Summer 2011: Day 30

July 5th, 2011

Hot and sticky kids in the windy city!

Summer 2011: Day 29

July 4th, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Allen, Kirk & Jesse…glad you all still have all 10 fingers and your hearing.

Summer 2011: Day 14

June 21st, 2011


Father’s Day at the Twins Game!

And here is a good example of why not to tell your kids things

May 21st, 2011

Third grade is when our public school system decided it was the right time to start teaching the kids about sex education.  They learned about male and female “parts”, the sperm and the egg and when those two things mix up together that they make a baby.  They watched a baby being born and then wrapped up the experience with sharing and question time.

PJ came home, the day of SEX EDUCATION CLASS, and asked me all sorts of questions about how I felt when she was born, if it hurt, did I cry, was she cute, all those things.  Then she went on to tell me she shared a family story with the class.  She said, “I told them that I had a baby brother that died (oh how she loves the dramatic).  He was still in your belly when he died and you named him Paddle Boy.”

A sort of audible cough/laugh/choking sound came out of my mouth as I said, “Really?  You shared that?”   She replied with a, “Yup and Mal shared that her dad passed out when she was being born.”

It is at this point you might be wondering if Paddle Boy was real. Did we really have a child that died? Did we really name the child Paddle Boy?

Answer:  yes, kind of.

The story of Paddle Boy.

I was pregnant for the first time back in 99.   We were so excited because it seemed to take an awfully long time to get this deal going. There was lots of temperature taking and charting and trying to figure out when I was ovulating and lots of sex…yeah baby, lots of it.

We found out I was pregnant and couldn’t have been happier.  I was seven weeks along.   With my first pregnancy, I was reading just about every damn book under the sun to know exactly what stage the fetus was in day by day.  At seven weeks of pregnancy their tiny little arms and legs are growing by leaps and bounds but they start out looking like buds and turn into paddles and then turn into fingers and toes.

Needless to say, I started to cramp and bleed and cry and think the world was coming to an end and ultimatly ended up in the ER filled with sick people while I was having a miscarrage.  There were so many people there.  It was the middle of winter and we were hosting a large family dinner at our house.  They were all there…Adam and I were not.   We had been waiting for HOURS  in the chairs. The pain was becoming so intense that I dragged my sweating cramping body over to the nurse to ask if I could go somewhere else, anywhere else, while we waited for a room.

They sat me in a dialysis chair right behind the triage nurse.  I could at least lay down.  I was wearing jean overalls, Adam was wearing an orange J Crew roll neck sweater.  One little tiny ball of his orange sweater sat on my belly.  I was crying at the pain and the loss and the possibility of it never working out.  Adam picked up the little orange ball, looked me in the eyes as he cocked his head to the side and said, “Hey honey, this would be the perfect size sweater for paddle boy.”

And in that moment that felt like the end of the world, we laughed and laughed and laughed, as the tears rolled down our cheeks.







Family -1

March 28th, 2011

This is a photo from my dad’s Death Party.  All my dad’s nieces and nephews came in from Ohio to be with us for his funeral, say goodbye and celebrate his life.  It meant more than they will ever know to have them there with us.

Last night, their dad Joe passed away.

I don’t even know where to start with what a crazy character Joe “Spider” Ryan was.  He had a story for everything.  He taught me how to shoot a gun.  He placed a $100 bet with me when I was 7.  He was a plumber, a teacher, a Navy sailer, a lover of the Titanic, a lover of his wife and family, and a restless traveler.

His big personality and spirit will be missed.

Love to you Ryans!




How Lucky How Thankful

November 29th, 2010

Betty, my awesome mother-in-law, started this great tradition this year at Thanksgiving.  She left out a pad of paper, a pen and a basket.  Each of us was to write down what we were thankful for and then we would read them at the dinner table.

At the end of dinner, all the kids crowded around Papa to read the notes.  They were read one by one.  The kids tried to guess who wrote what.  Some of us fessed up, some did not.

It was CT who wrote this:

As it was read, he looked up into my mom’s eyes and gave her the sweetest smile and head nod.  It was as if to say, don’t worry Grandma, we won’t forget him.

Breeding them competitive

July 23rd, 2010

All three kids will be doing the Chisago Lakes Kid’s triathlon tomorrow. There has been no practice or dress rehearsal like there was in the past few years.  They are just heading out to do it.

(photo from last year)

They all want to win so badly, I know there will be some broken hearts in the bunch.  I keep trying to tell them what I tell myself, “race the best race you can, today.”  It took me 4 years of triathlons to get that, to not get so wrapped up in what “place” I was going to get (you never know who will show up that day) and to just do the best I can, race against myself and that will have to be good enough for today.

But they are still young, with many miles to travel before they get that point and that is totally ok.  Hopefully by the time they are 39, they will.

On a side note, I will be racing the 1/2 iron race on Sunday.  It will be the first time my dad won’t be there to kiss me at the finish line, ok he was actually really sick and didn’t come to the finish line last year…but he was still here.

This race will be for him.

I miss you dad and the finish line just won’t be the same without you.


July 19th, 2010

Olivia & Ryan are getting hitched!

The next Sellke Family Reunion will be in Indiana next August, helping these two kick off their married life right.

Have fun with the wedding planning.  And don’t forget…there is always Vegas!

All our love.

Happy Father’s Day

June 20th, 2010

The boys below, took off on their first annual Father’s Day golf outing this morning.  Three generations, enjoying the sun and each other.

Not sure you could ask for anything more.

Happy Father’s Day!

While they were away, KP, PJ, my mom and I had breakfast and took off to the cemetery.  Since we haven’t gotten a headstone yet, we decided to grab some rocks and some paint and do a little art therapy for the living.

Then we started walking around the cemetery and back behind the shed, were the caretakers keep stuff and throw other stuff away.

My mom found live plants in a pile of disregarded dead ones (Anne Marie, there were a few plant stands there too).  KP found an old rusted out dragon fly and PJ put together bouquets of weed-flowers.

When we put it all together my mom said, “Your dad would have loved doing this.”  I said, “Well, he wouldn’t have loved doing the art, he would have loved the fact that we were steeling this stuff from the back of the shed.”

I really miss you dad.

Death is nothing at all, I have only slipped away into the next room, I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still, call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used.

Put no difference into your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow, laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we always enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me, let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effort, without the ghost of a shadow in it.

Life means all that it ever meant, it is the same as it ever was, there is absolute unbroken continuity.

What is death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind, because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner, all is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost, one brief moment and all will be as it was before.

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral

First times

March 25th, 2010

For my mom, this year has had its bumps, but she is moving through it the best way she can.  And I must say, she is doing a great job.  Changing what you have known for 40 some years is hard, even for the best change agent in the world.

If you have been around me at all in the past months, you have heard me utter, “2010 is STILL going to be a good year”.  And I do honestly believe that.

I said this exact thing to my mom last night, while we sat in the ER waiting for the second of two CT scans to be done and her lip to be stitched up.  When I said it, she gave a a very grim…”When?”

She fell while on a walk, during a stunning spring day, with her friend.  Simply caught her toe on some winter-heaved-pavement and down she went, on her face.  Lots of stitches, lots of swelling, lots of bruising.  She said I could post the photo, but…I’m restraining myself.  She thinks it looks worse than it feels.  Yup, it’s hard to look at.

This year has a lot of firsts for her.  Her first time to the ER.  Her first stitches.  Her first decisions by herself without a partner in crime.

She is finding her way.  She is amazing.

How lucky I am to be the one to hold her hand as she got her first set of stitches.