Sunday, January 20, 2013

Busy bee with recipes

Ok I haven't been here for awhile and its because my life is busy and my main computer had Word deleted from it and I can't recover it....sooooo.....I'm back, for a little while at least! 

Quick recap of what's been up here in the Crandell house.....

Christmas was a blast! Kids had the most fun at Christmas yet.  With Sam being 5 and Mary only weeks away from her 3rd birthday they had the full concept of Santa, The Elf (which they named Bernard) and why we celebrate Baby Jesus' birth. I of course bit off more then I could chew with baking cookies for approx. 46 people which resulted to around 300 cookies! Clean up afterward was a weeks worth of work but we got all rooms cleaned, organized and rearranged so that's done!

But maybe I should back up....I am not sure how many know, maybe all but I actually started working this year.  Yep! I work at my sons preschool as the extended care teacher from 3-6, Mon-Fri and the best part; I get to take the kids! But the part I don't really like is the lack of time I get in each day for  normal everyday tasks.  Mon, Tues Wed I go to the YMCA and work out from 915-1100 and shower there as well.  Mon and Wed Sam is at school so I tend to kill time by catching up on news, email and Facebook or any research, shopping or misc things I need to do on the computer.  Thursday my parents come down and hang out with us like they've been doing every week since Sam was about 3 weeks old.  Friday I have bible study from 930-1100 then back to get Sam by 1130.  After our morning is complete we come back to the house, eat lunch, play for about 20 mins and then my daughter, Mary takes her much needed nap from 1245-215 before I take her into work with me with all the other playful kids.  Then at 6 we leave school, come home and eat dinner, play, bath time, play then bed.  It's an exhausting week, it flies by pretty quickly and because its so hurried and busy it's so hard to make dinner most nights.  So I finally wised up and decided to make the weeks meals on Sunday so they are ready to dish out and heat up when we get home! 

I've had lots of people ask me how I do this, or how do I plan the week?  Well I figure out what is happening each evening; such as Tuesday nights my husband works late. Wednesday nights we have church for my son.  Lately Thursdays my husband has been working late as well; so I look at whose going to be at the table and when and go from there.  I rummage through recipes, whether in my drawer, online, Pintrest and/or Weight Watchers then I plan, plan, plan!  (Yes I'm doing WW and I've lost 15lbs!!!!)  

I then write down each day of the week and what I plan to eat that night.  Read the recipes and make my grocery list based on what I need to make each recipe and what ever other staples I need in the house then head out to the store.  I come home and start prepping, cooking, baking and cleaning! It's an exhausting day but it's well worth the time and effort when all I have to do each night is heat up what's already here! 

I've also had many ask me what it is that I make and do I freeze it.  Answer is what ever is healthy, tastes good and if my whole family will like it. (which with two kids is NOT easy) I don't freeze much of anything because it's all cooked and then stored in air tight containers in my fridge and some things I do have to make when I get home but it will be something simple and minimal!

As far as what do I make, well that's why I decided to sit down and right this blog tonight because I made it a simple meal planning week and thought I would share some of the recipes I gathered and have come to love. Since this week is going to be bitter cold for us Central Ohioans I decided on soups, chili and wings.  Not sure what recipe I will serve which day but with it being soups and chili it's not an issue this week. 

So here's the recipes I made today.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (crockpot)

  • 1 small cooked rotisserie chicken from Giant Eagle (white meat only) Chopped
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cans of Campbell's creamy chicken and mushroom soup (10 oz each)
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen mixed veggies (the bag with green beans, corn, peas and carrots)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or again to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried egg noodles

Add all ingredients except egg noodles to crockpot and cook low 6-8 hours
After after above ingredients are cooked through add noodles then cook on high for 20-30 mins or until noodles are tender. I added another 1/2-1 cup of water as the noodles cooked so that the noodles were covered.

The chili I made below is really to your taste and spice but it's a good base for you to do whatever you want so that's why I called it.....

"To your liking" turkey chili

  • Minced garlic (amount to your taste/liking)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno cut in rounds
  • 1 cerano pepper cut in rounds
  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 15 oz can of flavored chili beans (or a can of corn for those like me who don't like beans)
  • 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • Tomato juice
  • chili powder
  • black pepper
  • salt

Brown onions, garlic,  green peppers and 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Add ground turkey and brown. 
After above is browned and cooked and all other ingredients, bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer for 35-40 mins
I add the tomato juice as it simmers to the consistency I like but you may want to use more or less depending on how hardy you like your chili.

I usually dig through and pull out the jalapeno peppers and cerrano peppers I rounded because it gets too hot for me but again spice it to your liking.  This goes for the chili powder as well.  I am a spice wimp so I go for just a pinch where my husband would sprinkle heavily!  I also decided long ago that beans and I don't get along, I hate their texture and they don't appreciate me not liking their texture so we parted ways.  I added in the corn for color and for the chili to be hardy.  I like a hardy chili vs. a soupy chili.

Fresh Tomato Basil Soup  (WeightWatcher's recipe that I tweaked a bit)

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • chopped onions, not many just enough for flavor
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon (minus a small pinch) oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups D milk (WW used fat-free milk but we never have that here. With having 2 kids that drink D I just used it, but I think substituting the fat free w/the D makes it thicker)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (I just use the whole small can)
  • 1 cup fat free half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Heat oil in large sauce pan and add onions, about 5 mins
Add tomatoes, broth, oregano, salt and pepper and boil. 
While its coming to a boil I take a potato masher and mash the tomatoes until they are soupy.
Once boiling, reduce heat, simmer, covered for about 6 mins....I mash away again at the tomatoes
Let cool for about 5-8 mins

While cooling:
Whisk together 1 cup of the vitamin D milk with the small can of tomato paste until smooth
Stir in the cooling soup along with the other 1 cup of vitamin D milk, fat free half-and-half and basil.  Cook over medium-low heat until soups is heated through....DO NOT BOIL

On the go banana oatmeal muffins (From Pintrest so I just copied pasted but added my own little tweak to it at he bottom)

2.5 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar {or sweetener of choice}
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 ripe bananas

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray tin with non-stick cooking spray or line 12 muffin tins with silicone or foil liners.
2. Place all of the ingredients, including bananas in a blender or food processor, and blend until oats are smooth. {I added the oats a cup at a time and blended in between}
3. Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. 
I had tasted these right out of the oven and they were good but lacking a little flavor so I decided that while still in the muffin pan, hot I would sprinkle some sugar on the tops and it really helped.  Still a bit on the bland side so maybe use a flavored oat? I will be next time! But they are good and healthy for you and super easy to grab as you run your kid to school!!!  I grabbed a few strawberries in a zip lock baggie and ate them together and it was quite delish!

Egg muffins (this is a tweaked WW recipe)

  • 4 large eggs
  • milk
  • pepper
  • low fat shredded sharp cheddar
  • green and red peppers, chopped
  • onions, finely chopped
  • cooking spray
Add eggs, milk (a splash) and pepper. Whisk together in medium bowl.
Add cheese  (again it's to your liking but I usually use about 1/2 cup or little more), chopped peppers and onions and whisk again until cheese is well blended.

Add mixture to muffin pans and bake at 350 for about 15 mins but you might check on them @ 12.  I bake them until they look like muffins on top and are slightly browned.

Again, these are super easy to pop in the microwave and eat on the go! Trust me there isn't a morning where I'm not running out the house yelling at the kids "Lets' Go! Get in the van!"

I like to sleep until the LAST POSSIBLE MINUTE! and sometimes that minute gets me about 5-10 mins behind. 

