S is for Stuff

In an effort to get myself caught up, here are a few recent happenings.

The James Taylor/Carole King concert was incredible.  My mom, sister and I had such a great time.  It was a pretty emotional experience for all of us, but the best part for me was when my mom leaned over, grabbed my arm and said, “I can’t believe this is actually happening.  I never thought I’d see them together.  And with the two of you.”  I don’t know if I’ll share that kind of a musical connection with my kids, but I sure hope I do. 

Lukas had surgery to have tubes put in his ears at the beginning of June.  Yes, I realize I wrote an entire post chewing out an urgent care doctor when he suggested tubes, but it really wasn’t about the tubes.  It was about his terribly arrogant behavior.  We knew tubes were a definite posibility and when Lou hit seven ear infections in about nine months our pediatrician decided it was time.  I wasn’t nearly as worried about the surgery as I was about not being able to feed or water my child for six hours beforehand.  Lukas is an eater.  The only sign he’s ever used is the one for milk – and he does that while he’s still laying in his crib in the morning.  How in the heck were we going to avoid major meltdowns?  Fortunately he was so distracted by everything going on around him that he didn’t even notice the three hour delay caused by an emergency c-section in our operating room.  He handled the surgery wonderfully and spent the rest of the day eating like a frat boy.  It was actually kind of hilarious to see everything he packed away.  Poor kid probably though we were going to starve him again.

The thing that’s been occupying most of my brainpower for the last several weeks (months) is the fact that we were preparing to buy Bjorn’s great aunt’s farm.  We officially closed on Monday.  This is very, very exciting for Bjorn and I’m excited for him.  Unfortunately I’m not quite as enthusiastic about it.  I think the farm part will be okay.  I’m definitely a city girl, but I’ve known all along that it will be much easier for me to live in the country than it would be for Bjorn to live in the city.  I’ll learn my way around.  My problem lies in the moving back to our hometown aspect.  I never say never because it always seems to come back to bite you but I honestly never wanted to move back home (a fact I wasn’t 100% upfront about because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings).  I love my family and my inlaws and am really looking forward to being so near to them, however it adds a new set of challenges to creating our own life.  In  a small town six degrees of separation drops to about 3.  I’ve had people come up to me and tell me they know my parents, shake my hand and never tell me their own name.  I often get “Oh, you’re that Hoffman girl” or “You married that Olson boy” and while they’re both true and I know these people don’t mean any harm it’s still very frustrating to me.  I feel like I’ll always be someone’s daughter or daughter-in-law or wife or mom or sister or cousin, never just Anna.

One of the things I’ve liked best about living where we do now is the anonymity.  In a small town with so much family nearby it’s going to be next to impossible to do anything without everyone finding out.  The other part of this is that I’ fear running into people that still expect me to be the person I was in high school.  While I’ve always been me, I made decisions back then that I’m not proud of.  I’d hate for people to base their opinion of me or my extended family on a past mistake.  I was a very shy and insecure person and while I’m still insecure I’ve come a long way in breaking out of my shell.  It seems that shy people are viewed in two ways – sweet or stuck up.  Sadly, I think I fell on the stuck up side and it really impacted my relationships. 

Bjorn made a very insightful comment the other night (and I have to tell you he has been incredibly supportive of my feelings throughout all of this, if our roles were reversed I can’t say that I would have the same level of patience) that most people aren’t able to be their true selves during high school.  We’re too focused on fitting in that we change aspects of our personalities to better suit the people around us.  I think this is especially true in small towns where there are fewer activities and fewer people to engage.  I couldn’t wait to go to college and meet a whole new set of people that were maybe a little more like me. 

Don’t get me wrong, we have friends there.  People we love that love us back.  People that will accept us no matter what.   I’m looking forward to growing those friendships.  While people that live in small towns might like to gossip and they can be catty, they are also the very first to show up when you need help and they never expect anything (except maybe a few beers) in return. 

This went off in a much different direction than I intended but it feels good to have gotten it out.  You can expect to see pictures of the renovations happening at Green Acres (“good-bye city life” and yes, that’s what we’re calling the farm).  We have a lot of work to do.

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Filed under Auntie Alice, Bjorn, Grandma Kiki, Green Acres, Life, Lukas

L is for Ladies Man

A few shots from our glorious long weekend:

This was our last obligation-free weekend for the forseeable future with 3 graduations, 3 weddings, 2 bachelor/bachelorette parties and (gulp) closing on the farm all happening within the next 30 days.  We did our best to enjoy our time as much as possible and I think we succeded.

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T is for Troubadours

James Taylor and Carole King.  Tomorrow night.  With my mom and sister. 

Their music will forever remind me of my mom banging the vacuum into my bedroom door and singing at the top of her lungs on Saturday mornings.  Seeing them in concert together is something that has been on my life list since junior high.  I am so excited!

