Tuesday, July 22, 2014

what it's like

Last week I found out what it's like to have family around. I mean REALLY have family around. Not just hanging around and talking, which is nice, but having them there when you need them the most.

Because last week, out of no where, all of a sudden, I woke up sick. After spending a terrible, feverish night I woke up sick. And thank God it was a day that my sister had off work. I went back to bed and hoped that I would feel better by the time Chatterbox needed a nap. When I heard her crying a few hours later I dragged myself downstairs, only to be greeted by a terribly sore throat, an exploding headache and higher fevers. I got Chatterbox down and convinced myself I would be better after another nap.

Not so. When Chatterbox woke up and my sister had to run an errand I squeaked out a phone call to my niece and begged her to come over. Oh! Thank God for family! The rest of the evening and next day were pretty much spent trying to swallow and calm my body down from the trembling that it couldn't seem to avoid. My fevers were so high my body couldn't calm down. Even when the Tylenol kicked in a bit and lowered the temp my body couldn't stop trembling.

I've had strep a lot in my life and I've never had it like this. I was so weak I couldn't hardly stand, let alone walk, let alone pick Chatterbox up. My family pitched in like never before and literally took care of my kids for two days straight. Even after getting antibiotics I still felt like crap. The third day of being sick, 24 hours after getting antibiotics I still needed to stay in bed. I couldn't get out, in fact, until I forced myself to that same afternoon to go to the farm. Because I really wanted to go to the farm. Like, really. So I went. And ate some ice cream.

But that isn't the point. The point is that I wondered, looking back on those days last week, what the heck I wouldn't done in Toulouse with that high of a fever. I couldn't do anything. Literally. I wonder if my super mom powers would have kicked in, but I don't think so. I don't think I had any. I remember thanking God that I was this sick at home in Wisconsin and not in France.

Wow. For all of you who have family near you to pitch in when you're sick, that is awesome. It's the most wonderful thing I've ever seen. I mean, my kids barely noticed I was gone. The only reason they knew I had a fever is because the family had to give them a reason why they had to ask them and not me for candy. And apparently uncle and auntie never say no while I do.....

But in the end I can't get over how nice, awesome, wonderful, super, totally fantastic it was to be sick and have family around to take care of my kids! Seriously, you gotta try it. It's almost like a minivacay. Except for the high fevers. And the not eating for three days. And then the stomach ache when you start eating again....And the weird pulsing pain I have left over in my hips....but other than that you should try it!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


It's obvious to a kid that they are growing. We not only tell them every day but they can see it as they reach higher heights, grow out of clothing, need new shoes.

They see with each passing school year that they've grown in learning as well. We have books given to us each June full of pages pasted in them of the work they did throughout the year and the girls love looking through them, comparing each other's from years past and seeing how much they've grown in their academics.

It's nice to see growth. Kids don't see it that way and many adults don't either but it is nice to see a timeline of progression in your life. At least I think so.

The trouble is that once we get out of college we think our growing is over.

I thought that once I got to around the age of 20 I would be grown up and I would pretty  much be done growing. Dumb, huh?

I really thought that once I got to 30 I would have it pretty much together and would really be pretty much done growing. Still pretty dumb.

I realized the other day when my niece said something about her mom that our kids see us the same way that I saw grown ups when I was their age: people who are so old that they must have it all together. This idea probably comes from us giving them so much advice all the time, telling them what to do, telling them what they can't do, etc.

When I heard my niece I wanted to turn around and kindly tell her to give her mom some grace because she is still growing, we are all growing, but then I got sidetracked with this whole epiphany that she see us as people who are old and not growing any more. And I was a bit shocked.

I know my thirties have crept up on me a bit. I'm fine with my age, I just don't feel like I thought I would feel at this point. I don't feel old. Which is good. I don't want to feel old. But now I'm thinking that I should point out to my daughters that while they think I am old and those around them are old, while they need to treat adults (everyone) with respect, they always need to keep in mind that absolutely NO ONE has all the answer and no one is done growing. And if they claim to be that is the one person they should stay away from. Because there is never a good reason to stop growing. But that's a whole post in itself.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Waterparks are not foolproof

Yesterday my sister, her friend and I decided to take four children six and under to a water park/theme park. We had free tickets and they were about to expire so despite the slightly chilly wind we trucked up the highway to the Wisconsin Dells. This is a village that thrives off of water parks and theme parks. Lots of people seems to take their vacation up there, which astounds me as it would turn out to be a vacation of traffic, fast food and keeping track of children in wave pools.

To me that equals stress.

But we went for the day. Or rather a few hours. At least all of us adult girls were on the same page of being there for just a few hours.

Because that is all we lasted for.

First it was windy and only about 70 degrees outside. So we went to the indoor pool. Firecracker was slept in the car but apparently was not finished with her nap because nothing but sitting down appealed to her. I sat her on my lap, threw us down a kid slide in an attempt to make her laugh but when she hit the water it went in her eyes and that was the end for her. Five minutes into being at the park. Great. So she sat out while Queenie and her cousin rode the lazy river. But one time around was enough for them.

Out we went to the wave pool. Everyone likes a wave pool, right? Not Firecracker. Not Chatterbox. It was too cold. Queeie and her cousin had a good time for about twenty minutes until one wave brought Queenie's head in contact with another boy's elbow. And she was done. The next wave took her cousin under and she scraped her foot along the bottom. She was done. For the next ten minutes they stood in their towels, shivering and eating Oreos while watching the waves come in. But it isn't as mezmerizing as the actual beach so within ia few minutes they were bored of that as well.

