Category Archives: Life

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

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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Deer Day

I figured that since I’m going to a get together on Saturday with the lovely -R- and my blog address is going to be shared it might be time to add something here that I actually wrote myself.  I have such good intentions for updating this blog and then it falls by the wayside in favor of really fun things like laundry and keeping Lukas from playing in the dog bowls, redialing telemarketers, poking toys into the DVD player, licking shoes, et al. 

I was wracking my brain for something, anything to write about that would be quick.  I have a family drama story that I really want to share, but I’m going back and forth with whether that’s the right thing to do or not.  It would also probably take a series of posts to actually get from beginning to end.  I just don’t have that kind of time or dedication right now.  Then I realized that tomorrow is December 4th.  Known around these parts as Deer Day. 

On December 4th, 1996, my best friend swerved off the road to miss hitting a deer and nailed a telephone pole instead.  Thankfully she was 100% okay, though her mom’s car was totaled.  Exactly one year later, on December 4th, 1997, while taking an unintended backroads detour I was hit by a deer with that very same friend in the car.  Yes, I said hit by a deer.  Again, we weren’t hurt and my beloved Chevy Celebrity suffered minor damage – I just had to squeeze myself out of a six inch door opening for a few weeks until the big dent was fixed.   Every year we email or call each other in celebration of our shared ‘holiday’.  Back in the day we even held a few Deer Day sleepovers where no one was allowed to drive.  We were very fortunate in both instances that no one was hurt – in my case the deer even made it out unharmed. 

Lukas and I were equally lucky last night.  I was stopped to turn left onto our street and the car that was waiting at the stop sign there somehow didn’t see me and pulled out.  I laid on the horn and she stopped just inches short of my driver’s side door.  Granted, I was completely stopped and the other car wasn’t going fast so the accident would have likely been minor, but situations like that have taken on a much more serious note now that there is a helpless little person strapped into a carseat in the back.  I made it safely to our garage before the tears started to flow.

I was prepared for deer, not a teenager on her cell phone.

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Then and Now

2 month doctor’s visit:

2 month doctor

 

4 month doctor’s visit:

4 month doctor

Dr. Langer walked in the room and said, “Hmm, someone is malnourished, isn’t he?”   

Weight -17 pounds, 14 ounces – 87th percentile

Height – 25 3/4 inches – 65th percentile

Head – 18 inches – 99th percentile

I guess he has his mama’s big melon after all!

We ran through the list of milestones (he’s doing everything he should) and when I mentioned that he was rolling from back to belly and she looked at him and said, “You’re advanced!”  It was pretty funny.  Then Nurse Heather commented on the fact that he grabbed at the rotavirus vaccine dropper – she couldn’t get it in his mouth fast enough – she said that they normally don’t do that until six months.  You can’t place to much stock in when they accomplish these things so I am definitely not enrolling him in advanced preschool quite yet.  It’s just good to know that he’s healthy and progressing.

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Finding Our Faith

Today was better.  I’m still overwhelmed, but what new mom isn’t? 

Tonight we had our information class for Lukas’ baptism.  We’re opting (well, I’M opting, Bjorn is conscientiously accepting) to have him baptized at St. Pius.  As my boss has said, if  you baptize them Catholic you know all of your bases are covered.  It’s my impression that it’s much easier to join a Lutheran church as a Catholic than it is to join a Catholic church as a Lutheran.  While I realize that the differences aren’t as significant as they would be between Since we don’t know what our faith future will be this is the option that made the most sense (to me).

We were asked tonight, as we often are, if one or the other of us has plans to convert.  It’s kind of a loaded question.  Bjorn and I are both very strong in our individual faith and we tie our identities closely to the experiences we’ve had in our respective family churches.  When we moved here four years ago I started trying out different churches, sometimes bringing Bjorn along for the ride.  We went to several Catholic churches and a few Lutheran ones, but never found one that really felt like a good fit for both of us.  Then, at the suggestion of one of Bjorn’s co-workers we went to Shepherd of the Valley. 

SOTV was the first Lutheran church I’d been in that felt comfortable, almost familiar, to me.  Bjorn appreciated the quality of the teaching and fellowship.  We were both impressed with the quality of the music and the opportunities for involvement.  We started going regularly last summer.  Our plan is to officially join at some point this summer.  I don’t know if I’ll ever consider myself anything but Catholic, but I don’t want to be one of those families that attends services separately either.  I will continue to pray the rosary and ask St. Anthony for help when I lose things even if my weekly worship takes place in a Lutheran church.

I hate to admit this, but as important as we feel it is, we haven’t been to church since Lukas was born.  At first I didn’t want to take him out in the cold.  Then I was afraid of how he would act during a service.  Now there are no more excuses.  We’re going back this weekend.  Lukas will enjoy the people watching, Bjorn and I will do our best to learn how to be better followers and we’ll continue on our faith journey as a family.

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Digging Out

Today was not the best day. 

I shouldn’t have been surprised.  I’ve felt it coming for a few days and I just kept trying to push it down and focus on organizing and making lists thinking it would help me feel better.  The truth is that I feel like I’m just not balancing things as well as I should be.  I feel so overwhelmed. 

