Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas is over - relief and disappointment

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted. It's been a casual, relaxing week and there's one more to go before school resumes and so do the hectic schedules of school, homework and all that goes with it. There have been four days in the past week that I haven't left the house and it has been nice - especially as I've been watching the snow out the window. However, there's always that bit of a letdown after Christmas. After all the time spent decorating, shopping and preparing, it's over in a few hours. I'm always bothered, too, by how the radio stations drop all the peppy holiday tunes on December 25th. I always want to hear them a little bit more. I hope everyone has had a great holiday and wish you good health and happiness in the new year.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mornings of madness

One morning earlier this week, I opened my eyes, looked over at the clock and realized it was almost time to get out of bed. I was dreading it. Not only was it Monday, bu this morning would be more hectic than usual. Five children had to be in five different places.

So, I got up and woke up my 10-year-old who had to get up about an hour earlier than usual for his first early morning band practice. He was excited about going and got himself up and ready. We get out in the van, I turn the key...nothing. Then I look up to see the overhead lights barely shining, just a dim glow. I look down on the dash and discover that I left them on. Occasionally the boys will turn one on above their seat and forget to turn it off, but I couldn't even blame anyone. It was turned on beside the steering wheel - it was totally my bad.

My husband rushed him off to band practice, then charged my battery. By the time it was done, the next kid had to be delivered to school. He was running a couple minutes behind, which throws off everything else. He's off to school and I'm getting lunches, snacks and water bottles prepared for the day.

Ok, next one is about to head off to school. Another has a 9 a.m. dentist appointment. Yikes! He was going to have hot lunch at school and then I realize that he'll be there late because of the dentist visit and he won't be included in the lunch count. I throw another lunch together and send him out the door with my husband to the dentist's office, which is a half-hour away (in good traffic.)

Now I'm off with the last two. A train is on the tracks on the way to the first school. So, we wait. Then he gets dropped off. Finally, it's off to the final stop. My poor preschooler seldom makes it to school before they start circle time. His class starts at the same time as his older brothers' school and considering that his older brothers receive detentions when they're tardy a few times, getting him to preschool a couple minutes late is how it has to be. It doesn't help, though, when a slow-moving train adds to the delay.

Finally, I walk him to his classroom, slipping in quietly trying not to interrupt the teacher's puppet show and then exit the building. I let out a big sigh. Everyone is where they should be. Then...I realize that it's not Monday. Schools were closed the day before for Columbus Day and it's actually Tuesday. Yeah! One day closer to Friday! There's always a silver lining!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Looking forward to fall family fun

Well, summer is officially over and I have to admit I really miss it. The weather has been mild, but I don't want to give up the shorts and flip flop weather and think about bundling up even though I know it's coming.

I also miss the lazy days at the pool with the kids or running out for an impromptu ice cream trip. Fall does bring it's own fun, though. Soon we'll be raking leaves and the kids will be jumping in the piles.

Hopefully we'll make it out to go apple picking and make a visit to our favorite pumpkin patch - Bengston's Pumpkin Farm in Homer Glen. It's become our family tradition to pay the farm a visit every year in October. We started when my oldest was an infant and he's now 15. The farm has made some changes over the years, but has maintained some of our favorite features. It is an expensive day, though, and my husband suggested not going this year, which met with much resistance (as much from me as from the kids.) The kids look forward to the visit to the farm all year. Even if we don't make it there, fall is a great time to spend time together -- even if it's just a visit to the park on a crisp day or a walk at a local nature preserve. Summer will be missed, but I'm looking forward to all th fun fall has to offer.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th events will always be remembered

I only had about three weeks to go before maternity leave, but woke up feeling nauseous and fatigued and decided to stay home from work. I was in the shower when my husband stuck his head in the door and said my sister called and said the twin towers had been hit by planes.

The next several hours were spent in front of the television viewing live coverage. Watching the towers fall was like watching a movie. No one wanted to believe that there were real people in those buildings that were burning and crumbling. The horror just continued as the Pentagon was hit and it was reported that another plane was suspected to be hijacked.

