Friday, December 30, 2011

so true

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Remember this

This is not how it should be
This is not how it could be,
But this is how it is –
And our God is in control.

This is not how it will be,
When we finally will see -
We’ll see with our own eyes,
He was always in control.

This is not where we planned to be,
When we started this journey –
But this is where we are,
And our God is in control.

Steven Curtis Chapman

Thursday, December 15, 2011

just realized

So a lot of people have been asking me how things are going. And I've realized that most of the time, they ask with hesitation--like they are almost afraid to ask. Why is that?

I haven't been super vocal about how things are going--certaintly not as vocal as I was when thing were going terribly! I've been thinking about that a lot lately--why am I keeping it to myself?

I've come up with a few reasons. First, I am so freaking happy that it seems like bragging to talk about it. Seriously! Second, I'm afraid that if I really talk about how happy I am, people will assume I am delusional. Third, if I talk about how great things are, it only makes it painfully and embarrassingly obvious how bad things once were. I look back on the majority of my marriage and see how bad it was and it makes me cringe. How did either of us survive in this marriage for 11 years?

I was delusional for a long time, completely in denial. I thought things were good enough. I was willing to settle and I did for a long time. Then that place became less and less comfortable and doable. I think I intuitively knew that if I pushed him too hard, he would leave me. So I hung back until it wasn't possible anymore. And he left.

I feel like Jay and I have been to hell and back in the past four months or so. We had a choice--fight for our marriage or cut our losses. Thankfully we both eventually got to the fighting for it place. And I believe we came out of it different people. Jay is truly a different person--if you want to ask him about all this please do! He loves to talk about it. I also feel like I have changed. I have become more comfortable with conflict. It used to eat me up inside and I would do anything to make things better, not just with Jay but with everyone in my life. Now I feel like God truly is guiding my path (not that He wasn't before, I just didn't care). If there is conflict, I feel much more comfortable with just hanging back and letting things work themselves out instead of forcing it to happen and maybe settling for an outcome that isn't right. It is a huge shift for me and is taking some getting used to.

I feel like I have a partner for the first time ever. I can't even describe what a huge deal this is. I'm still trying to get used to being able to ask him to help out with a chore and have him cheerfully tackle it. I used to expect nothing from him just to keep our home free of conflict (yep, that worked really well). There have been times where we have uncomfortable conversations and instead of a cold wall, he is a warm and caring person that tries to understand me rather than ignore me. It is still kind of freaking me out! But I love it. And I love that it all feels so real. I've seen him white knuckle our relationship many times and this is nothing like that. It is hard to describe but I am confident in our relationship and the bond we are rebuilding--or maybe building, since it is brand new to us.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

our beautiful disaster

The time has finally come for me to write about our beautiful disaster. I've been waiting until I felt ready and now I do.

We now refer to our crisis as a beautiful disaster. A disaster to be sure, but beautiful in the sense that we now have a stronger, more honest, more real marriage than we ever could've had without it.

Our countdown to disaster probably began the moment we met, as crazy as that sounds. I thought Jay was the perfect boyfriend. But that was not because he was being himself--he was being the person he thought I wanted him to be. I didn't realize this, of course. What has come to light is that Jay doesn't have a strong self identity. He has always adapted himself to be who he thought people wanted him to be. And this worked for him for a while and then it just became too much work.

Jay's drinking started out innocent and normal, like how the rest of us drink. Then it turned into getting drunk on Saturday nights while he played video games. I thought he deserved to unwind after a hard week of work so I never gave it a second thought. About six years ago, it had become a near nightly thing. Still, it didn't really bother me because I felt like things were good enough between us.

When he decided to lose weight, he completely stopped drinking. I took that to mean that he was not an alcoholic so things were okay. Once he lost his weight, he started drinking again. This time it became a seven day a week habit. But he always stopped at two drinks. Just so we are clear, each drink was about 4 shots of vodka.

Then Olivia was born. I got really sick and lived in a fog for the next two years. I didn't really care that he was drinking because I was barely functional at that point. As long as he was drinking, he was happy and didn't care that I was a blob of inaction. There were times he felt like he needed to quit drinking and he was able to maintain sobriety for up to six months. But he always went back to drinking every night, no matter what kind of "deals" he made about (i.e. only drink with friends, only drink on the weekends, only have two drinks).

I didn't ever think he was an alcoholic though. And I didn't think our marriage was in trouble. I felt like this was as good as it would ever be so I better just learn how to deal with his coldness, his disinterest in me and the kids and his obsession with work.

My breaking point came in July of this year. It was a Saturday and we were sitting on the deck enjoying the sunshine. And I realized the drink in his hand was not just Mountain Dew. And I realized this was a problem. Our unspoken rule was that he would only drink at night--he had just broken that rule.

I got us in to see a counselor a few weeks later. We went weekly and for a while, I thought things were getting better. In retrospect, he was doing just what he needed to take the heat off so he could continue life the way he wanted.

Labor Day weekend was when things really picked up steam. We had a terrible counseling session that ended with him saying he wasn't sure he loved me and wasn't sure he wanted to be married. That was so painful to hear. I went to my sister's house after that session, not sure if he would be home when I got there or not. I sobbed in desperation on their deck. She and JT had also gone through the devastation of alcoholism and were able to provide me with good, solid counsel. Their words helped me get through the weekend.

On Sunday night of that weekend, we had my siblings over for dinner. Jay drank a bottle of wine and spent most of the night sleeping. I was furious that he was such a jerk and embarrassed by his behavior. That was the first night that he left.

He came back about 12 hours later telling me that he wanted to be with me. I ate it up! He traveled for the next two weeks for work. When he got home, we made it about a day before he left again. That time he was gone for two nights and again came home, telling me that he was going to change. Again, this lasted a day. At this point, he moved into my parents basement.

Now, before you judge this decision, please understand that I thought this was a great move. My mom is an amazing woman who was made to deal with stuff like this. She is sweet and nurturing but she has an iron backbone when it comes to dealing with these broken people. I am so thankful to my parents for opening up their home to a man that was making my life miserable.

We had our Grand Canyon trip planned and ended up going. It was awful. He basically ignored me the whole time and I pretty much cried anytime I was alone. The mood swings from him were so hard to deal with.

When we got home from that trip I discovered that he was lying to me about some things. I LOST IT. I called him and unleashed a string of profanity that would make a truck driver blush. I had to go out on my driveway so my kids wouldn't hear--somehow that is worse than the neighbors hearing!

