Sunday, August 21, 2011

ATTENTION anyone that I left stranded here....

Come on over to my new blog!

I just started blogging at this new address and plan to keep my old blog but won't update it anymore.

You're welcome to join me as I get back into the world of blogging!

Monday, May 09, 2011

My 7th Mother's Day

Days. Days. Days.

We all have them. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are just normal. You know, the not stand-out-forever-in-our-memory kind of days. Days that just evaporate into history without any indelible impression.

Pick up a calendar from last year and randomly pick a day in May. Pick a Tuesday. Or a Thursday. Don't pick a birthday. Or anniversary. Or anything special. Just pick a random day. What were you doing that day? Was it cloudy? Did your husband take the garbage out? Did the kids clean their rooms? Did you get all your housework done?

Yeah. You can't remember. Can you?

But maybe it was a random, normal day that you chose to make extraordinary. You took your kids and included them in a project around the house. And then typical you, who isn't organized or remembers to record things, forgot to write the fun day on the calendar. But your kids remembered. They still talk about it. Yeah, you could've gotten the job done so much faster by yourself but really, it wouldn't have been worth it. TIME with your kids was worth it.

TIME making memories is what makes doing chores important. It's not the act of the chore that's a success; it's the concept learned, the wisdom shared, the vision passed down and the sense of accomplishment celebrated that we aim for in training our kids. A clean room is NOT the goal. That's just a bonus.

In the moment, it feels daunting and tiresome. But so many of our entire DAYS will be forgotten in our memory. They'll just fall into the Mundane and Normal file where all everyday days go.

But today happens only ONCE. My baby is only 4 months, 1 week and 3 days old TODAY. Tomorrow she will be 4 months, 1 week and FOUR days old. Yeah it's only one day but pile those days up a little and pretty soon you have 30. Or 365. Or more.

Perspective is everything though. Like my laundry for instance. It's clean (score). It's all in the laundry room (score). In baskets (score). But it's unfolded. Fail.

But I decided that since we have a laundry room, what else should be in it but laundry. Right?

This weekend was fun. One of those "Ah, now I remember why I love being a mom" weekends. My husband doted on me. My kids were.... well, my kids. And my baby added a few more ounces of fatness to her luscious rolls. My house is pretty much a mess (but the garage is clean) and the laundry has maxed out the very last laundry basket I own.

But I don't care.

Because a year from now, I won't remember that I didn't have all our laundry folded and put away. But I will remember all the fun we had just being together.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The next thing on my reading list. Wait. What's a reading list? The only kind of list I have is a "to-do list." A to-do list of things that never seem to make it to the "done" list.

Well. Maybe THIS is what I need to get a DONE LIST to replace every one of my TO-DO LISTS.

Except for learning how to clean your house, I have no idea what this book is about. And no, that was not just a disjointed disclaimer. Or was it?

But since it was FREE (if I blogged about it) and my house is pretty much anything but clean and the subtitle says, "Have a Martha house the Mary way" and my blog subtitle talks something about Martha and Mary (you know, that Bible verse up there? Yeah. You know what I mean) and my house is pretty much anything but clean and I'm pretty much a Mary-wanna-be but stuck in a Martha mode and my house is anything but clean, I thought all 27 of those reasons were good enough to advertise this book on my blog despite the fact that I have yet to read it.

Okay. THAT was a disjointed disclaimer.


Have I mentioned my house is pretty much anything but clean?

I do supper dishes after 11:00pm.

I fold laundry only to put it in a basket and leave it there because that's the exact amount of time I have to do laundry.

I clean my bathroom because government officials would start making visits to my house if I let the bathroom go one more week day.

I mop the kitchen floor only because the dog was sick all over it.

I don't take pregnancy tests because not puking while mopping up a kitchen floor that had a sick dog on it proves that I am not pregnant.

(okay, that last reason was random.)

I have never scrubbed my diningroom floor. Ever. My MIL did it once when she was visiting. That was 4 months ago though. So I guess it's time.

I still haven't written all my "Thank You" cards for people who so kindly shared gifts with us when Korynne was born. I've only written 2. Oh wait. Make that 3 thank you cards successfully written. That dining room floor that got scrubbed once? Yeah....

I only scrub the shower after I bathe the dog anymore.

I've only bathed our 4 year old dog once.

I grow science experiments in my fridge.

As if I didn't have enough laundry to do, I decided to cloth diaper my baby. Which has been a wonderful choice. Actually. I'll tell you about that later. Maybe. IF I get my to-do list done....

And last but not least, I NEVER blog. Ever. Anymore. At all.

So maybe if I had a clean house, I'd have more time. To blog and write thank you's and stuff.

I'm the type of person that if you dropped in on me and my house was a mess, I wouldn't be able to sit and casually visit until I at least got the living room picked up. But since I know that might make my guest feel bad for stopping in unannounced, I ignore the impulse to tidy the room. And then with all the courage and strength and will power that I have left after 4 natural and unmedicated child births (please don't ask why I did that), I force myself to SIT. But I HATE sitting when the room I'm sitting in that I'm responsible for, is a mess.

I would love to be able to relax and be stress free in a messy house that's mine. I pray that God would make me content with clutter and messes. But He refuses to answer my prayers in this department.

So I guess I'm gonna give THIS book a try. You should check it out too. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

In Which She Complains About A Good Life...

It's Monday and I feel grumpy.

So I sat down and started thinking about how horrible my life really is. And all the reasons why I'm allowed to complain and have a bad attitude.

#1: I'm tired. I was up a lot with a baby last night. And the night before. And all the nights before that since December 28th of last year. A baby that wanted to eat and add to her squeezable, kissable rolls of soft, baby fat. The nerve! What's so bad about a healthy eating baby and the ability to provide nourishment for the fat little thing? Some couples don't even have a baby.

So IF I didn't have a baby and had no hope of ever getting one, THEN I could be in a bad mood.

#2: My house is a wreck. When I look at the cause of each mess, I see a consistent trend. Toys, dirt, remote controlled car, a little red boot, dolls, scraps of papers decorated with 5-year-old penmanship, a tiny sock, an art project... on and on it goes. Clearly, there are children in this house and obviously, the children are healthy, robust and lively. Why would I complain about normal, healthy kids when some parents are sitting in a big sterile hospital watching their sick, weak child lay in a hard white bed with cords and wires and noisy alarms that constantly flash information confirming the sickness of their beloved child? That mom would give anything to trip over a pile of toys in the middle of the dining room.

So IF one of my kids were sick and perishing from an illness only known by a handful of highly educated specialists, THEN I could be in a bad mood.

