Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

In high school, Memorial Day meant the beginning of the end of the school year.  In college, it meant a short, one day reprieve from work before summer session started.  For the past few years, it has meant a long weekend to travel home. 

This year, though, we are truly a military family.  Yesterday, I walked Finn and Abby up the street to our Memorial Day Ceremony.  A local man shared his thoughts about what it means to be a soldier,  and even if that soldier fought in World War II, it gave me hope that their is a good life to be had after a war because it's not so much the fighting that I'm worried about; Daniel has a good eye, a solid head, and a steady finger.  It's the after that I'm worried about (I do too much reading and there was an Oprah episode in February about soldiers after they came home that I just can't seem to shake from my subconscious).  But the man who spoke yesterday was positive and he had funny war stories to share and most importantly, he and his wife celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary over the weekend. 

I wish I had gotten a better picture, but our little town, along with the little towns around us, place a flag on the courthouse lawn for every local veteran who has died.  This year they added 20 new flags. 

The 21-gun salute did, in fact, choke me up a bit.  And taps pushed me right over the edge.  But for someone who can't stand the noise of the food processor, Finn didn't even flinch when those guns went off.

Is there anything better than a man in uniform?  I mean really...that Marine in the center?  So crisp, so stoic...so...military.

I love high school bands.  I know that there's a stigma of being a "band geek," and kids can be so mean, but I really had fun being in marching band - in spite of the heat and the questionable uniforms.  I could see Abby's eyes glaze over when the flag twirlers went past.  I think she wants to be one.

 Oh, the Girl Scouts...is it really a parade if the Girl Scouts aren't in on the action?

And the Boy Scouts...following in the wake of the Girl Scouts.  It's because their camps aren't as cool and you don't see people lining up every year to buy Boy Scout Cookies, do you?  I think I've made my point.

I didn't notice until after I was home and going through my pictures, but this fire truck has the Minnesota National Guard Red Bull flag on it...maybe because the Minnesota border is approximately thirteen and a half seconds away?  I'm going to have to look into it...  

This old man was even cooler than the Shriners and their little go-carts; and I think he got more applause.  I kept wanting to ask him, "Where will you go in your Hoveround?"

Shortly after this picture, Abby asked if she could follow the parade the rest of the route. I think she just wanted to watch the flag twirlers.  Finn fell asleep in his stroller during the 2 block walk home.  I think he was dreaming about a Hoveround.  And I worked in my garden. 

I was thinking about my brother.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I could stand to be done with May.

Is it really almost June? 

Because the temperature outside of my house this morning was screaming a whopping 54 degrees and that, my friends, is not Memorial Day Weekend weather.

Finn slept the entire trip back to Iowa on Friday - all 3 hours and 15 minutes of it.  My heart is very happy to be so close to my parents; the trip was a breeze and driving through the farmland of western and southern Minnesota was beautiful and a good distraction.  If I hadn't had a sleeping baby in my car, I probably would have pulled over a dozen times to take pictures of the storm clouds rolling in and the tractors turning the fields into rich brown earth.  The contrast between the gray sky and the green hills and the brown fields was something else to witness.  I'm looking forward to watching the progression of those crops this summer as we travel back and forth between Iowa and Minnesota.  The next trip we take, I am determined to stop in some of those small towns to take some pictures.

I've spent the last 48 hours pouring over pictures from the past week, narrowing them down to the good ones, deleting the over/under-exposed.  Now I'm going to start some editing.  What a process.  I've also been doing what felt like an army's amount of laundry.  That, too, was a process (and it still has yet to be completed - putting it all away - I'm just too tired to think about hauling it all upstairs.).

Tomorrow there is a Memorial Day ceremony at the courthouse (which is a mere 3 blocks from our house!).  I plan to put Finn in the stroller and walk him and Abby up the street for it.  It's important to me, this year especially, that we take the time to honor the men and women who served our country and sacrificed everything to keep us free.  I want my children to grow up knowing what an honor it is to live here, but that we are here because others stand on the front lines and keep us safe.  I want them to understnad that some die doing that and that we must show them respect.  A WWII veteran is going to be speaking and I'm going to try really hard not to cry during the 21-gun salute - it gets me every single time.  There is supposed to be a parade as well, so I hope that the weather cooperates (read: Sun, come out, please!). 