At this point, I met with Sandy, my therapist. She saved me. And I'm not being dramatic. She took a broken woman, desperately trying to keep her life and marriage together at any cost and turned me into a woman, still wanting her life back but not on Jay's terms. She taught me about detachment (your reaction is not reacting) and helped me see that Jay really was an alcoholic. She gave me tools and the confidence to stand up for myself. Until this point, I felt that Jay was in control of how things turned out. Now, I was in control of me and my feelings. And I was able to frame up what life was going to look like for me. My bottom line was that Jay would get treatment for his alcoholism and no less than that would do. The desperation was overtaken by resolve. Now, I was still devastated--this didn't magically make me stop crying all the time.

I started practicing detachment towards Jay. At times I was successful, other times not as much. He told me later that he felt the shift and it made him sad, that I didn't care about him. Inside I was still dying but I was trying to keep it together on the outside. He wasn't the one seeing me cry anymore. My family saw most of that. They saw many meals ruined by my tears. One day my mom had to come over to help me wash my dishes--I just couldn't even figure out how to do the simplest tasks. At one point, I laid in bed for two days straight, only getting up to feed my kids. It was awful--I hate thinking about it.

Then came October 11. I had realized that day that Jay was still lying to me about some things. I was sick to my stomach. He had stopped by the house to pick up some things and I started asking him questions and crying (so much for detachment...). I wish I had a picture of what he looked like that night. He looked dead. His eyes were dead, his skin was sickly. As I stood there, heart breaking, watching this man I love die, something in him changed. I said something to him about him being an addict and that he will never be free until he gets treatment and suddenly he slumped over and told me to take him to treatment. I was stunned, so much so that I thought he was making fun of me by saying that. Once I realized he was serious, I ran into the house to call The Retreat, fully expecting him to be gone by the time I got back outside. But he stayed and spent an hour on the phone with The Retreat, crying and realizing that he needed help. I just sat there stunned. It felt surreal.

He stayed at the house that night and we sat on the couch talking for hours. He kept telling me he was sorry, that he loved me, that I was beautiful. I hadn't heard kind words like that from him in years!

The next few days were the best days we had in many years. We talked, we hung out, we just enjoyed being together.

On October 14 he entered The Retreat. Although he was scared to death of treatment, he never wavered on his decision. I honestly was surprised--I thought I would have to push him through the doors. The first few days were rough. He really wanted to leave, thought it was overkill, didn't think he was really an alcoholic. Once he settled in things got better. After about four days he was finally able to admit that he might be an alcoholic--this was a huge turning point for him.

His month in treatment, while challenging, was a great time for us. We got to talk a lot and I got to see him on Sundays. It was so fun for me to hear about his breakthroughs and his challenges. He wasn't able to fully admit to being an alcoholic until he was at The Retreat for 2.5 or 3 weeks! But when he did he told me how liberating it felt.

So what's up now? Jay has been home for about three weeks. He is still sober but more importantly, he is in active recovery. Yes, there is a difference. He has a sponsor and attends AA meetings with him. We will also start seeing a therapist together that specializes in addiction.

My prayer throughout this whole experience has been that Jay would be transformed. When I first began praying that, I knew it was a long shot prayer. I wouldn't allow myself to believe that God might answer that prayer. But then I began seeing the change in Jay and realizing that my prayer was being answered and I was able to watch it happen. So amazing. The Lord's hand has so clearly guided this experience that it is impossible to deny it. Nothing short of miraculous.

Our marriage is something that is 180 degrees different than it used to be. Some of it is little things--he kisses me goodbye in the morning while I'm still sleeping, he sits down and talks with me after work, he actively engages with the kids, he is more patient. Other things are big--he listens to me when I talk about how I feel and doesn't try to fix it or blow it off. He doesn't ignore me or treat me coldly anymore. He asks me how I am doing, how I am feeling. This is a major change from our "first marriage"!

I know there are things I am missing in here and more that I could add but I think it is long enough for now. I don't feel that keeping our struggles a secret is very helpful--the reason Jay and I felt like this should be posted it because some of you might be in a similar place or know someone who is. Maybe our story can help in some way.

I know this is ridiculously long--thanks for reading!

Monday, October 24, 2011

update!

I've had a lot of you inquiring about what is happening and I figured I should update you all here.

Jay is still at The Retreat. He is doing well. I won't say it is all sunshine and roses, because it is most definitely not. But the light is shining brighter in him and each day he moves forward a little more.

Physically, he just looks better. His skin has color and his eyes have light again. He has a spark of life in him that has been missing for many years. At times, he is angry about things and I see that as a good sign--he is finally FEELING. After many years of numbing himself with alcohol, those feelings can be both good and bad. And the compulsion towards addiction isn't ever going to leave him--but he is learning how to manage it.

We talk several times a day and I spend five hours with him each Sunday. We are communicating differently than we ever have before, even before things got really bad. I have great hope for our future. I don't want our marriage back--I want a new marriage that is honest. We were both playing the roles that we thought were right but we managed to screw it up. I'm just thankful we get a second chance!

Next week I will spend four days at a family retreat at The Retreat. I won't spend much time with Jay--this retreat is meant for the family only. I will learn so much about how we got here and how we move forward. After all, alcoholism is a family disease and this will be part of us as we move forward.

So that is where we are at! I am doing pretty good, although I don't know how single moms manage! I am beat by the time dinner is done. I'm taking as much work as Bethel will give me to try and pay for this treatment which takes away any "free" time I might have. But all of it--the stress, the exhaustion, the aloneness--is worth it if it means I get to have my family back together.

While we were separated, the kids would ask me if Dad was going to come home. Since I really didn't know (and was pretty sure at times that he wasn't) I instead told them that God has a plan for us and His plan is good. It may be different than our plan but His plan is always better than what we want. I truly believe that now, really for the first time in my life. I've never been tested and always assumed that what I wanted was best so of course God would want the same. But this time I had to accept that God's plan for me might include divorce and it was out of my hands. I can look at all that has happened and see God's hand in all of it. I can see how it all had to happen in order for my life to be set right again. I think that is what keeps me from feeling bitter and angry--we had to go through the darkness to reach the light.

My new favorite song: Thank You for Hearing Me by The David Crowder Band. I nearly fell over yesterday in church as we sang it--so simple yet so perfect.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Retreat

Many things have transpired over the last five days, culminating in my husband checking himself into The Retreat for addiction treatment and recovery. I am so proud of him for taking this step that I can't really find the words to explain it.

This is by far the hardest, most uncomfortable thing he has ever done. It isn't easy and from the brief talks I have had with since yesterday, he desperately wants to check himself out. I hope he can stick with it because treatment became one of my non-negotiables in moving forward.



I will write more about this later; in the meantime, here is his address until November 12. Please drop him a note of support or encouragement if you feel led to. Thank you for all the support you have given me during this time-- now we have the chance to support Jay.



