Saturday, December 20, 2008

Crap. Once a month just isn't going to work for this whole blogging thing. Maybe a New Year's Resolution is in order...

The big news is that Minnesota is cold. Who knew? We had a storm last week that dropped the temperatures to -18. Yep, that's a minus sign right there. There was a little snow, but not much. It was just so cold that it hurt to breathe. I shouldn't complain since up north it got even colder, but damn. We're getting another storm that's bringing a lot more snow. I think we've gotten about six inches today. E loves the snow and we've had a great time playing in it.

E has informed us that there are monsters in his room and so we've spent the last couple of weeks dealing with that. We tell him that they are just pretend, but I don't know that he gets that. We'll hear him yelling "You're not real! Go away!" so at least he's trying. No real progress on the potty training, but we're not pushing it either. Still waiting for the magical potty fairy to help us out.

We're busy getting ready for Christmas. E asked Santa for Christmas lights, which set the bar pretty low. The tree is up and I'm baking cookies like my life depends on it. Hope you all have a great holiday! We miss you!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Really? A whole month?

Crap! I had no idea that it had been so long since I updated. My apologies to both of you who check in to see how we're doing. Life is going well. My internship has taken a sharp turn for the better. I have a real, official supervisor and I'm doing some awesome, super fun work. I'm focused mostly in the mental health unit, which is completely new to me but a big adventure. I've also been taking all 60 of our mental health inmates to the gym everyday, which is a little like taking your life into your own hands while trying to look calm and collected on the outside. I think I breathe an audible sigh of relief every day when the call comes that they can leave. My sole goal is to ensure that no one dies and no one escapes. So far so good.

We switched E to a new school at the beginning of November. We were starting to get a weird vibe from his other school, and the price difference didn't seem quite so big the second time around. Plus they were feeding him Cheese Balls (like generic Cheetos) as a "healthy" snack. The new place is great and more of what we were looking for as far as structure and challenging him to develop. He seems to like it, and they seem to like him. It's not the gushing, over the top love of the last place but I'm okay with that. The first week we saw a complete elimination of the tantrums in the mornings and the crappy attitude in the evenings, so I think that we made the right choice.

Without further ado, pictures. E is growing like a weed and has started pretending, which is really fun. He's more of a little boy everyday. One of his favorite games right now is to run around the house like a crazy man chasing one of us. If we manage to juke away from him he laughs so hard he falls down. He's starting to be interested in hockey and one of my colleagues has offered to teach him to skate this winter. How cute would that be?
The little golfer, ready for trick-or-treating.

At the children's museum. We're big on turtles right now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall colors

The stars aligned and I was able to get some pictures before all of the leaves fell off of the trees. It is so beautiful here right now. These pictures don't do it justice at all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


We've been crazy busy but I wanted to post a quick update since it's been awhile. It's been another fun weekend. The highlights included going to the town's pre-Halloween festival where E had his first experience trick-or-treating, C found a butt-shaped pumpkin, and I lied for a juice box. E and I got up early today to hit the grocery store before the church crowd. He was an absolute monster (I was totally "that mom") but pulled it together with the promise of seeing the fish. We picked up new toothbrushes and he picked out one that sings the Thomas theme song. I thought, "Hey, at least he's excited about brushing his teeth." He's been carrying it around all. freaking. day. I will have nightmares from this song. My kid is the one with the security toothbrush. It was supposed to storm big today so I planned to spend the day in the kitchen. I baked bread for the first time and it was a roaring success! Combined with a super yummy black-bean soup we had a very cozy dinner and pretended that it wasn't 75 degrees out. I also took E to the park earlier and he totally held his own with the older, meaner kids there. At one point I had to tell him "no pushing" but my heart definately wasn't in it. So that's how we're doing. We had a great visit last weekend and are looking forward to our friends coming up in a couple of weeks. Pictures soon!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Surprise Visitors!

My dad came into town at the last minute this weekend. We weren't sure if it was going to work out so we just told E we were having "surprise visitors." He was pretty excited when we picked Coach and Auntie J up from the airport.
So was Coach

He's been running himself ragged all weekend. I think it'll take most of next week to recover. For now though he's having a great time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Where'd this kid come from?

This is the point that I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack

Who taught him this?

