Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bessy's Best

When I was a little girl, we lived on a farm in Newberg, Oregon. We were 'weekend farmers' . By that I mean, my dad had a 'real' job in Portland everyday and on the weekends my dad and mom and sometimes my sisters and I worked our tails off to keep the farm producing. It was a small hobby farm but we raised Filberts, Hazelnuts to the rest of the world, cherries, marion berries, apples, pears and my most favorite, raspberries and blueberries.

My mom would can a lot of the produce, but we often had tons left on the trees, vines and bushes, so we opened it up to the public for u-pick produce. We had a scale and a coffee can on our back porch and people were free to come and pick what they wanted and to leave their payment in the coffee can. It was the honor system at its finest. And it worked.

Today I traveled about 30 miles east of our home to a family owned dairy that produces 'pure' milk products. They don't use any additives like hormones or antibiotics in their goods and although they are pasturized for purity, they taste completely different than regular milk. It tastes fantastic.

You can buy their products on local grocery store shelves or you can go directly to their dairy and buy it from their refrigerator. They too have a coffee can where, on the honor system you leave the payment for the products you have chosen. It brought me back to simpler times and reminded me of happy memories when the world was much more honorable and simple. A world where a coffee can is considered a bank and people trust one another and live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

In many ways North Dakota has remained somewhat locked in a time warp, but this time warp of good natured, trust-worthy people epitomizes everything good and right with this little snippet of the world. Just a thought on my part at letting others know some of the good things that happen in North Dakota. Often this state gets a bad rap, but on this one, a flashback to happy, carefree days should be embraced by many.

Bessy's milk really is the best! YUMMMMMMMMMMM!~

Friday, June 25, 2010

And she said her life flashed before her eyes....

Madison is a choker. She has choked on things since infancy. Right after we moved to North Dakota, we were eating pizza at home and she choked so badly that I called 911 while Marc did the Hymlich on her. Marc got it out of her while I was on the phone with the dispatcher so all was good.

She still can't swallow pills and chokes on things like pudding and ice cream. I know, weird. But tonight was extra special. She was sitting on the couch with a glass of ice water and swallowed an ice cube. She threw her glass down and rolled off the couch onto her knees with the classic sign of crossed hands on her throat. I screamed that she was choking and Thomas got to her first. He pounded one H.A.R.D open handed thump in between her shoulder blades and just as I was getting to her, she swallowed it down. So tonight, we are celebrating the fact that Thomas reacted with an instinctual act and saved Madison's life. Thanks to him, she will live to see another day and be able to kiss his be-hind and never forget that her little pain-in-the-butt brother saved her life.

Just another average day at our never, calm home.


I cannot believe I actually just said this to my son

Sometimes things are said that could be taken in a whole different light if you are not privileged to witness the entire event. Such is what happened a few minutes ago right here in our own humble abode.

Jerome has discovered a love of crackers....all crackers, Ritz Bitz, Wheat Thins, Saltines,etc. Marc was in the kitchen and Jerome and I were in the hallway when I witnessed Jerome shoveling saltines by the handful into his rather small mouth. What I said next, brought Marc out of the kitchen shouting "What did you just say?" Ok, ok, what I said really sounded bad, but was definetly not meant in a derogatory way. I simply said to Jerome, " You have anymore of those and you will officially be a cracker."

For those of you not in the racist comment loop, cracker is a derogatory term used to refer to white people. So there you have it. A mother of 4 black children making an off-the-cuff comment regarding her child's snack choice and it sounds like I am some antiquated, back-woodsie, red-neck mama. UGH!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

EEEEEWWWWWWW, This isn't Arkansas for Christ's Sake!

For reasons of anonymity, because Bismarck, hell, all of North Dakota is so small, I will not use their names, but all I can say is EEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWW!

Let me just say I am utterly horrified and grossed out and keep hearing the twang, twang, twang of the theme song from Deliverance. Ok, you all ready for this? Seems someone we know, but have disliked from our first meeting is actually married to their step-brother or half-brother. I am perplexed at how it is that you can find yourself sexually attracted to someone that you live with in high school and know as your 'brother'? Do you make goo-goo eyes at each other while your parents lecture you about sleeping with a sibling?

I picture the Brady Bunch movie where Marcia and Greg are drawn to each other and darn near kiss. Yet, even in fatasy land of fictional movies, the two characters know that what they feel for each other is wrong. Hmmm, guess this gal should have watched some fictional movies for some real life skills and concepts.

