Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas To You...

And so Xmas 2009 hits the history books. We had some great times and made some great memories! A snowstorm with hype so big it challenged Y2K, Harry jamming with the Beatles on Christmas morning through the wonders of technology, and me making my very first turkey. It was a great holiday! We had my parents over this year and it was fun and relaxing. Becca got an ipod touch from Santa, and Bella got the much coveted Zhu Zhu pets. Harry as you might have guessed received Beatles Rockband for Wii. Over the past few weeks we have been busy preparing for the holiday. Visits to Santa, shopping, research on the best way to cook a turkey, more shopping, then wrapping, wrapping, wrapping. It always feels a little empty the day after. And yet, I always find it comforting to return to a more normal schedule. Last night we capped off Christmas with a visit to the movies. Harry, Becca, Erick and my parents saw Avatar 3D and Bella and I saw The Princess and the Frog.

Now that Bella is getting older I am able to see how the holiday season seems to affect her differently than the other kids. I think her hearing loss makes the season a little more draining and tires her system faster. I have noticed over the past month how she seems to wake slower in the mornings, and tell me on a regular basis that she is tired. There is so much more stimulation during the holiday season. Also, if you notice people seem to speak faster because they are constantly in a hurry, all the malls/stores are playing holiday music at loud levels, and with family gatherings and more people together, people speak louder. When you work harder to hear on a regular day, I think the extra trappings of the holiday can make it tougher on your system. I would love to hear if other parents with kids with cochlear implants/hearing loss have also experienced this.

Hope everyone out there had a great holiday too!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Opening, Another Show...

For all of you thinking you have made a parenting mistake (or two) today, never fear, I probably have it beat! Yesterday we had our family birthday party for Harry and when Erick went to pick up the birthday cake I received a very disturbing phone call. Apparently I had mistakenly put "Happy 10th Birthday Harry" on my my son's cake even though he just turned 11! Wow! My sister said it reminded her of something that might happen in the classic movie "16 Candles". I guess Harry can chalk it up to another reason being the middle child stinks. Anyway, the party was fun even with the mess up and we were all in good spirits with the Vikings win.

Becca and Harry's play, "Scrooge: A Musical" opened on Friday. Weeknights have been a little crazy taken up with rehearsals. Dinners have been quick, but not necessarily full of all of the major food groups. Oh well, we do our best! The play runs through this weekend and we will see it on Friday with my parents.

Through all the craziness and busy times of the season, I am proud to say that I have kept Bella's homeschooling on track. It continues to go well, but I am in a little bit of a panic as the book we have been using for Language Arts ends in 4 weeks. I spent a lot of time this weekend researching new curriculums to replace it with. Reading the reviews written by other homeschooling mom's is somewhat helpful, but it can also lead to frustration when there are equal amounts of pro and con comments. On the positive side, I am seeing alot less number reversals in Bella's work.

Now with the many days of Harry's birthday behind me, I can forge ahead into the abyss of wrapping Christmas gifts. Wish I could say I see the point of all the pretty wrapping, when it gets torn off in milliseconds...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What a Wonderful World

Okay so excuse me while I wax poetic (or try to) in this posting today. Perhaps it is the holiday spirit or the society imposed expectation that we reflect on our lives at this time of year, but I have to say that I am truly thankful for the life I have. Yesterday as I read the headlines about Tom Petter and Tiger Woods, I thought about how the glamorous lives of the rich and famous consistently turn up with huge holes and deep secrets in them. I will just stick with my mundane, middle class life, thank you very much!

We had a very nice Thanksgiving spent with Erick's family in Wisconsin Dells. Each year we meet at a cabin in the Dells, as it is halfway between Minnesota and Chicago, which is where his brother and sister travel from. His mom, who now lives in Costa Rica for retirement, always visits for Thanksgiving too. Mix in some cousins and an Aunt and Uncle and you have Thanksgiving. Erick's brother is quite the chef so the turkey is always done in a tantalizing and unique way. The rest of the family helps with sides and desserts, making the end result a fabulous feast!

Yesterday was Harry's 11 birthday. I can't believe he is 11 already. His birthday always reminds me that it has been almost 11 years since I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease (a cancer of the lymphatic system). He was just 4 weeks old when I received the diagnosis. I have been cancer free now for 10 years and am very thankful for my health. Anyway, we had a mini celebration for Harry because Erick had to travel this week. We will be going out to eat this weekend for his birthday, he will go to the Science Museum with one Grandma on Friday, and then we will cap it off on Dec. 13 with a family birthday. Kind of like the 12 days of Birthday. I have come to appreciate the difficulty for kids who have December birthdays. They have to wait the whole year for presents. I guess that makes the days more special, but there is also lots of pressure to ask for what you really want because it's going to be 11 really dry months.

So there you have it. Lots of reasons to be thankful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

State vs. Peter Pan

Last night Becca was part of a mock trial for her middle school class. They do this every year and it is a chance to introduce the kids to the world of law. The kids learn about real laws and how they apply to the facts of the case. It is very professional with a real defense attorney meeting with both sides to help with their arguments and a real Hennepin county judge (who is the mom of two students from the school) to preside over the trial. This year Becca was a defense attorney for Peter Pan. Peter was charged with trespassing, assault, and kidnapping. Becca and her co-counsel called witnesses (Wendy, John, Tinkerbell, and Peter himself) to the stand to speak on Peter's behalf. The trial started with a motion of the defense to move the trial to a juvenile court instead of trying Peter Pan as an adult. That motion was denied (good thing or it would have made for a very short trial). Becca was very poised and did a great job! I received a lot of comments after about how well she spoke and argued and I said it was her natural talent coming through. It was so nice to see her using her power for good rather than arguing with me about why she didn't want to clean her room and why she shouldn't have to. The great news about the trial is that Becca and her co-counsel were able to get Peter off on his 3 charges. So watch out everyone, Peter is once again free to fly around causing mischief.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Music, Dancing and Fashion

This week has been filled with music and dancing at our house. Last Friday, Harry had a dance at his school. The theme was formal which explains Harry's velvet blazer. It was your typical elementary dance. There was a DJ who played music and the kids danced around (not with each other of course). One of the things that surprised me was how involved the DJ was with the kids. Usually at those dances they just play songs and let the kids go, but this guy played a ton of games with the kids, like relay dancing, hula hoops, and he even had the kids go in a big circle so kids could take turns doing "freestyle" in the middle. Well, for those of you who know Harry well, it will come as no surprise that once he had a turn to "freestyle" in the middle of the group he kept raising his hand to get picked again. Never shy, that one! They also had a limbo contest which you can see in the picture above along with Harry's mad skills! Bella went to the dance too since it was for the entire family and she had lots of fun too. She even made a few friends while there.
Overall, Harry's new school experience continues to go well. It seems like Harry has made quite a few friends at his new school. I met with two of his teachers this week and they said they are amazed at how well he has adjusted. One of the teachers said she wished she had more Harrys in her class. Always a good thing to hear as a parent! About a week ago, Harry ran for student council in his room. He had to write and give a speech on why he wanted to represent the class. He didn't wind up winning, but I was so proud of him for trying!

