenings during the week and then days during the weekends. I have today off and I already have a nap in the rear view mirror! (of course I also have Leo, who was sent home with a fever at noon.... good thing that nap was the FIRST THING on the To Do list).

Sweet LORD that feels nice.

I must say, if I hadn't considered that whole "cutting back my hours" thing until now, this last 11 days would have pushed the issue to the fore. Max came up to me this past weekend, all droopy-dog eyed, said nothing as he came up and hugged my waist. Then he pulled back and dropped the ol' "when are you NOT going to be going to work, mom?" bomb. That hurts....

I know this is basically what residency was like, and that lasted 3 years. I have become weak. But I just want to be home with my family more.

I can't wait to have them all get sick of me when I'm around all the time!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

First Text of the day

I am currently sitting in Maple Grove at the new hospital. This shift starts at 6:00am, which means I got up at 4:45am. This is coming off the night shift the day before. And I am currently in a stretch of working 9 out of 11 days.

I am a little tired.

However, at 8:03 I was very happy to be at work. This text came in from the hubby:

"Where is the carpet cleaner?"

Leo, the diaper removing baby, had struck again. Little man, thank you for doing the one thing that puts this current scheduling black-hole in a friendlier light....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not much else to say...

I am REALLY tired of winter.

Friday, February 19, 2010


A couple photos from the trip. No hot tub shots. We really DIDN'T spend the whole time drinking, but these are the photos that are the best...

First Pina Colada

The Arch at the land's end of Baja

Surly takes a trip snorkeling

Me and my honey

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And... I'm back

Long hiatus there! One trip to Cabo in the rear view mirror, and now we are back to life as we know it! Since the photos of us in Mexico usually bring comments that we look naked (and I can't say they were compliments), I will save those for another day.... Needless to say, it was divine to walk around in shorts and have to remember sunscreen every day. Three night away felt like 3 weeks.

But now, it's reality time again. Having trashed the house yesterday with everyone home for President's day, it was time to get some things in order (though I am THRILLED to announce that the boys cleaned their room, the toy room and the basement yesterday! I didn't even have to stand there and point at each item on the floor and say "and this one... and this one... and this one").

There I am, doing laundry, when I start laughing out loud. The humor of this upcoming photo needs a little history. I have taken over the annual tradition of cooking grandma Sheldon's famous Pecan Rolls at Christmas time. And this year I actually remembered to buy the right amount of yeast packets (Mary, had you realized I hadn't bummed any off you this year?). Still forgot the shortening... but anyway. I was well into the recipe on Christmas Eve when I realized I had NO idea where my rolling pin was. Search as I might, it was just plain gone. Why would a rolling pin be anywhere other than the kitchen? Well, there was no answer to that, so I discoved that a Nalgene bottle works really well in a pinch. Never did find that thing...

until today...

Why, oh sweet mother of all that is holy, is the rolling pin next to the dryer? One of many great mysteries I am sure this house holds... only some of which I will be lucky enough to discover with time...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Setting the bar

Tonight, I decided it was time for the new idea of Friday movie night. Omar is out at a beer event, Leo goes to bed at 7:00... it was time to sit with the big three and have a fun OnDemand movie with popcorn.

Well, the kids just picked at dinner, so there went the popcorn.

The On Demand didn't work, so we ended up watching a DVD we own. I was pretty excited when they actually chose Planet Earth (thanks Omi and Baba!) instead of our 34502nd viewing of The Incredibles (though that movie DOES rock).

So there we are, watching a section about the giant salamander of Japan. Very cool, huge creature that apparently can live up to 80 years old. I reiterated to the kids how crazy old that was for an animal, to which Max replied "Wow mom, that's even older than Brett Favre!"

We have one measuring stick around here.... All Vikings, all the time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Last night, Spencer choked a little bit while eating dinner. He had to cough and sputter. He got the watery eyes and a look of discomfort on his face. When all was said and done, he was fine.

Then, he turns to me and says "Mom, food just went down my air throat!"

Pretty good description.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I always knew that Dulsi got some crumbs here and there. I knew she LOVED planting herself at the bottom of the high-chair whenever a little person was occupying it. I knew that she also could be found at every meal lounging between the chair legs of the kids seats.

But my LORD I never knew the bounty of food that she scored.

Last night, you could have fed a small nation on the rations that were on the floor after dinner. Big pieces, little pieces, dry pieces and moist pieces. Have you ever tried to sweep up little pieces of shaved turkey. Or how about a glop of mashed pototoes? This is the get-down-on-your-hands-and-knees-with-a-wet-rag kind of mess.

I'm supposed to do that 3 times a day??

I had been thinking "A puppy is WAY to much work..." But seriously, I think I would spend less time house training a dog than I am currently spending cleaning the floor. Of course, that also means I consider a floor covered with a thin veneer of dog slobber "clean." Oh well...

Friday, January 29, 2010


Max and I were looking through some old pictures yesterday for fun. It is somewhat spooky how much Leo looks like a Max at the same age. I was having fun making Max guess whether a photo was him or Leo.

Of course, there are other things in these photos.... Jackson, Dulsi, Omar, myself, grandparents.

Max looks at a photo from 6 years ago and says "Mom you look SO MUCH younger in that one!"

Feelin' a little grizzled all of a sudden...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reclaiming 2010!

Ok! This was a bit of a rough start to the year, but NOW it's time to turn this ship around. We will start with a bit of Ansari levity.... ride it all the way to the end...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We will miss you, girl

Part of owning a pet is the knowledge that some day you will have to say goodbye. That doesn't make it any easier. We knew Dulsi had arthritis for quite some time. But recently she went blind suddenly, and it became clear that despite eye medicine she was having quite a bit of pain.

