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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Great Georgia Shutdown

Okay, the Great Georgia Shutdown is long over, so I am a little late in posting about how it affected us - but here it is anyhow.

A brief weather run down from then....snow was forecast and possible freezing rain for Sunday night.  Having lived here for over a year now, we knew enough to stock up on milk before the storm.  We go through a lot of milk, but figured we would be fine until Tuesday....maybe even Wednesday.  The storm came and we got about 4 inches of snow with a crusty layer of ice on top.  School ended up being canceled - wait for it - all week. 

Yes, my Minnesota friends....ALL WEEK. 

However, they kept all the kids and the teachers, waiting until the night before - every nobody could actually make plans to go somewhere and have a little mini-vacation - because there just might be school the next day!  Now, in Georgia's defense, they do not have a lot of snow removal equipment.  Rainman was off work on Monday and Tuesday, so he missed out on the free hotel rooms that his work was providing for people who had to work, starting on Sunday night. 

This was the extent of what we got.  If you look closely, you can see the shine of the driveway, so it was slippery.

Here is a shot of the backyard and you can kind of see how the ice is weighing down the palm tree branches.

Here is a shot of ice that was on top of the leaves in our was cool because it was shaped just like the leaves on the bush...not sure if you can tell from the picture...

Well, we started running low on milk and diapers, so by Tuesday evening, Rainman thought he would take a quick run to Target for those things and a few other "Targety" kinds of things.  Well, I, in my infinite wisdom, suggested that he call first to make sure they were open.  He laughed at me - but called anyway.  Lo and behold they were not open.  They and many other local businesses were closed.  They had listings of them on the local news websites and scrolling on the bottom of the screen like school cancellations.

We also did not have garbage pick up that week nor did we have any mail delivered until Friday of that week.

Anyway, he decided to try our local Kroger just to see if they were open.  He was also feeling a bit stir crazy having been stuck at home since Sunday.  So off he went, cell phone in hand, just in case.  He easily made it to Kroger and called me.  "You should see this!  It is like a war zone here!  There are people everywhere and absolutely nothing on the shelves.  No milk.  No fruit.  Nothing!"

Well, he went through the store and scavenged what he could.  He made it home with 2 gallons of ice cream (one rainbow sherbet and one chocolate chip), 3 two liters of pop and a cucumber.  Yup, that was it.  He said everyone had a strange assortment of this kind of stuff.  They had 2 check outs open, so the lines were backed up like it was dollar days at the store.  Crazy!  He came home and told the kids we would have to start rationing our milk consumption.  We did and were able to get a few gallons by the end of the week.  He would stop by different stores every day and get a few of whatever they had to bring home to us....boxes of cereal, milk, cheese, eggs, etc.

So, as a reminder for those reading this, our family moved to Georgia a little over a year ago (from Minnesota) due to a work transfer for Rainman.  When we moved, we gave away all our snow boots, snow pants, sleds, etc.  We kept winter coats and gloves, hats, mittens because we figured we would need them when we visited our families in the north.  Our movers made fun of us as they unpacked our coats and said that we would never need those things here in Georgia.  Well, I am here to tell you we have had 3 snowfalls that we have used our coats and mittens for and could have used all the stuff we gave away before we moved!!!

The kids just kept bringing in their gloves/mittens and putting them near the fireplace to dry and get warm. They changed clothes numerous times because we didn't have snowpants to keep them dry.  They made snowmen and had snowball fights....although the snowballs this time hurt because they were basically ice balls!

For sledding, we had to improvise and be creative....they tried cardboard but that didn't work and then they remembered something their Sunday School teacher had told them she did when she was little...

Can you tell what they are using?

It is my cookie sheets.  D-Man used them as snow boards because he couldn't quite get himself folded up small enough to get on it.  I forgot to take pictures of that.  As you look at these pictures and the road beyond - keep in mind that school in the area (well, really, almost the whole state) is still canceled!

Now, another reminder for you, we homeschool.  So, I was, in fact, the meanest mother in Georgia that week.  We had classes, as usual.  We needed to catch up a little anyway, since Georgia started school on August 2nd or 3rd this year and we didn't start until September!

This was the first snow for V-Girl where she was actually mobile enough to go outside and play...

She looks like she was smiling in this shot - but actually she was crying and angry from being confined in all her winter gear.  However, once she got outside, we had trouble dragging her back in.  She didn't do much except wander around and watch stuff.  She did eat a lot of snow and icicles though.  Every time we made her come in she would kick and I guess, even though she left when she was just 3 weeks old, she is still a Minnesota girl at heart!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finally Feeling Like a Grown Up

There are secrets amongst adult people that are not readily shared with others.  Like how much labor hurts.  Or that your feet get bigger after each baby.  Or that you will someday sprout weird, whisker-like hairs on your chin.  Or that marriage (even if you marry Mr. Right) is NOT like a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie....or  Julia Roberts/Richard Gere movie....or a Hallmark movie....or even a Lifetime movie.  Anyway, the secret I am talking about today is.....even if you are a grown up....most of the time you don't feel like one.  There.  The secret is out.