On Tuesday, Becca and Harry tried out for Scrooge: A Musical. They were in it last year as part of the children's choir. Last year they picked about 50 kids and let them rotate nights of performances. This year they only picked 20 kids and luckily they made the cut! They might get to be in it more this year as towns children in various scenes. They had been rehearsing a song to sing for the auditions, but they picked a song for everyone to sing. It was "Maybe" from Annie. It was a little high for Harry to sing, but he muddled through.

On Wednesday the kids and I had a very special encounter. We started watching "Project Runway" this season for the 1st time and we got hooked! We rooted all season long for Christopher Straub who was a designer from Shakopee which is only minutes away from our town of Chaska. Last week, we were very sad that he was kicked off the show, but on Wednesday he was having a trunk show and we got to meet him. I bought myself a keychain he designed and we told him that we loved watching him on the show this season. It was a fun experience!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Halloween 2009 is in the books! The costumes are put away, the decorations are taken down (for the most part), and the clearance is bought for next year (Harry had his eye on an electronic skeleton dog that he HAD to get). We spent the holiday with friends that we often visit for Halloween and don't get to see very often. As I had previously reported, Harry was a scary ventriloquist dummy (who resembled a scary Pee Wee Herman more than anything else) and Bella was Laura Ingalls before the Wilder. Becca was a helpful 8th grader who helped to pass out candy. Our friends' high school son was dressed as a suicide bomber for a party he was going to, so Harry thought it would be funny to pose in a picture with his "bombs". Enjoy the picture above, I'm sure it is going to result in my blog being bookmarked by some friendly FBI individual and it could pose some problems for Harry if he ever wants to fly anywhere in an airplane in the future. I was off trick or treating duty as Erick headed out with the kids in tow accompanied by his high school friend that we were visiting. Despite the chilly temperature of 38 degrees, the kids went out in search of free candy for 1 1/2 hours. They should be set for candy until Christmas.

The day before Halloween, the kids had the day off from school for conferences. I brought Harry to see the "This is It" Michael Jackson movie. Despite the outcry of needing to buy advance tickets, we saw the 2:40pm matinee showing of the movie with only 5 other individuals. It was a fun movie and it sure looked to me like Michael could still sing and dance, but who knows? It also looked like the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz melted after having a bucket of water thrown on her. The power of Hollywood movie magic can never be underestimated!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Face Your Fears...

A tradition in the 5th and 6th youth group at church is to have a version of "Fear Factor" for the kids to participate in the week of Halloween. I'm not really sure how it ties in to church, but the kids love it. For those of you who don't remember the "Fear Factor" show on tv, it had contestants who had to do crazy things (eat bugs, hang from flying helicopters, swim in under underwater mazes) in order to win money. Well for both of Becca's 5th and 6th grade years, she was the champion of church Fear Factor so as Harry had his turn this past week, he had a lot to live up to. First there was an 8 stage food challenge where the kids had to consume (and finish) fig cookies, jalapeno chips, turkey dinner baby food, tofu, spicy cactus, spam, algae juice, and jelly beans. Jelly beans you say? Yes, but these weren't your average Easter Bunny jelly beans. There were various colors blue, peach, yellow, etc and the colors had two flavors. So if you ate a blue one you might be getting blue raspberry or you might be getting toothpaste. For peach you might be getting peach or you might be getting vomit. You get the idea. Harry passed the food challenges with flying colors, but ran into some trouble with the skill portion of the evening. He had to throw hula hoops around pumpkins and he missed. For the final piece of the evening the kids had to hold two dixie cups of water in the palms of their hands with the palms facing up and their arms straight out by their shoulders. Harry lasted into the top 4 but then got out. Overall he was bummed that he hadn't won the whole challenge, but he vowed to come back strong for next year!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...

Things have been rolling along at a steady pace of crazy this week. So many activities, committments, things to do and as usual, so little time. Friday night Harry had a end of the season football party. One of the coaches put it on and everyone had a great time. The Orange crush season is now officially over.
Erick returned from Dubai last Thursday. He said he really enjoyed the country. He was amazed by how much construction was going on. The city is really growing! Most of the time he wasn't feeling well and he came home with a sinus infection. Luckily he got his antibiotics and started feeling much better before he left for Paris.
On Saturday afternoon, Becca, Bella and I joined Harry's boyscout pack for its annual hayride. The weather was a bit brisk, but at 52 degrees it was the nicest day of the week. Harry as usual had fun jumping off the back of the wagon (yes it is allowed) and running behind. Much better exercise for a growing 10 year old boy than just sitting, but much harder to enjoy the pretty sights of Fall. As you can see from the pictures, everyone had a good time and Erick was able to rest and recover at home in peace.
Sunday we became couch potatoes and took a well deserved break from our busy schedules. We watched the Vikings roll down the field several times only to have fumbles and penalties destroy their chances of winning. Oh well, perhaps they can come back with fire against Green Bay next Sunday.
The rest of the week will roll along with a fall festival at Becca and Bella's school, a field trip to the apple orchard with Bella's class, and of course Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halleluja- Well your faith was strong, but you needed proof...

Monday was Bella's annual IEP (individualized educational plan) meeting. I must say, I never really look forward to these. For those of you who don't have special needs children, an IEP meeting can best be described as a really intense school conference. At least that's how they are for me. The purpose is to set up goals and objectives that you want your child to reach during the next year and also discuss any accommodations they might need to reach those goals, such as service teachers, special equipment, etc. The hardest part comes when you review the goals made last year and see how much progress has been made. Sometimes there is great progress, sometimes not so much. It's hard for me to reflect (with 6 or 7 other people present) on the things that make my child different from the "norm". On a daily basis you work to help your child succeed the best they can, but when you see their challenges laid out so clinically on paper, it's tough. But hey, when I was in the corporate workforce, I hated reviews too.

The good news is that the IEP meeting went terrific! All of her teachers including her classroom teacher, D/HH (deaf and hard of hearing teacher), and her speech teacher saw an amazing difference in her this year compared to last year. Her focus is better, her communication is better and best news of all, her memory is better. Hooray! Hooray! I felt so validated in my decision to pursue homeopathy. Not only have I seen a difference, but others have seen a huge improvement as well! The progress was so good that we decided to reduce the D/HH teacher's support time with her. Some of that is due to me homeschooling in the morning, but it is also due to her classroom teacher's observations that she is ready to do more work with the class in the afternoon. Honestly, it was one of the best meetings I have ever had!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Kid(s) on the Block...

Growing up, I moved around a lot. By the time I was 10 I had moved six times. My father was in retail, what can I say? I became a "pro" at being the new kid at school. Smile, be outgoing, act like you already know the routine, and never let them see you sweat (especially when it came time for lunch and the all important decision of where to sit in the lunchroom the first day!) My kids have never been the "new kids", that is until this past Monday when Harry started his new school. I have to say, I was nervous all day for him. I thought about meeting new teachers, having kids point at you and say to each other "that's the new kid" and all the challenges you face your first day. Overall he was very excited. For him, there were so many different things to experience. He had never had a lunchroom, no experience in "switching classes" for subjects, no computer lab, and he had never really had homework. I must say the homework thing is going to take awhile for all of us to get used to. So far he has had about 1 1/2 hours per night. He has had a great time so far in school and being the new kid didn't seem to bother him at all.

