Saturday, June 29, 2013

When it Rains, it Pours....


We have had so much rain here the past couple weeks.  And it's not just normal rain.  It's loud thunder crashes and bright lightening, keeping all the kids and animals up all night long rain.  That, in turn, keeps all the mommies up all night.  Then all the mommies get tired and cranky, and it continues to rain.

I think it might be done for a couple days.  I really hope so anyway.

Tuesday night (all night) and into Wednesday morning we had some very heavy rain.  I think I read we had 8 inches that night, after about a week of steady water coming from the sky.  There was some very interesting fallout from this rain.

Let me start by saying I live in a neighborhood with one road leading in and out of it.  You read that right - one road.  One way in.  One way out.

My older daughter and I were on our own that day and we had some relaxing but fun things planned.  Step one - go to the library for her prize for the summer reading program.  As we were leaving our neighborhood I saw something that I had never seen before.  The one road leading in and out was flooded.  I should mention that the road crosses a small stream that cuts through the golf course and past the country club and leads to a river.  That small stream and the decorative water fall that the country club made by the road looked like rapids.  The flood wasn't too bad though, and cars were taking turns driving through the lake that covered the road.

We got out of the neighborhood just to see that one of the major highways through our town was also flooded.  Hmmm, never seen that before either!  Not only was the street flooded where I wanted to go, but because of that flood the library was closed too!  So, no prize for A that day.  No big deal.  We went to Walmart for some things and then went home to watch a movie and relax.

About 30 minutes after we got home, the power shut off.  Huh, interesting, I think.  It's not storming now, I wonder what's going on.  After a few minutes of wandering around the house and doing some random chores that I could do without electricity, I suggest we go for a walk.  We meet up with some neighbors who had the same idea.  As we walk towards the front of the neighborhood, we see lots of neighbors outside and start hearing some details.  It's not good.

The pole holding the main transformer for the neighborhood has fallen into the creek.  That same creek that looked like rapids earlier in the day.  Wires carrying lots of electricity are torn down, some in the water, some lying on the road.  You know - the one road in and out of the neighborhood.  We hear from the police man keeping all curious onlookers at bay...  there is no way in or out and they have no idea how long we'll be stuck that way.  In the neighborhood with no power.  Hmm, sounds like a great adventure, right?  Half of my family is stuck at home, and the other half is stuck on the other side of that creek.  No, not fun.  Especially when the officer mentions that we might not get power back until next week!

After about 2 hours, they were finally able to open up one lane of traffic.  Things settled down a bit since we were no longer trapped, but we still had no idea when power would come back.  You don't realize how plugged in we really are until it's gone.  We couldn't even use our toilets, and our food was slowly getting warmer.  Cell phones and tablets needed to charge, so there goes the entertainment.

All in all, we were without power for about 25 hours.  It makes you appreciate what we take for granted.  However, it also makes you appreciate good friends, who pick you up when you're stranded at home without a car in a house without electricity, and let you store food in their freezer and take showers and enjoy air conditioning when it's 90 degrees and humid.

So I now have a deeper appreciation for the luxuries that we have - running water, electricity, and air conditioning!  Boy are we spoiled!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Importance of Hope

I haven't been around much lately, simply because I haven't had anything jumping out at me to write about and I've been too busy with the kids to sit and really think about it.  Soon I'll sit down and write about all the fun we've been having.

But now, I wanted to share this story.  Heather is a mom, just like me.  Right after her baby girl was born, she was diagnosed with Mesothelioma, a type of cancer that is generally fatal.  Can you imagine what it would feel like to have this brand new baby girl and then find out that you might not be there to see her grow up?  I can't even imagine that pain.  All you can do is hope beyond hope that you can beat the odds in order to be there for your child.  But if you remain positive and keep that hope alive, miracles can happen.

Watch Heather's video here.  It's inspirational.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Children and the Lack of Clothing

My kids have a lot of clothes.  I mean - there is barely room in their closet, and they have an unusually large closet.  Half of it is play shirts and the other half is dresses.  Then there are drawers for everything else.  Two drawers for pants, two drawers for capris and shorts, a drawer for pajamas, one for swimming suits.  Seriously - they have too many clothes to choose from.

Maybe that is why at any given moment one of my kids will be naked.  Maybe they can't decide what to wear!

