Bella. Bella Lou. Bella Cita. And sometimes Bellatrix. What would we do with out you?! This little pup has worked her way into our family too perfectly. She is feisty and lovey and smart and fun. The boys had her outside all day Saturday playing in the snow and running and chasing snowballs until she stood by the door begging me to let her in so she could sleep.
She really is smart. I have worked commands with her and she gets them so easily. She can sit, wait, down, come, paw and is currently attempting to roll over. She is fully trained to ring a bell to go outside. I over and over, took her paw, said paw, rang her paw on the bell, gave her a treat and put her outside. Then she caught on and rang it herself! We were so impressed. Then one night she rang the bell and sat waiting for a treat with zero intention of ever going outside! OH NO! So I had to change it up and give her the treat after she had gone potty! Told you she was smart.
The worst part about her is the play biting. She chases after the kids (usually Emmitt who runs away from her screaming and clambering up on a piece of furniture). Well she thinks it a game and he is her ultimate prize and goes tearing after him. She can officially get on the furniture now, which causes more screaming by Emmitt and more biting from Bella. She is better, but once she is broke of that habit I think it'll be even better. She does other naughty puppy things like dig holes in the sandbox and comes in super dirty. But she is getting used to her baths and let's me blow dry her! After the big snow came, she forgot that the deck is not a place to poop or pee. We MUST stop her from that! Ick!
She jumped over her playgate about 2 weeks ago and officially lost that freedom. She is crated during the day while we are gone. I come home at lunch to let her out and feed and play with her. She can't really help but go nutty at night when we are home. On the weekends when we are home all day, she is much better. She sleeps in her crate at night too. After that first week home, she has been holding it all night and gets up with me in the morning to go out. She really is a good puppy. The boys have done really well with her. Some days I wonder if they really knew what getting a puppy was all about and other days, it's amazing to watch them with her. They whine about picking up the poop and when she attacks them, but some of her puppy ways are so short lived that they have made a life long friend in her...
Tis the Season for busy little elf work. We jam packed our weekend to get the most out of it. But at the same time tried to relax while doing it instead of stressing out. Looking back at the weekend overall, we accomplished just that. Saturday we were able to enjoy a nice breakfast together and get outside (before the fog and rain came). We built the outdoor rink together. It was mostly just dad with mom's help. Every so often I would ditch Bear and help the boys with their giant snowball fort. It was the perfect snow for snowmen and forts. We made a Frosty and decorated him all up and by the end of the day he was smashed to pieces. Emmitt did manage to get himself all dressed up like frosty though!
The boys and I also tackled an Advent calendar this year. It was a kit I had ordered and seemed daunting every time I looked at it. But with some help from my little guys we did it! I quickly filled the number one slot with a note to say "make advent calendar with mom" and with everything else we did this weekend, I think they were okay with it. Anytime I drag out my scrapping supplies, they quickly get the stuff they like and start making projects with me. It keeps them entertained at least. We also released "Chippie" from his box. He made his appearance on Sunday morning with a little treat for the boys from Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. They had to show Bella Chippie and Chippie Bella. After the introductions, they talked to Chippie all about the things we had done together. That little elf brings lots of fun to the season.
Day Two: says to get our tree from the tree farm and to go eat Lutefisk! Or LunaFish as Parker called it! After church we packed up at headed to Littlefork Lutheran for their annual Lutefisk, Meatball, Lefse, feast. The boys were by far the youngest attendees that actually ate the Lutefisk and impressed all of the passersby. Most were amazed they would eat it, but mainly they kept encouraging the boys to eat more of it and they will grow up to love it. I love how my boys know how to react in a way that will just melt older people. They both were like, "yeah, we love it, it's so great!" They boys also flirted with two older ladies over the lefse platter at our table. Papa Milo has turned them into Lefse eating machines and as soon as they both saw that giant plate of Lefse their eyes lit up. Then they proceeded to chat it up over how much they loooovve Lefse! Milo and Bear were the two soul eaters of the Lutefisk. Peg, Tolle, the boys and I ordered the meatball dinner plate. But of course once we tried it, we ate a little more of it. Parker (my texture issue boy-THANK YOU Auntie Debbie!) got one gooey piece and he was done. Emmitt just kept pounding it back. We were a bit surprised, but overall glad that they try new things.
After many trees, our family decided on one. Some kind of Colorado white spruce, I think! It's a shade of lime green and has a crazy top. Crazy top for a crazy family. It's a bit of a Grinch tree and fits in perfectly. Parker wanted to be the man and cut down the tree. He tried, but it was super hard to keep the saw in the right spot and eventually said his knees were getting wet and wanted dad to finish.
