Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Get it? The blog post is titled reflections, which is something that you do at the end of the reflect. But here's a picture of Romelie looking in a mirror...and she's reflected back. So it's reflections. Get it? Ah. The wit. The wit of me.

I could totally do another laundry list of updates; it's been long enough. Instead, I'll go back to my usual paragraph format and try to summarize.

First, regarding my dad. I'm happy to say that he is out of the hospital and back at home. However, he ended up being there for 11 days. At first, when he said he was expected to be there for four days, I was like "What? Four days?! That's forever!!" And then, Christmas morning, he finally gets to go home. I could fill in lots of medical details--mostly about lung fluid, picture that--but rest assured, he's doing better, although I hear both he and my brother have a case of the barfs right now. Super unfair.

Speaking of the barfs...our family had the barfs last week. Well, Romelie and I had the barfs...Chason had all the symptoms minus actual vomiting. I don't think we're responsible for passing it to my dad and Paul, though, since it's been gone for a week in my household. Romelie also went to Urgent Care (again) with her first ear infection last Tuesday night.

I think it's time for my family to have some super healthy time, don't you?

Change focus cuts! Romelie had her very first professional hair cut on Christmas Eve morning. We went to Kids Hair in Edina, recommended to us by Jen. It was pretty awesome. They kept her entertained with Dora and toys while they cut her hair. Not traumatizing at all, she got a sucker for being a good girl, and they let my mom keep some hair. Which is gross, but it made her happy.

Now...Christmas! We had a really wonderful Christmas, I must say. Often, it can get pretty hectic; it feels like we're just rushing from place to place, trying to see everyone but not really spending much time with anyone. This year, my mom's family did their celebrations on Christmas Eve day, so we were able to spend a few hours there. Then Christmas morning was spent at my house, followed by lots of playtime and nap time. Christmas night we went to my dad's for a delicious dinner (yay Paul) and Romelie and I spent the night. Then Romelie stayed with Paul and my dad, and Chason and I had Saturday night off; we celebrated with board games and stayin' in. And then Sunday we visited my dad's family who had postponed dinner from Christmas day because of the weather. And I must say, it made for a nice, long, celebratory weekend with lots of great food, family time, and minimal stress. Good job, holiday.

Romelie, of course, was spoiled silly since she basically got to open presents for 5 days straight (starting on Christmas Eve and ending with a gift from Aunt Bronwyn and family that arrived on Monday!). Thanks to everyone for keeping Romelie clothed, comfortable, educated and entertained; she has been enjoying her presents tremendously. Unfortunately I think most of the good pictures are on Paul's camera; I'll try to snag those before he goes back to Chicago.

Let's see...I got to see my friend Kristin, whom I haven't seen since our wedding, and her family, whom I haven't seen since Kristin's wedding (a couple years before mine). It was wonderful to spend some time with them, though we weren't able to do too much catching up. Romelie played piano, though, and loved it. And Crystal comes into town tonight!! Welcome back to the land of ice and snow.

It's been a while since I've updated you all on Romelie's newest skills, words, interests, and developments, but this is a pretty long entry already, so I'll save it for another blog. I will, however, leave you with this video of Romelie dancing to "Single Ladies." I tried to teach her the classic hand move from this video (if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about), and she gave it her best.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Are you ready? Well let's do it! Break it down!

It's been two weeks. Shall we catch everyone up to speed? Here's what you missed:

*Romelie and I flew to Chicago to visit Paul and Carrie and see Yo Gabba Gabba live. Last minute choice (flights for $100). Can you blame us? Check out these awesome videos and pictures.

*Romelie barfs in the car on the way to the show. I debate pulling over to clean her off (which would have made us late), or turning around and heading back to Paul's apartment (which would have meant expensive tickets go unused). I kept driving. Anyone blame me? I sure did. Luckily I had brought a change of clothes and she didn't barf again. Must have been something she ate.

*Romelie gets a cold later that evening. Lasts a few days. Thank goodness for baby Tylenol.

*Paul and Danni take Romelie to Children's Museum in Chicago. Much fun is had despite the cranky sick kid.

*Return to MN. Hey, when did it become so frigid? Highs around 0 degrees; windchill already at -25 degrees. Uh...I guess it's winter.

*Danni gets cold. Misses work.

