Friday, September 27, 2013

I Forgot Who I Am

I popped in to a fast food drive thru and lost myself by the time I drove off.

It was dinner time and I was doing my swim mom duty. I had just dropped off Kid A at one pool and made a pit stop on my way to pick up Kid B at another pool.

I finally made it to the final drive thru window. I had food in hand when the woman in the car in front of me stopped and backed up. I honked her gently as she was getting close to my car and I needed to pull off.

I looked at the clock and saw that I only had 3 minutes to get Kid B in Friday rush hour traffic.

The woman got out of her car. I nicely told the woman she can't park there as there was a long line. She walked to the window and apologized, saying she had to get something for her order.

There were TWO drive thru waiting parking spots open. She should have pulled in there. Instead, she caused 10 cars to wait on her.

I lost my mind.

I yelled at her that I have to pick up my daughter and to move her car. She ignored me. I honked my little Japanese car horn (American car horns are much more aggressive and beefy sounding). Ignored me.

The car behind me backed up. As I backed up I clearly informed her of how insensitive she was being in fluent Truck Driver.

Then I laid on my little Japanese horn as I drove around her.

I forgot who I was in the moment.

I forgot that I am an admissions director whose face is well-known because I meet hundreds of people in that area each year.

I forgot that I am the wife of a man who has been well-recognized in our city for the last five years.

I forgot that I am the wife of a director at a church.

I forgot that people often recognize me and call me by name in our city.

I forgot that I am a Christian.

I forgot who I am when I became that raving lunatic for a minute.

I am going to take full responsibility for my words and actions. I was wrong. I was out of control. I am sorry I embarrassed myself, my family, my God. It is never okay to act like a crazy person.

I hope that I remember how this feels right now the next time I am tempted to go off on someone.

Monday, September 23, 2013

22 Year Difference

Several people, mostly on Facebook, have commented on how I haven't changed at all and how young I look. Well, I was DETERMINED to SHOW them just HOW MUCH I have CHANGED.

So I grabbed an old pic of me from Dec 1991 at age 22 and this pic of me from Mar 2013 at age 43. That didn't prove my point so I pulled up more pics from 2012 & 2013.

Okay, so come to find out, at almost 44, I don't look twice as old as I did when I was 22. At least not in photos! I was shocked.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mini Me TV Watching

Saturday morning cartoon TV watching!!!

Happy Birthday

Happy 80th Birthday to my Daddy!!!

It's hard to believe my dad is 80! Dad is in great health. He is strong and active. Sometimes too active! I often have to call multiple times to catch him at home!

My dad is a wonderful, funny, smart man that loves his children dearly. I don't get to see him often as he lives eight hours (driving) and a whole country away. Each time we talk, he has a new joke to share with me. I love that!

My parents sacrificed a lot to move to Canada to give us more opportunities. Now that I am the age my parents were when they moved and I have moved countries myself, I really get what their sacrifices truly entailed.

When I was talking to Dad today, I asked what his plans were. He told me the little errands and then said he was going to blow up some balloons and tie them to the gate so everyone coming to his surprise birthday party would be able to find the entrance!

I love you, Daddy!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Random Act of Kindness Paying It Forward

In 2008/09 Dr Eye Girl asked if I would watch her 2 yr old daughter for a day during an optometrist convention. I said sure. A couple days later she asked if I would be up for watching her eye doctor friend's baby girl at the same time. Sure. I was a stay at home mom that year. Years before, my MIL had taught me: "what's one more?!" so I didn't see a big deal about caring for four kids under the age of five for a day.

The day was fine. Kids played. I fed them. Changed some diapers. The moms came to pick up the girls. Dr Eye Girl, Dr C and I talked for about an hour then Dr C friended me on FB.

Skip to 2011. I was now the admissions director at a private school. That baby turned three and started school. At my school. And she brought her friend Dr. V who enrolled her son. They told a bunch of people about the preschool program at my school. And they came in and talked to the kids about eye health and did eye exams on site.

It was such a blessing to my school to have these great families involved. I often told people that you never know how helping someone could come back to be a blessing in your own life. I didn't babysit those two little girls because I thought I would get something out of it. It was just a thing to do. I didn't even do it to be nice. It really was just because I was asked.

All that is great but here is where it gets amazing....

Mini Me almost failed Kindergarten. Come to find out, she has eye issues that made "the letters on the board look like they are having a play date." I talked to some educators and they thought she would outgrow it. I talked to Dr. C and she said that Mini Me would not outgrow it and she needed to see a pediatric optometrist.

Thing is, J had been laid off. Lots of interest in him but no job offers. Unemployment ran out. Savings ran out. No vision insurance. No money left in savings for glasses or the weekly eye therapy Mini Me needed. Dr. C told us about a Groupon at her office that enabled us to pay next to nothing for Mini Me's glasses.

