Just Write {168}

December 30, 2014

It seems a rational thing to start at 4pm on a winter’s break Monday. Elsie Jane thought it was a great idea, and decided on purple for the replacement color after all the wallpaper border is slowly and meticulously removed, shred by shred. She is a helper, to an extent, so proud of her ability to peel big strips off with her tiny strong hands. But then, as these things go, I was left to fight the sticky paper while she played. She would “talk on the phone” to the “plumber,” telling him that she dropped an earring down the drain. She would scold him for not understanding, and then huff and hang up on him. Poor plumber. The wrath of EJ. Then she’d tell me she was going to work, and “Hey Annie, can you babysitter my babies?” Sure, I’d say. Then she’d sit in the hallway outside the door, instructing me. […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {159}

October 28, 2014

There’s someone who decorated for Halloween by dressing up a home-made, ginormous, stuffed pillow-case-like doll. They put a shirt on it…her? Him?…and then they put underwear on it, but the unders are pulled down to about thigh length and this doll is sitting on a toilet, its jeans around its ankles. Yes, this toilet is out in the yard. Yes, this doll is on the toilet. Yes, this doll has underwear pulled down. No, I don’t know what this has to do with Halloween. Yes, I find it hard to not be disturbed every single time I drive by going to and from home. To each their own toilet decorations… I would take a picture and put it in this post, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s tempting, but also, it’s just too….weird. I like how my friend Christa decorated for Halloween. She put a string of orange lights […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {158}

October 21, 2014

I looked up at the stars tonight, on a perfectly clear fall evening. Every constellation looks like a Dipper to me. Little or Big Dipper, I don’t know. I get distracted before I even take a closer look. I see all the stars at once. In college, I took Astronomy. Obviously, I didn’t learn much, or retained very little of it. But there I stood, my neck bent with my face to the salt and peppered sky. For October in Minnesota, it has been warm, gorgeous. Not easy to describe at all. The last two days have been still and bright and crisp, with that nothing-like-it autumn smell in the air. There was a walk in the woods the other day. Up a hill and to a fallen tree. There were pricklies on my sweater and stuck to my jeans. Some even got in my pocket. I pulled at them and then realized […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write 155

September 30, 2014

They can teleport, they say. And every imaginary moment is voiced, narrated, more than actually played out. Now this is when I walk in and I get so mad that my eyes are flaming… no, no…first you actually have to tell me which way it’s coming.  okay, that way. Start there. I have no idea which way you’re pointing, stop spinning in circles!  So we teleport while spinning!  It changes as it changes, saving face, winning at making up the rules. They’ll do this the rest of their lives, they just don’t know that they are practicing. They call each other on doing it “wrong” and they decide for the others their moments of demise. The smallest ones are quiet followers. They sit on the front steps of the big old blue house across the street and watch the bigger kids still deciding how things work. This is a dead end street, so […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {126}

March 11, 2014

1, 2, fwee, 5, 1, 2, fwee, 6….9, 10!!!  this is the counting of a two year old, for hide-n-seek. She laughs hysterically when you find her, or she finds you. I can remember, vividly, the exhilaration of the game, as a little girl. Maybe that’s why, at 38, I still love playing this seek and find game with my three little hide and seekers. My Dad made this game so exciting for my sister and I. He’d be down on his hands and knees, hiding behind something and when we got juuuust close enough, he’d pop out, growling and roaring, or so it seemed to me. And we’d take off running, laughing hysterically and squealing with our hearts beating extra fast. Now Elsie does this with her Daddy, and it brings it all back. I listen to Ryan ROAR and my little girl squeals and backs up, shrieks and giggles. Her eyes […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

A few weeks ago I was sitting next to a guy at Roaster’s Coffee who was leaving a voicemail and I thought he said, Hi, this is John from Mobile Blogs. Of course, my attention went away from my laptop to Did he say Mobile Blog? I wonder what that means….I should ask him…but that might be weird for him…I wasn’t eavesdropping…I was just….hearing.  After he hung up, I asked him what he had said. (Not weird at all.) He didn’t appear scared of me and answered, Mobile Cloth. OH, okay. Gotcha.  No, wait, I thought. I don’t get it. So I asked, What does that mean? I was about to leave to get the boys from school, but I have to tell you, he had me at, Cleans the screens of your mobile devices safely and wipes away 98% of germs. We talked about kids goobing up all the screens of all the devices, and […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {124}

