Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Costumed Cuties

I’m not Martha Stewart….not even close…thus the title of my blog. But lately I’ve had this thing where I’ve had this slight obsession of having my kids “coordinated” somehow. Just last Sunday I had them all wearing brown tones. And at Easter I had the entire family dressed in green. Last Christmas I donned them all in Santa suits for a picture, and last Halloween…well, if you were a reader of my blog then, you might recall my nationwide search for a Yoda costume so that Max would coordinate well with Cameron’s too large Darth Vadar outfit.

After last year, I vowed not to find myself in the same situation. I wasn’t going to even attempt to coordinate all three costumes. But when those catalogs started arriving in our mailbox as early as August, the gears in my head started rolling. They could all be farm animals….but I knew that Cameron wouldn’t go for that….he wanted to be a ninja. Well, then they could all be Ninjas…but I didn’t want to promote the violence that goes along with such a costume. Then I had the best idea...all three kids could be super heroes! They had the cutest little Flash costume that would be perfect for Max. But then I couldn’t find any infant Wonder Woman costumes. Plus, the prices in the catalogs were beyond ridiculous (up to $99 for those from Pottery Barn kids!).

Finally, I decided on going with my original plan…which was no plan at all. One day I just loaded all the kids into the minivan, and we took a trip to Walmart. I told them they had to find a costume that day…no matter what it was. Cameron still wanted to be a Ninja, but once we told him no weapons, he decided that wasn’t a cool costume anymore. Max found his immediately, and insisted on wearing it right there in the store. And I found the cutest little outfit for dear Ella. All from Walmart…all under $20

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The morning after

We had our party last night for my husband's nurse of the last 5 years who is moving to be with her husband in Officer's training for the Navy. Our last guests, including the guest of honor, left at 3 AM!!!!!! These obviously are people who don't have any of these:

waking them up at 5:30 AM. I hope the rest of you enjoyed your extra hour of sleep. My kids just didn't quite grasp the concept of the "fall back" daylight savings time.

Friday, October 27, 2006


A few weeks ago, Cameron was invited to spend the night at someone’s house. I said YES, without any hesitation. I like the boy, I like the boys’ mom, and they live right across the street from us. Plus, Cameron’s 5 year old whining and constant negotiating had been driving me crazy! I was more than happy to send him out of the house for the night.

When I told my husband, he was upset that I didn’t consult with him first. He said that this was our son and having him sleep over someone’s house is a decision we should be making TOGETHER! Nonetheless, Cameron was out the door that Friday and we didn’t see him until the next morning.

Yesterday, my dear friend Libby (Ben’s mom) invited Cameron for a sleepover this weekend for the night we’re having a party at our house for Melvin’s nurse. Perfect, I thought. Cameron would love it! The first words out of my mouth were, “Oh that would be wonderful!” But then I quickly remembered Melvin’s lecture from the last sleepover invitation. So instead of making the plans right there, I told Libby I’d have to consult with my husband first.

That night I was able to reach Melvin by phone, as he had been working late, and when I asked him if he thought it’d be okay if Cameron spent the night, he responded with “I don’t care, whatever you think. If you think it’s fine, then sure.” His tone noted a slight annoyance as if he didn’t understand why I had to ask his permission to do so.

Sigh….and they say women are confusing. I beg to differ!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Memeorable Marathon (and other) moments

Breakfast for five costing over $100!

Finding fabulous pink and white Nike shirts for us all to wear on marathon day, and having them printed on the back with “Run for Chocolate.” – and then hearing all the comments from people telling us they loved our shirts.

Seeing all the purple Team in Training runners with pictures of the kids and adults who suffered from or were suffering from Leukemia or Lymphoma on the back of their shirts. Truly inspiring. (over the 3 years of this race, over 40 million dollars has been raised for this charity).

Beautiful Views of the Golden Gate bridge with fog hovering below it.

Running by buffalo.

Running uphill, a lot.

Seeing my friend’s mom, son and husband at mile 11 so that I could get some relief with the Advil they were holding for me.

When nearing the half-way mark, the half-marathoners ran in a different direction. I overheard one woman saying to another as she motioned toward us idiots doing the full 26.2, “Oh I feel sorry for them.”

One woman carrying a sign that said, “Hurry up. I heard they’re running out of necklaces.” (finishers received a Tiffany designed necklace at the end).

One guy we saw a half dozen times along the route holding out a small 5” x 5” sign that just said “Go!” He didn’t say anything, just stared at all of us with a silly grin and pointed to his sign. It was very cute.

