Monday, January 31, 2011

We are the REDSKINS ... the mighty, mighty Re--- Wait. What?

The Red Lodge Redskins.

Whether or not to change the mascot has been an on-again-off-again cyclical argument for as long as I can remember. It seems that this time around, however, there is a little more heat behind actually getting it changed. And by 'heat' I mean 'available funding'.

The point of this post is not really to support either side. I merely want to ponder the positions 'outloud' for a minute. I thought that perhaps if I wrote it all down I might finally be able to "pick a side".

Let's see what happens ...

So ...

You have your die hard Redskins. The alumni who sported the blue and gold uniforms as they played basketball, football, volleyball, cheered, ran track, and played in the band. They grew up proud Redskins --- win or lose. Their parents were Redskins. Their children were Redskins. They are business owners in town who donate money to the booster club every year because they have that sense of ownership that comes from living your whole life as a REDSKIN. They are the people who come into town only once a year --- but every trip home they make a point to catch a game. They know it doesn't get any better than Harper's pep band & they probably gave Norma a ride to at least one game.

You have your die hard anti-Redskins. ('anti' referring to the name of the team mascot --- not the team itself!) They might play sports. They might not. They might play in the band. They might not. They may be of Native America descent. And then again, they might not. They are people who believe in human rights and feel genuinely offended by the term 'Redskin'.

And then you  have people like me ---  I'm indifferent on this subject. Not because I'm naive. Not because I am afraid to take a stand. But because I have heard various arguments supporting and negating BOTH sides & none of those arguments were powerful enough to sway me one way or the other.  I truly AM indifferent on this issue.

Yea ... I would love to yell, "Go Skins!" along with the cheerleaders when my kids make it to high school. I'd love to watch Isaac try on his letterman's jacket & stand next to his dad (also wearing HIS letterman's jacket) for a Redskins-through-the-ages photo op. And I'd probably have a hard time adjusting to referring to our hometown sports teams as anything other than The Redskins.  My husband loved his team --- that letterman jacket photo op I referred to a minute ago --- I didn't pull that out of thin air. Josh has sported that thing around our livimg room more times than I can count. I love listening to him talk about high school athletics. It's a part of who he is ... and so is the Redskin mascot.

It would be really easy for me to hop on the 'REDSKINS FOR LIFE' bandwagon. Not because it's important to ME --- hell, even when I was a Redskin, I wasn't really all that into it.  But because I love the look on Josh's face when he gets to be a part of the high school sports scene --- be that  as a spectator or as a coach.  I know the nostalgia he must feel every Friday night in the fall when he sports that Redskins coaching uniform. It must be pretty sureal to coach the team you once played for.

But, it's just as easy for me NOT to jump on the bandwagon. Because he IS a coach. You see, the really amazing thing about my husband is that he sees beyond his own high school glory days. He understands that there are kids playing on these teams TODAY who deserve high school glory days of their own. He loved the feeling of truly being part of a TEAM & he wants that for his players to know that feeling too. So if the name of a mascot has an adverse effect on a player and/or the team ... if something as easy to change as a name has the power to make a kid feel included or (in this case) excluded ... then it is probably time to address it.


(picture stolen from the RLSH website ... )

I would support the decision to keep or change the mascot ... as long as the decision was made for the right reasons. But, after seeing the reactions from people on BOTH sides of the argument recently, I don't think 'the right reasons' are currently in anyone's scope of vision.

Here's the Cliff's Notes of the arguments I've been privy to:

"Don't change it! We like it the way it is! Redskins for life! Grrrr!" Um, ok ... how about articulating an actual argument instead of reasoning like my 5 year old neice?

"The term 'Redskin' is offensive! It hurts my feelings! Change it!"  C'mon. Seriously? 'Redskins' certainly wasn't chosen as the mascot because the school wanted to be associated with something BAD/NEGATIVE. They wanted to be represented by a mascot that was BRAVE, PROUD, and STRONG. 

There's a lot more I could say on both sides. But I'm indifferent, remember? So I will just keep the rest to myself.

I don't know what will happen. This post is likely the extent of my involvement. And now that I've pondered it, I really have formed only two opinions:

1. If the mascot change is unavoidable --- if it's only a matter of time before it happens, then I think this is the right time to do it. With our Hoosier-esque civic center having been replaced this week, it seems like a good place for a fresh start.