February 25, 2014

I sent off a reply email to my friend Sarah, typing out a fast thank you (because she is always helping me) and then I said, THIS WEEK. I was referring to the fact that I will see her in just a matter of a couple of days, in San Diego at the Storyline Conference. Months ago we were like “yeah, maybe we should just go to that, together!” And we registered pretty impulsively cause that’s how we roll, and now it’s here. Today I sat for a moment thinking that maybe I’m a little nervous. But it’s Sarah, so that doesn’t make a lot of sense, while it also makes sense. You know how we used to get to know people? In person or snail mail or the phone, that was it. NO INTERNET, our kids won’t believe it! And I can remember having a pen pal and I felt like I […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

#WhereILivedWednesday 1993

January 22, 2014

I was still a goody two-shoes back then. From the high school graduating class of 1993 I went on to community college and still lived at home. I made friends from neighboring towns, a few who lived in apartments near home, and I stayed with them a lot. My first taste of independence. I cleaned the apartment a lot, and slept on a day bed off the living room right by the sliding glass door that led to the porch. The phone would ring all hours of the night, always a boy who had had too much to drink on the other end, waking his ex-girlfriend  in the other room. They would fight, I would lie awake and the next day I’d say, You know he’s not even going to remember it, right? You might as well just hang up. She couldn’t. Well, she did, but then he’d just call back again and […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Where I Lived Wednesday

December 4, 2013

{I’m sharing stories of places past with Ann today.} When I peek out from behind one of the big oak trees in our front yard, I can watch my neighbor across the small pond in front of our house and she’s dancing to We Built This City in her driveway. It makes me smile and so I come out from behind the tree and watch from the swing. I swing a lot by myself and I think and think and think. Sometimes I go over to her and ask her to play and we go inside and play Barbies. We have lived in this house since I was three. My Dad built the house and to this day it stands there with my parents in it, empty nested. There are woods all around the house and it has a long driveway. Sometimes that driveway floods and we have to take a different path […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {110}

November 11, 2013

Are you a Mommy?  I turned around and realized she was talking to me, standing up in the back of the cart her grandma was pushing. Are you a Mommy?  Yes, I am. I have three kids. One is 8 years old, one is 6 years old and one is about your age.  She’s two and a half, her grandma said. Oh yeah, you’re  the same age as my daughter. Her name is Elsie!  She said her name then, in a cute little toddler way, and I couldn’t understand her. She said it again. I looked at her grandma. “Her name is Sapphire” she said. She calls herself Sapphi, because well, her mom didn’t know how to spell Sapphire entirely, so she only wrote Sapphi on the birth certificate and it just kind of stuck…now I have her. All the time. She’s mine.  Sapphi bounced a little from the back of the cart […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

7:18. (OMG HOW did that happen? Oh no no no….) I sit up fast and get dizzy, stand up, walk slanted to the bathroom. (Okay, I’ll call to the boys to get dressed while I get Elsie out of the crib and I’ll just bring her to preschool in her pajamas and apologize and I have to make coffee. This is Monday. I think.) Bathroom. No details needed. You’re welcome. (That was a weird dream. Why would I be dreaming about a grandmother sinking into a mud pit? She was one strong woman though, the way she pulled herself out of there. It’s too bad I was missing part of that Mumford and Sons concert to watch her…wow, I was really close to Mumford, and the sons, that was so cool. BIG BEARDS….dreams are ridiculous. But I must REALLY want to see M & S in concert…of course I do…) Rushing downstairs, apologize […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

I wish I would have thought to write down every good thing that hit me in the gut that I’ve heard at recovery meetings. I haven’t. I would love to leaf through that notebook, to be reminded of all the simple truths spoken there. Many of them I’ve heard so many times, but on certain days, I finally really hear them. It would be so nice to look in my notebook, at a date in a corner, to see when I first “got” something and to ask myself if I still have it. In reality, I have no way to do that, except to keep going back. That’s how I’ll be refreshed, I think. When complacency or pride slips in, I can hustle in the door and it will slam behind me and everyone will turn to see and then I’ll sit down and hold my coffee and be changed. All the truths […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {63}