Feeling the power of my friends’ prayers at mile 20 when I found some unexplainable sense of energy allowing me to pick up the pace.

Having flowers handed to us at Mile 23.

Running with my sister and seeing her finish her first marathon.

The finish line!!!!!

Getting a Tiffany necklace from men in tuxes.

Men buying beer for Lanette’s husband, trying to pick him up

Drinking 3 chocolate martinis, a lemon drop shot and some Japanese drink in the hotel bar…and then suffering greatly for it the next day.

Tipsy conversations with Lanette and Gayle at the hotel bar.

Seeing my friend look fabulous in her new “hair”

Driving in the city, with CRAZY STEEP hills!

Beaded jewelry being sold on every corner.

Shopping galore in downtown.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Conversation on the phone with Cameron after the race:

“Mom, who won?”

“I didn’t find out what her name was yet.”

“Did you come in second?”

“No Cameron, I didn’t come in second.”

“Did you come in third?”


“Did you come in fourth?”

“No Cameron, I didn’t. I don’t know what place I came in yet.”

“Did you come in last place?”

“No Cameron, I didn’t come in last place.”

“Well, what did you come in then?”

“I’m not sure. There were thousands of people in the race. Maybe I came in around two thousand or something.”

“Two thousand? Mom, that’s REALLY last place.”

Later I discovered that out of the 4000 runners who did the marathon (almost 8000 did the half marathon), I came 1450th place, running it in 4 hours 55 minutes. It was about half hour longer than I expected, but the winner ran it in 3:10, and that's about a half hour longer than what winners usually run it in, so I didn't feel so bad. The beginning was incredibly slow and crowded, and the hills were long and plentiful! But I finished, and I felt good. Thank you for all the thoughts, prayers and well-wishes. More on the San Fran trip to follow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A full plate

My upcoming week:

On Friday night I leave for San Francisco, and on Sunday I’ll be running 26.2 miles in the Nike Women’s Marathon.

On Monday evening, I take the “red eye” from California back to Minnesota, getting in at 6:30 AM. (I feel like a movie star saying “red eye”).

On Wednesday, I’ll have my graduate class again, where I will have to have had the following homework completed: read and write reflections on 2 chapters, create some sort of chart to organize all my journal articles (which I still have to do research for), and write critiques of 3 of the articles. Not sure exactly when I’ll be doing all this.

On Saturday, we’re having a goodbye party at our house for Melvin’s nurse….who has been with him for 5 years, and knows how to “handle” him. This means a whole bunch of people in our house for the first time…which means it will need to be spotless, pictures hung, light bulbs replaced, etc. Oh, and I’ll have to have food for everyone (which will mean I’ll have to arrange catering…because, well, I don’t cook).

Nothing much. A little cross country flying. A little running. A little reading, writing and researching. A little cleaning. A little partying.

Oh yeah, and at some point I have to be a mom.

Anything else anyone wants me to do next week?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Picture Imperfect

This weekend we went to another apple orchard/pumpkin patch. Even though my digital camera works a little bit now, the focus often does not operate correctly, so it's almost a waste of my time to even attempt to get some great shots. I had to use my old "film" camera, which I love, but....well, I'll let the photos speak for themselves. All evidence I need a digital camera that works.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The one-sided blame game

This weekend I discovered that instead of having things in a neat line, Max prefers piles--big messy ones.

The journal articles I printed out for my grad class ended up piled in front of the couch, some ripped apart, some crumpled up in Max’s hand, some chewed up and resting in Ella’s mouth. When I asked what happened, his first response, “Ella did it!”

Ella and Max were playing the kid’s piano in the piano/my book room, when things became less about the music, and more about the books. When I checked in on them, I discovered two shelves of books and journals piled up on the floor. Max’s response to my anger, “Ella did it!”

In our laundry room, we have hooks for coats and a place under to line up the shoes (like in Japan, in Minnesota, people take off their shoes in the house). We have about a dozen pairs of shoes that I had neatly lined up in the morning. Later I discovered Max and Ella sitting amongst a huge pile of the shoes, and no line of them to be found. Ella was chewing on my boots as Max was laughing as he cuddled up in the shoe pile. His response yet again, “Ella did it!”

Poor Ella…but it gets worst.

Max and Cameron share a room. There are some bunk beds, and a toddler bed. Currently, the only sleep on the top bunk is done by their countless stuffed animals. While I was searching through some old clothes in Ella’s room, I suddenly heard Ella screaming. Max had climbed the ladder to the top bunk and started throwing all the animals down in a pile…on top of Ella. Except one of the animals was not a “stuffed” one, and the big rubber elephant hit her right above her eyebrow.