#3: My husband doesn't understand. If he did understand, he would just do the laundry. And home school the kids. And wash the dishes. And offer to make supper. But would he really? Just because he doesn't offer to do all that stuff, doesn't mean he doesn't care. He's a guy. Not one iota in his body is geared towards being a housewife. If I wanted a Superwoman for a husband, I should've married something else. And besides, when I ask him to help, he readily jumps up and gets a job done without complaining. His smiles affirm me and his love supports me. I'm a mom to four kids but only because their dad is the man he is. Some women have the kids but no support from a man who's there for her every step of the way.

So IF I had a family with no real father, THEN I could be in a bad mood.

The bottom line is I have a sturdy, warm house, sun streaming through my energy efficient windows, a troop of healthy and adventurous kids, a strong and loving husband and a cute, fat baby wrapped in a pink blanket, topped with a soft tuft of dark, messy hair.

My freezer is full of food (no excuse for not being able to cook), my wash machine and dryer work (when I do get a load put through), the toilet, sinks and shower all function properly (even if they do need to be cleaned) and a vacuum and broom work wonders (when they do finally get used).

Why am I complaining then?

That's a very good question.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mother of Four

So. Now I'm a mother of four. Two boys and two girls. I love my life and all it's craziness. Yet I feel too young to be the mom of four kids. Just yesterday, I was a kid myself. Wow.

Now that I've had kids, I have to say that the fourth child feels like the ultimate adjustment.

No longer will we fit in a 5-seat pick up truck.

Or a normal sized restaurant booth.

Or be considered a small/normal sized family.

Or fit comfortably in a small house.

Or have ample room in our mini-van.

Or evenly sandwich ourselves, kid, parent, kid, parent, kid in family pictures.

Or all fit on a normal size couch.

But I love it. I love that our days, activities, life and vehicles are overflowing with these little people. From the robust hollers of morning breakfast to the tiny, sleeping cherub faces at night, each moment is an adventure and frequent reminder to the busy-ness and crazy-ness of life with little people.
It's been seven weeks since I took on my new title as Mother of Four. Seven exhausting yet blissful weeks. From 8lbs 5oz all the way up to almost 12lbs, this little person keeps changing our world. Korynne Elizabeth Nelson greeted our lives on a chilly, winter morning (12/28/10) after putting in her leave of absence notification 26 hours earlier. It was a long and exhausting journey but the bright eyes and bushy head of hair, complete with the fattest cheeks ever, soon peered up at our tired faces and made the whole process worth it a hundred times over. Since that moment, she hasn't stopped demanding food, accepting our kisses on her fat little cheeks, screaming night and day for all the things little babies scream for and filling our house with the heavenly scent of Baby.

The sleepless nights with our littlest person, are soon coming to an end. The bright eyes and alert attentiveness that happens on that precious little face in the dead of night, will soon be taken over by "normal" sleep patterns. And these newborn days will be over.

Earlier this week on the morning of our 8th Anniversary, little Korynne was in a deep conversation with her daddy. Of course, all the conversing was taking place on the daddy end of the conversation but suddenly, that little girl wrapped her daddy even tighter around her fat little finger and let out a cute little baby coo. And that daddy, while wrapped snuggly around that tiny finger, gushed and swooned despite his manly, athletic, six-foot, four-inch frame and in the most excitement I've ever seen that man in, said, "Honey! She said her first word!"
Yes, being mommy of four, really can't be better than this.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Boots or Barefoot

It's the middle of winter. February 17, to be exact. Considered by most to be the height of the cold season.

Not this year.

The snow has pretty much melted in a few day's time, the skies are blue, the sun is bright and the air is warm.

The thermometer reads 70F. Yeah. I'm serious.

Hello to my long lost, neglected blog on this perfect day! For once in the middle of winter, the place I hail from is beautiful. Bouquets of flowers are evenly posted on random tables indicating the special event that took place just two days before: our 8th anniversary.

The grill on the deck is screaming for hamburgers and the scent of summer in the air gives one an uncontrollable desire for picnic weather food. Soft wind floats through the house from the open windows, beckoning all to follow its trail to the great outdoors. A week ago we were wearing boots. Today, sandals are even too much for this barefoot weather. Like I said, this weather couldn't be more perfect.

It may sound like I'm describing a tropical location where it's always warm and the skies are always blue and the weather is always perfect. Actually, I'm not. I'm describing the same place where a year go, people were dying from Cabin Fever and the roads were iced over, forcing people to stay inside their warm homes where heating bills sky rocketed for months. The skies were grey and cloudy. Blowing snow shrink wrapped our houses. No one dared to go outside for fear the very skin on their faces would become charred with a bitter frostbite.

Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that extreme but sub-zero temps that lasted over a month, sure made the winter long.

And now summer is here. In the middle of February. In the Midwest.

Of course it won't stay long as snow is predicted in the near forecast but knowing that winter has been overcome by summer, even just for several days, brings hope that soon winter will be gone forever.

We love you, Summer. Thanks for the visit.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

On Educating 6-Year-Olds And The Challenge Of 1st Grade

6-year-old boy to an adult: "Where did the ark land?"

Adult: "Ummmmm...." *racking brain feriously trying not to look stupid trying to help young child discover the answers to life's deep secrets*

Boy: "Where is the ark?"

Adult: "Well, um... ahem... why do you want to know?" (there, the balls in his court. The most clever design of human nature is to retaliate a hard question with an even harder question.)

Boy: "Because I want to go there when I grow up."

Adult: "Oh! Why do you want to go there?" (maybe he has an answer to why he wants to know where it is but as to the WHY he wants to actually go there, well, this'll make him think.)

Boy: "So that I can do what God tells me if there's a flood again."

Adult makes mental note to research the flood, ark location and how to teach child that the earth will never flood again... a reality said child has yet to grasp everytime he hears the story of Noah's Ark.

I'm almost positive this topic isn't included in 1st grade curriculum so why is my "First Grader" exploring these questions? Oh yeah, that's the nice thing about homeschooling; you can learn about anything you want even before you learn phonics. I get it now.

Adult: *goes to to obtain necessary information in order to educate young child on the dynamics of Noah's ark* (actually, I went to this site instead since it's my favorite search engine.)

Later that day, the boy began to inform the adult and anyone and everyone who would listen HOW he was going to search for and retrieve Noah's ark.

He figured he could just go to wherever the ark was, look at it and bring it back. On a rope of course. But when I explained that the place where the ark is, the people there are very protective of their country and their government would put him in jail, he realized he had a challenge.