And finished it off with cookies, milk, and football with Daddy

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Man, it's hard to be in a bad mood with this guy around.
I just realized that I posted this picture twice, but I like it so much I'm going to leave it. Today I had to have my first real, grown-up conversation with the school. Last night, as I was putting him to bed, E growled at me "Get out of my face!" When I asked him where he had heard that he said his teacher said it. Can you hear the blood boiling? So today, after I'd calmed down, I approached the main teacher to ask where he may have picked up such a phrase. I didn't expect her to say that the other teacher says it, but I did want her to know that it was on my radar. It turns out that one of the older kids that comes in early, and so is with E for a little while, has been having a problem with this phrase and the school is working with his parents on it. I feel better knowing that it's been noticed and that it's being worked on, but it was such a wake-up call that I need to listening and be paying attention. I was also very impressed with E's teacher. She was super grateful that I brought it up and concerned that he had picked up the phrase. Also, he's been talking about tigers ever since they had the bouncer at school (shaped like a tiger) and has needed reassuring that the tiger is gone. Today she told me that she realized that maybe he's nervous because she broke her finger ON THE TIGER and so he thinks that the tiger bit her. Makes perfect sense and explains why he's so worried about it. So now we can address that specifically. Crazy kid, but how very sweet. He was so worried about her and her "ouchie-wa-wa"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend in pictures

He got to sit in a firetruck and meet a real fireman

The highlight of Saturday was getting a rocket-ship toothbrush after his dental screening. He was much more excited than it looks.
This pretty much sums up his attitude if we're doing something fun with Daddy. Imagine he's also saying "Go 'way Mama!" Oh the love.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Reflections of my first week

I wanted to write some kind of update about the first day, but to be honest I wasn't sure what to think until after I let it stew for the weekend. The first day of internship I woke up sick and found that C had stayed home sick too. E got up, and what do you know? So the boys stayed home while I started the day. I got up, got dressed in my "first day of school" outfit, and got out the door. I had my fancy Mapquest directions I got horribly lost and squealed into orientation about ten minutes late. I hadn't accepted Mapquest's hatred of me or my new home state yet. So squealing in late and full of apologies I find the new intern group, sitting quietly, waiting for me. All three of the other interns are sitting together on one side of the table. They're all blond and they're all wearing matching clothes. No joke. Right off the bat the internship director asks them to please make an effort to include me in the cohort. He may as well have said "I know she's weird and smells bad, but it's not polite to ignore people."

The first few days were excruciatingly slow and boring. Typical orientation type stuff. The highlight was setting up my direct deposit. You know, because I'm getting PAID. However, I think I screwed up the tax forms and may only be getting enough for lunch. We'll see. My new colleagues warmed up a little and I think that they are genuinely nice people. It's just a little weird that they've all known each other for four or five years and I'm totally new. If I think about that for too long I have a rant for the intern selection folks, so I try not to think about it too long. I think that the four of us will get along fine, but I don't think it's going to be the same as if we'd all come from other places.

Wednesday we got to go into an actual prison for another orientation. It was essentially the same thing that I had to do a few weeks ago, but with a really dynamic presenter and geared towards the interns. I was very grateful that I had worked in prison before, but I am realizing more every day that this place is not much like the last prisons I've worked at, and mine is even less so. I'm slowly learning that this is going to be a whole new gig and I will be well served to stop thinking "Oh yeah. I've done this before."

The first three days were full of "This is C and she came clear from..." followed by "Why'd you come here?" Nothing makes you feel more welcome than having to defend why you would move and having people make fun of how you say your home state. No matter where you go, it's not "Ory-gawn" It's just not. Those comments were followed by laughter and "oh, you're in for it" when they found out which institution I was assigned to. Lots of self-deprecation and good humor got me through.

Thursday and Friday were spent at my prison. This is when things started to look up. I also learned that my prison is kind of the red-headed step-child of the DOC and so that may have contributed to some of the weird vibes I was picking up on. My supervisor (for now) is super nice and the other intern is awesome. I wasn't sure what to think about that situation but I think now that it's a benefit. She's one of last year's interns that had to stay a little longer to finish. Right now she's pretty much running the place. We had lunch and talked a bit and I think she's going to be a huge resource and advocate. She's also just really fun to talk to.

