Sunday, May 3, 2015

A first for Bjorn...and then another

Bjorn lost his first tooth today.

Then he lost it again.

He might be the only kid in the history of the world to lose his first tooth twice in less than one hour.

The first time he lost his tooth, I was on my way home from shopping when I got this text message:

Now you see it.....

His first lost tooth. It had been wobbly for about a week or so now, and he had lost interest in commenting on it. Occasionally he would mention that it was wobbly or felt weird, but for the most part, it wasn't doing anything fun, so he didn't bother talking about it.

At first I was a little disappointed that I hadn't been there (his first tooth!!!), but I soon realized that was silly. As a working mom, there will always be something I won't be there for, and by now - 6 years into this game - I should be used to it. I can't stick around the house, close to my kid, for the rest of our lives just so I don't miss something. This time I wasn't even working, just running errands for an hour.

I pulled into the driveway maybe 10 minutes after I got the picture of his tooth. Bjorn met me in the yard, a little shaky and scared, but excited.

"Look! It came out!" he said, extending his hand up to me. There, in his palm, lay a fat white tooth.

"Wow! Smile for me." He did, the little gap where the tooth used to be nothing but a red hole between white teeth.

"Did you tie a string around it and slam the door?" I teased him.  Last week The Hubs suggested we do that, and I was strongly opposed. There is nothing like traumatic tooth injury to scare a kid away from the dentist forever.

Bjorn seemed a little hesitant to answer, then telling me that he "pushed at it with my tongue, and it cracked. Then it fell out."

I hugged him and told him he did good, that I was excited he was such a big kid with a missing tooth and everything.

We walked into the house, me carrying all my shopping bags, he carrying his tooth.  I put down the bags on our entry bench and heard Bjorn say behind me,"Hey, where's my tooth?!"

That would be the second time he lost it.

Somewhere between walking across our front lawn and in the front door, within 15 minutes of his losing his first tooth, he lost it again. Only my kid.

We searched on our hands and knees, crawling around the floor and the grass, and though we found a few cheerios (when was the last time we had cheerios?!) and some chewed up pieces of gum, no tooth was in sight.

The Hubs and I joked and laughed, letting Bjorn know that not having a tooth was no big deal, as The Tooth Fairy obviously knew from the hole in his mouth that he had lost a tooth today.

"But....but....but, that's not how it works! It's no tooth, no quarter!" he cried sadly.

Ah. That's why he was upset. See, 25 years ago, I read a book called "No Tooth, No Quarter" and for some reason, I had kept it. We began reading it to Bjorn a few years ago in our nightly rotation of bedtime stories. The story is of a boy who loses his tooth and doesn't have one to show the Tooth Fairy. Instead he writes her a letter explaining what happened, but she is afraid she will be in trouble at the Tooth Fairy Land if she doesn't bring back a tooth. He goes with her to Tooth Fairy Land and tries to explain his situation to the Tooth Fairy Queen.

It's such a silly little book. Why on Earth did I keep it 25 years?

Slowly we convinced Bjorn that he could instead write a letter to the Tooth Fairy, just like in the story. He did ("I think you should look in the front yard for my tooth" he wrote), and put the letter into pocket of the Tooth Fairy pillow that had been mine when I was a kid. This pillow had seen many a tooth. Now it has seen a letter, too.

(I'm somewhat relieved he lost his tooth. If he hadn't, I probably would have felt I needed to save it for sentimental reasons, and, really, who needs a kid's old tooth lying around? I already have locks of hair from his first haircut, and isn't that just a little bit weird? It's not as if he is going to sit down for some coffee with me when he's 35 and say,"Gee, Mom, I really wish that I had some strands of hair from my first haircut when I was one.")

Posing before bed.

Bjorn received a crisp $2 bill and a gold $1 coin in his Tooth Fairy pillow. Inflation and all.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

True Words from my blue-eyed girl

I was squatting on the floor in front of the toilet while Peanut settled herself on the seat. Not something I ever thought I would be doing, but when your 3 year old asks you to hold her hand while she goes to the bathroom, there is not much else a Mom can do it but do it.

She held my hand, singing a made-up song about princesses and pee (not to be confused with that very tame one about the princess and the PEA), when she stopped and said, "Mommy, I love you."

"I love you too, Peanut."

"Mommy, you are so pretty. Your eyes look beautiful!" she said as she climbed down from the potty. I opened my mouth to thank her when she finished her thought. "Your eyes look beautiful. They are the same exact color as my poop!"

Thanks, Peanut. Please make sure to write that in my Mother's Day card.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dear Hunter Seling Fans

If you've been following me over at my Renovation Superstar DIY blog, then you know that we put new kid-friendly ceiling fans in the kids rooms. Bjorn's fan is a solar system, complete with a rocket blasting off through the blades, planets and stars twirling lazily around.

Right in the middle of the fan, where the pulls hang down, is a compass.