This morning we have said goodbye to one of the sweetest, most tolerant and loving dogs. I have had Dulsi longer than Omar, kids, MD, house, career or really anything else that currently defines my life. She has been there for it all.

As I sit at home now, it is so very quiet. Bye sweet girl. We loved you so much.

Baby Max
Baby Leo

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bucket List

Shortly after Omar and I had made it official that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, we made "The List." We called the the "100 list," but it has now become more popularly known as the "Bucket List" - i.e. the things you want to do before you kick the bucket.

We have a myriad of things on there... have kids, go to an Olympic event, go to New Zealand. You get the point. Then there is the one I always thought was ridiculous.

"Watch the Vikings win the Super Bowl."

I balked when Omar added that. I told him this was something that was silly to have on the list, as we have absolutely NOTHING to do with that.

And then I drank the kool-aid. We bought the season's tickets. We watched every game along the way. We would skip cabin weekends to make sure we saw key games. We bought purple for all the kids at all the ages. We held watch parties. We cheered and screamed till we couldn't speak.

And now, as I type this, I am actively nauseous. I am so very, bitterly, profoundly disappointed. I had said "All I want is a good game," but I think 41-0 a few years back was easier on the soul. Last night was one of the most emotionally up and down nights of my life. That might sound melodramatic, but it really is true. It was a crazy, crazy game that we both SHOULD have won and gave away.

So. Time to move on.

It's just a game.

Common Favre.... let's roll the dice again.... I have a list to check off!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Here we go...

Yesterday, we met with an architect that we have told to go forward with drawings...

What fresh can of H-E-double-hockey-sticks have we just opened?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ah, boys..

Max's Highlight the other night:


This, of course, was accompanied with a demonstration, and a smile that only is seen when a child is both thrilled and completely tickled by himself.

Ah, dinner and arm farts. This is my life....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Can't make it up

After receiving the ever-lovely summons from Spencer to assist him with wiping (can't wait for this stage of motherhood to come to a close), I practically fell over laughing when I walked into the bathroom and saw this:

No lie.

And he wasn't even trying to be funny. He truly was just browsing the SPORTS PAGE as a way to pass the quality time he had to himself.

I guess some things are more hard-wired than I ever knew...

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Calvin: Mom. I know what a criminal is.
Me: Really? What's a criminal.
Calvin: It's green and a little mushy. It makes your hands green too.
Me: .... uhm... I don't think that's what a criminal is....
Calvin: And criminal takes away Superman's powers.
Me: Son, that's Kryptonite.
Calvin: Oh.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's a deep thoughts kind of day

Yesterday was another one of those hug-everyone-when-you-get-home-from-work kind of shifts. It's part of the job, but it never gets easier to be the doctor for a young man who ultimately died from the injuries of his car accident. Nicest family. Wrenching grief.

His dad was wearing a Viking's T-shirt... and it just made me reflect on how quickly the things that seem SO important 4 hours ago can seem so completely trivial in the blink of an eye. For reasons that will never be known, this 21-year-old veered over the center line in broad daylight. Cell phone? Text? 2 hours later one of our surgeons was seen for the EXACT SAME kind of accident - he had veered into an oncoming car because he looked down at his pager as he was driving to the hospital. He also had a head-on collision, and he broke his sternum. But he walked out of the ER. My patient is gone.

And my dear friend MS is likely in a hospital room right now, rubbing her dad's hands again since it's the one pain she can do something about. His cancer is continuing its relentless, horrific, hijacking of this wonderful, funny, and loving father and grandpa. It has been brutal to watch from where I am sitting, and I am nowhere near the epicenter.

I am sitting here trying to come up with some sort of "what this all means" kind of wrap-up. But I don't have one. These are the situations that bring up the ultimate "Why??" I guess the pursuit for the answer to that question is the driving source behind many a faith and philosophy. Little 'ol me ain't goin to come up with it today... but I liked this quote:

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” -Gilda Radner

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fashion plate

I turn around this morning and this is the Calvin I see in front of me....

Pretty stylish, no?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What just happened???

Disclaimer: my apologies to anyone who is checking my blog out for the first time since I mentioned it in the Christmas card. If you look through the archives, I don't usually spend this much time on the discussion of bodily functions....

Ok, I don't think of my house as a filthy house. We aren't a dirty, dirty people. But the degree of pestilence that we have endured this winter has been really remarkable. This is how my evening went the night before last:

11:00pm - Calvin presents himself to my mother in the guest room, covered in vomit.
11:05 - Change Cal's bed and shower him.
11:10-12:00 - Run to his room for repeat episodes
1:30 - Omar falls to the same plague
1:40 - Spencer falls to the same plague. Start 2nd load of laundry
2:30 - Max reports he can't sleep, then proceeds to hurl on our bedroom carpet and bathroom floor.
2:40 - Using carpet cleaner. at 2:40??? Seriously??
3:00 - My mother succumbs to shaking chills.

Did I note that this was the last night of "vacation," and all the kids were to return to their respective corners of the world the next day? Instead, I had Omar, Cal, Spence, Max and my mother all unable to maintain a vertical position for most of the day. We sent Leo to daycare for the pure value of quarantine. I then went to work from 7pm to 3am.

I am happy to report that 4 of 5 have rebounded today. I have to think this was some sort of food poisoning, but from what? I think I am going to institute a new Purell body soak at the beginning and end of each day for my family. That would work great in the hot tub, right?