Erick is also experiencing a little of the "new kid" phenomenon this week as he navigates his way through the middle eastern country of Dubai. As you can see from the picture above, it is very different than life here in the good old USA. He comes home tomorrow so I will share more details later.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's a Brand New Day...

Changes at the Rowe household continue. We have made the decision for Harry to attend a new school. He will be going to a traditional elementary school in Chaska called, Clover Ridge. It was a very tough decision and we put a lots of thought into it, but after discussing the pros and cons of the change, we felt it would provide the most structure and chance to catch up in some of the areas he needs extra guidance. He starts Monday and I am sure you will read more about the experience in future updates.

On Wednesday night, Harry and his best friend Ben went to a church lock-in where they stayed up all night. As you can see from the picture above, they were happy, yet exhausted by the end of it. They were so many activities: bingo, digital photo booth, caricature artist, games, movies, and lots of food! They also left the church for several hours and went to play lazer tag. I helped with the set up and I can attest that there was also plenty of snacks for them to munch on. More mountain dew and junk food then you have ever seen before in one room! Well, you are only 10 once right? He came home yesterday at 7:30am and slept until 2:30pm. I woke him up so he could sleep again later that night. He went to sleep last night at 8:30pm and is still sleeping (it is 9:00am).

Erick leaves today for Dubai. He was only home one day between his California trip. Next week it is off to Paris. He is fighting an illness so we hope and pray he can stay well. Yesterday when he came home he drank alot of Emergen-C. Becca and Bella are also fighting something and H1N1 is running rampant in the school so we hope we can avoid that!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When I grow up...

Last Sunday our family day was spent at the U of MN veterinary school open house. The event had been posted on one of my homeschool event message boards that I track. Bella loves animals so I thought it would be fun to go show her what vets do. It's never too young to think about career paths, right? They had lots of events for kids. The Raptor center was open to explain about fixing bird bones that are broken and returning them to the wild. There were cool bald eagles and hawks that you could see up close, microscopes with slides of cat tongues, and a giant dried cow stomach on a counter. Speaking of cow stomachs, one of the main highlights of the day was a live cow we saw that had a hole cut into its side so you could see into its stomach. The hole had a huge plug in it and when they took out the plug, there was the cow's stomach. Personally, I skipped looking into the hole, but Erick, Harry, and Becca were fascinated. The highlight of the trip for me was the rabbit agility show. Yes, rabbit agility. Sounds crazy, I know. There was group there who were part of a rabbit agility association. They had a little obstacle course set up for the rabbits which included a teeter-totter, a tire to jump through, and other little jumps (like miniature horse jumps). Most of the rabbits seemed to be dragged along by their owners on leashes through the course, but there were two bunnies who really seemed to enjoy doing the course. We were told that the others would have done better, but they had been doing shows all day so they were tired. I'm not sure I really bought that explanation. All in all a fun and educational day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Well the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Boy did I do a double take when I looked outside this morning. Snow. Yes you read that right! Snow on the ground on October 10. 1/4 inch of snow on the ground. Unbelievable. Apparently it's going to be a long winter...

Well, the Orange Crush made it to the Superbowl! They had the championship game this afternoon on the Chaska High School football field. Football and 28 degrees for the beginning of October. And people wonder why we don't have an outside football stadium in Minnesota. Hmmm.. Oh and did I mention there was SNOW! Anyway, the game was really fun and there was a stadium announcer for the game calling the plays and doing color commentary too. Harry was able to play center the whole game (due to illness for the starting centers). Bad news is they lost the game, but they had a lot of heart and they really did put their all into it. I am glad football is over for the year. Four days a week is a lot of time to put in.

Bella's swimming teacher told me something interesting today. She had been to a masters swim clinic during the week and she noticed that Bella kicks the same way as the best swimmer in MN. I can't remember her name, but anyway, they both kick with their toes pointed in. She said they start to teach that skill at the masters level because it helps you go faster by churning the water with your feet. For most people it is very hard to do because it feels uncomfortable. For Bella, her knees turn in naturally due to having stronger inner thigh muscles and weaker hip flexers. In physical therapy we work constantly to strengthen her outer thigh muscles and hip flexers, but I guess in swimming it is a good thing that she has strong inner thighs. Also, her teacher said she does something very well called "riding the rails". That is when you turn your body as you raise your arms out of the water in freestyle and your body is fully aligned. I hope I explained that correctly. Exciting news for Bella. I am so glad she is improving every week and she really likes it.

This coming week the kids are out of school on Thursday and Friday. Harry is going to a lock in at our church with a friend from school on Wednesday night. It is an "all-nighter" event and they get to play games, go to Grand Slam, (an indoor center with laser tag, bumper cars, batting cages, etc) and eat lots of junk. So Thursday will be a wash for Harry and he will probably sleep the whole day. Perhaps he will be recovered by Friday and we can plan something fun. Maybe sledding...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Change seems to be all around our family at the moment. On Sunday, when we went to the apple farm I was taken in by the leave colors. They are not at their peak yet, but I love to see the gradual shift from green to the palette of a sunset. Right now there are so many changes going on within our family that the shift to fall has almost become a metaphor for us Rowe's. Becca is just months away from heading off to high school, Harry just grew an inch in 2 months, and Bella continues to become more mature in her thinking and conversations. With regard to school , we are searching out the best way to meet everyone's educational needs. Harry appears to need more structure than a Montessori environment can offer at this point in his school career so we are pondering our options. Bella seems to be thriving in her half homeschool/half Montessori daily routine. Becca seems to be doing well in school, but I worry about how the transition from a small charter school to a big high school with daily homework will play out.
It is interesting to watch how change affects people differently. Sometimes, I think Erick could live a lifetime without change. He prefers the comfort of the status quo. He does, however, understand that change is an inevitable part of life and that you must embrace it. If you don't, it will still happen and you will be left behind. Becca is a lot like Erick. She likes to be prepped for changes and wants to know how any change will affect her. Bella is easy going and floats with changes as they come. She is open to new experiences. Harry and I get a little bit of a thrill from changes. Yes, they shake up your life a bit, but we find them a way to keep things interesting. As you can see from the pictures from the apple farm, the kids are not afraid to take a "leap of faith" which is really what change is all about.

Stay tuned for Rowe change updates!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall is Here, Brr...

