Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rainy Saturday

I woke up this morning to my favorite sleeping sound - a light rain. No thunder, no lightning, no need to run screaming for the bunker.

At what age do kids appreciate a rainy Saturday morning and want to stay in bed? I heard Leah squeak and then get quiet again, so obviously she gets it. Her big brother? Not so much. After much whining, cajoling and a trip to the potty, he finally dragged his drowsy parents out of bed.

Of course the rain means something else. The hubby's to do list is pretty much shot. Today was the day for all the outside prep for the annual extravaganza known as Fryman Family Fun Fest. His idea of helping includes spraying weeds, clearing the garage, and cleaning the red iron deposits off the house and lamp post where the sprinklers hit.

Don't get me wrong, those things need done. We like to pretend to our friends that our house always looks like that. But my list includes things that he would rank below a root canal - cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, and wiping down those corners of the house that only see a dust rag once a year. If I can keep the flow of coffee going, painting the kids' bathroom is also on my list. I got a raised eyebrow with that idea. Luckily my friend offered to bring her three rug rats over next week to keep mine occupied while I paint! We'll call that plan B.

Plan A would be getting it done today. If I can't stay in bed and sleep, I might as well be productive, right?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why do I live here?

I. Hate. Storms.

When I was a kid, I used to love thunderstorms. Once, my friends and I were on the front porch when a neighbor's house got struck by lightning. It was freaky, but didn't deter me from sitting perched at the end of my bed, watching the rain and flashes out my window. Storms were comforting, in a way, and I loved going to sleep when God was bowling upstairs.

Now, a stray gray cloud has me running for radar, local news, weather radio, or all of the above.

Let's just say my first few years in the country's little-known second Tornado Alley have not been pleasant.

A former coworker used to laugh at me when I would start freaking out once I heard a severe weather alert over the scanner.

"You know you won't see it coming," he told me. "It's probably just going to drop from the sky onto your house."

Really Roger, was that necessary?!

The hubby had me mostly calmed down until this funny little F3 tornado wiped out half of Nappanee and lifted A MILE FROM MY HOUSE. Yes. I said A MILE FROM MY HOUSE. That was my first experience waking a child to retreat to our basement, which now can be known as the Marquette bunker. I could not let go of Nathaniel. Luckily he was a drowsy baby and didn't notice his mother was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Fast forward to this June. Oy. 'nuff said. Two Friday nights in a row, there we were, pretending to be camping and having fun with the kids, while all I really wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position. I finally broke down the night of the tornadoes, after we had put the kids to bed in the dark and the hubby was out on a quick drive to survey the damage. It's the ultimate sense of helplessness, sitting in your basement, not knowing what is coming or when it will be done, but knowing there is nothing you can do about it.

I slept with the weather radio on alert next to my bed for a month.

A friend told me the odds of a tornado actually hitting our house are astronomical. OK, we've lived here six years and tornadoes have come within a mile of our house TWICE. I'm thinking he needs to check his math.

So this afternoon, I knew to expect pop-ups. It was 100 degrees with 1,000 percent humidity. Of course.

What I didn't expect was to be standing on my back patio, watching clouds swirling, high and low going in opposite directions. I knew enough to know that was NOT good. From inside, I watched our glass patio table and umbrella lifted at a 45 degree angle TOWARD the house. That was it. I grabbed a sleeping baby girl from her crib and ushered all my two- and four-legged critters to the bunker.

Today all I had to worry about was scattered chairs and a cushion that made it to a driveway across the street. It's only July so I have no doubt I will have more restless days and sleepless nights, but for now I am convinced Mother Nature has a bulls-eye painted on our house and her aim is not what it used to be.

Here's hoping she doesn't want more practice this summer.

Little boys

My friends ask me if there is a difference in raising boys and girls, since I have one of each. I just laugh. My kids have such different personalities, at this point it's hard to tell what I can blame on gender.

But there is no doubt that Nathaniel is my son. He may look like the hubby, but he acts so much like me. I'm sure my mom just laughs at me from heaven some days.

