Friday, March 25, 2011


I have a card I love.  It's funny.  It says, "They say you must learn something new every day.  That's not true.  I don't learn something new every day; I even forget stuff some days."

This week was not one of those.  This week will go down as one of those weeks where I learned more than I wanted to. I cried more than I wanted to. I felt more than I usually do.  And it wasn't funny.

My sister-in-law lost her 23-year-old brother in a tragic car accident a week ago.  I didn't know him, but I know his family.  My sweet sister-in-law and my kind and loving brother.  Their kids.  Her mother.  All these people torn by grief and loss.  I was surrounded by sad young people who lost their good friend. 

I am a Relationships Person.  I genuinely love the people in my life, and I like to have conversations and spend real time with them.  I am absolutely facinated by people, and I want to learn how each of them work and why.  And, selfishly, I want to learn how I can affect their lives positively.  I am not perfect.  I am not always a good friend.  I hurt people, sometimes accidently, and sometimes on purpose.  Luckily, I believe in forgiveness as much as I believe in kindness, as do the many forgiving people around me.

You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who have ever touched your life
and you are more because of them.

It sounds so cliche, but this week, more than any other, I am reminded that each of us are going to leave a legacy. At this man's funeral, it was so clear that he was kind and positive and affected each person he touched in a beautiful way.  And life is so unbelievably fragile.  I encourage you to dig deep and think about your legacy.  How you want to be remembered.  How you can affect lives around you and make the world a better place. 

Like I said, I didn't know Tyler.  But I still owe him a nod of thanks, for being such a great person and for reminding me to be one too, to the very best of my ability, and by the grace of God.

Be kind.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Firefighters

Cory's paternal grandmother was a Kelly.  They, and my kids, have some strong Irish blood.  I think each generation of Americans moves further away from their heritage, so I am thankful for these holidays to help us celebrate our roots.  It's good to take a day to remind the kids where our ancestors came from.

Additionally, this is a special holiday for firefighters.  In the mid-1800s, during the Great Potato Famine in Ireland, many Irish men and women fled to America.  They were greatly mistreated and discriminated against.  They were unable to get jobs in the factories, or in retail, so they had to take jobs as firemen.  In those days, it was a horrible job -- one that no one else wanted.  It was incredibly dangerous, and many of them died.  Bagpipes were customary of Irish funerals, and thereby they became customary of firefighter funerals.  That tradition remains today.

Your St. Patricks' Day Irish history lesson.  You're welcome.

My favorite Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I win

This is for a contest on Mindi's blog.  I should at least get the prize for greatest effort.  (come on. purple hair.)

URHO is the boy for me!
Happy St. Urho's Day!

Since I proudly and thankfully won this great contest, I have to tell you the whole story. 

Yesterday, I woke up at normal time.  Forgot it was St. Urho's Day until I turned my computer on...sent my kids to school in absolutely no purple at all.  Went about my busy day.  I got an email and a text from Mindi and Peg regarding this fabulous contest.  So, because we like to roar our heads off about really stupid things, I decided to win the contest.

At 2:00 or so yesterday, I pulled out paper and paints.  I sat down in earnest to make my signs.  Jack asked, "Can I paint with you mom?" To which I responded, "Sure.  But don't mess my signs."  (Seriously?  I said that to my three year old?)  When Cory got home, I asked him to spray my hair purple.  Mid-spray, Cole gets home from school and asks what we're doing.  I said, "Duh!  It's St. Urho's Day!  Wanna be an honorary Finn?"  (He said sure, and got purple hair, too, but didn't enter the contest.  It's okay.  He wouldn't have won.) 
When I was ready for my photo shoot, Cory was busy.  I got really grumpy, because by this time, I was very invested in my project.  Grumpily, I asked him, "Do you want me to just have Cole do it?"  What I will say about the captain:  he is very supportive of my lunacy.

(We DID have pannekkuku for dinner and had a Finnish heritage lesson.  It wasn't a total loss.)