I spent the last weeks of my pregnancy crying almost daily, although I didn’t even know a single person in New York, at the Pentagon or on any of the planes. I wondered how many expectant mothers had lost someone that day. I thought about all the emergency workers who died doing their jobs. I felt appreciatve of those who worked at the scene and was touched by the overwhelming wave of patriotism. I was a mess. While we had our new baby’s first name picked, we were in limbo about a middle name and had considered several names, one being Christian. That name was cemented when I saw it printed below a large photo of a firefighter missing at the WTC on television.

My son, who wasn’t due until October 15 arrived a few days early. It was one month after the terrorist attacks that I sat in a delivery room at the hospital watching President Bush’s request for a moment of silence to remember what occurred on 9/11.

Though the memories have faded a bit and the emotions, have lightened, I’ll never forget the details of that day. I know I’m not the only one.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Birthdays bring back memories

Today my fourth son turned 6 years old. Yesterday I reminded him it was his last day to be five. He pondered for a moment and said he’d like to stay five. Why? I think he had quite a crush on his Kindergarten teacher. He said he wanted to be five again and again so he could be in Miss Kistner’s class forever!

I had to do some shopping this afternoon and invited him along on a trip to Kmart. I love when I get a chance to spend alone time with each of the boys. I told him he could pick out a birthday toy since it was his birthday. I was expecting Legos or an action figure. Nope. He wanted the SpongeBob skateboard. I tried to sway him toward something a little less dangerous, but he was set on the skateboard. I explained that he’d have to wear a helmet and pads on his elbows/knees. Tonight he tried it out. Within 15 minutes he had a wipeout. For some reason I’m envisioning an ER visit in my future!

Also, I’ve been working on a feature story on baby name trends. I LOVE writing about baby names. Reminds me of when Brandon was born 6 years ago today. I was due July 23 and was having contractions on my due date after my OB stripped some membranes in the office that morning. While I was on the sofa trying to take a nap, the door bell rang. It was a delivery of my second book which was set to be out in stores that week. I was so excited, but didn’t even open it to look inside. Within a couple hours I was on my way to the hospital.

We knew we were having another boy and I loved the name Conner. My husband wasn’t so keen on it because we already had two boys with “C” names. So, the alternates were Brandon (his choice) and Justin (mine.) All three of the other boys were named before they were born, although I did have a last minute change on my second one’s middle name. When our fourth one was born, we still weren’t sure what we’d call him. We pondered it for a couple days and figured we needed to decide. Neither my husband or I had a strong preference, so we decided to let our oldest son, who was 9, choose the name. When I was pregnant with my second son and he was four-years-old, he was adamant about naming his brother Elwood Butter. He was crushed that we weren’t as enthusiastic as he was about the name choice. This time we gave him three choices: Brandon, Conner or Justin. He settled on Brandon and Conner seemed a good fit as a middle name. I think he liked it because it sounded like his name, Bradley. I did have second thoughts and considered calling him by his middle name, but after calling him Brandon for a few hours it seemed to stick. Hard to believe it was 6 years ago today. He was my easiest of the labors and the largest of my boys (go figure) at 8 lbs. 5 oz. He didn’t quite make it in on his due date and waited until the wee hours of the morning to arrive. Wow how time flies!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lazy days of summer are so nice

Well, it’s been a while. Thought I’d check in. Summer has been busy and going fast. We took a nice trip last week through Indiana Amish country and Michigan. I always manage to pack quite a bit into one trip. We toured an Amish farm, spent time at an indoor water park, fed giraffe at the Binder Park Zoo, toured the Adventist Village in Battle Creek, tried out exercise equipment like that used on the Titanic, went to a butterfly release at a children’s garden, pet a baby alligator and sat in a spaceship cockpit simulator. It was a fun adventure.

