It has been a long cold winter so far, and we haven’t even hit March yet. I see more and more comments from parents lately begging for no more cancellations! I have experienced more than one of these types of winters over the course of 31 years of raising kids. Being cooped up and out of your routine can add a lot of stress and grouchiness to everyone.
I do have a few suggestions for you. First, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Just because school is cancelled doesn’t mean you have to stay in. Go outside and play in the snow! Hopefully you remember how to do that. There are a lot of kids who have never been sled riding or built a snowman. Better yet, get them to shovel the sidewalk. Better yet, give them a shovel and have them generously shovel the neighbor’s sidewalk!
Second, take them to the library or just give them a book to read. Not required reading for a class, but reading for fun. Many kids don’t do that. I know of one person who has never read a book that wasn’t required! I used to fight with “Pook” all the time about reading, but I never gave up. My kids think I am crazy, but you already know that, for reading novels on vacation.
Third, give them some chores to do. If you want to keep them from being under foot, give them a few jobs. Kids need to do things like that to learn a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done. They need to learn that they were not put on this earth to be entertained. Have them dust and vacuum their room, clean a bathroom, fold some laundry, mop a floor. Believe me, it won’t kill them and it will be a help to you. Follow through and make sure they did the job too.
Do something with them. Have them help you prepare dinner, or bake some cookies! If you treat them like pests, you damage their self esteem. Everyone wants to be loved. If your own parents find you unlovable simply because you are around, what message does that send? It does take a little extra effort on your part when the kids are home, but it can be priceless.
Whatever you do, don’t let them “veg” in front of the television or their video games. I will always advocate that those things should be used as rewards and video games, if you even allow them in your home should be severely limited. I have seen more kids get lost in their video games. My own have trouble being appropriately social when they have played too long. They are combative and forget that we are not characters in the game.
Most of all, even though this year the time out of school has been excessive, enjoy your kids. Trust me, time flies. My babies have babies and occasionally I find myself wishing I could go back in time, just for a little to recapture some time. Have a great day. Smile, because your kids love you!
So, more snow is falling today and it seems a perfect time to finish the story. As a refresher, the kids and “Doc” were outside playing in the snow about ten o’clock at night. There was no school the next day and it was gorgeous! Clear sky, tons of stars. They were having a ball. I was inside burning submarines. Got it?
Apparently, and I have to take their word for it, as they were running around the house having a snowball fight the sky lit up like it was the Fourth of July. They looked up and saw flames shooting out of the chimney and I believe there were a lot of oohs and aahs.
As I said, “Doc” came running in because he realized that the flue was on fire. There was allegedly a sound that went with the fire that sounded like a train roaring through the yard. He stopped me from adding more submarines to the fire, which was fine, because I was done anyway. I heard the train sound too, but just thought I had a great fire going! “The Surprise” had followed “Doc” into the house, saw the fire and went to his room to put shorts on. After all, it was hot in the house.
We always taught the kids to meet at a certain place on the property in the event of an emergency. None of them did it. I had to yell at “The Surprise” to put his clothes back on and get outside. I threw on my winter stuff to get them out. “Mommy” got on the phone and called 911. They hung up on her not once, but twice. She then called some friends/neighbors to come help.
I went outside to load kids into the car. “Pook” and “The Surprise” and “Mini-Me” were an easy find. After a quick head count, #4 was missing. Where was “The Blonde” ? I no sooner asked than she came running around the house screaming, mouth wide open, eyes in panic! Apparently she had been doing laps. “Get in the car!” I started out the driveway and met our friends who took the youngest four home with them. On the way out they met the sheriff, who asked what they were doing. “Kidnapping the kid.” Sheriff’s don’t think that is funny.
I had already gone back to the house. “Doc” instructed “Calvin” to get the fire extinguisher which he did. “Mommy” was helping “Doc” empty the fireplace. Actually, she was opening the door for him. Her job was complete, she had finally gotten through to the fire department. While “Doc” was trying to empty the fireplace, “Calvin” readied the fire extinguisher and fired. He did a great job for someone who had never done this, except……. He was standing two inches from the fireplace. All of the ashes came flying out into the room covering us and the house in soot. But, the fire was out!