And ...

2. I honestly hope my kids don't wear Red Lodge uniforms period. That's not a slam on Red Lodge nor does it have anything to do with the mascot issue. That's an honest hope. In my perfect world, Josh would be working the Absarokee office by the time our kids get to junior high & my kids could go to school & play sports with their cousins ... in A-town. GO HUSKIES!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Impatiently Waiting

Dear Friends:

I love you & I love that you trust me with your secrets. But, I think I have to say it's much, much easier for me to keep your not-so-happy secrets than it is for me to keep your oh-so-happy secrets. Maybe it's because I am not interested in causing you pain but I AM interested in celebrating the joy in your lives! So, with that said ... hurry up and announce your news!

Love,                                                                       
                                                                                   Nicole        


I have three dear friends who have shared over-the-top fabulous news with me in recent weeks. It's the type of news you want to celebrate & scream from the rooftops. At least, I want to scream it from the rooftops. Because, face it --- babies are exciting. Oops. Did I type that outloud? Yea, I guess I did. But it doesn't count as letting the cat out of the bag because I managed to not mention any names. And I won't. 

Particularly because the reason for not announcing a pregnancy is such  sensitive subject.  This point is all too familiar for our household as we approach the one year mark of losing our sweet baby. Pregnancy is remarkable and joyous --- but it's also fragile in the beginning and more often than we realize, ends as quickly as it begins.  In addition to remembering what we went through last spring, I am surrounded by reminders of that very sensitive possibility through the people that I love.

One of the three new mommies experienced a 13 week loss on January 15th.  She told me in an email a few days later: "My heart is broken. 17 months of trying had started to feel like it was all for nothing. We were so excited after that first positive test. Now I feel like the butt of a cruel joke. I suppose I should be thankful that I don't have to explain it to everyone, but I'm not done being angry yet."  Most people wait until 12 weeks to tell people. They were determined to wait until the 2nd trimester. The news wasn't "public" & perhaps that is a blessing in this case.

 And,  as if to drive the point a bit further, 10 days ago my cousin's wife received the sad news that their baby had passed away.   They went in expecting a normal doctor's appointment and came out with shattered hearts.  Sad day.

Those of you who have carried a child inside of you (for any amount of time) understand the bond that forms from the instant you see those two pink lines. There isn't anything in the world comparable to that feeling.  When that little one you've come to love is suddenly gone --- you feel a whirlwind of emotions that leave you breathless.

So, everytime I come close to blurting out the news that so-and-so are going to be new parents, I have to remind myself that it isn't my news to share for the first time.  (But I can't wait to share the news once I've been given the go-ahead! I've got my megaphone ready to go!)

I'm not sure what the point of this post is. Maybe it's for the prayer-sayers out there to offer prayers and the non prayer-sayers to offer happy, positive thoughts out into the world. Send them out to all the mommies and daddies in the world who haven't announced their news yet. Send them good karma, luck, & thoughts that their pregnancy will be a healthy & full term one. And that,  God forbid, if it isn't ---  that their hearts be wrapped in love while they struggle through the emotional roller coaster of loss. 

xo - N                                                      

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Girl

5:30 a.m. was a little blurry for our household yesterday. But, we left the house and made it to our 7 a.m. ultrasound in Billings anyway. Well, ok ... we might have been a few minutes late. But, whatever, we made it there.

We didn't get pictures as clear as the last ones ... she's in  diffeent position (somewhere between breech & transverse ... she's trying to turn! Yay.) than she was last time and was apparently feeling shy yesterday. But here Ike's little sister:





<3

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Birthday Letter To My Sweet Boy

Happy 8th birthday, little man.

How has so much time passed? It seems like yesterday that I first laid eyes on your perfect little face. I can still smell the scent of your soft skin when you nursed for the first time. Even though its been forever, my heart still skips a beat when I remember the way your tiny little hands would rub the skin on my chest as I rocked you to sleep each night.

I remember the moment it hit me. The very instant I realized that I was a mother & I was going to be one forever. You were 4 days old & it was the first time we had been alone since you were born. You were sleeping so peacefully in the bassinette in the NICU. I sighed & realized that you did too at the exact same moment. It took my breath away then & still does today. We were a team. It scared the hell out of me. Even so, I can't help but smile. Scary or not - being a mommy to you is amazing. It gives me a feeling of fulfillment beyond words. Although I'm not sure I am always the greatest mother I take comfort in the fact that you think I am.  

