True Love is…a smoldering dishwasher, puking child, & exhaustion!?!

Based upon the title you might be thinking what kind of twisted freak is this woman? Lol! And trust me; I would have thought the same thing just days ago, Sunday to be exact. On Sunday life was perfect but of course I didn’t realize that because I was frantically getting ready for the week, meal planning, doing laundry, helping kiddos with their Valentine’s, etc. I am a sucker for all holidays and Valentine’s Day is the Olympics of holidays for me. I find so much joy in smothering all my sweethearts with love, heart shaped everything, gifts, surprises, and of course a fabulous meal. I had everything planned out perfectly, this year I was going to surprise the kids after school with balloons in the car, take them to a movie, and come home to a dinner table adorn with heart shaped waffles, eggs, strawberries, X & O shaped bacon (yep, I am that mom…coming to terms with it is the first step), chocolates, etc.

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It was going to blow them away; it would be my best surprise yet (even better than taking them to Boyd’s for the Retro candies for school), we are talking Pinterest Perfection!  But life had other plans, turns out the surprise was on me!

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Sunday: Nothing like traumatizing the kids during bedtime!

Sunday night the kiddos headed up to bed after dinner and I prepped leftovers in the kitchen for lunch the next day. I was standing by the sink and suddenly, out of know where, the dishwasher made a spark followed by a sizzle, and then started smoking. The darn thing wasn’t even running!?! I called in my husband for reinforcements and rushed downstairs to turn off the breaker. (Something about water and electricity just didn’t sit well with me). Apparently like most things in our household the circuit breaker is a bit wonky when it comes to the labels. What seemed like a minute to me must have felt like an eternity to my husband because he frantically yelled down, “just turn it off!”.  So naturally, I panicked. I just started flipping switches two at a time, including the one to the upstairs and basement. The high pitched screams that pierced my eardrum were clear indications that I flipped the wrong switch and now not only were the children freaking out in the dark upstairs, but, I too was in the dark downstairs.  Meanwhile the dishwasher continued melting & smoking while my husband stood by helplessly. I eventually managed to manipulate the switches in the dark, turned off the electricity to the kitchen, and turned back on the electrically to the basement and upstairs. As I made my way back up to the kitchen I could hear the dog’s paws rushing down the stairs from above, he had left his post upstairs with the kids to check things out. After knocking a few things over with his cone of shame that he obtained thanks to double ear infections he came barreling around the corner to a dark kitchen with one path of light streaming from a flashlight on the floor that illuminated the cloud of smoke coming from the dishwasher. Once he saw that smoke he started barking ferociously which resulted in the kids practically sliding down the stairs in fright. And there the entire family stood at 9:30pm assembled in the dark kitchen in shock and amazement. It felt like a dramatic scene from a play. The flashlight gave the dishwasher the perfect spotlight and the smoke added a nice dramatic effect.  The smell of plastic burning began to fill the room. Thankfully my husband was able to pull the dishwasher out from under the counter and unplug it, but when doing so the dog saw this great beast of a smoking appliance as a threat and tried to attack, retreating in fear each time but none the less barking his cone of shame head off. Crisis mostly averted.

 

Monday: She’s upstairs puking!

Monday night after dinner I cleared the table and carefully stacked the dirty dishes on top of the other dirty dishes…I am getting quit good at balancing them; it’s almost an art, lol! And then I sat down with my 5th grader and we put the finishing touches on their Valentines for school the next day. valentines201All three kiddos were super excited for their Valentine’s Day party the next day, since they kind of got robbed of their party at Christmas time due to a snow day their anticipation was super amplified. They checked the forecast for the next day and let out a huge sigh of relief when they saw that fog, snow, and ice were nowhere on the radar. Each sat out their clothes…pinks, reds, and even a tutu with gold glitter hearts was the preferred apparel for our little fashionista.

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Everything was going so smoothly and then it happened. My husband came downstairs to let me know, “She’s puking upstairs”. My heart sank. I knew what that meant; someone wasn’t wearing her gold glitter heart tutu tomorrow, wasn’t passing out Valentines, and wasn’t going to be attending her Valentine’s Day party.

Tuesday: Calgon take me away!

So here I sit, Tuesday morning and I am absolutely exhausted after getting up 8+ times with my poor baby girl. My kitchen counters are filled with mountains of dirty dishes, laundry needs to be done, rooms need to be cleaned (and sanitized), that darn dog just managed to annihilate his cone of shame, and my Valentine’s Day plans that I was so looking forward to are a bust. And yet I am over the moon, and no, that’s not just the ridiculous combination of exhaustion and caffeine talking.