This is our best attempt at a family shot in front of the tree. Last year I vaguely remember dragging my tripod with, this year I am luck I remembered my camera! Bear has the longest arms which means he is the lucky fellow that gets to arm shot our family. Shot captured!
Our little elves demanded to haul the tree out of the woods themselves. They accomplished it for the most part, but the snow was so wet and slippery that we had Emmitt running back to us in the truck saying, "I guess we need help." And home we went.
I am not sure I want to even put this in writing, but that little 11 week furball of a puppy we have has completely ignored our tree. I was planning on gates and tying it to the ceiling and so far she has eaten a few stray needles off the floor and only tried to chew the lights when they were a pile of shiny things on the floor.
Today is Day 3: decorate our tree with our ornaments. And Chippie is in the tree watching you...
Seven?! How did that happen?! My little 7-11 baby. The day you were born we talked about all those lucky numbers. You were born on 11-11 and weighed 7#11oz and we lived at 1105...I think dad went out and bought a powerball with 7's and 11's on it...then he commented that he would take you to the casino someday with him. I actually think you want to be number 7 for hockey this year. I immediately asked you if you were going to change your hockey number every year you have a birthday and you went deep into thought and asked "what number was dad again when he played?" 20 bud...okay, I'll be 20 again. Yep, you want to me just like dad. You want to go with him every time he leaves for the shack, you want to skate like him someday, you want to eat your meat like him so you can be big and strong. You idolize him. I keep thinking my days are numbered every year you turn a new number, but you are and I believe will always be my big boy. You still come to me for snuggles, books, when you are hurt, when you just want a hug or to say you love me. Even though I feel like the one who is always barking at you to brush your teeth, flush the toilet, wash your hands, finish your homework, eat your breakfast and buckle up. I am not sure why those daily routines are such a surprise to you most days, but dude, I hope you figure it out soon.
This year mom agreed to throw you a kid party. I had one when I was 7. I remember it. I just cannot fathom a kid party every single year. This party solidified that theory too. No way! I have been dragging my feet for years about the big party. I mean we are just about 30 people with a family party, what more could you ask for. Well how about a Mario Kart party with 12 of your bestest friends? Sure why not! (If you just read that and thought I was nuts, you are correct). So I stayed up late making decorations, invitations, cleaning, putting together party bags, and planning games. At least I had enough sense to hire out the cake this year. Daddy was up a tree with a gun so it was just you and me to prepare. The party day came and we had a busy house for just over 2 hours. We played Mario Kart on the Wii, popped Mario balloons to gather Mario Coins, ate Mario cake, pinned the "stache" on the Mario, and had a Yoshi Egg race. That was all great fun for all involved. But more than once I found you sulking on the stairs or hiding behind the couch. I had no idea why? What is my center of attention child doing ditching out on his own party?! Two of the times I found you hiding you were in tears. When we talked about it, you were hurt that certain friends weren't letting you have turn at the Wii or somebody took your coins. I felt like I was in the Bernstein Bears Too Much Birthday book! It was just too much for you. You felt like you should have your way on your birthday, which is fine, but don't expect to get everything you ask for right now on your birthday, it doesn't work that way. You have to be a gracious friend, especially when they are hear for you and your birthday. It took him a bit to realize that and then he was fine. But it was a shock for me to see him like that. Just the other night I had him write out his 19 thank you cards and he said he wasn't going to have a kid party anymore, it was too much work!
We had the family party the day of your birthday. Simple. Cake and ice cream. Just you being the center of attention and visiting with your family. You loved it. When I asked you if you preferred one party over the other, you said, just family...it's quieter too mom! Yeah, I noticed too bud.