Jay Olson

C/o The Retreat

1221 Wayzata Boulevard East

Wayzata, MN 55391

Thursday, October 13, 2011

beautiful disaster



Proverbs 16:9

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

Monday, September 26, 2011

honesty

I've been debating about whether or not to do this post. I think I'm making the right choice.

Jay and I are separated at the moment. Things have been rough for the last month and he and I agreed that perhaps some time apart would be best. He is in my parent's basement. Our problems have been brewing for many years and some recent events brought us to our tipping point. I want my marriage to be restored, and I believe Jay does too but neither of us want things back the way they were. So that means much hard work and dealing with uncomfortable things that we put off taking care of.

So I've been unsure whether or not to post about this. I don't want any ill will towards Jay from anyone and I don't want to have to answer questions because at this point, I have no answers.

But the reason I felt I should post something is this: my faith is being tested like never before and I am finding great comfort in the knowledge that God has a plan for my life. It may not be MY plan but His plan is always better. This is the first time in my life that I have been in the midst of a crisis that I have no control over. It is terrifying and I am so thankful to have God to rest in.

My dear friend, Christine Gumbe (who recently lost her husband, Sammy), has been a huge source of revelation to me. I was facebooking with her the other night around 1 AM while she was just starting her day. I had filled her in on the details before and was giving her an update. I fell asleep and when I awoke, I found this verse sitting in my inbox from her. I'm sharing it because I keep rereading it and getting something different each time. Part of my problem is that I've put so much energy into helping Jay and making him happy that I forgot about myself. I think that is a common problem among women! I was hit with anger and rage this past week and it was a really ugly place to be and I couldn't see my way out. Then I read this:

Romans 8:28... Trust Me in all things, and don't worry. Even when things are undone and seem chaotic, I am with you. I will lead you in the path of righteousness and establish you on the road to destiny. When the world around you is inconsistent and unreliable, I am your place of stability. I will not leave you or forsake you. I will remain faithful and perform My Word, says the Lord.

This calmed my spirit. It was exactly what I needed, at exactly the right moment. I hope that it can do the same for you. Maybe not now but someday.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

a whirlwind...

That is how the last week feels. New schedules to stick to--getting these kids to bed at a decent time is a lot of work! The afternoons and evenings go by so quickly and I find that I'm cramming in homework, baths, snacks, and prayers in a desperate push to have lights out by 8 PM. And for once, it isn't for my sanity! When the alarm goes off in Ethan's room at 7:30 he can barely function. This morning I found him sitting in his closet (buck naked) staring down at a Lego creation. He couldn't really find the words to explain to me what was happening so I just told him to giddy up. Rush rush! I don't like my kids feeling so rushed in the morning. I know we could get up earlier but then he would be even more exhausted! And going to bed at 8 still seems so early for them. They have a lot of friends in the neighborhood so there are always kids running around and it seems cruel to drag them inside when the weather is so delightfully fall-like.



Pibs had her first day of her second year of preschool today. I thought it would be big drama so I strategically decided to drop her off in the carpool lane instead of walking her in. Good move. She hopped out of the car and ran right inside, shedding nary a tear. Very good! Much improved.


I am working like a crazy person for the next few weeks. My work at Bethel becomes frenzied this time of year--I have 13 people to have individual consultations with and they were supposed to be done by today (they won't be). And I got the information 8 days ago. And I had to do all the scheduling myself. See where I am going with this? Not that I'm complaining--I'm happy to have the work!


On Monday I head back to my high school to do a Strengths presentation to two classes of "highly motivated business students". Hmmm, we'll see. Should be fun! Honestly, I'm more worried about finding my way into the building than the actual talking. The classes are both 86 minutes long with 53 and 36 kids--here's hoping they will participate! Goes so much better when people participate.


I also have three speaking engagements with MOPS this year. This one makes me a little more nervous simply because I don't have anything written already that I can use. I need to talk about using our strengths to enrich our marriage. Most of the work I do these days is focused on a team within a business. Luckily it isn't until March so I've got some time to think about it.


I do have a lot more time to work on stuff now though. Amazing what having a first grader can do! And my house stays a lot cleaner which is a bonus.


The Mad Men Challenge is plugging along...this week has caused some concern. My plan was to hit the gym while Pibs is at preschool but I have to work each of those days this week and next week. So that is really messing up my plan. But I MUST finish this, mainly because my friend Jill (and her hubs Bill) is coming to the Grand Canyon with us this year and she has finished watching all the episodes. We need to be able to talk about it, especially when we don't have In-n-Out in our mouths. Oh yes, that is so happening....yum. I shall leave you with this:



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My first grader!




Ethan had a great day! He hopped off the bus with a huge grin and lots of energy. I baked him homemade cookies (his request) which he gobbled down and then ran off to play with his buddy Zane. I haven't heard much about his day except that somehow his lunchbox was left behind in the classroom at lunch and he ended up in the lunch line. I was concerned that my child (who, as you may recall, was in food therapy for a year) went hungry but no! He had a chicken sandwich and some chips. He would NEVER eat that here. Perhaps my hopes and dreams of peer pressure will come true!

I did get a call from his teacher and I thought, this can't be a good sign for the year! But she was only calling to verify which bus he was supposed to be on. The bus company gave her the wrong information and he was apparently very insistent that she was wrong. Good for him!


Hopefully when things settle down later he will tell me a little bit more. But I am just so thrilled that he loves school!


It was a quiet day here with just Pibs and I. She is definitely a quieter kid, more so than I realized. I always feel like there is so much noise here but now I realize it was more Ethan than her.


All in all, a very good day. I feel at peace.








Monday, August 15, 2011

MMC update

I'm 11 episodes in now. 41 to go in 44 days. This is going to be trickier than I had first thought!

Mad Men started out a little slow, I had a hard time getting into it. But now that I am coming up on the end of Season 1, I'm hooked. I still can't get over how much boozing and smoking goes on--did they just feel like garbage every day?

Even though it is a drama, there are definitely some funny moments. Like when Sally was running around with a plastic dry cleaning bag on her head--her mom warned her that the dry cleaning better not be in a pile on the floor but said nothing about the bag on her head.

And when Joan showed Peggy her desk? "Don't be overwhelmed by all this technology"--I think there was a phone and a typewriter. Ha!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tribute to Sammy Gumbe written by my dad

We lost the “Lion of Mozambique” yesterday. My heart is heavy with the loss. Sammy Gumbe was a good friend of mine. I spent 3 weeks with him in a van as we criss-crossed southern Africa last year. Sammy was terrific to travel with, so much energy, so much passion, such an incredible ability to communicate with anyone, and a great sense of humor.