I don't claim to be a super mom or a great cook but I feel like one after a full day of baking and cooking on Sundays.  And the best part is my kids love to help where they can and we will sit and put all the ingredients together while dancing to music and singing and even my husband gets in on the cooking.  I got him to cooks some chicken wings today in our3 pot crockpot.  Here's the recipe for that.......

3 pot crockpot wings (Or one crockpot)  Here's another recipe from Pintrest but again we tweaked it, not only for something different but we had 3 crockpots to fill

  • Chicken wings (frozen or fresh but we used fresh)
  • Chicken Broth
  • Wing sauce (whatever you like!)
  • Packet of dry buffelo mix, mild

Place chicken wings in large bowl and cover with olive oil.  Place chicken wings on cookie sheet and add buffalo mix to your liking.  Bake at 375 for about 45 mins turning them over once.  After they have baked then turn on the broiler and broil both sides until crispy/brown.

Once baked and broiled transfer chicken wings to crockpot.  Use approx 1 cup (or little more) of the chicken broth, add your choice sauce to your taste and cook until chicken is cooked through.  Approx 6-8 hours.  (Or as I say "normal crockpot time") While they are cooking in the crock pot keep rotating them and covering them with the broth/sauce mix. 

After they are thoroughly cooked and spiced to your liking return them to the broiler to crisp them up again.  Serve with blue cheese and celery and it's a perfect for a Super Bowl or OSU party.  (Or whatever college you route for.)

So there's our weeks worth of food.  Now if you'll excuse me I must go get myself a glass of wine and sit down and relax.  Not only did I cook all this food (except the wings) I also took care of the kids lunches, ran to the store TWICE for ingredients, bathed them and put them to bed....super mom? Ok! I will accept that title.  (At least for today anyway)

May God bless your week

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

City Girl

It’s true, I’m a city girl; born and raised in Toledo, OH.  I may not have been born in a big city like New York, L.A. or Chicago but a city nonetheless.  Toledo boasts 316,238 in population which is 66th in the U.S. and has more than enough culture, arts, sports and fun things to do right at your fingertips.  We even have a few local celebrities you may have heard of; Jamie Farr, Danny Thomas, Gloria Steinem and Katie Holmes, just to name a few.
I grew up in a quieter area of the city in a suburb by the name of Holland but Holland itself was pretty busy with all the restaurants, bars, shopping, movies and hotels all within 3-5 lights away from my house. Plus the airport was not too far away which brought plenty of hustle and bustle to the local establishments and rushing traffic down Airport Highway.
Even before living in Holland we lived in Toledo proper off of a fairly busy road that led to a busy intersection.  I walked to 7-11, we didn’t need our pizza delivered we just picked it up since it was on the corner, never had to worry about running out of gas that too was on the corner.   When staying with my aunt, uncle and cousins during the day while my parents worked we even walked to school.
So when I met my husband and he told me he lived in Columbus I was more than willing to move up in city size.  I always considered myself a city girl and Toledo was much too small for me anymore, especially since I had gotten a taste of the big city of Boston when I was younger.  Ever since I was out there in Boston I knew Toledo couldn’t hold me in any longer.  When I first moved to Columbus with one of my friends we moved to Grandview, it was close to everything. It was close to downtown, close to the expressway, close to OSU campus, it was perfect for a city girl like me.  Even after my husband and I got married and had kids we have never lived from anything we needed.  We even walk to our church.  The city has everything!
So when I started to get agitated and irritated more and more with traffic, large amounts of people everywhere I went and an increase in rudeness of said people I was scratching my head as to why all of this was bothering me, I mean, I love the city, I love the fast pace, I love the diversity of restaurants, fashion and culture so I couldn’t imagine why I was getting so frustrated.  Then it dawned on me, I had gotten a taste or two of the ease of the country. 
My parents had moved from Toledo to the outskirts of Mt. Vernon to a lake community called Apple Valley.  Since I’ve been a stay at home mom we are always looking for fun things to do outside in the summer and my parent’s boat on Apple Valley Lake is usually where we head to.  We also own a trailer that we park on a lot in Camper’s Village inside Apple Valley.  The people of Campers Village are so friendly and kind they even hold gatherings at the picnic area in front of the village so everyone gets to know each other.  There’s a great playground for the kids and all the little streets that run through the village are always packed with smiling walkers walking their dogs waving hello and you will always see kids on bikes having a blast.  I always imagined that this is what a small town was like. 
In the past when entering back into the city I would say to myself “Home Sweet Home”.  Home, where I didn’t have to drive 15 miles to get to the grocery store. Home, where we didn’t grill all our food and we had a microwave and stove to cook on.  Home, where I could buy clothes that didn’t have the Wal-Mart or Tractor Supply Company brand on it.  Home, where my bed was. Even though I always said “Home Sweet Home” when we would exit the expressway there was always this little part of me that couldn’t wait to get back to the ease and quiet of the country.
My husband has always been an advocate for living in the country.  He grew up in a much smaller city then I, he was born in what I call a “town”.  There were still shopping, restaurants, and conveniences that a city offers just not as many and not quite as good.  There of course was a mall, your big box stores and a multitude of chain restaurants.  But he had also had a taste of the country or more like the outskirts of town since he was a kid.  He had room to breathe and appreciate the openness.  So when George suggested that when we retire we will have 10 acres, a small farm and a big house with barns I thought he was crazy! I told him that he would never get this city girl out to the country, no way!
I have in recent months come around to my husband’s way of thinking. (Gasp! What?) Yes! I have found myself enjoying the country living. The thought of having large spread of land has excited me.  The thought of giving our kids plenty of room to grow has made me giddy.  Not to mention the friendliness and kindness shown by those in town when shopping or eating is unbeatable. It makes me smile to think maybe my kids could go to a good country school away from the public schools in the city.  I of course do not know much about schools systems as of yet but from what I’ve seen on the surface it seems to me that the country schools and kids seem to have the same feel as those kind friendly shoppers I meet in town and the public schools seem to have the rude attitude that I have recently begun to notice with the shoppers, drivers and restaurant goers here in the city. I may be completely off base but I may not be either. 
Now when I come back from being away from the city I exit the highway and stop at the light I sit and think “Ugh, I’m back. Back to the busyness, the rudeness and rush of the city” I have even grown to dislike the smell of the air in the city.  It’s hot and smells like fumes and asphalt.  It’s something I have never noticed before and now I simply can’t stand it. 
Of course this city girl will adapt to not having everything at her fingertips but the one thing that I may have a harder time adapting to is the “wildlife” of the country.  We have our city creatures like raccoons, squirrels, and barking dogs.  I have on occasion smelled a skunk but the country will have much more in the way of critters and creatures.  There will be mice, snakes, weird bugs, more skunks, even coyotes and much much more. Just last night I freaked out and ran in the house because of a bat! I just don’t know if I will be outside much after dark.
I am sure that when our time comes to move to the country I will learn all that is needed to learn about living out away from everything.  I am sure we’ll need lots of storage for the stock of groceries I’m sure I’ll buy and we’ll need either classes or books on how to farm the land and such but I think it will be good for us and the kids to leave the crazy life of the city behind and embrace the quietness of the country.  I am sure I will no doubt feel isolated at first but with any new home, surrounding, or town you learn the ins and outs of the town and the people fairly fast.  I am looking forward to a new adventure, when that will be I’m not exactly sure but I’m sure the Lord will prompt us when the timing is right.
So for now this city girl will remain a city girl and will appreciate our visits out to the country a lot more.