*Danni finally returns to work Wednesday morning. Gets call from Jen around 11:15. Romelie has had two instances of diarrhea. Must be picked up and kept home for 24+ hours. Danni leaves work. Sorry, Bakken! Danni also cancels speech practices. Sorry, BSM!

*Romelie returns to daycare. My mom comes into town. Beautiful old dog, Chloe, comes along too. She needs to be put to sleep. Sad, sad Danni.

*Friday morning - put wonderful old dog to sleep. Lose it big time.

*Friday later morning - drive Mom to hospital for carpal tunnel surgery. Ouchie. Get well soon, Mom!

*Big big big situation. Will not share--certainly not on a blog, for crying out loud--because frankly, it's no one's business. Age 10 years. Eh...whaddya gonna do? :)

*Saturday, discover Dad has the flu. Get well soon, Dad!

*Monday, discover Dad is in the hospital with pneumonia. Come on, world...really? Saw Dad last night. Looking good, you.

*Monday, after much delibaration and soul-searching...quit job as speech coach at BSM. Feel terrible, but need personal time. Head coach is amazing and wonderful. Thank you for understanding.

Which brings us up to today. So good...

That's what happens when you don't blog for two weeks. I'm sure I missed a few stories, events, and other happenings, but that's all I feel like writing at the moment. Romelie, by the way, is all better and doing great. Finally back into her routine (travel and illness messed it up pretty badly) and seems to be very happy. I will be sure to share lots of Romelie updates in the next entry. Ten more days until Christmas?! Raise your hand if you're completely unprepared.

(Pause. Sheepishly raises hand.)


Monday, November 30, 2009

Rah ah, ooh la la

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We had a lovely Thanksgiving with my dad’s family. My dad cooked and sent us home with lots of leftover, which we managed to make last through most of the weekend. I did not remember to take pictures until the very end, but I did get one of Romelie sitting on my bed reading some books and one of Chase, my cousin Brandon’s son, toddling around. He just turned one around the same time Romelie turned two, but he’s walking like a pro.

My dad kept Romelie overnight on Thanksgiving (thanks again, Dad!), so I got to sleep in and then head to Target and Best Buy for some awesome Black Friday deals without the crazy 5 am rush line. I got a bag of Legolos for Romelie for $10, a cheapie DVD player for upstairs, and a fancy, brand-spankin’ new phone. It’s a Samsung Instinct, basically Sprint’s equivalent of an iPhone, and it’s awesome. And because of Black Friday (and me renewing my contract for another 2 years, which I would have done anyway), I got this $600 phone for free, plus some other random accessories that I will never use – such as a Bluetooth. I have since downloaded “Wheel of Fortune,” “Carmen Sandiego,” and “Oregon Trail.” Who picks nerdy apps for her fancy phone? This gal. But Crystal told me about a website ( where you can create awesome ringtones from mp3 files, so I now get to hear the opening of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” when anyone calls me. For those who haven’t heard the song, it goes something like this:

Roma Roma-ma
GaGa ooh la la
Want your bad romance

Trust me…it’s awesome.

Finally, yesterday at morning church Romelie and Linus, a boy a few months older than her, were the only two kids in the daycare for the first hour or so. They were playing really well together and laughing, and then Romelie went over to the pack-and-play we have and wanted to (pretend to) go night-night. After I put her in, Linus came over and wanted to (pretend to) go night-night, too. The crib isn’t super big, and Romelie has a tendency to cry when kids at the daycare breathe too close to her, let alone share an enclosed space. But I scootched her over and laid Linus down…and they just hung out in there for about 5 minutes. They would fake snore, then one would make a funny noises to “wake” the other, and then they’d both giggle their heads off. It was adorable.

Go Vikes! 10-1-0, baby. Suck it, Packers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Romelie is two years old!

Happy birthday, kiddo! Okay, so her actual birthday was last week, but still worth a big bloggy celebration, don’t you think?

For Romelie’s birthday, we went to the Mall of America. Romelie has only been there once before, and it was to get her picture taken with Santa. I figured we could get that taken care of before Thanksgiving and it wouldn’t be so crazy busy. And I was right. Check out the super duper cuteness.

After pictures, Chason, my mom and I took Romelie to dinner at Bubba Gumps (it was convenient) and then down to Nickelodeon Universe. Apparently if you go on your birthday, you can get an unlimited ride wristband for free. Which is what we did. It was not crowded at all, being a Monday night, but it was pretty late, so we only went on three rides. Romelie rode on the merry go round with me, on a train ride with Gramma Carol, and then on her first (kiddie) roller coaster with her dad! She thought it was great the first three times around the track…then cried the last 4. Ah, well. She half-enjoyed it.

