Sunday, February 25, 2007

The END of the Labyrinth

The END of the Labyrinth? PLEASE READ.

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Go see the Labyrinth before it's gone. It sounds like it's being torn down. Although you can't walk it anymore, you can still see it from the fence. See Karen's Stuntmom article posted 9/28/06- A Sense of Wonder in the Woods for more information and a comment from the builder of the Labyrinth.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stay at Home Mom- Making It Work

I've come to realize that being a stay at home mom means doing anything but, except when the flu hits. Last week two out of three of my girls were gifted with a mean Flu virus. It also happened to be the week that we were bombarded with inches of snow and a slick sheet of ice to top it off, oh, and then more snow on top of the ice. But really, I wouldn't know much about it since I was home- inside with two babies with the flu. I spent the week, starting on Sunday, doing little more than holding a sick and crying child, or changing diapers. I didn't buy groceries, even with a bare fridge since we were on vacation the week prior. I didn't clean my house- some things will never change. I also let the television run every waking hour. (Another story in it's self) It was the longest week of being a stay at home mom. I couldn't take another day of it, although I kept anticipating my oldest daughter would soon follow suit and get the bug too. But we trudged on until Friday. Friday I decided it was time to take my kids to the doctor. They had been sick long enough and they weren't improving and I wanted to make sure the coughing hadn't moved into their lungs.

I couldn't believe how excited I was to leave the house. I felt like we were going somewhere really fun, but in reality we were just getting a few seconds of fresh air as we moved from the house to the car to the office building. The doctor confirmed that it was the flu, and that it should be going away shortly. The odd thing was, it seems almost immediately that my kids started feeling better. It was like this curtain of doom had been lifted. No one was going to die, and we were one day going to be in public again. So I had this great confidence that we would head to the grocery store and buy milk, eggs and other necessities (oh, my doctor also let me know about chewable Tylenol- not sure why I never thought of another option for my fussy two year old who won't take liquid medicine). Only a few minor disasters at Kroger, one being the temporary loss of snow, my oldest daughter's favorite stuffed animal that goes Everywhere with us. We tried our best not to breath on anyone, and get out as quickly as possible. Really, groceries are life and death, are they not?

Today was our first day leaving the house other than a few hours that we spent at Grandma's and Grandpa's this weekend. (They both had flu shots, so they were not afraid) It was liberating. It was like seeing colors for the first time. I suddenly didn't feel like a stay at home mom from the 50's, who is completely happy staying in the house all day long. I often wonder how my mom managed 5 kids, when two sick seems like 5. I understand why she didn't take us many places, I'm certain she would have if she had the energy. (although it's amazing how much energy she had with all of us little at once). Coffee and cigarettes, right Jayne? I thought of my mom endlessly this past week and I had a new respect for her. I felt desperate and trapped in my own life as a stay at home mom. I couldn't invite friends over, I couldn't take my kids anywhere, we were stuck in the house with the television going and going and going.

So how do I make it work as a stay at home mom? I don't stay home or if I stay home, I have other mom's over so we can chat over coffee while our kids "play", or fight. I'm not sure how rural parents handle life home with kids, or people that don't have a network of friends to make it not seem like work at all. This past week made me realize how great my friends are and just how much I need them. Thank You!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Baby Sitter Wanted

Sure, how extravagant, a stay at home mom wanting to hire someone to do my job. But really there are times when I need the help. I have three kids ages four and under, and there are times when I just have to ask myself, how did my mom do it with five? My friend that just went back to work a few weeks ago, solved this problem temporarily for me, we did a babysitting co-op. She would watch two, sometimes all three of my kids, while I went and did a few things without little ones in tow. But now she is back to work full time and I feel that my "village" (from Hillary Clinton's book It Takes a Village) has packed up and moved.

Now, I'm not talking full time, or even part time, but I would love to have someone to watch my kids when I have an ob-gyn appointment, a dentist appointment, or maybe even to clean my house while the kids are out taking a walk. So I got proactive- I answered an ad on Craig's List. Babysitter looking for part time or full time work. Everyone knows my love of Craig's List, so how could this be wrong? I interviewed Amber and she seemed nice enough. Basically, I was satisfied upon meeting her, she didn't look like a child killer, or someone that would steel my kids- because of course I do know what that person looks like- right? So what more could I need?

So I was telling a friend about Amber- a friend whose husband works every day and night, so she has steady part time help for her three under 5. And all she said was, "hmmmm, that's interesting, finding a babysitter on Craigs List". And that was it. I started questioning my choice. Amber kept me up to date on dates she was available to start, what the hours were at her main babysitting gig, so really, I received plenty of communication up until I asked for her references. During her interview she promised to send the number of the family that she watched for the last year, and now I have not heard from her since. Why do I feel liked I dodged a bullet? Most likely nothing would have happened to my children, maybe she would have taken a dollar left sitting on the dryer after months of working for us, but for some reason I am now terrified that she is a criminal that almost entered our lives because I almost didn't do my homework. References, although they can't tell you everything, it's always a good thing to check. Am I going crazy? Did she just figure the new family she is babysitting is keeping her busy enough, so why bother sending an email with references, most likely but I'll never know, since I'm now back to needing the occasional babysitter, but I'm not willing to find her on Craig's List, or the Newspaper either. You just can't be to careful.

Friday, February 09, 2007

And They Lived Happily Ever After

Let Your Dreams Lead the Way
Enjoy magical hugs and storybook happenings in a place where happily ever after happens every day...

I came across this little blurb while getting my daughter some cereal this morning, and it really irritated me. And no, it wasn't due to lack of coffee - I was already halfway through my second cup. First of all, can you guess where you can go to live happily ever after, for a day or two? That's right, Walt Disney World.

Why am I annoyed by this? How refreshing, I should be thinking, to have a place where one can escape, and see what life happily ever after is all about. Because of course, if you're reading the back of a cereal box, your life is far from "happily ever after." For a small chunk of change ($67 for "guests" 10 years or older, $56 for "guests 3-9), my family and I can go to a place "where dreams come true." That's right - because it's not realistic for us to teach our children that they are in charge of making their dreams come true, NOT a bunch of people dressed up in costumes at an amusement park.

And no, I'm not a stick in the mud cheap killjoy. I like doing fun things with my kids, and I don't mind spending money now and then to do it. But this idea that is being promoted by Disney - happily ever after - is just wrong to me. So Cinderella lived happily ever after, once she married Prince Charming. Of course! By marrying PC, all of the sadness of first her mother, then her father dying is wiped away. The baggage of being mistreated by her stepmother and sisters - water under the bridge, thanks to her timely marriage. I know, I know. This is an old discussion topic. But with young children, I feel the need to protect them from this sort of garbage. No, not protect them, but help them to see how false and unhealthy this sort of mindset really is. We watch Cinderella, but we talk about it afterwards.

You are in charge of making your dreams come true, not the man or woman you marry. Not an amusement park.

Serves me right. I shouldn't be buying crappy sugar cereal, anyway. What do you think? Am I being over the top obsessive?