This year I finally get it! I finally realize the true treasures of Valentine’s Day, granted I had to go on one twisted, crazy, exhausting scavenger hunt to find them but find them I did! And it turns out they have been here all along but I have been so distracted by my own expectations that I couldn’t see them. The dishwasher dying it’s slow smoky death revealed a part of my husband I had taken for granted, he is not only our family’s provider but our protector, he is willing to risk his life for our family…there is no amount of roses that can equal that!  I learned that in my regimented ways I have missed out on precious moments…sitting with my 5th grader and putting together Valentines while talking about life brought me more joy than a million boxes of chocolate.  But the biggest take away from this crazy week (thus far-God may have more lessons in store!), and it was something that dawned on me when I rushed to my daughter’s side for the 5th time at 4:30am, I learned that I am enough! My children don’t need fancy balloons, food shaped like hearts; the best gift I can give them is my unconditional love, day, or night, no matter the circumstances, no amount of store bought anything or fancy food can replace a mother’s love.  Thus I am over the moon, bursting with blessings & love sans the typical Valentine’s Day garb.

I know it sounds so cliché but this Valentine’s Day the gifts I am most thankful for is my husband, children, my family’s health, and all the amazing people in my life…dishes be damned! 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day, loves! Cheers to finding the REAL treasures in your life!

 

 

The Storm

So Thursday was such an exciting day for me. After being quarantined to the home for 6 day with the kiddos I was finally going to have a few hours away.  And let me tell you I needed it. I love my children more than my life, and I would do anything for them but I was running low on patience and ultimately “niceness”.  So, in order to be a better mom I needed some time away, to relax a little, and return  home as a refreshed mommy ready to give, be patient, and renewed. I think this can be a very difficult task for us moms but one that is very much necessary. We feel guilty leaving the children but than if we never have time to ourselves to recoup and renew we are doing our children, ourselves, and entire family a disservice.  We are not capable of being the best moms we can be if we never have a break.

As I left the house that afternoon I had an uneasy feeling but I figured it was just the typical guilt setting in that I knew I would have to push past. It is getting out the door that can be the most difficult, especially when our toddler grabbed ahold of my shoes protesting my leaving.

Long story short……

I pick up my cousin around 2:45/3pm for a long waited fun-filled afternoon that included a makeup consultation apt (I remember my mom taking me when I was around 15 and I was so honored to be included in her milestone) and as I am pulling out of her neighborhood I looked in the rear view mirror and there is nothing but darkness behind us.  That darkness followed us all the way down the road. We arrived at Merle Normans just in time. Within minutes of our arrival the storm hits! All of us gals inside the store jump with the first atrocious crash of thunder.  The lights go out, air condition stops, all power is lost.  The wind is unbelievable; I even ducked a few times behind the counter for fear of the windows giving way. The power is still out and this includes all the traffic lights around the area. So we figure, why not continue, we are in no hurry to get out in that crazy traffic.  So like a real trooper we moved her chair to the window for natural light and the consultation continued. This was what my hubby dubbed “extreme shopping”.  We women always find a way.  Granted the credit card machines and registers were not working since the power was out so that meant that cash was the only option. So that might have limited the amount we purchased but we still completed the shopping process and they cashed us out with good old hand-held calculators and hand written recites, like in the olden days, haha.

Storm Damage…..

The damage produced by the storm was shocking. There were trees down, power lines down, transformers hit, etc.  The following video is a close up of the power lines catching fire from the storm. This happened right outside of a dealership. The end is unbelievable (Warning: bad language at the end)

The expressway was closed and practically all stop lights were lacking power and the intersections became 4-way and some 6-way stops. The roads became parking lots while traffic tried to maneuver around down power lines, branches, limbs, and trees. A drive that would normally take ten minutes was now taking an hour, which was kind of nice because I got to spend that time with my cousin, what was supposed to be an hour trip turned into a Gilligan’s Island saga. It was crazy!

Images of my parent’s backyard….

Counting our blessings…..

Once I arrived home I was shocked by what I saw.  It looked perfectly normal. It didn’t even appear as though we had a storm. No limbs, branches, or trees down. Shoot there wasn’t even a leaf on the ground.   The storm had not hit our side of town. But it definitely hit Sylvania and Holland Ohio where our extended family and many friends live.  My hubby and I started making calls/texts to inquire on their safety and any damage. All our family and friends who live where the storm hit were without power but were safe, thank GOD.  This included my parents, hubby’s parents, aunt, uncles, cousins, and our dear friends.  There is damage that will need to be addressed in the coming days and we still have friends without power but all are safe and for that we are counting our blessings.