God Bless

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


4th of July is a time honored tradition in the U.S. of A. complete with grilled meat, corn on the cob, apple pie, sparklers, and of course fireworks! 4th of July around "Camp Crandell" includes time at our trailer in Apple Valley. Its 3-4 days of camping, swimming, boating and just plain fun in the sun; this year had all of the above including triple digit heat and a few stressful situations. 

I must mention that our trailer is approximately 35 years old so therefore there are things that have been replaced, needs tossed or fixed frequently.  Being that the trailer is 35 years old you probably guessed that there is no air conditioning in it, only fans and those are a must have.  We have had to tear out the original fridge and replace it with a small fridge, like the ones you might find in dorms only slightly taller.  We’ve had to throw away seat cushions and bed coverings because the fabric would literally disintegrate in your hands upon touching it. The foam inside said cushions had also fallen apart when our dog found a tear and thought it would be a grand idea to dig into it with his claws.  That was a sight to see when we came back from swimming; yellow foam everywhere and Boomer looking at us with big eyes of “I’m sorry” and his tail between his legs.  We never use the hot water or the stove because of the trailers age, my husband is just simply too nervous to turn on the propane tanks.  This doesn’t bother us since the camp ground has a bathhouse and we have a grill.  Two summers ago when I took my girlfriends up to the trailer for a girl’s weekend we discovered, the smelly way, that the hose from the toilet to the blue catch underneath the trailer had a hole in it.  That of course needed fixed ASAP.  Finally we found a hose and connection for our aged trailer and it seemed to hold up quite well during last year’s girl’s weekend, I hope it does again this weekend when the girls come up. So you can imagine that every year we come up to open the trailer for a few weeks in the summer something else has either broken or is in need of finding its final resting place in the dumpster. 

When we arrived at our lot everything looked normal except the antenna that was on the top of the trailer had come crashing down in the recent storms that swept through Central Ohio; no biggie since, A.) We don’t watch TV at any point during our weekends and, b.) No TV is antenna ready these days.  We all hop out of van, the kids run for their toys they remembered from last year and George and I start to clear out the trailer of storage items.  We started tossing old grates, blankets and and rusty wobbly table.  For the most part clean-up was easy since we pretty much put everything in its place when we winterized the trailer at the end of last summer. 

Since the trailer was exceptionally hot with the triple digit temps turning on the fans was a must.  George went to the back of the trailer and started pulling out the retractable cord to plug into the electrical post.  As George started walking closer to the post with the plug the sinking thought that the cord wasn’t going to make it came to fruition when the cord was yanked from his hand only 5 feet from the post. Only because the kids were in ear shot did my husband refrained from curse words but a tiny burst of anger slipped when he kicked the ground and yelled “Ugh!”  Ok, we had been at the trailer all of 20 minutes the first problem had arose.  This was not the weekend to just shrug our shoulders and say “Oh well” to the situation at hand, we had to have fans! I had to run to the local dollar store for some items so on my way out I stopped at the office and explained our situation to the camp grounds manager.  She “mmmm-ed” and “ohhhhh-ed” and apologized profusely and she said she would come up with a solution; either she would have us moved or find someone within the grounds with and extension cord.

Once I arrived back at the trailer I started unloading everything I had bought at the store.  Items included such necessities as charcoal, lunch meat and some munchies. But my bags also contained some fun things for the kids.  I had gotten bubbles, a little chair for Mary since Sam already had one and an $8 kiddie pool for all our cooling needs.  While I was unloading the van the camp ground manger pulled up in her golf cart brandishing an extension cord, praise God! We thanked her and felt relief sweep over us as we walked back to plug in the electric.  Relief quickly switched to disbelief when we still had no power after plugging in. We scratch our heads, ran around switching the plug to other outlets and trying to find a fuse box for the trailer, all to no avail.  Other trailers were using the same electric post and we could hear air conditioners running and radios’ playing so we knew it wasn’t the post.  We also figured that not once in 35 years of anyone opening the trailer had the power now worked, so we pretty much ruled out any issue with the trailers electrical.  The final conclusion brought us to the thought that the extension cord didn’t work.  We of course we huffed and rolled our eyes and knew we had to get one because of the high temps and me needing the trailer the next weekend for the girls trip. 

Once I brought out the kiddie pool the kids were ecstatic.  They wanted their suits on and now.  George said that he would grab one of the hoses in the back of the trailer (usually used to bring water into the trailer) to hook up the spigot to fill the small pool.  I was inside changing the kids and hear a loud slam of a door on the back of the trailer and ran around to see what the matter was.  He just glared at me and proceeded to tell me that our two hoses had been stolen right out of the back of our trailer while it was in storage.  Really? We had no hose to hook to the trailer so water could run the toilet, not a good thing since we have two small children with small bladders.  We knew the lock was broke on the storage door but never would have thought someone would just walk through the storage area taking personal belongings.  At that point all I could do was shrug my shoulders and say “Oh well, what do you do? I guess we trek it down to the bathhouse.”  I stepped back into the trailer to get my own suit on so I could take the kids down to the beach.  As I started pulling out my belongings from my overnight bag I realized my swim suit was nowhere to be found.  Not in a side pocket, not balled up in a corner, nowhere! I just threw my hands up and walked out to announce I had no suit.  My husband chuckled in disbelief and asked “You forgot your suit?” I calmly tried to explain to him that I had placed the suit w/my cover up on the bed fully intending to pack it up but that it somehow didn’t make it into my bag.  He reminded me that he was the older one in the relationship and that my memory should be better than his.  I then reminded him that I have to pack clothes, food and misc. items for 4 people and that sometimes things get forgotten and that if he thinks he could do a better job at remembering everything than next time he can pack for everyone.  As you can tell tempers were getting a bit flared and the heat wasn’t helping.     

I made a decision that we needed to step away from the trailer and that he should go on his annual hike to the waterfall that is somewhere deep in some woods that I would never go in and that I would take the kids to my mom and dad’s so I could run to Wal-Mart for an extension cord and a swims suit.  He agreed with this plan and before we separated for a few hours I rushed to put our bed sheets on and clean up a few areas of the trailer, inside and out.   Of course going to my mom and dad’s is never as easy as just dropping kids off, there always has to be an explanation as to why I’m going somewhere so I explained all of what had happened and that Wal-Mart in town was the best bet to find my needs.  So after 45 minutes of explaining the situation I was off to Wal-Mart for my much sought after items.  Of course you can imagine the bathing suit section of Wal-Mart was picked over and there was nothing cute left on their hangers, if there ever was.  I tried my best to find something that fit and didn’t make me look too stupid.  I was half successful; top good, bottom, bad.  I headed off to the sporting goods section to find the extension cord.  I ended up asking the sales clerk for help finding it and the whole reason I couldn’t find it was because they didn’t have any.  Really?  I asked the clerk where I could possibly find one and he said to try Tractor Supply Company down the street.  I walked into TSC just before they close at 8pm and they of course don’t have an extension cord but they have an electrical tester so I got that to figure out where the power discrepancy was.  Upon my return I pick up the kids from my parents so they can do sparklers with us at the trailer before bed which at the same time George and I test the power sources.  Everything lit up so we continued to scratch our heads as George opened the trailer door to discover we have power! Really?

Well that’s fixed now back to the task of unloading the last two small bags from the van.  One contained more sparklers and a fan and the other was my beach bag.  As I reached in my beach bag to grab a dry pull-up for Mary, low and behold there was my bathing suit.  Really? Of course George and I got a good laugh out of it and of course I decided that taking back that hideous bathing suit back to Wal-Mart was priority one upon our return to the city.