I would see him up every morning around 4AM, reading his Bible, studying about the God he loved so much. Then he would go deep in prayer for his flock, his ministry, his dear wife and boys, for the country of Mozambique. Sammy was a Godly man, he was a man’s man, he was a friend, he was a strong leader and he greatly inspired me by his example.

Sammy was a man of God. He was a beloved Pastor to his Maputo church, and a beloved leader among Mozambican pastors for his work mentoring and teaching them. He had a great vision for the Sofala Bible Institute. Who can quantify the impact that his ministry has had on the Church in Mozambique?

Sammy loved his family almost as much as he loved God. He was a faithful and loving husband to the jewel of his life, Christine. He loved his boys equally as much. He was passionate about his family and talked about them with much love and pride. He was devoted to them in every respect.

Sammy was beloved here in the U.S. So many of us in Minnesota came to love this man. We loved it when he came in the winter so we could take him ice fishing or teach him to make angels in the snow. I am not so sure how much Sammy liked it, but he was always a good sport. He was able to connect with us just like he was able to connect in Africa. It was easy to see the Grace of God in his life.

He lived life with great passion, fun and focus. Sammy loved Jesus and wanted to live like Him. He loved people and he wanted them to know the transforming power of his King. He poured himself into everything he did with energy and passion. He was fun to be around.

It is very hard for me to understand why God would take someone like Sammy so early in life. One of my favorite hymns says,” I am not skilled to understand, What God hath willed, what God hath planned; I only know at His right hand, stands One who is my Savior.” We walk by faith and not by sight. So often, that seems cliché, but now it is the all I can do.
Goodbye Sammy. I know you are probably leading a Vision Conference in heaven. I love you.

Jim Louwsma

Sammy Gumbe

Sammy Gumbe died last night. He is a friend from Mozambique. He ran a church called Restoration Mission that was doing great things for both God and Africa. He leaves behind an amazing wife in Christine and three small boys.

I had the pleasure of meeting Christine and Sammy a while back when they came to the States. Sammy was the kind of man who filled up a room and had great passion and energy for the work they were doing. Christine and I really connected and talked deeply for a few hours that evening. She even showed me how to tie a headscarf like an African!

Christine is a woman of unshakable faith, even in the midst of Sammy's health crisis (he had lymphoma). She is truly inspiring and amazing--when I read her Facebook posts I get chills.

Now she is a single mother of three small but growing boys. Please keep their family in your prayers. Sammy is cancer free in heaven but Christine has to deal with trying to keep moving forward now. Please pray for strength and healing for all of them.

My heart is broken for the Gumbe family. It's hard to understand why God would take such an amazing servant out of this world.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

so awkward...

The other person out there that always give my email address as hers is at it again. Now she has signed up for match.com and I'm getting all her matches in my inbox! I also got an email from match.com with her login and password. She is so lucky I am not the type of person to go in there and mess with her stuff! Imagine the fun that could be had at her expense.....

Moral of the story: Don't be an idiot. Giving the wrong email once is forgivable; giving it countless times is just plain stupid.

Big Event for Ethan!


Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension airs on Friday night! Ethan is beside himself.

Monday, August 1, 2011

it's a mad, mad world...

Mad Men is finally streaming on Netflix! I've been looking forward to this for quite some time. All I ever hear are rave reviews about it. I haven't allowed myself to watch it on TV because I really felt like I needed to start at the beginning.

I also thought I could tie a little challenge into my Mad Men viewing. There are a mere 58 days left until we hike the Grand Canyon. I have 51 episodes of Mad Men left. My goal is to watch all 51 episodes before we leave for the Grand Canyon. But lest you think this is just a lazy girl challenge, allow me to finish. The rule is that I can only watch Mad Men while exercising. Each episode is 48 minutes so if I can do that 51 times, I will be proud of myself!

I watched the first episode today while on the treadmill so I am already inching along to my goal! I will post regularly (imagine that!) for the next two months and let you know how my progress is going.

for all you AOL users...

And by that I mainly mean my parents and Jay's parents! In the top left corner of the blog I've added a "Follow by email" box. Just type in your email address and submit and any new posts will magically show up in your email. Simple!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

two months isn't that long, right?

Wow! Two months have flown by. What to talk about? I feel like all I've really done this summer is swim. I'm pretty sure I haven't actually bathed my children at all since I count swimming as a bath. My tan is looking good and I'm not ashamed to say that it is actually from the sun, not a bottle. Although I do wear SPF...sometimes. Better about remembering it for my kids...sometimes.



  • We finally broke down and got a minivan! It wasn't too hard to convince ourselves, actually. I'd been longing for one (did I seriously just say that?) for a while but kept telling myself it wasn't a need, just a want. Then Honda sweetened up the deal with 0.9% financing and that is just what we needed to move. We got into an Odyssey to test drive it and the kids and I were sold in about 15 seconds. Each time we use it to carry friends around my heart melts. Seriously! I just feel overjoyed. I've got some issues, apparently.

  • Get thyself an iPad2. Jay and I decided to be ridiculous and use our tax return for two iPads. Although that sounds indulgent, it was really just a way to keep peace in our marriage. We both knew we would fight about who got to use it and since Jay travels quite a bit now, he would want to take it. So we got two! If we lose our house, then you can say "I told you so". I normally disagree with just about everything Queen Oprah says but I do agree with her that the iPad is THE COOLEST THING EVER. I do not regret the purchase for one second. I use it at the gym to watch movies, I have gotten really good at Angry Birds and I keep up with all my blog reading (not writing) on it. So fun. And a great way to entertain kids anywhere you need some help. Get one!

  • After four long years, I am finally not having diarrhea after every meal. TMI, sorry. But this is a big deal for me! I drink a magic powder every night and it takes care of the problem. Wish I had done this four years ago but whatever. My energy level has really improved and my joint pain is minimal. The gluten free diet doesn't need to happen anymore and for that I am thankful!

  • Our house is party central. All the neighborhood kids are here, all the time. I guess this is a good thing, right? At least, that is what I am told.

  • I am ready for school to start. I need Ethan out of my hair. But I know that once he is gone all day I will miss him like crazy. Funny how that works.

Okay, that is all the updating I can handle at the moment.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

all clear!

I had another colonoscopy today. Three years ago they found precancerous polyps which meant I needed another one now. The good news is I am all clear--the even better news is that now I get to wait five years for the next one!

There is a reason they usually wait until you turn 50 to do this, one of which must be that doing th prep while trying to be a mother is nearly impossible. I couldn't eat after midnight on Monday which meant that I was pretty much a waste of space on Tuesday. Thankfully, my dad and Debbie both came over to help me out once the all-out cleansing began. Seriously, you can't be more than three feet away from the bathroom or you will be sorry!