Today I was up before 5 a.m., which is very unusual. I tried to go back to sleep, but by 5:45, I realized it wasn’t happening. I hopped on the computer and figured I’d spend an hour tending to e-mails and try to clear out the inbox a bit. Nearly three hours later, I’d gotten through only the last month of e-mails. I take care of those that need immediate attention right away, but it took a while to sort the older ones into folders, delete them and respond to them.

Working at home, the summers are always challenging. Not only am I maneuvering around five children and keeping up with their schedules, there’s the constant distraction of the beautiful weather outdoors. Sitting by the pool is way more fun than sitting at a computer. I sometimes push work back until late in the evening just to enjoy the boys and enjoy the day. Some days, however, deadlines are quickly approaching and have to be taken of. As is the case today. Good thing it’s chilly and gloomy outside this morning.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cooking under the hood

My husband's co-workers and I are forever giving him hard time about all the stuff he collects. He likes tinkering in the garage and before he was a firefighter he was a fabricator and a maintenance mechanic for a food manufacturer. Here's his latest project, a towable grill made from a 1995 Jeep. Lift the hood and you can do your grilling. Pretty cool!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hi, all. Not much time, but it's been a while, so I wanted to check in. I've been extremely busy between writing and the boys being home for the summer. Having the Mommy guilt's a bad, bad, bad nutrition day. We had Burger King for lunch and it was PB & J, Ramen Noodles and watermelon for dinner. My dinner will probably be an order of nachos at the ball field tonight. At least the chicken tenders this afternoon were accompanied by apple fries (rather than French fries) and we went to the park after lunch, so they ran off some of those awful, fattening calories. Laundry is piling up, a stack of bills to get paid, toys getting is crazy. However, I try to pause and be thankful for all the blessings at the end of the day. I really should start a gratitude journal again. My mom gave me one years ago and each day before I went to bed I'd write 3 things I was thankful for that day. I never had trouble coming up with 3 and usually listed 5 or more. I think I'll start right now:

I'm thankful for
1) my cute little boys - each one has their own unique, darling qualities
2) my husband - I don't tell him quite often enough how much I admire the work he does as a paramedic and firefighter
3) the pink petunias on my porch
4) healthy teeth that have never required a root canal or extracation
5) a reliable, comfortable vehicle (especially the sunroof, good sound system and butt warmers on the seat - which I don't really need right now)
6) Pleasant weather
7) Being able to celebrate Independence Day this weekend in this beautiful free country we live in
8) My pooch
9) a good fitting pair of jeans
10) a dishwasher
Ok, I could go on and on...I have much to be thankful for. I'll bet you do to.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Joining the ranks of the coupon queens

I was talking to a friend of mine who went shopping recently with her mom (who is a coupon fanatic.) She said that they learned that the SuperKmart near our house does double coupon days about once a month. They both went there that week and stocked up on groceries and saved a bundle.

So, when the store did another double coupon offer, I thought I’d see how big a savings I could get. I used manufacturer coupons that were doubled and a few that I got off the Kmart website that couldn’t be doubled. I also found a coupon online for $5 of a $50 purchase.

Here’s how I did. I had two transactions. My first total was $52.36 and I had $27.23 in coupons, so the total I paid was $25.13. My second transaction total was $42.59 with $14.46 in coupons, so my total was $28.13.

I also got three register coupons on my way out. One was for $5 off a $15 purchase, one was for $4 of a $20 purchase and another was for $5 off of $25.

I got a box of cereal that's normally $4.59 for 90 cents. I got Pringles for 50 cents a can. I got a pack of razors that are normally $7.49 for $1.00 because they were on sale for $5 and I had a $2 coupon that was doubled. I also got a $5.49 bottle of shampoo for free because it was on sale for $3.33 and I had a coupon for $2 off that got doubled, so I didn't pay anything for that item.