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O is for Outtakes

In response to Audrey’s comment on my last post I said, “I really should post some of the outtakes though – while the photo looks sweet and innocent from the back, the ones I tried to get from the front are comically awful.”  Audrey wanted to see the hilarity and since she’s one of only three people actually reading (the others being my sister and the lovely -R-) I figured I owed it to her to oblige her wishes.

And so…

 Try #1

Try #2

No Great Grandma in this one.  Lou had pushed her away.

And a few others, just because:

Lukas isn’t really much of a crier or tantrum thrower.  I try to grab some of these moments with the camera because I want to be able to remember all of the facets of Lou’s toddlerhood, especially the ones that aren’t necessarily picture perfect.  While laughter, smiles and snuggles are definitely part of the mom experience, so are screaming fits and snot.

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G is for Great

On Saturday Lukas and I went to visit his great grandma.  At 90 my grandma is incredibly vital.  She’s lived a long, full and at times very difficult life.  As I was growing up we weren’t incredibly close but as she’s aged her demeanor has mellowed a lot and she has been pretty involved in Lou’s life.

We’d spent the early part of the afternoon at a birthday party for our god-daughter so by the time we made it to GG’s house Lou was exhausted from skipping his nap.  He wasn’t in the best mood but we did our best to make the most of the visit.  He climbed the hill in the backyard and rolled back down, ate a few cookies and checked out all of the incredibly breakable items that were at his level.  GG was so appreciative of us stopping and spending just an hour.  It was such a nice afternoon.  Those of us with more than five words in our vocabulary had a great conversation – more honest and direct than I would have ever expected.  I felt a little guilty as we left that I don’t make more time for visits like this, especially as my grandma handed me a piece of crystal that my grandpa had given to her and told me that I could expect more, but that she wasn’t ready to part with it just yet.

I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the two of them together from the front.  Lukas was hysterical in all of them, but I just love this one of them from behind.  They had no idea I was there.  89 years separate them.  One is at the beginning and one is nearing the end.  The stories they could tell each other.

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R is for Respect

We’re going to take a break from our not-so-regularly scheduled picture updates so I can share an experience from tonight that made me so angry I am planning to write a STRONGLY worded letter.  Unfortunately that’s as in your face as this nice midwestern gal gets.

I have to start at the beginning.  Yesterday about two hours into the day I got a call from daycare that Lou didn’t seem right.  He’d walk a few steps, fall down, then get back up only to fall down again.  He’d had a rough few nights with what we figured was pain from the FIVE teeth he currently has erupting in his mouth so I thought maybe something worse was actually going on.  Fortunately  I was able to make an appointment with our pediatrician.  It turned out to be an ear infection that was causing his loss of balance.  What a relief!  We’ve been on this train before – five times.  A few days of meds and he’d be as good as new.

I mention the number of ear infections because late last fall it seemed as though we were visiting the doctor every other week.  Bjorn and I both had chronic ear infections as kids and our primary doctor told us early on that they can be genetic.  It’s important to note right now that I have nothing against medication or medical procedures if they are necessary.  At the recommendation of several people we opted to take Lou to a friend that’s a chiropractor at the tail end of his last ear infection.  I’ll admit that I was skeptical, but my sister had chronic migraines in high school and after months and months of doctors trying to help her she finally found reliable relief at the hands of a chiropractor.  To our happiness Lukas’ adjustment helped immensely.  Our doctor had given us the okay to try it saying it might help and it definitely wouldn’t hurt.  Yesterday was our first unexpected trip to the doctor in THREE MONTHS.  A major record for us.

Tonight after work we stopped at my mom and dad’s to say hello.  As we were getting ready to leave we noticed a rash covering Lou’s belly and back.  Knowing that the only change to his routine was the antibiotics he’d been taking I chalked it up to an allergic reaction.  I knew he needed to be on meds so I called the after hours nurse line and spent a frustratingly long time on the phone with a very nice nurse.  After answering what felt like a ridiculous number of ridiculous questions she finally told me that if a kid Lukas’ age presents with a rash after receiving the medicine he was given they need to be seen by a doctor within four hours.  WHY didn’t you tell me that at the beginning of this 20 minute call?

I fed Lukas dinner and we headed to our neighborhood Urgent Care.  After an hour and a half of keeping him from escaping through the automatic doors we were finally called back.  After another thirty minutes in walks the McDreamy wannabe.  All hair, scruffly beard, leather bracelet and arrogance.  I will be perfectly honest, I was tired, stressed and out of sorts.  It’s been a long week.  Lukas was well past bedtime and wanted to go home – he kept handing me his jacket and giving me a look like, “Mom, you don’t even have to open the doors.  Let’s blow this popsicle stand.”  McD Wannabe starts listing off a bunch of symptoms that Lukas has, but are not our primary reason for being there such as eye discharge and ear pain.  I’d told the intake nurse about his ear infection but apparently the doctor wanted to discover it for himself.  Finally I had to take Lou’s shirt off for the doctor to even LOOK at the rash.  He hemmed and hawed for awhile, looked in Lukas’ ears and deemed them “red, but not that bad”, looked at the medication bottle I’d brought in and made a point of saying that HE would never prescribe that for an ear infection which I think was an effort to make him seem superior to our pediatrician whom we trust and respect, rattled off a bunch of medical terms to try and sound smart and then finally wrote a new prescription. 