My youngest - who is 5 by the way - will invariably be naked in my living room at least once throughout the day.  Why?  I don't know.  After a bath she will remain in her birthday suit for as long as she can before I freak out at her and force clothes on that little body.

 My 6 year old is starting to grow out of that phase, thank goodness - but she will wander around the house in only underwear for the first couple hours she is awake.  And yes, that means she sleeps in only underwear and it doesn't matter how cold it is outside or if we have the air conditioning on in the house.

It was disturbing when the doorbell rang one morning.  One was completely naked, the other in underwear.  They both start running to the door.  Suddenly they hear me shriek....  "Get back!  What are you doing?  Did you forget you don't have clothes on?"  They start laughing as they hide in the living room.  They actually forgot that they weren't dressed yet!

I'm afraid I might be raising little strippers or something.  Please don't judge me!  I'm working on it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kids at the gym

I go to a gym 3 times a week for group training.  I love it!  It's my time to take care of me and not be focusing on other little people.  I'm getting stronger, I have more endurance, and I'm starting to lose some weight, so I'm happier.  I really love the atmosphere there, and the owner/trainer is great!  I would recommend this place to anyone who lives nearby.

It is a small gym.  One room with lots of weight equipment and other weird things for us to train with.  It's perfect for the intense training that takes place there.

It's not perfect for bringing children along.  There is no separate room for the kids to play in.  He is ok with us bringing our kids if they are well behaved and stay out of the way.  Some days, depending on how many people are training and what exercises we're doing, the kids are allowed to work out next to us, or hold his hand and walk around to "help" us.  They love that.  One day when we were pushing the prowler sled across the floor some of our kids got to sit on it instead of adding weights.  They had a blast!

I really try not to bring the kids, since it's supposed to be my time alone.  But there are times when it cannot be helped.  Daddy is out of town this week on business.  So all three days this week I'm dragging kids with me to my sessions.  They really do well, but this week it's been crowded so they can't be near me.  They have to hang out in the corner by the door and just wait for me to finish.

Before and after our session starts they get to have some fun on some of the equipment.  Most of the time they swing and flip on the hanging rings like little gymnasts.  They love flipping over to hang upside down.  Well, yesterday as they were hanging like monkeys as I was rolling out, they both ended up swinging too far and hitting their heads on the concrete wall.  Being the mom that I am, I made sure they weren't seriously hurt and then I laughed.  It was kind of funny to see.....

I'm hoping to find a babysitter for tonight's session.  While I love my kids, it's so much easier to get a decent workout in when I don't have to worry about whether they are going to crack their heads open.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I Am the Worst Mother Ever!

Warning....  mom guilt included in this post.  Read at your own risk.

Do you ever have times when you feel you just don't like your kids?  I think that probably happens to all of us.  But what about realizing that you love one kid more than the other?  Yeah - that's bad....

Yesterday I was pondering this idea, and I realized that right now I do love one kid more than the other!  Then I started thinking about why.   (Notice I will not use names in this post, just characteristics)

One child is going through a phase right now that is driving me crazy.  She is whiny, clingy, and angry.  She wants to sit on my lap all the time, and when I don't give her what she wants she throws a tantrum.  She is not 2!  She speaks very well and can communicate with me - but when she's upset she won't talk at all.  She screams and cries and throws things.  Totally unacceptable behavior, but so far everything I've tried hasn't worked.  She is mean to me, ignores me on purpose to make me mad...  she can be infuriating.  When she's happy she can be a sweet little thing, but when she's upset, watch out.  Oh, and she's my bedtime troublemaker - which always makes me angry because I'm tired too and I need my quiet time!

I'm not saying that I don't love her.  I do.  She's my child and I love her and take care of her.  But she makes me mad and sometimes I really don't like her.

Then there's the other child.  She is sweet and smart.  She loves learning and asking questions about how things work.  She's quiet around strangers, but she would never ever make a scene in public no matter how upset or disappointed she is.  I watched her one day at school.  She was upset because she didn't get the prize that she wanted.  The look in her eyes screamed disappointment, but she calmly smiled and said thank you for what she got.  She is so much like me when I was a kid - she feels things deeply but remains collected on the outside.  We have wonderful conversations.  She is the one that comes to me and comforts me when I'm not feeling well or if I've had a bad day.