Most of the time, I do not feel like a grown up.  I have to remind myself when there is a scary noise downstairs....or a giant bug to be killed....or someone knocks on the door...that I am the grown up and I have to take care of it....unless Rainman is around and I can talk him into it.

That is why it strikes me as funny what the little things in life are that happen that actually make me feel like I am a grown up. what made me feel like a grown up this week.

I will tell you why in a moment.  First, I have to tell you about my friend, Debby.  Debby was the very first friend I made when we moved to Georgia.  She attended the little country church that we started going to when we came.  She went out of her way to make me feel welcome.  She held V-girl during church (Rainman works a lot of Sundays) so I could sing in the choir without having to hold her.  She would call me during the week, just to say hi and check up on me.  Debby was busy.  She had a stressful full time job, a husband, kids and grandkids of her own....but she took me under her wing and helped me transition to a new life, without my family nearby, tolerable.

Things aligned in Debby's world and she was able to retire at the end of 2010.  We all rejoiced because her job had definitely been taking its toll on her.  I told her, and I assume everyone else in her life told her, to just relax for a while.  You know....wear your pajamas all day....go out to lunch with friends...just take it easy.  Is that what Debby has done?  Nope. She has begun cleaning out her closets. 

I have to admit that I sort of get it.  I am a little bit of the type that can't relax until "this, this and this are done".  So, I am assuming that this is something she has wanted to get to for a while and with all the other demands in her life, she just couldn't do it.

My kids have been on the receiving end of some of the treasures she has found in her closets....pencils, crayons, craft items/kits, a microwave sm'ore maker, etc.  Various things that she had used or had intended to use with her grandchildren, but now the grandkids are too old to take advantage of, or just wouldn't use them. Some of the things were leftovers from her annual "Camp Grandma" week that she holds every summer for her grandkids - despite their age.  Fun, right?  I want to go to Camp Grandma!

Anyway, last week, I was on the receiving end of one of her treasures.  She called and asked if I needed "flatware".  I said, well, yes, I could use some....because this is what mine looked like....

The dried up Cheerio and frosted flake have only been added for dramatic effect.  ;) See how they are mismatched?  This is actually missing some of my "flatware" that wasn't so flat and would topple out of the holder and make it really hard to stack anything in the little compartments.  It was cheap stuff that I had gotten at Target or Walmart that had big blue plastic handles. 

All the members of my family had our favorite fork...some were long....others like the short ones....some had three tines....others like ones with four tines....some felt heavier in our hands.  When it was your turn to set the dinner table you had to know everyone's preference or be prepared for musical silverware as everyone sat down before prayer time. 

Anyway, I said, yes, I could use some "flatware".  She told me that she had found some she had packed away in her closet and assured me that she would not need it, nor would her children.  I had a doctor's appointment near her house and made arrangements for me to swing by and pick up the art supplies for the kids she had found and my "flatware".

Here is what she gave me....

The picture doesn't really do it justice.  It is beautiful.  It is not too heavy, not too Goldilocks says.....It is just right!  She also gave me the wooden silverware holder thingie. 

Everything matches.  Everything.  And there are lots of specialty items, salad tongs, serving spoons - both slotted and regular. There is a pie server...

And, since we are in the South....iced tea spoons....

I have pictured one here above a normal teaspoon for you Northern folk (like me) who may not have ever seen such a thing!

I get a little thrill every time I open my silverware drawer and see them. 

Really, I do. 

I am a bit surprised still when I open the drawer and see it and not the jumbled heap of stuff I used to have in the Rubbermaid holder. 

I feel so very grown up.  It is kind of sad isn't it?  Sas, but funny.  This is definitely a little secret that went unshared by adults in my life....that things like getting "new to me" silverware would make me feel like I had finally arrived....probably more so than my first drink at 21, getting my first real job, getting married even.... 

I have silverware that matches!

So, my wonderful friend, Debby, who took me under your wing here in Georgia, you, my dear, have also made me feel like a grown up!  Thank you!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Okay...Here is a Random One...

I can't put together a coherent post today - so I will just put together a little random post.

1.  Thanks for everyone making me feel better about letting my kids have cereal for breakfast.  I really was starting to wonder if I was the only one doing it.  It was those darn freezer cooking....plan ahead menu websites...with their breakfast menus of waffles and egg sandwiches that got me all paranoid.  But anyway, thanks for the input and uplifting encouragement that I wasn't scarring my kids for life!