I actually enjoyed it. I can see why it’s almost an addiction for some women. I got a few items I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have the double coupon offer. For example, I’d never pay full price of $5.49 for a Sara Lee Cheesecake, but since it ended up being $2.49, I got it. I chatted with another shopper who suggested some other websites and we swapped some coupons. Another lady told me that the Chicago Tribune has a lot of coupons and that you can buy a copy at the Dollar Store.

I also figured out an easier way to organize the coupons. When I remember to bring along coupons, they’re usually all stuffed into a small envelope or I have them in a little coupon caddy with about a dozen different categories. That sometimes makes it harder because you have to search through so many places to find them. I brought along a file folder and had some sheets inside as separators. I had four sections: one for frozen and refrigerated foods, one for foods that aren’t refrigerated, one for non-food items and one section I left empty. As I went through the stack, the coupons I realized I wouldn’t use that day went in the fourth compartment so I didn’t get them mixed up. It worked out well with the way the store was set up.

This morning I also made a stop at Walgreen’s. It was Saturday afternoon, but they were already putting up tags for the sales starting on Sunday. I knew I was almost out of peanut butter, so I went to that aisle to get a jar. I saw that it was on sale for 2/$4. I think the normal price was around $4. In smaller print, it said that if you bought 8, you’d get an $8 off coupon for your next purchase. So, it was like getting them for $1 each. Now not everyone goes through that much peanut butter, but the expiration date was more than a year away and the way my boys are eating lately, we’ve been going through a jar of peanut butter every two weeks. It will probably last us through the end of the summer. And if I had gone tomorrow, they would likely have not had eight jars on the shelf since they run out of sales items quickly. Now on my next visit I can use that coupon and get three gallons of milk for free.

Well, happy shopping! Can’t wait to get the Sunday paper in the morning and start clipping.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Resolving trust issues with the Devil Woman

Today I went to meet a friend for lunch at a place I’ve been to before, but not for quite a while. I knew the general route to get there, but put the address into my GPS anyway. I immediately noticed that it was sending me a different way that I had planned. So, I started to follow the instructions, then saw a “construction ahead” sign and backed out. I set off in another direction only to be told to make a U-turn and head back where I’d just come from. Finally, I gave in and went where the arrow on the screen was directing me and there it was right in front of me.

For some reason, I have this problem trusting my GPS. It’s a computer and I guess I’m in that generation between the ones that grew up in a pre-computer world and the group that has never known a world without computers. Computers were being introduced to the world as I was growing up and I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I see both positive and negatives to computers. I know there was once a time we lived without them, but I know that they can also make our lives much more convenient. For the most part, I am thankful for them, but still have a slight bit of reservation when it comes to putting my complete faith in the hands of a little chip.

Shortly after we bought our Garmin, we took a trip to Wisconsin. We were thrilled to discover the feature that lets you search for specific businesses. The kids were getting hungry and Taco Bell was the first request. We followed the instructions of the GPS which did eventually get us to the nearest Taco Bell, but via a long winding road through a residential subdivision (when in reality it was right down the street), which added a few more minutes onto the trip. As we arrived at Taco Bell after a scenic detour, my husband mumbled under his breath, “Ok, Devil Woman, we’re here.” And that name stuck.

The Devil Woman has helped to get us to many places, but also added frustration when I’ve relied on her completely and then she couldn’t find a satellite signal, directed us into a massive traffic jam or a recently constructed road didn’t register.

So, on my way home from lunch, I turned on the GPS and decided I would trust it to get me home, no matter what route it suggested. I shaved off 8 minutes from my trip there and got home safe and sound. I guess the Devil Woman knows what she’s talking about after all.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Busy days make you count your blessings

Whew, it's been a busy few days. The weather has been lovely lately, which is wonderful. However, it's also a reminder that I have to finish packing up the winter clothes and pull out all the summer stuff. It's a big job to tackle and I haven't had a big enough block of time to complete it, so I keep putting it off. It's time to get down to it, though, so that may be how I'll be spending my Memorial Day.