(Images source: Toledo Blade Facebook page and http://www.dwroofingandconstruction.com/)

Day 5: Ready to throw in the towel, and then…I counted my blessings

The day started off like any ordinary day with breakfast, feeding the cat and dog, doing laundry, tidying, the kiddos played a game of basketball, made a fort, watched a movie (did you know there is a  Leave it to Beaver movie?) etc. 

Then the kiddos inquired, “What else can we do today”? I stood there for a few minutes thinking to myself……Crap!! What can they do? What do we have left to do? We have done it all!! I am burned out!! I wish the children came with pause buttons.  Maybe I could somehow convince them that staring at the wall quietly for an hour was a game?  My brain has no more ideas, I am out! Please, can I tag someone else in, please? Please God, please help!

Ring…Ring…Ring……

Me: Hello

Alison: Go look outside your door.

Me: What?

Alison: We dropped something off to get you guys through these last few days.

Me: No!! You are so kind. Thank you!!

So I opened the door and this is what I was greeted with……

She had left me a huge iced coffee and magazine, the kiddos a fun game, our toddler an Elmo book, our first grader a book she has read five times over because she likes it so much, and a Spiderman activity set for our little man. She left us a bucket full of what I call “sanity”. I don’t think there are enough words in the English language for me to express my gratitude. And the timing, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I felt like I was mere seconds from officially losing my mind.

But that’s not all….for dinner, I was off the hook. I didn’t cook because my parents had arrived back in town and showed up with this…..

That’s right!! Bob Evans down on the farm. It was like a mini Thanksgiving feast, precisely what we needed, what we craved, comfort foods! It was so nice to have a hot delicious meal that I did not have to cook. And for dessert…that’s right, they brought dessert too! Baskin Robbins!! I almost cried, tears of joy of course…the love was so intense.

But wait there is more….

While eating our neighbor stopped by to kindly inform me that our tire was low on our SUV parked out front and he was concerned about me driving the children around town with a low tire. He also brought over treats for our dog that was in need of a little TLC. His bad leg and healing process kind of got pushed to the back burner when the kiddos came down with HFMD. Don’t get me wrong, I still gave him his meds but we were not as attentive after the kiddos got ill.

…and more….

In the evening we put our toddler down to sleep and let the older two kiddos stay up and play Fruit Ninja, the game that was in the “sanity bucket” that Alison had dropped off.  It was so much fun, just the four of us playing a game together; we had never done that before. It is amazing how an act of kindness can evolve into a memory to cherish.

Then, once the children where in bed I checked my email, blog replies, and facebook while cleaning up the day’s mess.  The first comment I read was this one in response to the Day 4 post, from a good friend Tammy…..

You had no idea your kids were sick, please don’t be too hard on yourself! I’m sure the other family understands that if you knew you wouldn’t have been there. You have done a great job entertaining the kids this past week and keeping as much sanity as humanly possible. After the kids go to bed, pour a glass of wine, take a warm bath, play some relaxing music…you deserve it! Nothing needs cleaned or washed that is more important than taking time for yourself.

Precisely what I needed to hear, today my prayers were answered.  I needed someone else to tag in and boy did God listen!! He tagged in my amazing parents who are also amazing grandparents; they have given me the skills, faith, and fortitude necessary for life and that is a gift that is truly priceless. God tagged in and has blessed me with an amazing group of friends who have been so supportive throughout this entire ordeal. Friends who have their own lives, issues, family, children, wedding to plan, family trips/vacations, etc. but yet have taken a moment to think about my family…thank you Alison, Lilly, Tammy, Allie, Jill, Cheryl, Mary, and ALL my dear friends for your replies, texts, emails, and  words of encouragement and support.

I think I know precisely what we can do for the family I spoke of yesterday. The family who contracted HFMD from us, I would like to pay it forward and drop off a “sanity bucket “and dinner for them on day 5, when it is needed most.

As I lay in bed last night I thought about how I almost lost my cool today. How I had prayed to God to please help me get through the day and boy was my prayer answered.  I also thought about all those moms out there who have children with compromised immune systems. Moms like Piper and the Kids,  and a dear friend Allysa whose daughter is undergoing surgery today, who have to endure weeks, even months of staying indoors so that their children’s lives will not be compromised. I don’t know how they do it!  I pray for all those moms today who are quarantined to a home, hospital room, etc. with a child. I pray that they have a strong support system of friends and family.