Every milestone of yours has been a personal victory for me. Your first smile, your first word, your first step. And in later years -- your first day of kindergarten, your first bike ride without training wheels, your first tee ball game. Each one of them a miracle to me.


In a card I received for your baby shower there was some advice written by your Grandma Pam. As the years have unfolded,  I've  realize the meaning behind her words:  "Parenting is the hardest job you'll ever have."   I have struggled with the messes you made, the tantrums you threw, and the other millions of naughty/mischievious things you did. I have agonized over many of the decisions I had to make when it came to discipline. I have had many disagreements/arguments with your dad on how to handle situations. But in time we learned to parent as a team. We still have our differences of opinion but we've learned to listen to each other. And now that we've mastered that balancing act, I relish in the other half of your Grandma Pam's advice: "But it is also the most rewarding job you'll ever have."  She was right. You are my greatest accomplishment.

I became a hypochondriac the day you were born. We spent countless hours in Dr. Sauer's office, only for him to send us home because "everything was fine". In your first year I spent more time on the phone with the Ask-A-Nurse than any othe person in my life. I lost count of ER visits somewhere around 6 months. A nasty cough, ear infections, thrush. Is he breathing right? Why's he making that sound? But, more often than not, it was nothing to fret over at all.

Time has passed & I have learned to take things in stride.  I know you're resillient and healthy & in the event that something serious does happen, I know our little family can handle it. I understand that as long as I love you and provide for you --- it is unlikely that I will break you. I've conquered the midnight fear of fevers and stomach bugs. These things aren't scary to me anymore. Rather, I spend my time worrying about new scary things. Things like, "Will today be the day he tries to walk home instead of climbing on the bus?"  "Will he handle a confrontation with a school friend in a way that is appropriate?"  "Is he happy & does he feel like his life is GREAT?" "Will he be bullied on the playground or (worse yet) BE the bully on the playground?"   I know I have a lifetime full of 'new worries' ahead of me. But these worries come paired with joyous celebrations too ... for that reason alone, I welcome the worry!  And, at the end of the day, in the tender moments when I don't know when enough worry is enough ...  your 1000 watt smile has a way of  helping me to remember that in the end, it's all going to be ok.

You've made my life. I have learned so much from you ... How to forgive, how to love unconditionally & not expecting anything in return, how to be innocent, how to enjoy the small things in life, how to be carefree. I hope, in the end, you'll be able to look back and say you learned from me too.

I wish you a life full of wonderful things. I wish your heart to be happy, your dreams to be reached, your goals achieved, and most importantly, all the love you give to be returned to you tenfold. We live our life in phases, son.  When one ends, another begins. Change is constant and life is short. So seize the moment and live life to the fullest --- have no regrets.
You are my angel.

All my love - now & always.
Mom 
 
8 Years Ago


Through the years ...





















And now ...
8 Years Old


To say we love you is an understatement. There simply are no words to describe how we feel accurately.  We will never leave your side. We will always stand up for you. Your wants & desires become our wants & desires. No one will ever take your place in our lives or become more important than you. Sweet boy, we love you. Happy 8th birthday, Isaac Ryan.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Birthday Weekend in Bozeman

Isaac's birthday celebration was a lot of fun. I'm totally exhausted after the weekend, but it was worth it to see my boy smile so big all weekend long!

Friday we had the family over for a little BBQ. (You'll notice I still haven't gotten the texture up on my walls. Ha!)

(Grandpa Mike, Uncle Jimmy, & Papa Jack)

(Rene, Dawn, Scott, Mikchael, Ryan, Olivia, Austin, & Brody)

(Grammie Dawn & cousin Evan)

(Auntie Jessie)
(Papa Jack, Ike, & Grandma Sue)

(Livie & Evan)

(Scott, Austin, Ike, & Pieper) 

Saturday morning Josh and I loaded 4 little boys into the explorer and headed to Bozeman for somw sledding, swimming, and museum-ing.

(Isaac with his Godmother, Jennifer & Jen's boy, Chase)

(Ike & Chase)

(Isaac & Eli hauling Chase up the hill)

(Ken got the kids on their sleds and sent them down the hill!)