We packed up and headed out to the car. During the trek back to the car Queenie let me know that she "never wanted to see this park again". Firecracker shouted out an "amen" and their cousin said she was willing to come back "once her foot was all better". Chatterbox took another Oreo and smile a chocolate smile. I don't think she cared one way or the other!

Yep, waterparks are not a foolproof way to having fun. At least not with four kids six and under...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Traveling poem

I have no pictures, I had no phone.
because I was traveling alone

Traveling the world alone with three girls
I admit the time around you swirls

Between the screams and giggles and cries
There was no time to rest my eyes.

We made it through 9 hours of flight
we made it through without one fight

Up and down the aisle we walked
With other passengers Chatterbox talked

Moments of boredom and desperation came
But with a smile I refused to go insane

Just a few more hours I said to myself
then I said it aloud to and that helped

We finally descended, the girls held hands
and out we went to my homeland

It is a summer in the States they said with a smile
We had one more trip in a car, 130 miles.

But now we are here, though we wake at dawn
with air conditioning, cousins and a big lawn.

I breathe a sigh of relief and an upside down frown
and see how nice it is to have family around

Happy Summer to all of you, near and far
I hope it is as nice as ours so far!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Talking to myself

Chatterbox and I were at the park one morning a few days ago. We were by ourselves for a bit until some older folks came along to it on the bench and enjoy the cool morning air. Then another mom and her little girl came. Chatterbox came down the slide, then I set her back up and she came down again. Then she tried to climb up the slide and needed to be redirected. She looked at me and "talked" and I talked back and suddenly, being about three feet away from an older woman sitting on the bench I realized that I was talking out loud a lot. To a baby. Who doesn't yet speak.

The older woman said nothing. But I started to get a bit self-conscious. Determined to at least stop saying "dica, dica, dica" back to Chatterbox every time she said it to me (which was about every two minutes) I straightened out my shoulders and walked back to the slide stairs with confidence.

It took me about two minutes to find my resolution was impossible. Then I heard myself asking Chatterbox what we should do: should we go get our errands done, run get a coffee, was she hungry?"

Seriously, I probably looked like a poor, said woman who had no friends and used my child as my way of pretending I was fine about it. But I swear I do have friends. I caught the older woman eying me at that point. So I tried to close my mouth. Then a fat raindrop fell down and I felt the need to inform Miss Chatterbox that it might rain. After coaxing her into the stroller, which I felt was necessary talk and quite frankly she was looking at me very intently like she understood everything I was saying, I asked her what we should make for lunch.


But just as we left I heard someone talking. I turned around, arming myself to speak French to the other mom at the park when I realized she wasn't talking to me. She was talking to her daughter. And she was asking her what they should do next: go to the store or to the pharmacy?

Conclusion: toddlers are awesome because having one means you can talk out loud about whatever is in your head and no one thinks you are crazy. And no one comes back with  snide comment or whine.

Friday, June 6, 2014

When you're SMILING

Yesterday I was reminded of a study I read about a long time ago. It was seven fifteen in the morning and I was barely conscious yet. I was walking but having a hard time with it (not a morning person, as you can tell!) I took out the coffee and took apart the cardboard box it came in as all the capsules were gone. Just then Chatterbox peeked around the corner and held out a pencil to me. I told her thank you and she smiled. Then she looked at the box. I held it out to her and her smile grew as she took it from me.

A box. Seriously. Anything will make that girl smile, is what I was thinking.

And that is when I reminded about a study I read a long time ago that said babies can smile up to 400 times a day! Whoa! But that adults smile maybe 20 times a day. I'm thinking that is pushing it. Or describing a really good day. Or maybe I'm just not a smiley person? Not sure.

So I consciously smiled. And honestly I felt more energized all of a sudden. Not that I was ready to go run a marathon or bouncing around like a four year old hyped up on M&Ms, but I did feel most of the morning blah melt off.

So I wondered, why don't we smile more? Why don't I smile more? I know why, really. Because I allow the stress of getting the house in order, getting food prepared, getting a toddle to sleep and eat, getting homework done, baths done, play done, park done, getting into bed done.....etc, get to me. I am alone basically Monday through Friday. I have no help at all when it comes to parenting or housework except for a girl who comes for two hours a week (if she shows up) to clean my bathrooms. And while I am thankful for her and that I can afford that, it really isn't enough as housework with children is constant (as you all know!)

But I realize that smiling is something that would help me get through the day. It would help a whole lot more than focusing on the fact that I have no help or am feeling overwhelmed. Because what is complaining or focusing on that going to do for me. Probably make me crabby. And end up yelling. So, instead I should smile.

Smiling releases endorphins that make us feel happy.  And I think moms sometimes just need to stop and FEEL happy. At least I do. Stop in the middle of the rush for what everyone else NEEDS and smile and allow yourself to FEEL the happiness. Think about what around you at that moment brings you happiness. Focus on the good and SMILE.

'Cause "When you're smiling the whole world smiles at you....!"

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pinterest Inspired: Black Bean Brownies

I have to add one thing. I kept trying the brownies all night long and ended up changing my mind on two things: red beans are not a good substitute because the more I ate them the more I could taste the red beans. I think black beans would be better. Second, it wasn't worth eating with frosting on them because they just didn't make the cut off. I am going to try this one more time, making it the third time in all, but if it doesn't turn out worth eating that time I will push the whole black bean thing aside as a dud!


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