Friday, November 28, 2008

buddy and his night visitors



While we were excitedly setting up our new Macbook and related recording accessories, I decided to take a peek at Mas upstairs.  On my way upstairs, Howard said, you may want to let Buddy in...he went on a little walkabout.  As I peered through the door, Mas was headed over to open it and let him in...I said, "Hey, he has a toy in his mouth!"  Then, I saw the long, furry tail and said, "He has a squirrel in his mouth!!  Get up here!"  Howard came running up and there was Buddy, pleased as punch over his catch.  How did he catch it?  We have no idea!  But, he was proud.  I told Howard that's what he gets for not taking him hunting more often!  Buddy thought, heck, I'll go do my own hunting!  (Thankfully, Mas did not open the door and let Buddy come bounding in with his prize!)  Notice Skipper pining through the door at Buddy and his fun!

cool Friday

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!  We actually dared to venture out shopping, today, on Black Friday...and, guess what?  It was no different than any other weekend day of shopping in our favorite town.  Go figure??  I supposed that is because we didn't start until 1 pm...sounds like the earlybirds were out in full force.  Glad we missed out on that.  My husband graciously bought me the stuff to start a little recording studio in the basement...that's the great news...the bad news is, now I have to get to practicing my trumpet!  Should be a fun endeavor.  The kids did great; Mas used his new Palmtop much more than usual, and even managed to push "I don't like this," "change the channel", and "I want a new show" this morning when he was watching tv.  Pretty cool.  He did, however, request a hamburger for dinner, and when he got it, had one bite and spit it out.  I guess the hamburgers at school are much more to his liking!  But, he ate the crud out of our very expensive spinach and artichoke dip appetizer, and also most of our bread and my husband's waffle fries...where does he put it??  All in all, a great day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

laurie and the night visitors

I had a unique experience lastnight.  While I have woken numerous times with a "song in my head", lastnight was a bit different.  I usually wake up with a great song; I can hear all the parts and the harmonies and the rhythm section, the whole bit.  I used to repeat it in my head 7-9 times, then go back to sleep.  Of course, by morning it's gone...but, lastnight, I woke up about 2:30 with a great song in my head...all the parts, strong melody and harmony parts, and whenever I would start to fall back to sleep, the song would increase in volume.  The weird part is, lastnight I got the lyrics along with it.  Considering this a strange, beautiful gift, I actually got out of bed and wrote down the notes, counting, right and left hand piano parts, and the lyrics.  Weird.  The lyrics don't make a whole lot of sense by the light of day, but I still think it's cool.  The only part I'm still freaking out about, is after I went back to bed and fell asleep again, I woke up about an hour later....with the lyrics for the SECOND VERSE!  Hello!  I actually chuckled.  I debated getting up and writing down the second verse lyrics, but repeated them to myself and went back to bed...and of course, today they are gone.  But, I have the rest of it, written on a tiny notebook in my bathroom.  Now I just have to go listen to it all and see if it makes any sense.  Hard to notate notes without a keyboard sometimes, but let's hope I did it correctly.  If it's neat, I'll record it and put it on here...if not, I'll just file it away in the Very Cool Dreams category!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dumb Friday

Black Friday?  Or just plain dumb Friday?  I went to town today to make a grocery run, first stopping by a local retailer to grab a few things.  The walking aisles were all divided, by stacks taller than my head, of TOYS.  Unbelievable!  I suppose one could just analyze Black Friday in-depth to point out a lot of things that are wrong with our society!  We're talking thousands of toys, lined up and ready for shoppers.  It was crazy!  I know some people enjoy bumping carts with angry mothers, grabbing a special toy out of someone's hand, standing in line for hours to get in the store, standing in line for hours to get checked out, the traffic, and the general mayhem that is Black Friday.  For me, while I know there are some deals to be found, I much prefer the world of online shopping, sitting in my pj's with a cup of cocoa and some Christmas music playing in the background.  And then there are the homemade gifts, of which I try to make some every year.  I have made calendars for the grandparents for years and years; at least 13 or so years now.  Last year I discovered the photo ornaments, and bought one for each of us.  Should be a nice rememberance every year, to pull out those ornaments.  Riley made tied fleece blankets last year.  While not exactly cheap per se (fleece is rarely on sale when you need it!), it did teach her about making gifts and putting some of yourself into the gift.  I have made cocoa for years and years; last year was the first year without making some.  This year, Riley and I are embarking on some projects, and I have already made many photo projects, as well.  I will make my kitchen gifts, as always, and we will supplement with store-bought goodies.  Don't get me wrong, I love shopping, (as my circle of five will attest to), but I also love receiving something that required some thought and some effort on the part of the giver.  Those are the gifts you remember and cherish.  I think we will spend Friday doing Green Friday; namely, putting up the tree and associated trimmings.  That sounds like a lot of work, but much less stressful than facing the crowds and mayhem.  