Since it's not warm enough yet to take the kids to the beach, I told Uriah that I want to go to the nursery tomorrow to get some plants.  I feel like there's enough unpacked inside the house that we can focus on a couple of outdoor tasks and I'm aching to get my hands in the dirt.  I bought some huge basil plants with my Mom last week - the leaves are the size of small lettuce leaves.  I smell pesto in my future - maybe even tonight...if I don't make chili to ward off the "winter" chill.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Home of the Brave

Tomorrow is a big day for the Post family.

I feel like I have lots to say about this new chapter, but for once the words escape me.  I don't feel like I will be eloquent enough or witty enough or that I will be able to convey just how incredibly proud I am of my brother.

{Finn & Uncle Dan | 5.25.11}

If I could request one thing, please keep my brother, and the men and women that he's serving with, in your prayers for the next year.

Remeber that they are the reason that we are the Land of the Free.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Reading

{Lorna Landvick | Sauk Centre, MN | 5.14.11}
It has been months since I've picked up a book that I couldn't put down.  Partially because my time is so limited and partly because my concentration has been shot to crap (I can't seem to follow a really complicated plot line these days - as evidneced by the fact that the last book I read was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and it took me about 4 months to complete.).  But a couple of weekends ago, my mom and I went to see Minnesota author Lorna Landvick speak in my hometown. 

I forgot how many fun - and free - things small towns offer.  And before you get your panties in a bundle, I know that living in The Big City has a lot to offer, too, but sometimes it seemed like the drive to whatever event was going on always tipped the scales toward not doing something.  So, we left the kidlets with my dad (who, for his own sanity, I'm sure, rented the Justin Bieber movie for Abby.  She watched it twice before we got back.) and  the two of us ventrued out into the rain for a mother-daughter book adventure.

For the record, I am love to hearing authors speak; I find learning about other authors writing processes helps me to hone my own skills.  And I am partial to Minnesota authors - I think they are some of the best writers out there.  Usually I like to have read at least something by an author before I go and listen to them speak, but on this occassion I have to say that I hadn't read anything.  Not one measly page, not one book review.  I knew who she was; when I belonged to my Mom's book club years ago, they read one of her books (I'm still not quite sure why I didn't participate in that reading/discussion). 

Lorna Landvick was funny...as in, forget that I'm in a cozy coffee shop with 15 other people, laugh out loud (and mabye even snort out loud) funny.  She talked about her acting career in L.A., and while she was waiting for that to take off, her temp jobs (she actually had a temp job cataloguing Hugh Hefner's movie collection - no ears or bunny tail requred).  She talked about a peace march that she went on that lasted 9 months.  She talked about her subsequent move back to Minnesota from the West Coast, her writing career and the charecters in her books.  She talked about some of the famous people who have read her novels (Arnold Schwartzeneger read one after he was recovering from surgery and Ashley Judd called to tell Lorna she wanted to play a charecters in one of her books that had been optioned for a movie.).  Each of her storeis was sprinkled liberally with wit and humor.

So when I picked up Patty Jane's House of Curl last week, a book about two sisters who open a beauty salon in Minneapolis in the late 50s and 60s, I was expecting Lorna's voice to power through.  I was anticipating all the wit and humor she showered on us during her talk. 

I got Lorna's voice; I got the wit and the humor.  But I also got a healthy dose of sadness.  There was an underlying ribbon of melancholia that I had not been prepared for.  It worked, though, that delicate balance between light and dark, without having one overpower the other and making the charecters unbelieveable or their relationship with each other and the charecters around them seem fake.  The relationship between Patty Jane and her sister Harriet withstood the best and worst times in their lives - love and lost husbands and babies and drunk parents and drop-down-drag-out fights and always a sisterly bond that surpasses everything else and the womanly gossip that comes with getting your hair done.   It made me thankful for my own sisters (and my sisters-in-law and my almost-maybe-someday-sister-in-law).  Like Patty Jane and Harriet, their joy is my joy and their pain I feel in the deepest parts of my bones.

So...Summer Reading Reccomendation #1:  Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvick. Even though I dragged it out for about a week because I just did not want the story to end, it's a pretty quick beach read.  This afternoon I am off to Hill Avenue Book Co and the Spirit Lake Library to find my next summer read.  And if you'd like to share your summer reading suggestions, I'll take them!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I am the luckiest...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On my mind...in Iowa.

