Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summers gone...

It’s been a whirlwind of activity over here the past couple weeks. We took a trip back home for my in-laws golden wedding anniversary celebration, and believe me when I say it is no small feat getting everyone together-three brothers and a sister and their spouses, and 14 kids ages 7 to 21. We also had an impromptu visit from my brother-in-law and a niece and nephew the next weekend, and we have been running around gathering the gear for school, all while trying to squeeze some special times with the kids before school starts tomorrow. But as I sit here waiting for my daughter to get home from practice, my son is in bed (although he found another excuse to get out of bed again), I am both pensive and sad.

Another school year is about to start, which means the summer is over, and as usual I never get to do all the things I wanted to do with my kids for some reason or other. I have such good intentions, but in June it always looks as if there is so much time ahead, so the fun can wait another day because the laundry needs done or we need to get groceries-you name it, there is always something that needs attending to that takes time away from the people who need your attention the most, but I never realize this until the time has run out.

So here I sit, typing and hoping that my kids enjoyed their summer vacation and their time spent with me. I know it was a little rough the last couple weeks in July, but when I look back at this summer I still smile because there really were a lot of good times. I’m just hoping that the good will outweigh the bad when my kids look back…

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Just between friends

Shelly over at Tropical Mum recently passed me the Circle of Friends award, and to say I was tickled about it is an understatement. Okay, maybe I’m a bit late with this but I have really good excuses-just let me think a minute…um, broken ankle, remember? Anyway, the rules are that I am to list five things that make me happy, try to do one of them today, and then pass this on to five other bloggers who brighten my day, but I’m going to tweak this just a bit. Instead, I am going to share five exasperations over the course of the day, and hopefully I will give you and me a little chuckle.

I may or may not be the cool mom I think I am, and I came to this realization after a discussion with my daughter today. Here is an excerpt:

Me: Hey, hurry up so we can get to the pool early. (This is the first time I have done the pool thing in two weeks and I decided to brave the heat because the kids are driving me nuts.)

Daughter: Can you go to the pool with your crutches?

Me: Yes, I can go to the pool. I’m not going to get in but I can still take you. Why?

Daughter: It’s embarrassing.

Me: What’s embarrassing? (She just stared at me) Me? I embarrass you?

Daughter: It’s just that the last time we were at the mall I saw one of my friends. She’s not one of my best friends, but she is a friend, and she stared when you were walking with your crutches.

Okay, she's eleven going on sixteen, but still...

Me: Aw, so sorry my darling… I’ll limp 10 paces behind you when we get to the pool, okay? (Gee whiz, I thought big, black air casts were all the rage this summer!)

My son has started to repeat my name over and over again even if I answer him and I don't know why. Does he like the sound of my name or should I get his hearing checked? Today in the car went something like this:

My son: Mom?

Me: What?

My son: Mom?

Me (a little louder): What?

My son: Mom?

Me (louder still): What? What? What?

My son: Are you unbeatable until someone beats you up?

Me (huh?): Um, yes, I guess so. I think people would say that you were undefeated though and not unbeatable.

My son: Oh… 

(And then quiet. I don't know what is in his little mind right now, and I’m not sure I want to know.)

The kids have been taking turns helping get the dog out to do his business, but just in case someone should do it more than the other, my daughter is keeping a running tally on our big wipe off board in the kitchen. The thing is, even though it might be the other person’s turn, if said person is not around, there has been a problem. I can’t remember what I did yesterday let alone remember who took the dog out last so things got kind of sticky this afternoon right before we had to leave to take my daughter to practice.

Me (to my son): Can you take the dog out while your sister gets ready?

My son: But I took him out the last two times.
(Maybe he did, but I can’t remember…)

My daughter (shouting from the bathroom): No you didn’t. I took him out last.

My son: I did too. You weren't here yesterday when I did-you owe me two times.

My daughter: Well, you owe me two times from a couple days ago.

I blocked the rest of the conversation out, and by this time I am sitting very quietly in a darkened corner, hoping that someone takes the poor dog out. My son lost and finally took the dog out, but I don’t know if my daughter now owes him three times, or if mom is going to put a stop to this recording who does what business. My money is on mom...

I know that’s only three, but I thought I would end with the three things you should remember when you arrive at a pool with a bum ankle, so really that’s six…anyway here they are:

Never forget how low a beach chair actually is.
I knew my daughter would be the one who had to lug a chair around, so I told her to just grab one of the beach chairs-wrong! It took me nearly five minutes to figure out how I was going to sit my butt in that chair without killing myself, and I really can’t remember how I accomplished it-I think some kneeling was involved.

Just as in real estate, remember, location is everything.
I was a bit nervous about my kids being in the pool and me sitting out so I had my daughter set my chair on the pavement near the pool’s edge. I slowly baked from the heat, and people kept stepping over me, but after all the time it took to get in the seat, I wasn’t moving until it was time to go!