I was up most the night in the bathroom and so felt about the worst I've felt in a long time. But thankfully the procedure was quick and simple, the fetanyl was fun and I have no new polyps. My mom treated me to a delicious lunch at Panera and I have spent the afternoon in bed. Jay is doing a super job making sure I get to rest. Back to real life tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More Coaching is on Facebook!

We finally got a More Coaching page set up on Facebook---swing by and like us!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

fiscally unsound

When you discover that your spending is outpacing your earnings, what do you do? Do you demand a pay increase from your employer? Probably not. Most likely, you take a look at your spending and figure out what you can cut out. Sometimes it is easy stuff to cut; other times it make life a bit uncomfortable. But you do what you have to do in order to live within your means. Why can't our government leaders work the same way? They spend and spend and when they realize the money has run out they come to us asking/demanding more. If the government was a business, it would be shut down almost immediately due to mismanagement. It is so much easier to spend someone else's money than your own--think of a time when you've had dinner paid for by your company credit card. Instead of ordering the $12 salad you instead order the $30 steak. Easier to make those choices when it isn't coming out of your pocket. It doesn't help that there is almost no accountability to make good decisions with our money--I feel like we are viewed as a bottomless pit of money. Imagine if you could allocate your taxes much like you can do when donating to a charity. It would be so clear what is important to the people and where the bulk of spending should go. Or imagine if there was some sort of bonus for coming in under budget--how much smarter would our money be handled?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Purpose Prize

Last week I heard an ad on the radio about the Purpose Prize, given to baby boomers in their encore career. I decided to nominate my dad--what he has done with his encore career inspires me every day. The winner of this prize gets $100,000 to use in their work. It is a long shot for sure but it was fun to put together so I'm sharing it here for you. Enjoy! :)

Relationship to Nominee:

Jim is my dad and my friend. I grew up knowing that my dad was a hard working, ethical man. He taught me to strive to do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. He helped me see how blessed I was and taught me the importance of thankfulness and giving back. He worked for Procter and Gamble for nearly 30 years and was fortunate to be able to retire at age 56. I wasn't sure what retirement would look like for a man of action like my dad--I just knew it wouldn't involve a golf course!

The Big Idea:

In 2004 Jim took a trip to Mozambique as part of an HIV/AIDS team. He immediately saw that poverty, driven by lack of economic opportunity was a key aspect to the spread of the disease. He had the great fortune to meet a Zimbabwean businessman by the name of Samuel Grottis who shared Jim's concern for the poor. Both men had the same idea--create economic opportunities for the people of Mozambique. The idea was to keep the young men home - currently many emigrate to South Africa to work in the mines, and to provide a way for the women to not only feed their children, but also the many AIDS orphans they in their care. Jim and Samuel incubated a business concept that became AfricaWorks, a fully registered, African owned, managed and led organization in 2007. That same year they purchased a Micro-Finance association that enabled them to provide loans and pay their infrastructure cost, making AfricaWorks self-sustaining. The mission of AfricaWorks is to create sustainable jobs for the poorest of the poor by providing loans and technical and managerial expertise to enable success. AfricaWorks offers a hand up, never a hand out. And once they offer the hand up, AfricaWorks endeavors to walk side by side. AfricaWorks focuses on developing small to medium size enterprises, primarily in the agricultural sector. They seek to transform the people they work with by providing microloans to traders, larger loans to entrepreneurs who want to grow chickens (mostly women), and even larger loans to farmer associations. When parents are able to adequately care for their family's basic needs they can then put energy into education and social change. To date, the Micro-Finance loan program has created nearly 5,000 trader jobs and impacted nearly 15,000 people; Poultry production has provided 216 jobs, impacting over 1,000 people and Farming (crop production) has provided jobs for 1,200 farmers and impacted over 6,000 people. The people in Mozambique that work with AfricaWorks are given an opportunity to bring change to their family and community that is sustainable and attainable. This enables the desperately poor to have hope and faith that their situation can change.

The Beginning:

Time to "retire, then refire!". In Africa, he could take his many years of business experience and work with people who were in desperate need to bring change to their situation. The Africans he worked with were like sponges, soaking up anything and everything a person could teach them. His passion for transformational leadership aligned perfectly with what was needed to bring systemic change to the impoverished in Africa.

The Impact:

Jim's work in Africa has transformed lives and created a framework for success. Over 21,000 people have been directly impacted by the loans and training they have been provided. African leaders are rising up and learning how to be transformative in their leadership and support of their communities. People who thought their lot in life was set in stone have been shown that they can help make the change needed to improve their situation. Clients who work with AfricaWorks are given training and support in addition to a loan to start their business. The work has expanded to Swaziland, and will be in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia by the end of 2011.

The Future:

Jim shows no signs of slowing down! He will continue to visit Africa, usually taking investors with him so they can see firsthand the impact their work is having. He has been invited to teach Transformational Leadership in Zimbabwe. He will continue to network here at home and abroad to bring awareness to the work AfricaWorks and raise funds to expand its reach to the poorest of the poor.

Check out http://africaworks.org!

Monday, March 7, 2011

stupider than i was 20 minutes ago

Have you ever listened to a podcast on string theory or quantum mechanics? I just did and my brain has melted.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 28: I love...

I love internet banking. We recently switched to USAA for our banking. We've had our insurance through them forever and I'm not sure why it took us so long to do this. We can deposit checks right through our phones and I can use any ATM, no matter which kind--we get reimbursed up to $15 per month for fees. I also use their free bill pay service--it has revolutionized my grip on our finances!

Day 27: I love...


I love living less than two miles away from the hospital! Today Olivia sprained her neck whilst jumping on her bed. Jay was home with her but didn't hear anything so we think she just landed funny on the bed rather than falling off. She wouldn't stop crying and didn't want to move. So we took her to the ER. She could still move her arms and legs but we didn't want to take a chance. After a CT scan and some Vicodin, she turned out to be fine. The Vicodin made her act funnier than usual and when the nurse came in she smiled and said "I like you...", it was cute. :)


She seems to be no worse for the wear, just has a sore neck. Thank the Lord.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 26: I love...

I love that my head and neck have finally stopped hurting. I gave myself a mild concussion on Tuesday when I fell--it was bad. I've seen the chiropractor a few times and that really helped with the whiplash. But the headache just wouldn't shake until yesterday. Today I'm feeling much better and much more with it--I was just kind of spaced out before. Who knew you could hurt yourself so badly just falling down on the ground?

Day 25: I love...