The fire department arrived and checked the house. The four of us cleaned the mess and ourselves and went and picked up the other half of the family. I was given a stuffed fireman mouse by our friends, and as Paul Harvey would say “Now you know the rest of the story.” Have a great weekend, and be safe and warm.
This one begs to be told with the weather we have been having. We had a similar winter about 15 years ago. I can remember playing outside for hours in the cold and snow as a kid, but as an adult I have turned into something of a sissy. Anyway, it was a gorgeous and clear evening. We had been out somewhere and when we made it home through some pretty heavy snow, we found out school was to be canceled the next day. So, “Doc” and the kids decided to go outside in the snow, build a few snowmen and have a snowball fight. I generously chose to stay inside and get a fire and the hot chocolate ready.
I have never been really good at starting and/or building fires. I like the start up logs. Without them, I go through a weeks’ worth of newspapers trying to get it going. Of course once I do get it going, “Doc” fixes it. My fires are never good for him. Anyway, I went downstairs to start a fire. We didn’t have any newspaper and I am leary of the gas starter that we have. So, I looked around and found some large cardboard boxes in the family room. We had just purchased some new desk chairs and the kids had used them as subamarines. Don’t ask.
I pulled a few pieces off the submarines (which had been overused and were ready for decommissioning anyway) and got a nice little fire going. And I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I got antsy and decided that this might be the perfect way to get rid of the submarines and warm up the house. So, little by little I added cardboard to the fire.
Apparently, outside it looked like the Fourth of July. Flames were shooting out of the chimney and lit up the sky as if it were midday. After a few stunned moments, my husband realized that the flue was on fire and came running in as I stuffed the last of the cardboard into the fireplace. “What are you doing?!!!” Of course I answered, “burning submarines. I have a nice fire going!”
I was banned from starting fires for a while after that. Even now, I hear about it whenever I get near the fireplace. There is more to this story which ended up with the arrival of the fire department, but it is too long to tell in one sitting. I will finish it in a few days. Have a great Wednesday!!!!
The “Ninja”, who is not married, has informed me that there are three stages to relationships. In stage one, you are madly in love and can’t get enough of each other. In stage 2, you have kids and other things going on in your lives, so you have to plan time (use your imagination) together. In stage 3 you have been together a long time and you wave an individual finger in sign language as you pass each other in the hallway.
This past weekend was Valentine’s Day. In 32 years, I really cannot remember us going out to celebrate, even early on in our relationship. However, there were a lot more romantic gifts and flowers back then. Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is a contrived holiday. I am from Chicago. We associate Valentine’s Day with Bugsy Marone, the mob and a massacre. Expensive cards are available and restaurants and florists jack up their prices.
Do we really need a holiday to say I love you? Shouldn’t we make sure that happens every day in the little things we do. I am a firm believer that when I do your laundry I am doing something nice for you and showing my love. If it is your job to mow the lawn, (not that we can find a blade of grass right now – just daydreaming) and I mow the lawn for you, it is a small way to say I love you.
I would rather get a random romantic card, a surprise dinner out or even occasional flowers for no particular reason – just because. We all need to appreciate those things when they happen, but never, never, overlook the everyday, mundane things people do for us that says “I Care”.
I love my husband, children and grandchildren very much. I try to say it often, daily or more. I hope you all had a beautiful weekend. Have a great Monday!!!
It’s funny how we get so excited at the first snow fall each year. I always remember at Christmas hoping and praying that there would be snow and being worried about how Santa would get to me if there wasn’t any. I still pray for snow, but I don’t worry so much about Santa. I know he’ll come no matter what. And then around the middle of January, you start to hear people complain about winter and snow and that enough is enough. We live in Ohio, folks. Snow is a fact of life! The ice underneath, I am not so crazy about but snow is a fact of life!