Monday, November 24, 2008

looking up slightly

Well, here's a lesson for you young whipper-snappers.  Pay attention, close attention to those little numbers behind a doctor's name....NP, DO, MD, etc.  Apparently, they are important!  We saw our "real" doc today, and he isn't nearly as concerned as the NP was on Friday.  He prescribed a trial of Milk of Magnesia, lots of fluid, and an addition of Metamucil to the daily regime.  He did a digital rectal exam (I'm sure that was as much fun as it sounds) and couldn't feel any stool down low, although I assured him I saw it yesterday!  Go figure!  Maybe the constant enemas broke it up a bit.  He repeated the x-rays and said, yes, there's stool in there, but not all the way up his digestive tract, which was what I was told Friday night.  He also said Mason's ear appears to be fine.  ?!?!?!  It was full of blood Friday night; I've been watching it come out all weekend long!  I guess I need to go back to my early Mason mantra after he was born...only MD's will lay hands on this kid.  I dunno; seems like a huge discrepancy between the two health care providers, but it also makes a huge difference in how we feel about things tonight!  Who knows, maybe the universe cut the kid some slack?  Either way, I'm feeling much calmer tonight, and thinking I may even attempt to sleep.  Neat idea.  Thanks for your kind words through email, responses, and phone calls.  We've seen Mason's train go out of control down the tracks so many times, sometimes we get carried away and expect the worst.  It's our usual outcome.  Glad to know this time might be different!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

you deserve a break today...

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water of parenting, along comes more bad news on the doctoring front for Mas.  After a couple weeks of not-too-many bowel movements, I decided to take him in to the doc to make sure things were running smoothly in that area.  Two x-rays later, the doc said he is packed full of stool.  Huh.  His belly was soft, he wasn't in any apparent pain, no crying, etc.  She said if she hadn't already seen his x-ray herself, she wouldn't believe it was the same kid.  In addition to that, his stomach was a very strange-looking rectangular shape; even I noticed it on x-ray and wondered what it was...(I thought, if that's his liver, we are done for.  But, the doc on call conferred with our doc and thought it was very distended from lots of air, which they attributed to the backed up stool.  After a weekend of daily enemas, suppositories, "go juice" (a concoction from my mom who works at a nursing home...prune juice, applesauce, and all bran), lots and lots of fluids, juices, etc., no milk, and worry, we still have no stool.  Tomorrow we'll head back to the clinic to see if they have any ideas to get this over with for him.  It breaks my heart in two to think he'll have to endure more pain.  I did actually pray the other night, and said if God was there and he was listening, could he please give me whatever he has in store for Mason.  I meant it and I always will.  I would suffer immensely if it meant his suffering could be over with.  While we were waiting for the doc, Mas was pushing, "my ear hurts", over and over again.  When we got into the room, I asked if she would just take a look at it, to make me feel better.  She looked at the first ear and said it looks a little red.  She looked at the second ear, and said, his eardrum is ruptured and the canal is full of blood.  (!)  Apparently, he had an ear infection sometime in the last two weeks, and showed absolutely no symptoms.  He had been putting his finger in his left ear once in awhile, but that wasn't even the ear that ruptured.  Go figure.  The bad news is, this is the ear that had an ear drum patch about four years ago.  Don't know if the patch is now obliterated, or if it will heal on its' own.  Either his pain tolerance is ridiculously high, or he just figured the adults in his life were too dumb to figure out the problem, so he'd deal with it himself.  I'm kind of at my wits' end as far as parenting goes; seems we should be able to protect him from all the bad things in the world.  I feel like I've failed him miserably.  I just pray that all of this will work out in the end, and that he won't have to endure any more pain.  