On Friday, I accompanied my kindergarten on a field trip to the zoo. Although I've been to Lincoln Park Zoo many times before, I was looking forward to spending the day with my little guy, soaking up the sun and seeing the monkeys, flamingoes, tigers and other animals. After a 1 1/2 hour ride on the bus to get there, we were left with 2 hours and 15 minutes to stroll through the zoo before we had to get back on the bus. Then the ride home took 2 hours and 20 minutes due to some re-routing because of a fire near the expressway. So, needless to say, it wasn't as pleasant of a day as I had hoped.

Yesterday morning I sat in the bleachers doing a pitch count during my son's game. The game was a real nailbiter. Just when the time limit was met, the game tied up and they ended up doing another inning. Later that evening I was able to get a little time to myself and I drove to pick up an old friend and former co-worker who happened to have an extra ticket to see her absolute favorite singer of all time - George Strait. I'm a big country music fan and love George myself, so I couldn't pass up the chance to go see him. My friend was in her glory - 16 rows from the stage. Julianne Hough (the cute blond from Dancing with the Stars) and Blake Shelton opened the show.

Today I took the kids up to Michigan to visit the Curious Kids Museum in St. Joseph, so I could check it out to write a travel article. We stopped along the lake on the way back for some pictures and they ran off some energy in the McDonald's playland before the long drive home. Then we finished off the night with birthday cake for son #2 who turned 10 today. Sometimes in these busy days, you don't even have time to breathe, but when I do have a chance to stop and reflect, I count my blessings and feel an appreciation for the time I was able to share with my boys - even if it was a nearly 4-hour round trip with the last hour spent listening to a five-year-old whine because he had to go to the bathroom. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Visit my new travel page on

Just thought I'd put something on the blog to direct readers to my new page on I'm now the Chicago Family Staycations Examiner for the site, so I'll be covering attractions for the family in and around Chicago as well as some day trips and weekend getaways. I've been travel writing for 10 years and we've been to so many cool places in the Midwest, I'm happy to be able to share them with more families. Here's my page:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Everyone loves a parade

I just love this photo and had to share it. Recently, our town had the annual Good Neighbor Day Parade. It's been a tradition for about five decades in May and each year there is a different theme. This year it was honoring Abe Lincoln on his 200th. So, as you can imagine, the parade was filled with lots of Abes. One float had a log cabin, several had giant birthday cakes, one had a life-sized statue of Abe and another had an amazing recreation of the sculpture of the statue of Lincoln at the Lincoln Monument in Washington D.C. Three of my boys were in the parade and my middle guy was more than happy to dress as Abe. Here's a shot of him before the parade.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's that time of year again

The past few weeks have been exhausting ones and the next few will be more of the same. We’re at a point in the year where nearly every day on the calendar is marked with at least one baseball practice or a game. Three boys are playing baseball so far and one more with a season yet to start.
I love the game of baseball and love when the boys have fun playing, but there are days when there are three games/practices on the same day at the same time at three different locations that just make me want to climb in bed, hide under the covers and not come out until the next morning. I’ve even been guilty of doing a rain dance hoping that we get the showers than have been forecast by the weather guy so I can get a break. What a bad Mom I am!
Last week there were the opening games after a couple previous rainouts. It’s always quite entertaining to watch those first games with little guys going up to bat with helmets that are bigger than they are, unimpressed outfielders gazing up at the sky while a ball rolls by them, base runners not quite sure what to do. It’s so fun to watch. It’s also amazing watching those few players on the team who are naturals – pulling a double play that looks effortless and throwing strikes with such intensity.
Well, only about eight more weeks of the season to go! Play ball!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Moms love a bargain

Way before we were hit by this recession, I was a thrifty mom. When my first son was born, I clipped coupons, saved labels from diapers packages for promotions, stocked up on baby food when I found a good sale, purchased gently used clothing at garage sales and gladly accepted used baby gear from my older sister.