So he asked me what I thought he could do.

I told him he could fly to a country by the country where the ark is. And then when it's dark, either crawl over the boarder into the ark's country, or maybe ride a camel.

Hearing he'd be put in jail if he was caught, he decided to bring an American policeman along. Of course, policemen always are the best way to handle emergency situations. Even on the other side of the world. And if one policeman wasn't enough, he decided he'd just bring them all.

Understanding that especially Americans aren't welcomed in Arabic places, he thought he could disguise himself and speak Spanish.

He had some hard questions. "So the ark landed where the people are still very wicked?" was one of them.

If the flood was to cleanse the earth from sin, it seems strange that the people around the ark were STILL wicked. As if one flood wasn't enough, right? (obviously, he's been listening to his Bible stories.)

And he had one more question.... "Why couldn't the ark just land here?" (like, what a waste-of-an-ark that it had to land around "wicked people.")

So he began thinking up plans...

He could dig a hole underground and literally "go under cover."

He could fly in a rocket that didn't go into space.

He could go in a jet and go into space, hang a rope down over "that world" and catch Noah's ark. And of course, bring it home. And then he could set it up in America so other people could see it and he'd start building a whole bunch of arks for people to see.

He could just fly in a jet and not put English words on the outside of the aircraft. Spanish would work, he explained.

He wouldn't let the "wicked people" see his passport.

He wouldn't speak English so they wouldn't think he was American. "I'd have to learn a lot a lot a lot of Spanish though."

And finally he decided he'd just build an ark by himself. But when I told him it wouldn't be Noah's ark but rather Landon's ark, he didn't like that idea.

"So it wouldn't be Noah's ark?" he asked. "Nope," I told him.

It's just not the authentic thing if it's not THE Noah's Ark. So he went back to figuring out how to get Noah's actual Ark. And knowing him, he'll stew over this for weeks and months until he either comes up with a plan or rocket ship or something or moves on to something more challenging. Like world peace.

After having this conversation, I can imagine what's in our school curriculum this year. And here I thought First Grade was going to be, you know, elementary. And I thought the most difficult thing I'd have to teach him this year, was how to read. Boy, was I wrong.

Not wanting to be outdone by his big brother (after overhearing every word about this whole Noah's Ark Plan), Alex declared randomly, "I need to go into the cont'wee and fwy my space wocket some time."

It's so fun not having normal kids..

Monday, August 02, 2010

A Day In My Life

So there was this time I had a son. Actually, I had two of them. And as I remember now, I had a daughter too. They were a lively bunch... always living life to the fullest and making the most of every situation. Now that I think about it, they were great motivators in inspiring a "Live To The Hilt" mentality in life. They really should write a book someday. Or at least start a website where they can share all their experiences, concepts and deep thoughts.

(In this fast-food-couch-potato-culture we live in, I'm sure it be a big hit.)

Anyway, one day in particular, I woke up one morning to lemon juice spilled all over the kitchen floor. And two small children busily wiping it up with sticky, sopping wet towels. It was a sticky situation. Trying to embrace their vibrant outlook on life, I utilized the situation and actually mopped my kitchen floor that day. It worked out great.

And then later that day, their industrious and ever entrepreneur brother (who was also my son, of course), took on the task of scraping the chipping Robin's Egg Blue paint off our picnic table. This was a task I had put off for several months using the excuse I didn't have the right "tools" to do the job with.

But as I observed this son of mine who barely stood past my knee, it impressed me to see his "think-out-of-the-box" mannerisms as I watched him work. Instead of using a paint scraper and a toxic paint-stripping chemical, he dug into the fading wood with a wired dog brush and dye-free, Green Works Natural Surface cleaner. His chubby little arm boasted a growing bi-cep: proof he was putting a good amount of elbow grease into this neglected project.

Not wanting to be out-done by her career oriented younger brother who seemed to already have a degree in Environmentally Friendly Picnic Table Maintenance, the sister of that boy took on a Photography Photo Challenge and created interesting snapshots of household items. Using her hand to shield light in such a way, she tipped and angled the camera in front of all kinds of rare specimens. Like the dolphin bath toy. And her ink-stained purse. And the lamp she had broken during a very fast expedition on her feet through the living room one day.

As the day progressed, so did my children's pursuits in life. During an artistic plunge in the Lego bin, they commenced to having an Apologetic and Debate class. Two of the alpha male children (which would actually be both of my sons), discussed in depth over whether their maternal aunt was both of theirs or just one of theirs. "She's MY aunt," could be heard from one knowledgeable son and then "No, she's MY aunt," was heard from the other equally as smart son. They seemed to finally agree-to-disagree since they both had such fundamentally sound view points. And of course, they were BOTH equally right.

When lunch time rolled around on this particular day, the First Born Son had an idea for lunch. Instead of him just making lunch meat sandwiches, we would both take turns putting ingredients on the bread. He had a regular system designed in his educated head and I believe that some day he just might run his own growing business making gourmet sandwiches in a factory line. Oh wait; I guess Subway already does that. Well, maybe his specialty can be Lots Of Extra Mustard That Oozes Sloppily Down Your Hands And On Your Shirt since that seems to be a popular hit as seen in our laundry pile on the personally created sandwiches this son of mine made.

And so the day continued, one adventure after another.

The end.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cherishing the Chaos

For some reason, I always had this lofty idea that being a mom meant reading good quality books to your kids, tucking them in at night with heirloom quilts and admiring their cherubic faces as they slept on soft, fluffy pillows covered in happy colored pillow cases.

What I didn't know was that good quality books quickly turn into well used and over-read-dog-eared-paged stacks of paper that used to be bound in those novel things call "books."

And as for tucking the said kids at night, using heirloom quilts on beds that tend to be frequently washed, is a recipe for extinguishing all heirloom quilts from our generation. Besides, whatever type of blanket or covering you use to tuck your kids in at night with, that article of bed clothing soon takes on an heirloom look with all the washings and forts and tents and tug-a-war games that it ends up being used for.

I never realized how drab looking the brightly colored pillow cases get with many washings. Or the bloody-nose stains that are sure to happen. Or how long it takes for their faces to become cherubic looking after they finally lay their sweet heads on the fluffy pillows. I didn't realize that drinks and bathroom runs and "Mom! I'm scared" and "DAAAAAADDDDDYYYYY! There's a lion in my room" sobs that would trail out the dimly lit bedroom doors long after bedtime. Oh, and the spiders that always appear right at bedtime, right along with those lions.

