MN winters…not so bad…

  Living in Minnesota, the mid west or even ‘God’s Country’ as some call it, makes the news for weather in January-February when we get pounded with many feet of snow and wind chills well below zero. When we are in the middle of it we start the countdown til May 1st and think HOW HORRIBLE this is…snow…ice…cold.  But let me tell you, I would pick Minnesota winters over a hurricane HANDS DOWN. Especially this past little gem they call “Irene”.

I have many friends and relatives in upstate NY – hours away from NYC – in fact at times more rural than Apple Valley or Rosemount. I grew up in a small town Chadwicks,  across the street from a beautiful park we would play at all summer long. The park also ran along side of the railroad tracks and a tiny little creek we were forbidden to play by as kids. (sorry mom and dad – we did play down there – would stand on rocks and catch baby frogs or throw stones). Now this creek isnt that big…going back and seeing it as a grown up you think – wow it seemed so big as a kid…but you could cross it in 10 steps or less.  This park today is flooded from this “little” creek:

  Then I looked at their local news and saw the small little creek turn into a raging river flooding all over.


While I know the flooding there isn’t as bad as other areas of the east coast…it still takes your breath away it’s not just the weather in MN that you suddenly feel “lucky” but all the other things we take for granted on a daily basis. I am SO guilty of that. We have a thunderstorm and the Direct TV goes out for a few minutes and I get upset – I love my TV…..the internet goes down…WHAT?!?!?! No Facebook? No email? No Pinterest? The outrage! The nerve! Wait a minute….I have a house that is dry, intact and has power….POWER. Which means I have lights, A/C,  sump pump, COLD food, ability to cook food, a hot shower, the list goes on. I am lucky to have the every day amenities that 5 MILLION people do not have for a long week at least. My lawn is dry – but that is ok. So many things to be thankful…but then the people without power and lucky enough to have their homes in tact pass the time TALKING, LISTENING and BEING with one another – no TV, no internet, no Xbox,  Wii or Nintendo to take away that time as a family to TALK and just be. Amazing that it takes something so terrible as IRENE to make me stop and think…really think about things I take for granted.

So, all those cringing the end of summer which leads to fall and then winter….remember, which is worse?


A Good Book….

  “I just finished a book you would like”  said a friend of mine.  I always like a book when someone suggests one (most of the time) Some people find they like specific authors and read everything in their collection. I like to jump around and read all types of things.  However,  I have not read Harry Potter or Twilight series – (and have NO desire to)… so when people suggest those to me, well…they don’t know me! *snicker*  I just finished reading Rob Lowe’s autobiography during a week’s vacation at the cabin…it was so good and my sister and mom will tell you so – I seemed to utter the words “this book is SOOO good” a million times which turned into a daily joke.  I was ready for a good new book. So I started ‘The Four Seasons’ by Mary Alice Monroe – the book my friend suggested. Sometimes you read a book that really touches you and makes you feel sad when you read that last page and shut the book. A mourning of sorts. This book touched me in a way I never thought. It made me feel things I never thought I would feel and think about things in ways I never thought I would. This story is about 4 sisters – all in their 30’s-40’s. The youngest sister dies and the 3 sisters all come home to say their good-byes. But they don’t expect to go on such an emotional journey as they do – The dying wish of the youngest sister was for her oldest sister to find the baby she put up for adoption when she was 17.  It was the late 70’s when the oldest sister “Jilly” (yup,  that is her name!) got pregnant and was sent away to a home for unwed mothers run by old catholic nuns – she was shunned and was forced to put up her baby for adoption and it was a dark secret that no one was to know about or talk about. While my story is different in that respect – I had the love and support of my family. But the journey Jilly and her sisters take to find her daughter is beautiful and emotional.  It is rare that a book can have such a similar story line – right down to the name and touch you. Tho fictional, it made me think back to when I was a young pregnant naive teen at 17. How young I was. And how different a person I am now in so many ways. The last year’s journey with me finding Joshua and getting to know him has been beautiful and positive. Tho this book is all fiction, it hit a chord in me that took my breath away. I felt emotions that I hadn’t felt before – some that were folded up and tucked away for 20+ years.  I felt sad, happy, confused, confident, amazed and at times questioning my decisions.  I realized you can’t change history – but you can learn from it, grow from it and become a better person from it. I value my journey so much everyday and feel so blessed.  A good fictional story confirmed it all.

anxiety in kids, believe, mom, tooth fairy

Don’t Stop Believing…

Journey sings “Don’t stop… believing..” ah, something to ponder. Don’t Stop Believing – I want to say that to my children. Perhaps that will keep them young and sweet. My 10 1/2 year old and 8 year old still believe – in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny….They both react differently.  Olivia (8) loves everything about it – writes notes, leaves all kinds of treats, and dreams about the wonderful icon that marks a certain holiday or event. Last night the Tooth Fairy came (she had 2 teeth pulled) – first thing out of bed she runs downstairs, unlocks the door to the garage and gets her Tooth Fairy Pillow from the garage – in such aw…so excited…carefully reading the note from good old TF and seeing what treasure/dollar amount she left for her. Oh, wait…”out in the garage???”  I know that is what you are thinking. Most people just hang their Tooth Fairy pillow on their bedroom door knob – or perhaps put the tooth under their pillow. But it is Maddie (10)(with anxiety disorder) that we need to make some changes and tweek the way we do things. She believes, but has a list of demands. She gets so upset with the notion of someone sneaking into our home in the middle of the night. “What if I have to get up and go the bathroom in the middle of the night and I see them?” . For the longest time we would dismiss her feelings and tell her that is silly…they can tell when you are awake…only come when you are sound asleep. Then one year (I think she was 5 or 6) she was so upset, scared and borderline hysterical Christmas Eve at the thought of someone coming in. Then I realized it is more than just something silly. My husband said “Lets just tell her” and I said “No, she believes – why take the magical part away from her” – so we adapt the way we do things….Tooth Fairy pillow gets hung on the garage door knob IN the garage, Christmas stockings are hung out in Mike’s shop (heated!) along with cookies and milk for the big guy, and the Easter Bunny leaves Mike and I clues for a scavenger hunt that leads the kids outside for Easter Baskets. Sure, it all seems silly…but the way their faces light up when they wake up and find the end result – AWESOME!  My husband and I always laugh – the girls are SO different – Maddie will believe until she is 16 and then be SO MAD we lied to her all these years and Olivia we will tell and she will be “Daaa. I knew that all along”…But for now – I love that they still believe. One of those few innocent things of childhood. And if we need to slip on shoes and run thru the ice cold garage Christmas morning to see what Santa brought, then we will.