So...was it worth it?  Heck yeah.  Winner, winner, mojakka dinner.  If Mindi, Peg, and I aren't still up to these antics when we're 70, we'll have failed.  These two make me laugh til my cheeks hurt.
Proud Finn.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Traveling as a Mom

If you missed it, Cory and I just spent a weekend in California. An adults-only, couples retreat.  Well, for us.  We left Friday morning, and landed around noon.  We drove south to Huntington Beach, where we spent the first night. 

May I just say -- drool. 
The sun, the surf, the stucco, the nice (clean) cars. 
The smell of the ocean air, the sound of pounding waves, palm trees. 

We woke up Satuday and drove down to Paradise Point resort in San Diego.  We had one day of sun, and one day of overcast skies.  Man, I love the southwest.  Like, made-me-cry love the southwest.  I guess because I lived in Arizona for that period of time, and I learned to love living without winter, or snow.  And I fell in love with the desert, and the mountains, and the ocean (well, not in Arizona, of course, but on weekend CA excursions).  Yeah.  I'd live there in a beat of heart.

But it's different traveling now.  The day before I left, I had an are-my-ducks-in-a-row panic attack.  A phone call to my brother, an uncomfortable conversation about my preferences.  And then that doggonne turbulance.  With each bump, that never used to bother me, now total panic.  "I have boys to get home to.  Please don't let me die today."  Argh.  Rough.  Ask Cory.

And I love alone-time with the captain.  Love it.  But now, because of the rugrats, I found myself interjecting them into our activities..."Oh!  Wouldn't the kids just love to play in the sand?"  "Oh!  Wouldn't the boys love to collect seashells?"  I think of them all the time, and the fun they'd have -- going on an airplane, swimming in the pools, etc.  Their joy is mine.  I think that's true of parents everywhere.  I expect the next trip we take will be with them.

I strongly recommend, to couples everywhere, try to find time to be together.  If you can't get on an airplane, get away for an evening.  Or an afternoon.  Go see a movie, have dinner together, find some activity so that you remember -- in the midst of life, parenting, work -- why you are together.  That you still like each other.  I've always said -- if Cory and I don't work, then none of it works.  And I'm pleased to say, after a weekend away, we still work.  Amen.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


It's beautiful here.
I'll be happy to see the rugrats, but I'll miss the ocean.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My poor tootsies.

My feet have had a rough two years. Here's the timeline:

July 2009 - initial numbness/pain in my right foot/toes.

Sept 2009 - visit with podiatrist, determine cause is Morton's Neuroma in third interspace on my right foot.

Nov 2009 - after several unsuccessful Cortizone shots, had neuroma excision (removal)

Dec 2009 - incision didn't close properly, so had it cleaned/resutured

March 2010 - after months of swelling/pain, determined there was infection in same interspace. Also had a neuroma on my left foot at that time. On the day of surgery, however, there was NO swelling. Surgeon decided to remove the neuroma on my left foot, but leave right foot alone.

May 2010 - swelling returned on right foot, so had right foot operated on again. Surgeon removed three types of fluids (clear, yellow, and puss-like matter), cleaned, and resutured.

Nov 2011 - after continual pain, surgeon determined I had another neuroma in my second interspace. Another neuroma excision

Mar 2011 - continued pain in right foot. Saw a new podiatrist who determined I had an excessive amount of scar tissue/bursitis in my right foot. Taped up my foot (photo) and schedule physical therapy. He's confident that in 4 - 6 weeks, I'll be pain free in my right foot. SAY IT'S SO!

He also explained to me why I got them in the first place. You know how women have bigger feet after babies (I was an 8 1/2, now I'm a 9 or a 9 1/2, depending on the shoe!)? Our feet actually stop growing at 12 - 13 years old. But the hormones that cause our ligaments to soften to prepare for childbirth aren't exclusive to our abdomen. So that, compounded with the extra weight of a pregnancy cause our feet to flatten/spread out. Then, because the mechanics of my feet changed, I was susceptible to neuromas. Huh. Facinating.

I'm really really hoping this is the end of the pain in that foot. I'll still have to focus on the other neuroma I have pestering me on my left foot, but hopefully my new treatment plan will improve that foot too! Here's to healthy feet!

Disclaimer: Not looking for sympathy. My problems are fairly benign, actually. BUT...I want to have record of this incident, and this is the best place to do that. And if it helps someone else, fantastic!