But the smiles these kids greet you with just after the rising of the sun the next morning, now THAT'S what motherhood is all about. And the hugs and the snuggles. And the "Mom, I wuv you so much!" are the words that put perspective on each trying circumstance that may happen between morning and bedtime.

And someday, I just know, our bookshelves will be lined with pleasantly bound books. And brightly colored pillowcases will grace the heirloom quilted beds. And I'll go to bed at night and my house will be quiet and the chatter and cries from those toy-strewn bedrooms will be silent. No spiders or lions will plague my quiet evening. And I'll be able to relax, put my feet up and not have to endure the endless era of bedtime that used to happen every night.

Then the next morning, I will greet the day alone. Without the heralding laughter of kids and toys and noise and breakfast cereal strewn all over the dining room table.

And I'd give anything to hear the "Mom, I wuv you so much!" tokens of bliss that used to fill my days. Yes, I'd even give up my neatly kept, heirloom-quilted-bedrooms of silence for just one more disruptive and chaotic evening.

Because motherhood ends way too fast.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finding "The Good Part" In This Pregnancy Sickness

I feel crabby today. And that's the honest truth.

This all day sickness is old. Nothing tastes good. Everything upsets my stomach. When people post statuses about food (specifically meat) on Facebook, I feel like deleting my account and joining a vegetarian message board where I can hopefully find a safe network of friends.

I hate meat. So if you write a status about meat or post a picture with meat in it. Or even THINK about meat while you're on Facebook, I can sense it. And it makes me do everything in my power to not puke.

Oh and garlic and onions too. They make me so sick.

Today I had an insatiable craving for Triscuit crackers. And my kind husband went to the store to get me some. The only thing wrong that the dear man did, was bring back Roasted Garlic Triscuit crackers instead of plain ones.

He was as shocked as I was that he made that mistake... the poor guy.

To make matters worse, I found out they were Roasted Garlic after Alex ripped the box open and then asked for help to get the bag inside open. It was at that fatal moment that I picked up a savory cracker, put it on my nauseated tongue and crunched the Garlic flavor right out of the cracker.

I no longer crave Triscuits, in case you're wondering.

My belly feels flatter lately too. I easily forget I'm actually pregnant and not suffering from an eternal case of the flu. So I need things to keep perspective. And as is my naturally productive nature (haha!) I took matters into my own hands and decided to be proactive in my attitude...

Here are some things I did today:

Today my sister had an ultrasound of her 20 week baby. And the way she described the activity and movements of her precious baby that they were able to watch on the screen, made me realize that in just 9 weeks, I'll be there too. I have a healthy, active baby bouncing inside my numb uterus, right now as we speak.

I found a website that had a detailed description of what my 11 week baby is doing. The main thing it's improving on right now is it's brain development. Specifically in the nerve cells area. It's making 250,000 new nerve cells every minute. It's no wonder I'm tired and sick and lethargic and forget my train of thought all the time. I'm being more productive in my stationary, lazy position than probably everyone on my block put together.

I watched a short video clip online of a rambunctious 11 week old baby boy. And when I realized I have one of those in me (okay, it may not be a boy... but same idea as far as age of baby, etc), I fell in love all over again with my baby.

And then last but not least, I'm reminded frequently of the mothers around me who have empty arms. Mothers who are supposed to be pregnant right now but no longer are, due to miscarriage. The women around me who want to be mothers but aren't because they can't get pregnant. And I'm sharply reminded of the fact that the precious cargo I carry, is a special blessing that not everyone is able to possess. Who cares if I feel like puking! I have a healthy baby growing bigger everyday inside my nauseated-not-poking-out-that-much-belly.

And that's really all that matters. I'm pregnant. And healthy. And if I feel like puking, well, it's for a very good reason.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

On Pregnancy, Perspective and Plans

11 weeks pregnant and counting. It's been a great ride so far, but quite unpredictable. I have a long mental list of things I want to do, complete, get done, not do, quit doing and stop.

The one thing I'd really like to stop doing is laying on the couch. But no matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to beat the addiction. The exhaustion and constant upset stomach keep me stuck to that charming couch.

Basically, each day is a work in progress: Eat. Don't gag. Drink water. Eat again. Repeat. With an over active gag reflux, I tend to quickly un-do all my good even if I feel great. A simple teeth brushing at the end of a really good day, can turn sour, no pun intended.

So, I try to avoid things like too much yogurt on my spoon -- it makes me gag. Or, don't smell things that smell bad. Don't THINK of things that smell bad. Don't LOOK at things that might smell bad. Don't cough a tickle out of my throat. And don't brush my teeth. I'm learning the hard way what to do what not to do. And how many things in life cause gagging.

And I travel on a regular basis... or so it feels. But, tonight brings the closure to our month of travel and I'm home to stay for at least 2 months. Traveling wrecks havoc on an upset stomach but thankfully, the Lord gave me strength and grace to not puke this whole last weekend we were gone! Granted, I got sick and laid on couches and slept in the van while everyone else partied, but hey, I didn't puke. It's funny how quickly your idea of success is altered during life changing times... like pregnancy.

I say all this as a way of recording the turn of events with this pregnancy. With my other babies, I tended to do better at recording my feelings and thoughts but with this one, I'm too distracted.

I've been making a mental list of all the things I want to do as soon as I feel better. For the last month, I've had my sister living here as a nanny to our kiddos, and boy was that great help! I could rest and relax as much as I needed to and I never had to cook. Now that she's gone, it's back to the grind for me.

Laying around and not being able to do much has given me a lot of thinking time. And I've realized how much petty things are important to me. Yes, you read that right. I want to learn to focus on the little moments in life that become life long memories. I want to learn how to make the most out of an ordinary day.

This last month held 2 birthdays in our little family as well as Father's Day. I did nothing special for my man and feel just terrible for that. He didn't comment or put any emphasis on the fact that I acted like his birthday never happened -- he's too nice to complain. But as soon as I'm back up to my normal state of well being, I plan to make a week of surprises for him. Who says you can't celebrate some body's birthday a month later?! I also plan to work on activities with the kids both here at home and away from home. I just feel like their young little lives are getting older and bigger everyday. It's NOW that we can do things they'll look back on and say, "When I was little..."

Some things I want to try my hand at in the next few months (after I get off the couch for good) include but are not limited to:

Finish Potty Training Of The Youngest Child
Teach My Ambitious Son To Read
Try My Hand At French Cooking (I made the mistake of watching Julie and Julia one day)
Get Rid Of Half Our Stuff (at least)
Follow A Daily Schedule
Plan Regular Activities With The Kids
Organize Sewing Stuff (I have 2 dresses to sew for an upcoming wedding)

But as for now, I'm just gonna concentrate on drinking water, eating food, mothering my kids, being a good wife and not gagging. And if I can pull all 5 things off in one day, I'll feel successful and productive.

