Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Patience is a Virtue

Earlier this week, Tim and I took the kids to Michigan’s Adventure, a regional amusement park that we’ve visited every summer since 2004. We love it – the price is right, the park is small and easy to navigate, lines are short, etc. Even though Cedar Point is about the same distance, we’ve never seriously considered taking the kids there because the tradeoffs (trading the things listed above for bigger/better rides) just wouldn’t be worth it.

This year was great for Allie. She has just hit 48″, so she is tall enough to ride all but one ride. She told us on the way home that “This was my best Michigan Adventure day ever because I got to ride all the big roller coasters!” She’s turned into quite the a coaster fan, and I’m thrilled. I’ve always loved roller coasters, except for the especially rattly ones. (Tip: Don’t ride something called “Shivering Timbers” if you don’t like the rattly coasters.)

Our mistake this year? Taking Jenny.

We usually wait until a kid is four to take them to the amusement park. We intended to wait until next year with Jenny, but this trip was planned somewhat at the last minute and we didn’t have anyone to leave her with. Adam and Allie wanted to take her with us, and she wanted to go … so Tim and I said yes, against our better judgement. (We even turned down a night-before offer from my sister to watch Jenny – we’d been telling her for days that she was going with us, so it seemed a little cruel to change our plans at the last minute.)

Turns out we should have waited after all, and left her with Aunt Betsy. We were so excited about taking her, but it just didn’t go the way we hoped it would. Jenny had fun, but wasn’t interested in riding anything except the really little kiddie rides. So, in the interest of letting the big kids ride big kid rides, we split up almost immediately, and Tim and I pretty much spent the whole day trading off Jenny and the big kids. It worked out all right, I guess, except for the last hour, when I somehow ended up with both Adam and Jenny.

J tantrum 2

Yes, that’s my three-year-old throwing a tantrum in the middle of the sidewalk at the amusement park. For those of you who think it’s so sweet that Adam was “watching over her” – this picture was taken as he briefly looked up from holding his head in his hands, saying “Come ON, Jenny! MOM, can’t you DO something?!”

Ironically, this was the second time she threw a fit that day – in pretty much the exact same spot. I don’t recall her problem the first time, but this time she was mad because she wanted to go back to the helicopters (kiddie ride) and I had the gall to insist that we let Adam ride some big kid rides for the last 45 minutes before the park closed. (She and I had just spent about two hours in the kiddie area, and I even bought her an ice cream cone.)

So, we’ll definitely return next year, but Jenny may be visiting Aunt Betsy that day.

(She DID have some fun, as you can see in the pictures below. Adam even humored her by riding on the Winky the Whale ride once.)

kids in whales

J snoopy

J in boat

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Phil Was Wrong!

I never put too much stock in Groundhog Day, but it’s always fun to see what groundhog Puxatawney Phil. This year, he predicted an early spring. I don’t think so …

We got 8.6″ of snow last night – on top of 1.26″ of rain that fell earlier in the day.

Feb snow 2

It was beautiful, for sure. And Allie and Jenny had a blast playing in the snow. I may post pictures of their adorable snowman tomorrow.

Feb snow

But what a mess! t was a really, really heavy and wet snow. Tim nearly got stuck twice getting out of our subdivision (and we only live about 6 houses away from the main road). Adam and Allie were thrilled to have a snow day. And Adam might get another day off – his school was without power today, and it still hadn’t been restored earlier this evening (last time I heard an update).

Sure hope this is winter’s last hurrah.

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This post has been simmering in my mind all day.

If you follow the news at all, you’ve probably read about the child abuse scandal at Penn State, involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was allegedly abusing young boys. But I’m not going to talk about him – if the allegations are true, then obviously I think he should spend a long time in jail, and then rot in hell. I’m also not going to talk about Head Coach Joe Paterno and other people who did not directly witness the alleged abuse but were told about it and failed to report it to the police.

But what of the people who actually SAW the abuse happening? According to this timeline from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, at least THREE people caught Sandusky in the act. And not one of those people say that they did anything to stop the abuse. I’m not talking about whether or not it was reported up the correct channels (though I believe that at least one of the eyewitnesses was a mandated reported, who was legally obligated to go to police). I’m talking about people who SAW a child being raped, and did nothing to intervene at that moment.