I love when Jay takes a PTO day! His PTO bank has filled up so he had to start using them. We went to Wildfire for lunch today for the tasty salad there. Pibs came with us and did a really good job. Then we walked around the mall for a while, got coffee, laughed at Pibs. It was a good time! As a stay at home mom, weekends don't mean much anymore except that I get help. So for me it was like a long weekend!

Day 24: I love....

I love gel nail polish! I just tried this for the first time and am super happy with it. It goes on just like regular nail polish but you let it set under the lights. Then it becomes hard a rock and doesn't chip! I've had mine on now for 3 1/2 weeks and the only part that is coming off is at the top of my nail where it has grown. I will need to go in to get it soaked off but there won't be any damage to my nail (unlike with gel nails, where your entire nail bed is trashed for 6 months). Cost was $30, so quite a bit more than a regular manicure. But it has required no work from me and I haven't broken any nails off. Totally worth it!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New poll is up!

How often do you run your dishwasher? I think we run ours 2-3 times per week. I am not an ecoterrorist but I do try to conserve where I can and somehow it feels like a waste to run a half empty dishwasher. So then I wash quite a bit of stuff by hand. But I am not sure that even makes sense because I probably use more water doing that than the dishwasher uses!

Day 23: I love...

I discovered these at The Container Store yesterday and I don't know how I missed them before! I am using a few in my kitchen "command center" to organzie magazines, papers and all the stuff that needs to get organized. I'm going to use a few up in my craft room as well. They are on sale right now!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 22: I love...

I love having a family (both immediate and extended) that cares about me!

Today I had a big fall while walking Ethan out to the bus stop. I landed flat on the back of my head. I thought I was going to pass out for a sec and was trying to figure out how to tell Ethan to help me. I laid on the ground for a few minutes (my clothes were soaked after this--not pleasant). Thankfully I didn't pass out and I wasn't bleeding so I got Ethan on the bus and headed home.

I called my mom and asked her to come down, which she did right away. Then I called Jay and asked him to come home, which he did right away. I laid in bed all afternoon with a headache and the start of whiplash ache. I am so thankful that I have people around to help me at times like this!

I called the nurse line and they told me what to watch out for. So far I am okay. But be careful! I walk out to the bus stop every day and have never fallen so you just never know when your feet will fail you.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 21: I love...

I love jammie day! Today is a school holiday and since we are trapped inside, we are all still in our jammies and laying low. Our days are usually quite busy so a break from the pace is very welcome. The kids are having a great time playing together and I'm catching up on some podcasts.

On a related note, I am sure many kids across Minnesota are cursing their luck today. I think school probably would've been canceled (especially since it is STILL snowing!) but since it is President's day they miss out on a snow day. That always happens! Remember the Halloween Blizzard? That happened on a 4 day weekend.

Day 20: I love...

I love driving in a snowstorm! Seriously, I do. I love the drama of it, the excitement, not knowing if I'll actually make it to my destination.

I decided today would be a good day to check out a new store up in SLP. I took Pibs with me and we had a snowy adventure. We made it there and back without issue. Then we went to the grocery store and nearly got blown away while trying to get back to the car.

Good thing I got the groceries yesterday--today I am trapped in my house! The plows finally came by around 10 and now the pile of snow at the end of our driveway is at least 3 feet. Jay will be busy this afternoon. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 19: I love...

I love that my family wholeheartedly participated in Family Clean Up Day!

I don't mind being the cleaner in the house. I understand that it is my role as a stay at home mom to keep this place running. It is my office, after all. But no one likes a messy office, and I don't like having to constantly chase clutter to all ends of the house.

Today I made a list for Team Mom and Pibs and Team Dad and Ethan. We started in the basement and worked our way up to the top of the house. So much mess and clutter got cleared away today! It took about two hours of working (and dancing, and stopping for a snack) but we got it done. We didn't tackle things like the kitchen (I do that happily) or the master bedroom (that will require much more work). But the pile of junk sitting on the stair railing? Gone. The drawer in the kitchen full of odds and ends? Empty. It is a great feeling. We celebrated by going to Lion's Tap! Ethan got to pick our seat--he picked the high stools. And Pibs wore her (way too small) kitten costume. Yep, it was a good day. :)

P.S. One more thing I love--dinner with the Elliott's tonight! We had such a great time--thank you for a fun night!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 18: I love...

Today I loved seeing my little man's face light up when he realized I was the "mystery reader" for his Kindergarten class! I had a great time. I read a book called Suddenly Alligator and then read a few poems out of Where The Sidewalk Ends. The kids were great listeners and kept coming up to me to tell me that they were one of Ethan's friends. It was fun to see him in action. He has said to me at least 10 times tonight that this was the best day ever. Ever. Got that? :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 17: I love...

I love kicking snow chunks into the street drain with Ethan. It has become our entertainment while we wait for the bus this week. With everything melting, there is lots to kick at! We really cleared off a big space today--it was pretty exciting! Next week we'll probably have to go back to huddling together against the wind but for now we kick! :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 16: I love...

I love my Honda! My car is seven years old now and aside from a few wear and tear issues with the seat covers, I have had zero issues with it. Many of you know that I was a die hard VW driver....that is, until I had to start paying for all those repairs myself! ;) Seriously, hardly a day went by when something wasn't falling apart on my Jetta. So we ditched the Germans and joined the Japanese. So glad we did it. I will be a Honda lover for life!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 15: I love...

I love watching Teen Mom on MTV! I know, I am 33 and kind of outside the demographic. But it is my guilty pleasure and I love it! I got hooked on 16 and Pregnant and have kept watching the moms as they move on. I know some feel these shows glorify teen pregnancy but I really don't agree with that. If anything, I think they serve as fair warning to any person wanting to have a baby at a young age.

FYI, just so I don't get any phone call interventions, I only watch Teen Mom and I Used to Be Fat--no Jersey Shore, promise!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 14: I love...


I love my Vibram Five Finger shoes! I've been wearing them since May and will never go back to sneakers. I know they are kinda ugly but my feet and legs feel better than they have in years! I wore them on my Grand Canyon hike this year--only got one blister instead of five and didn't lose any toenails. That is a victory my friends!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 13: I love...

I love 37 degree days in February! I didn't even wear a coat today. The warm air felt like such a treat after last week.

Day 12: I love...

I love weekend naps! Okay, I love naps at anytime but I especially love them on the weekends! I can actually enjoy the nap when Jay is around to handle the kids. It feels like a treat rather than a necessity of survival on the weekend somehow.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 11: I love...

I love planning for Disney! We leave in 39 days and it is true that anticipation is half the fun! Right now Jay and I are sitting at the computer looking up rides and restaurants, trying to figure out what our kids would most enjoy doing. This trip is one of the highlights of our year and we feel so blessed to be able to take in this experience!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 10: I love...