Yes it is true that North Dakota is the second smallest state in our country based on population. Only Wyoming has less and suprisingly that is where this gal is originally from. When we first moved to North Dakota, someone Marc works with told him that his parents had always advised him to not date anyone in the 2 counties in which they lived. Seems he had in excess of 100 first cousins and the family tree is shaped like a telephone pole. EWWWWW!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I am really that unusual?

Several times in the last few weeks, I've had people assume that I have grandchildren. How can this happen. Yes, I'm 44, but I still feel, and probably act, as though I am in my immature 20's. I also understand that I have gained some weight and may appear to be close to 40, but why on earth do people assume that if you are in your 40's you must be a grandparent.

I was at the store the other day buying super cute outfits for a friend who is having twins (a boy and a girl) and the sales lady commented on how cute they were and I agreed. Then she asked me if they were for my grandkids!!! I felt an animalistic urge to choke her with one hand, while slapping her with the other. I politely informed her that i have 4 kids, with the oldest being 13 and the youngest, a mere 6 years old. She honestly looked horrified.

So I ask you, is it completely unrealistic to think that I can be a mom to such 'young' kids and still be in my 40's? Hell, Marc is 50 and it seems to be cool for a guy to have little kids. Guys rib him about getting a late start, but how they are keeping him young and fit. But me??? No I get that at my advanced age, I should be rocking on the porch swing, looking at retirement home pamphlets, just waiting with baited breathe for my grandkids to come visit.

I do believe this may be yet another example of a double standard. Men appear to get wiser, sexier and wealthier with age, and women seem to get feeble-minded, tube sock boobies, and coounting the minutes till the mailman delivers the social security check. Of course, I do fantasize about the day my littlest one finally leaves for college and Marc and I can just enjoy being with each other again. But that is still 12 years away so until then, I'll take my geritol, dye my hair and keep running after the kids.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day at the Laurie's

If you are squeamish, turn away now.

Anyone who has known me for more than a day, knows that I am a pus and blood kind of gal. I love the gore invovled and sadly realize at my 'advanced' age, that I should have gone to veterinary school after college. Animals are my ruling passion.........along with my kids.

We have an outdoor kitty named Elmer that is unbelievably fat. He's an orange tabby that we brought with us from Oregon 7 years ago when we moved to North Dakota. He seems to cope with the brutal weather here, by eating non-stop. He even lies by the food bowl in the garage to eat, no longer finding it necessary to stand to accomplish this feat. So Elmer tips the scales at about 28 pounds. A sizeable cat, for sure. Oddly enough every cat within a 2 mile radius wanders our way to beat the crap out of Elmer. He seems to be an easy mark for every pussy cat around.

So last night I noticed Elmer had an abcess on his back near his tail where, once again, another cat bit him and over-powered his 28 pounds. I brought Elmer inside and asked Marc to hold him so I could squeeze the pus and blood out of the abcess and let it drain. All went well until I poured the hydrogen peroxide on it. Somewhere in the blur of fur and screeches, Elmer let one small puncture wound in Marc's right forearm.

Cat bites are B.A.D. They get infected quickly and easily even after thorough cleaning. Marc did not want to go to the hospital especially for something that was barely even noticeable, but I prevailed, and so, last night we spent 2 fun hours at the ER. The doctor was a total riot. Oddly enough he used to be a police officer before going to medical school and so he knows quite a few of the same guys Marc does. They naturally made a few "" jokes and after getting some antibiotics, we came home.

I feel really bad about getting Marc in the position to be bitten. I gotta make it up to him, so I think I am going to help him build the 2000 linear feet of fencing he's putting up this week. God, I am a nice woman, ya know. I think my designated job will be to make sure that he always has a cold beer within reach. I'm sure I can do that from my supervisor's chair!

Happy Father's Day Marc. This ride would not be any fun without you and you are a great dad, and husband!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tears in Heaven

Today is kind of a sad day here for me. 9 years ago today, June 17th, my father passed away. Oddly enough, 9 years ago, June 17th fell on Father's Day.

In hindsight, his death was very rapid between his diagnosis and his actual passing. Seven days to be exact. Technically there was no medical/biological reason that he passed so quickly. The doctors had said that with chemo and radiation he would have about 9-12 months. He had 2 treatments of radiation and his tumor was shrinking and he was doing well until.....the doctor told him that he would be able to go home once my mom, his wife of 45 years, was trained in how to give him oxygen and other life sustaining treatments. My mom was panicked by this and I know my dad loved my mom so much that he willed himself to die so he did not have to burden her with those concerns.