I grew up in the Chicago area. Now if you want to talk about snow storms Ohio people need to talk to people from Chicago, Denver, Buffalo and now apparently Boston! We had some great snowstorms when I was a kid. No, allow me to correct myself. There were some epic snowstorms when I was a kid. I will never forget not being able to look out the windows of the house because the snow was so high. My brother and I built an igloo outside by tunneling into the drifts once. You couldn’t stand in it, but you could sit comfortably. And there was the time when you could literally step off the roof of the garage and onto the snow and work your way to the ground. Now that is snow! People in Chicago have a different attitude towards snow. It is what it is. We never panicked with it. Believe me, schools NEVER closed because of the snow.
Several years ago we went skiing in Colorado. Flew into Denver and rented a car to drive to the ski resort which was to be at least a four hour drive. It was April. We were with friends and the guys were in charge. There were a lot of signs warning us that the road ahead was closed due to snow. Well of course, the guys did not believe that. It was April after all. They must have forgotten to take the signs down! So we drove as planned, until . . . .
In front of us blocking the entire highway was a wall of snow bigger than I had ever seen in my entire life. I am still angry with myself for not getting a picture. You know in the movie Frozen? It was bigger than anything they thought of. And yes, we turned around and drove six more hours to get to the resort. I guess there was a reason that we were the only car on the road that evening. And yes, as a dutiful wife, I never said a word. I just slept.
So, it’s snowing! And it is beautiful! And for some reason, God gave it as a gift to us today . . . again. Have a blessed day and enjoy whatever the weather is by you!
I took my granddaughter to the dentist yesterday. I couldn’t help but think about Bill Cosby’s routine on dentist visits. I wonder if they were concerned that I was chuckling in the exam room. I was discussing with the hygienist whether or not parents should be allowed in the room during an exam. We agreed that it depends on the parent. If you are afraid of the dentist, your kids will be afraid of the dentist.
When I was a kid, our dentist did not use any anesthetic. You prayed that you did not have a cavity and feared the drill. He had a lovely assistant named Bev. She reminded me of 60’s television moms. She was so sweet, and it made me wonder how she could send us in for torture with that beautiful smile. Our dentist had a hobby. He painted clay figurines of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You might get one if you had a good checkup. Bev would take you into the exam room and you would sit in the chair and pray. You would hear Dr. Doom tell you that you had a cavity and start to tremble and cry a little. To this day, I give the old white knuckle grip to the dentist’s exam chair!
Somehow I had to get my kids in without scaring them. I think all of my fear flowed into “Mommy”. She is a white knuckler too. But our family dentist was always very good with the kids, not like Dr. Doom. I have always been happy that for the most part, the kids have had good experiences. “Calvin” ended up with some cavities as a youngster. We found out after the fact that he had candy hidden in his sock drawer. He also had the top bunk and could easily open the drawer and reach in for a few pieces after he went to bed. The girls all had big beautiful teeth and small mouths (which I would dispute, especially when they were teens). “The Surprise” discovered the financial benefits of the Tooth Fairy and pulled out seven teeth prematurely for the money which resulted in long term orthodontics.
As young adults they have developed new complaints as they have had their wisdom teeth removed.
“Pook” had the worst experience, returning three times to surgery until everything was right. I still maintain it was because he was sooooo mean to me before the procedure. (Sometimes Mom curses do work!) “The Surprise” is still waiting for his turn.
All in all, just remember, Dentists have feelings too! Do not teach your kids to hate and/or fear them! It will only serve to make life more difficult for you, your child, and your dentist! Smile (thanks to your Dentist) and have a nice day!
I know I have mentioned before that I am a sucker for cool stuff that you can buy on TV. Not the home shopping shows - the ones that they push in commercials. It was only cool too me when you could only buy it on TV. Now they have entire stores dedicated to these items. I was excited when I first walked into one of those places but the fun of getting it in the mail wasn't there. Plus, when you buy it on TV, they usually give you a two for one deal, which you do not get in the store. I got my rotisserie following a paid for television ad. You know , "Set it and Forget it". And I always remember years ago watching Ron Popiel sell his fishing rod.