So with the kids happy with sparklers and us happy with power it was time to relax.  Since the temps were so high still even at night we decided that the kids should sleep at my parents’ house.  They would be much more comfortable and that would leave time for George and I to have some alone time around a campfire.  The nine o’clock hour approached and it was time to give kisses and hugs to daddy and strap them into their car seats to head back to my parents.  Once the kids were tucked in with some milk and a story I thanked my mom for having them stay and headed back to the trailer.  Since George had gone on his hike through the woods to a waterfall he needed a shower.  He grabbed his towel and his bag of toiletries and headed to the bathhouse.  I sat down for probably the first time since I arrived and I enjoyed an ice cold beer.  George was gone all but 5 minutes still wearing his stinky shorts and clutching his bathroom accessories.  I said “That was a quick shower!” he replied “Yeah, no hot water”. Really? I was kind of confused because a quick cold shower in the heat to rinse off the hike sounded better than no shower at all, but it was his stomach that made the decision for him. 

We piled back into the van and drove to the front of Apple Valley where there is a local pub that offers decent pub food.  The parking lot was full as we expected for the holiday week(end) but what we didn’t expect was to be told the kitchen closed at 10pm, it was 10:05 when we sat down.  Really?  The next best thing out in the middle of nowhere was the Domino’s pizza down from the pub.  We shrugged our shoulders once again and ordered a pizza.  45 minutes after we had left for the pub we had returned to the trailer to start a much deserved relaxing campfire.  Since the mega storm had blew through just a week prior my dad had a lot of tree limbs down and he so graciously cut them up for us to use as firewood.  George emptied the wood from the back of the van to get the fire rolling.  Here around “Camp Crandell” we sort of cheat when making our fires, we start out by lighting some charcoal to get the wood good and hot so we don’t have to work too hard to keep the fire going.  So that was our first step, light the charcoal and once that’s good and hot we pile on the wood and some boxes and/or paper.  The paper and the boxes got the fire roaring so we added our wood which we discovered was too young and therefore would not burn…at all!  Really? We gave up as quickly as we started and decided to just enjoy the cooler night that started to finally arrive out of the ridiculously hot day.  George actually ended up falling asleep in his camp chair and I read my book via a book light.  Next I knew it was 1am, wow, I had to go to sleep.  Since the hoses were stolen George and I trucked it down to the bathhouse hopefully one last time before morning.  I thought to myself before my head hit the pillow “Tomorrow WILL be a better day!”

I have forgotten to mention that since George’s night to go to school is Wednesday night and the 4th of July was Wednesday night he was told that he had to attended class on Friday night instead.  Really? That was a total vacation killer for him.  George didn’t get to spend much time with us on Friday before he had to head back into Columbus but he got to play with the kids at the trailer for a bit before we embarked on a boat ride with grandma and grandpa.  The day went well; hot, but well.  Mom forgot to take some meat out of the freezer to cook for dinner so dad decided to take us all to dinner down the street in Howard, a place called “Grillers”.  After dinner we headed back to grandma and grandpas for some playtime and baths.  The sun and the waves had taken it out on all of us so bed time came early for the kids.  After they were down I started an assignment from George’s Access class to help him get caught up.  Of course mom doesn’t have Access on her computer so I had to download the free trial version from Microsoft which took forever! Finally by 11pm I had everything downloaded and of course ready for me to start.  Really?

Morning arrived at 9am for this mommy, praise God! George had text me that he wouldn’t be there until at least noon and we were all not up for being out on the boat in the heat (temps were to reach 102 that day) on the busiest day of the year for Apple Valley Lake.  Apple Valley property owners get together every year to shoot off fireworks for the residents and their guests so the gatherings start early.  On 4th of July Saturday’s the lake is generally choppy with waves from jet skis and speed boats pulling tubers and water skiers so this also gave us a reason to opt out of a boat ride.  Once George returned we were all in the mood for a break from our tasks; me from the Access headache I was getting and the kids from cartoons.  We suited up and went to the beach which lasted about one hour.  It was so hot that when you got out of the water the breeze on your wet skin couldn’t keep you cool, you had to stay in the water.  Mary convinced daddy to take her over to the playground and Sam followed them as well.  George came back to the picnic area where I was packing up our things and announced it was time to go because Mary was dozing in the swing.  If the kids were going to stay up for the fireworks they both had to nap and it actually for once was not a problem for either of them.  George took the nap time as an opportunity to take another hike while I stayed at my parents’ house to try and figure out the Access homework. 

After the kids napped we took them back to the trailer so they could play and we could grill.  It was so hot that the kids got into the kiddie pool with their clothes on and Sam dumped a bottle of water on his head, over and over again.  Later, mom came over to sit with us at the trailer; dad said it was too hot so he stayed behind.  She even stayed for the fireworks which we could hardly see because of huge trees, we picked the wrong location to view them. Really? We went through all that trouble to nap the kids and keep them up for something they could barely see. 

We knew the general store in front of Apple Valley closed at 11pm and George and I wanted some munchies, beer and charcoal for our fire.  We raced the kids back to my parents’ house for their cool bedtime, raced to the general and got there with 8 minutes to spare.  Grabbed our loot and headed back to the trailer.  We pull our van onto our lot, open our doors to hear our trailer neighbors blaring Aaron Neville’s “I don’t know much, but I know I love you”.  Really?  I despise Aaron Neville’s voice and who ever told that man he could sing was tone deaf.   Luckily the music was turned down to a normal decibel and better music was heard from that point forward. When George returned that day he returned with firewood from our local grocer which is always perfectly seasoned.  We went to start our fire and discovered in our haste to get to the general store and back we forgot charcoal.  Really?  We are seasoned professionals at starting fires how is it that we were having such a hard time actually out camping? So we doused the contents of the fire ring with lighter fluid and struck a match.  With a whoosh the flames went up and the wood went in.  After several minutes we discovered the package of wood that he bought was wet.  It wouldn’t keep a flame and it hissed with the sounds of wetness.  Really? Night number two we can’t get a fire started.  I tried and tried and tried until I finally grew hot, angry and tired.  I slumped into my chair in defeat and picked up my book as George nodded off.

Sunday morning came at 9am for this mommy again which was fantastic since I again stayed up until 1am again reading.  George drove over to my parents’ house to the get the kids so they could play at the trailer, eat breakfast and get suited up for another day on the boat and in the water.  Sunday was much more pleasant of a day at 85 degrees then the last few days at 100-102.  Even with the high temps we were lucky enough to dodge the rainstorms that seemed to linger in the area.  We packed up the van with our items that we brought with us for the weekend and locked up the trailer and headed off for the marina to start our outing.

After a full day on the boat and in the water we packed up the kids and headed home.  Upon entrance into the city I started to miss Apple Valley’s slow pace and the ease of which the city does not offer.  I felt as though being back in the city was not where I needed to be any more, somehow I feel as if I became a little bit more of a country girl this weekend then I had been in the past.  The stop lights at every block, the viciousness of the drivers and the smell of hot asphalt and gas fumes made my stomach churn.  I used to say “Home Sweet Home” when we walked in the door, but this time I longed to be back in Apple Valley.  Yes, I am sure the feeling had to do with all the fun we had despite our trials and it being the perfect place to take refuge from the horrendous heat, but I also know there was a lot more to this longing to be back then ever before.  Maybe I’ll become a country girl one day after all…and like it! Really?