Well it appears that MN Fall has officially arrived. Temps have struggled to stay in the 50's this week with rain and wind as the main weather theme.
Lots of events to report this week. First, Harry has made his favorite decision of the year. Where to have a birthday party? No. What to ask for Christmas? Not yet. He has chosen his Halloween costume! Halloween has always been Harry's favorite holiday next to Christmas. This year he has decided to be a scary puppet. It's the kind of puppet that a ventriloquist would use. I think the tuxedo part of the costume reminds me of Pee wee Herman. He is excited about the costume, but he is really just biding his time until next Halloween. His grandmother has promised to make him an Elvis costume for next year and he talks about it alot!
On Thursday, Bella was very excited because she went to school for the whole day instead of homeschool. There was a field trip planned to a book center downtown with a lesson about a printing press. Whenever there is a field trip planned at school (about 1x a month) Bella will go to school all day. Well, the day didn't turn out exactly as planned. I went along as a chaperone and on the way to the book center, our bus driver clipped off a driver's car mirror which caused another car to crash into them. We had to pull over to the side of the freeway which is full of construction right now and quite a mess. As soon as the accident happened, I began to regret my decision to "just wait" until we got to the book center to go to the bathroom. I was hopeful that we would only be sidelined a few minutes, but after 45 minutes on the side of the road, I began to feel like a small child who was fearful of having an embarrassing accident! The state trooper came to take the reports of all of the drivers and proceeded to write his report on sight. Then we had to wait for the bus company to get us a new bus driver. Apparently an accident for a bus driver results in a driving suspension. The kids were very good, but as most 1-3 graders will, they started to get very bored and antsy toward the end. An hour and a half after we pulled over, we were back on the road, but we had to return to the school as we had missed our appointment for the field trip. You'll be glad to know that I was able to contain my bodily fluids all the way back to school.
Yesterday, Harry was excited because he got to buy Madden 10 for his Wii. He has been saving his money and I told him the next time he got a check from his voiceovers, he could buy it. I had to look up how to add Brett Farve to the Vikings since the game had been made before he unretired. Luckily, it was pretty easy. Erick and Harry enjoy playing football games together on the Wii, although due to Harry's inability to handle defeat well, most games end in tears.
Today, Harry's football team suffered another close loss to Eden Prairie. Before the game started, we had to sell concessions. Boy was it chilly! Luckily they had blankets for Bella and Harry as I had not dressed them with hats and mittens which they really needed.
I am hoping the weather improves for tomorrow. We are planning to go to the apple farm for our annual tradition of picking apples.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Whoops again...

I was not sure whether to laugh or cry today during homeschool. Another one of those "mild hearing loss" moments occurred again with Bella. I am wondering if I will have alot of these moments now that she is getting older and since I am working with her so much in a teaching capacity. Anyway, we were talking about the sounds of ea and how sometimes ea makes a short "e" sound and other times it makes a long "e" sound in words. Then we went over a list of ea words. After each word we also discussed its meaning if I thought she might not know what it was. One of the words was "death". I asked her what death meant. She paused for a moment, then she said, "I think that's when you can't hear with your ears." I said, "No honey, that's deaF, this word is "deaTH." Then she just looked at me smiling and said, "Well Mom, I guess that is just one of those words that sounds different to me." So poignant for a 7 year old. I am really understanding how much context helps her on a daily basis. I never realized how many words have similar sounds and when your hearing is not perfect you really rely on the meaning of the sentence around words to help you know which word is being said.

Keep Smiling

Well my mantra over the last few days has been "keep smiling". Sometimes, when life is giving you bad days and troubling times, smiling can do wonders to keep your spirits up.
Over the weekend, Erick left on Saturday to go to Australia. It didn't turn out as expected. He had a connecting flight in Atlanta and due to bad weather on the way there, his flight was delayed getting in and he missed his plane. Turns out you can't get to Australia on a Sunday, so he would have had to wait to leave on Monday and would have missed the meeting he was trying to attend in Australia. It was quite a fiasco, but we are glad he is here with us this week instead of traveling. KEEP SMILING.
On Saturday, Bella had a swim meet. She did the front crawl and the breaststoke. She picked the strokes. She had to swim two laps of the front crawl and one lap of the breaststroke. Her time for the front crawl was 1.20.49 and for the breaststroke it was 46.10. Her swimming has really improved this season and she is building up endurance. Harry came with me to the swim meet and I put him in charge of filming Bella's heats. Well, the front crawl got filmed, but when it came time for the breaststroke he was no where to be found. After the heat, I still couldn't find him so I helped get Bella showered and dressed. Finally, after Bella was ready, I found Harry outside playing with the flip Mino recorder, making videos of himself. To say I was unhappy would be an understatement. KEEP SMILING.
As a treat for Bella, we went to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" after the swim meet. It was a very cute movie with lots of fun images and opportunities to smile.
On Sunday, Harry got to play a football game on the stadium field of the brand new Chanhassen High School. It was very exciting. He actually played for the other team because they didn't have enough players. He had a fun opportunity to play running back during the game. The game went very long (not sure why) so after two hours of playing football, Harry was beat. Of course the day of football had just begun as we went home to watch the Vikings on TV. We had recorded it so we wouldn't miss a second. I didn't listen to the radio on the way home to avoid any score spoilers. The game was good, very up and down for the Vikings. Then towards the end we realized something. The game was going long and our recording was going to miss the last part of the game. KEEP SMILING. With just 1:04 of the game left, our recording ran out. On any given game this would be bad, but in Sunday's game, you know the one where the game winning historic Favre touchdown pass was thrown with 2 seconds left, it REALLY counted. So we were left to watch the great pass and catch on the updates. KEEP SMILING.
Oh, if you are having a bad day or just need a quick smile, watch the video below. Just click on the link. It is guaranteed to help you KEEP SMILING!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Something That Made Me Go Hmmm...

Sometimes I truly forget that Bella still has a mild hearing loss with her cochlear implants. Most of the time I go about the day and she always seems to hear me. In the car, up in her bedroom, even across the way when her brother and sister are playing guitar hero next to her. But then there are times when I am snapped back to the reality of her hearing loss. Today during homeschool I was saying something about the word "long." She responded in an appropriate way to the question and then she paused and said, "When you said long, it reminds me of Harry mowing the lawn." I stopped for a moment. Long and lawn? That seemed like an odd connection. I didn't really get it until I stopped and said the words slowly to myself. To her, long and lawn sound the same. Even when we stopped to say the words slowly, she didn't get the difference. It was not until I wrote the words down to show her what letters were in them, did she start to see the difference. Then we repeated the words in the following way, "That fruit roll up is really LONG." "Harry usually mows the LAWN." After saying the words I had her feel the "ng" sound vs. the "n" sound.
Well it was a learning moment for both of us. I continually learn how little things can be so much harder for her and what a trooper she is on a daily basis!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nothing Like a Good Stompin'

The Rowe's were on the move again this weekend with lots of activities! Saturday started with Becca attending the 1st of 4 Saturdays morning lacrosse clinics. She had played lacrosse this past Spring for the first time and she really liked it. There was no fall league so we found a few clinics she could attend to keep up her skills until next Spring.

Harry kicked off the weekend with another football game. This time it was a loss to Eden Prairie. For those of you not from around here, Eden Prairie is like the 1985 Chicago Bears, EVERY YEAR! They rarely lose and the youth program is as good as the high school team. Ironic, since when I attended Eden Prairie high school, winning a football game would have signalled Armageddon. Anyway, the Orange Crush kept it tied until halftime, and then Eden Prairie scored 2 touchdowns in 5 minutes. The game was cut short by a back injury of one of Harry's teammates. Thankfully, he is o.k., but he did ride away in an ambulance to get checked out. His team is now 2-3 for those keeping score.