  • Wow.  Moving is a mean (insert naughty word here).
  • Babies can really put a damper on the sailor talk.
  • I'm trying to cook with a gas range.  I don't have it down yet.
  • I have a two loads of laundry to fold.
  • I don't want to.  I'll fluff them in the dryer tomorrow.
  • It's what Martha Stewart would do.  (Maybe.  In an alternate universe.)
  • I'm waiting for Uriah to get home.  It seems like the wifely thing to do.
  • I wish he'd hurry up.
  • I met someone famous last week...I love famous encounters.
  • I did not meet someone famous in Iowa.  Famous people don't generally come here.  They go to Minnesota.
  • There are a lot of boxes in my dining room.  A lot.  And they still need to be unpacked.
  • I wish I could wiggle my nose and an Unpacking Fairy would appear and do it for me.
  • Do you have any idea how stupendous it was to sleep in my own bed last night?  Amazing.
  • Abby started school today.  Praise the Lord and pass the gin. 
  • I don't think I was going to be able to handle one more day of, "I'm bored...I should be learning something.  I should be in school!"
  • She printed off math worksheets that she downloaded from the internet.  Seriously.
  • I thought most kids liked an impromput 2 week vacation from school.
  • I just realized that my kid is not "most kids."
  • I'm just kidding...I didn't just realize that.  I've known it for awhile.
  • We have a grocery store that feels exactly like the grocery store that I worked at in high school. 
  • It even smelled the same...like fresh bread and deli meat and gossip. 
  • What do you think of my house?  I L-O-V-E it (that is way better than "hearting" something).
  • I wanted to share a picture yesterday, but I waited and took that picture today after Uriah mowed the lawn. 
  • I don't think I'm going to be able to wait for Uriah...too sleepy.
  • Hopefully more pictures later this week...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

You Capture: Motherhood

Finn has started biting. 

It's a habit I want to break him of pretty quickly because: a) those 4 teeth hurt like you would not believe and b) kids get kicked out of daycare for biting - and while he's not in daycare right now, I don't want to have the biting kid on the playground or wherever.  So, when he bites, we flick his cheek and tell him "No!" 

It's hard to punish him.  Sweet Lord, is it hard to punish that little face.  I still feel that he's just a baby (and he is), but I keep reminding myself that it's for his own good.  And usually when he gets his cheek flicked, he laughs; I don't think he quite understands yet what it means to be in trouble.  However, yesterday Abby was the one who got bit while they were playing together in the grass, and while she didn't really want to punish him, she flicked his little cheek and told him "No!" 

I think they were both going to start crying.

Next week's challenge: Busy

Sunday, May 8, 2011

On Motherhood

This week, in honor of Mother's Day, lots of people have been posting on their facebook pages the names and dates that their kiddos were born.  I've looked at each of these postings and smiled, comparing sizes to Finn's birth weight and thinking about how tiny he once was and how totally over the moon I was to meet him for the first time.  I've thought about adding his stats to my status - Finneaus Uriah, 07.14.10, 8 lbs, 12 oz.  21 inches long.

But what do I add for Abby?  I'm not sure how much she weighed when she was born or how long she was.  I don't know if she was born in the morning or afternoon or the dead of night.  I can't tell her if she was a fussy baby or what soothed her.  I'm not sure what her first food was or her first word or when she started crawling and walking.  I can tell her that I met her for the first time in April of 2007, she was 7 years old and she had a very squeeky voice; she loved to play Polly Pockets and perform dance shows for us.  On June 25, 2008, when she was 8 years old, she came to live with us for the summer and she never left.  That fall we walked to her first day of 4th grade and she held my hand.  On November 5, 2008 she became Uriah's - and, by default, mine - legally.  Uriah and I celebrated quietly with champagne after she went to bed.  On October 17, 2009, when she was 9 years old, I became her step-mom.  She cried like a baby during the ceremony. 

One summer, I think maybe the summer she came to live with us, she got me a key chain that said "#1 Mom."  I still have my keys on it.  The thing of it is, I don't need to know her "stats." She didn't grow below my heart, but she has surely grown in it.

This morning, in what I guess is my first official Mother's Day, Finn woke up before 7.  He needed his pants changed and a pre-breakfast snack and since I'm a single parent these days, I was awake, too.  I made a bottle and we went back to bed together, although there was no going back to sleep for either of us - even after my Dad came in to get him and gave me a few extra minutes in bed.  Abby was awake at 7:30.  She has not mastered a quite voice, but she did have some Mother's Day "surprises" for me - mostly in the form of flowers and  new rose bush that I can plant when we get into our new house.  She and Finn worked on a secret craft with my Mom (along with some help from our super sweet neighbor) as a surprise for me - vases with painted flowers that they used their fingerprints to create.  I got lots of hugs and slobbery kisses and Abby informed me before she went to bed that she told me "at least 60 times Happy Mother's Day" today.