(Jen & Chaser)

(Eli)

(Austin)

(Handsome Chase)


(Ike)

(Ken playing bartender --- keeping us all warm with cocoa and coffee!)
(Robin & Chase)

(Jen & Robin)

(Miller's have the greatest set up for sledding! Complete with a bonfire area
& a "Midway" hot cocoa shack!)

(Ken & Chase taking a run!)

(After sledding Josh read to Chase while he tooled around on his scooter)

(cake & ice cream)

... & then onto the hotel ...


(Cully)


( flips & canonballs )


(In an attempt to push eachother in ~ they both tumbled in)

( Gosh, I love this kid )

(exhausted from 5 hours of swimming!)

The next day we hit The Museum of the Rockies:

( little explorers )


(I had to beg for this 'posed' photo)

And that was Isaac's birthday weekend. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Care to wager?

Today I am 30w 6d pregnant. I had an appointment with my doc yesterday --- I love that man. Ha. Doc McCracken & nurse Shelly are seriously two of the best parts of being pregnant.

Anyhow, the appointment was fine. Nothing major happens at the 30 week mark. But from here on out we go once a week. Next week we'll get another ultrasound. I begged for another one of the "good" ultrasounds --- but I got shot down. Haha. Oh well. He is monitoring me, not the baby -- since baby is healthy & thriving so no need for a 3 or 4D ultrasound.

**EDIT: A few minutes after posting this I received a phone call from my doctor's office. It sounds like we get the "good" ultrasound afterall. Looking forward to posting pictures next week! :) /end edit ***

I'm actually healthy & thriving too. Haha. But modern medicine, being the miraculous system that it is, allows (at least in my case) the ability to determine whether or not I will have to have a C-section. I've got placenta previa & he is just watching to see if it corrects itself before I go into labor. Either way --- it's not too huge of a deal. (Although, my preference would be to avoid a C-section!) Plus, we love all the u/s pictures!

I've started to dialate so my appointments are weekly now. (2 cm) I'd like to make it to the 33 week mark at least--- so keep your fingers crossed! I have a gut instinct about February 19. I don't know why --- that's just the day I feel like she's going to come. Any takers on that bet? :)

I suppose that's all for now. I have a house to prepare for Isaac's birthday party & suitcases to pack for our trip this weekend. Details on that next week when I have a minute to post pictures. :)

Happy Thursday, all!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Day

I started the day with a broken nail.

I love broken nails because it means face time with Rene & Libby. When you start your day like this, it's impossible to have a bad day. Those two are all laughs - no drama. It's a breathe of fresh air.

After my fingernails were returned to a presentable state I headed over to Joyce's studio for my 2nd reiki treatment.

When I booked my first appointment with Joyce back in September, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought Reiki was some sort of specialized massage. I was wrong.

Yes, you lay on a massage table Yes, it's relaxing. Yes, there's oild and aromatherapy involved. But it's more about touch & energy than it is about massage. You definitely don't have a reiki treatment and expect to have all the knots in your muscles worked out.

Honestly, after my first treatment I was confused. I wasn't sure how I could feel SO good when it seemed like SO LITTLE had actually been done to me.

Today I had a similar experience.

Back up momentarily to New Years Day --- I did a belly flop on the ice that knocked the wind out of me. It hurt in a way that I was embarrassed to admit.  It was one of those falls that you stand up from quickly & look around to make sure no one saw. You know ... it hurts like hell, but you're ashamed to admit it happened. Haha.

Anyhow, the days following the fall I didn't have any pain --- everything seemed to be fine with the baby. But by MOnday I hadn't felt the baby much. 5 or 6 small movements as opposed to the constant full throttle bladder shots I had ben used to.

When I called my doctor he ordered a non-stress test. Everything came back great. They said she was still moving and doing great. The figured I had just jolted her into a position where I couldn't feel her as much.

And since then, I really haven't felt her at all.

Until today's reiki treatment.

There was a point during the session where I felt the energy in the room shift & I felt my body sink into the table. I thought I Had been relaxed before --- but the instant the shift happened, I suddenly realized a whole new level of relaxation. And then baby kicked me square in the ribs.

I enjoyed the next 20 minutes of perfect peacefulness & soaked up my daughter's acrobatics.

I don't know alot about how reiki is designed to work. But I know it does. I'm a firm believer & highly reccomend you give it a try (or two) before you knock it!