This time, Max knew, “Ella did it” was not going to fly with me, as she was the one on the ground screaming bloody murder. This time his only response was, “Ella crying!”

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Not sure what's going on

The stars just aren’t aligned right…or something.

When Max woke me up at 5:45 this morning, demanding a drink, I should have just turned over, hid under the covers, and prayed that I’d disappear, just for a while anyhow.

As I ambled down to the kitchen, I soon discovered that we were out of two morning essentials….any form of coffee, and milk. Lack of the first item led me to be groggy and irritable all morning. And it wasn’t until I left the house for Cameron’s 9AM soccer game was I able to sip my morning vice….a LARGE (I refuse to say “venti”) Carmel Macchiato from Starbucks.

But not having milk was worse. Lack of this dairy product meant that I was not able to turn on the TV, pour the boys their cereal and milk and head back upstairs to sleep a little more until Ella decided she wanted some attention. In order to feed the munchkins, I actually had to whip up some batter and cook some pancakes. I even ended up making pancakes and eggs for my husband.

My unusual domesticity continued through day as I made some apple crisp and some sweet potato soufflé, both from scratch, both somewhat time consuming.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I think the winter blues are settling in early.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bad hair day

I bought some hair goo product at the grocery store that's supposed to take out the frizz and make curly hair...well, curly. I think they need to rework the formula.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

This might gross you out.

You know you've done enough training for your marathon............

......................when you've lost a toenail.

Countdown to the Nike Women's Marathon-- 11 Days!!!
October 22nd, 2006. San Fransisco, here we come!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Say it ain't so!

This is a picture of the view I get to experience everyday as I drive along one of the main roads close to my neighborhood. For a brief second, I am completely in awe of God's work with the beautiful reds, yellows, oranges and greens blending to form the perfect picture. I say "brief second" because in the next second, I become incredibly sad and depressed.

I can't enjoy the Fall foilage around here because in Minnesota, the colorful leaves only mean one thing....in a couple weeks...WINTER WILL STRIKE!

And in this week's forcast, they're predicting for that nasty four-letter "S" word to arrive.

Wednesday: Windy with rain and SNOW showers. Cold. High 39F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of precip 50%.
Thursday: SNOW showers at times. Highs in the low 40s and lows in the low 30s.

Goodbye Fall, for the short moment that you were here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Still losing

This week I slipped back a few more places in the Mom of the Year contest. Let’s see, how was I instrumental in making my children suffer?

On Saturday I slammed Max’s hand in the mini-van door when I was carting all the kids to the apple orchard. He screamed for a very long time, then just made me hold him during almost the entire apple picking adventure. He woke up from his nap screaming even more and holding onto his swollen hand. After some painkillers and a lot tears, he finally calmed down, and used his hand with ease. Doctor Daddy decided an x-ray wasn’t necessary, but he informed me that if Max did not turn out to be a surgeon, it will be my fault. ( I told him that if Max did not turn out to be a surgeon, it won’t be as a result of his hand not working properly).

Last night Ella was incredibly tired, and when I laid her down for the night, she quietly turned over to go to sleep. About 15 minutes later, as Cameron was reading Max and I a book (well, he was actually reading me the book as Max was on the top bunk tossing animals down onto our heads), Ella started crying. Because I was incredibly exhausted yesterday and wanted to just veg out in front of Grey’s Anatomy, I ignored her cries. Eventually she fell back to sleep. It wasn’t until midnight, as I had just fallen into a pleasant Vicatin induced sleep (I did a 3 ½ hour run and need the pain meds), Ella woke up again. After a few minutes of crying, I reluctantly went into her room to check on her. As I picked her up, I noticed that she smelled like vomit. I then checked her crib and saw some very wet sheets that also smelled of vomit, and some little chunks on the carpet. The vomit was cold, which was an indication that she was probably crying when Cameron was reading to me because she threw up. And I just ignored her.