So Seven you are. You have physically grown this past year and emotionally. You are one of the taller kids in class, you may be the tallest on the ice too. You are figuring out your boundaries more and more every year in school. The last few have been trying that's for sure. But this year it clicked. At conferences this year, I finally left feeling pure relief...unlike the last 2 years I have left in tears and feeling frustrated. The part that I had always heard was "he knows when he's doing wrong" but it was like you couldn't stop yourself from crossing the line. You always had to put a whole foot over it, not even a toe. Mrs. Dowty said that she loves watching you try so hard to "stay green" and make mom and dad proud of you. You are smart too. You get your math and spelling down right away. You are doing things I am pretty sure I didn't learn until 3rd grade! You are reading and reading and reading. You don't always love to sit down and do it, but recently you like to read to Emmitt. He is finally willing to sit for a long-short book. We had been splitting you up for a while to do bedtime because it takes awhile to read one book, when he was used to mom or dad reading him many books. But he always comes back to sit and listen to you read. Your writing is coming along nicely. You rush and therefore sometimes it's sloppy. But I know that you would rather be outside playing or building something. You build anything. A fort, a beaver dam, a lego kit, a lion cage, the possibilities are endless. Your imagination is going to take you far. Many times I will come to the basement to find you and your brother hunkered down under a row of blankets, pillows, totes, chairs, anything you can pull out (and not want to clean up later) and I have to ask what kind of wild animal you are. It's usually something "exotic" like a heard of lions waiting for the antelope to come through the plains. Or a pack of mule deers or wolves. Emmitt still has you play the "family of animals." He is the baby or the mom and you are either the dad or the big brother. And then I will find 50 stuffed animals that are the other babies you share. Then in the next moment, I find the two of you hitting each other, scratching or taking some bat, club or stick after the other. Emmitt is typically the one who goes after you, always for "no reason" which we know is not true. But it's you who comes up crying or mad. But it's Emmitt who comes up tattling on what you did. For the most part mom and dad tell you to just "figure it out" together. Frankly because we have heard it all and don't want to listen to it anymore. But then we find you back together on the couch, your arm draped around your little brother's, him leaning against you. And we sigh and do it all over again the next day.
We had puppy sat 2 adorable Golden Doodles last weekend. 6 weeks old.
One black boy and one gold girl. Dad was gone to the shack and I wanted
to see just how the boys did with the responsibility of taking care of
puppies. Parker really did great. He picked up poop in the yard, wiped
up messes off the floor, played, cuddled and cried when we brought them
back to their owner. Emmitt wanted to snuggle his (black boy) but when
it came time to having to let him out or watch him, he wasn't that in
to it. Parker and I had to pick up the slack.
After the weekend I was totally hooked and wanting them both. I made a list of pros and cons to discuss with the anti-dog man in my life. I had told the boys from the beginning that Dad was the one that we had to convince, not me. Parker and I presented the list to Bear last night and he considered it. Once the boys were in bed we really had to discuss it. I was actually nervous about talking to my husband about it! I think because deep down inside I knew I really didn't stand a chance in that discussion. I had been quizzing people with dogs all week about what they really love and hate about their dogs. Things like hair and poop and sitters when you are gone, but then the other side was companionship for the boys, responsibility, lifelong friends, and fun! The bonus is that Golden Doodles don't shed! So after going to bed with the final verdict of absolutely not two dogs and possibly not even one, I chose to go forward with just the one. The golden girl who won my heart the first day I saw her. The one who peed on the mat almost the whole weekend we had her, the one with that tiny little face and those blue eyes. A girl to live in this house full of boys with me.
I presented an option to Bear today and he went for it. I decided to call the owner and let her know we would be by to trick-or-treat and when the boys went to the door, she could hand them the puppy instead of candy. It took them a bit to figure out we were for real and that Miss Bella was coming home with us. It was totally priceless!
Halloween 2012! What a night to remember! We started the week off with carving our huge home (Loman) grown pumpkins. So huge that Emmitt still fit in one and Parker half fit. Next year he says we need to cut the top bigger so he can get in. I don't think he realizes that he may have outgrown the pumpkins. We had a great mess all over the kitchen and thoroughly enjoyed it!
We really struggled with coming up with a new family themed idea this year. We had lots of options, but just none that really stuck with us. We stuck with the original plan of Scooby Doo. Emmitt and Parker both wanted to be Scooby for quite awhile, but the costume was borrowed and only fit Emmitt. Problem solved. Parker then became Shaggy. Really was not sure about his wig and both Halloween parties he attended he wore his cowboy costume! But every body that saw us trick-or-treating commented on how great his wig was! And the little goatee was pretty radical dude! I was Daphne. With a horrid orange wig! Freddie (AKA Dad) had a neon yellow mullet wig that he boycotted the night of Halloween and decided to just drive us around in plain clothes! We'll be selling this set of costumes real soon! The kids still enjoy having us dress up in a group and I am all for it! One year they are going to moan and groan that they don't want us along...so we better take it while we can get it.
The highlight that they are going to remember is this is the night we got our Bella.
After a weekend of shooting my cousins wedding...I put together a little collage of my mom, all of her siblings and their spouse's. I remember growing up and having a conversation with someone about who was my aunt or uncle and who wasn't? I could not comprehend what they were asking. I think I answered, "well they both are." Obviously not understanding the question. It's not that I didn't know who was my "blood relative" and who wasn't. I just never thought of them that way. They were always just my aunts and uncles. They still are just that...
