Tuesday, April 26, 2011


While happiness may be a grilled steak, covered in sauteed mushrooms, served with garlic smashed potatoes and roasted asparagus...

And while this dinner was absolutely delicious, and made even better by being outside...

It's still not the same as getting flowers.

Just saying.

Stop by Leigh vs Laundry for 52 weeks of Happiness and post of photo of something that makes you happy.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Snapshots of Easter

Easter flew by in a flurry of candy, decorated eggs, and more candy.

There was the Easter tree (a little lackluster this year). There was good food.

There was egg hunting in the backyard.

There was what is becoming our traditional Easter croquet game.

There was church going.

And, yes, there was even more candy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Monkey, Version 4.11

This is you now.

You are the iconic four-year-old boy.

You are everything good about being a four-year-old boy. You are all yellow galoshes, splashing in puddles, covered in mud, collecting rocks and sticks, playing with cars, throwing balls, stacking blocks, and building forts. You are all overly helpful, full of imagination, and idolizing big brother.

You are also nearly everything difficult about being a four-year-old boy. You are all stubborn, overly loud, jump on the furniture, bring mud in the house, torment big brother.

But I love every bit of your boyishness.

Your imagination is bigger than ever. Every conversation is full of pretend. You walk the moon like a kite during our evening walks. Dinosaurs and tigers lurk to be captured in every shadow. This morning, I found you in the laundry bin, surrounded by a sea of blankets, singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat!" as loudly as you could, while you paddled happily. It was made even more darling by the last line of "Life's a bunny dream!"

You have your own vocabulary of made-up words. Don't ask me what a "folkelgonie" is, but we all get called that a lot.

Getting asked to do something (I can't remember what), you shouted, "Stop! That's making me frustration!" So close, darling.

There is so little left of this four-year-old boy. I can see it in the way your body is thinning out, lengthening, how you are becoming all knees and elbows. I can see it in the way your cheeks are not so round and dimpled. I can hear it in your increasing vocabulary. You are rapidly on your way to five.

But for now, we will keep wearing galoshes, splashing in puddles, and pretending the world is a pirate ship.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Happiness is...





Whatever these are!

Spring is here!

Stop by Leigh vs. Laundry for 52 Weeks of Happiness and post a picture of something that makes you deliriously happy!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Call me typical.

If I walk through the door at home after a long day of work, and there are flowers on the table, it makes me happy. I know the whole thing about them not lasting, about them being expensive. I don't care. Roses, daisies, tulips, lilies. It doesn't really matter.

Flowers can be for birthdays, Valentine's Day, Mother's Days, or anniversaries. Flowers can mean I love you, I was thinking of you, I'm sorry, You mean so much to me, or Just because. I don't really care the reason. I love getting flowers.

Like I said. Call me typical.

So here's my dilemma.

Hubster is amazing. Without complaint (usually), he's put in two years of being a stay-at-home dad. He gets the laundry done. He gets the boys to school. He makes the beds and sweeps the floors. Nearly every day, he has dinner ready when I get home from work. He doesn't complain about my crazy work hours. Especially lately, when my work hours have been a little bit longer and the chance of getting home early isn't an option, he's really kept the loose ends covered.

He deserves flowers.

Except he's a guy. And from previous conversations, I'm pretty sure he doesn't get that warm fuzzy feeling regarding flowers that I do.

So what is the male equivalent of flowers?

I asked my colleagues at work. At first it was, "Well, what does he like?" I could get him more golf equipment, or a Sudoku book, or such. But I don't think that works. I don't think a box of golf balls says the same thing as a dozen roses.

Then I got the inevitable answer. Sex. My friends were insistent that this is the closest equivalent. While it may be true that this is what men want, I still don't think that it's the same as flowers. There isn't the same "walk through the door and think, Ahhh, you thought of me" type of feeling.

The closest thing we could come up with? Steak. Every guy I asked said that steak makes things feel more special.

So that's what I did. I managed to get home a little early with some steaks. I told Hubster I would make dinner. We had grilled steaks and ate them on our deck, enjoying the warming weather and each other's company. And it was nice.

But I still don't think it's the same.

So now, I'm out of ideas.

What, if anything, can a girl get a guy on occasion to let him know that she loves him, she appreciates him, and she's lucky to have him?

I don't think my back up plan of sandwiches is going to work.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Happiness is...

... a blanket fort.

Full of books, some soft stuffed friends, flashlights, cookies, and little boys,

this is childhood.

After all, when does an adult decide that the best thing to do in the evening is built a blanket fort? No. This warm, cozy hide-away that makes story time more exciting and treats more delicious, this is childhood at its best.

Visit Leigh vs Laundry for 52 Weeks of Happiness and post photos of something that makes you happy (and nostalgic.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hard Times

Every day, I get up early, drive to the hospital, spend 10-13 hours working, and go home. On my days off, I try to cram as much family time in as I can. The park, movie night, the occasional day outing.