And while I lay on the couch and dream of sunnier days when I'll have the energy to match my plans, a precious little life grows bigger everyday inside my womb. I'd have to admit that alone makes me successful. And productive.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pregnancy Poem

Here I sit alone,
Unheard as I grumble and groan
Retching desires inside my belly
Jiggling like liquidated jelly

The only companion near
Is a little thing so precious and dear
Only a pencil’s lead width wide
Safely in my bosom to hide

Oh dear, how can it truly be
This little thing so tender to me
Can’t even move or try to kick
Yet makes me feel so gross and sick

They say “this too will pass”
But time sure isn’t going fast
Each day anew confirms my fears:
Another day of morning sick years

I want to eat but it can’t be so
For food to me is a sickening foe
The smell of things within my nose
Torments me even when I doze

My fate shall not end in bliss
For even my hubby’s sweetest kiss
Nauseates my starving soul
Makes me dash to the porcelain bowl

I cannot smell or eat or drink
Or wash dishes in the sink
My little kids and darling man
Are tolerating me as best they can

Alas, all this woe will end
And soon my road will take a bend
To sunnier skies and banquets galore
Eating at last will be no chore!

But until my fate ends one day
I must remember to keep at bay
The feelings of pity that keep me low
And make my life seem full of woe

For really the truth must be told:
This sickness insures a definite hold
Of my little one to the vast warm womb
And shields against miscarriage doom

So, I must, I will, I have to get glad!
This sickening belly should not be sad
For soon the end will come with labor pains
And these early days will feel like summer rains!

cjn 8-15-04 7wks. pregnant

This was composed during my 7th week of pregnancy with Janae. I originally posted this on 11-03-06 during my 7th week of pregnancy with Alex. And to keep with that tradition, I'm posting it again during my 7th week of pregnancy with Baby #4. And not just for tradition's sake either. :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Tale Of The Farm Fresh Egg

Today was one of those blog worthy days. And by that I mean it was such a full, fun funny and crazy day that I couldn't even take notes, let alone sit down and blog.

In a nut shell:

The bathroom door got locked with no one inside (not a pleasant thing when you have to go to the bathroom but can't since the door's locked...)

One of our house phones was found outside with a 2-year-old who was apparently calling his therapist enjoying free phone time before he got caught.

A large amount of tinted, scented lip gloss was used as a complete make up -- including cleverly shaped eye brows and eye liner.

2-yr-old would not sleep for his nap.

And I'm not even mentioning what happened yesterday because all I can remember is setting my phone down on a window sill but finding a thick layer of chopped up chap stick instead. And I vaguely have a memory of the mud tracked all over the house because 2 small children went out their bedroom window, walked around in the rain and then came back in. Nor am I remembering how the 2-yr-old unwrapped a package of frozen steaks and set them on the stove at supper time. And the stale, dried jalapeno sandwich I found sitting in the living room next to my antique books also fails my memory.

But today is fresh in my memory. A little too "fresh" actually.

I looked outside just after lunch and spied two young children smearing yellowish-snot-type "stuff" all over the swing set platform.

Resting in a bitter, murderous heap lay a broken egg shell.

Do you know how much TWO small children can do with the contents of ONE egg?

I had no idea the volume that's held in ONE egg. Until today. I will never underestimate the power of a raw egg. Again. Ever. Nor my children's abilities to manifest amazing handiwork with said raw egg.

They got it all over the 3'x4' play set platform.

They got it all over their hands.

They got it up and down the frame of the swing set.

They got it all over the dog's head.

They generously lathered it into their hands.

They got it all over the ground.

And they got it to evenly overflow their palms and fingers and then they raved about how soft their skin felt.

Meanwhile, the dog was ravenously licking the egg as fast as she could as it trailed slowly down from the 4' high platform. Egg snot was literally pouring all over the place out there as it pooled through the cracks in the play set platform.

And it was one egg. ONE.

There was so much of that stuff out there, I finally called out and said, "Hey kids, how many eggs do you have out there anyway?"

"Just one, Mom," they called back from their Omega-fatty-acids-complete-with-high-protein-packed-in-a-fresh-brown-shell play.

My greatest disappointment but yet redeeming factor was that it was a farm fresh egg. You see, I pay for farm fresh eggs because I love eating farm fresh eggs so was disappointed we lost one whole egg to complete experimentation destruction. Yet at the same time, I wasn't worried about salmonella poisoning or other type of bacteria developing on my children's fragile bodies because the egg was farm fresh.

As I was getting a jacket out of my closet a little later today, I noticed crushed, brown egg shells on the carpet by the closet. The closet that is far from the play set where the broken egg play took place. The closet surrounded by carpet. The closet you have to go out of your way just to get to. It too had egg remains by it.

And it reminded me once again to never underestimate the power of a farm fresh egg.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!!

So there was this day I woke up and suddenly became a mom. Diapers and laundry and sleepless nights hit me with a fury and I wondered what in the world had happened to cause the earth to quit turning on it's axle. Time didn't necessarily stand still. Rather, time ran on and on into itself and never separated itself with proper punctuation. (Such as rest, sleep, sanity, etc.)

Rather than sitting there in shocked disbelief at the wild fury that clung to my life, I flung myself into the whirling merry-go-round of motherhood and hung on for dear life. Diapers and laundry and sleepless nights all flew around my head in a merry little circle of chaos.

And then it happened. The merry-go-round slowed to a nostalgic carousal trot. A sing-songy tuned played pleasantly in the back of my existence. And I loved and adored and cherished this whole thing called motherhood. Simultaneously, suddenly I was struck with a chance to breath, think, rest, enjoy my life, etc... and etc. My "babies" became toddlers and soon and my toddlers became kids.

And you know what happened next?

I began to wish for the diapers. And that laundry. And those sleepless nights.

What is it about babies that just make us WANT them?

We're looking forward to our new surprise expected to arrive the beginning of January... smack dab in the middle of Cabin Fever Season. (I think I found my own personal cure for that disease... a BABY!)

And we're tickled pink. (or is it blue?)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why My Life and Blog Don't Seem To Conveniently Mix Anymore

It is precisely 6:20pm and instead of roasting the pan of taters-n-carrots on the grill like I normally would for our Steak and Spuds supper, I'm baking them in the oven so as to provide undivided attention.