2..  We are in a food co-op and at our last pick up day - we got a big bag of frozen breaded okra.  My neighbor who is also in the co-op was VERY excited.  She loves okra....would eat it everyday if she could kind of love.  She gave a little tutorial on how to fry up the little suckers.  Long story short,  I enjoy fried okra.  To me, it sorted tastes like know that green tree kind of vegie?  I don't feel like looking it up in a dictionary - you know what I mean, right?  The rest of the family is pretty much split down the middle with half liking it and half kind of indifferent to it. Since all the kids are huge vegie lovers, it doesn't worry me at all. 

But, we have all started calling it something other than its God given name lately.  S-Girl announced after her first bite...."I love Oprah!  Can I have some more?"  So, yes....we now eat a little deep fried vegetable and call it Oprah.

3.  The kids got one of these for Christmas...

 S-Girl has once again renamed an item in our house.  She calls it the "Spit and Sin".  If you didn't catch it the first time - slow down and read it again.....

4.  We lived in a house with 3 bedrooms in Minnesota and when we moved to Georgia, we upgraded to a 4 bedroom house.  We figured with 6 kids, that would be two people per bedroom, right?  Instead, this is what my kids like to do....

Can you tell there are 5 people sleeping in this room?  Yes, 5!  Maybe this shot will help you see a bit better...

See?  Three kids in one twin bed!  They did this by choice and they picked the smallest bedroom for some reason!?!  If they could, they would have a slumber party together every night.  Sometimes we let them because it is so funny to hear them breaking into giggles and cracking each other up.  Sometimes we yell that everyone has to be in their own rooms.  Much whining and asking for second chances ensues.  I have to assume this is one of the things from their childhood that they will remember!

5.  A-Man lost his very first tooth last week.

He looks kind of puffy and beaten up in this photo and his tooth area is still a little bloody...sorry....but he pulled it out himself and was very excited even though there was blood which usually sends this rough and tough guy straight into Sissyville!

6.  This is what we grown ups did during Georgia's recent snow storm....insert dramatic newsworthy music here.....

aka, Total State Shut Down 2011
It is a glow in the dark puzzle of the Las Vegas skyline....very cool and very hard.

I will put together a post on what the kids in our house did during the Total State Shut Down 2011 next time!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Nutritious Breakfast?

Tell me I am not the only mom who lets their kids make themselves a bowl of cereal in the morning and calls it breakfast.  Anyone?  Anyone? 

Is it just me? 

I keep reading blog posts and other articles about meal planning for your family.  It ALWAYS includes breakfast menus and they aren't talking about setting out boxes of cereal for your kids to choose from.  Are you guys out there making your kids hot breakfasts everyday?

I grew up making my own bowl of cereal in the morning - or when I was feeling adventurous - toast with cinnamon and sugar.  I got up early for school, so after I reached the age where I was able to fix my own hair, my mom stayed in bed until shortly before I got on the bus.  I do have vague memories of an occasional bowl of oatmeal that I know I did not make for myself.

To me, pancakes, waffles, eggs, sausage and bacon are supper items.  I love them.  I will even order them for dinner if we are at a restaurant that serves breakfast all day.

To Rainman they are breakfast items and he gets a little irked when I serve them for supper.  My kids, however, love it.  Guess what Rainman grew up having for breakfast?  Yup, eggs and bacon - lovingly served by his mother -who had 7 children!

Seriously, do the rest of you feed your children in the morning or is it survival of the fittest?  What is your routine?  Are you up before all of the kids?  I am, but I use that time for coffee, computer time and sometimes my quiet devotion time. 

Honestly, other than holidays, it never even occurs to me to make them a hot breakfast!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ringing in the New Year....

Here we are a bit after midnight local time.  Yes, that is right.  We made it until midnight - even my 1 year old!  Does that make me a horrible parent?  When we lived in Minnesota, I had the option of "cheating" and celebrating as we watched the ball drop live in New York City.  Now that we actually live on the East Coast, I no longer have that option.  For the record, I was prepared for V-Girl to miss out on the activities, but she just kept on going strong - so I figured why not. 

Rainman worked until midnight, so we were on our own for the festivities.  Here are some highlights of our night...

We made homemade pizzas.

We played New Year's Bingo... or Midnight Caller as my sister called it.  A-Man and S-Girl were the big winners here.  Prizes were little gumball machines I had gotten on the clearance rack for $.60 each.  Ask me if having a 3 year old and a 5 year old have unlimited access to gumballs was a smart move!

