Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting our ducks in a row

where does that saying come from?

We are thrilled that Braxton was accepted into the same middle school that Cayden currently attends.  It is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math school.  We have had nothing to complain about thus far, in fact we feel blessed that Cayden has been able to attend and even more richly blessed that Braxton will join him next year.  The approval process was based on many things such as grades, state achievement test scores in math, and teacher recommendations, but he did receive points in his favor for having a sibling at the school.

So, schedules are being made for next year’s classes.  Braxton decided to take band.  We are very excited for him and we hope that it will help him make friends and find his niche in middle school.  We went to band orientation night and he tried out many instruments, got a feel for what he liked, and got recommendations from the band teachers. 



We will soon be investing in one of these





and one of these!


                              noise reduction headphones


By the way, keep voting for Fargo.  We are up against Juneau, Alaska.  It might seem obvious to vote for them because of their bitter winters but we have extremes in other categories too.  Take a second and click below to vote. :)


UPDATE: We made it to the final two.  We are now against Bradford, PA in the final match.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

For the love of Pete!

It’s almost April and today was a snow day!!  The boys are home from school, cussin’ and discussin’ so I sent them outside.  I tried to convince them to go out by telling them that it might be the last big snow of the season and they should enjoy it.  Cayden just rolled his eyes at me and said “sure it will” (dripping in sarcasm of course).

The funny thing is that Fargo has been making sandbags for weeks in flood preparation and was all set to start delivering them to the neighborhoods but that is all on hold thanks to this latest storm.

In the past 24 hours we have had rain, sleet, snow, ice, thunder sleet and graupel.  I will give a prize (ok, an imaginary pat on the back) to anyone who knows what that is.  I never knew the name for the type of precipitation until today.  According to Wikipedia:

 Graupel (also called soft hail or snow pellets; refers to precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water condense on a snowflake, forming a 2–5 mm ball of rime; the snowflake acts as a nucleus of condensation in this process. The term graupel is the German word for this meteorological phenomenon.



They said we got about 8 new inches of snow (although that doesn’t count the other forms of precipitation).  We were lucky, several towns nearby got 12-18 inches.  In the end, though, it only matters how much moisture was present since it all eventually ends up in the Red River. You can kind of judge how much snow we got based on Cayden’s height in this picture.  I think we got more than 8 inches.


you can see how thrilled he is to be outside :)


Now the drift between the houses is halfway to the roof and the mailboxes are nearly buried again.




Thankfully in North Dakota the snow plows come fairly quickly.



Max hates the snow.  He tries to find any way, an excuse to not go outside to go potty.  I think that a lot of times he would rather go on the floor and take the punishment he knows will come.  For some inexplicable reason today, Max loved the snow.  He ran all around the yard with snow up to his armpits and then proceeded to roll all around in the snow, caking his entire coat with snow and ice.



Cayden even put a new twist on one of Max’s favorite games—snow ball catch and fetch.  If you look closely you can see the snow ball in the middle of the picture.  There was so much moisture in the snow that the balls stayed intact and Max was able to bring them back to Cayden.



The Weather Channel is running a contest called America's Toughest Weather City Tournament.  You vote online on their website.  You can use this link      http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/americas-toughest-weather-city-tournament_2011-03-12.  Please vote for Fargo.  I don’t think we actually win anything other than recognition and sympathy but I figure if we have to live in these conditions, we deserve to win.  We are down to the final 8 cities and recently beat out International Falls, MN.  They take our flooding into account and certainly days like yesterday and today factor in.  So, as a favor to me, please vote.


As you can see, the sun is out today, the snow has stopped, the snow plow has come.  For the love of Pete, I sure hope school is back in session tomorrow!

Who is this Pete character?  I’ve got a few things to say to him :)



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hocus Pocus Bogus?


Recently Max has been sporting a new shirt.


It’s called a Thundershirt.  I am curious if any of you have ever heard of them.  Before I go any further I will tell you that the whole premise is ridiculous!  Any sound minded individual would agree.  But, I first noticed  the ad in the Readers Digest (and anything you find in the Readers Digest is true, right?  Kind of like, anything you read on the internet is the God’s honest truth, right?).  I laughed it off and thought anyone who would pay $36 for that was a sucker.

But Max has been having a lot of trouble lately.  It started with the snowplow and the UPS truck.  He could hear them coming for miles it seemed.  He would run from window to window, door to door, barking and shaking.  He would continue his “fit” long after they were gone.  Over time he started reacting this way to pick up trucks, then vans, then cars.  Now he begins his ritual in response to nothing.  It seems like he wants to stop but can’t.  He cries as he is running but you can’t catch him to console him. He barks until he gets hoarse.  All in response to nothing.

I know you can medicate dogs for anxiety but I really didn’t want to do that…and giving Max medicine is kind of what you’d imagine giving a cat a bubble bath would be like.

So, the Thundershirt was starting to sound like maybe it might be worth a try.  They offer a 100% guarantee and as you can see below, they also offer two of the absolute cheesiest commercials ever!