It wasn’t one thing that set me off, rather the sum of a lot of small things.  Lukas FINALLY slept for eight consecutive hours last night, but I was up until close to midnight picking up the house and shredding (only on Day 2).  I woke up tired, sore and nauseous.  I’ve been dealing with the nausea for several weeks now and it’s really annoying (no, I’m not pregnant again.  I think it has more to do with the massive amounts of caffeine I’ve been consuming.)  I was having clothing issues, forgot my makeup bag and didn’t have time to really do my hair so I felt really ugly.  I had an unfortunate issue with someone at work.  I had a meeting that I really wasn’t looking forward to because I felt like it was going to call my competency in to question (it didn’t, in fact it went pretty well).  In addition to the nausea I developed a headache, sore throat and plugged ears.

Driving to the meeting today I felt like I was drowning.  It was the first panic attack I’d had in a long time.  I made it through the meeting, somehow managing not to dry heave all over the table, and told my boss that I needed to go home because I was feeling miserable.  Alison had taken Lukas home with her so the house was quiet.  I slept like a rock for almost two hours.  I didn’t feel great when I woke up as I had hoped, but I did feel better.  I ate toast for dinner and Lukas was pretty subdued and went down easily after a bath, some rocking and a bottle.  Bjorn is at softball so the house is quiet again.  I have strict instructions to be in bed before he gets home.

Sometimes it takes hitting bottom like this for me to realize that I’m not taking good enough care of myself.  Yes, I want our house to be neat and tidy, I want to be successful at work, I want to keep up with a blog and I would love to have time to read a book or do a little crafting.  But I NEED to eat well, exercise and sleep.  My grandma is spectacularly healthy at almost 90 and she attributes it to making sure she took care of herself.  I need to heed her advice. 

I will dig out of this hole I feel like I’m in.  Making lists will help.  Crossing things off of those lists will help even more.  But first and foremost I will eat my fruits and veggies, drink lots of water, take my vitamins, continue to shred and hit the hay before 11pm.

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Two Pink Lines

Those of you who followed me on the old blog know that it was a bit of a struggle for me to get pregnant. There are certainly couples who struggle much longer and face much greater difficulty than Bjorn and I did, but still it was tough for us. Around this time last year we decided that we were going to put the baby issue on the back burner and enjoy our summer as much as possible. Nights out with friends, trips, house projects, canoeing, biking and all manner of things not possible while pregnant or with an infant. We planned to go in for testing in the fall and get serious with the babymaking.

Little did we know. I was already pregnant.

On Memorial Day Weekend we tore out all of the landscaping in our front yard – shoveling rocks, digging out rotten shrubs, moving the living shrubs and planting lots of new ones. Saturday evening my parents took us to dinner and we celebrated our hard work with a round of margaritas. It was the last one I would have for quite a while.

Sunday meant more yard work and later that afternoon I realized that I was late. Only by a few days, but still, late. I didn’t think much of it as my internal schedule had been off for quite a while leading to us getting our hopes up only to be disappointed when taking a test. But I had plans to go out for drinks with a friend the next day and wanted to be a responsible adult so I decided to test, just in case. I was pretty certain it would be negative just like all of the previous tests. I had a few leftover tests from the month before so I hightailed it to the bathroom and took one.

As I sat there and watched the second line pop up I could not believe it. There it was, faintly pink, but still, there were TWO lines. Every single test I had taken to that point had revealed one, very dark pink, you are NOT pregnant line. Just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things I managed to call out to Bjorn, “Um, babe could you come here a minute?” I showed him the test and asked, “What do you see here?” He looked at it questioningly, “What do you want me to see?” “ARE THERE TWO PINK LINES ON THIS STICK OR NOT? THAT IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE!” “Yes. I see two lines. What does that mean?” “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS? OH MY GOD. ohmygodwe’rehavingababy. A baby. Us. We’re having a baby.” Definitely not the way I had anticipated telling him we were going to be parents. I pictured a lot less yelling.

I wasn’t completely convinced so I took the remaining test and failed it due to operator error.  All I’ll say is, nerves and excitement make for shaky hands.  I made Bjorn drive me to CVS so I could buy a few more tests (and a huge bottle of water).  We raced home and I took two more tests, both positive.

Then I started to cry. Unfortunately not because I was thrilled or excited, but rather because this wasn’t our plan! Honestly, those were the next words out of my mouth. Bjorn asked me how I was feeling and all I could say was, “This wasn’t the plan.” Not exactly the warm fuzzies I had anticipated. Looking back I think I was just so overwhelmed that it was finally happening that I didn’t know what to think or feel. I was excited, sure, but there were aspects of our life that were really in flux at that point, namely my no-good, horrible, awful job, and I was planning to start job-hunting that week. A pregnancy was really going to complicate that process.

Fortunately those anxious feelings gave way to excitement pretty quickly. I wanted to tell everyone right that second, but we decided to wait. We needed to get it confirmed by a visit to the doctor and we’d had a few friends that had shared the happy news only to have to share some unhappy news a few days or weeks later. That Wednesday a scary nurse confirmed what we were indeed pregnant. We managed to wait until the following weekend to tell our families.

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