We also visited the doctor on her birthday for her 2-year well-kid check up. She’s healthy, growth is right on target (38” tall!!!), and no red flags. In light of her turning two and no longer needing to drink as much milk, we have also officially said bye-bye to the bottle. It’s all sippy cups from here. Romelie had already stopped using bottles at day care, so the transition didn’t seem to disrupt her too much. And because she’s drinking less milk, we’re letting her eat more yogurt and cottage cheese, which she loves but didn’t really need before. Everyone wins.

In other news…we had a big rake-a-thon a couple weekends ago. Romelie helped. The weather has been relatively warm the last week, so we’ve been able to play outside, which has been a relief for everyone.

Also, I made Romelie a t-shirt! There isn’t a lot of Yo Gabba Gabba merchandise out there, and she love the show so much, I wanted to get her a shirt to wear. So I bought some fabric markers and a plain white long sleeved shirt, and I did some old fashioned tracing and coloring. She seemed excited about her shirt, and I wanted to take a bunch of pictures of her wearing it before I wash it. It’s supposed to be water-proof, but just in case…

Going to my dad’s for Thanksgiving this year, and then he’s keeping Romelie for the night so I can (possibly) check out some Black Friday sales. Wish me luck!

Friday, November 13, 2009

We love you, Houston!

I love comments on my blog. It's nice to know that people read it and it makes me smile to hear nice things said about my family. But seriously...viagra spam? On my tiny little family blog that 10 people read? Give me a break. Since I can't delete the stupid spam (check my last blog entry if you have no idea what I'm talking about), I have changed my settings. Now I will have to approve all comments before they can post. So friends, please don't think I'm trying to filter you - you I love! Say what you like!

Happy Halloween, everyone! I know, it's been a while. I didn't take too many pics of Romelie in her duck costume, but I know my mom took a ton the previous weekend so I'll post some of those when I see her next and steal her camera. We had a low-key evening. We decided to surprise my grandparents (my mom's folks and my dad's mom) and spent a little time hanging out at each of their homes, and then we put on some aluminum foil hats and headed over to Chipotle for some free burritos. Best free promo ever.

Volleyball season has ended. We came in 6th place out of 30 teams, so I'm pretty proud of the players. The girls gave me a volleyball-themed blanket with all their names and numbers embroidered which was very thoughtful and is super warm, and now I'm just enjoying having my afternoons with my family. Granted, I start coaching speech at BSM on Tuesday. It's a short break...

And we're back from Texas! We had a nice, relaxing time in Houston. We spent most of Friday with Chason's mom and with Bronwyn and her family. There was a fall festival at Torin's school, so we went there and had snowcones and got balloons and tattoos, then headed to Bronwyn's for dinner. The kids played pretty well together, and I rocked out on Torin's "Rock Star" game. Because I'm awesome.

Saturday we had a birthday party for Romelie at the Dancers' home. Romelie got to see her family, play with some kids, eat some cake, open presents, play with balloons, and get lots of hugs and attention. It was a really nice way to celebrate her birthday. Thank you so much to everyone who was able to be there, and thanks especially to Angel and Steve for hosting and putting so much thought into making the day special for Romelie.

Chason and I got to see a movie on Sunday night, "The Men Who Stare at Goats." Not bad. First movie I've seen in a theater since "Twilight," so I enjoyed the night out!! Sunday we relaxed at home, and Monday we visited with our friend Trisha and her daughter during the day and then we saw Aunt Crystal in the evening. It was so wonderful to spend time with our friends, and unfortunately I'm a total schmo and didn't take any pictures. Boo. But we love them and can't wait to see them again when I will take hundreds of pictures to make up for my slacking.

By the way, Crystal completed The Breast Cancer 3-Day in Dallas/Ft. Worth while we were in Houston! She walked 60 miles in three days to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust. I'm so proud of her accomplishment, but she's not done yet. She still needs to finish up her fundraising to reach her (required) goal of $2300. If she doesn't reach this goal, she pays the difference herself out of pocket! She's already done so much good, so if you can help her out, you'd be giving to a wonderful cause as well as congratulating an amazing accomplishment. Click on this link: Give $5, give $100, give whatever you can afford; any amount will help. And yay Crystal.