Friday, November 21, 2008

it's just the number after 10...

Well, here we are in the 11th month, and my son is turning 11 today...the number "11" has some family significance for us, mainly surrounding my dad.  My dad's father, Willis Getskow (or Getzkow, or Guetzkow, depending on which spelling you like, and which time period you are in!) was born in 1911.  He died in November, the 11th month.  My dad was 11 when his dad died.  My dad was born on the 11th of March.  He married my mom on the 11th of March.  My mom's birthday is in the 11th month.  My dad proceeded to pass away on the 11th of May.  A few months after he died, Mason received a teddy bear from his school, with a football jersey on it.  The number?  11.  (It still resides in Mason's room.)  The summer after dad passed, we went on vacation with his family in central MN.  The number on our cabin?  11.  The number of people in my dad's family?  8 kids + 1 mom + 1 dad + 1 stepdad=11.  I think you get the picture.  I can't lay my fingers on my dad's family tree this morning, but I'm sure there are even more 11s to dig up.  I'm not a numerologist, but I do find all this 11s showing up to be quite intriguing.  I do like numbers, even though I hate math, and I love it when the universe throws little "signs" out in front of you like that.  Here's hoping we see more.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Great Grandma Amelia



We had our first official "snow day" on Tuesday....in November!  That is early, even for us.  The sad/good news is, the kids are making it up the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  It seems so odd to be dealing with up and down weather patterns already.  Today, we are supposed to reach a high of 48, and while I watch the rain patter on our windows, I know it's just a matter of time until the temp drops and it freezes, giving us skating rink status once again.  The make up day reminds me of our pre-Thanksgiving gatherings at my great grandma's house.  On Wednesday night, we would drive into Sioux Falls and all meet at my great grandma Amelia's house.  Amelia would only wear dresses and high heels, and jewelry, as evidenced by the above photos.  My mom says she remembers Amelia wearing a pant suit only one time in her life, which I believe involved a road trip to Texas in a car with no air conditioning in the middle of the hottest part of the summer.  She was a very classy lady, and had no problem entertaining all of us in her (not-very-large) home, even us wild great grandkids.  (She used to tell me I had ants in my pants, which was probably a nice way of saying, man, are you hyper!!--on a side note, she also called my dad "Donny", which was something very few people got away with!)  Wednesday night before Thanksgiving meant celery sticks with cheese whiz or peanut butter, a slice of pie (pumpkin, pecan, banana cream, and chocolate were the options), pizzaburgers, and various finger foods, like olives, carrot sticks, etc.  The adults would play poker at the "big table," while us kids kept ourselves busy.  When I was younger, the oldest of the kids would shepherd the little ones to the movie theater.  This was where I saw my first movie ever, "The Cat From Outer Space".  As we got older, it involved playing Atari (my cousin's Atari, not mine...I vividly remember playing Pitfall and Asteroids--or was it Space Invaders??) on my great grandma's tv, in the fancy living room with the hanging lamp with little water beads traveling up the fishing line, and the big thick drapes and corner couch.  When it got too loud, smoky, and noisy, (which it did, often,) we could go into her bedrooms, which were nice and cold and had a bed in there covered with coats.  I remember falling asleep in there many times.  Thursday morning meant waking to the smell of turkey and stuffing baking, and setting up the "kids table" in her living room.  My mom and my uncle would boil up the neck, gizzard, heart, and liver, and eat them in front of us kids....gross!  The meal always began with a prayer and ended with feeling like you'd eaten too much.  While Thursday was awesome, as far as a perfect Thanksgiving meal goes, I always enjoyed Wednesday nights more.  There was something about the anticipation of what was to come, and the excitement of seeing the cousins for the first time, which was exhilarating.  As we age now, holidays are much different.  I think it has to do with having responsibilities now, as opposed to running around like children in the past...because we were children!  As we schedule and plan menus and work around other commitments, here's hoping we are able to retain at least a bit of that excitement, which was so easy to find when we were small.  And here's a big hats off to women like Great Grandma Amelia--they just don't make 'em like you anymore!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

who schooled you?