Afterwards I ran into my cousin, Ty & his wife, Bec. It was my best surprise of the day. Remember my post about resolutions? One of them was "Make peace with the people that matter." Ty & Bec were at the top of that list, and I am pleased to tell you that 18 days into the year, I am making good on that particular resolution.

Ty, Bec & their kids have been a huge part of my life. After high school I moved to Nevada to nanny for them. I feel a special closeness to their oldest two children because of that. Bec was in the room when Isaac was born. Ty had a bond with my mother that I remember being jealous of as a kid but am grateful for now. Sadly, for the past 18 months we haven't had much of a relationship. The how's and the why's of it really don't matter. All that I care about it that things seem to be ok now & we were able to enjoy eachother's company as if nothing had ever happened. Love that.

Today was awesome. I feel spoiled and happy. I'm going to go try to make my boys feel the same way.

Happy Tuesday, ya'll.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dear Food: I love you.



I'm not sure it qualifies as breakfast since we didn't actually eat until 1:30 in the afternoon. But it was pretty tasty & I thought I'd share these recipes.

Vanialla French Toast (w/ homemade chokecherry syrup)
Red Delicious Sausage
Jalepeno Bacon
Mixed Fruit & Cream

(Yea ... I said sausage AND bacon. We tend to error on the side of carniverous in this house. Ha.)

The VANILLA FRENCH TOAST toast is fairly simple & you can find 500 variations of the same recipe on the net. The one we like goes something like this:

3 eggs
3 cups of milk
1/4 cup mexican vanilla extract
1 Tblspn Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon nutmeg
2 pinches of clove

Beat the batter until mixed well. Dip your bread & place on griddle (or in skillet) over medium heat. Cook on each side until browned. (* don't be scared if it comes out a little burned looking. Thats just the spices in the batter!)

RED DELICIOUS SAUSAGE
This is my perosnal favorite!

Gather these ingredients:
* 1 pound ground italian sausage
* a large red delicious apple (or two small ones!) (chopped!)
* a large white or yellow onion (chopped!)
* 1/2 cup maple syrup (Don't go Log Cabin or Mrs. Buttersworth on this. Treat yourself to REAL maple syrup. It's a bit more expensive but its SO worth it!)
* olive oil
* 1/4 tablespoon nutmeg
* 1 tablespoon cinnamon
* 2 table spoons McCormick brand Montreal Grillin' Seasoning

In a skillet over medim-low heat sautee the onion in olive oil for about 90 seconds; stirring constantly. (This is a really important step! Don't skip it --- you'll change the flavor of the end result!)

Remove from skillet & drain the oil.

In a mixing bowl mis together the sausage, onion, finely chopped apple chunks, syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, and grillin' seasoning.

Mix together well --- get your hands dirty!

Make patties out of the concoction & place in a skillet over medium heat. Cook with the lid on to keep those flavors locked in. Pay careful attention to flipping the patties. The syrup will make it extremely vulnerable to burning. You want it to cook all the way through but you don't want to burn the outsides. :)


JALEPENO BACON

Easy peasy.

Soak the bacon in jalepeno juice for 30 minutes before cooking regularly. I opt to throw sices of jalepenos in with mine because I LOVE the way the cooked peppers taste. But use caution --- cooking with the peppers (the seeds!) will make this considerably spicier than just using the juice.

Also, I might warn against cooking this bacon if you have small children or babies in the general vicinity. The air gets hot. Think of cutting onions --- but worse! Ha. This is really only meant for people with an extreme love of jalepenos --- like me. :)

FRUIT & BERRIES

I mix this with my french toast or I eat it plain. I love it.

I use the Schwann's mixed berry medley. It comes with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Then I cut up an orange and add it to the mix. Sometimes I steam fresh cranberries and add them too --- but not today.

The cream I use on top is Yoplait lemon flavored yogurt with a splash of orange juice. (It tastes great without the orange juice too ... but I like a runnier consistencey.)

CHOKE CHERRY SYRUP

I don't make syup or jelly. My recipe for this is to befriend someone else who does all the work. Haha. Inevitably you will always have yummy home made goods in your cupboard if you have a friend who is in to canning. :)

Anyhow, there ya have it. I hope you will, at the very least, give the sausage recipe a try sometime. It's fabulous.

Happy Sunday, Ya'll.