You see, if I turn the grill on, stick the food in and then walk away, I'm liable to start the deck on fire. Again. So, I'll just utilize the oven (that had it's front busted out last May when a large, heavy canister fell from the ceiling, bounced on the floor and ricocheted off the front of the stove which resulted in a generous shower of tiny glass shards) and stay inside so as to give undivided attention.

A tidy line of weeds grows steadily around the landscape blocks in the front yard. The yard I just mowed for the first time this year. But I shall refrain from pulling them (and absorbing the fading VitD3/sunlight) so as to provide undivided attention.

A busy 3-year-old-wanna-be (he's convinced every day that it's his birthday) is entertaining the dog. But I shall neglect the urge to check on him so as to give undivided attention. (just kidding)

Earlier today, I was impressed with all the antics my kids pulled. They provided with a lot of impressive tales... tales that I shall hope I never forget but probably will since I can hardly take one little clever action in before the next little clever action starts. And pretty soon in all the craziness and hubbub that is my life, I just think that my kids will be little and crazy forever and I'll have the rest of my life to write this stuff down for blackmail material. But I know that's not true. (at least for the "little" part.... the crazy part will probably only get worse.)

As for today, they took both of my brooms apart and combined the broom handles with a paint roller. Then they went around the house committing nameless acts of unmentionable things to the house and surrounding countryside.

Then they pulled all their camp chairs out and did child-like things with them. Like clutter the house with their intrusive shapes. (I'm referring to the chairs' shapes; not the kids' shapes.)

They also committed unbelievable and terrorist acts to our tiny little garden that's growing peacefully and beautifully in the jiffy pots in our only south facing window. The acts consisted of peony scented linen spray. I couldn't figure out why the house smelled so good and why the tomato plants took on a heavenly fragrance. Ignorance really is bliss, you know.

As the day continued, so did my kids. I overheard Landon acting as a football coach to his sister and hollering at her to do all kinds of things with the football. Only, he didn't call her Janae; he called her Jason.

In the end, I found a baby snake in a 5 gallon bucket in the front yard (the snake I had so kindly caught for the kids to play with while I mowed the yard) and I also found brutally beaten tulips laying in a conspicuous area. (I hope the neighbors won't mind.)

Although today feels unique and original, it really is no match for yesterday. My 5-year-old-daughter (that shall remain nameless) informed me that if I didn't get her coffee at the coffee shop drive through, she would just find another mom who would give her coffee.

Said daughter also managed to return my missed calls on my cell phone, unbeknownst to me.

My 6-year-old has decided it's time for our family to move. He's avidly searching for a new home and commenced doing so yesterday while running errands with his parents.

The wanna-be-3-year-old was certain there were monsters involved with Curious George and informed the nice ladies at the check out of his latest discovery. At the same store, he also attempted to try on some snazzy lady's high heeled sandals and was disappointed when I wouldn't let him.

As each day closes with a blur, I like to think that it was an "overly special" day. But then when I look at the week in retrospect, I'm vividly reminded that when you have a 2-year-old kid who innocently manages to snatch police officers off the street in order to carry on a deep conversation with the uniformed officer, you really shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore.

Like when all the kids disappear because they decided to randomly visit the neighbors just to see what the inside of their house looks like. Or pluck hair out of the guinea pig for no other reason than to hear the creature whistle.

With kids like mine, I think you may understand why and how has not had my undivided attention very well lately. But without such creativeness blooming in my little world, I would never have anything to blog about. Ever.

And since the 3-year-old-wanna-be just disappeared, I should go investigate and see what I can record for next month's blog. (don't hold your breath...)

Monday, March 22, 2010

A New And Exciting Prospect For All My Readers!

In the spirit of all good things, I'm sharing a profound and amazing deal that I've selfishly absentmindedly been keeping all to myself. It's called: Swagbucks.

I don't just sign up for random web things and I definitely don't promote anything unless I know it to be true or have used it long enough to understand the ropes. Swagbucks is one of those tried-and-true things I've done. And not only am I doing it, but all my friends are too. Well, most of them anyway... obviously, since YOU don't have it, then not all my friends are doing it. Yet. So it comes well recommended by me and most-of-my friends.

Did you know that by just doing what you normally do on the Internet, you could be earning free Amazon gift cards? Yeah, I'm serious. This is not a gimmick.

Did you know that you don't have to give Swagbucks a lot of personal information? They just need your name, email address, country and date of birth. Seriously. Blogger requires more than that, even.

Did you know that it's free? The service is paid for by the competitors who post ads on the Swagbucks site. You will not be spammed or become inflicted by a virus on your computer either. It's 100% safe. And you don't have to agree to anything unless you absolutely want it.

If you don't believe me or still need a little bit more info before signing up, don't feel back: click on the following promotion to learn more. (You can look at it before you sign up.) Believe me, I was very cautious before I took the plunge but after I did it, I couldn't figure out why I hadn't been doing it sooner.

Search & Win

Oh, and one more thing... anyone who may sign up under you on Swagbucks will benefit you as well: you get credits every time they do. Not to put any pressure on you or anything but the same goes for me: everyone who signs up on Swagbucks from my blog, will reward me with credits as well. So we both win!

And if for some reason you never want to cash in your credits, it's not a big deal. The thrill of seeing a random box pop up while you're on the Internet telling you that you won "x-amount of Swagbucks" gives you an adrenaline rush. Seriously. To think people pay MONEY to have so much fun but with Swagbucks, YOU get paid to have the fun yourself. It's like a computer game only you don't have to feel bad for wasting time. Swagbucks makes all your time on the Internet fun. Even if you are simply researching diapers. Or Recipes. Or checking the weather.

Just go to Swagbucks now and see what you think!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Polk-a-dot Painting Project

I love painting. I love polk-a-dots. And I love my kids. Not in that order (most days) but you know what I mean.

So one day I decided to combine all three.

And my kids were thrilled.

We laid newspaper on the floor to make it look like we were taking cautionary preventative measures and actually serious about only getting paint on the walls.

Then we put on paint clothes, selected some brushes and began to splash colorful and bright dots on our family room wall.

Amazingly, the paint only went from their little red cups, to their brushes, to the walls. I was very pleased with their "carefullness" and it made me realize that little projects like this, not only showed me what my kids were capable of being responsible for but also showed my kids what they could be trusted with when they can prove their responsibility.
Everyone had their designated circles. And I had the honors of cleaning up edges and reaching the high polk-a-dots.
The results were better than I expected, which was a good thing since I had my "I'm Blogging This" shirt on. It inspired me to make a blog post out of our project. And even more so since I love our polk-a-dot wall. But, my favorite part about it is that someday when my kids are old and they have kids of their own, they'll be able to say, "When I was a kid, my mom let me paint polk-a-dots on a wall in our house... what was she thinking?!"