God Bless


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Storm Stories 6-30-12

We all have experienced a storm, whether it be snow or rain, at one time or another. The storm that passed through Central Ohio on June 30 2012 was one of epic proportions. The storm was expected but what was not expected was the dangerous voracity at which it came in to town and blew out.
It was a HOT Friday morning, the third or so day of 93+ plus degree weather and the kids and I were at my parents’ home in Apple Valley. We were busily getting bathing suits on and lunches ready for a day on the boat. Being on the boat always brings fun; fun in the sun, fun on the beach and fun in the water. The kids and I just love our little get-a-ways to Apple Valley. 

Once the boat was loaded up and the kids were slathered with sunscreen we were on our way to our first stop; Davis Beach. I wish I had a back story to tell on how the beach received its name but unfortunately I do not so I'll carry on. My dad always rams the pontoon boat a shore so we can easily hop out and into the water, so this day was no different. Once the boat was a safely on shore the sandwiches, chips and water bottles got set up on the table and the kids, grandparents and mommy dug into our lunches. Once lunch was gobbled up it was swim time! The kids were taken off the boat by gentle loving hands of their grandma and placed in their inflatable floating rings. Once the kids got situated into their floaty toys the day of giggles and squeals of happiness began. Of course the inflatable ring that has been around since Sam was a baby finally took its last swim as a hole presented itself and Mary was left floaty-less. Sam stepped up and won the honor of "Best Big Brother" award for giving up his inflatable ring to let her swim in. He grabbed himself a blue "noodle" and restarted his fun in the water. Well that ring getting a hole has proved to be a blessing in disguise because Sam started to finally understand kicking legs and moving arms equaled swimming! We were so proud that he figured out how to use his legs and arms together, albeit on a "noodle" but you got to start somewhere right? 

Our time at the beach had come to end since we all wanted to get back on the boat and enjoy a ride.  Apple Valley Lake is 3.25 miles long and covers 9.25 miles of shoreline. It is 511 acres, has an average depth of 30 feet, and a maximum depth of 70 feet. We cover just about every inch of the lake when we're there! There are these inlets where more homes and docks are but it's also an area of the lake that is safe to anchor your boat and swim, which was exactly our next stop.  Mary again got Sam's inflatable ring, Sam strapped on his life vest and clung to his "noodle" just like the rest of did, minus the life vests. We swam and fed ducks for quite some time until we realized it was getting late in the day so we decided it was about time to start heading back to the dock and back to my parents’ home.  We all climbed up on the boat, grabbed towels and dried off in the sun.   

As we were cruising back to the marina I started to strip the kids of their wet bathing suites and dress them in dry shorts and shirts.  Once we docked my parents coved the boat, threw out the trash and hopped in the very hot van.  Luckily my parents don't live too far from the marina so we were back in in the cool air of their home quite quickly.  The kids got set up with their coloring books and crayons while I took a shower and packed up our belongings in the van.  Around 4:45 we pulled out of Apple Valley to head home at which the same time I realized my skin had started to sting with the sunburn I received that afternoon. 

As soon as I began the drive home both kids fell fast asleep in their car seats, as I had fully expected; what I hadn't expected was the sky to turn the color of midnight up ahead of me.  After I realized that I was driving directly into the midnight sky I grabbed my phone to check the Weather Channel app.  But before I could tap the icon for the app, my phone rang.  The picture of my husband appeared on the screen so I clicked the “answer” button and heard a serious urgent tone in his voice, which I don’t hear too often.  He urgently asked “Where are you?” I told him “Utica.  Why?” My heart started to pound because I knew there was a storm ahead, I knew my precious babies were sleeping, I knew my husband had an urgency in his voice which made me very aware of the fact that I knew I was in the middle of nowhere corn field country and about 8 miles away from the next town.  As I drove through Utica, passing gas stations, a Subway restaurant and a family diner my husband told me “I need you to get off the road NOW! There is a storm coming towards you with 80mph winds and you could get blown off the road.  This is serious! You need to find a place to pull over NOW!” I was now fully alarmed and fully realizing that I just drove through a safe haven; Utica.  As I got on the other side of Utica my gas light reared its ugly head but I don’t even know how long it was on as my panic from the navy blue sky ahead of me had me distracted.  I told my husband I would try and make it to Johnstown (the next town after Utica).  He was worried I wouldn’t make it but he also knew that was all I could do next to pulling off into a ditch!

Since I had no idea how long my gas light had been on I checked my gauge that let me know how much distance I had to until I was empty; it showed 12 miles and I had 8 miles until I could get to Johnstown and 18 miles until my suburb of Gahanna.  I noticed that the storm was getting closer, fast.  The lightening started to streak the sky and the clouds started to reveal an eerie green that had me a little more than rattled.  I started to get a little shaky realizing that I wasn’t going to make to Johnstown before the storm.  I started scanning my brain for upcoming buildings or businesses that I could pull into and thankfully I remembered that an RV dealership was coming up and I started to breathe a little easier. 

I pulled into the RV dealerships stoned drive and noticed a couple of employees already securing the grounds and surveying their property.  I had to wake up the kids rather forcefully as they were in such deep sleeps and explain to them that we were going to visit the RV dealership for a little bit.  They were kind of confused and kind of excited because what kid doesn’t love roaming through a camping trailer? Once inside I couldn’t find one employee as they were probably all out on the grounds.  I noticed that there was a small kids table and chairs with coloring pages and crayons so I set the kids up there while I examined the sky outside.  While I was staring in awe out the window at the impeding storm a woman’s voice called out a friendly “Hello?”  I turned around and said “Hello! I hope you don’t mind but my kids and I were about to get caught in this storm and I needed a place to stop” and she was very happy to take us in. 

My son of course started in with the questions on the RV’s and if he could go in them and check them out.  She was very nice and said “Yes, of course”.  So I escorted them both over to the first trailer which was situated in the back corner of the showroom next to the large garage door that allows the dealership to bring trailers in and out.  While I was standing there talking to Sam who was inside the trailer and Mary who was climbing up the stairs the storm started to rage outside.  Next thing I knew the wind had blasted the building and he garage door we were fairly close to rattled and clanked.  This noise from the wind caught my attention and when I turned to look at the garage door it had actually billowed inward and rain started to seep inside from under the door.  I immediately grabbed both kids in one fell swoop, one kids under each arm and ran over to the parts department where there was no windows and the sales girl followed.  The kids started to get curious as to why I was so swift in picking them up and getting them away from the door and so I tried to calm them with the old wives tales of how the thunder was God bowling and the lightening was God’s friends taking pictures of his bowling game.  

We were sitting calming at a table in the showroom, away from windows, while the storm raged on.  Half way through the storm the dealerships lights went out and the kids’ level of fear went up a few notches and Mary set up camp in my lap for the duration of the storm.  Mr. Ron Potts, the owner of the dealership came in to the show room with some flashlights and making sure we were all doing ok and if we needed anything.  During the storm I contacted my mom and dad along with George a few times to let them know we were safe and waiting out the storm.  About 30 minutes later the storm started to calm as it passed and I received a text message from my husband that I was ok to get back on the road, the storm had officially passed.  As the kids and I gathered ourselves, we profusely thanked Mr. Potts and his employees for giving us shelter from the storm and they opened the door for us and gave my kids high fives.  The rain was still slightly falling so we ran to the van and I got the kids and I all buckled in and away we went.  As we were bumping down the stone drive to exit the dealership and the gas light beeped again to remind me that I needed gas.