This last one is a three-fer (is that a word?)  Water is the best thirst quencher, people with broken ankles need both hands to walk, and hornets are not your friends.

Okay, I know I said I wasn’t moving until it was time to go, but it was nearly 2:00 and I was dying of thirst-remember the hot pavement? Anyway, with the help of my daughter, I managed to get out of the chair and I hobbled over to the snack bar to get something to drink. First of all, a normal person would have ordered water, but I think all the time in the sun bleached my brain because I ordered a root beer-in a cup. So here I am with my cup of root beer and it dawns on me-how the heck was I going to carry this? Thankfully I had been hanging around a friend of ours and she rushed over to help me carry it-that’s when I saw the hornets surrounding just about every picnic table available. And what do hornets just love on hot, sticky days? Well sugar of course, and a little bit of root beer will do nicely…

By the time I sat down to take a drink, I had one hornet on the lip of my cup, another on the straw, and a third on the big ice chip sticking out of the cup, and in my haste to get away from them, crutches went tumbling down and I had hopped (cup in hand) to the entrance of the ladies room-I had worked hard for this drink and if I got stung, so be it. I was drinking that root beer and the hornets weren’t. I got about half down before the hornets (and my friend) found me again, so agreed that they (the hornets I mean) could have what was left, and I chucked the remaining liquid refreshment into the nearest trash can. What a day.

Now it's time for me to pass this award on to five blogs that make me happy. Here are five ladies whose blogs I turn to again and again. Feel free to follow my lead or stick to the rules-it's up to you-but be sure to link your post back to Shelly.  Thanks ladies!

Septembermom at My Voice, My View
The Girl with the flour in her hair over at Peeling An Orange With A Screwdriver
Molly over at I'm a Sleeper Baker
Amo over at Where a woman shakes her tablecloth
And Mom of the Perpetually Grounded

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What do these three have in common?

So what does a wheel chair, stomach virus, and Strep throat all have in common? If you guessed that all three occurred during our trip to Virginia Beach a couple weeks ago, pat yourself on the back for being so perceptive, then read on-and if you didn’t guess, well better luck next time.

Now I know bad luck often comes in threes for some reason, therefore I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak. The thing is, I thought I had my three before our vacation-my son’s foot, our leaking furnace, and the problems with our satellite TV-but I guess the powers of the universe weren’t done with us yet. You already know about my ankle from my last Virginia post, but now I’m going to tell you about our actual trip, and yes, I’m laughing about it now. And my husband, who is still not too crazy about my blogging fixation, said near the end of our vacation, "I hope your taking notes for your blog," so I'm using that as the go ahead to reveal all…

Like I said previously, it took a lot of convincing on my part just to get my husband thinking about attempting this trip with my bum ankle, but with the help of my daughter, we were able to get the rest of our stuff packed. My husband then did some research online and he found a rental company that rented wheel chairs and beach wheel chairs for the week-I wasn’t to thrilled about a wheel chair, but after falling that night using my crutches in the bathroom, I agreed. I called the next day during our trip down, and as it turned out, the company had both a regular wheel chair and beach wheel chair available (according to the woman on the phone, the beach wheel chairs never hang around long, so this one must have been destined for me-I can’t say that I was ecstatic, but this was our first piece of good luck in a while…)

But that good luck started to run out during the trip down-what should have been a 5-6 hour trip soon turned into an 8 1/2 hour trip, and by the time we arrived, my son was complaining about a sore stomach and headache. We tried to get him to eat dinner, but he refused, and about an hour after we settled in our condo, he was throwing up. My husband was giving me the "I told you we shouldn’t have come" glare, but I still tried to remain positive.

Once again our luck turned-by next morning my son was back to his old self, so we headed for the beach. I love watching the waves, but I did start feeling a little sorry for myself as I watched my husband, daughter, and son enjoying themselves in the ocean. Plus, it got a little hot in my beach wheel chair (105 degree temps everyday will do that), especially since I had to keep battling our beach umbrella every time the wind blew, but I didn’t let on to my family.

We stuck mainly to the beach for our daily entertainment (other entertainment was who would push mommy in her wheel chair), as we got used to the two wheel chairs, but by Tuesday I was bored, so we decided we would head to the aquarium that morning. It turns out that the daycare and summer camps in the area had also decided on a Tuesday morning trip so the place was packed. My husband was worried someone was going to bump my foot (a daily occurrence from my son, so I was always wary of where he was at all times), my daughter started complaining about a sore throat and wanted to sit on my lap, and my son kept complaining about the crowd and how he wanted a snack. The perfect family outing!