Remember Dr. V? Guess what she does? Pediatric optometrist! This amazing woman did Mini Me's eye exam for free. She then arranged for Mini Me to have eye therapy every week for six months at no cost to us.

Mini Me was able to catch up to her peers on reading. The difference in her is night and day. At her recent follow up appointment (that we paid for - yeah for jobs and insurance!) Mini Me was so improved that she is off the charts on the great end!!!

These amazing blessings in my daughter's life came about because I babysat a stranger's child one day.

You never know what one random act of kindness will do in your life. Don't seek out to get rewarded. Just be open to showing kindness to those that cross your path.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Great Teacher

This is Mini Me and her first grade teacher from last year. Ms. K was amazing. She loved Mini Me and worked hard to give her the best year possible. I highly admire and respect Ms. K because of her genuine love and concern for every student, not just mine. Educating children is a gift that Ms. K is blessed with.

Best Surprise Day Ever!!!

I was sitting in my office yesterday morning when my friend's husband showed up at my desk with gifts for me!

Wait - That doesn't sound respectable. Especially considering one of the gifts was a bottle of red wine. So scandalous sounding!!!

I babysat Eye Girl & Dred Boy's son, W, for about 8 hrs one Saturday recently so they were thanking me. Dred Boy just happens to have a more flexible job. (It's such a cool job that his car gets to wear a pink mustache and drive people all around the city!)

To be honest, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE W. He is so delightful. I could sit and stare at him for 8 hours straight. But that would make me creepy. I am equally enchanted by their older daughter but she wasn't with us the other day.

Before Dred Boy left he got to see Mini Me for a second. Her class was in a big gathering place right outside my office. She ran over to Dred Boy and he hoisted her up and they have each other big hugs. It's was so sweet.

I was in my office about an hour later when E and his mom, Dr. C, surprised me! E handed me his application for pre-kindergarten! His mom bribed this admissions director with some yummy milk chocolate with nuts. Divine!!!

E was so incredibly delightful!!! Did you know that the sun is a star, not a planet? E does! He named off a bunch of planets for me. E has had a lot if health problems in his little life. It was great to see him looking so healthy and yapping away! No need to bribe me when your kid is that charming. LoL!

I have the best friends in the world. They didn't plan to surprise me in the same day but they did. It made my morning and made me feel really special and loved.

(Not shown: Homemade Zucchini bread with chocolate chips - scrumptious!)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Family Monday

We used to do Family Fridays but Motor Mouth started swim practice on Fridays so that killed it. As of today, J and I are both off work on Mondays so we decided to make Monday our new family day.

J made dinner this evening. We are it in the backyard. It was yummy!!! Then we played a game of "Simon Says" which got the table cleaned and dishes put in the kitchen by the kids. (Heehee)

After dinner we all enjoyed a beautiful evening hanging out together I the yard. We are going to miss summer in Chicago!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Scraped Knee

Mini Me might remember me as a mean mom. 

I took the kids bikes and put them in the trunk today. The tires needed to be aired up. When we got home, I sent the kids off on their merry way on the front sidewalk. I thought I would read my book while they rode up and down our street. Not the case. 

Mini Me has not maintained her two-wheeler riding skills. In all fairness, with the move, flat tires, and Motor Mouth's swim schedule, the kids barely rode all summer.

I had helped Mini Me for about 10 minutes when she said she wanted to give up on the bike riding thing today. She said: "Mom, I think I'm over bike riding." As if she would never take it up again in her life. I made her keep going. 

After realizing Mini Me was never going to do it alone, I actually told her to ride and sat on my front porch talking on the phone with my BFF while she tried and fell numerous times. I alternated between ignoring her falls and telling her to get up and keep going. I bribed Motor Mouth with $5 to walk next to her. She finally got it. Motor Mouth came and sat next to me as Mini Me continued to get it on her own. When she had good long runs, we hooped and hollered our praises to her. 

I want to help my kids to succeed. There is a fine line between helping and hindering. The Bible says we are to train up a child in the way they should go. That means my job is to equip my kids with the skills they need to be independent. Sometimes that might make me seem cold and heartless.

When it was over Mini Me showed me her scraped knee. I showed her my bike & skateboard knee scars and gave her a high five. I cleaned her wound and put on a bandaid. I kissed and hugged my big girl and told her how incredibly proud I was of her. 

We all give blood for the life long lessons we learn on our own. 

Week Ahead

Monday, I start a web design project that should be fun. I'm looking forward to working with the person that commissioned me.

Tuesday, swim practices begin. That will rule our lives until the State Meet in March. I'm happy to have received a tentative meet schedule for the short course season. It helps to plan our weekends. That's for Motor Mouth. Mini Me is going to a different swim location to maintain her swim skills.