We pull back out onto Johnstown road and started to head into town as it was still raining but the sky ahead of us now was back to a normal grey that storms should look like but noticed that everything still seemed dark; dark because there was no power, anywhere.  There  were trees and debris along the road and in yards and we saw all the sites that you would see after a bad storm.  Of course the first thought that popped in my head was, no power, no working gas pumps; then panic rose back into my throat.  I checked my gauge and I was down to 8 miles until my tank was empty.  My suburb is approximately 8 miles away from where I was so I started praying.  Praying that a.) Some gas station on the way home had power and praying b.) That we could just make it home and not worry about the gas stations not having power.  The further I kept driving the reality was setting in that no one anywhere had power on any exit on my way home.  I kept calling George letting him know where I was and that I my gauge officially showed 0 miles until my tank was empty and I had at least 3 miles more to go to get home.  I told the kids they needed to start praying to God that we make it to a gas station.  They started a song out of our praying which I can’t remember word for word but remembered it was really super cute that my kids were singing and praying; it lifted my spirits and my stress just slightly. I finally get off on my exit and remembered the series of lights that I had to endure to get to the gas station that is if the lights were working. 

As I moved along with the traffic around me I could feel my van starting to hesitate when I hit the gas.  I again called George and let him know that I was off the expressway and making my way down the street that led to our gas station. Still showing 0 miles until empty on my gauge my prayers to God to continue to keep us safe never ceased.  I ran the red light as I turned left into our gas station, which was light up with the beauty of electricity and buzzing with at least a dozen cars circling looking for a pump.  I started to chuckle thinking to myself that here I was at the gas station, running on fumes and couldn’t get a pump and that I might just run out of gas right there.  A pump came open and I backed in with a rush of relief and gratitude.  As I peeled my stressed body from my van I swiped the credit card at the pump, selected my grade and placed the pump in the hole, pressed the lever and the gas started to flow into my van.  As I was holding the pump a sudden and extremely bright flash of light brightened the sky at the same time the loudest boom of thunder I had ever heard in my life had all happened directly above the gas station.  The thunder clap was as loud as a cannon and it rumbled for at least a minute after its first initial boom.  Everyone in the gas station let out an audible gasp or yelp and I let go of the gas pump in a hurry out of fear and as the hairs on my body were rising I opened my driver’s door to make sure the kids were ok.  Their eyes were as wide as saucers and they were speechless but otherwise ok.  I finished pumping the gas and then hopped back in the driver’s seat to text George before I pulled away from the pump to let him know that I got gas and that I was on my way home.

As I drove down the street that took me to my neighborhood I noticed more debris and limbs down everywhere I looked.  The church down the street from us that hosted soccer games had their soccer nets strewn all over their property; one had managed to get flung into the front yard of a house across the street.  I was in shock and yet at the same time felt so blessed.  Blessed the kids and I were safe, blessed I was able to get gas and even more blessed when I pulled into my drive and my garage door went up indicating we had electricity.  As I pulled into the driveway my husband was pulling up to the curb, home from work.  I was never so happy to be home and see my husband’s face in all my life.  It was one of the most stressful drives I have ever encountered.

Once in the door I started surveying our property for any downed branches or any damages to our home or outdoor items.  Besides a few small branches and loads of sticks everything seemed to be intact and ok.  Until I realized the kids pool had blown in the corner of the neighbor’s yard.  But again I felt blessed, blessed that this was the only issues we had with our house and belongings.  As reports and storm pictures started to pile in on Facebook and Twitter I just sat in awe staring at them.  Large maple trees were uprooted, power poles had fallen on cars, and apartment buildings had been struck by lightning and caught on fire.  Pictures of semis blown off the road on I-71, businesses, homes and cars were smashed by trees and other debris.  But worst of all there was a picture of an intersection very close to my house were multiple power poles had fallen on the ground and cars, their wires were down all around them, cars were stuck in their spots from 5:30 until 11:30 that night.  The effects from this high wind thunderstorm were horrifying.  About 700 thousand without power, many people hurt and everyone now storm shy.

Power companies from states all over have come to help the Central Ohio regain power.  There are thousands that won’t have power over the 4th of July weekend, some won’t even have power until after July 8th, my parents included.  I had struggled with the thought of turning back and staying at my mom and dad’s  house, but it turned out that was just as bad as where I was, if not worse.  Mom reported the next day that certain areas of Apple Valley had some of the worst damage she had ever seen.  In 2008 a weird phenomenon happed in here in Ohio, we were struck by Hurricane Ike which blew through here and left most of Ohio without power for 6-8 days.  Winds reached 72 mph during the course of a day, this storm had reports of 82 mph winds and the storm blew out in less than 30 minutes.

It has now been four days since the storm and there are still 100’s of thousands without power and the heat index has been near 100 for the last week.  Churches, Red Cross centers and many other business and helping strangers have opened their doors, given water and meals to those affected by the power outage and those that may have been left homeless.  The generosity that I have seen come from this storm actually warms my heart and shows me that there are still kind, loving helpful people left in our society.  My door is open to anyone who needs a meal, a seat in the air conditioning or splash in our kiddie pool.  If anyone needs a cell phone charged or to use our computer to check in with family and friends please let me know. If anyone out there needs help cleaning up debris we have a chainsaw and hardworking helping hands.  Please feel free to reach out and ask for help, you have help here with us!

May God bless those that have been affected by this storm.  I pray everyone is safe and that their power returns soon.  I also pray everyone can have a happy 4th of July and enjoy their time with family and friends.

God Bless

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bittersweet weekend

I’ve heard moments happen in 3’s, unfortunately I hear this most commonly with deaths but I am here to tell you it also happens with your children’s milestones.  I found this to be true this weekend with my daughter Mary. 

Milestone #1: Poopy on the potty.
At two years old this milestone shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, especially since she’s done it before, but this time it was different because she did it on her own and I wasn’t home.  Not to go into too much detail about my child’s bowl movements but she’s had constipation problems in the past where she would hold in her pooh and we would have to scoop her up and put her on the potty and then she would eventually “go” in the big potty.  So when my husband text me Friday night, while I am at church no less, that Mary had gone to the potty by herself, I of course was happy, yet sad. I was Happy because she did this all on her own and sad because I didn’t get to witness this milestone.  One of the main reasons I decided not to go back to work and to stay home with my children was so I could be a part of their firsts, not a babysitter.  Yes, I do realize that this milestone was witnessed by her father, but I’m her mommy! So when I returned home from my church function my husband retold the story of what happened but this time he added that she told him to “Go Daddy!” waving him out of the bathroom.  He laughed and obliged her request and didn’t return until he heard the “yaaay” and her clapping.  As I type this blog about my daughters BM (boy-o-boy is she going to hate me when she’s older!) she came and told me she had to go “poopy” so I put her on the potty, she told me to leave and she did her “job”.  Yes, I am a proud mama and I am happy to have been able to be a part of her newest milestone, but I still wanted to see it first, it’s just a mommy thing.