Had a great weekend with my girlfriends in Minneapolis...laughed too much, ate too much, shopped a lot...enjoyed it immensely.  We ended up having a conversation about home schooling, since a friend of mine has friends that have unsuccessfully home schooled a high school student.  He ended up begging to be let into the public school system when he got to be a sophomore.  I also had a good friend in Omaha with a special needs, non-diagnosed child.  Her children were all home schooled until they asked to attend public school, which all happened by junior high.  Made us stop and think about how we thought we would handle that.  Then, this morning while I drove into Mason's appointment, I heard my talk radio show on XM radio address the topic.  I listened closely and spent some time thinking about it.  I decided that if I were living in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest school, with treacherous mountain roads and no easy way to travel, I could probably realistically teach music, English, and maybe Science....maybe.  In no way, shape, or form could I ever teach any more than that.  (Maybe I'm the village idiot??)  I think that would only happen if I devoted my life to teaching, including all of the research that goes into being a solid teacher...and that wouldn't include baking, cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, nursing, being a wife, etc.  I think it's quite lofty to assume one person could teach every subject...even if you only had one child at home to teach.  When I think about what my ninth grade daughter has learned since early September, I am humbled....math that we don't even always understand, (including trigonometry) difficult vocabulary, history, chemistry, pre-engineering courses, 3-D drafting, home construction, insurance laws, etc.  It tires me out just thinking about it.  I can't tell you the number of times I've seen home schooled children wandering through Wal-Mart with their moms, or, in our personal case, wandering the streets of Pipestone while her classmates are in class.  While I'm sure there are situations in which home schooling is necessary, I can't imagine many situations where it's actually better than getting educated in a public or private school, with many different teachers, situations, learning environments, challenges, schedules, etc.  And while there are many genius kids out there who were home schooled, I still feel they are the minority.  (I also think they would probably be just as successful if they had been schooled somewhere else...)  If I were to pull my child out of school right now and attempt to teach her at the level she's been taught at even for the past few months, I would not succeed.  (And I'm really not a village idiot...although some of my posts may speak to the contrary!)  My husband is one of the smartest people I've ever met, as far as basic IQ goes, and I don't think he could even keep up with homeschooling even one child.  I think if most children were to be tested out at the end of each grade level, (in a third-party testing center, not in the home) they would most likely show deficits in some areas...something that has been backed up by people I know who have first-hand experience in the matter.  Of course, a public school student can also show deficits, a fact which we all know.  I guess it just makes me happy that we are able to place our trust in the public school system and take the lumps and bumps that go along with that.  I think life's challenges are what shape us, and although living at home in a safe little bubble may be comforting and warm, how much is it preparing us for the real world?  The one with challenging co-workers, jam-packed schedules, multitasking, different working environments, etc.  I don't think public schools are doing it all, but hopefully they are providing a solid structure for our children, which we can add to once they get home at the end of the day.  **Now, in the area of special education, I don't feel most public schools are doing the best they can, but that's mostly because there is such a plethura of mixed diagnoses out there now....the entire autistic spectrum, for example, as well as Down's Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Hurler's, Hunter's, Williams, cerebral palsy, mitochondrial diseases...the list goes on and on and on.  In twenty or thirty years, the educational climate concerning special needs children will have to change, because there will be more and more things diagnosed, as well as the possibility of more kids with environmental issues at the root of their cognitive deficits.  So, while I think most "normal" (define normal? let's not go there tonight) kids benefit from the realm of public education, I still think lots of handicapped kids are being given a subpar education, for a lot of different reasons.**  I know there are many opinions on the matter, but I don't foresee ever believing that any one person could have given me the education that hundreds of teachers have...nor would I have wanted that.  And when I think of trying to learn and express all that the hundreds of teachers who shaped most of us knew, I know that is impossible, and I feel quite small just thinking about it.  I guess the bottom line is, I am so thankful that we live in the part of the country that still has somewhat of a handle on public education, so I don't ever have to consider that as an option!  It also makes me thankful that while I was in my Play-Doh stage, I had lots and lots of hands forming me into who I am; an imperfect, creative, impatient, somewhat anal, intelligent, loud, proofreading, joke-y, analytical, passionate, sometimes out-of-control, thinking human being.  I've been schooled.

long day...