It makes me smile every time I walk through our family room.

And not only does it look fun and happy, it was a fun and happy project to do. With my kids.

Yeah, I could've gotten it done twice as fast by myself without their "help." And maybe wouldn't have had to touch up so many spots.

But I wouldn't have the sweet memory of it had I crammed them off to their rooms and told them to not touch mommy's paint.

Polk-a-dots are supposed to be fun, right?! And these definitely were.

When I see the fun polk-a-dots dancing on our family room wall, I don't even think about the fact that I let my kindergartners get in close range to our new couch and brand new carpet with wet, live paint. Instead, the memories of our fun polk-a-dot project, are timeless. And sweet.

That's the way polk-a-dots are supposed to be. And raising kids is supposed to be that way too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

They're Only Kids Once

Sometimes I look at my kids and wonder.... how did you become mine? Who are you? What will you become someday? Is your childhood going to be one filled with good memories or will it be a passing phrase in time that you were glad to see go?

I wonder: am I cherishing each day? Living it to the fullest? Are my priorities righted? Do I have a vision of the future? Of hope? Of my children's lives?

Often I think about the fact that I wanted to grow up, get married and have kids. I did all that. And now that I'm in the "have kids" era, it's no longer about me. Now my kids have their own goals. Their own lives. Their own thoughts and desires. Their own "when-I-grow-up-I-want..." dreams and plans. This is IT for them. This is the real thing. It's not all about me living the life I always wanted anymore; it's about them being shaped for adulthood.

It's not possible to push a "record" button when we go to the zoo or park or have a birthday party and know that only what's played out during that time will be recorded as a keepsake childhood memory. The "record" button is not optional: it's down all the time. I can't "stop" the tape. The days I'm tired or distracted or preoccupied with my own things, are days their childhood memories are being made.

Each day is another chance for adventure. Another page in their life story. Another captured time in memory that they'll pull their childhood recollections from. What happens TODAY will hopefully cause nostalgia for them in twenty years.

I hope and pray their quickly-fleeting-childhoods will be but a bright spot in their lives, filled with direction, hope, bliss and love that shaped their perspective for the promising future.

Because nothing is quite as good as it was when you were a kid. And I'm making that count, today.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

In Which She Learns Contentment

Yesterday was a blur. A day in which I can barely remember anything.

And what I do remember, is not good.

It started out smartly enough though. The kids had breakfast and more food went into their mouths than on the floor. That's a good start right there. I guess I was fooled into thinking that it was going to be a "good" day as indicated by breakfast's success. How wrong I was.

I was feeling nostalgic as I sipped my chai and had the I-want-to-have-another-baby-now syndrome. Feelings of "why can't I have one NOW?" crowded my thoughts and I felt discontent. Which is not good because from my experience, if a person can't be content with what they HAVE, they'll never be content when they get what they WANT because there's always something else to have. To want. To get. To be. To go after. And the pursuit of contentment is usually the last thing on the list of those kinds of people. Actually, I don't think it's even on their list at all, come to think of it.

So I purposed to work on this lacking attitude in my heart and went on with my day.

As I entertained a phone call from a dear friend who also has small children of her own, I observed out of the corner of my eye a young, wedding-dress-clad (her daily attire of choice) female child flitting quickly to the bathroom with blue hands. Very blue hands. Very blue as in dripping-with-blue hands.

Blue was quickly covering the entire bathroom sink, that's how blue her hands were.

I composed my dignity on the phone and flew on 2 quick-footed-feet to the place where the blue was sure to have come from: the basement.

The Blue Source was no where to be found. And at that point I began to panic and immediately got off the phone. Just then, I found an opened can of Blue Stuff sitting on the the Little Tykes table in Janae's cute little room. Basically, the Blue Stuff was only about twenty-four-inches off of the brand new carpet in Janae's cute room.

And through sovereign and spiritual intervention which I have yet to understand, there was no Blue Stuff dotting or trailing anywhere out of that can of paint; except on the hands of my wedding-dress-clad female child. Who was at that moment getting paint all over the bathroom sink. But the walls, carpet, doors, furniture, siblings, pets, food, shoes, hair, etc., were all Blue Stuff Free.

As I gathered the screwdrivers sitting next to the Blue Stuff that had been used by my clever daughter to pry the lid off the paint can, I quickly put the paint away and scampered back upstairs. In the process of that I spied a piece of glass on the floor that was apparently lonely and waiting for the trash can.

Thinking it to be a wise time to return the call to my dear mother-in-law who had called (as indicated by my caller ID) during the last catastrophe and phone call (it's funny how often catastrophes and phone calls are simultaneously played out), I picked up the phone and dialed the number.

By that point, the bathroom was vacant of the female child and in her place stood a swimming-trunk-clad-male child wearing inter tubes and other fancy swimming paraphernalia. He was just getting in the rapidly filling-with-water tub and looked at me as if I lost my mind when I asked him what he thought he was doing... "Swimming, Mom."

I made a mental note to black-magic-marker "No Swimming Allowed" on the side of the tub but decided it would be futile since the swimming inclined members of our household are yet a little uneducated in the reading department.

Comforting myself that the kid wasn't drowning, wasn't splashing water, wasn't eating soap, wasn't using soap, wasn't wasting soap and wasn't cutting himself with a razor, I ignored the impulse to remove him from the tub. I just did the Bug Eyes Out And Sigh And Say Okay thing.

As I nonchalantly chatted with the grandmother of my adventurous children and listened to her laugh at their antics as I dialogued them through the phone to her, it became too much to stay on the phone and have a swimming child in the bathtub when I observed that my computer had been sabotaged. So I got off the phone and reclaimed rightful ownership of my computer.

But I couldn't reclaim proper function of my computer. Everything was messed up. Caps Lock ON made the letters lowercase and every time I clicked something, a whole new page opened. Hoping my computer-sabotaging child hadn't done merciless and embarrassing things on my Facebook page that had been left open, I was relieved to find that my profile indicated no suspicious activity.

My senses slowly began to feel more sensitive at this point and I could no longer see the value of swimming in the bathtub so I ordered the swimming child out. As those events began to wrap up in the bathroom, I came upon my self-motivated, fully clothed two-year-old who was actively scrubbing the top, front portion of his hair. With shampoo and no water. Unable to rinse him right then, I sent him to the basement to do something like normal kids do. You know, play with toys. How novel would that be? I wondered out loud.

