Florida 2011

Posted in Travel on January 25th, 2011 and tagged , , , ,

Well, I’ve been back in town from a glorious family vacation to Florida for a few days now, and realistically, I guess I could say that I’m getting back on  track.  But catching up is going so slowly, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like I’ll never be done.  But you know what?  With 4 small children in the house, I NEVER feel caught up on the to-dos, even when I don’t leave town, so what does it matter if I took a week and a half off?  It was great!  Eventually I’ll get around to posting an in-depth trip diary – these have come in such handy when I go back to find the name of a restaurant we visited or certain info about the trip; it’s fun for reminiscence purposes too.  For now, I will just post a small run-down of the 20-hour drive from Florida to Ohio which illustrates the dramatic temperature decrease we endured between the south and the north.  There will be more to come later, I promise, so please don’t forget about me and my little blog.

Sat Jan 22:
Orlando FL = 58 degrees at noon
GA / FL state line = 48 degrees at 5:20pm
Atlanta GA = 34 degrees at 10:15pm

Sun Jan 23:
Chattanooga, TN = 24 degrees at 12:30am
TN/KY border = 18 degrees at 2:45am
Van Wert/Paulding County borders, nw Ohio = NEGATIVE 8 degrees at 7:45am

BRRRrrrrrr!!!!!

Waiting…

Posted in Current Events on June 6th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s 1am and I can’t sleep.  Why?  We are right in line for our second round of severe weather tonight.  Round one was kind of fun.  The two older kids were still awake, and they came downstairs panicked at the Tornado  Warning that was flashing on their tv.  It turned out to be for a different county, but then one was issued for our county a few minutes later.  But it soon became clear that our town  would be spared – a few very soft claps of thunder, and we were done.  The tornado sirens blared, so we dutifully went to the basement, but before we could even get everyone down there, the sirens were off.  So right before bed, I checked the radar again, and round two is headed straight for us.  I’ve had the news on while laying in bed, and after all of the very serious reports of damage and that which is yet to come, I gave up on sleep.  My husband and I came downstairs to  watch the radar on the news and…  wait.

I’ve got a comforter and some bottled water and snacks waiting by the basement door; it looks really bad.  I hope I’m over-reacting, but better safe than sorry, I guess – and it’s 1:30 in the morning so it’s easy to panic; I’m tired.  Plus, preparing for disaster keeps my mind of the feeling of impending doom from outside.  The county just north of us has a Tornado Warning.  It feels like a pressure cooker outside – the humidity is stifling, and the wind is picking up.  So far they’re saying on the news that tornadic activity is heading straight for our town, but weather is very unpredictable.  But even if we don’t get a tornado, they said to expect winds 80-90 mph.  Did I mention we invested in an inflatable pool for the kids yesterday?  😉

I’m praying for the safety of our family and friends who are spread all over this county and the next one over.  I’m praying for our old house and for all of the tall trees around it.  There are reports of heavy damage (possible tornado) in the county to the east, and we have many friends who live there – praying for everyone.

Well, this thing appears to be in our county now, and no tornado warning for us.  The wind is howling, so I better go before I lose power – I have flashlights and battery radios, think we’re well prepared…  just difficult to decide at what point it’s safer to panic the kids by waking them and taking them into the basement…  always a tough decision.  I’ve lived in the midwest all my life, but this is so much harder when you’re the parent and the one who has to make the calls.

Stay safe everyone…  I will leave an update on this post tomorrow, but so far, it looks good for us – the storm turned due east at the last minute…

*UPDATE* –  Yes, the storm turned away from us at the last minute – a miracle.  So other than being extremely tired, we are unscathed.  Some friends I saw at church today are ok too, so I’ll have to do some digging about the rest of the area, but I think everyone is ok!  Time to catch up on that sleep…

I Don’t Want To Play Inside All Day…

Posted in Everyday Life on April 15th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , ,

But some of us don’t have a choice where, or even if, we get to play all day.  And it’s tax day, and shame on you if you haven’t done yours yet!  I don’t know about you, but where we live, it’s oh-so-nice out – I’m talking 80° weather!  But you might be stuck inside doing your taxes…

So here is a song just to torture you.  I’ve seen this on Sesame Street twice now, and I just think it’s so cute; especially when Elmo sings along!  It aired again the other day, so blog time!  Sorry if you were stuck inside all day for work or other unpleasant tasks.  Take comfort in that there will be a whole spring and summer’s worth from where this came from – I ♥ Spring!