In the midst of this he left to take a call.  He had to tell me that it was regarding his ‘cardiac’ patient.  I realize that’s important and I was fine with him leaving but the tone was incredibly disrespectful.  I realize an ear infection isn’t on the same level as a heart issue, but my kid is sick and tired.  Would it be so tough to treat him with a little kindness?  The lovely doctor also ripped Lou’s pacifier out of his mouth after he dropped it on the floor and put it back in his mouth so it could be rinsed off in the sink.   He tsked me and said something about it being really dirty in there.  Look, I know.  It’s gross.  This kid also likes to lick our shoes if we leave them by the door.  The pacifier didn’t land with the nub on the ground.  Chances are whatever he would catch from your dirty exam room will get killed off by the amoxicillin you’ve prescribed.

At some point during our conversation I mentioned that this was Lou’s fifth ear infection.  When he came back with the prescription he also handed me a card for an ENT.  He said “with five ear infections he really needs to see a specialist and get tubes.”  Okay.  You’ve seen my kid once.  I’ve asked our pediatrician with every ear infection visit if she thought tubes were necessary.  She doesn’t think so…yet.  We’ll keep evaluating.  If she tells us she thinks they would help we will do it.  She knows him.  She knows kids in general.  I trust her opinion, not the opinion of a random Urgent Care doctor with floppy hair.  At this point I made a HUGE mistake.  I mentioned our visit to the chiropractor. 

This gave McD Wannabe all the ammo he needed to completely irritate the hell out of me.  He started by asking me what my husband and I do for a living.  I’m guessing to make sure he didn’t step on any toes with his next comment (Bjorn thinks he wanted to see how educated we were just so he could determine which level of condescension to use.)  According to the ‘good’ doctor chiropractics were started by a guy from Iowa who bagged groceries.  He also assured me that he was 100% certain that Lukas’ trip to the chiropractor did absolutely nothing to ease his ear issues.  He’s not sure what it was, but it DEFINITELY wasn’t the chiropractor.  The implication was that chiropractors are quacks and I was endangering my child by exposing him to one. 

Fortunately we were walking out at this point.  My hands were full of Lukas and all of our stuff.  Had they not been I just might have clocked him or at the very least made some wild hand gestures.  I instead passed along a very terse, “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion”. 

I know that I am not a doctor.  I know that doctors are well-educated and they have to retain a lot of information.  That doesn’t mean they should be allowed to treat the rest of us like a bunch of shmucks.  We’ve been really fortunate to have understanding, patient and kind practitioners up to this point.   That’s why I can’t accept his behavior.  His rude assessment of our doctor’s choice of medication.  His dismissal of chiropractors.  His judgement of the choices I’ve made for my child.  There is a level of common courtesy and respect that was completely lost on this guy.

Under most circumstances I would just chalk this up to a rough night for all involved but we’ve had more than one bad experience with this particular Urgent Care.  We’ll be taking our copays elsewhere.

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E is for Easter

This plaid jacket made my dad laugh so hard he started to cry.  I’d say that’s a fashion win when you’re one.  I think he has a future in hosting game shows.

I’m probably one of the few who will claim Easter as their favorite holiday.  I loved it as a kid – my mom and grandma had a way of making all holidays special – and I continue to appreciate it as an adult.  I prefer ham over turkey so it beats Thanksgiving.  Putting together a few Easter baskets is far superior than the present hunt that precedes Christmas.  Cadbury mini eggs are the best candy.  Period.  Sorry Halloween. 

We had an especially nice time this year.  The weather was practically balmy for Minnesota.  My mom made an incredible dinner.  After three days of soft foods due to having my wisdom teeth out on Thursday it was definitely a highlight for me.  Lukas discovered suckers and bubbles and was doted on by all of his grandparents at once (Yes, my in-laws and my parents get along extremely well.  We’ve shared most holidays since Bjorn and I got married.  Outsiders are usually pretty shocked by this.)  I am also happy to report that I stuck to BOTH of my Lent resolutions and did not eat fast food OR log in to my Google Reader once from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.  I still read blogs (of course) but I had to get to them organically.

Another highlight for Bjorn and me was seeing how excited Lukas was about his belated birthday present.  We knew we wanted to give him a toy for outside, but it didn’t make sense to have it taking up space in our house in January.  With our house currently on the market it would have just been one more thing to move out of the way during showings.   Now that the weather has warmed up and we have a little more room in the garage it was time to finally get the little guy something.  For some reason I had my heart set on a Cozy Coupe, but after seeing his love for another automobile at daycare we knew we had our winner:

He tried to launch himself out of Bjorn’s arms as soon as he saw it and has spent nearly every waking moment since touching it in some way.  I guess he likes it.

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