Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: What the Heck Happened?

January - We started the new year reviewing our hopes and dreams from last year and creating new ones for 2012. It was a herculean effort, but we finally got Charlie to start using the toilet instead of diapers.
February - It was a short month. It was winter and I was pregnant. We hunkered down. That's about the extent of it.
March - Ellis turned nine. Charlie would sit in the back of the van on our excursions around town and tell me all the things he saw. We realized that he could read. Ellis and Nate joined Josh and I for the first time in our annual bracket competition for March Madness.
April - We had our baby (and as the youngest of four, he truly is our baby). Isaac Edward was born on April 26. Grandparents arrived from Alaska just in time to enjoy those first new baby days.
May - I was happy not to be pregnant anymore as the weather turned lovely. Charlie's adjustment to having a new baby brother was pretty rough (on all of us). I planted tomatoes and basil and then proceeded to neglect them in favor of my chubby, adorable new human.
June - Nate graduated high school at the beginning of the month and turned 18 at the end of the month. Charlie began his four-year-old reign of terror (which actually started before his fourth birthday on the 20th). The black raspberries came in early this year, so Josh spent the whole month picking and was a mass of bug bites and scratches. We made delicious jam and black raspberry cider with the harvest.
July - I tried my hand at making pickles again this year and they were excellent (note to self: make three times as many dilly beans next year). We couldn't get our act together to go camping with the new baby, so we had a sleep out on the porch instead.
August - My sister and her family visited from Chicago. We had a wonderful long weekend with lots of fun for the cousins. I'll always remember my niece tearing up when it was time to leave because she was going to miss us. We all felt the same way, Vanessa. After a year hiatus, we finally got back up the the north shore of Lake Superior for a day trip and cook out.
September - Josh headed out for a solo Alaska vacation while I stayed home with our enormous brood. Charlie started preschool. Ellis started fourth grade and got an awesome teacher. Charlie took a dance class and we both made new friends. I started doing some consulting to replace Josh's second job that he'd been doing for the past two years.
October - Alaska grandparents came for a long visit. I turned 39. We put up yard signs and got politically active. Ellis started calling me on the phone on the days he was with his dad, and we had long, interesting conversations.
November - Josh marked another step along the way to decrepitude. Nate voted in his first election. We had nine around our table for Thanksgiving (our six, plus Josh's parents and brother). We still miss our visitors from Alaska (good thing they will return in February). Ellis got his orange belt in Aikido.
December - Ellis played basketball and we cheered him on from the stands. The world did not end. The holidays sprawled out for us over the last weeks of the year as we ate, rested, and enjoyed our gifts together.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Eight Months Old

He's  really acting like a big guy this month - reaching for the things he wants, standing while holding onto something (maybe he'll end up skipping crawling because there are so many walkers around here to catch up to.) There's a glimmer of recognition in his eyes for certain words and when I say, "Can I have a hug?" he leans right over to give me one. I can't wait to hear what all those babbles mean because he has the sweetest voice.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

For Unto Us...

My friend Amy created an Advent Blog called "Inside of Waiting" for the period leading up to Christmas. I shared the story of Isaac's birth and she published the post yesterday.

Please enjoy my post, found here:, as well as the rest of this wonderful blog about "waiting, learning hoping and anticipating" if you are so inclined.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Logic for the End Times

E: You know the Mayan apocalypse isn't real because they didn't take leap years into account.
Me: That makes sense.
E: I bet a kid in my class one of my treasure chest tickets that the world isn't going to end on December 21st.
Me: Wow! One of your tickets that gets you candy?
E: Well, it's a safe bet. Either way, I'm not going to have to give him that ticket. 
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dear St. Paul: Is There Something You Want to Tell Us?

So last Sunday, we had considerable snow fall in our fair city and they ended up declaring a "Snow Emergency," which for all you non-Minnesotans, is a lot less exciting than it sounds and simply means the (usually) orderly process they use to clear the snow. (Incidentally, sometimes when they declare a snow emergency, Josh and I declare our own personal one because of all that talk about Night Plow Routes" and such --wink, wink.)