Bella started a new speech program on Saturday which I think will be helpful. The focus will be on getting a consistent "s" sound in sentences with lots of "s" sounds. Also, to work on not dropping the "s" sounds at the end of words. The speech pathologist did make an interesting point that some of the dropped "s" sounds came from improper breath use on Bella's part. I had never heard that before. Last, but not least, there will be an emphasis on increasing Bella's vocabulary and higher level language use such as inferences and idioms.

Today I was able to check off an item on my bucket list. Ever since I saw the old I Love Lucy where Ethel and Lucy did the grape stomping, I have wanted to do it too. Well today the whole family went to a local winery in Jordan, MN and did some wine stomping. It was fun and quite messy. There was music, wine tasting, and a caricature artist. I put the drawings at the bottom of the blog. Strangely enough we had a caricature done of the kids about 4 years ago and it turns out that it was done by the same person. Now that I have done grape stomping, I have to figure out how/when to go swim with the dolphins!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Week in Review

I'm not sure, but I think the economy is turning around. Why do I say that? Well, Erick has not traveled much at all for work over the last 6-8 months. Now...he is traveling almost every week. I don't know for sure if work travel is an official economic indicator, but I think it might be. Anyway, he was gone a few days last week to Boston and then he left to go back on Monday and will get back late tonight. In a week, he might be headed to Australia. In October he has trips scheduled to Dubai and Paris.

I have been busy keeping the household running. On Monday, Bella had her first Brownie meeting of the year. She was very excited since she bridged to Brownies at the last girl scout meeting last year. This year should be quite an adventure in Brownies as they will be going on outings as a group. As you can see from the picture, she was very proud in her new vest. Harry also had football practice on Monday night. Getting the kids to their various activities with Erick gone can be quite a challenge. With the help of friends and family, we get it done.

On Tuesday, Harry won his second football game of the season. I would say his team is on a roll, but I don't want to jinx it. The exciting part of the game was that Harry got to play center for the last part of the game. Apparently, his coaches were not happy by the usual center's performance so they asked on the sidelines if anyone else has ever played center. Harry saw this as his big chance and raised his hand. He later confided to me in the car that he had never actually played center before in a game only in practice last year. Well, his snaps looked good, so he might have the opportunity to play the position in future games.

Homeschooling is going well. I feel we are starting to get into a rhythm. I am meeting with an old high school friend that I haven't seen in years on Saturday night. She also homeschools so I can't wait to see what works for her!

Last night was the kick off of Wednesday night church activities. This year we have a lot of changes. Becca has decided to do choir this year before confirmation, Harry is doing bell choir before the 5th-6th youth group meets and Bella has a new choir for older kids that uses sheet music to follow along with. Bella said she likes using the sheet music because it is easier to read the words than to try and hear what the words are with everyone singing. I never thought about this before. I'm glad she is getting old enough to really understand and verbalize what things work to help her when she is missing things from not hearing.

Okay, ready for the bad mom story of the week? Here it is. I had written down that Harry's bell choir and Becca's choir both started at 5pm. I dropped them off at the church and instead of going in like a good mom on the first day and making sure the times were right and they got to where they needed to go, I saw it as a good time to make a quick trip over to Costco with Bella. I came back to church at 5:40pm and realized that I had sent Harry to the intermediate bell choir with middle schoolers. His was really supposed to start at 5:45pm. Well I apologized to the teacher, but she said it was fine and that Harry was very musical and did very well with the group. Oh well...

The weekend is gearing up to be a busy one with another football game, new speech for Bella, swimming, and a lacrosse clinic for Becca. Luckily, Erick will be back to help.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Football, Outlaws, and Rodeos...Oh My!

What a full Saturday! We started with a football game in the morning where Harry's team, the Orange Crush, won its first game of the season. They now stand at 1-2 with many more wins to come (hopefully). It was then off to Bella's swimming where she again looked very good in the water. Her teacher introduced the side breath for the front crawl which appears it will take a while to achieve.

Then it was off to the Defeated Jesse James days in Northfield, MN. Harry, Becca, Bella, my Mom and I went, but we left Erick home to rest and get some alone time. The Jesse James days celebrates the heroics of town residents on the day of Sept. 7, 1876, when Frank and Jesse James, along with their gang of outlaws, tried to rob the 1st national bank in Northfield. Instead of a successful robbery, two of their gang were killed and the others were captured. Only Frank and Jesse James got away, but their level of successful bank robberies was never the same after the day in Northfield.

We watched a reenactment of the event in front of the real 1st National Bank, which has been restored, but still stands where it did that day. They used real guns that shot blanks and Bella kept saying how loud it all was. She enjoyed it despite of the loud gunshots.

After the reenactment we went to the Jesse James Days Rodeo. I myself had never been to a rodeo. The kids had gone before with my Mom to a few at the State Fair. It was very interesting. Lots of music (Kid Rock was a favorite) and excitement. Of course we had to add our own excitement to the night! Right before the rodeo started, Becca tapped me and said, "Mom I think I am allergic to something!" I looked at her cheek and it was bright red with white hives. Just a few minutes prior to this, the picture from above was taken, where a horse brushed his nose against her cheek. Becca's been around horses many times before so I know she's not allergic to them, but someone said they spray them with fly spray and I think that's what caused the reaction. For the first half of the rodeo, she said her face felt like it was on fire and being poked with needles. Then it seemed to settle down.

During the rodeo I was surprised by something called Mutten Busters. Apparently kids sign up before the rodeo starts to ride sheep like a bucking bronco and see how long they can stay on. To me, it didn't appear very safe. The kids were small, about 5-8 years old, and those sheep threw them off hard. Then the kids had to quickly scramble off of the ground to avoid being stepped on by the sheep. Harry, of course, stood up immediately after it was over and said, "Next time, I'm signing up for that!" Hmm... what's the phrase I'm looking for...Oh yeah! Over my dead body!!!!

The rodeo went very long. It started at 8pm and didn't end until shortly after 10pm. Around 9pm, the announcer said that the first 10 kids with cowboy boots to climb over the fence and get in the arena were going to participate in a contest. Well, of course Bella had her red cowboy boots on so I quickly brought her to the fence and over she went. She ran to the middle of the arena with the rodeo clown with the other kids. The contest was to take off your cowboy boots, run back end of the arena and back again and then find your boots (which they had all mixed up) and put them on first. Bella didn't win, but she sure had fun!!!