Wednesday at 1:00 pm through Saturday at 8 pm I will be caring for one of Paris' new classmates. I've only met the girl once for about 30 minutes. She seems really sweet. It will be interesting to see how she handles our crazy family for four days. Might make her really appreciate class time! LoL

Saturday has swim practice and a play date with siblings that no longer attend our kids' school. They have been friends for four years. Gotta maintain the relationship!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lemonade Stand

I've been promising the kids a Lemonade Stand all summer. They wanted to do one at the condo but I didn't think it right for them to sell to just our fourth floor neighbors.

In the new house we live on a family street with trees and our very own front yard. The kids were so excited that they could finally have a lemonade stand!

The morning started off crazy! J was pulling all nighters installing a new sound booth so I was doing this solo parent style. The table our friend loaned us was in the trunk. I forgot to get coins and small bills and search for our coin box in our remaining boxes. Luckily, J was running errands. He swung by quickly.

Mini Me raided our coin jar and counted out what we needed to make change. She pulled out her play cash register from her toy closet.

Motor Mouth was busy drawing artwork to sell. He wanted to draw dinosaurs. I told him to consider his audience. He drew two pics of President Obama, one of Martin Luther King, Jr., and one of the Chicago skyline.

I was busy mixing up lemonade and baking cookies and making signs!

Our friends came over and kept us company for a couple hours. They purchased lots of lemonade, cookies and the skyline drawing!!!

The kids did great considering no one was walking down our street today! I knew this was a quiet neighborhood but really? Less than 20 passers by in 3 hours! They made about $20.

They made about $20. Not bad considering lemonade was only $0.50/glass. The kids split the profits and we were off to Target to spend it all on Pokemon.

After bedtime I was feeling a little lonely. I had all that leftover lemonade and cookies and no one to share it with! Then I realized we have vodka! You are never really alone when you have vodka. I learned that from my Russian ex sister-in-law.

Bad Dreams Every Night

See this allergy medication? The brand name is Singulair. Gives me crazy dreams that lead up to nightmares that wake me up every night. Every night.

My allergies were off the charts! I had taken Nasonex for about 10 years. It worked great. Really, really great. Until it didn't anymore.

My new allergist is AMAZEballs! I'm going to name him by his real name. Dr. Pravin Muniyappa is THAT good. If you are ever in Chicago and need an allergist, he's your guy.

Anyway, I am now on a nasal inhaler 2x/day and Singulair at night. I thought I was just really stressed out and having bad dreams because of that. Then I thought to check the side effects of Singulair. There it was. Nightmares.

I wake up EVERY NIGHT after someone has chased me or someone I love dearly has met a horrible, untimely death in my presence, or armed intruders have invaded my home or work. I could go on. It's not child's play.

This week, J said that I was hugging him really tight in the middle of the night. To understand the magnitude of this you need to know that we have a king bed. We have to crawl all the way across the bed just to find each other.

It's not ideal having nightmares very night. But it beats the alternative. I can breathe during the day. I have my sense of smell back. I can taste food again. I don't have to carry a box of Kleenex with me wherever I go. (Trust me, a packet was not enough.) I may have nightmares, but I wake up much more refreshed now.

So maybe Singulair is giving me nightmares. I actually think that it's a fair trade off.

Goodnight, Singulair. See you in my dreams.

Chalkboard in Kitchen

I LOVE having a chalkboard in the kitchen. Our friends sign it so it's a constant reminder of the people we love.

And look at this find!!! The metal pails have a chalkboard on the front! They are PERFECT for holding our chalk and chalk markers!!! Found them in the $ section at Target. I think they may have even rung up at $0.50 each. So perfect I would have paid just about anything for one.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jerusalem Maiden

I finally finished reading Jerusalem Maiden after about 18 months. It's not the book. It's me. In fairness, it was packed up for 6 months with our move.

Loved the book. Esther, the main character had been with me since about May 2012. I visited her in my mind numerous times when I couldn't read more of her story.

Now that I've finally finished the book, I just want to sit and mull it over. Think about the characters and their choices and my life and my choices. The end of the book has a reader's guide with questions to explore the book's deeper messages, history, politics. I'm really just sitting and soaking in the book.

While I will miss Esther, I know she will live on in my thoughts for years to come.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Family Reading Time

The kids need to read every night but they don't love it. So I read with them. Here we are reading our own chapter books for 30 minutes.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Is Life Different?

Someone asked if life in Widney Crib is very different from life in Widney Loft. WAY different.

For example, we used to be able to raise our voice and the kids could hear us from any room in Widney Loft. Now that we are on two floors and every room has walls that go all the way to the ceiling in Widney Crib, we NEED an intercom.

We have used the kids' iPods to FaceTime or text with them. They prefer to contact us that way as well. J found an intercom app that let's us communicate via our wifi. It's pretty awesome.

Watching TV

Just a typical day with Mini Me watching TV....