Milestone #2: From the crib to the toddler bed
Mary lasted in her crib a whole month and half longer then Samuel did so I got to keep her a baby for approximately 45 days longer then Sam. When we converted Sam from crib to toddler bed it happened at 10pm at night when he wouldn’t stay in his crib any longer.  He had figured out how to climb out in one night and refused to stay in even after the numerous attempts to keep him in.  So we had waved the white flag of surrender and took off the front of his crib to make it into a toddler bed.  This happened two days before his second birthday.  He fell out numerous times that night and the nights following but of course he got used to not having the side rail and slept through the night without a fall about a week later.  So I figured once Mary had learned how to crawl out of her crib that would be the end of her crib days but it didn’t happened that way.  We told her that she had to stay in her crib and she did.  Don’t get me wrong, she attempted to get out a few times, once even fell and hit her head, but from that point on she never tried to get all the way out of her crib again.  So you ask why did we make the switch from crib to toddler bed.  Well, it was a lazy Sunday afternoon we were all doing our own thing in the house when it dawned on me that I hadn’t heard Mary in a little while.  I went upstairs to see what was going on and my husband was at the sink washing dishes when I noticed there was no sign of Mary.  I asked where she was and my husband said she was in her room playing.  I noticed that the door was shut and the light was off so I turned back to my husband and asked if he had put her down for a nap and he said that he had not.  It also was extremely quit in her room so I went over to the door, turned the handle very slowing and peeked inside; she had crawled in to the rocking chair and fell fast asleep.  I then picked her up and placed her in her crib where she had a wonderful little nap.  So my husband and I discussed taking the crib apart and turning it into the toddler bed so she could have the option to crawl into bed the next time she gets sleepy.  The day before this rocking chair nap she had crawled onto the couch and fell asleep too, now she can fall asleep in her own bed if she chooses to nap.  I was on board with this decision and didn’t really think that it would get done on the same day we decided but when my husband came downstairs to ask where the tools were to take apart the crib I felt this emotion swell in me that I think only mommies get and it hit me like a ton of bricks that she will not be in a crib any longer.  I told my husband where the tools were and when he left the room I scooped up my girl and started to cry, no scratch that, I started to ball my eyes out! I walked up to the kitchen where my husband was and clung to him with my tears and my mommy sadness.  He kind of giggled and just said “Yeah, these growing up things happen”.  I think he thought I was being silly and didn’t really know what to say, so I jokingly said to him with a hint of a giggle in my voice “I will have no part of helping take the crib apart!” Of course when it came time to take the crib apart I was there to help and I even showed her how to climb in and out of the bed. So I made up her “new” bed with her new blanket from grandma, her pillow and stuffed animals.  I was very nervous about her falling out of bed so we took the pillows off the back of the couch and laid them on the floor by her bed. I fell asleep with the peace of mind that the hard wood floor would not be breaking her fall but pillows; she never did fall out of bed that night.  She woke up the next morning so proud of herself for sleeping like a big girl that all I could do was snatch her up and hug her tight!

Milestone #3: Her first haircut
It came time to get Samuel’s haircut so I called his haircut place and made him an appointment, I also added Mary to the schedule just to get her bangs trimmed.  She has been walking around the house pushing her hair out of her face for a couple weeks so I figured it was time to get those bangs cut.  Upon walking in I had NO intentions of cutting her hair, except her bangs.  As the stylist explained to me that her hair is in need of a full haircut and not just bangs I started to get that panicky mommy feeling or I should say that lump in my throat about cutting my baby’s hair for the first time.  It’s a lot for a mommy to take in, especially when she has such precious curls, what mommy wants the curls to go away?  I struggled for about 10 minutes about doing this whole haircutting thing but I finally came to terms with it and gave the girl the go ahead to cut away.  I have to admit it wasn’t nearly as traumatizing as converting the crib, there were no tears from me or Mary during her first haircut.  The best part of the haircut, her curls remained intact, phew!

Contrary to what I have just wrote, I have always viewed milestones as a joyous occasion, like the first time your baby crawls or walks and when they talk, such happy moments.  And although these milestones that happened with Mary this weekend were too happy occasions, they were also heartbreaking in the fact that I will never get to experience these moments again since I will not be having any more children; bittersweet.
God Bless

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sometimes Silence is NOT Golden

It’s been an unwritten mom rule that when the kids are awake and the house is quiet it’s not a good thing.  That was exactly the case this evening.

With 7 loads of laundry being only half done from yesterday I knew I had to break down and continue with it today which of course included the dreaded folding.  Why when doing laundry its the folding and putting it all away that is always the worst part of the process? (At least it is for me).  Since I hate folding and putting away with such a passion I decided to just take the baskets up stairs and fold the laundry on my bed because then I would only be steps away from closets and dressers. 
While I am folding my son and daughter requested a snack which a snack to them is a warm sippy cup of milk.  So once they were set up with milks, blankets and their favorite show Olivia I knew I could escape for a few to get to the unpleasant task at hand. 
Before I started to fold my phone rang and it was my good friend calling to confirm that she was indeed coming down to my house in two weeks for a girl’s night of wine and jewelry.  While talking party details and sleeping arrangements we got off topic and talked about family, kids and husbands for about the next 45 minutes all the while I am leaving my kids supervision to Nick Jr.  
OK now that my procrastination of folding has put me back an hour, I must get it done, right? I head back to my bedroom where the laundry is still sitting in a pile just waiting for my arrival and still there is silence in the basement.  I am pretty sure at any given moment I will hear my daughter shriek with anger followed by my sons antagonizing laughter, but nope, silence.  Any normal mother would be much more worried about this lengthy silence and go and check on the quiet situation but no I had to get laundry folded. I had folded and put away 3 large loads of clothes so the next step was to remake the bed with the clean sheets.  Since we received a newer, thicker, heavier mattress for Christmas putting the sheets on by myself is a bit of a challenge but I managed to lift up the corners and did my best to create hospital corners with the amount of sheet I had to work with.  Next came the reapplication of the comforter and then the pillow cases.  All in all the phone call, the folding and the sheets took about hour and half and still silence.
Finally the silence was broken when I heard the tiny anxious voice of my daughter say “Mommy!?” from the stairs.  I called back “Yeah?” she said “I poop” I told her “Come here and we’ll change your diaper” but when she arrived in my room she was diaper less.  My eyes went wide and my voice went from normal tone to a tone that only dogs may have been able to hear, saying “WHERE’S YOUR DIAPER!?”.  She was very nonchalant and said “I nunno!” Which could have only meant one thing, it was sitting downstairs, full of poop.
I flew down the steps and before my feet hit the basement floor I could smell the unpleasant truth that she indeed had pooped.  The first thing I saw besides the room being destroyed with toys and pillows from the couch strewn about, was a tiny piece of poop laying on one of those aforementioned strewn  pillows.  As I began to scan the room looking for the missing diaper I saw my son hiding and trying his hardest not to laugh under his Thomas the Train blanket.  I told him now is not the time to hide but to tell me where the diaper was.  I didn’t have to finish my question to him when I found the diaper and the trail of poop that lead to it.  Unbeknownst to me there was poop in the OSU blanket I flung on to the adjacent chair because I heard plop, plop on the ground and yet more poop.  I was ugh-ing and bleck-ing the whole time I’m picking up and finding more pieces.   
I was also explaining, maybe a little louder then I needed to, to my two year old that when she poops she needs to come up and mommy will take her diaper off for her and to never do this again!  Mind you my 4 year old is still hiding and laughing under his blanket.  Finally I figured he’s laughing at something other than the situation at hand and I tore the blanket off of him to find that he had commandeered my netbook.  But even more horrible then him taking an expensive electronics device was the fact that underneath that blanket with him was two big pieces of poop. 
I snatched the blanket and his clothes and threw them in the wash in case he was laying on poop and then proceeded to wash his hands and face.  I was so digusted for him that I turned back to my daughter and started to loudly explain again that taking off her poopy diaper was wrong and that I was the only one to ever take her diapers off.  She said in her meek tone “OK”.
So with the poop picked up, hands washed and diapers back on bums it was time for dinner and much deserved baths.  As the children are in the tub I recalled my pooper scooper experience and made a mental note to never, ever go that long with silence coming from the basement.
God Bless

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I had mentioned in my previous blogs that I was going to explain the allergies and dog dilemma, well here it goes……..