Yesterday afternoon he announced for the second time that he has a headache. "Mommy, I still have headache. A snack would help my headache go away." As he said it his voice got higher, like a question that I needed to answer.

"Oh really," I said. "What kind of snack would make your headache go away?"

"Um... a... LOLLIPOP!"

Now that's some thinking. Of course he needs to learn to stick to his guns, because I had him negotiated down to yogurt in about 30 seconds.

He is also my emotional one. A boo-boo can be cause for much wailing and whimpering. It's probably my fault since I was a nervous first-time mom. Now I'm over it. Too bad he's not.

He is very cautious and won't do anything he isn't comfortable with. Instead of introducing something new 2 or 3 times, it takes him 8. It took me the whole summer last year to get him to stand in 3 inches of water in his baby pool. Now I have to drag him out of water kicking and screaming. But he may be in middle school before I can get him to sit still for the dentist.

He is also my cuddler, not just when he is sick. If he is tired or out of sorts, he wants to sit on my lap. Now that he's 3 1/2 and starting preschool in a few weeks, I am definitely okay with that. It may not last much longer.

Monday, July 26, 2010


This is what everyone else in my house is doing right now. We've had a long few days. Well, except the cat. He's kinda peeved we left him behind so he's taking this opportunity to try to scatter the kids' new toys to all corners of the living room. I called that one.

But I digress.

I should be sleeping. In my nice, comfy, warm, soft bed. Instead, I uploaded photos from the weekend, edited and posted them. Someday I'll figure out how to really use Photoshop so I look like I know what I'm doing. But not tonight. Probably not tomorrow either. There's a scary amount of laundry and cleaning waiting for me.

And for the record, Nathaniel is over his sleeping on the floor phase, except for the rare nap. He's in bed. His baby sister is in bed. The dog had a rough weekend at the kennel. She's in bed.

Cat is waiting for me to go to bed so he can sleep on my pillow and hog it. Guess I better accommodate him.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Today was one of those days that I'd like to just bottle up and hold onto forever. Put it up on a shelf and bring it out when I get frustrated, down, or otherwise blue. And most of all, I wish that my kids will remember days like today and smile.

It wasn't anything exciting or overly special - it was a family picnic at the hubby's aunt and uncle's house. Four kids under 4, lots of hot adults and a swimming pool; No better way to spend a summer Saturday.

Nathaniel spent all but maybe an hour in the pool, jumping, splashing, noodling and swimming on his own! OK, he had a vest, but for a kid who's only had 3 swim lessons and normally yells "I can't do it! Help! Help! Swim with me Mommy!" - I'll take it.

Little miss Leah was her normal daredevil self, catching quite a few adults off guard when she walked down the steps and jumped straight in, no life vest. Eek. Girl's gonna give me gray hair. Oh to find a good float thing in her size...

There were fun presents for my poor winter babies' half birthdays, a spur-of-the-moment trip to Wally World for a new grill for the grillmaster's early birthday present, tons of food and even better, lots of laughing.

There's not bottle to put on my shelf, but there are always photos and lots of stories. And time to have more perfect summer days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Do I live here?

Tomorrow morning when I stumble downstairs for coffee, there is a very good chance I won't know where I am.

No, I don't plan on tying one on tonight and sleeping somewhere OTHER than my own comfy bed. I will be home sweet home with brandy-new carpet and a totally rearranged living room.

It's been a long time coming. We weren't very nice to our old carpet.

We moved in and didn't move the furniture for 6 years.

Within a few months of ownership, we brought home a beagle. She wasn't a puppy, but as a former co-worker warned me, "You never totally house train a beagle." 'Nuff said.

So the beagle would have a four-legged friend, we brought home a kitten and did NOT declaw him. He quickly figured out our back screen door lock does NOT work, and if he scratched at the carpet and door long enough, he could open it. He scratched it away to wood.

