Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lake Forest Swamp

We've dealt with flooding outside, we've dealt with a leaky roof. Starting yesterday we started dealing with a slowly flooding living room. The plumber is supposed to be here sometime this evening, but in the meantime the kid's are having a grand 'ol time jumping in puddles in the safety of their home.

Friday, April 23, 2010


"Looks like a picture from the olden days Mom. Yeah, you know, like the nineties."

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let's Just Stop

I've worked in children's retail now for ten years. In that ten years I've seen my fair share of tantrums. I've seen howling on the ground, I've seen whining that would pierce your eardrums, I've seen kids hit their parents. And even before I had kids I had picked some basic do's and don'ts for shopping with kids. That kid being totally ignored by his mom? He's going to freak out when she swoops him up and leaves without acknowledging what he was asking about. That mom who keeps saying no to the whiny girl over and over only to give in at the last minute, frustrated and blaming the kid? She'll do that every time and the whining will only get worse. But I also learned this: kid's freak out. Its part of growing up. Sometimes it has to do with being tired, sometimes its about being hungry, sometimes its just too hard to be three. I remember Fin's first tantrum. Josh and I both just stood there, our mouth's agape. There was no rhyme or reason. I think he was mad because I wouldn't let him climb through the clothes racks. I wasn't embarrassed so much as bewildered. We scooped him up and headed out. When Parker was younger she had a handful of episodes so bad I had to leave full carts in the middle of the aisle. I've seen the death stares. Heard the comments under people's breath. Felt my face go red and my palms sweat as I leave a store with a screaming child in tow.

Today Parker and I went to Walmart. While we were checking out the girl behind us in line proceeded to throw a fit over a Barbie. She looked older and I found myself thinking, man, she's a little old for that (she looked around seven) and then thinking why did that Barbie make it all the way to the counter if she wasn't going to buy it. But I mentally stopped myself. I don't know anything about these people. Maybe she's really tall for her age. Maybe she snuck that Barbie in the cart. Maybe she was up all night sick and now her mom has to drag her to Walmart for something. But the older woman checking us out was having none of it. "Ridiculous! Can you believe kids like that?" She muttered to me, perfectly loud enough for the other mom to hear her. "I'm a great grandmother and I would NOT stand for that." and on and on. I was just half smiling and nodding, when I finally spoke up and weakly offered, "Well, we all have those days!" She just huffed. When I got to the car I was overwhelmed with a feeling that I should have stood up for the mom a little bit more. I've had strangers try to comfort Parker after I have calmly told her that her behavior is unacceptable and try to ignore her tantrum (and I'm talking seconds here, not like I let her scream for ten minutes). My friend had an older woman tell her to "shut her baby up" while in Target. Her infant daughter. I know a toddler who towers over her friends, so everyone thinks she's a good two or three years older than she is and her poor mom gets flak because people expect her to act like a five year old, and not the two year old she is. Pass judgement all you want in your head. But your stares? Your comments? They aren't helpful. It only makes a frustrating situation that much more stressful. I try my best to help frazzled parents out when I'm at work. Offer a sticker for the toy the baby won't give up. Help them with their bags. Sometimes all it takes is just a knowing smile and a kind word. Or just plain ignoring it. Because when it comes down to it, more than likely you have no idea what the real situation is. Life isn't black and white and not every wailing child is a spoiled brat.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I know some people say they aren't "cat people." Or they "don't like cats." Sometimes I think those people have just never had the right cat, or just don't "get" cats. A cat does not charm people by faithfully doing tricks or rolling over to let you scratch his belly. It takes a little more time, in general, to get to know and love a cat. This cat though? I think you'd love him after ten minutes. I've never met or known a cat as social as this one. Cats, dogs, kids, people, he loves them all. I've never had a cat whose actually made friends. And literally, when we go outside cats I've never seen before come out of the woodwork to be next to him. Not to fight. Not to defend their territory. To play. He bats at their tails, they hunt bugs together. The boisterous dog next door doesn't faze him in the least. If she gets too close, he just bops her on the head (no claws). We went on a walk last night, over to the park and greenbelt about two blocks away. He followed us the whole way, never more than ten feet away from us. It amazes me that he would do this, especially with the amount of people out walking their dogs. When a dog would notice him or bark at him, he'd jump into the bushes. We were quite a sight, our little group. Two adults, two kids, one small pooch on a leash, and kitty with a jingle bell. We went to the park so that Fin could practice climbing a tree he's been trying to conquer. When we stopped Moo just flopped down and took a rest. When we're at home he goes in and out all day, spending about twenty minutes outside, then coming back (despite my earlier efforts to make him an inside cat, he is now officially an indoor/outdoor cat, I truly think he would be miserable inside all day seeing now how much he loves to be out) but when he's inside he's always in the same room as we are, checking out what we're doing, snuggling or "attacking" the kids. In the short time we've had him we've all fallen deeply in love with him.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


We were invited to go sailing last weekend. To say we had a good time would be putting it mildly. Parker was so enamored she's switched her life's goal from wanting to "drive a truck" to "driving a boat with a downstairs." Fin got a little sick from being in the cabin too much but after coming up top for a bit he felt much better. I was so happy to see my friend Kim and her family, I've missed her terribly since she went off to med school in Chicago. It felt good to be with all of them again, my friends from forever and my little family. Especially on a beautiful spring day in a beautiful sailboat. ;)