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Ah, summer vacation.  That oh-so-lovely 3-month torture for parents and heaven for kids!  My children all love summer vacation, for obvious reasons.  They’re kids!  All kids love time off away from school!  Parents love it until those kids utter the dreaded two words:  I’m bored!!

I’ve had to deal with those words times 4.  Yup, all 4 of my SOCs (Servants of Chaos) have uttered those dreaded words to me at least once during this 3-month torture session.  Luckily, I’ve been able to send ‘em outside to play, so that’s been great.

A couple weeks into July, my parents and I decided that it would be fun for them to visit us at our home.  For a month.  A.  Whole.  Month!!  This falls under the realm of “What was I thinking??”  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my parents, dearly!  Without their help and support, there is no way that I would have become the woman that I am today.    But, my mom, again, who I love dearly, suggested that perhaps we could take the kids someplace fun.  Um, okay.  Where do you have in mind??  “How ‘bout that place that we all went to last year?  Up north, in Lutsen, MN?”  O-o-o-okay.  I’ll make the reservations.

I got us reservations at Caribou Highlands (http://www.caribouhighlands.com/), on Lutsen Mountain, MN.  If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it.  Truly a wonderful place, with views of the mountains and Lake Superior that are fabulous!  It’s family friendly, even allowing pets in several of the units.


My parents, kids, and I drove up there last week.  My husband couldn’t get off work, so he stayed home.  We got in around 9:30 p.m., unloaded the cars (yes, we took 2 cars.  Believe me, with 7 people, it was necessary!), and got everyone settled into the cabin.  Kids were in bed by almost 11 p.m., but woke up sometime around 8 a.m., ready to go exploring.  Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate.  But we did manage to get some beautiful pictures of rainbows over the mountains!

The next day, however, was gorgeous!  We took the kids into Grand Marais, MN, and explored Artist’s Point.  There basalt rocks all over, and the SOCs showed their true genealogy by becoming mountain goats and climbing all over the rocks.  They had a lot of fun!

My husband, who was unable to come up with us initially, surprised us by driving up and arriving for the weekend.  He did have to work on Friday, but was able to do so from the cabin (did I mention that Caribou Highlands has free Wi-Fi?).

My middle two SOCs decided that they wanted to go to the Kids’ Camp that is offered by the resort, so that opened up a 3 hour chunk of time.  My parents and I took the remaining SOCs (ages 12 and 3) to Cascade Falls, and hiked up in that area.  It was phenomenal!

The next day, the kids woke my husband up bright and early because gasp there was a deer eating outside their bedroom window!  You’d think these kids had never seen a deer, despite seeing them walking across our front yard.  That day, we all went up to Moose Mountain, by way of a tram ride.  Once, again, we saw some stunning vistas of the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior.

Unfortunately, my husband had to go back home, so it was just my parents, 4 SOCs, and me.  But, we decided to enjoy the last full day by taking the kids up to the Gunflint Range, just north of Grand Marais.  It was beautiful!  Once again, I have to highly recommend this spot.  Beautiful lakes, gorgeousness all around!

We did have to return to our house, if for no other reason than because the kids had school related things going on.  Nothing quite like Open Houses and Fall Rallies to remind you that the beginning of school is right around the corner!  At least we had one last hurrah before the drudgery of school commences.

This has been passed along all over the ‘net for years, but it bears repeating as it is so true!

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“Before I Was A Mom”

Before I was a Mom I made and ate hot meals.
I had unstained clothing.
I had quiet conversations on the phone.

Before I was a Mom I slept as late as I wanted.
And never worried about how late I got into bed.
I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.

Before I was Mom I cleaned my house each day.
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to lullabies.

Before I was a Mom I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom I had never been puked on, pooped on, spit on, peed on, or pinched by tiny fingers.
Before I was a Mom I had complete control of my mind, my thoughts, my body and all my feelings.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond between a Mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was OK.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much……
……before I was a Mom.

…Author Unknown

I do not like mice.  Those furry little beasties manage to scare in the same manner as snakes (probably because my cousin used to torment me with the snake my aunt kept as a pet and the mice they bred as snake food).  I think it’s safe to say that I loath mice!!

I wrote this at the end of April 2008.  Believe me, it’s all true!!

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At the beginning of December 2007, we adopted a new kitten, that we named Eris.  She’s a sweet little ball of fluff, which constantly keeps us amused.  She’s a cutie, even falling asleep beside my computer.

Today, while the kids were at school, I decided to eat my lunch on a TV tray in the living room, so I could watch CSI Miami from last night.  Eris came out and was being all buddy-buddy with me.  That’s okay, she’s cute, warm, and snuggly.

I was enjoying my plate of spaghetti when I noticed Eris out of the corner of my eye.  She dropped something beside my feet.  Since she likes to play with balls of paper, I didn’t really pay much mind.  She was playing with it some more, when I took a better look at it.  My first reaction was to pull my bare feet up onto the ottoman, out of the way!  Then I started freaking out because it was . . . . . a MOUSE!!  Eek!!

I called my husband, who is out of town on business.  No answer!  I left a very frantic, very loud voicemail message.  I debated whom I should call next.  Do I call my friend, Kate, who’s at work with bunch of kids??  No. . . She couldn’t help.  Should I call my neighbor down the street, to come to my house and get rid of the carcass?  Tempting, but no.  That would require me to actually get up off of the loveseat to let her in my house.  Scratch that idea.  I’m becoming more and more hysterical by the moment.