I kind of understand the theory that it works in the same way positive pressure works on autistic kids and swaddling works on newborns.  Other than that, it all seems like hocus pocus bogus to me.

The things is, for Max it works!!!  When we start to see him “winding up” we put it on him and almost instantly he relaxes.  His body tension releases and his barking stops.  He stops running his race track pattern from window to window, door to door, and lies down on the couch with a rawhide or toy and you can just tell he is so much happier.




In a situation that we know might be stressful, we put it on ahead of time and while Max notices the noise or distraction, it doesn’t make him a half-crazed, neurotic canine.

Bottom line…he is happier, we are happier.  Even if it sounds ridiculous and I have no idea why or how it works.  If you have similar problems, let us be your testimonial!  Try it out.




By the way, thanks Tina for helping me figure out how to add videos.  It’s much easier than I was trying to make it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Life has been busy and I haven’t updated this in a bit so I thought that I would touch base.  I hope you can keep up with my scatterbrained conversational whiplash…lol

  • Cayden had food poisoning from a local fast food burger place.  He was extremely sick.  He wasn’t keeping anything down and was losing weight.  They thought it was just a virus at first and told us to just “keep an eye on it” but it just seemed to get worse.  A second doctor’s appointment yielded the food poisoning diagnosis.  By then they said the worst was over and the residual discomfort (why do they always call it “discomfort” when they mean “oh my God kind of pain”?) was due to the intestinal tract being so inflamed and irritated.  A full 10 days later, he seems well on the road to normal.  We all ate there that night and no one else got sick but unfortunately Cayden’s immune system will always be a little weaker than most people’s.
  • I have decided that I do in fact hate economics…no I mean I really HATE economics.  Of all my courses this semester it is the one I work the hardest at and enjoy the least.  On the bright side, today I decided that maybe this accounting program is where I should be.  I thought it was but today I decided it was.  Today I started payroll and I just really love calculating federal income tax withholding, FICA etc. It gives me hope that I will enjoy an accounting job someday soon.
  • I need some new recipes! Does anyone have any quick, fairly easy dinner recipes? We eat the same 6 things over and over.  I guess most people do but maybe your 6 things aren’t my 6 things.  So all of you chefs out there, will you share with me?
  • It seems like the winter will never end here.  It will be 15 below tonight and the wind chill all day has been in the 20s below.  Weather like this is perfectly fine for January… but for March??? In the relatively near future, however, the Red River in Fargo will flood.  2009 was a particularly bad flood and they predict this year’s will be similar.  They can’t say for sure this early of course but early predictions aren’t good.  Two weeks ago the city set up “Sandbag central” again.  It runs 6 days a week and is staffed by volunteers.  Their goal this year is 3 million sandbags by March 19th.  I am hopeful that our family can find a time to go down and help out.  Cayden’s school will be going soon.  Here are two pictures from Sandbag central that I found on Minnesota Public Radio’s website.

Volunteers man one of three spider-like sandbag filling machines at ÒSandbag CentralÓ in Fargo, N.D., on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. City officials hope to fill 3 million sandbags by mid-March in anticipation of the areaÕs third consecutive major spring flood. (MPR Photo/Ann Arbor Miller)

A pile of sand sits behind a truck loaded with new sandbags in the parking lot outside ÒSandbag CentralÓ in Fargo, N.D. Efforts began in Fargo Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, to fill 3 million sandbags by mid-March in anticipation of the areaÕs third consecutive major spring flood. (MPR Photo/Ann Arbor Miller)

  • We recently took a quick trip to Sabin, MN (less than an hour from Fargo) to check out the Old 52 General Store.  It has an old fashioned soda fountain and over 300 different flavors of glass-bottled soda pop.  We came home with 9 different sodas and shared them all.  Some were good…some were oh so bad.  Braxton loved this chocolate soda (and it was SO BAD) and the Jack Black was one of Cayden’s favorites.  The chocolate was so bad that I swore I could still smell it in my kitchen days later!



And now, just because it seems wrong to write a blog that doesn’t have a picture of at least one of the boys…


I think this is my oldest son…of course, I can’t be sure since that one eye is all I ever get to see.  I am fairly sure that, underneath that mop of hair, lies my handsome son.  He thinks his hair looks “just fine” and “just like all the guys”.  Funny thing is, I was walking through the hallways at his school yesterday and he’s right…75% of all the boys I passed had long hair and one eye showing.  I am not sure how they all don’t just run into each other all day.

Braxton doesn’t subscribe to the same hair beliefs yet thank God.  But he does march to his own drummer that’s for sure.  Here he is tonight in his VERY orange, WAY too big soccer socks.  They are definitely a fashion statement!


Whew! My fingers are tired and I am out of entertaining (ok…semi-entertaining) things to share.  I hope this finds everyone well.  Don’t forget to share your favorite recipe (no fish/seafood since Brax is allergic).