Bjorn took one look at it and immediately said, "It's wrong."

"Wrong? What do you mean, it's wrong?" we asked.

"North is the right way," he said, pointing to the N on the compass and then in the direction of North. "But it should go North, East, South, West. And this says North, West, South, East."

And so it did.

When the compass is on the ground, looking down on it (as I'm assuming is how it's made), it is correct. But when you place it on the ceiling, the east is on the west side and the west on the east.

Of course Bjorn had to do something about it. He wanted to write a letter to Hunter Ceiling Fans explaining the mistake. He's big on letter-writing these days.

Dear Hunter Ceiling Fans, You messed up my compass on my fan. It is supposed to go NESW. But it says NWSE. From Landon, Age 5

I can't wait to hear what Hunter fans has to say back to him.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


It's been a little nutty here, what with school and work and being out of town and house renovating and various people being sick. So when Bjorn had four pages of homework due on Wednesday morning, I felt triumphant that we were done, with no tears, on early Tuesday afternoon.

It helps that he is uber quick with homework. It took almost no time at all, less than 15 minutes, for him to write 2 sentences per page about the seasons and characteristics of each and draw a picture for each page. (You should have heard him sounding out "characteristics" from the instructions. Wish I had had my video camera. Priceless moments.)

Then I walked him to school today and saw all his classmates carrying different items. A poster board of the seasons. A book about weather.

"Ummm, Bjorn. Did you have any other homework besides those pages? Were you supposed to bring something today?" I asked him.

"Nope! I got it all." he told me before running off to chase one of his friends.

My heart sank when I got home after drop-off and read his homework instructions. "I would like to have your child bring something to share with the class that shows their favorite season."

My son would have nothing.

I debated going back up to school with a baseball hat, or a pair of floaties. I decided against it - this was only kindergarten, and it wouldn't be the last time either of us forgot a homework assignment. This could be a learning lesson for both of us. Also, Peanut was sick and I didn't think it would be a good idea to drag her out of a nap to go up to school.

At pickup in the afternoon, Bjorn and I talked about school. We discussed what everyone had for lunch that day, who played with him at recess and how many other kids were wearing superhero shirts. The standard stuff.

"Well, Bjorn, did your friends bring something to show the class about seasons?" I asked, when he was done explaining that chicken smackers are just chicken nuggets with a different name.

"Yes. I did, too."

"You did? What did you show?" I asked. I know that we hadn't talked about bringing something to class. I know I didn't help him pick anything out.

"My sunglasses. And my dolphin. I told my class I liked summer." He had been chosen yesterday from the "good jar" to get a treat, and his treat for today was to be able to bring a stuffed animal to hang out with him at his desk all day. He chose a dolphin he won at the fair last fall.

"Did you know you were supposed to bring something today?"

"No. My sunglasses were just in my bag. So I used them, too!"

I have never been so thankful that I don't clean out his backpack. And that he is a quick thinker. The mom guilt for forgetting to remind him of his homework is gone. This kid is gonna be just fine.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Bjorn's favorite shows are Wheel of Fortune and Masterchef Junior.

He now fancies himself a word guesser extraordinaire, shouting out his guesses, groaning when they hit bankrupt. He's getting pretty good.

He has begun helping us prepare food, making his own sandwiches and requesting new and different foods to try for dinner. Last week he helped The Hubs make scrambled eggs, and tonight he helped me do the same. From getting out the right pan, to breaking the eggs to (as he calls it) "flipping the eggs", he made himself scrambled eggs.

These are two shows I have no problem letting him watch.

My son is growing up. And I am so excited for him to make me dinner.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bjorn and Hansa

On Monday when Bjorn came home to a house with no Hansa, he was sad and asked if he could draw her a picture.

"An H," he said."I'll draw an H and put it on my wall so I will always remember her."

He grabbed the crayons and some paper, drew a big block H, and began coloring it in, each block piece a different color. All different shades of orange, until he got to the last block.

"What's Hansa's favorite color?" He asked.

I wish I had asked her. I wish I could've asked her. 

"I think it's brown." he said, holding up that crayon, carefully coloring in the last piece.

Brown. The color of West Texas sky after a dust storm. The color of mud and ducks and dirty pond water while hunting. The color of steak and hamburgers. 

I think he's right. Brown was her favorite color. 

Monday, February 9, 2015


14 years ago, on our one year anniversary, my boyfriend drove across the state, and came home with a dog.

I don't remember how we celebrated that year, although anniversaries were so very,
very important to me, and I had never had a one year anniversary before. But I do remember that dog.

I didn't know he was getting a dog. For years after, I joked that this dog was mine, that he had bought her for me as an anniversary present. We gave her my middle name, and my maiden name. When she was in trouble - which was a lot of the time- we used all three of her names.

My boyfriend named her after a beer.  Typical.