Hell, Mike McQueary, a football graduate assistant at the time, went home and CALLED HIS DAD to ask what he should do, then finally told the head coach about the rape a day or two later. What decent human being would leave a child in that situation?!

Honestly, when I read a document like the one I linked to above and I see something like “witnesses Mr. Sandusky having sex with Victim 2 in the shower at the Lasch Football Building” I would expect that to be followed immediately by something like “and runs up to pull him off the boy and then immediately calls the police.”

I can only imagine how those boys – young men, now – must feel, knowing that adults actually witnessed their abuse and did nothing to stop it.

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I should know better by now.  I’ve been a parent for 10 years, and a parent of two or more kids for 5.5 years. I should know that even when I’m in charge, I’m not really in charge.

We’re having a smallish (11 people total) cookout at our house tomorrow. I need to go to the grocery store before then, so I decided that I’d pick Adam and Allie up from day camp at 4:30 (a little earlier than our day is usually done) and go right to the grocery store. We’d probably be home by 6:30.

Instead, I got home from the grocery store at 10:30 p.m.

How did that happen, you ask? Well …

My original plan was pickup, then store, then home by 6:30.

But I decided we needed to go to the Aunt Millie’s bread outlet for buns and our weekly bread, bagels, etc. That puts us at about 6:50. No big deal.

Then I realized the kids would be hungry, and cranky if they didn’t eat, So, add a quick fast food stop. Home by 7:15.

Adam complained that we chose McD’s over Wendy’s. As we pulled into the shopping center parking lot, I impulsively asked the kids if they’d rather go to IHOP instead. They said yes, of course. Definitely not fast food, though – home by 7:45.

But then Allie took two bites of her food and declared that she had a stomachache. I wasn’t 100% convinced, but she insisted. I don’t care to have kids puke at the grocery store, so Adam and I planned to take her home and then go to the grocery store. Home by 8:15.

When we got to the house, Jenny was fussy and wanted to nurse. A lot. (As always.) So, it only made sense for me to stay until bedtime.

Suddenly, instead of getting home from the grocery store at 6:30, I was leaving for the grocery store at 7:45. Home at 10:30. (We live 20 minutes from the grocery store, and I might have lingered in the sporting goods section to find the kids some baseball supplies.)

So when do I get to be in charge of myself again? (Let’s see, Jenny’s 1.5, so about 17 years, maybe … )

Anyone else have this problem? How do you handle it when time just gets away from you like this?

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I Feel Sick

Tim and I kind of news junkies (him moreso than me). Whenever there’s a big, big news story, I read as much as I can about it online, especially if there are pictures available. The earthquake, tsunami, and now potential nuclear disaster stories from Japan have been no exception. It’s a sad, scary tragedy.

Of course, there have been tons of images of the disasters in the news. And – especially today, for some reason – lots of videos. I’ve watched a few of them. This one in particular, of the tsunami sweeping through a town, has been making the rounds of Facebook, Twitter, etc. The videos are scary, terrifying even, but fascinating nonetheless.

Except … The tsunami hit in the middle of the afternoon, shortly after the earthquake occurred. People didn’t really have much notice or time to get to high ground.

The cars being swept away like Hot Wheels weren’t empty.

The stores that filled with water up to the second story weren’t vacant.

The people who lived in the houses that were splintered by the waves might have been home.

One of the videos cut off right before the water reached a group of people on the ground. They were clearly unsure of which way to run, and ended up staying where they were. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what probably happened in the unseen bit of that video.

I felt like I was watching a snuff film. And I feel sick to my stomach.

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O spring, where are you?

This was taken at 11:30 p.m. today. There was NO snow on the ground at 2:30 p. m. And it’s still coming down! (Along with some freezing rain … should be fun tomorrow.)

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It Still Stings

Tomorrow marks two full years since I was laid off from my job at the Borders corporate office. I loved that job, loved my co-workers, and was absolutely devastated when I was let go. Looking back, of course, things couldn’t have turned out better – Tim and I had a new baby and I was able to stay home until she was more than a year old; the big kids got nearly two years of a stay-at-home mom, including two fun summers; we never hit a financial crisis; and I ended up with an excellent new job working for my excellent former boss, with better pay and better benefits.