November 26, 2012

My feet won’t warm up. Today I learned how to make a water warmer for the chicken coop; a thing to set under the water so it doesn’t freeze. Now I just need to actually make the water warmer for the chicken coop. It looks so easy and the post even said it takes less than ten minutes. It’s getting so cold, the water freezes too fast. I’m in and out, trudging across the backyard with my puffy coat on, hood up, to bring fresh warm water that will freeze in about an hour. But I keep doing it, because chickens get thirsty too. So back and forth I go. We went to buy a warmer in the store yesterday but it just felt like there were so many hurdles. The price, the kids asking questions and going into other aisles and then wanting suckers. The farm store always has them asking for […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

one of the best parts of having chickens is the entertainment. kids especially love to come over and try to hold them, like they’re puppies. until the wings start flapping…because chickens generally don’t dig being snuggled…   our friends C and K were over yesterday, with they’re mom, Honda. (That’s not her real name, but it might rhyme with that.) Anyway, I told K, Honda’s youngest daughter, that the black chicken has only been held once since it was tiny because she’s so fast and she really quite hates being held. K chased that black chicken for I don’t know how long, through dog poop and under trees and around all the things. Until she caught her! and then she and Honda were both very proud. and C dared to touch the black hen…with one finger…   and all was well with the backyard chicken world…   for a moment…     because […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {57}

October 15, 2012

My husband comes through the door, shuffling in his slippers. He asks me what I’m still doing up. I’m normally an “early to bed, early to rise” kind of sleeper. I don’t know. I was looking at houses for sale and it’s addicting. I let the iPad fall from my hands to the covers on my belly and yawn while he climbs in and puts his CPAP machine over his goatee, mouth and nose. I giggle. I always do, I can’t help it. I feel like I’m sleeping with a robot or a character out of Star Trek. He has to sort of yell from under the mask for me to hear his seemingly far-away voice… Stop it!   Suddenly we’re these parents of three kids and we’re nearing 40 and he has a sleep machine and my favorite thing to do is online real estate searching. I love it. It’s getting too […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

the kids are alright

August 29, 2012

Maybe I sort of kind of subconsciously and totally selfishly wanted Miles and Asher and Elsie to struggle just a little bit with the transition to 2.5 days of daycare. They’re doing great. They don’t get upset when their Daddy or I drop them off and Elsie is the only one super excited to see me when I come to the door. The boys mostly want to keep playing. Their care provider (or daycare mama), is probably the most fun and energetic woman I’ve ever met. For example, one night around 9 pm she texted me to ask something in which she mentioned rice krispie bars. I texted back with the answer and also, mmmmm, now I want a rice krispie bar. The next morning, when I dropped the kids off, she handed me a plate of bars. She’s so cool. She’s also really creative and adventurous. For instance, the kids love to […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {50}

August 27, 2012

Our cupboards are bare. Not of food and pots and pans and a crock pot and vases. There is plenty on the shelves, but we’ve taken all the doors off and pulled all the drawers out. We began a project that seems simple enough until you actually do all the things it takes to do the thing. We need to sand first, but even before that, we’re marking each door and drawer so we remember where they came from. Otherwise it gets to be kind of a puzzle and you have to keep trying each space until the drawer slides in easily or the two doors close up with out banging together. Miles was using the drill to unscrew the hardware and I was pulling the doors off when he’d get to the last screw. Asher was feeding us each one pretzel at a time, while Daddy wrote up a map and numbered […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }


August 15, 2012

I guzzle my first (and never last) cup of coffee. I don’t mean to, it’s just that it’s one of my last vices. I want to be a person who sips a fantastic cup of coffee, just one, and then goes on with a day drenched in 8 glasses of water and only whole foods. I drink a lot of water and I work hard to eat well, but I also love sugar as much as I love coffee. We addicts are far too aware of our compulsive behavior, at least in sobriety, so I bend and tip forward, pulling my eyes to my navel to dissect this behavior. Then I remember, I’m a human being. Flawed and a work in progress and imperfect and all that. One day I will sit and sip tea, decaf of course, maybe by the ocean and I’ll be wearing something white and flowy and the breeze […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {48}