He had just returned from a semester abroad in Norway. So he chose a Norwegian beer.


Just a pup.

She was most definitely his dog. When she wasn't outside with his roommates two hunting dogs, she was jumping on counters to steal a chicken, rummaging through bathroom trash cans or sleeping on a pile of his dirty clothes in a corner of her closet.

She continued doing all of these things for 13 years.

She went hunting with him, running and leaping and swimming with ease. She never tired. We took her to countless dog parks and lakes, both of us tiring before she did.

A swimmer at heart.


I used to dress her up, in Harley Davidson hats and bandannas. I will never live down the time I took her to the groomer mere days before she went hunting with the boys and their dogs. I set her up with a green camo bandanna and bright orange nail polish - in my mind, the perfect hunting combo. The guys still call her their "cheerleader".

Cool girl.

I married that boyfriend, and the three of us - husband, wife and dog - moved into a townhome with no yard.

I was the one with more time off work, so I was with Hansa more. I took her for runs around the neighborhood to stave off energy. I rarely put her in her kennel, although she was kennel trained, and opted instead to move all the trash cans into the pantry, and clear the counters and accessible areas (anything under 4 feet) of food.

It didn't always work. Like the time she ate two weeks worth of homemade blueberry muffins, saran wrap and all. Or the time she went through the garbage and I found garlic cloves and onion peels scattered and half chewed, two things to which dogs are deathly allergic. Or that one time she ate half a gallon of plumbers putty. The girl had a stomach of steel and could withstand any food - or non-food, for that matter. I called the vet a few times that year before she finally told me that my dog could pretty much stand to eat anything, and I didn't need to bring her in.

There were other things she ate: my leather shoes and leather jacket. Two packages of $20 gourmet jerky. Countless chicken legs and cupcakes and loaves of bread that were kept on the counter just a little too close to the edge.

Before we had kids, we paid a doggie day care to take care of her. They had a kitchen in the daycare, and they were baking cookies one night with the dogs all around. With the sitters back turned, Hansa jumped onto the counter and in one swift move ate a stick of butter, wrapper and all. A frantic call was made to us, where we eased the sitter's conscience. She loves butter, we said. Next time, watch your back.

By our second Christmas together, we had moved halfway across the country from family and friends, so we took our first family Christmas card picture together. Just me, my husband, Hansa....and a cactus.

Our first Christmas card.

We took her for hikes in the desert. One time we let her stray a little too far from the path, and she fell into a patch of jumping cactus. Five years later, our daughter did the same thing. Because of Hansa, and the experience I had picking prickle after prickle of cactus from her paws and fur, I knew how to take them out of my daughter's leg.

She had cancer, and had two different surgeries.  She was seven. She was so tough, and it was so heartbreaking to know that she didn't have any clue what was happening to her. She was used to sleeping on our bed every night, all 50 lbs of her directly on top of my legs, and although her entire side was done up in stitches, she somehow jumped (when our backs were turned) and made it onto the bed, whimpering once she got there. Fearing moving and hurting her more, my husband slept on the floor beside the bed that night.

After we had kids, my husband bought a 60 pack of granola bars at Costco. Taking one out, he left the rest of the pack on the table, ensuring that it was in the middle of the table, for she would never be able to get to that package from that far away, right? Two months later we were still finding granola bars hidden in holes throughout the yard. At last count, over 30 of them were missing.

She was a smart dog. At five o clock on the dot she would start to pace. She would run from the doggie door to wherever we were, and back again. She would shake and paw at us. She knew it was dinner time, even if we hadn't noticed the time.

I rarely had to sweep under the table, even after my toddler and baby children would eat rice or peas. She did not have a discriminating palate, and would inhale any bit of food dropped on the floor. She didn't always wait for it to hit the floor, either. Often, when Peanut was young, Hansa would take her favorite snack -string cheese- right out of her hand, swallowing it in one gulp.

Hansa was Bjorn's first word. "Anga", he said. "Anga." And soon, "Hansa." There was no introducing Bjorn to Hansa, no having to condition her to be nice to the baby. They were buddies from the start.  She let him pretend to ride her around the house, and when Peanut came around, she sat patiently while she had her try on necklaces and hats.

His first word, and his first friend.

She would smile when we came home. Her lips would pull back, almost in a sneer, but happier. Then she would dance around your feet, whining and puffing, sneezing and snorting. It was her "I'm so happy you're home!!" smile and routine.

I'm a crier. She would find me when I was crying, and snuggle up to me. I can't count how many tears I have wiped on her fur.

She let me wipe them on her fur today, for the last time. She licked me, and put her paws and head on my lap, letting me know that she loved me, but she couldn't go on any longer. The cancer was too much, and her body was giving out on her.

Good-bye Hansa. I miss you already.

Hansa Marie.

She liked to ride in the middle of the car, with the rest of us.


Our first Arizona winter trip.