 

Thankful Thursday: That’s not mud, a new kind of mommy guilt, and having it all!

As I stand here cleaning dirty diapers I find myself reflecting on this morning and desperately trying to recall all the make that, any thankful moments. It is kind of like grasping at straws at this point.

Run down of this morning….

I guess it all started last night. Our toddler, once again, got up and refused to return to her crib. I have no idea what is going on, she is to young for bad dreams and she has never had the privilege of sleeping in a different crib so it can’t be chronic crib envy (phew, we can cross that off the list). For those of you who have not experienced, or are not familiar with the term I provided the definition below;

Definition of Chronic Crib envy – baby or toddler becomes accustom to sleeping in a crib that is not their own.  Perhaps the babysitter or grandparent has a comfortable crib they prefer but since they can not speak you have no idea. The result, they fall asleep in their own crib then roll over and awake horrified by the fact that they are not in the cozy crib they prefer but rather their own uncomfortable one.

Now here is a crib to envy…checkout more at Posh tots.

So, once again she was in our bed. And sometime during the night another child was added to the mix because when I woke up our toddler was desperately grasping at my neck, the cat was sleeping on my head, and there was two additional legs kicking my torso, talk about a great night sleep. You know how those famous people are always talking about their Sleep Numbers. Well, my sleep number, is 3-1/2 or what I call maximum capacity, that breaks down to, two adults, one animal, and and child under 4 feet tall.

My personal preference is to not be choked, kicked, or sat on while I sleep. Is that asking too much?

 

So I managed to free myself from all the people and animal in my bed and make my way downstairs to start breakfast. After everyone is fed it is time to get teeth brushed, get dressed, and then do the girls’ hair. Little did I know that I would be in for so much more than the occasional “ouch”, I would be introduced to an entirely new concept of mommy guilt.

This site has awesome ideas for hair.

My daughter requested a braid in her hair this morning and while most moms might think this is a small task I am here to clarify, it is not.  First I must make my expectations clear, so I ask that she stand straight, gently place her head where I need it to stay for the next two minutes, and ask her to not put her hands on her face. So, what does she do?  She puts her hands on her face, slouches, and starts bending her knees.  I then repeat my expectations and explain the consequence of not following my directions, which is no braid.  She then informs me that a friend in her class gets two braids and she would like two braids. To which I reply, “maybe tomorrow, we do not have time today”.  Then she went somewhere we have never been before, she expressed “But Amanda’s (name has been changed to protect the innocent) mom has time to do her hair”, ouch, really, the mommy jugular.  Now, I am definitely familiar with the self-inflicted Mommy guilt but having my child inflict it was an unfamiliar pain. I didn’t know what to say, I panicked, and pulled the number of children card. I asked her if Amanda had brothers and sisters.  She quickly expressed no. And there you have it folks, mommy comes out on top with the old number of children card!!! As I finished her braid and she made her way down the stair to put on her shoes she added, “Oh, no wait, she has two brothers and two sisters”.  Really!?!  In my mind I replied, ” well, she sounds like a lovely mom maybe you shouldgo live with her” (but I am the adult in this situation so I did not say this outloud, God did hear it though, I think I need to go to confession). At this point I added a note to self, figure out how many siblings Amanda has and how the heck she get her daughter to sit still long enough for two braids. I wonder if bribery is involved.

That is not mud, or my dog for that matter but it gets the point across.

Once downstairs I noticed dog paw prints all over the house. It rained last night and is still raining today, so mud happens but I prefer that it doesn’t happen throughout my home.  Then a non appealing aroma started to linger throughout. NO!?! Could it be that the dog did not track mud throughout the house but instead, poop!?! Yup!  So I request that all kiddos step around or over the paw prints as they proceed to the door.

We divided and conquered today. My hubby took my son to preschool and I took our daughter to Kindergarten (different schools/building but they begin at the same time).  Once home I had to rush downstairs to clean diapers because I put the last clean one on her this morning. And so here I am cleaning diapers and contemplating what I am thankful for today.

http://greenmomhappymom.com/prefold-cloth-diapers/

Then it dawns on me, I am thankful for all of it, everything!   I am thankful for the fact that I have a little toddler to keep me up at night, a preschooler who infringes upon my quality of sleep, a kindergartener who made me a mommy which also gave birth to mommy guilt, a cat that sleeps on my head, dog that tracks poop throughout the house (well I could do without the poop, it is just not sanitary, but you get my point), and a house for that dog to track poop throughout.  But most importantly I am thankful for my hubby, my partner in lives journeys and that God has blessed me with so much.

What are you thankful for today?