The end of August brought an end to the Curves chapter in my life. August brought me many, many tears...but life moves on. You are either on board or you are left behind. I am on board. Now that it's September. August, I'm not so sure where I was. On the 30th and 31st we simply moved things out of the facility. I left the equipment until the very end. The club was looking pretty meek those last 2 days, but I stayed open until the very end.
On Saturday the 1st, we moved the equipment out. One by one, out the door and onto a trailer. Milo gave the kids rides on the dolly and on the equipment. I commented that at least somebody was having fun. The kids did great while we moved and hauled and packed. They have been told over the years to only touch the black part of the equipment! The white was the money in this case. Being in a franchise left us stuck in an agreement we had to abide by or risk being sued. So I was diligent at getting all my ducks in a row and following orders. The main part being that I couldn't sell my equipment. I either had to send it back to corporate, strip and scrap it or I could donate it to another club. I chose to donate it and charge them a delivery fee. But I needed the stuff to work when it got to where it was going.
These 3 pictures of the empty, boring club make me sad. What once was a place for women to come together and always felt so warm and welcoming really was just paint on walls. But when it was the club, it was awesome.
There was an art to stacking all of that equipment on the trailer and getting it home. Bear and Milo worked very hard at getting it all set up. We managed to get out of the parking lot and through town without losing anything.
Here is what my garage looked like for a couple of weeks! I am beyond wanting my space back in order. I have delivered all of the equipment to their new homes, I had an impromptu yard sale last Saturday and made a nice dent in getting rid of stuff. One more attempt and then the rest is going in the trash. After all is said and done, I am okay with where I am at now. Closing was the best option for me at this time in my life. It's been a great ride...
First day of school...We officially have a 1st Grader and a 2nd year preschooler!
We did the whole routine last night and this morning. Lay out the clothes, promise mom you won't argue over what we have picked out together, brush teeth, read books, say prayers, remind Parker to watch for Emmitt so he gets on the bus, remind Emmitt to take the bus to Stephie's, and don't remind Emmitt that he escaped from school last year or remind Parker that he took the wrong bus last year!
The four (usually Emmitt too) will forever be photographed just like this. Casual, cool boys with their arms around each other! I am hoping that they will let me take their pictures before school every year and never, ever be too big to do so. They are going to miss playing together every day!
Here comes the bus...that step is still a pretty big one!
Emmitt goes to preschool 5 afternoons a week. We cut through the grass and he took off on me. At least it was in the right direction. We ran up to the door, took a quick picture and then I asked him if he remembered where his room was. "No?" was his answer. So I led the way, we said hi to people in the hallway and I pointed out some letters that I saw on the walls. Come to find out they had a gingerbread hunt/Chicka Chicka Boom Boom scavenger hunt for all the letters on their tree!
When we sat down at dinner we asked the boys about their day and Emmitt told us his gingerbread story. I asked him what part of the gingerbread man he ate and he said the head and eyes! I reminded Parker that he had eaten the foot "so he couldn't run away again!"
Emmitt was able to find his locker and he was so proud of himself that he could reach the hook to hang up his bag! Then he promptly grabbed the fish bowl, picked it up and asked "what's in here?" I replied, fish I hope, not put it down! He did and at supper he told me they are tadpoles!
Parker said he had a great day with Mrs. Dowty. She let them play outside a lot! Even on the big playground! I think she may have won him over on that condition. Last night before bed, I had asked Parker if he remembered his lunch code, his answer was "I think it is 911, actually." I bust out laughing and remind him that's the emergency number to call and that it is not his code. Mrs. Dowty was so kind to write it on their hand for when they go through the line they get it right! We had a good laugh about it though!
All 5 boys made it off the bus! I had a big sigh of relief that they did. Then they all asked me for a ride home. Which is down the alley, not even a block! I asked why and they all said...'cause we're tired!
I made a bird like this when I was 6. Her name was Gertrude. Milo actually made her for me. But this past week the boys have been with him all week while Stephie was on a weeks vacation. He kept having them paint part of their special project. He would not tell them what it was. But yesterday he let it slip...he said "let's go finish up painting your birds." And Parker squealed with excitement that it was a bird. He went from "what is this again Papa" trickery to "what kind of bird Papa!" Once they finished painting and waiting for them to dry. They assembled the birds. Milo admitted that the feathers were still in a pack from when he made my bird! Like 25 years ago!!! Jesus...25 years ago I was 6. SCARY! Anyways...tonight he kept them for supper and then brought them home when he came for his weekly Thursday night visit...and in come the boys "walking" their birds. He taught them how to walk the birds with big long strides. It was adorable. Emmitt was "cawing" his bird and I am not sure why...but apparently that is the sound his bird makes. I've already untangled the birds twice tonight, but currently they are hanging on a hanger from my entertainment center...and have yet to be named. But Gertrude is already taken.