Then once we had house, dog, cat, jobs, we added kid to the mix. Cat was not a fan. But he dealt. When kid #2 came along 2 years later, Tigger majorly rebelled. When I would be occupied with that tiny, pink, screaming bundle, he would set himself up on the stairs and SCRATCH. Our stairs looked like they had mohawks. There was not a spot on the front of those darn stairs that was intact.

After that, any spill was just another nail in the poor carpet's coffin. Baby girl dropped the neighbor girl's PINK lipstick on the carpet a few weeks ago. I didn't even bother.

I would have to break out scissors to trim the stray "hairs" before I ran the sweeper because otherwise the strands would get caught. I haven't vacuumed next to the door in years.

But now that our living room is pretty and clean and soft and not scratched to heck, I will live in fear.

We just can't have nice things.

The "no shoe, no food, no drink, don't even look at the carpet wrong" rule will only last so long. I'm not my uncle, who will vacuum lines into his carpet and then walk the long way around his house so he won't leave footprints. He lives alone. I live in a zoo.

I may take bets on how long before something gets spilled or tracked. Maybe I can win and start the next new carpet fund.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sometimes I don't think

The contents of my living room were crammed into the dining room by 4:30 this afternoon so we can have new carpet installed tomorrow. Why did I think we would be able to eat dinner like normal people? No clue... We bailed and ate out.

Pork burgers and grilled sweet corn shall have to wait for another day. And probably not tomorrow either, since we will be spending our time putting all the crap BACK into the living room.

I may be a slow learner, but I'm not THAT slow...


They're back. The evil, green creatures heck-bent on destroying the only crop that thrives in our veggie garden are back.

I'm talking about Tomatopillars.

Okay, sure, you may know them as horned caterpillars. But the point is, they are back to reduce our beautiful tomato plants to bare green sticks.

For the last six years, we have had a garden. And living next to a corn field that gets sprayed religiously, any bug that gets scooted out of the corn ends up munching on our meager feast. We have become quite familiar with bugs, good and bad, and what kills them. When in doubt, use Sevin. Sevin kills everything.

But not these suckers.

The hubby and I noticed a few leaves missing on our daily garden check Sunday. So while I bathed the kiddos, he busied himself spraying the garden (anything to avoid bath time). Problem solved, right?


On Monday more leaves were gone. Finally found a 'pillar hanging upside down on a plant that was just missing a few leaves. Figuring I had found the sole culprit, I started a tomato-pillar dance of joy and even snapped a photo with my phone to send to the hubby. I wanted him to bask in the glory of my victory.

But then HE found two more. Including one that Nathaniel named Dorothy (thank you Elmo) and wanted to keep as a pet. "Oh, him so coot! Pet him, Mommy, him soft!" Annoying little buggers are soft.

So once again we are on tomato-pillar watch. Luckily my budding farmer won't let me go a day without checking the garden AND the field corn AND the pumpkins growing in the corn. (Yes folks, that's what happens when you chuck Halloween pumpkins in the field. They may survive to be this year's decorations. Only time will tell.) So we may find more.

But no 'pillars for pets!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Everyone else is doing it...

... so I'm going to start a blog. It's about time for the whole blog craze to fizzle out, so I thought I'd give it a push in the right direction. I doubt I will have anything Earth-shatteringly interesting to say, but gosh darnit, I'm not going to be left out. Here is where I can rant about my crazy kids and my adventures in teaching myself to cook.

Today has been one of those days where I feel like I have it together. Something about insulating our attic in 90 degree heat over the weekend made me think I can accomplish pretty much anything. But I'm starting small - groceries and laundry. It's only 3 p.m. and I already have 3 loads folded - that's pretty much unheard of. Threw chicken in the crockpot early for tacos, which left time for Nathaniel and me to make yogurt freezer pops for dessert.

Go me!

Chicken Tacos
1 lb chicken breasts
1 jar salsa
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn

Place all ingredients in crockpot on low. Cook 6-8 hrs for frozen chicken, 4 hours if thawed. Shred chicken with forks and serve on tortillas with your favorite toppings.

I didn't come up with it myself, thanks go to Jill!