I love that when it is -2 degrees out, there is no road gunk spraying up on your windshield and there is no snow being tracked into the house!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 9: I love...

I love a clean kitchen sink! All traces of food and other gunk gone, nothing but a shiny, sparkling white sink staring up at me. A wonderful start to the day.

Alas, mine is not clean at the moment. Maybe tomorrow?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ethan's 2nd tooth....

video

The pulling of Ethan's 2nd tooth. Don't worry, not gross. But watch for the Nintendo DS to make an appearance during this important milestone! :)

Day 8: I love...

I love America! Last night Jimbo, Jake, Heidi and I had our first John Adams miniseries viewing. Apparently we are the only history buffs in the family. We watched the first two episodes in the HBO Miniseries and if there had been time we would've loved to watch them all at once!

The story of our country is quite amazing and the courage of our founding fathers is quite extraordinary. Sometimes the current state of politics can lead us to complain and talk about everything that is wrong. But when you compare it to what was happening in the American colony in the late 1700's you will quickly see that we have it pretty easy! These men got together and created a form of government unknown to them. They had the opportunity to dream big and that they did. It is remarkable that their ideas are still working over two hundred years later. No, it isn't perfect but it is better than anything I could come up with!

Go watch John Adams. It is extremely well done.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 7: I love....

I love the Stuff You Missed In History Class podcast! It is one of my favorites. There is always something to learn about some obscure topic that they didn't touch on in school. It gives me at least a half hour to just zone out on my home life and listen to a story. Go find it in itunes!

Day 6: I love...

I love using the bathroom ALONE! Those of you with small children can totally understand what I am talking about. For the past six years, my bathroom time has been a family affair. I have held crying children on my lap, broken up fights and answered innumerable questions while trying to do my business. In the past six months though, the door has been closed and I am alone! It is wonderful.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 5: I love...

I love my witty family! We banter back and forth via email on a variety of topics. Past gems have included The Scent of a Leader, National Mulch Day, TWSS (That's What She Said), and many event planning emails that devolve into wisecracks.

Recently my dad sent an email with all the phrases found in the Bible that we now use in our everyday conversation. A few thoughtful emails went around and then we blew the lid off it. We spent today coming up with funny ways to incorporate our "Louwsma Speak" into bible verses. There were many good ones, such as:

-After wandering for 40 days in the desert, Jesus said, "I must rest as my dogs are barkin'. "
-When Jesus is asked if he is the Son of God he replies "I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin..."
-After betrayed by Judas Jesus says "Thou hast dog faced me"
-And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I have major dirt."

Then Jay took things to a whole new level with this gem. Jaws dropped, all were stunned. It is amazing. Louwsma Speak is in red.

Mathew 22:23-33 (NILDV - New International Louwsma Dictionary Version)

Marriage at the Resurrection

23 That same day the LSOP (Little Sadducees of the Poor), who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a querry. 24 “Bueno/que bueno, Teacher,” they said, “I have a memory cloth of Moses telling us that if a man isn't in shape he may as well just die without having pies, and his main man must marry the widow and raise up pies and grand pies for him. 25 Now there were didy nine, didy didy nine brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the didy nineth. 27 Finally, the woman died from being speewacked on the most scenic highway in Jerusalem. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the didy nine, since all of them were married to her and considered her the last of the good deals?”

29 Jesus thought, "Leaders gotta lead," and replied, “I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin', you are onfortunately frowed off and fused up because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage as that would be both crunkle junk and crinkle dink; instead they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—far be it from me to say have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[b]? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching and realized they had got a learning on. And Jesus stated, "Booya."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 4: I love...

I love having friends over for dinner! Tonight we have an old friend of mine coming over and I am so looking forward to catching up with her and her husband!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 3: I love...

I love same day doctor appointments!

Olivia failed her vision and hearing tests yesterday at her Early Childhood Screening. I spent the evening worrying how I would keep glasses and hearing aids on a girl that refuses to wear her pants most of the time. I called our doctor this morning and was able to get in at 11 AM. She has an ear infection but other than that she is absolutely fine! All that worry for nothing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2: I love...

I love my gym membership! No matter how tight our budget gets, I refuse to give it up. I get two hours of childcare a day there and on days like today, having that time away from the kids is needed. And during the summer it gives us a great pool to hang out at with our friends!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 1: I love....

For the month of February I am going to post one thing I love each day.

I love my FUGGS! (my fake Uggs) I wear them everywhere in the winter. I don't have to wear socks because the insides are really fuzzy and my feet stay nice and toasty. I can stomp through the snow with Ethan without worrying about my feet getting cold.

gluten free for 32 days!

On January 1 I decided to stop eating gluten. I wanted to see if I had an allergy or intolerance to it. I have been struggling with my weight since I had Pibs despite trying all kinds of diets and doing regular exercise. I have spent an astonishing amount of money on trying to get my old body back to no avail. Food allergies can accompany gallbladder issues and this struggle began when my gallbladder went bad. I also had mystery inflammation after the gallbladder removal that they thought was either RA or Lupus but turned out to be neither. They never bothered to find out where it was coming from--maybe a gluten intolerance?

So I decided to stop eating gluten. I skipped the blood test because I am completely frustrated with doctors who refuse to listen to me or try to help me. They just told me to eat less and move more. And when I said that wasn't working they thought I was lying.

The first two weeks were the worst. Seriously, my body craves carbs like nothing else! But I stuck to it pretty closely. There were a few times when I just decided to eat the gluten despite the consequences. But the further I get down this gluten free path, the worse the payback when I do eat gluten!

After the first three days, I noticed a MAJOR mood change. I felt like this fog that has been over me for the past four years lifted. I started to really enjoy my kids for the first time in a long time. I started to parent creatively again instead of just going through the motions. I always felt so beat and exhausted that I could do the bare minimum but that was it. I used to take at least 6 Advil a day--I've taken 2 in the last 32 days. My body just doesn't hurt the way it used to.

So now when I do eat the gluten, I know that I will hardly be able to walk the next morning due to the pain that shows up in my ankles. I know that my brain will feel fuzzy and I will feel so tired. I know that my tolerance for children will be diminished. It is to the point now where those feelings are starting to outweigh my desire for pizza! Never thought that would happen.

My food cravings have all but disappeared. I eat almost no processed food anymore. My one indulgence is gluten free tortilla chips--they are so tasty!! I eat a lot of fruit and veggies, nuts, chicken, brown rice, quinoa and greek yogurt. I haven't really tried to replace the gluten filled items with gluten free ones. I do have a loaf of gluten free bread but it really only tastes good when it is toasted so I save it for the panini press. Plus, it is $5 for a very small loaf so I try to make it last!