Finally, we saw Cinderella last night at The Children's Theatre. As some of you know, this is my favorite play/production of all time, and it's the reason I purchased season tickets to CTC this year. The production hasn't been done in 10 years (due in part, I'm sure, to the fact that Wendy Lehr, who has always played the role of Pearl, one of the stepsisters, is no longer with the company), and I wasn't sure what sort of changes they were going to make. I won't go into too much detail (mostly because I'm sure I care about it way more than anyone else would), but although I was disappointed with a couple of the changes, overall it was a wonderful show. I dragged Chason along, and both he and Romelie managed to sit through the entire performance - a big achievement for both of them, I promise. ;)

Romelie turns two on Monday!! I'll tell you all about it next week. Meanwhile, here's more pictures from her birthday party.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The circus and other craziness

Wow, the circus. What a crazy thing. I had only been to the circus once, I think, when I was a kid. And I've decided I should probably not go back to the circus again. Don't get me wrong - it was pretty cool. But they do very dangerous stunts without any kind of safety net that I can see, and I had to look away for half of it because I was so scared for the performers.

Here's an example - man and woman are on a trapeze-like thing, except instead of swinging through the air, they do crazy stunts. Their finale was this (picture it if you will): Man is hanging from the bar by his TEETH. His teeth. No lie. He is flexing his feet, and the woman is lying perpendicular to his body and to the ground across the tops of his feet. And then they spin really, really fast. He's holding up both of their body weight with his teeth, holding her up by the strength of his foot flexing, and they are spinning! And this was only the second act. I also sat through crazy motorcycling on tightropes, running around a big spinning wheel wearing a blindfold, and a guy being shot out of a cannon. I was terrified; Romelie loved it. And she got to ride an elephant, which is kind of cool.

Romelie's been a little off the last couple of weeks. Her sleeping patterns have been weird (she's had a couple nights where she wakes up repeatedly - very unusual for her - and she's had days where she doesn't nap), she cries throughout diaper changes, and she throws more fits that last longer than usual. Not really sure what's going on there. It didn't help that a lot of this happened last week, which was an incredibly difficult week for both Chason and me at work. I had to teach four different lessons at five different schools AND perform our newest play on energy (this sexy picture shows Thomas Edison - me - and Nikola Tesla. I did the costuming, by the way. You're impressed, you know it). So I was pretty sleep deprived and stress-y. But hopefully this is just a phase or something. We have our 2-year well-kid check up in a couple weeks, so I'll mention it to Dr. Dukinfield if it's still going on.

Also, Chason and I had an extended weekend without Romelie. It was very strange. My mom took her up to her home from Friday through Tuesday. Chason and I didn't know what to do with ourselves! We did go out for lunch one day, but we mostly just sat at home and relaxed. Which is okay, right? We missed our kid, though, and we're both glad she's back. Granted, she totally hurt our feelings by refusing to let either of us hold her on Tuesday night and crying when we did. So mean...

And now we're just getting back into our regular routine. We've got some fun plans for the weekend. Romelie and I are going to go to BSM's Varsity volleyball sectionals match Friday night, and then Chason and Romelie are going to a Halloween party Saturday morning while I'm at my last volleyball tournament of the season (we won again and we're in pool 2! My team rocks). Then our neighborhood is doing a Halloween party in the evening, so I think we'll just go to that and skip any actual trick-or-treating (since no one in our neighborhood seems to do it...). I'll take pics of Romelie in her costume. This pic, by the way, is not her Halloween costume. She's going as a duck this year, but there are some dress up clothes at the church nursery, so a couple Sundays ago, I dressed up the four kids that were there and took a few photos. It was pretty cute. At any rate, I'll take more pics of Romelie in her duck costume and post them before we go to HOUSTON next Thursday!!

Finally, a few more cute photos and a video for you to enjoy. Romelie has started to do some creative play or whatever you want to call it. She does things like put diapers on her stuffed animals, feed sthem, cleans them, puts them to bed, etc. So here's Romelie taking care of her "friends" (as we've started to call everyone).
And here are two videos. In the first, she's waking everyone up from naptime and letting them play and bounce. In the second, she's singing Twinkle Twinkle. And not listening to her mom. That's not too unusual, though.