In desperation, I call my mom.  Moms love us and can help with any problem, right?  I tell her about the problem:  dead mouse, living room, me unable to move.  She laughed at me!  “Marie, what are you going to do?  Wait for Mike to come home?”  Um, I’m thinking about it.  “And where would you go?”  I’d take the kids to a motel, buying clothes and food to get us through until tomorrow night.  That made her laugh even harder!  “Marie, you need to calm down.”  I know that, but I can’t since there’s a freakin’ mouse beside me!!

Mom managed to calm me down.  I literally leapt out of my loveseat, across the living room.  Mom then said, “Marie, I want you to go into the kitchen and get some paper towels.”  That’s well and good, Mom, but I’m gonna get some shoes on!  That’s my first priority!

I get my slippers on and go into the kitchen and grab most of a full roll of paper towels.  Next, I get on a pair of latex gloves (similar to what doctors wear).  Finally, I feel that I’m ready to do mouse-carcass removal duty.

I get back to the living room, literally shaking in my slippers, to pick up the mouse.  Eris doesn’t want to let go of her latest toy.  She likes this toy.  She picks it up in her mouth, feints to the right.  I follow her, telling her to drop the mouse.  She feints left.  Again, I order her to drop a mouse (note to self:  cats do not take orders very well).  Finally, when it looks as if she’ll bolt again with the mouse in her mouth, I pick up a Little Person (from SOC #4’s barn) and toss it at the cat.  Eris drops the mouse and runs off.


I throw all of the paper towels on the body, but cannot get myself to pick it up, even with the latex gloves on.   Frantically, I search for something that would allow me to pick up the mouse without actually touching it.  My eyes search through the rooms that I can see.  There by the trashcan, I spy my broom and dustpan.  Yes!  I can do this!

I run to the kitchen and get my broom and dustpan.  On the way back, I unlock the sliding glass door that leads to the deck.  I bring the broom and dustpan back to the living room, where Eris is nosing around the paper towel enshrouded mousie.  I shoo Eris away from the mouse, then stare stupidly at mound of paper towels.  How in the world am I going to pick this darn thing up without actually touching it??

I carefully place the dustpan near the mouse remains.  Shaking, I use the broom to sweep the mouse and paper towels up into the dustpan.  Success!  The mouse is now on the dustpan!

I pick up the dustpan, holding it out as far in front of me as is possible, running for the sliding glass door.  I open the door and fling the dustpan out in front of me, without even leaving the doorway.  I watch the mouse remains fly through the air and land in the tall grass of the woods, just past our deck.  I quickly close the door, locking it so that the mouse’s relatives cannot come in, and start the clean up process.  This includes washing my hands twice with antibacterial soap in very hot water, spraying the broom and dustpan with Lysol, and spraying the same Lysol on the carpet in the living room, where the mouse had been.  Next, I used the vacuum in the living room, because you cannot be too careful.  Tomorrow, I plan to use a carpet cleaner.  That should take care of the matter once and for all!

Ah, kids!  They are like little sponges, listening to every word you say and watching your every move.  Heck, like a sponge, they can dribble out little bits of knowledge that you’ve helped them soak up.  Of course, one would hope that what they actually hear and spew back into the world at large is something worth remembering

Our youngest SOC (Servant of Chaos) is 3 years old.  She’s a very intelligent child (yes, I’m biased, but as a person who works with young kids periodically, believe me, she’s bright!), who listens to everything that we say.  And she will repeat them.  Verbally.

Earlier in the week, she was helping her sisters find CDs and their cases so everything could be put away.  She was going up and down the stairs, usually muttering to herself.  I wasn’t particularly paying attention to what she was saying.  My husband passed her on the stairs, and finally listened to her murmurings.

“Gotta take cawe of dis cwap.” Translation: I have a need to take care of this crap.

We should have talked to her then.  Instead, we were to busy holding our sides as we laughed.

Yesterday, she was talking to us again:

“Daddy, what de hell is dat?” Translation:  Father, dear, what the hell is that unsightly mess?

That was the question she posed to my husband yesterday as he was trying to clean up a particularly nasty clog in the hose of the vacuum cleaner (I thought vacuums were supposed to be able to suck up anything.  Who know that wads of tape could get stuck in the hoses?).  He didn’t hear her the first few times, but our oldest SOC did.  She turned a lovely shade of purple, trying to contain her mirth, for she knew from her own past behavior experimenting with these words, what is to follow.  Finally, after her sixth repetition of the sentence, my husband understood her.

“Sweetie, that’s a word for grown-ups to use.  Not children.”

“How come?”

“Um, it just is.”

Later, as my husband and I were headed for bed, we were still chuckling over our youngest’s colorful vocabulary.  I laughingly mentioned that each of our children has managed to say a 4-lettered word at about this same age.  He looked at me and said this:

At least they are using the curse words correctly!

Blogging has always fascinated me.  It seems that it’s yet another form for people to stay in touch with the world at large, and keep family and friends knowledgeable of what all is going on in your life.  At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work, right?

As this is my very first, brand-spankin’ (Oh!  Now that has some possibilities!) new blog, I figure that I ought to mention some things about myself.  I’m a 30-something year old mom to 4 female SOCs (that’s Servants of Chaos), happily (most days) married to my high school sweetheart (the original Dragyn), owned by 3 fur-people (think cats, people), sometimes day care worker, but mostly stay-at-home mom.  I loathe housework, like cooking well enough (when my kitchen isn’t blazingly hot, which, since it gets the afternoon sun, it is in the summer), and cold drinks.  I am college educated, but do not believe that my education will be done until the day I die.  I live in the Midwest, where you can find blizzards in the winter and droughts in the summer.

I guess that’s a good beginning to my new blog.  As for the rest, I’ll make it up as I go along!