Thursday and Friday I followed people around, went to meetings, and sat in on a couple of sessions. Once it started going I found that "job-shadowing" wasn't as mind-numbingly boring as I had expected. I loved going to the meetings and am starting to think that I may want to work towards being a warden someday. I'm meeting a lot of people and starting to figure out how this place works. It's so odd because it's such a unique place. There's a culture that's different from any other prisons that I've worked at and I'm going to need some time to get my bearings and figure out how it works. The sessions got me excited about starting clinical work again. I needed that after such a long hiatus. There's also a guy who's an expert on the MMPI and a woman who is well-known for her work with sex-offenders. I'll have an opportunity to work with both of them sometime this year.

I left work Friday really excited to start working. I have a badge (ID card that gets me in), half of an office, and now, keys! This means that I can go to the bathroom whenever I want. The power! The freedom! It's not a place that I can jump right in, but I think that it's going to be an extremely valuable year and I'll have lots of good stories to tell.

So that's it. I don't hate it. There's a lot of great opportunities and I think I might fit in okay. The other interns and the intern director are really nice. My supervisor and my co-intern are great and smart and really dynamic. There are a ton of experts at my prison that I can talk to and shadow and learn from. The biggest struggle is going to be revising my expectations, but I think that's going okay so far.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Silver linings

We have had the coolest weekend so far! It's been one of those weekends that magazines would call "full of family fun." Although we would like to think that we're a little cooler than "family fun" it has been a really good time. Last night, after doing the "I don't know. What do you want?" dance for about 45 minutes we decided to go out to dinner (Applebee's. Living it up!) E was an angel, we had a good table, the food was good, yadda yadda. Then we came home and found that we'd gotten new Netflix. Movie night! We pulled all the pillows in the house into the TV room and made a bed on the floor. I love that we have a place big enough to lay on the floor! We watched I am Legend (weird and really good) and Dan in Real Life (very, very sweet). Then today we went to the zoo, which was awesome. All of the enclosures are huge and they have some really unusual animals (dolphins and takins were today's favorites). They also had lots of baby animals. The wagon was making a brain-shattering squeal (it needs a little tune-up) so we cut the day short in favor of our sanity. We hit "the Wal-Mart" and then came home, where everyone lazed for the rest of the day.

This move definately kicked our butts and it's been hard to get excited about all of these changes. It was really nice to have this weekend to just have fun and hang out together. The zoo was a bright spot and gave us something to look forward to, and will be a nice way to get out of the house without spending a lot of money (we bought a membership). The house is incredible and so much more than I could ever imagine. Already I can't believe we lived so long in our last, much smaller place. So if my internship sucks and C has to keep working his crappy job and crappy schedule and E continues to fine-tune the art of whining we'll still have room to spread out, a daycare that our kid loves, and animals to gawk at. It could be worse.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Day of School

It's a few days late, but I wanted to show off pictures of his first day of school. He's doing great and I think they like him too. His teacher spent ten minutes today telling me how great he is and how well he's adjusting. It's so hard to be humble when you have the smartest, cutest kid in the world. But honestly, it was really nice to hear. His old school was so amazing and he had such cute friends that I was worried about how it would go here. He really does love it though. Every morning when I say "Goodbye" he says "I stay here!" and when I pick him up he needs assured that he'll "be back 'morrow." I'm a little worried about tomorrow, when I won't be able to assure him that we'll be back "'morrow" The weekend better ROCK! or he'll never forgive me.

Not related to school but still brag-worthy, but I had the BEST shopping day. It started with a red metal Radio Flyer wagon for $13 and then I got E's whole winter ensemble, minus boots, for under $35. That included a Columbia jacket, snowboarding pants (how cute is that?) and three pairs of mittens, which I'm told will last me through January.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Family "Vacation"

The trailer was packed...

We had plenty of snacks... And in-flight entertainment. We were on our way! But then, disaster struck!

Even riding in a tow truck didn't impress us anymore.When we found out we had to stay we were sad.

But then we remembered that it's all a big adventure.

So we decided to make the most of it. We saw the sights...

Took a couple of tours...

Played around some...

And even took a couple of good naps.

But then Butte got old and we were ready to leave.

Luckily, with a few well placed tears our car was finished before we had to spend another week in this lovely town and we were on our way!

We did the fastest trip through Yellowstone ever,

We didn't even stop long enough to get a decent family picture at Old Faithful

Drove almost straight through to South Dakota (narrowly averting death twice!)

And stopped to check in with the kangaroos at Roo Ranch.

After a quick visit with an old friend we finally made it and started to settle in.

Welcome to the Raspberry House!