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Let It Snow… Well, Just For Tonight

Posted in Everyday Life on January 7th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am glad to be home.  I’ve got a nice warm cup of coffee next to me as I sit at my computer…  but don’t let my facade of relaxation fool you.  I’ve already changed 3 dirty diapers and broken up 4 squabbles in the past hour since I’ve been home, with more of both sure to come.  But my errands today went even worse – one of those days where most things, even the littlest things, are going wrong – too many things to list, and I’m exhausted.

And it’s snowing, which made everything I did today more difficult.  It depends upon the news outlet of choice; the radio says we are to get 2-4″ of snow today with another possible inch tomorrow.  I am also a fan of weather.com, who says my area is due for a possible 3-5″ today, and another 1-3″ at night.  Basically the same forecast, but I know they weren’t exaggerating this time – there are already at least 3″ of snow on the ground.  I know because I had to trudge through it, both on foot and in the car.  The roads are terrible, but walking is a breeze thanks to the boots I got a few months ago.  Well, it would be a breeze if it weren’t for all the little ones I have to bundle and re-bundle and lift out of the car at every stop.  I had so many stops to make and was so sick of the snow today that I decided to not go to the library and pick up the second Harry Potter book.  I know, it sounds great to be snowed in with a good book, especially because hubby is working all night, but it’s difficult to imagine that I will achieve any kid-less time.  I just couldn’t bring myself to make that extra stop, especially when the day’s other errands had already gone so awry.  Some of it was just plain bad luck and some had to do with the fact that all 4 kids – well, ok, 3 of them, but I’m not mentioning any names –  have been terribly behaved lately.

In what has turned into a ranting blog post of complaints, where was I?
My husband had a major issue with his work in December, so he needs to work basically whenever he’s awake to get our family back on track.  I lost my other best friend in this house in December, and it feels kind of lonely when the people you hang out with all day do nothing but poop, cry, or argue, sometimes all doing all 3 things at once.  And I started today on such a good note; where on earth would I be right now if I hadn’t?  I stayed positive this morning while I cleaned the poop out of the bathtub, and I even smiled when my son pooped again on the floor and slid on it like it was a banana peel – disgusting, that’s obvious, but you have to admit that it makes for a humorous mental picture (no one was hurt, unless you count my bathroom floor).

The trip to Walmart today went surprisingly well, even though I didn’t leave myself enough time for lunch.  But then the kids lost it as I was loading the groceries into the car, and between the yelling and the snow, I realized I was not really IN the drive-thru at McDonald’s – I was kind of taking up the drive-thru lane AND the drive-past lane simultaneously.  It was too late for me to move over, at least not until the car in front of me moved, and sure enough, there came someone squeezing past me…  I turned my head, ready for the dirty look I knew I was about to receive, and the driver did not disappoint.  He glared at me, and that’s when I saw it was a county sheriff, and I sank low in my seat – how embarrassing.  And great – I feel sorry for the other red vans that get pulled over if this guy is looking to get revenge on me; he looked awfully perturbed at my ignorance.

So then I get home, and my little boy has fallen asleep (only took 15 minutes of crying in the car), so I put him in his crib and venture back out into the snowstorm because I  forgot milk – a morning requirement in this house o’ kids.  But because it was today, and because anything that could go wrong was going wrong (remember that I’ve left out still most of the gory details), the first store I check is completely out of milk.  So I go to another place, and they do have milk, but there I run into an acquaintance with whom I am forced to make chit-chat.  Normally, I’d be ok because I like most people I meet, but there are a select few (usually those afflicted with P.A.S.) who really get on my nerves.   Enter this guy, today, one of “those days”.  But I’m nice, I’m still in a positive mood, I’ve got my milk, and I’m on my way home.  When I slide into my driveway (reminding me it has to be shoveled later), I want to sit at my computer with my cup of coffee and relax, but I decide instead to play a game of Dora Candyland with my 3-year-old because it’s something we can’t do when her brother is around and wreaking havoc.  No sooner do we get out the Candyland than her brother wakes up – great, so all I accomplished during his nap today was getting milk!  No “me” time and worse yet, no quality one-on-one time with my daughter – just errands, UGH!