My dad had a notepad in the hospital on which he wrote a long and detailed list of things that needed to be done before his death. Tops on those lists were for Marc and me to locate the financial records detailing their insurance policies, and all their investments. He also contacted his civic committee's on which he belonged and notified them of his impending death. He left nothing un-done or hanging. Once he had completed his list, which was the day before Father's Day, he informed all of us that he would be dying...NOW!

Being the type A personality and stubborn/determined man that he was, he did indeed die within 24 hours. On the morning of his death, one of the resident doctors who had come to enjoy my father during those 7 days in the hospital, came in to visit him. Remember it was Father's Day morning and this young doctor had brought my Dad the book, Tuesday's With Maury since he felt that my dad had become his 'Maury'. He was a suprised as the rest of us that my dad was dying as there was no medical reason for his imminent death. Simply put, my dad died out of love for his wife, my mother. I feel lucky to have witnessed this last act of consideration, love and unselfishness. My dad was a wonderful, giving, man who embraced charitable deeds and sought to make a lasting impression in this world.

To you my dear father, Charles Heckman, I hope to make you proud each and everyday. You have left a legacy not only with our family, but on the State of Oregon, the city of Beaverton, and the County of Yamhill. It's pouring down rain right now in bibilical porportions and I know they are indeed, tears of heaven.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Niiiiiiiiice puppies!

This is what our sweet 9 month old Rottweiler puppies, Kitty and Bunny did for fun while lying in the sun on the back deck. Chew toys galore in which to choose from, but nooooooo, they have to eat the electrical outlet. Not only did they pull it completely out of the wall, they chewed on live wires......proof that GFI sockets really do save lives. What sweet girls they are (cough), but I still couldn't live without 'em!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

mom match-up

For those of you who follow Corey's blog, I met up with Angela from Bismarck and we had a rockin' fun time. Angela brought out her crew of 5 kids and with the 4 Laurie kids, the day was a whirlwind of chaos, laughs, faux pas, spilled juice, pee, and lots and lots of good convo for us mom's.

Her kids are from Ethiopia and from the U.S. through adoption. We of course have lots in commom there, but it was remarkable to meet another mom who doesn't get wigged out if the kids fight, or spill juice, or accidentally go pee pee on the floor. We laughed about all this stuff and compared notes on adoption stories, adoption grief, adoption behavior and of course, our husbands. Two of our kids are unbelievably similar, right down to the name and age. They have similar behaviors and attitudes and it was a complete relief to feel comfortable enough with Angela to just let the kids be kids, and not make excuses for any weird or freakish behavior.

Her family will be heading back out here on Saturday for a bbq and it will be good to let the kids play again while we enjoy another cocktail and revel in the fact that there is actually at least 2 of us in the greater Bismarck area that 'gets it' and realizes that this phase of our lives will eventually pass and we will be through the child-rearing stage......eventually! I've got friends who sadly live too far away to partake of my mom/kid playdates, but just knowing they exist, makes my world a happier place.

On to new news. Vacation Bible School is continuing for the rest of the week and I am doing the safari storytelling bit. The groups rotate thru and I dish the same story, over and over again. Whew, it gets harder and harder towards the end of the evening, but fortunately I am just volunteering, so I can't be fired if my performance is less than stellar. Madison and her friend Chantal are teaching the kindergarten and first grade group and it seems to be acting as an excellent form of birth control since neither young girl seems to really dig trying to control and entertain a group of ankle-biters for 3 hours! Marc has been tagging along with me since he feels appropriately guilty that I would have yet another chore involving kids and he would have 3 hours at home alone. Yes, he was at church with me, but I still did all the work. Well almost all, since he did push play on the DVD.

Tomorrow is a field trip to McDowell Dam and beach here in Bismarck. The homeschool group of kids are meeting up there to play, swim, play in the sand and I just hope I can get the sand off of them in time for VBS. How can the days get busier and busier when it's summer and summer is supposed to be easy living?

Not this weekend but the next, Madison and I head out for Brainerd, Minnesota for her to get a Dressage riding lesson in with her trainer before he heads off for Chicago. Oh, I guess that means I should get off the blog and make some hotel reservations for us. Busy, busy, busy days coming up and summer has just started. GULP!