We were also supposed to take a boat ride through the canal after lunch, but we were all pretty sick of one another by then, so we opted to go back to the condo. But it turns out that this might not have been the best decision-a freak storm had hit while we were in the aquarium, and although it was sunny out, none of the buildings on the boardwalk had electric including all the hotels and our condo, and the traffic lights weren’t working. So we headed away from the beach and drove to an area where we could watch the navy fighter jets landing, but by now my daughter was complaining of a back ache and curled up in the fetal position in the van, and my son was whining. And then I was looking frantically for a bag so my daughter could throw up-ah, the memories!

This was our clue to head back to the beach (and quickly), and we were relieved to see the traffic lights working again. But just as we thought we were in the clear, we noticed that the northern end of the boardwalk-where we were staying-was still dark. There was still no electric in our condo, we were on the 8th floor, and I didn’t have my crutches with me! My husband made the decision to high tail it up eight flights accompanied by my son and the flashlight on his cell phone (the stair wells were all dark-the emergency lights are on a battery and only work for so long), while my daughter and I waited at a boardwalk bench. It wasn’t until they both came back down that I realized I too would have to get up those stairs… It took me twenty minutes to tackle those stairs, and I was both sweaty and crying by the time I reached the top. And you know what? The electricity came back on exactly five minutes after we got there! My husband headed back down (this time in the elevator) to get us subs for dinner, and that’s when I got a flashlight to look at my daughter’s throat. Her tonsils were swollen and covered with white spots, so I called my husband and talked about taking her to the emergency room after dinner-he agreed.

The hospital was ten minutes from the beach and even though it was crowded in the emergency room, two triages-for severe cases and for cases like my daughter’s-meant we didn’t wait long. We decided on seats near a man in a wheel chair sleeping with his head on a waiting room chair-he looked harmless enough. But on closer inspection, the stub of his missing right leg sat on the chair as well, so I graciously said I would stay in my wheel chair, while my daughter and husband dove for the empty seats furthest away from the man. My son shot us a look (thank goodness he didn’t say anything) as he took the chair next to the man. My husband and I looked at each other and then at my son and almost lost it-I had to bite my tongue pretty hard to keep from laughing as my son glared at me. When we got in a room, my son said, "I can’t believe you made me sit by the man with one leg-he was looking at me," and even my daughter was laughing!

Better daughter, new umbrella, braver me!

When we were seen, my daughter’s temperature was 103 (note to self, stash a thermometer in your suitcase next time), and the doctor said that since she had 8 out of 10 symptoms for Strep throat, she was just going to go ahead and treat her for that-hallelujah! We were also able to get her prescription filled at a 24 hour CVS, and they had all my daughter’s records in their computer. She spent the better part of Wednesday sleeping and watching TV, while I watched my husband and son playing in the ocean below. We were tossing around the idea of going home Thursday morning, but my daughter started feeling better by that evening, and cried when we mentioned cutting our vacation short. So we took it slowly Thursday and Friday, spending the mornings on the beach and heading down the boardwalk for some entertainment in the evenings, and as it turns out, those two days were the best days of our trip-my daughter and son were both smiling again!

Now there is a bit more about Thursday and Friday than that, but I will save it for when I review Virginia Beach as a vacation destination. Until then, wash your hands and watch your step (okay, I think that’s funny, but I have so little entertainment these days…)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Krispie Flip Flops (Summertime Challenge)

5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a Rice Krispie summertime challenge for your kids-what type of summer treat could they make with Rice Krispie treats? Well my two kids were intrigued so off to the drawing board they went and this is what they came up with:  Krispie flip flops (on a stick).
 Here's my daughter's explanation on how to make them:
1.  Make the Rice Krispie treats.
2.  Cut them into feet using mom's foot cookie cutter.
3.  Push a Popsicle stick in the heel
4.  Use watermellon or strawberry flavored Laffy Taffy for the flip flop strap.  (Just bend it in a triangle and push it into the Krispie foot.  You might have to get mom to cut it.)
5.  Use a small piece of red licorice to connect to the laffy taffy strap and go between the big toe.  (You will need to get mom to cut the licorice into small pieces)
6.  Push M&Ms into the toes to make toenails.  (My brother wants to use colored icing and sprinkles for his toenails...)
7.  Enjoy your snack!
We also tossed the idea around about dipping them in chocolate (since I personally think anything tastes better with a little bit of chocolate), but my idea lost out. Still, it wouldn't be hard to dip the bottoms of the "feet" in melted chocolate, insert the Popsicle sticks, place them on a cookie tray lined with wax paper, then put them in the freezer for the chocolate to harden.  You could then decorate them like my kids did or eat them as is.

So, what type of summer snack would your kids make with Rice Krispie treats?  You might be pleasantly surprised! The contest has been extended to August 6th, so check it out...