I will admit that some of the things you get are a flop. Like the "Bark Off". It drives me crazy when our herd of dogs hears someone coming. They tear through the house barking like crazy as they skid through the kitchen to the door. So, when I saw it, it made perfect sense. Like a dog whistle, it emits a high pitched sound that supposedly only dogs can hear. The sound is supposed to be triggered by the barking. The dog hears the sound and stops barking. It seems logical. So, I took the little box and set it in the kitchen where the dogs were most likely to hear it. It didn't seem to be working though. The dogs weren't even slowing down. "Calvin", however was helping with dinner one evening when he was home and kept complaining of a weird noise. I had forgotten about the "Bark Off" by that time, and we all thought he was nuts. Also a logical thought. Well, he finally located the sound. Turns out that "Calvin" was the only one who was affected by the "Bark Off". My secret purchase was discovered! Interestingly, I was the one teased about it for buying it, not "Calvin" for being the only one to hear it. Thank goodness they offer money back guarantees.
I also bought the thing that keeps your razor blades sharp forever. Yes, FOREVER!. Now that one works!, but I am the only one who would know because I am the only one who uses it. My brother asked the ultimate question - if it is sharpening your blades won't they eventually sharpen down to nothing. My answer to that is - not yet. I figured that even if I get a few years out of a blade I got a deal. That discussion came up the other morning over coffee, when "Doc" was complaining about the cost of razor blades. I tried convincing him to try my sharpener but for some reason he is hesitant. I am concerned too. If he tries it and it doesn't work, he will spend the day with dabs of toilet paper all over his face to stop the bleeding! For those of you who don't know, that is trick known for generations! Now that would be a sight!
And on that note - Have a great Saturday. God gave it to you, love it and enjoy every minute!!!!!
Wow, I have been away from the blog for a little over a month. If you have followed it, my apologies. If you haven't, maybe you will pick up on it. So why the absence? As you can only imagine, with seven kids, spouses and significant others, grandchildren, friends visiting etc., the Holidays are a bit crazy for me. I think we had a minimum of ten to fifteen people in the house each day! Plain and simple - I needed to get my house in order. By that, I mean my physical home as well as my mind, body and heart!
Originally, there were several more paragraphs to this, but they disappeared when posted and I just realized it. An obvious sneak attack from the dragon. So, in my little mind and always shortening memory, I will try to recreate the original post. (No one but me will know how close I came)
Anyway, starting in January I began putting away all of my Christmas decorations and taking down the trees. I finally took the advice of our insurance agent and photographed and logged things – just in case. That alone was time consuming. The tree undecorating ceremonies are probably the worst. The obsessive compulsive side of me has documented every ornament we own including what year it arrived and where it came from. Each child has his or her own box and list. We start by removing all of the ornaments and putting them in a category – Santa, animal, homemade, etc. I won’t go into all of the details, but it is VERY time consuming. It is February and I have just finished the whole de-decorating process.
This also includes a good spring cleaning of the house and yes, I know it is not spring yet. But I choose not to rely on a calendar or that rodent known as Punxatawney Phil for that information. Great products from Melaleuca, were quite a help. Check them out, let me know what you think! I did get on my hands and knees and scrubbed floors and floorboards and all I can say is “oh my God!” Nothing was safe from my Melamagic! Walls, floors, linens. All without that heavy bleach smell that makes me sick and makes me quit the job. Wait. Maybe I missed some logic there.
I am not a big one for New Year’s resolutions. I tend to make them on December 31 and break them by January 2. Come on! We all do it! This year I gave it another shot and decided to get back in shape. I have always exercised, but gave it up for a month or so during the holidays and I really missed it! Great for reducing stress. So, for the last month I have worked out five days a week, thanks to a work out designed by “Pook”. Thanks “Pook”. I also made an agreement with “Calvin’s “ young lady, affectionately dubbed “Whiz”. We are accountability partners and check in with each other every day on exercising. It is a great idea, if you really want to get serious. The competitive part of me was not going to allow someone else to work out but not me! Thanks “Whiz”!
Finally, I decided to become more diligent in including God and church in the life of me and my family. There are times when I admit to being a Sunday Christian. Working to make sure it is part of every day of my life is a long term goal that I do not want to give up on. Join me. We will all make a better world if we do.
Anyway, that’s enough to bite off for anyone for starters. Hope your New Year has gotten off to a great start. Have a great day!
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!