I followed him down later to check on him and found another piece of glass on the floor. I also found a thickly-carpeted-with-legos family room floor. And I also found my cell phone breaking the "Keep Out Of Reach Of Children" rule. I picked it up and checked the call log, making sure none of my children had contacted the police for anything again. Thankfully, the only call they placed was to a Calling Card. At least they hadn't continued on to an international call, I comforted myself with.

I scooped up the Shampooed Head Kid and brought him into the kitchen. I flipped on the water only to send the faucet handle flying. Another indication that our kitchen sink faucet needs to be replaced. NOT fixed: replaced. It's beyond repair; it's been fixed enough times. It needs a complete replacement. (Did you get that yet?)

So since the regular water was inaccessible due to maintenance deficiencies (I didn't marry a plumber), I used the next best option and stuck my child's head under the drinking water faucet which has only one temperature: Refreshingly Cool. He fussed and fumed but I comforted myself with the fact that the next option would've been snow. And the next option after that would've been to just leave the shampoo on his head until his next bath which would probably be who-knows-when. So I was actually being a kind mother and washing the soap out of his hair humanely. Even if the water was cold.

The day continued on in much of the same manner.

3 small children left the house in no coats while wearing their parents' shoes.

Mysterious messes appeared in random places.

My leather shoes were shuffled through mud puddles on trips to the trash can by feet much too small to fit a women's size 8 1/2 shoe.

Mud bricks appeared in neat stacks on the front step outside. (At least they were outside and not inside.)

Streaks of mud and dirt covered both sides of the front door, implying that a mud-covered-child had entered and exited the premises. And probably entered again and was likely roaming free inside the house with mud covered hands.

Legos were generously scattered all over the floor on a regular basis all. day. long.

By nap time, I was so exhausted but had already psyched myself up for a new laundry room so ignored the impulse to snooze while two-thirds of my children contentedly slept in well contained beds.

And by the time the day was done, I had ordered pizza for supper, cleaned the basement, arranged the laundry room and visited a close friend who had just had a baby earlier this week.

As I gazed at the perfect, adorable, sleeping face of the tiny baby girl who fit snugly in my arms, I was half tempted to sneak the baby home in my purse. I had come under the baby spell again and just really wanted another child - especially since my own baby will be THREE in a few months.

Need I remind myself that when my oldest child turned three, I was just weeks away from delivering my third child? Now Alex, my youngest, is that age and... well, it just feels weird.

But, after I got home and happened to spy a spot of Blue Stuff on the bathroom light switch, indicating that my wedding-dress-clad-female-child-with-blue-hands HAD touched something other than just the bathroom sink earlier that day, it triggered something deep inside.

And it reminded me again of my three healthy, adventurous, live-life-to-the-fullest kids. And it made me instinctively sigh with contentment that I have the kids I have and that I only have three of them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Winter Weather Rant

It had been three days since it quit snowing. THREE WHOLE DAYS. The sun had come out and shone brightly on the winter wonderland all around and the wind had calmed down.

But, guess what? There was still snow on the roads.

Like any logical person, I had stayed in out of the weather and waited the snow storm out. I ignored the impulse to get my shopping done. I pushed everything that involved something outside my front door to the very end of the list. Like a good citizen, I stayed in out of the cold. Off the roads. Out of the 40mph wind gusts.

I gave the salt trucks, the snow plows and the snow, plenty of time to get their duties done. I even ordered boots online so I wouldn't have to go out in the bad weather in order to find necessary condiments for the bad weather.

Then, a whole THREE days after the snow quit, I finally peeked out from under the blanket of snow my house was buried in. I dug my van out of a snow drift, brushed off the windshield and then made a wise decision to get to the gas station first off, making sure to fill my gas tank full before embarking on some necessary shopping.

I slipped and slid the whole way there.

I chalked it up to the fact that perhaps I drove on the one and only bad road in town. And that road just happened to lead all the way from my driveway to that gas station.

After filling up on gas, I poked carefully out of the gas station parking lot careening my vehicle gracefully over the packed snow and iced over road. Trying not to be ungrateful for the non-working snow workers, I ignored the fact the road I was driving on was a well traveled high way.
I made my way to the the interstate and found it was clear and dry. Thankful my speedometer could safely match the posted speed limit signs, I assumed the rest of the roads would be safe from then on.

Since I was shopping in our state's capital, I just knew the big city would be clear and clean of snow and ice. I braked carefully, just to be safe, as I veered off the highway and on to the exit ramp. I was surprised snow and ice on that exit matched the small city roads I had just come from but figured that the particular patch of asphalt and concrete I was driving on, had taken a rare but direct hit from The Arctic Blast.

Downtown was even worse. I happened to trigger every red light I came close to and found my anti-lock brakes became quite efficient as I slid to a stop each time. The vehicles next to me became uncomfortably close one too many times as the tires of my vehicle spun out when the lights turned green and I slid to the sides as the tires gained traction.

(repeat above scene several times.)

Suddenly, I was stricken with an island feeling of, oh no! I'm surrounding by a sea of snow and ice and dry land is far, far away! I almost turned back because THREE days after the last of the snow had fallen, the roads were STILL bad. But I braved the treacherous roads as I was determined to make the best of the gas I had just put in my van.

All through the bustling, busy city, I careened and slid and swerved. Trucks, plows and other defenders of snow-stricken drivers were unseen on the roads I traveled. I thought it was funny that posted above one of the main thoroughfares through town, a brightly lit sign flashed an alert,

"Hazardous Winter Roads"

And I wondered if the effort and money and time could be put into telling us all what we already know, then why couldn't the same effort and money and time be put into something we'd also really like to know: CLEAN ROADS.

Weather is a slave to no man and all of humanity has found itself prey to it's vengeance at some point or another. And when it comes to winter, I should really be used to it because I am from the North. I come from The Place where snow and winter and ice are a constant companion that accompany the months of November to April. And it's okay. People's lives don't shut down just because an inch of snow fell during the night. "Don't cha knowah way up Nort der" they don't get a "Winter Weather Advisory" all because 2 inches of snow is predicted.

But, here in the not-quite-south-but-definitely-not-north (aka: Nebraska), I just really don't like winter. Or the roads. Or the snow. Or the ice. When the society in general is not equipped to handle snow, ice and winter, this weather can be hazardous both outside (bad roads) and inside (Cabin Fever.)

Because even when the wind dies down and the Nebraska prairie lies calm and placid, the ice still sticks to the free-ways and one of the main arteries of civilization and industry (aka: Lincoln, NE) still lies dormant under unsalted ice.

Give me Spring. Or give me the North.