I've read some criticism of eating gluten free. I think that if you just replace gluten crackers with gluten free crackers or eat gluten free brownies, you really aren't catching the point of this. I am doing this because it makes me feel so much better and I realize I don't need all those empty carbs that come with gluten. I'm trying to eat as little processed foods as possible instead of eating gluten free processed foods.

I didn't have to worry about any of this until I was pregnant with Pibs--I've never had a food allergy before. But even if I did a blood test and it showed no allergy I would continue eating this way because I think the way I feel now is totally worth. Never discount the power of food to heal your body!

And the best part? (TMI alert) I haven't had diarrhea since I started! That is the longest I have gone without it since I had Pibs!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

good read

I'm looking for a good book. I've read a couple of stinkers lately and am getting frustrated. Clearly the book recommendations in People magazine are not for me!

I am currently working my way through Gone with the Wind and plan to read George Bush's book when I can wrestle the Kindle away from Jay. :)

Got any recommendations for me? I don't like overly sad books and I can't handle the kidnapping or killing of children. The Lovely Bones disturbed me for months. And I can't stand books about self-absorbed New England/New York women. Just my opinion.

So if you have a book you are in love with, tell me!

Friday, January 21, 2011

zumba!!!!

Okay, we've all seen the slightly cheesy Zumba infomercials on TV. It seemed to be another one of those gimmicky fitness products.

Well, I was wrong!!! My friend Jodi invited me to join her last night at Lifetime for a Zumba class. I had THE BEST time. Seriously! I told the instructor after class that it was the most fun I've had in a while.

I was very aware of the fact that I am a Midwestern, suburban white girl but surprisingly, it didn't really matter. Everyone was just trying to keep up--there wasn't any time to worry about what you looked like. Plus, I looked awesome in my head! :)

I will definitely be doing it again--anyone care to join me?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

guest post from Jimbo

My dad sent this email back in 2003 about a traumatic event that occurred while on a walk one night. I had it posted on my cube wall and would crack up everytime I looked at it. Enjoy!

**Editor's Note: Waz is my mom!

Fam--bear with me as I work through my trauma. Last night I was walking around Staring Lake. Although it was late, the moon cast some light on the trail.

Deep in the south section, amongst the dense forest of that part, in the area I always suspect someone is lurking to attack me, all of a sudden something clobbers me on the top of my head, knocking my hat off!

Being the warrior that I am, I am spring loaded to the defense position. I look up and see a large hawk or owl flying off into the night. I continue to walk, wondering if the bird flew into me by accident. Seconds later, with my hat still off, I feel razor like talons tearing into my unprotected scalp--I am under attack! I look up and see the same bird alight in a tree nearby. Now I am incensed. I try to find a rock to throw at it. This is war! The owl (I think) flies off, no doubt preparing for another attack.

I put my hat back on my ravaged head, pull the arms of my coat over my ungloved hands so I can slug the beast, should it attack again, without endangering my hands. I walk the next half mile with my head on a swivel, looking forwards and backwards, waiting for the coward to attempt another attack. None comes.

As the adrenaline begins to slow, I realize how close I came to potential death or serious injury. Trauma starts to set in. I call Waz who is at quilting. She comforts me. When Waz gets home, she checks out my wounded head. She says she can see some "faint" scratches but can't verify an owl attack.

Whether Waz can verify it or not, I know I was under severe attack out there in the wilderness and I survived it because I am a Louwsma! Today I am going to buy an inexpensive football helment and paint "I am not a mouse!" on the top and wear it on future walks.

Love, YerDad and HB

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The boy



Ethan lost his first tooth last Thursday! I took the kids swimming since Jay was working late. Ethan asked me to catch him when he jumped off the edge but I thought it would be funny to move away at the last second, which of course I did. He popped up out of the water screaming with a tooth sitting on his tongue! He was bleeding a little and kind of freaked out so we got a towel and got the blood off him. Some little girl came running up and kept saying "Hey, you are BLEEDING!!!" over and over--where were her parents? She was not helping the situation. Once the shock wore off he got kind of excited. And when I sent out a text about it and then posted it to Facebook he was super excited. He felt really special.

The tooth next to it is super loose now and might make an exit tonight. I am NOT pulling it but Jay will if it seems ready. He is having a hard time eating and is ready for it to be gone.

Speaking of eating, he is most definitely going through a growth spurt. He is always hungry and is putting away more food than I've ever seen him eat. He had three pieces of french toast the other day and was still hungry! Kind of feels like a preview of the teenage years. We are back in food therapy to make sure that the bottomless food pit includes some healthy options. :)

Ethan and I have been working on developing a positive attitude for 2011. We call it the PA and have a little handshake for it. It has made the biggest difference in our day! He wakes up trying to find things to be happy about instead of complaining about everything. He is more helpful around the house and is just so much more fun to be around. This had been a problem for a long time but I had never tried to join forces with him on it before. That seems to have made the difference.

One more thing about my boy....he is so affectionate. He still holds my hand, gives me a hug and kiss when the bus pulls up and wants a snuggle before bed. I know this probably won't last much longer and I have become painfully aware of that lately. He is just growing way too fast. Which is exciting but still, it has only been six years!

Looking for input

Next week I will be doing a brief talk at a MOPS meeting about being fashionably thrifty. I don't know why I was chosen but it sounded like fun so I said yes!

I need to talk about how to look nice and still work within a budget. I have some ideas but I wanted to see if any of you have any great tips on places to shop, time of week/month/year to shop for the best deals, items that you can't live without, etc. You get the picture!

I'm a little nervous because I don't consider myself stylish--I feel that I am more eclectic and tend to pick things that I like individually so that in turn forces me to be eclectic. There are a lot of gorgeous, super well-dressed ladies at MOPS so hopefully they don't roll their eyes at my ideas of a bargain! :)

So give me any tips you can, I appreciate it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

wiggle it

Ethan has his first loose tooth! It isn't ready to go yet but the wiggle has started. The strange thing is that the new tooth is already growing in rather far behind it. Is that normal and I just don't know it? He might have my teeth--better start saving for braces!!!

I am completely grossed out by loose teeth and kind of freaked out when I saw his tooth, which in turn made my prone-to-anxiety child freak out. I really had to do a lot of raving about how cool and exciting it was to make up for it. He is good for now but my guess is that pulling teeth will not be a fun thing in our house. Jay is in charge of that business.

I can't believe we are in the loose teeth phase. This time in my life is flying by although some days it feels interminable.

P.S. I can't believe I haven't blogged since November 7. What the crap?