Day 18: Quick Trip

It’s been a goal of mine to travel.  I’ve only been to 2 places out of the country, Canada and Mexico.  But, I’ve been able to go to many places around the country.  I’ve enjoyed our long family vacations, but I like to take short trips as well.  For the past 4 years one of our short trips has been to Cubs away games.  It’s usually a 3 day trip.  We fly out on the first day, check in early if the room is available, and explore the city.  If the room is not yet available we leave our luggage and still explore the city.  The second day includes a little more exploring, finding an interesting place for lunch and enjoying the game.  This is always my favorite day.  The third day is a bit more exploring before we head to the airport to fly home.  We love these short trips.  They are packed with just the right amount of activity.  The only down side to these trips is that my husband usually cannot take the time away from work.  So, it’s just me and the kids.  My husband doesn’t mind terribly not going though.  It would cause him more stress trying to coordinate work stuff while he was gone.  We keep him updated and send him plenty of pictures, and he’s fine with that.

This year’s trip will be to Colorado.  Coors field in June.  Three days at the beginning of summer.  It’ll be great.  But, this year will be a little different.  My husband can easily (sort of) coordinate things at work.  He will be able to come.  And, he absolutely loves Colorado.  So, this will be perfect.  I buy the tickets and look into the best hotel, a good one close to the ballpark.  I also need to start looking into flights.  Then my husband chimes in, “Fly? This is Colorado, it’s beautiful, all those mountains, we’ll drive.”  Hmmm, Colorado will be a 16 hour drive.  So, day one will be driving, day 2 the game, day 3 more driving.  That’s not fun, no time to explore.  Ok, change things up…day one will be driving, day 2 explore, day 3 the game, day four explore, day 5 drive.  That’s not short.  I think I’ll fly and meet him out there.

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Day 17: VIP Treatment

My daughter is a great student and a wonderful, thoughtful person.  During high school, she, like so many others participated in the science class blood type activity.  She found out she is 0-.  She immediately learned that her blood is the universal donor type, and it is usually in short supply and in high demand.  Her school was going to have a blood drive.  Of course my Courtney was one of the first ones to sign up.  As she was getting her blood drawn the nurse/phlebotomist/attendant (not quite sure of the accurate title) was telling her how type 0- blood is used for ‘immune deficient infants’.  She would be helping the babies.  Once Courtney heard that she was compelled to donate.  And, she has done so regularly.

Donating hasn’t always been easy.  The taking of the blood has never been a problem.  Courtney recovers quickly after she donates.  The difficult part is that her iron level can be low at times.  She works hard to keep her iron level up nearing donation time.  The rule is you can donate every 3 months.  She will take iron pills, eat red meat, cut out the tea (she loves tea!).  She does this so she can help the babies.

For more than 3 years now she has helped the babies because she wants to.  She has not had any expectations.  She just wants to help.  But, this weekend she was recognized.  She was given 2 free Chicago Wolves hockey tickets, good seats.  Her name was put on a list and she was able to park in the VIP lot.  She was able to avoid the long line and enter the VIP door.  She was escorted to an area where her picture was taken and would be displayed on the jumbotron as well as being televised on the live broadcast.  She was thanked for being the donor of the month.  It was such a great experience and I’m so grateful that I was able share it with her.  We both agreed…being a VIP is the way to go!

Day 16: Random Comments

I started writing my slice earlier today and somehow I deleted it.  I hate when that happens.  I try to remember the exact words, regain the exact feelings I had when writing originally.  I can’t get it back and I can’t come up with something new.  So, here’s my second attempt.  It won’t be even close to my first, but it will contain some of the details.  It will be more matter of fact and not reflecting the emotion, because I’m just not feeling it.

It’s been a long week.  But, I mentally prepared, so it’s ok.  Most days I got home late, when my family was winding down for the night and relaxing in the living room.  I had a lot to accomplish at work, but this week I also had many things that needed to be worked on at home.  This week I seemed to be paying extra attention to the random comments my family makes.  One evening I sat for a few moments, but then left the living room to go complete some work.  My oldest commented that she liked it better when I worked at work.  That made me smile.