There's nothing particularly exciting about this. In fact, it's the life style that nearly all my fellow residents have. It's not an extravagent life. We can pay all our bills. There's just a little extra for comfort.

Living this way, it's easy to get used to it. I don't worry about whether or not I'll have a job next month, whether getting laid off is in my future. It's the same for everyone at my job. The hospital will need us next month and next year.

Being surrounded by this, it's easy to think that it is that way for everyone. That all the talk about the economic hardships and downturns and tumbles have just passed right by this small Midwestern city.

But if I actually pay attention, I realize that the stability in my life is not the reality for many surrounding me. All it takes is looking out my car window as I drive to work to see the truth.

I think I started paying attention when we took the boys to get haircuts several months ago, and the place we considered going was no longer there. All that was left was the vague outline of the store name on the stucco and a "For Lease" sign in the window.

I started noticing how many stores windows were empty. I started noticing how many houses had "For Sale" signs out in front that stayed in place month after month, only to be joined by "Price Reduction" signs. I started noticing how many of my patients brought up being laid off.

My life isn't the easiest. I'm juggling a lot of balls. I feel overworked, tired, stressed, burnt out. But the one thing my life has is security. It's easy to let that security form a cocoon that prevents me from seeing the hardship in the rest of the world. I know that peeling back that security blanket and taking a better appraisal of the real world doesn't make a difference for all those going through hard times.

But I can remember, as I drive past the failed businesses and unsold homes, to be grateful. Grateful for my home, my car, my job. And yes, even grateful for craziness that comes with it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


It feels like my mind has been as frozen as the Midwest. But as spring comes and the ground thaws, I'm also trying to get out of the funk that has possessed me lately. It hasn't been easy. Blog posts tumble around in my mind, but the motivation to actually sit and write just hasn't been there. In an attempt to force myself to write, I'm borrowing this from Karen. Because the infrequency of my blog posting doesn't correlate to a lack of goings-on in my life.


Current Book
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner. For youth adult dystopian novels (by far my second favorite genre), this one is actually pretty good. I'm not claiming it's Hunger Games good, but so far, I'm really enjoying it.

Current Albums
Sign No More, by Mumford and Sons. On repeat. All the time. I'm in love with this album.

Current Guilty Pleasure
This. Seriously, check out this link. And it's not just me. My boys can't get enough of the Decorah bald eagle live cam. This is running nearly 24 hours a day at our house. And yes, I nearly squeal with excitement every time I see the mommy feed the babies. (Although the new ads are a little irritating.)

Current Drink
Vanilla Coke Zero. Ahh....

Current Songs
The Cave, by Mumford and Sons
Ours, by The Bravery
When You Were Young, by The Killers

Current Wish-List
A bike. Oh, how I want one. The bike trails around here are calling to me.

Current Needs
New shoes. I can't believe mine have lasted this long. (Although "lasted" might be a matter of opinion.)
A new, cute purse. Losing things through holes in the lining of my current purse seems like a good enough excuse for a new one.

Current Triumph
Re-seeding our lawn.

Current Favorite Film
Tangled. Yes, a cartoon. But still, I just loved this movie.

Current TV Show
Survivor. Yes, it's the 22nd season, but it's still just as fun.

Current Indulgence
Reading three novels in as many weeks. I'm sure there are more productive things to do (like my research project.) But it feels so wonderful.

Current Outfit
Jeans, T-shirt. What's new?

Current Banes of My Existence
The fact that Monkey has given up sleeping through the night. It is driving me crazy, while making me worried all at the same time. Poor kid is having so many bad dreams and such. I'm exhausted.

Current Excitement
Spring is here!

Current Mood
Slightly stressed.

Current Picture
This is actually a picture my dad took. I'm in the process of editing it. I want to enlarge it and hang it in my living room. I love the subject and I think the colors work perfectly.

And it's right in line with my current obsession: all things spring.

What are you currently into?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Happiness is...

Yellow galoshes.

Wearing them makes splashing in rain puddles so much more fun.

Visit Leigh vs. Laundry for 52 Weeks of Happiness and post a photo of something that makes you happy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Finally Here

Spring has been a long time coming this year. Each day above freezing would make me hopeful, only to have those hopes dashed the next day's offering of sub-32 degree weather, or even worse, snow.

I tried to be patient as February changed to March. I would remind myself that it hadn't started snowing until December. I would remind myself that spring didn't technically start until March 20th. I would remind myself that no winter has lasted forever.

Nothing seemed to help. As one cold day followed another, I could feel myself getting irritable, frustrated, sure that this winter would be the first endless winter. The cold seemed to seep into everything: my bones, my thoughts, my motivation.

But eventually, even the hardest, coldest winters end.

The snow eventually melts.

The days eventually turn warm.

Driving passed fields still gray and brown with the stubble of last years harvest, I can start to feel the hope of green.

It may have been a long time coming, but I think that spring is finally here.