And it was just that...a very happy Mother's Day with both of my kids.

Thank you Sarah, for taking the lovely picture! 

Friday, May 6, 2011


In addition to bunking in with my parents, my sister, and for two nights, my brother, we are also currently sharing our better-than-hotel accomodations with a cat. 

Finn spends most of his time trying to find Kitty Todd and Kitty Todd spends most of her time time trying to hide from Finn.  It's pretty much a win-win for all involved - the cat stays away from me (because I do not care for cats.  At all.) and Finn is occupied looking for her (which actually just involves crawling after the cat when he sees her and not really any active seeking). 

I think the cat would let Finn pet her if I could guarantee that Finn wouldn't put Kitty Todd's tail in his mouth. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

You Capture: Outside

One of the benefits to being moderatly homeless is that we have been able to spend a lot of time outside enjoying the spring weather (by moderatley, I mean we have been boucing from family member to hotel to family member as we wait to get into our house).

Friday night we stayed with Uriah's parents.
The weather was beautiful on Saturay, so we planted flowers with Mimi. 

Abby thinks her bangs are "awesome." 
I can't get a good picture of her without them covering up her face.

 On Saturday night we stayed with Emily and Jerad. 
Abby helped Emily do some yard work (willingly) and climed the tree in their backyard.  After Finn went to bed, we had a fire and roasted marshamllows.

On Sunday we headed North to Okoboji, anticipating only one night in the hotel before we moved all of our stuff into our new house.  Unforunately, plans changed and we ended up needing to find a new place to live, so our time in the hotel was extended.  Needless to say, we spent a lot of time outside playing on the swing set (and some time inside playing in the pool, too!).  A hotel room, no matter how big, can get very small when 3 people are in there constantly.

On Tuesday, in order to kill some time, I suggested that we paint our nails outside.  It wasn't super warm, but the sun was bright enough and the wind wasn't too strong that we were able to stay outside for about an hour.  Finn kept himself occupied with sticks and rocks and occassionally playing with his toys.

Yesterday I loaded the kid into the car and we headed to my parent's house.  Laundry needed to be done in the worst way, and that hotel room was starting to wear on my nerves.  We should be in our house sometime next week and I'm pretty excited to start to feel normal again.  We haven't been together as a family for longer than 3 days at a time for the last 5 weeks.  I'm ready for family dinner and co-parenting and grocery shopping and sleeping in my own bed!

Next week's challenge: Motherhood

Monday, May 2, 2011

Things I don't want to talk about...

  • I may or may not have a place to live...it's still up in the air.  The first place fell through.  Fingers crossed for the second one,
  • My car still has not been fixed and now it has a crack in the windshield thanks to a super dump truck on Highway 71.
  • Living in a hotel is fun.  Until it isn't.  And that happens pretty quickly.
  • I need to do laundry (yesterday).
  • I bought a swimming suit.  I cried.
  • I have been doing lunges in the pool with Finn.  My thighs hurt...which makes me somewhat gleeful.
  • I refuse to cry when buying a swimming suit ever again.
  • It is cold here.  As in...cold.  As in...unseasonably cold.
  • I. Want. My. MIXER!  I have not baked anything for going on 6 weeks.
  • Watching Food Network is crack.  It's going to be a long, hard road back to sobriety when I move out of this hotel and no longer have cable.
  • I should get my fix while I still can.
  • Finn is sleeping on the floor.  Does that make me a terrible mother? 
  • I sure hope not, but, honestly, it is too much work to take all of the crap out of the trunk of my car to get to the pack-and-play and then put all of that crap back in.
  • Speaking of my car (again), I feel like a horder every time I look at it.  It. Is. FULL!
  • I wonder where the grocery store is...
  • I wish I had the energy to read.
  • I wish I had a good book to read...maybe it's a good thing I don't have the energy for it right now.
  • All of my plants are at my sister's house.  They have names and I'm sure she's taking good care of them, but I don't think she'll call them by their names like I do.
  • I wonder what the planting season is here?  It seems awfully cold to be putting in a garden.
  • Why am I worried about the planting season...I don't even have a house!