Another evening my middle child was talking about how she got her ring caught on her backpack and it now has a stress fracture.  She hopes it doesn’t break through completely.  My husband told her that he could attempt to wrap it in superglue.  She comment that she chooses soup (superglue…soup or glue…get it).  My family enjoys their humor.

Yet another evening I came home and my daughter was talking about her frustration with some particular indecisive people.  She just wants to hear a yes or a no, and then she’ll be able to make the appropriate plans either way.  My daughter is not an over-emotional person.  She is decisive.  She was feeling frustrated.  So I told her that she is a strong, independent, straight forward, tell-it-like-it-is, decisive person.  She commented that I might have just called her a b$?#ch.  Did I really??

My family makes many random comments.

Day 15: I really needed that bookshelf

I have been wanting a second bookshelf for a while now.  I have one in my basement.  I absolutely love the look of it and a second one would make my basement complete.  It’s going to be cold, really cold, crazy cold for a few days so this is the perfect time to get it.  I’ll run out before the real cold hits, and  I’ll have plenty of time to get it set up and organized.  It’ll be perfect and relaxing being able to take my time and not feel rushed.  But no such luck.  The Target near my house does not have the right color.  It’s some sort of brown, but not the espresso that I love. Time to head home and wait for the cold to really hit. 

I wake up on that crazy cold morning and just can’t get that bookshelf out of my head.  This would really be the perfect time to have it!  I have 2 days to get this done.  There are more Targets, one of them has to have it in stock.  I’m in the luck.  The one 5 miles further from home has it, in espresso.  My husband is a trooper and agrees to go out in the -40 weather and pick it up with me.  It was a quick trip.  We are in and out of Target quickly, didn’t freeze too badly, and are ready to set it up at home.  But, as we set it up, it’s not quite right….too dark, too small.  I can’t live with this.  We have to take it back.  It’ll be a quick trip.  We can return it to any Target, so we’ll go to the one closest to the house.  Not quite, same day returns have to go to the store you bought it because it hasn’t been completely processed in the system yet….really?!  Put it back in the van and head to the farther Target.  Lug it into the store again.  It’s returned.  But, how can that not be the right shelf.  I know exactly what I bought.  I know the color.  I know the design.  What’s going on?  I do some more research.  Turns out it is the same company, but they slightly changed the design.  And, for some reason espresso is now noticeably darker…makes no sense.  The original design I love is no longer being made.  Well, I still need a bookshelf, and it needs to be today.  We head back to Target, the one closest to my house, the one we were at originally, 4 trips ago, to get that brown color one we saw.  It’s set up.  It’s organized.  It looks good, not perfect, but good.  I had 2 days to get this done and now it’s done. 

I really thought I took those 2 days off for complete relaxation.  I guess making sure my bookshelf was set up was complete relaxation.

Day 14: Teenagers…sleep…coffee

High schoolers have to wake up way too early.  There are so many signs that prove this to be true.  The first sign is actually seeing 5:30am on the clock.  That is way too early for a teenager.  The second sign is all of the articles I’ve read about teenagers and their need for later sleep.  The schools won’t make changes though, the busing situation is too big an issue.  Too many changes would need to be made.  So sorry teenagers, you get stuck waking up early. 

Last year my son came to me and said he needed to ‘learn how to drink coffee’.  Truly one of the best statements that I’ve heard come out of his mouth.  Ok, he needs to learn how to drink coffee.  The boy needs something to help him keep awake.  That’s definitely another sign.  Well, I’m a cold coffee drinker.  So, we’ll have his dad ‘teach’ him how to drink coffee.  They put the Keurig on the counter, filled the back with water, inserted the pod, put the mug under the spout, and pressed power.  My son has just learned how to make coffee.  It’s a quick lesson.  I guess the next step is to learn how to drink the coffee.  It’s an acquired taste he is told.  Be prepared to make a few faces the first several times you take a sip.  He acquires the taste.  He has learned how to drink coffee.

 I woke up this morning preparing for a long day.  We are going through our morning routine as usual.  I’m cutting my fruit for a snack while his coffee is brewing.  It smells great and I hear the liquid hitting the mug.  This little inkling of a thought enters my brain….is that really the sound of the dark liquid entering the mug?  He made that mistake once before, he wouldn’t do it again.  I finally turn around to check, and sure enough he did it again.  There is the coffee, directly hitting the base and seeping through the spaces all over the counter.  Forgetting to get the mug to hold your coffee…a very glaring sign that teenagers have to wake up too early.