Anyway, they started plowing (hee hee) on Sunday night and on into Monday. I didn't drive that day so Josh could take the "good in the snow" car on his long commute to work. By mid-day Tuesday, when it was time to drive Charlie to preschool, I loaded up the kiddos expecting smooth sailing. Instead the roads were horrible - like they didn't even plow some places - even on main arteries like the Snelling Avenue overpass of I-94. Hmmm....I thought.

That night on the news, there were all these stories about how the cold snap following the storm contributed to poor road conditions (well, okay, except there's almost always a cold snap after a big snowstorm). On Tuesday, roads were still kind of crappy, and as I drove north on Snelling to run some errands, I noted that, as I crossed over into Falcon Heights, the road became immediately clear and dry. What the hell St. Paul?

Fast forward to Saturday. After spending most of the week driving on slushy, partially-thawed and re-frozen streets, we get a message from the city saying that they are going to do some more plowing this weekend to improve road conditions. But to be clear, they are NOT declaring a snow emergency. No, instead, they've just called, texted, and emailed a bunch of people they have in their database to let them know that they are plowing the roads and that we should move our cars in the exact REVERSE order that we usually do during a real snow emergency. I really hope that works out for you, St. Paul.

Seriously, what is up with the snow removal, St. Paul? Did someone crucial to the operations get canned? Is there new management that has all kinds of "fresh ideas" that don't work for crap? Were you hoping that it was going to warm up enough this week to take care of things and it backfired? Are you jealous of Minneapolis and all the revenue they make with their byzantine snow emergency rules about "odd-side parking, even-side parking, oh just do yourself a favor and head straight to the impound lot to retrieve your towed vehicle?" Whatever it is, I understand if you don't want to 'fess up, just get it together, people. Otherwise, it is going to be rough winter.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

An Open Letter to the NFL

Dear National Football League:

Yesterday, I watched my team play like I have for most Sundays since I was a little girl. As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I am used to the emotional ups and downs (mostly downs) associated with watching football. But it was not Christian Ponder's horrible performance yesterday that made me the saddest, rather it was the relative silence about the murder of Kasandra Perkins by her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher, and his ensuing suicide. By not using your very public forum to talk about this horrific event in the context of domestic violence, you are missing a chance to make a difference in the lives of your players, your fans, and their families.

Sadly, Ms. Perkins' death is only the most recent story of family violence turned fatal that I have had to hear about. In October, a colleague's daughter, Tensia Martinez Richard, was shot to death by her estranged husband right here in Minnesota. He killed himself as well, and now my colleague is left raising her two orphaned grandsons. This summer, in nearby Hudson, Wisconsin, a dad allegedly murdered his three daughters to get back at his ex-wife. This has to stop, and it won't until men in positions of power and respect begin to speak out to other men about how domestic violence is not acceptable.

In October, when your coaches and players are wearing pink to support breast cancer awareness, I appreciate the solidarity as a female fan. Breast cancer will affect 1 in 8 women over the course of her lifetime. For domestic violence, that number is 1 in 4. Each year, 1300 deaths and 2 million injuries are caused by domestic violence. I am asking you to take a similar public stand against domestic violence and show me and other women who watch football that you think we have the right to be safe in our own homes.

Start with your players - tell them that the hits are only okay on the field, and don't protect the ones who take the violence outside the game. Then let your fans know that real men express their feelings with words, not with violence. All those boys who are watching, my four sons included, will listen to their heroes and remember the appropriate way to behave with their loved ones in the future. We need to make sure that no more women (or men) die and no more children are orphaned because of domestic violence.

I understand that such a horrible event can leave someone speechless. I can especially understand your feelings of discomfort that one of your players committed this terrible crime against the mother of his daughter. Please don't let Kasandra and Tensia and other women like them be forgotten in silence. You have the power and the forum to make a difference.

Thank you.

Charlotte Flowers

Minnesota Vikings Fan (Skol!)