On June 6, 2012 I began my new position with the National Park Service. It has been a big change for my personal and professional life. In November 2 years ago, I took a position at the hospital, part-time and that was just the beginning of me working for some one else. After 11 years, I had no idea just how much I would like working for some one else and not for myself. Just segueing myself into the part time position at the hospital helped transition my loyal Curves members into a place that was more about self motivation to workout and not so much about their Becky time. I quickly began to realize that Curves wasn't making it with me there daily, working the club, donating my time, and not helping out on the home front financially. The part-time job at the hospital helped a bit to take the pressure off financially at home and I was contented. That was until I realized that the Park Service wanted me to come work for them. Me! I was a bit shocked but then that emotion quickly turned to humbled flattery. For once it felt like things were going our way and it didn't always have to be so hard. I also realized after 11 years, to start putting myself first instead of every one else. That is not something I took lightly or easily. I started to "see the light" and realize that after every thing I have been through with owning my own business that all of the experience and knowledge I gained while doing so qualified me to be where I am today. In a position with the Federal Government, with benefits and starting a retirement. With normal 8-4:30 hours and a lunch break that I force myself to take away from my desk. I finally began to see just how blessed I am. As I began to settle into my new normal at work and at home the other part of my life started giving out. Curves. It has been on a downhill slide since I took the position at the Park. Some say it's because it's summer, some say it's the economy, some say it's me not being there...but what ever the reason is...I am fighting a losing battle. I have taken action to begin closing the club. Closing an 11 year chapter on my life that has brought me so many friends and experiences I cannot begin to describe. It is truly one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. I have been through so many different emotions that it was hard to make sense of them all. Feeling like a failure that I couldn't make it work, feeling hurt that people gave up on supporting me, feeling angry that the economy still sucks and it doesn't seem to be getting any better, feeling sure gut wrenching sickness at the money that is lost, feeling simply lost at which way to turn. It is less than easy to close a club, sooner than your agreement with the corporate company. I have agreed to comply with all of the rules to make the transition as easy as possible. The date of the club closing will be August 31, 2012. It gives every one involved 30 days. One last month. It seems so final, yet somehow feels right. It has been so hard to fight this up hill battle that I am truly exhausted and have no more fight left to give. What many of my members are wondering is what happens next? Well the answer lies with in you. What I need is to make it to the end of the month. It hardly seems fair to draft you a full month worth of dues if I cannot provide a place for you to workout. I can provide a place for you to workout through August 31st. But that truly only applies to the people who pay their dues on the first of the month. For those of you who pay on the 5th, you would only get 26 days out of your full months membership. For those of you who pay on the 12th, that much less. The same follows for those who pay on the 20th and 27th. I still have to pay all the bills through August, including rent, utilities, payroll and franchise fees. I cannot do that without the income from your dues. It is a lot to ask and I will not soil my name in the mean time. If you truly do not want to pay your dues in August, I will not make you. If you can...I thank you once again for supporting me. If you pay your dues and you are a wellness member who gets a reimbursement, you will qualify for that rebate just like always. Please understand that I want to do right by you who helped me all these years. I do not want to cause any ill feelings. Know that if you paid in full for the year, you will get the amount owed to you back. It may take me some time, but I will make it right. Most of all, please use the club through out the whole month of August. Use your workouts to continue to help you physically and to see those girls on the circuit who have been next to you all these years. Reminisce and continue to be there with each other and the staff. My staff! What would I do with out you?! We have transitioned through so many phases lately that it feels surreal that we won't all be connected by this place anymore. But we will forever be connected by this place at the same time. I thank you all for your continued support, encouragment and friendship. With out you I would not be me. Many of you have watched me grow from a 21 year old newly wed, into a mom and wife...but most of all I have watched you all become my friends who feel like family. I cherish the memories made with all of you and will never forget what you have given me.
It is pretty cool that you can kiss a President!After the week of training that I had, the girls made sure to take me up to Mount Rushmore. We drove that beautiful drive and were able to head into Rushmore. HOLY MOTORCYCLES! This is the Thursday before Rally week at Sturgis and WOW are there a ton of them. Of course it was so fun to people watch!!!
Mount Rushmore..again crappy camera = crappy pictures...but it was still so cool to see. We must start planning and saving our pennies to take the kids soon. Even as young as they are, they would appreciate pulling the camper across a few states and staying at KOA campgrounds and seeing all the sites...
This momma forgot how hard it is traveling without her family and got a bit homesick...it will be nice to get home to all my boys.