We didn't get back home until after midnight. We were all were exhausted. Today, we are hoping for a Vikings win and a day of recovery.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back To School

Big week... Tuesday was back to school. Becca (8th grade) and Harry (5th grade) returned to World Learner School which is a Montessori charter school in Chaska. We decided that Bella (2nd grade) needed more repetition to fully cement important concepts in her mind. And so... Rowe Academy was born. Yes, I am going to homeschool for Bella for 1/2 of the day and then she will go to World Learner in the afternoon. I have to say that last Sunday and Monday I was having a bit of a panic attack. The following thoughts (and more) were running rampant in my mind: What are you thinking? You can't teach! Have you lost your mind? Do you really want to be responsible for educating a child? Well, I have to say that so far the days have gone quite well. I have my teacher's planner (so official) and all of the books I chose over the summer as our curriculum. I am also using an online computer program called Time4learning for language, science, and social studies. I'm sure I will learn and evolve a lot over the year from this experience.

Harry had an interesting first week at school. He is working to become more organized and thoughtful in his work. Last year, he had some issues with getting behind and not turning in his follow-on to lessons. After many discussions this summer about the importance of establishing daily/weekly priorities in school work, Harry appears to be committed and focussed.

Now for the interesting part of the week. Yesterday, Harry and a classmate decided they were interested in making contact with the Dalai Lama. At first they had considered writing him a letter, but after some thought, decided it would be quicker to call him. Now for those of you not familiar with Montessori, the overall theme is to follow the child. "No," is not a word that Montessori teachers like to use as they feel it limits a child's learning. Harry asked his teacher if he could call the Dalai Lama and his teacher said yes, but that she didn't know his number. So off to google goes Harry and the other boy. Amazingly enough, the Dalai Lama has his own website complete with a phone number. I haven't actually confirmed this, it is what Harry told me. Anyway, the phone number began with may be able to see where this story is going. Harry dials the number starting with 911 and is surprised when he is connected to 911 emergency. He tells the person that he has the wrong number and then hangs up. He calls again and you guessed it, the 911 operator answers again. This time the person asks to speak to Harry's teacher. I am not sure what the teacher said (I still have an email to ask for her recap of the whole situation), but I do know that the sheriff also came to the school during recess to get some additional information. Ah...the beauty of Montessori. Follow the child and you never know where the road will lead. Sometimes, I wish Harry would take the road more traveled, but that's not his nature.

Becca started her school year on a middle school retreat. Every year they use the first couple days of school to go on a retreat so the kids can form a bond that will hopefully carry over to the school. It seems like she had fun, but she had a run in with leeches in the lake and she has the broken capillaries in her hands to prove it.

I wonder what next week will bring...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

End of Summer

Okay, it might not be the official end of summer, but unofficially summer is just about over. School will start on Tuesday and fall activities have begun.
Yesterday, Bella started her fall session of swimming lessons. We decided to do private lessons again with the FABULOUS teacher, Miss Stephanie, at Foss Swim School. Bella has been taking lessons for almost a year now, but last session was the first time we did private. It is much easy to gear the class to Bella's strengths and needs in a private environment. Also, it is easier to have her come back to the end of the pool to get the next set of instructions since she can't swim with her implants. Miss Stephanie told us yesterday that one of her students went to swim with the Olympic team this summer and she was only 15! She thinks Bella could be a really good swimmer with the right guidance because as she says, "Bella has a swimmers body." I was a little nervous to go to swimming yesterday because I wasn't sure how Bella would do. We didn't take formal lessons during the summer and it has been so cold this summer that we haven't spent a lot of time swimming. Well, Bella got into the water and her kick was so even! You could have knocked me over with a feather! Her uneven kick is something that has always plagued Bella in the water. Due to her right sided weakness and difficulties with coordination, it has always been tough to kick both legs with the same force. Yesterday, she just did it! Perhaps it is due to the chiropractic adjustments and homeopathic remedy we are using. Who knows, but it was so great to see!
One thing I have noticed from the homeopathic remedy that we started with Bella is more attitude and anger. This is something that the homeopath warned me about when we first started. It is not all the time, but she definitely is not as compliant as she was before we started the remedy. I am told these "outbursts of anger" are her true personality and show that her brain is processing things the way it should now. Great, doesn't surprise me since my other two have this trait also.
Yesterday we also celebrated my brother's birthday. He is going to school in South Dakota right now so we don't get to him that often. It was a fun end to the day!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hospital Day

Today was Isabella's surgery date for a new ear tube in her left ear. It was originally set up for Sept. 8, but due to a cancellation, she was able to get in today. We were so excited because Sept. 8th is the first day of school and that would not have been the best day for surgery.

Bella has had surgeries in the past, (ear tubes, her cochlear implants) but nothing since she was about 2 1/2 so she didn't remember how it felt to go to the hospital or what to expect. She was so brave. On the way to the hospital, I asked if she was nervous and she said, "No, Mom. I'm fine, it's going to be quick!" That's what I have been telling her over the last few weeks, so glad to hear she had been listening.

Bella was fine while the nurses talked to her and she got the hospital pj's on. All the doctor's came in to see her and she smiled and laughed. As her bed got wheeled into the OR she started to look a bit panicked, but she remained brave. Who can blame her? All of the bright lights and the tools in the OR scare me too! She took 5 big breaths with the gas mask (covered in the Strawberry Skittles lipgloss she choose so that it smelled good) and it was off to dreamland.

The ear tube surgery was super quick. Whole time in surgery was 20 minutes. Then we had to wait around for the anesthesia to wear off. She was very low key for the first few hours we came home, but then she asked to do some homework. What can I say, she loves to learn! Definite highlights of the hospital experience were the two packs of cookies she ate in recovery along with the Sprite and the Hello Kitty balloon she got at the end.

We go back in 4 weeks to see her ENT, but he said the fluid behind the eardrum looked clear so hopefully the new tube is the fix we needed!

The pictures show her before and after surgery. The one cuddled up with the blankets is before and the other one is after her cookies and Sprite lunch. Before the surgery, Bella also stopped to say "hi" to Charlie Brown.

Monday, August 31, 2009

State Fair Outing

Yesterday was our annual outing to the MN State Fair. I woke up wondering where the dog days of summer had gone. It was 49 degrees when I woke up and I wondered if I should bring a pair of mittens to the fair instead of sunblock. It actually warmed up nicely and hit 70 degrees for a high. Man, was it crowded at the fair this year! Everyone opting for the staycation took it at the fair on the same day.

We always go to the fair with my parents which makes it a fun family trip. Usually one of my brothers or sisters go, but this year it was just us. We started our food frenzy with our traditional first stop of footlong hotdogs. We proceeded to eat our way through french fries, cheese curds, chocolate milk shakes, and roasted corn. We also stopped for a bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies, of which I had a few and then proceeded to leave the rest of the bucket at a water game on the midway. Probably didn't need them anyway. New food items tried this year were "The Elvis sandwich (fried bread with peanut butter and bananas), Reuben pretzel ( rye pretzel stuffed with corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut), and a pronto pup. True a pronto pup (deep fried corn dog) isn't new to many familiar with the MN State Fair, but I had never tried one.

Favorite stops along the way at the fair were: the dairy barn where Harry and Bella both got to hand milk a cow, the miracle of birth exhibit where Bella got to pet a baby pig, duck, chick, and sheep, and the Lil' Hands Farm where you can pretend to be a farmer. You might think Harry is too old to enjoy the Lil' Hands Farm, but he is the one who demanded we go. Glad to see he knows how to remain young at heart!