Day 13: First day of kindergarten

I’m not sure what sparked the memory, but today images of my son’s first day of kindergarten popped in my head.  Was it the actions of student’s at my school that seemed familiar?  A picture that triggered the memory?  A smell or a feeling that made me think of that day.  I’m really not sure.  But, the thought entered my mind and I couldn’t help but reminisce about the events of that first day of kindergarten.

It started out quite normal.  My school year began before his, so I headed off to work.  He was in the pm class.  He spent the morning with his father and I was able to leave work at lunchtime to see him off to his first day of school, take many pictures, wish him a great day and head back to work.  His school got out later than mine, so I was able to get home and anxiously await his return.  As I’m waiting, the sky gets darker and darker.  I’m sure things will be fine.  He’ll be home soon.  But, then it gets ominously dark.  Several parents are socializing by the bus stop.  They got out there a bit early because they weren’t sure exactly when the bus would arrive.  I’m about to join them and then we hear it….the sirens.  We begin to wonder if the kids are already on the bus.  That thought was quickly answered.  Each of our phones rang with the message, the student’s are being held at the school in the gym until the weather clears.  Ugh, all of the bus riders in the gym waiting to go home.  What a long day.  Oh my boy.  How is he feeling?  It’s his very first day.

We wait and some parents make calls to get updates.  It should be 10 more minutes and they will release the kids.  It’s more like 20, but that’s ok.  We see the bus down the road.  The kids will finally be home.  The bus has arrived.  The kids, all looking a bit anxious and quite weary, exit the bus.  There are many little ones that exist first, but not my little one.  Several bigger kids step off, but not mine.  A few more little ones hop down, still not mine, and then the driver is about to close the door.  I’m a bit stunned.  “WAIT!” I say.  Is that all?  Where are my kids?  They are not on the bus.  I run to get my keys and head to the school.  This is my boy’s very first day!  What is going on?

As so many confusing thoughts run through my brain, I’m startled back to reality by the sound of my phone.  It’s my neighbor telling me she’s on her way to school to pick up my kids. I can’t comprehend this.  Why?  They had to take my children off of the bus and they called her, my emergency contact.  Why?  She has no answers.  I just have more questions.  I tell her I’m already on my way to get them.  I’ll keep her posted.  I finally get to school.  There are my children sitting in the office.  I come to find out that as the students were finally able to board the bus, my son got a nose bleed.  His first one in months.  I did not think this was an issue anymore.  It wouldn’t stop bleeding so he and his older sister had to be escorted off of the bus.  That’s why the bus arrived in 20 minutes rather than 10, my boy’s nosebleed.  After a long, exciting, exhausting day I was finally able to get my children home.  There was so much to say about that first day of school.  The second day was not as eventful.  And we were ok with that.

Day 12: So many leftovers…

I may have mentioned in a previous post that I got an instant pot for my birthday.  I absolutely love it.  I’m finding new recipes and cooking more than I ever have.  Many of the recipes I’ve found are so good….beef stew, chicken and rice casserole, a pot roast to die for.  Recently, I made a large pot of chili.  I used the exact amount of spices and it was perfect.  We still have some left over.  I made a beef with mac and cheese dish on Sunday.  There was one serving left of that.  Today I made a chicken/veggie/cheese/egg noodle dish.  I soon realized that I had half the amount of egg noodles that the recipe called for.  No worries, I’ll make some other noodles separately and add it to the dish.  The chicken, egg noodles, and vegetables cooked up so tender.  I add the milk and cheese and it is coming together perfectly.  I look over at the stove and see the pan of ‘other’ noodles that are now completely cooked and I realize, having half the amount of egg noodles that the recipe called for is actually the perfect amount.  So, now what?  I finish mixing up the large pot of chicken/veggie/cheese/egg noodle dish and stare at the pan of ‘other’ noodles.  I add some spaghetti sauce to them, quickly heat up some meatballs, mix it together and put it in the fridge.  We will have left-overs for days.