Well enough ranting for now, let’s just say that I did end up with my cup of coffee and my quiet time.  But if you think the kids relented and gave me this on their own, you should read more of my blog posts because that is SO not the case.  My husband had to take a break from work and spend it with the kids.  So now it’s my turn, and my quiet time is over.  But let it snow – we don’t have anywhere to be because Girl Scouts was canceled this evening due to snow.  Maybe we can counteract some of today’s unpleasantness by spending some quality family time together tonight while we’re snowed in….  but please, not another day off school for the kids – after today, I don’t think I could handle a snow day!

Sick Of Winter?

Posted in Everyday Life on February 19th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you’re like me, then you are sick of winter.  I’m sick of getting snowed in, sick of bundling up the kids, and sick of the high heating bills.  So even though it’s a very dark type of humor, I did have to chuckle at this picture of a poor snowman I received via email; no doubt created by some poor soul who is a victim of the winter blues:

dark-snowman

And since we’re on the subject of snowmen, I read an article a few weeks ago with many interesting tidbits about them, so I’ll share a few.  After all, it’s the least I can do after sharing such a depressing picture like the one above, right?

– Snowman art is one of the few activities modern man shares with his earliest ancestors.  The earliest illustration of a snowman found was made in about 1380, and snow sculpting was a popular pastime during the Middle Ages.

– In the year 1494, Michelangelo sculpted snow figures in Florence, Italy.

– In 1999, residents of Bethel, Maine constructed the largest snowman ever built with 8 million pounds of snow.  They beat their own record in 2008 using 13 million pounds of snow when they created Olympia (actually a snowwoman) who stood 122 feet and one inch tall and could be seen from 4 miles away!  They used snow skis for her eyelashes, car tires for her lips, trees for her arms, and kids created her 6-foot nose from chicken wire and muslin.  Her hand-stitched hat had a 48-foot circumference.  Here is a picture of Olympia:

large-snowman

So don’t let the winter blues get you down, especially since us here in the Midwest are having a winter relapse today with icy winds and snow flurries – yuck!  Get some snowman inspiration, and go out there and try your hand at building your own winter work of art!  Hurry – the first day of spring is only a month away – and thank goodness for that!

The preceding blog post contains information obtained from American Profile magazine.

Not Even A Snow Day!

Posted in Everyday Life on December 6th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our first ground-sticking, hill-sledding, angel-making, sidewalk-shoveling snow of the year is here.  And why not – it’s already December 6th!

I slept in this morning, which is more than I can say for my poor husband.  Ironically, last night, he was all gung-ho about staying up late.  He’s like, “And we can stay up late because the kids have been sleeping in lately – nothing to do tomorrow until later…”  And he was right – the two littlest ones have been sleeping in lately – until today, of course.  We stayed up really late last night thinking the kids would sleep in, but WRONG!  They woke my poor husband at 7:20 in the morning today!  Myself, I didn’t stir until 9:30ish, and I was lolling out of bed when WHOOSH!  The door to our walk-in bedroom closet flies open, and it is snowing into the closet!  Turns out, the closet window was not locked, and so the winter storm had pushed it open, which pushed open the door to the bedroom, and all of a sudden, we had a winter storm in our house!  ‘I guess we’re getting some snow,”  I thought as I pushed the window shut, closed the door, noticed the baby was still sleeping and climbed back into bed.  A few minutes later, and WHOOSH!  It happened again.  “Wow, we’re really getting snow!”  I said to myself as I noticed the ground was already blanketed when I shut the window the second time.  This time, I manipulated the frozen lock until it was shut so we wouldn’t have to experience the WHOOSH effect again.  Well, that’s a heck of a way to wake up, especially twice.  Besides, it was late enough and time for me to contribute to the daily household stuff.  Once downstairs, I checked weather.com, which informed me that we were forecasted to get 1-2 inches of snow during the day, and another possible inch at night.  Immediately we began making plans to go sledding, especially since our 4-year-old had been waiting for this all year.  Well, it took us all over an hour to get ready.  And that didn’t even include lunch.  We dressed everyone in 2-3 layers, and then we realized we should probably have lunch before we tackled the sled hill.  Seeing how difficult it was to unravel everyone from their winter clothes enough to find mouths to insert the lunch, we munched on a few pieces of lunchmeat before heading to the sled hill.