Yesterday, Borders filed for bankruptcy. It’s been a long time coming, and no one was surprised by the move. And as I said, I’ve been gone for two years. Heck, I really don’t even shop at Borders anymore – after I was laid off, I had neither an employee discount nor any money to spend on books. I was a little surprised at how much the news stung. Yes, I was a devoted employee for more than 10 years (Tim used to tease me and call me a “company girl,” which I suppose I was, in a way) but really, it’s been two years. I’ve moved on, most of my friends from Borders have moved on – some of their own accord, some not.

Based on my friends’ comments on Facebook, it seems they have had similar reactions.

I wonder if it will always be that way? (And I wonder if I will ever stop having frequent dreams that I work in the bookstore again. I only worked in an actual Borders store for a year, then in a similar independent store for four years. I often have dreams that I work at both stores. Must be because I really loved both jobs.)

Anyone else have similar feelings about a former employer? Tim likened it to an amicable divorce – it hurts at the time, but you still want them to do well. (“Though it certainly helps that your new spouse is a nymphomaniac that likes to cook.” ;))

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Seriously … Again?!?

Book Baby is sick. Yesterday it seemed to be croup – today, her cough is less croup-y and more junky (and OH the snot – I must have wiped her nose a hundred times today – but at least it’s the good clear kind of snot). She missed two days of day care, which means that Tim and I each missed a day of work. I’m still going on the assumption that we’re just having a bad winter in terms of sickies … that has to be it, right? Right?

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What It All Boils Down To

Because the “blizzard” was anticipated, we pretty much knew yesterday that school would be canceled for today. Book Boy’s teacher sent home a “snow day” assignment, to be done if school was canceled. The assignment included questions about the weather forecast, what ended up happening, etc. One last question asked each student to describe what he or she had done when school was out.

Here’s what Book Boy actually did today:

Watched 90 minutes of TV
Played DS for an hour (note that screen time was COMPLETELY over before lunch time)
Read throughout the day – at least three books
Went outside and explored the snow in the back yard
Played checkers with Tim and Book Girl
Played with both sisters
Read books to BBaby
Took a long bath and played with BB in the tub
Did his homework

And how did he answer that homework question about how he’d spent his day?

He listed what he had for lunch and dinner, and then said “I mostly watched TV and read all day.”


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Greetings from Hell

OK, maybe not hell, but it sure seemed like it here a few weeks back.

We were all sick. And it wasn’t just one illness, it was two. Here’s what the week looked like for us:

Tuesday: Tim starts feeling sick with what turns out to be strep throat. He comes home from work early on Wednesday.

Thursday, 3 a.m.: Book Boy apparently comes down with a stomach bug. All over poor Book Girl, who had climbed into bed with him at some point. Tim stayed home with him on Thursday and Friday. Tim goes to the doctor Thursday evening, gets antibiotics, and starts feeling better Friday morning.

Friday, 3 p.m.: Book Baby’s day care calls and says that she’s got the stomach bug. She throws up at least twice in the 10 minutes it takes me to get there, and several more times on the drive home. (Thank goodness for small, empty tummies.)

Friday, 5 p.m.: I start feeling poorly with what turns out to be strep throat, and am out of commission until Sunday evening.

Saturday, 6 p.m.: Book Girl comes down with the stomach bug.

Sunday evening: Tim comes down with the stomach bug.

Monday: No one has anything new! Tim and Book Girl are home letting their tummies recover and I’m home because my strep throat is still  contagious.

Tuesday, 6 a.m.: I come down with the stomach bug.

Oh. My. God. It was awful. I even had to miss a highly anticipated road trip with my mom and all three siblings on Saturday. (I was so, so disappointed.) The only silver lining was that Tim and I really weren’t sick at the same time, so we had someone to care for the other sickies and the baby. And then week later, BBaby was sick again, and home for three days! Her doctor thought it might be pneumonia, but fortunately the x-ray showed nice clear lungs.

Oh, and remember this post? After two+ months on the job, this week was the first time I worked five full days. That’s partly due to holidays/vacation days, but still.

(Let’s just hope the kids don’t get whatever’s going around school right now … 23% of the kids were absent on Friday! Poor BG’s field trip was even canceled. I know exactly how she felt.)

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