Over the years, I’ve continued looking for ways to save money in raising my large family. I buy a lot of food in bulk and have figured out how to combine coupons with sale prices and in-store ads at places like Walgreen’s to get bottles of dish soap for 69 cents or a $4 bottle of shampoo for $1.50.

Aside form the strategic planning for bargains, I love being in the right place at the right time and finding a great deal. Just thought I’d share my great buys over the past couples weeks.
One way I’ve found to save money on clothing is to buy it at the end of the season at clearance prices to be worn the following season. I’m able to find a lot of great clothing as it goes out of season. Last year I picked up some winter coats for the boys that had been marked down as low at $12.

On my recent shopping trip, I got some $1.97 long-sleeved shirts at Old Navy. Often, I’ll find shirts that are normally $12 - $18 for $7.49 or $4.97. Once in a while I get lucky and find some cute tops in the right sizes for under $2. I just pulled out some summer clothes I’d packed away for my youngest and in the pile was a cute solid ringer t-shirt with the clearance tag of $1.47 on it.

Another place I love to shop for clothing for the kids is Kohl’s. They have nice brands the boys like. I stopped in a couple weeks ago planning to use the $20 in Kohl’s cash I’d accumulated on an earlier visit. I headed over to the overflowing clearance racks in the boys’ section and left with three hoodies (2 that had a bonus radio and ear buds along with them) and seven other long-sleeved shirts for $34 (after applying my Kohl’s cash.) The most expensive thing was a Tony Hawk hoodie for my oldest for $10.80. The least expensive was a Nike shirt for $2.

Last week, I was making a quick run into ALDI for milk and was greeted by some racks of flowers as I walked in. I picked up four 8-inch planters (2 snapdragons and 2 petunias) for $1.99 each and put them out of the front porch. While I love to add potted flowers around the outside of the house, it’s not often that I buy cut flowers for inside, but I couldn’t pass up the one-day only sale of a half-dozen roses with baby’s breath for just 99 cents! Sometimes great bargains don’t come from good planning, but good timing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On the road again (and in the air)

I am so blessed to have an opportunity to see so many new things and places as a travel writer. Last week while the kids were on their Easter break from school, we took a short trip to Indianapolis. I hadn’t been there in nearly eight years, but the last time around I was there checking things out for a family travel piece I was writing and I remembered that it was a very family friendly city.

The Indianapolis Zoo was a blast, especially when the boys were able to pet a shark. Sometimes, coming from a big city like Chicago, you expect big things elsewhere. Sometimes it can be a disappointment, other times it’s refreshing. This was the latter. While Chicago has two great zoos, often getting there and parking are dreadful. My last few trips to Lincoln Park Zoo have been on field trips with the boys where I arrive via bus and don’t have to worry about parking. Once I’m there, I love it, but getting there is the tricky part. Brookfield is also a wonderful facility, but it’s so large, we never make it through everything we want to see in one day. We spend as much time walking from place to place as we do enjoying the exhibits and animals. So, the Indianapolis Zoo was a refreshing change. On a warm April day, we found parking just five spots from the entrance. Once inside, the zoo was easy to maneuver and packed with exhibits that excited the kids – and me.

Parking was only $5 and once you were in the admission gates, you weren’t charged extra for other exhibits, like the farm area or dolphin show. We also were awed by the butterflies that filled a conservatory in the White River Gardens. This was also free with zoo admission. We just had to get our hand stamped while exiting the zoo to go next door.

In the evening, my oldest son and I attended a game of the Indianapolis Indians, a Triple-A team of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The park, Victory Field, has been called the “Best Minor League Ballpark in America” by Sports Illustrated. The city skyline looked stunning from our seats behind home plate. And to top it off, the Indians pulled off a 4-2 win over the Louisville Bats.
On our walk back to the hotel after the game, it was apparent that there were many options for dining and nightlife. I also had to stop to gaze at the capitol building all lit up at night.