Well, the baby wasn’t happy on the sled hill – and before I get all kinds of nasty comments, YES he was bundled intensely!  2-3 layers, then a snowsuit, then a fleece bag-like thingie, then a few blankets, and my husband and I built a little tent-like thing around his carrier…  But he IS a July baby, and I have a theory that people are best suited for the season in which they were born, so…  no sledding for the little guy.  Or for mom, for that matter.  I got down the hill once though, and it was lots of fun – much easier climbing the hill this time than last year being a few months pregnant!  Although I was disappointed about only getting to go down the hill once, after that I got to sit in the warm car and catch up on my newspaper reading in peace and quiet after the baby fell asleep, so that was nice.  And after sledding, since we had kind of cheated on lunch, we treated the kids to Pizza Hut because for some reason, they like to eat there.  And every time we’re set to go, I realize I don’t like it, but I think I’ll be able to find something – but I was wrong again!  I just don’t like Pizza Hut!  Well, their iced tea is pretty good…  but their buffet sucks, and so now I’m headed home with 4 exhausted kids and I’m all hepped up on iced tea…  But the rest of the afternoon went surprisingly smoothly and we even let our daughter have a friend over – providing her mom drove her here so we wouldn’t have to venture out in the snow again.  When the friend’s mom got here, we were chatting about the snow, and we were all dumbfounded about how much we were supposed to get.  Usually, the weather channel will over-forecast us.  If they say 1-3 inches, we usually get a ground dusting.  Today, they say 1-3 inches, and for most of us, it snowed from the time we woke until well after the sun set.  We waited until it was finished to go out and shovel, and by then it was dark and we had gotten a few inches.  Now I see on the news that we could get a few more inches…

But anyway, lots of fun today, and all without calling an official Snow Day!  Can’t all major snow falls be on Saturdays?!?

Here We Go Again!

Posted in Everyday Life on December 3rd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Everyone who has been reading my blog since I started it in the beginning of 2008 knows my disdain for the 2-hour delay so frequently used at my daughter’s school.  Well, it’s that time of year again – Tuesday was our first 2-hour delay of the school year.  It’s not like I want the buses to go out on the slippery country roads and endanger kids and drivers; it’s just that the delay throws off the entire family for the whole day!  If there was some way to effectively implement the delay for those who would have trouble getting to the school in poor weather conditions, I think that would be a good solution.  However, it’s obvious that would lead to kids falling behind other kids and such, so it’s obvious why they don’t do that.  But 2-hour delays frustrate me nonetheless.

My 2-year-old gets frightened or crabby if we do things differently from our normal routine.  So when there’s a 2-hour-delay, she sleeps in until after 10 and wakes up disoriented, hungry and crabby.  I guess I could wake her, but I figure if she’s sleeping in then she needs the sleep – and it will pay off for me later in the day because her daily pre-naptime intensity won’t be quite as demanding as usual.  So Tuesday’s delay was caused by snow, which meant that my 4-year-old wanted to play in it all day (no preschool today).  But of course she wants someone to play with, and I’m not comfortable letting my 2 and 4-year-olds play outside by themselves of course.  And on Tuesday it was too cold to take the baby out with us…  So we were all stuck inside and my middle two have a rivalry going on, which means that they fight over everything and constantly; Tuesday being no exception because why would it be?  Hopefully the salt shortage there is for the roads this winter won’t lead to more school delays – our first one did not go smoothly!

Cold

Posted in Everyday Life on October 27th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

It’s a strange sensation; something I haven’t experienced for about a year.  Last winter I was pregnant, and due to the fact that pregnant women have 2/3 more blood coursing through their bodies than non-pregnant people, they rarely get cold.  Then I had the baby in the middle of summer, went to Florida, and now that we’re back in NW Ohio, it’s cold!  The older I get, the more I dislike the cold weather.  Not only do I dislike bundling everyone up, including myself, but I especially dislike the winter gas bills.  We have a humongous furnace that increases our gas bill by 144% in the winter months, which is why I opt to freeze a few months out of the year.  I just can’t bring myself to turn on that huge furnace for the season yet.  Every year when we get our first winter-sized gas bill, we vow to winterize the house and we talk about getting a new furnace, but somehow, we never get around to doing anything.  Maybe this year will be different, but in the meantime, I’m going to try to hold out until at least November 1.  Maybe I should check the weather forecast before I say that…