And, we played Mitts-Night Train to Georgia....

We all had fun and laughed at each other's antics in getting through another layer of wrapping paper.  S-Girl had the best technique which included heavy usage of her toes to open the package!!!  Most of the stuff you see on the floor was a result of this game - except for the breakfast cereal and the straw - not sure how they got there.  Usually you can eat off of my floors - just ask V-Girl!  ;)

A-Girl was the big winner in this game and in typical A-Girl fashion, she proceeded to divide the spoils equally amongst her siblings!  This was another clearance rack find of a book of Laffy Taffy - sort of like the old Life Savers books for $.89.

The rest of our time that night (and for the next 2 days) was spent working on this 750 piece puzzle of 100 Mice and One Piece of Cheese.

We had our fake wine (sparking grape juice) at midnight....which apparently went to our heads....

 ...and eventually headed to bed after Rainman got home about 12:45ish.  New Year's morning, I made these which were a big hit.  We watched the Rose Parade, worked on the puzzle and spent the day in our pajamas!  It was a good start to a New Year!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Georgia Christmas

Just a bit more of our Christmas pictures and I will leave you alone.  Rainman worked a day shift on Christmas Eve and an evening shift on Christmas Day, so we carved out our family time in between...

The kids and I headed to church for the candlelight Christmas Eve service.  There was no nursery at the service because, as our pastor says, "Christmas is family time".  I agree whole-heartedly, but, I think I have gotten a little too dependent on putting V-Girl in the nursery.  I really wasn't worried about it at all.  At all.  However, I wasn't counting on the only seats available for my party of 7 were waaaaaaaay up front on the center aisle.  V-Girl took it as a personal afront that D-Man wouldn't let her crawl under his leg tunnel and make a break for it.  The 6 of us spent the first half of the service trying to keep her happy, distract her, show her the pretty lights, have her people watch and all she wanted to do was to conquer Mount D-Man and escape!!!  And she didn't mind letting the whole world know that she was upset.  So, I spent the last half of the service in the back of the sanctuary with her...hoping that the rest of the children that were waaaaay up front, without me or Rainman, weren't doing anything that they shouldn't be.  V-Girl spent the time in the back of the church trying to escape and run back down the the seat we had just abandoned for all the world to see.  We were quite a distraction for everyone in the back 5 rows or so, because she is quick and sneaky, I sometimes wouldn't notice that she was heading out until she was already 5 rows up.  She is at that stage where she will run while looking behind her and giggling the whole way.  I had to laugh because everytime I would catch her, she would giggle, wiggle to get back down and do it all over again!  This is close to the little face she would give me as I would chase her....

I was able to sneak back to my seat for the candlelighting portion of the service.  We successfully navigated that too with only one hot wax burn amongst us!  It just wasn't the relaxed Christmas Eve service I had mentally prepared for.

We came home and waited for Rainman to arrive and then had our family Christmas.

V-Girl got a baby and a Teletubby.  Do you remember Teletubby's?  We chanced upon them again when we checked out a movie from the library.  She was enchanted from the first baby giggle as the sun rises on Teletubby land!  Not sure why she loves it so much, but she does.  Well,  Teletubby's are not exactly the toy dejour these days, so I didn't find anything.  I sent out an e-mail to the ladies in my Sunday School class and low and behold one of them had one that their grandchild used to play with that she would love to get rid her words "it's kind of creepy".  I agree.  But, you should have seen her little face when she opened and it and she still hauls it everywhere with her, saying, "Tub-tobah".

S-Girl is into everything pretend.  She plays house, restaurant, Barbies.  I found her a little baby carrier, similar to the ones I have used to carry all of the kids around.

She is in heaven.  Now she walks around with one baby in her carrier and another in the stroller with her little purse hanging off her arm.  She was recently playing pretend grocery shopping with her little cart we have.  She proceeded to put her purse in the cart and V-Girl walked by and took it.  S-Girl was really mad.  I told her that you shouldn't leave your purse in the cart anyway, because it is easy for people to steal it.  She looked me in the eye and said, "You always put your purse in there."  I just find it funny the little details that they pay attention to.  She is correct, but, I don't put in the up front part where the kids sit, I put it in the bottom so it can get buried by the stuff I am buying.  So there!

Okay, A-Man and D-Man sort of go together - so here they are with their gifts...

The big girls got quieter items to enjoy...

Overall, it was a good Christmas.  Even though it was our 2nd Christmas in Georgia, I still feel like I am sort of making up new traditions as we go along to see which ones will stick.  But, God was watching over my homesick heart and gave this gift to the kids and I on Christmas night....

Enough snow for a 12 inch snow man!!!

 And even a slighter larger 18 inch version!!!

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!