Starting our fair excursion at 11am and ending around 9pm made for a long day, but a nice end to summer.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Play's the Thing....

The kids were a part of a play camp this past week. It is a great camp because everyone gets a part and they do it all in a week. Lines have to be memorized, dances and songs learned, all in a very fast paced manner. You have to be seven to be in the camp and Becca and Harry have been done it 5-6 times in the past. Of course, Bella wanted to be in the camp this time. I have to admit I was a little nervous for her. As I have mentioned before, sometimes remembering things without lots of repetition can be a big challenge for her. In the end, I decided it was what Bella wanted and she shouldn't held back from trying things just because it might be a little hard for her. Truth is, sometimes I think it is harder for me to watch her struggle than it is for her.

The play was Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. Harry and Becca were street vagabonds and Bella was a ribbon merchant. They all did great and Bella remembered her line (she had one all by herself) and the songs. I am so glad I let go of my fear for her. She is such a determined little girl! We were lucky that Erick's Dad and stepmother were able to schedule a visit at the same time as the play so they could see it too.

The pictures posted are from the play.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Monarch Mania

In our house it is a summer tradition to try and raise a few monarch butterflies. We've been doing this for about 4 years now. Over the years we've had eggs hatch into caterpillars and caterpillars turn into butterflies, but we've never been successful all the way through the cycle from egg to butterfly. Some died making cocoons, some died trying to come out of the cocoon, and some others died as caterpillars. This year we were sure we would complete the cycle. In early August we found monarch egg and we raised it. We were excited with each step. Successful caterpillar, successful cocoon, and then we waited. Two days ago, we could tell it was getting ready to emerge as a butterfly. Well yesterday morning, I came downstairs and saw the caterpillar/cocoon container knocked off of the refrigerator where we had been keeping it. Not a good sign! Harry and I start looking around for the butterfly because we could see it's empty cocoon shell still in the container. Then Harry screamed, "There it is on the floor." Uh-oh. Side note: our Bengal cat really loves to catch flying creatures. Whenever a fly or a moth gets inside the house, he amuses himself by catching them with his paws and eating them. I think you can see where this story is headed. Well sure enough it was on the floor with its wings still wet and looking pretty mangled. It was still alive so I brought it outside to a flower and hoped for the best. I didn't see it later so hopefully it flew away.

Today we did have another butterfly emerge, but this one we found as a caterpillar, not an egg. The video shows a bit of its beauty.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Trip to the Farm

Last Thursday, Harry, Bella, and I went on a trip to Gale Woods Farm with our church youth group. Gale Woods is a working farm. The older kids and the younger kids were split into two groups so I went with Bella. The day was super rainy and wet which was a bummer because a lot of the things to see were outside. It is days like this one that I wish Isabella's implants were completely waterproof. She was the only child with an umbrella and a raincoat, but hey, we have to be safe!

During our trip we got to see some giant pigs, a baby cow, some Great Pyrenees puppies, sheep, and chickens. The kids got to touch all of the animals and also learned a lot about their roles on the farm. I thought it was pretty funny that the farmer referred to the pretty indoor chickens as the "egg chickens" and the outdoor chickens as the "chicken nugget chickens." Also we didn't get to see the baby pigs because they were outside in another field. Probably eating a lot and getting ready to be "bacon pigs". Harry told me that with the older kids, the farmer explained a lot about the animals and their role to be meat for our meals. Glad I wasn't in that group. In the picture, Bella is holding a "chicken nugget chicken."

We also went into a garden where everything that had been planted was done by children during various field trips to the farm. The kids got to pick raspberries right off of the bushes, eat carrots out of the ground, and pick green beans to eat. They also tried basil and dill.

At the end of the trip, I stopped in the farm store and got some (very) fresh summer sausage from some poor unsuspecting animal, but it was good.

All in all it was a very fun day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Birthday

Well this past weekend was full of birthdays celebrations and even a birth! Saturday, we attended my nephew's 5th birthday. It was Star Wars themed and very fun. After the party, Becca, Harry, and Bella went to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Erick and I had date night in celebration of his 41st birthday which was Saturday. We saw, Inglorious Bastards, which was very funny! Saturday we celebrated Erick's birthday with the kids. His big present was a new watch, but he also got a new coffee cup that we had got at the PGA tournament. Harry didn't think that was enough so we had to get a t-shirt that looks like a Vikings Favre jersey. Harry said the t-shirt would be better than a jersey for him because he likes t-shirts.

The other big news of the weekend was that my sister gave birth to a baby girl on Friday morning. Her name is Paige Marine. She is very cute!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yearly Cochlear Implant Tune-up

On Wednesday, we made our yearly pilgrimage to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Each year before school starts, Isabella goes in to make sure her implants are working well and to also have her speech evaluated and check for any issues. Becca didn't come, but Harry, Bella, and I try to make it a fun excursion. It is about two hours away so for the drive down, Bella got to watch the Hannah Montana Movie. With no headphone splitter to be found, Harry was told he could use the DVD player on the trip home and also during Bella's appointments at Mayo.

Well, Mom had not done a good job of planning the trip and waited until the early morning to print out directions. Granted I've gone there every year for the last 3 years, but I forget the details of how to get there. Running late as usual, we pull into Mayo Clinic from a different direction than usual due to the fact that I had typed the wrong address into mapquest. Our appointment now starts in 5 minutes and I am still looking for somewhere to park. Only place I can find is a parking ramp that has a 2 hour time limit. A 2 hour time limit for a parking ramp? Insane. So we get out, go to Bella's first appointment with audiology and I have to leave her there so I can go get the car and find a different ramp that will allow us to stay all day. STRESSFULL!!

So the results of the appointments. The audiologists were impressed, as always, with Isabella's ability to hear. With both of her implants together she scored:

CNC list 10 (word list)-96% on words and 98% on phonemes

AzBio List 24(has to repeat full sentences back)- 90% correct

She was the youngest to ever have been given the Sentence Test because it is very challenging and usually for older children and adults.

Right implant only:
LNT Hard List 2 (word list): 76% words 82% phonemes

Left implant only:
LNT Hard List 2: 68% words 84% phonemes

As you can see, the above scores are yet another testament to the importance of bilateral implants.

After the implant check we went to see the speech pathologist at Mayo who Isabella sees on a yearly basis. She told me after seeing Isabella that she was scoring low in areas that other kids with hearing loss score low. These main areas are idioms (knowing what "it's raining cats and dogs means) and inferences (The man's shoes are wet, why do you think they are wet?). She explained that her research is showing that even with kids implanted very early they miss some of these things that other hearing kids pick up much more naturally. She also said that the emphasis on early learning is all about basic language (teaching directions, basic vocab, etc) and the things leading to higher level language get missed. Now we are searching for where to help Isabella gain this higher language. I wish we lived closer to Mayo and could go there every few weeks, but that is just not possible. Hopefully the SLP will have good recommendations for someone to see locally.