Every summer we travel to Canada to visit my family.  My aunt and uncle have a beautiful home on the golf course they own and a pool in the back yard to enjoy.  Contrary to popular belief a Canadian summer is just like ours, hot and humid.  Not to mention my family doesn’t live too far from Windsor which is in Southern Ontario.  So last August when we took our trip, summer was in full swing and so were the bees.
I had walked out my aunt’s front door to get something from the van for one of the kids.  Well usually when you walk out someone’s door you expect to walk right back in that same door but my aunt’s door must lock on its own after it closes because I couldn’t get back in.  I shrugged my shoulders, turned around to go to the back gate to gain re-entry into the backyard when I hear “Buuuuuuuuuuzzzzzzzzzzzzz” and felt a ZAP then I yelled “OOOOUUUUCH!” Yep, something stung me and stung me good!  I was swiping at my shoulder blade saying “ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch,” when I entered the backyard and my husband was half concerned and half giggling.  My aunt asked what was wrong and I said that I had gotten stung.  She asked if I was allergic and I responded no, not that I know of.  She reassured me that they had an epi-pen at the golf course clubhouse if we needed it.  I told her that I felt fine, just a little dizzy and George said that it was probably just the adrenaline.  They examined my shoulder blade to make sure the stinger was out and got me some ice to take down the swelling.  The rest of the day went great. 
Fast forward two weeks later , my friend called and told us to come over for a farewell bonfire as they were moving out of Columbus for our home town Toledo.   George gave me the green light to go by myself and he’d stay behind to elevate his ankle that he’d hurt earlier in the day.  He was just going to head outside and make his own bonfire. Before I left I loaded up a small cooler of beer and brought out a radio for him so he could really relax.  I sat and had one glass of wine with him and discussed the success of my dad’s 70th surprise birthday we had that day before I departed.  Since the kids were sleeping I left out the back gate and walked around front to hop in my husband’s car.  Once I got near our rose of Sharon bush I felt something shock my ankle.  I thought no way could it have been a bee since it was 9:30 at night.  I was “ouch, ouch, ouch, ouching” to the car and brushing my ankle to get the stinging to stop, to no avail.  Once I reached the car I got this flash of light headedness and felt flush but I just chalked it up to adrenaline like at my aunt’s house and climbed in the car and headed to my friend’s house.  Once I got there I told them what had happened and they checked out my ankle and didn’t see the stinger or much swelling.  After my bee sting story was explained I poured myself a glass of wine and headed out back to enjoy the fire and some conversation. 
I felt so relaxed by the fire after such a long day that when my heart started to race I got a little nervous.  I mentioned my racing heart to my friend and she said to just try to relax and stay calm, but it was hard to stay calm when my hands and arms started shaking, my legs went week and my head started to feel like a lead ball.  Now I’ve never passed out before so I would have no idea what it would feel like preceding a fainting spell but that’s what I felt like was about to happen.  My friend’s husband had come back from the store to find her on the phone with 9-1-1 and me not looking so good.  Once the paramedics arrived they checked my pulse, my pupils and placed a clamp on my finger.  They asked me a ton of questions about the sting, looked over the point of entry, asked what I had done all day and what I had eaten. They explained that since I hadn’t gone into anaphylaxis or passed out then I clearly wasn’t allergic to bees and said that maybe I had too much wine and too much sun. Maybe, but I highly doubted it since I only had one glass.  All while this was going on my friend kept trying to reach my husband but he wasn’t answering his cell.  I had refused transport to the hospital and returned back to the bonfire to settle down; my friends wouldn’t let me leave until I returned to somewhat normal.   We texted George to disregard the voice mail but the text didn’t even get a reply. 
Once I left and returned home I found my husband, my neighbor and his wife all sitting around the fire talking, laughing and totally oblivious to my emergency call to George, and 9-1-1.  I explained what had happened and they just sat amazed.  I wasn’t feeling very good and I was super tired so I bid them au due and headed for the comfort of my air conditioning and pillow. The next morning we were supposed to go to church but I was still feeling awful and I just figured it was from the busyness of the day before. However, I sucked it up, got in the shower and we loaded up the kids in the van for church.  I could barely stay awake listening to the Pastor preach about our glorious God.  My sleepiness in church is unusual since I am always in awe of what is being said, but not this Sunday morning.  By the time we had got home I was feeling exhausted and sick.  I had to lie down, my husband of course understood. I thanked him for taking care of the kids and I crashed into our bed.  I had fallen into our bed about 12:30 and didn’t wake up until 3:30! After I had rubbed the grogginess out of my eyes I headed downstairs to be with my family.
After all of this feeling sick and being exhausted it had me concerned that the paramedics may have been incorrect in their analysis of my situation.  I called my doctor on Monday and told her the symptoms I had experienced and she told me to call an allergist and soon.  I called my daughters allergist and they got me in on the same day as my daughter’s appointment.  I had made an appointment for her after we noticed rashes and painful ear rubbing after ingesting some peanut butter.  Since my bee sting was so close to the appointment date they couldn’t do the venom testing and have a good result.  They wanted me to be six weeks away from the sting.  In the meantime they were testing my daughter for environmental allergies along with the peanut allergy.  Everything came back negative except the peanuts.  She was most definitely allergic to peanuts.  So the allergist explained that since she was so young it would be best if we just stayed away from tree nuts completely.  Not only would it be easy for us to teach her that nuts were not a part of her diet, it was also easier to explain it to friends and family as well.  He also explained that she could develop a reaction to any nut at any time.   On our way out with this alarming new information I stopped and rescheduled my bee sting testing appointment. 
5 weeks later I was back in the allergist’s office to be tested for bees.  First they administered some environmental tests and it came back that I was allergic to mold, pollen, ragweed, grass, dust mites and dogs; so in a nutshell I am allergic to the planet and my dog.  Herein lies one of the dilemmas, we’ve had our dog for six years and with my out control cough we had to decided what to do. Why didn’t I know of this before? Well, ever since I quit smoking the cilia in my lungs were awakened to the allergens in my body including the allergy to my dog hence my ignorance to the dog allergy.  After they tested me for the environmental element it was on to the venom testing.  After 4 sticks of needles in my arms it came back that I was indeed allergic to honey bees and yellow jackets, but not wasps which is what I probably got stung by in Canada. So now I have to carry two Epi-pens; one for Mary’s peanut allergy and one for my bee allergy.  Enter dilemma #2, the rose of Sharon bush in the front yard.  It’s big and beautiful but my husband says he won’t cut it down until we can replace it with something, which means more than likely it will still be in our yard this summer.  
To recap, Mary’s allergy equals one, peanuts; my allergy equals the planet, bees and dogs. Maybe I should just live in a bubble?  I go back and forth about what to do with the dog.  On one hand he’s been with our family for six years, the kids love him, and George feels better about him being around for security.  On the other hand, he sheds too much, he begs too much, he costs too much and I would be ok with finding him a better home.  Then after I think of his absence I get all teary eyed and if I even mention him going away Samuel gets very emotional and hugs Boomer and uses his best sad voice to exclaim “NO! Boomer stays here!” As for dilemma two, the bush, it’s really not a big dilemma for me; I want it gone as it attracts every bee as far as Delaware! It’s my husband that has this attachment to it.  He thinks cutting it down will make the front of the house look stupid, which it may but what’s more important, the appearance of the house or my life? 
I know it’s said that God has his plan for everything, but I really don’t understand his plan for allergies. And how I went almost 26 years since my last bee sting is beyond me, again God's plan! Let’s just continue to pray for everyone’s health since Mary and my allergies to peanuts and bees can be life threatening.  I also pray that Mary’s childhood is easy to navigate around the ingredients of all snacks and meals.  God is good so I know he’ll be looking out for us and keep us safe.
God Bless