Cameron’s picture day was yesterday. I knew this, and even had him take a shower in the morning. After his shower I found him brushing his hair.
“WHAT are you doing?” I asked him, as he was making circular motions with his dad’s brush.
“My teacher said we had to brush our hair to look nice for the pictures.”
“Cameron, you know you don’t have the kind of hair that you brush!” I responded, trying to wet down the frizz he had created.
“But my teacher said we had to!” he said adamantly, completely ignoring my command to stop, as he tried to create a mohawk with his short do.
“Cameron, you are NOT going to try to have a Mohawk in your Kindergarten pictures! And do NOT use your shirt as a tissue. I don’t want to see wet snot stains in your Kindergarten pictures! And be careful when you brush your teeth. I don’t want to see toothpaste marks in your Kindergarten pictures!” The rest of the morning I was continually instructing him to do or not to do particular things so that he will end up with a nice Kindergarten picture.
Whether he followed all of my commands or not…well, it doesn’t really matter. Because until today, I didn’t even realize that in my preparing him for his picture, I completely forgot to do my part by filling out the picture order form with a check attached. So now my only hope is they’ll let him try again on Re-take day. Can you actually get a retake when you never ordered an original?

I may not win the #1 Mom contest due to my maternal skills, but I might be able to get some votes with candy and new toys.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Almost 10 months

As can be expected, part of me wants to hold on to my little baby girl and not let her grow up. The other part wants her to move along and quickly enter and get past these next two years so that peace will hover over our house once again. That is what happens, right? All your kids turn three or four and suddenly a normal lifestyle can begin…..right? If not, just lie to me. I need the illusion right now.

Ella has reached a few milestones this past week.

She can now wave, and flaps her hand like a little birdie. Thank goodness it’s not a pageant girl wave as I certainly would rather her not go up (or down) that path.

She stands and has started walking while holding on to something, barely, but she does it.

She claps with open palms.

She has crawled up all 18 of our stairs on her own.

This has all been great.

But she also throws huge tantrums, screaming a high pitched squeal, when you take the paper she continually tries to eat out of her hands. She’ll sit and kick her feet and throw her entire body back if you try to put her down, and she wants nothing of it. And she’ll clutch your cheeks and bang on your face when she prefers to be crawling around instead of in your arms (usually in places where she shouldn’t be set free…like in the driveway, in the mall, etc.).

She is a cutie…but oh does she have some personality already.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

And even more visitors

We had more relatives from Detroit visit this past weekend: my husband’s grandmother, father, stepmom, and their 2 daughters. Their youngest daughter (who would actually be my sister in law, and Cameron’s auntie) is 5 years old. Apparently last week, when her father was offering to buy Mikayla something, she wanted two things. A Barbie car and to “visit Cari.” How sweet is that! I’m right up there with Barbie!

Miss Mikayla was a trip! What a difference between a five year old boy and a five year old girl. Whenever I go to the mall with Cameron, all he wants to know is if we can go on the rides and hang out at Legoland. Mikayla’s greatest concern was whether she’d get to go shopping for butterfly clothes at what she called the “biggest mall in the world!”

When we pulled up to the mega-mall she was wide-eyed. “What’s this place called?” she inquired in a hypnotic state.

“The Mall of America,” I replied smiling.

“Why do they call it that?” she asked, still in a state of disbelief.

“Because when they built it, it was the biggest mall in our country.”

Mikayla sighed briefly, caught her breath and responded dreamily, “I’m in heaven!”

I had a great time with them this weekend. Brianna (who is 11) was like a little mom and a tremendous help. Melvin’s dad made us a lovely dinner, and his grandma blessed us with her peach cobbler. Cheryl even cleaned the guest bathroom before they left. I do hope they come back soon.

But not too soon. Taking the weekend off to entertain guests leaves me behind in EVERYTHING! So back to my homework I shall go.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Warning: Rated R for Obscenities and Explicit Sexual References

Since it was 80+ degrees today, I decided to take advantage of this oddly warm October day in Minnesota by reading some research articles for my grad class outside on my patio. There were some guys working on a deck next door to us. Although they could not see me from where I was sitting, I could certainly hear them. Below are some quotes I overheard.

“Fuck. Fuck! FUCK!” (Actually I heard this term a lot, and considering these are the same men who are building our screened in porch, I’m a little concerned with the number of mishaps that were prompting this constant response!)

“Oh yeah! Suck it baby!”

“I’m playing with my wood!”

“I just let out a huge fart!” (This is something Cameron would say. I was hopeful in thinking this was just a little boy thing to get excited about. I didn’t realize it prompted such big boy enthusiasm as well).

I was actually only outside for about 40 minutes, and only heard bits and pieces of their interactions between loud machines and occasional concentration on my reading. I can only imagine what the rest of their “conversations” were like.

One of the guys working, who I’ve talked with on occasion about our own deck, always seems so kind and considerate in our conversations. Must be something about the presence of a woman that makes men……civilized.

The Bible says that God created Eve to keep Adam company. I think I’ve discovered the real reason.