Well the highlight for the day was a lunch visit to a Pannekoeken restaurant. Harry thought it was kind of weird that the servers yell "pannekoeken" when they deliver one to someone who ordered it. If you have never been there before, a pannekoeken is a dutch pancake. Isabella loved it and had to order one so they would yell when it came to her.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is Purple the New Green- Favre Saga

If you live in MN, you have probably spent some time in the last two days wondering which of the following statements is true: A) We have been blessed B) Armageddon is close. Of course if you are not a football fan, you might just be wondering "Who the heck is Brett Favre and why does he spell his name like that if it is pronounced Farve?" Just turn on the TV for a few minutes and there will be several opinions about the MN Vikings new starting quarterback. For me, I guess it means that I will now watch the MN Vikings with a renewed, but cautious interest. I mean if you saw the press conference last night with Mr. Favre, he seems to be a man with a mission, but his arm is quite questionable. A torn rotator cuff and he still got $12 million dollars? Seems a bit risky to say the least. Well for better or worse I will watch the Vikings games and just hope I don't end up with a weekly depression if things turn sour.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...

So last night my fellow classmates of Eden Prairie Class of '89 gathered together to reminisce. Due to my previous commitment with the PGA tournament I was unable to attend. Today on Facebook, I was bombarded with pictures of faces I remember from 20 years ago. Having only attended Eden Prairie for the second half of my junior year and my senior year, there were lots of people I only knew at an acquaintance level. Still it was fun to see the pictures. For the friends I did know well during my junior and senior year, I am glad to see that they look great and are having happy lives. Thinking I graduated 20 years ago does bring back a flood of emotions. Especially with a 13 year old daughter. To think she will graduate in 5 years is scary! I moved around a lot as a child/teen which made it difficult to establish long histories with friends. I am glad my kids haven't had to move around like I did (although they often tell me they wish they did). Perhaps someday when they go to reunions they will have lots of memories to look back on together!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More PGA Talk

So yesterday, I was outside my house with my camera trying to take pictures of the Goodyear blimp, when who should drive up next door? Angel Cabrera winner of the 2009 Masters. I have been trying to confirm that he was staying at our neighbor's house during the PGA tournament and now I have! Well, me being the dork that I am, asked his driver as he walked around if I could get a picture of Mr. Cabrera with my kids. Harry and Bella were excited and I think the picture turned out pretty cute! Angel Cabrera was very nice.

Today I volunteered at the PGA tournament for the Chaska Football Association. Our concessions stand was on the 15 hole. I worked from 6am-1pm. The first couple of hours were really quiet because all the golfers started today at the first hole and the crowds didn't show up until about 11:30am. From 11:30-1pm it was non stop! Instead of having kegs, each beer had to be individually poured into plastic cups. Thankfully, that wasn't my job, but I handled the registers and all of the lovely parts of customer service that go with that. For the most part, the customers were polite and well mannered, but there were some interesting encounters. Someone, upset with the fact that we couldn't give cups of ice so they could "split" their soda, said they would not be back next year. Considering Hazeltine is being torn down next season in preparation for the 2016 Ryder Cup, that shouldn't be a problem.

After my shift I was able to watch the tournament. I got to see Tiger Woods on the 3rd hole, 8th hole and the 9th hole. He truly is an amazing player and it was so fun to see the crowds of people following him around. It is hard to get a true idea on TV of how many cameras are constantly around him. I can't imagine how much pressure that must add to every one of his shots.

Tomorrow Becca and Harry will get to go to the PGA with a teacher from school.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Strange World of Homeopathy

As a parent of a special needs child, I am often willing to go outside of my comfort zone to seek out possibilities that will help my child. With that in mind, I have explored homeopathy over the last month and what it might be able to do to help Isabella. For those of you unaware of what homeopathy is, here is a brief definition: Homeopathy is a system of medicine that uses highly diluted doses from the plant, mineral and animal kingdoms to stimulate natural defenses in the body. Homeopathic remedies are based on the theory that "like cures like," and uses remedies that cause symptoms of a certain illness in one who is healthy in order to stimulate the body's natural defenses to heal those same symptoms in one who is ill. Sounds strange, I know! A little like voodoo. I started to explore homeopathy after reading the great successes it claims for children with autism. I felt that if it could help Isabella with her memory or learning issues at all, it was worth checking out. We gave her a first dose the second week of July and I really did see an improvement in attention and focus. Her ability to remember experiences and repeat them back seems to have improved a little also. It is a work in progress and I have not had any complete "A ha" moments, but I have seen enough improvements to keep going. Also, in Europe homeopathy is quite common and most medical doctors practice homeopathy to help their patients rather than relying on only drugs. I will keep everyone updated on this!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

PGA Mania

Okay, so the little town of Chaska has turned into a very difficult town to drive in and around. The PGA is here this week. Our neighborhood has people walking through it with their passes on their way to the tournament. More kids with lemonade stands than you can believe. Probably pretty profitable. Every restaurant in town is vying for a piece of the action with PGA specials. At the drycleaner yesterday, I saw someone had a car that had signs all around it offering it as a shuttle. Glad to see capitalism is alive and kicking! Oh and everybody around is going crazy to catch a glimpse of Tiger. I work at a concessions stand at the PGA on Saturday so I will get to join in on the craziness myself. Can't post any pictures though. No cameras, no cellphones allowed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Here in Minnesota we are just getting temperatures that resemble summer and now it is already time for Fall sports to start! Harry started football last night and will be part of the orange team this year. He has played for the last three years and really enjoys it. That is when he's not complaining about getting his gear on, how heavy it is, or that he doesn't want to wake up for Saturday morning practice. His coaches seem very nice this year. They are laid back, but knowledgeable about the sport. I am all about discipline and consequences, but hearing grown men scream at elementary school boys unnerves me. Luckily, it doesn't appear that we will have that problem this year.

Also the PGA mania has begun! We live in a neighborhood that borders Hazeltine Golf Course where the 2009 PGA will be played, so there is lots of excitement. Next door, there is a golfer renting our neighbors' house for the week. I am told it is Angel Cabrera winner of the 2009 Masters. I have not seen him with my own eyes yet, so I can't confirm. Pretty exciting though!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The picture with this post is the drawing that Bella did today at a birthday party. It was an art studio and they used paint, crayons, and salt to create the picture. The guitar is made out of clay. I thought it was pretty cute! She wants me to hang it up in her room.

Poor Erick has been in the basement all day cleaning it. Having an unfinished basement is so hard to keep clean because we rarely go down there. It's basically a dumping ground and then I shut the door. Out of sight, out of mind. Now when the workmen come to fix stuff in the basement, I won't have to fear for their safety and wonder if they are going to report me to some agency.

Harry, Becca and I went to see the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" at Chaska Valley Family Theater. It is a local community theater that Harry and Becca have done plays at in the past. Even Bella did a play there when she was only four. It was kind of a nightmare with Bella because some of the shows went until 10pm and I was constantly worried that she would trip and fall into the orchestra pit during her scene. It was the musical "Camelot" and Bella and Harry were frogs from the enchanted forest. Becca was an enchanted mushroom. The picture above to the left is from the show.