The two of us have a special bond that I don't have with her sister.  It makes me very sad to realize this and I'm overcome with mom guilt.  I wish I could feel that bond with both girls.  I want to get along with both of my girls and actually want to be around them.  I find myself not wanting to wake one child in the morning because it's so peaceful while she's sleeping.  I don't want to feel that way!  I don't want to love one child more than the other.  That seems so wrong - so against all parenting instincts.  Ugh - the mom guilt is awful, but this time I feel like I deserve it.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Imagined Mommy vs. Reality

After being a wife for 11 years and a mommy for 6.5, I've decided that I am one very conflicted person.  I have these ideas of who I want to be.  I know the type of wife and mommy that I imagine myself to be.....  it conflicts greatly with the wife and mommy that I actually am.

For example, I imagine that I'm the mom that keeps the house so nice and organized.  Everyone can find all their toys and shoes at any given moment.  Things have homes and are never found out where they should not be.  The house is regularly dusted and vacuumed, and the bathrooms sparkle at all times, and I always know what's for dinner.  Enter reality.  You can always find dishes in the sink, crumbs on the floor, toys everywhere, and the bathrooms are questionable.  The location of shoes are a mystery (although one pair has been found), there are piles of junk everywhere, and who knows what we're eating tonight!  I'm not sure if I'll ever become the organized wife and mother that I imagine.  I'd like to think it's possible.

I imagine that I'm the type of mom who keeps the kids engaged in fun activities.  I imagine they are so busy doing things with me that they never sit and watch TV.  We have wonderful days full of laughter and creativity, smiles and activity.  Enter reality.  I'm so tired that half the time I let them entertain themselves while I force myself out of bed to do the basics of housework.  We spend a lot of time sitting on the couch watching way too much TV.  This summer I have a lot planned.  I'm hoping the Imagined Mommy can make an appearance for the summer so the girls have some fun.  Otherwise we'll waste the summer away sitting in our living room because I'm too tired to get them moving.

I imagine that I'm the wife and mom who always has patience.  I never have a sharp word for my family.  I endure their imperfections with happiness.  Arguments between sisters don't bother me at all, and a husband who is lacking in some communication skills is not a problem.  I'm always smiling and happy, and nothing can get under my skin.  Enter reality.  I'm sure I don't have to say much about this one!  We'll just say that typical mother frustrations are very common in this house.  Mommy isn't always happy.

I'm not sure how to get my reality a little closer to my imagination.  I really want to be that mommy and wife that I imagine.  If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to suggestions.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Vacation Begins

Today is the second official day of our summer vacation.  Addy had her last day of Kindergarten on Monday.  So here we are, home for the summer.  The fighting has already begun.  Is it time to go back to school yet?

I'm just kidding.  Actually, I'm looking forward to this summer.  I'm trying to plan fun activities to keep us busy, but not totally break the bank.  That's the tricky part.  I have some ideas though.  Obviously we will participate in the library's summer reading program.  The library also has fun free programs set up that my girls are very excited about, like when they can go and learn about dinosaurs, make a rock garden in a platter, and learn how to use watercolors to paint trees.  On some Tuesdays they have storytime at Panera Bread, and on Wednesdays that have stories in the parks.  Those are all free to attend, and I plan on taking full advantage of that!

I'm going to plan picnics on some days.  We'll pack a nice lunch and go eat at a park somewhere.  Maybe we'll ride bikes or scooters around the trails in the state park that is close by.  When it's raining - like today - we can go to a McDonalds play place for some fun.

Of course there is the typical summer adventure type things that we will want to do.  Going to the zoo for one.  Since starting school we gave up our family membership because we can't go as much as we used to, but we'll make sure to go once over the summer.  The zoo by us has an exhibit where we can pet stingrays and one where we can walk into a tent full of butterflies.  Add the dolphin show in there and it's a perfect day!  The kids also want to take a trip to the Kohl Childrens Museum.  That place is so much fun!  And of course the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is one of our favorites.  But, all those things cost money so we'll have to see what we can do.

And no summer would be complete without swimming lessons and a few afternoons at the neighborhood pool.

Sounds like a lot of fun, huh?  But I'm striking a deal with my kids.  Certain things must be done before any of these fun activities take place.  They will help me around the house with some cleaning and organizing projects.  We will read a book every day.  Addy will practice her violin every day before we head out to activities.  And of course we had the conversation about how we're not going to be going someplace fun every single day.  Mommy can't handle that!  I need days at home sometimes.

So it begins.  Today is raining so I think we're heading to McDonalds after I vacuum and Addy practices her violin.