Unforseen Side Effect Of Hurricanes

Posted in Current Events, TV Shows on September 5th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With all the storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean lately, I’ve been especially interested in hurricanes.  I’ve lived a lot of places, but since I’ve only resided in the midwest, I’ve never witnessed a hurricane firsthand.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  There was a hurricane a couple of years ago (I forgot its name unfortunately) that ventured up to our corner of Ohio.  By the time it got here, it had been over land for quite some time which had reduced it to nothing but rain, lots of rain.  It was really no different than any other rain we’ve gotten, except that I had been watching the radar, and I knew that it had been a hurricane in a past life – that made it special to me; I really enjoyed it.

Anyway, last night, the baby decided to wake up right as we were going to bed, so I was stuck watching tv while I fed him.  And it’s strange, because I really used to enjoy tv, but that’s changed for me recently.  Maybe it’s because we are so busy all the time so I got used to not watching tv…  I don’t know what it is.  All I know is that I used to be the kind of person who could be happy watching anything on tv –  I could find something that would entertain me at any time of the day or night.  Not so much anymore.  I still like tv, and I love watching my favorite shows (like The Office – almost time for new episodes!!!), but “junk tv” as I call it (reality shows, documentaries, etc.) isn’t so appealing anymore.  My point in detailing all of this is to explain how interesting I found some random documentary I caught last night on the History Channel while I was feeding my son.

The documentary was about giant snakes, specifically pythons, and how they are starting to become a threat to people in Florida.  What I found most fascinating about this is the fact that these snakes are not indigenous to the United States, but in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, many pet stores and homes that had kept these animals as pets were destroyed.  Baby pythons were released into the wild and because of Florida’s tropical climate, especially in the Everglades, these animals now have a wild population that is thriving.  On the show, they had pictures of one snake that had swallowed an adult human whole.  They weren’t sure if the pictures were real or a hoax, and unfortunatley I never found out because my son let me go to bed before the show was over.  They also had pictures of a snake that had swallowed a 6-foot-long alligator whole, but it had ruptured the snake, causing his death.  In the words of a snake expert on the show, “snakes can digest anything” – it’s just that the alligator probably clawed the snake open.  But you could see the outline of the alligator in the snake – it looked like an alligator colored like a snake – it was bizarre.

I may have to find this documentary again so I can watch it when I’m not half asleep.  But it’s really interesting to me that because of a hurricane, Florida now has another fearsome reptile lurking in the Everglades.  I’m sure that was the last thing on people’s minds after Hurricane Andrew wreaked its havoc 16 years ago – I bet this scenario didn’t cross anyone’s mind.  Who knows what unforseen side effects we’ll see from Hurricane Katrina in a couple of decades?  One can only imagine… 

It’s HOT!

Posted in Kids, Uncategorized on June 6th, 2008 and tagged , , , , ,

For a few days now and a few more days to come 🙁 the temperatures in our region have been over 90°.  For a pregnant woman of my girth, it is proving disasterous.  I am so lathargic – I don’t feel like doing ANYTHING, including eating!  The house is a mess, and the kids have been cooped up because I’ve been cooped up in the a/c.  It’s not the best a/c though because we have window units, not central air, so it’s still hot!  Luckily, the kids are going on vacation with their Grandma and will get plenty of stimulation next week.  After that, I have to hope and pray for an arctic streak until I deliver the baby in mid-July or we won’t make it.  Since I’m sitting here doing nothing, just as I want, I decided to post this poem as a distraction to myself in lieu of the heat.  It’s a poem by Shel Silverstein, and I had to memorize it in 5th grade.  While I no longer have it memorized, certain lines keep running through my head as I sit here and boil.  Enjoy and stay cool!

It’s Hot!
By Shel Silverstein

It’s hot!
I can’t get cool,
I’ve drunk a quart of lemonade,
I think I’ll take my shoes off
And sit around in the shade.

It’s hot!
My back is sticky,
The sweat rolls down my chin.
I think I’ll take my clothes off
And sit around in my skin.

It’s hot!
I’ve tried with ‘lectric fans,
And pools and ice cream cones.
I think I’ll take my skin off
And sit around in my bones.

It’s still hot!