Exhausted and overwhelmed, but feeling very blessed and pretty darn lucky, we are finally home after a whirlwind day of doctoring.  Turns out the rotten-looking tooth was actually a filling that had fallen out (whew!), and the hole in the other molar was a mere cavity.  According to the dentist, he has his teeth crammed into a too-small mouth, and when we go to brush the back upper molars, it gets tight and his masseter muscle tightens up, making it even tighter up there to brush.  He said to keep doing what we're doing, which sounds good to me!  After two fillings, (only one of which we were charged for....and we had our office visit thrown in free) we were feeling quite relieved as we headed to our regular doc to examine the lump in the testicles.  Turns out Mas has a hydrocele, which is a collection of fluid.  It usually accompanies an inguinal hernia, which has not shown up yet for Mas.  The doc thinks it will show up eventually, and then we'll need to do surgery to repair both the hydrocele and the hernia.  As far as days go, we're feeling pretty good about this one.  Not excited to have Mas go through a surgery, but at least it's not the big "C", or some strange congenital anomaly that is linked to a bunch of other negative health problems.  Mas was a trooper the whole day, and that made it so much easier.  I was starting to panic yesterday as I envisioned us starting the whole doctoring dance again...glad to hear we just have to dance a little jig and then we can leave the floor!  Thank goodness.  We'll leave the waltzes and the rhumbas for someone with more strength and agility!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

and a big p.s.

If a couple rotting teeth weren't enough, how about a lump above his testicle?  Life just keeps dishing it out...not sure how much more of it Mas can take.  Another reason to keep him in your thoughts.

mouthful of trouble

You'd think maybe Mas could have gotten my ability to talk non-stop, my ability to sleep, my ability to draw, my good teeth....etc.  I have a lot of bad features/habits that I would not wish on either child, but there are a few things I wish I could have passed on.  As Mas was sitting on my lap earlier and we were watching the snow, I decided to take a peek at his teeth...just something I do from time to time if he's sitting nicely.  Well, as (our bad) luck would have it, he has a huge chunk missing from his upper back molar on the outside of the tooth, and it is terrible-looking.  He was just at the dentist on August 11, so how does this happen?  Was it a chipped tooth that decayed a bit?  Was it there in August?  Does it hurt?  How much?  Do certain temperatures bother it?  Is my brushing his teeth twice a day just not enough?  These are the times I don't think I am cut out for being his mom.  As far as the old adage, "God only gives you what you can handle," I say that is an outright lie.  I am up to the eyeballs in mothering things I can't handle, and this is almost the last straw.  Luckily, we are being blessed by snagging an early morning appointment tomorrow, so that is one ray of sunshine in this mini-saga.  Please keep Mas in your thoughts tomorrow morning.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

hello, winter

30 inches of snow and 70 mph winds in the western part of South Dakota this morning...hello, winter!  I guess our nice weather has come to a screeching halt.  We have yet to see any bad weather, but our barometer says "more rain", so I'm expecting some.  I guess it's going to start acting like the month that we're in--November.  Fall was fun while it lasted!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

grinch license

Well, I completed my licensing requirements to bitch and complain for the next four years....and I have my sticker to prove it.  Here's hoping it's a record day for voter turnout...that makes it that much easier to listen to people grinch about the way the country is functioning.  Watched the SNL presidential special lastnight...parts of it.  Hi-larious!  I think Tina Fey is something else.  One wickedly talented mind there!  Here's to watching the polling returns and listening to speculation all day long, wherever you are...and the end of political phone calls in the evening!  WOO-HOO!