Indy is a great walking town, especially for sports lovers. From our hotel room on the 12th floor of the Omni Severin Hotel, we could see both Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers and Lucas Oil Stadium, which is the new home of the Indiana Colts. We were also able to take a skywalk across to the Circle Centre Mall. The historic Union Station was right out the hotel’s front door. It’s no longer a functioning train station. The building now serves as a banquet hall and sits beside the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which has several authentic Pullman cars that have been converted into guest rooms. The architecture is gorgeous, though, and it was a treat to look out the hotel window at it.

On day two, we visited the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. The boys were in heaven between the temporary Lego, Star Wars and comic character exhibits and the permanent dinosaur exhibit. We could have easily spent a full day there.

Next it was on to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I’m not a huge racing fan, but of all the places we’ve been and cool things we’ve done, one that still ranks near the top was taking a ride around the speedway track on our previous visit. We were in a bus rather than a racecar and were going quite a bit slower, but it was still quite a thrill. On this trip, we didn’t get to do the racetrack lap, but went for a behind the scenes tour and were able to see some cars doing practice laps. I even was interviewed by a local television station while we were there. The Helio Castroneves verdict had just been announced and they were out looking for reactions from fans. I rattled off a few goofy lines about how I loved him on Dancing with the Stars.

The morning after we returned, I was to head out to the Lansing Municipal Airport to meet with the crew of the Great Lakes Wing of the Commemorative Air Force for a ride aboard the Black Sparrow, a replica of the C-47 lead plane of the D-Day invasion.

The ride was much smoother and quieter than I anticipated. I met a lot of interesting people and heard a lot of interesting stories. I even talked to a guy who reported to basic training in 1941 in California and was trained by legendary Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart.

After the first flight took off, they loaded up a van of photographers and reporters and took us out to the runway at the southeast end of the airport to get some shots of the plane taking off and landing, which was quite exciting to see close up. I went on the second flight which took us along the lakeshore for some amazing views.

This week I’ll be heading down to Springfield with a busload of fourth graders on their long-awaited class trip. I’m looking forward to revisiting some of the great historic sites there and exploring some I haven’t been to. That’ll be visits to the capitals of both Indiana and Illinois within a week. Whew! That makes for a busy week, but a very fascinating one.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Never a dull moment

Moms sure do live exciting lives. Not glamorous, luxurious rock star lives, but not dull by any means. There's always some action. And when it's quiet, you know it's that calm before the storm and you're just waiting for something to happen.

Tonight, before doing dishes, I instructed my nine-year old to vacuum the living room. Next thing I know, there's loud sobbing coming from the living room and I run to see who has gotten hurt. I'm thinking something has fallen on someone or a body part has been sucked into the vacuum. Turned out my 7 year-old lost his first tooth, which happen to fall out onto the floor as my older son was vacuuming. He was sure it was gone for good and that he wouldn't be able to tuck it under his pillow. (Translation: no tooth = no money from the tooth fairy.)

While I tried to reassure him that she'd be understanding and we'd write a note explaining what happened, he rambled on about how it fell out right in front of the sofa. As he was pointing to the spot where it fell, he noticed a small white piece among the carpeting. His tooth has managed to escape being sucked into the vacuum filter. Suddenly all was good again. A big smile came across his face, with a big empty space on the bottom left.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's been a while!

Wow, I realized that it's been a long, long time since I entered a blog here. I guess I've gotten swept up in the Facebook addiction and my computer time is often spent on that site. It's so much easier to just log on and enter a two-sentence status. When I first got on the site, I was surprised by how many other moms I knew were members and it's a fun way to catch up on what everyone and their kids are up to and keep in touch. I've come across people I haven't seen or been in contact with for 10 or 20 years...or more.

The other thing that's kept me away over the winter is the sick cycle that's gone though our house. One strain after another has drifted around -- colds, flu, strep throat, ear infections. I'm hoping all the germs have left the building permanently. A sick child puts a halt to everything that's going on and I hope for their sake - and mine - that good health is ahead.

Well, that's it for now. Bedtime awaits!