August 13, 2012

Asher passed me saying I can’t find my hair I fight back a giggle what do you mean, sweetie? The hair for my guy! he says it like it’s so obvious. Legos. Oh yes, the Lego hair. I find it later behind the bathroom door so I think it’s poop but it’s bright plastic brown hair. Asher’s hair is so blonde it’s white. He’s not home but I’ll tell him later. This morning he stood next to me feeling the tubing under his skin I said, do you know what that is? No, mommy. That’s the tube that goes up to your head to your shunt and it makes your body work right. His little growing less chubby hand rests there at the tube under his skin next to me on his neck. He looks deep in thought and I tell him that what’s under his skin makes him have tools of power […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

{This is sponsored content by outmywindow and BlogHer.} This is a story about how I left Elsie for the first time and was Phoebe instead of Heather, for a moment. If one can randomly fly to California that’s exactly what I did. I wrote snippits of the journey for Just Write this week and I don’t really know why but it’s one of my favorite posts ever. Maybe because snippets of life is where it’s at, you know? It was a whirlwind trip, just an arrival in the afternoon, an overnight, a full day at Warner Brothers studios and back home again that same day. Or night, really, since I pulled in the driveway at about 3a.m. This was my first time away from Elsie and even though it was super short, I missed her and her brothers super much. But I had a great time and it was so good for both […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }


June 21, 2012

Sweetland {photo courtesy of google images}   There’s a scene in the movie  Sweetland (which is filmed in Minnesota) in which the starring characters are in a barn and they’re shaking something out. A blanket maybe? Why can’t I remember, it’s one of my favorite scenes in a movie ever. I need to watch it again. Maybe even tonight. Anyway, the couple, who have taken a long and winding road to a different kind of “marriage” are in the barn and the light is just so and the dust is flying all around and everything is in slow motion. When I first saw this movie in a tiny theater in St. Paul, Minnesota with one of my oldest and best friends, I wept. I watched the barn air and the working together and I wept. I still don’t fully know why. When you’re from Minnesota and you come from a long line of Minnesotans, […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {39}

June 11, 2012

A fluffy baby robin bounced around our patio door like a little plastic wind-up bird. I could hear that tick tick sound of the dial on his side even though it wasn’t actually there. I knew he was a boy because bright orange is pushing through the down on his chest. He click click hopped up on a chair and stared at me, head turned for his side-eye to get a good look. I nearly cried for him because I know where he came from, his mama’s nest is right outside my kitchen dishes-washing window. I ran over to see if his brother or sister (I can’t see the chest) was gone or if his mama was around to find him way on the other side of the house. There was his sibling, head held up high searching around peep peep peep. I wondered if the wind blew out our patio visitor because […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }


May 17, 2012

a note to my children: cartoons were just on Saturday mornings with Froot Loops and the whole family couldn’t miss Cosby or Simon and Simon. We would sit there together with no reality. I got the first Nintendo and it was Christmas and Cousin Angie and Mama played Mario for a week straight and then your Bapa and me, we would play every evening while Nanny and Auntie Shelly rolled their eyes. Mario came in a cartridge and we never bought more games. We just saved the princess over and over and then tried to do it without losing even one life or other rules we made up. Guess what we didn’t have computers until I was a teen and then there was still NO INTERNET. When Grandpa Glenn’s dog died that I loved he had two choices call me write me not an email, but a letter and so he did, it […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {34}

May 7, 2012

On Sunday morning Asher shouted, We have a leak! and I came down the stairs to see him standing barefoot, water up to his ankles, Legos floating by, plastic bobbing up and down and laughing at me in primary colors. RYAN!!! That was me, with the shouting this time and there came my husband to stand at the bottom of the stairs with me in disbelief. It had rained and rained the night before. So much that a big empty plastic bin that was sitting outside in the storm was full halfway up by morning. And this would be the night that our sump pump up and stopped working. I could write a million whining words about the mess, I really could. The sopping wet very large area rugs, the piles of soaked laundry, etc…but unusually, this became a day that I may even call good. There was panic at first and while […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }


April 27, 2012

We have this crazy dog. She’s crazy around any other animal, no matter how big or small. She’ll charge a horse (yes, she’s done it) or a mouse or even a fly. She especially dislikes other dogs. It’s not awesome. We did all the right things, the dog park daily and all that and then suddenly, when I got pregnant, it was all over. No dog park for her! (There was a rat terrier incident.) Our Tia Maria became overly protective and has possibly even become more and more so with each new member of our family. She’s nice to people, but not to any other living thing, including trees–you know what dogs do to those. Now we have those baby chicks. We knew this would be an issue, so the chicks and Tia take turns being outside. We’re trying to slowly introduce them, like through the screen door and stuff like that, […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

free pass

February 8, 2012

  When Asher was a baby and he was crying all the time, I remember trying hard to learn something about faith and then implement it. These were beautiful ideals and I wanted them in my life because I know the peace that comes from actively seeking the heart of God. But what I remember the most is that I was sitting there crossing my fingers and toes and wishing (that’s probably not very Christian) that the person speaking to a room of mothers would add a disclaimer. Something like, Yes, doing all of this will help you and you will feel freedom and peace. But, don’t expect to accomplish this if you aren’t getting any sleep and someone is tugging on you at all times. Then you get a free pass because implementing anything is impossible for you right now and you should just go ahead and expect very little of yourself […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

house guests

December 22, 2011

Did you know anxiety can be like an unwanted house guest? The kind that completely randomly shows up and doesn’t even really have a reason and then does things to hurt you? And you can stand there and wonder, Why did I feel so good yesterday or one hour ago and now this? It seems to hit me during down times, when it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Maybe it’s a build up from all the stressful moments and then POW! This uninvited guest seems to only get the hint to leave in two ways (No, one of them is not Xanax. I wish.) (Read: I am an addict and would probably eat Xanax like I do marshmallow Peeps so I can’t have any.) (Because I eat A LOT of marshmallow Peeps.) (Hello! Sugar addiction!) Anyway. #1 – HUMOR #2 – GRATITUDE I know. I know. If you struggle with anxiety/depression too, […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

taking care

October 23, 2011

We were getting so much support and love through facebook and twitter last night and the whole time I felt weird that I wasn’t saying what happened exactly. Here was Miles, all cut up and head-bonked and not moving his arm and I couldn’t say why because I don’t want to hurt the person that was with him. It was an accident. They were on a four wheeler and I know that’s not okay. I should have said “my kids can never go on the four wheeler even if I know you’ll be so slow and careful.” But I didn’t. I wasn’t there, but I never said don’t ever do that. We all knew in our heart-guts that it wasn’t the safest thing but you want to make the kids happy with a short and slow ride, you know? So here is another lesson in listening to ourselves. They weren’t even moving. They […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write ~ The Sixth

October 17, 2011

She doesn’t fit her age, I think. She’s still a sprite of a thing, fast footed through the hall of the house.  Her body is aching these days though, all over she says, but she makes it look easy.  I know it’s not even close to easy. Her arms swing a little at her sides and her posture is better than mine. She heads to the kitchen to get apple crisp ready for us.  I wonder if it hurts her knees or hips to walk and her fingers and wrist to serve up the crisp. My Grandma, she makes the best apple crisp. And lefse, for the record. We sit down and look out the window and she tells the story of her half sister, the one she didn’t know until later in life. How their mother had her very young, before she was married, and she was a blue baby. She says, […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Her eyelashes are getting so long that they go out and curve up and then bend straight out to reach a bit further. It’s like they just got tired and had to lie down. I love that. I love her. She is a spitfire while still being sweet. (LOOK.OUT.) We’re still working on helping her, with all of the pain and crying. This means, because I’m nursing, I eat NOT a variety of things, but more like no dairy-no wheat-no soy…I’m The Accidental Gluten-free Vegan. And I’m hungry. (Don’t worry, Grandma. I’m still eating…it’s just trickier.) Elsie is so worth it and I’m learning that it’s helping her to refrain from a lot of foods I love and so I do. I keep meaning to write a post about The Colic and all that we’ve learned after Asher and now Elsie. I feel like kind of an expert. Like maybe I’m a Doctor […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }