Friday, September 24, 2010

And the rain came down...

There is nothing like a warm, late summer/early fall downpour to help you to remember what childhood is all about.  Yesterday brought gloomy clouds and lots of wet stuff to test out our newly applied roof.  The boys and I hunkered down indoors and spent a lot of time playing in the unfinished basement, where they can run around like madmen and scatter toys without a scolding...instead they hear, "be careful with your little brother...Dead crickets DO NOT belong in your mouth...please don't drive your car into the one finished wall in this basement!"

On a normal day we will head out into the front yard to wait for Daddy to pull up into the driveway and then the boys "help" him drive the truck into the garage.  On this day, however, unless a drenching was warranted, we wouldn't have that opportunity.  I decided, however, that we could wait in the garage and that the boys would probably enjoy watching the rain come down.  So, that is where we headed about 5 minutes before J was due home.  I sometimes wonder if my think-ahead-and-ponder-the-consequences mechanism in my brain is broken.  We had been out there for no more than 3 seconds when Ethan spotted the water pouring out of one of the downspouts into the had carried stray nails from the previous days roof replacement down with it and scattered them about.  Both boys rushed to gather these "treasures".  I hurriedly grabbed a bucket that they could collect the sharp objects instead of hauling them in their delicate hands.  Crisis averted...all nails were harvested and no skin broken.  That was about the time that daddy pulled in and both boys bolted for the car at the end of the driveway.  He gave me a glare as we both realized he was going to have to pull two slurpy boys into the car onto his lap to journey up the driveway.  As soon as they completed their mission and crawled out of the now-wet car, back out into the rain they dashed!  And straight down the sidewalk and away...initially I winced as I charged after them into the pounding rain, but as I reached the sidewalk, well behind them, I realized I was smiling!  There I stood as two giggling boys bounded, stumbled and skipped back and forth down the sidewalk, stomping in every puddle along the way...and I enjoyed it!

It was just a moment in our dreary day, but for once I forgot about wet clothes and soggy shoes and just went with it.  I have spent the past 20ish years avoiding the rain...darting from vehicle to indoor refuge, using an umbrella as a barricade to the pouring water and leaping over puddles to keep my shoes from getting wet.  I think the boys are doing it the right learn something new every day! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quote of the Day...

After the excitement of the morning happened to be the delivery of our shingles in preparation of our new roof to happen tomorrow, X-man and J had a conversation about tractors this evening.  It went like this:

X-man:  "Wook, Dad, a twactor," exclaimed as he held up one of his toys.
J: "That's actually a bulldozer."
X-man:  "No! It's not a bull-bozer, it's a twactor."
J:  "'s really a bulldozer."
X-man:  "No, Dad!  It's a fwont-end woader!"
J:  "No, it's is a front-end loader!"

Guess he told him!  One of my developing skills as a mother is to hone up on my tractors...getting pretty good! :) 

They love all things large and truck-like! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It truly is amazing how calm, quiet and beautiful skies can be after the rage of a Kansas if our concerns and fears can be dragged away with the ominous clouds.  Typically, I crave a good was no different last night.  As J arrived home from work to the boys and I waiting outside for him, he asked if I had looked at radar as the skies to the north were rather threatening.  Radar had shown just a small cell that started northwest of us and it was moving almost directly east, so it appeared that it would miss us altogether, but as it slid east, it also continued to blow up and expand.  By the time he arrived home it looked like, we might, in fact, be "graced" with the very southern edge of the storm...and we both chimed that we hoped that would be the case.  We were in need of some good ol' fashioned Kansas weather!  During the following hour I learned the important lesson of being careful what you wish for.

As we stood outside before we might or might not get a little piece of that storm, we chatted with our neighbor about jobs and household chores and whose grass was longer and more weed infused (it's been a rough summer for our lawns).  Some large drops of rain began to fall sparsely and splat to the ground which made the boys more excited.  I briefly commented that this rain was going to be hail in the next 30 seconds as the drops were enormous and icy cold when they hit.  Sure enough, we began to hear the cracks of ice smashing into rooftops and pavement around us.  I made the executive decision to herd the boys to safety on the covered porch, but not before snatching a marble size piece of hail to showcase to the little guys.  They stood fascinated by the ice bouncing around like popcorn on the front lawn and I left them in J's care so I could get dinner started inside...thankful that we had opted against a pizza run for a lazy dinner.

Shortly thereafter the boys all moved to the safety of the indoors as the wind picked up and the front porch proved to be a poor shelter.  About that time we heard the first "thud" on the roof.  By this time we could see several golf ballish chunks of ice bouncing to the ground in the back yard.  "Wow," I thought...this was a pretty good little storm!  But mother nature was only getting started.  As I tried to return to the kitchen and focus on the pulled pork and baking fries, my attention kept getting pulled away by exclamations from J and X-man about what was falling from the sky from moment to moment.  It was then that we saw a baseball plop into the yard..."huh," I thought, "funny time to be throwing a ball around."  J decided that he should risk his livelihood and mobility (one hit from one of those suckers to the noggin would have rendered him useless from the forehead down) to fetch this giant sphere of ice.  Out he darted before I could protest or even think of the possibilities.  It wasn't until he reached the mound in the grass and a chunk of ice hit about 10 feet away and shattered, leaving pieces the size of J's treasure behind that I suddenly dreaded my potential widowhood.  But he made a mad dash and arrived back indoors unscathed and triumphant.

J decided to grab the video camera to try to capture the sound that I was trying to make dinner to.  I must have exclaimed a dozen times that it sounded like bodies were falling from the sky.  At one point, something hit so hard that the floor beneath me shook.  That was when I knew that we were in for trouble and I could only imagine how our poor roof was feeling at that moment.  It was shortly after that horrible jarring of our entire house that J walked by the kitchen and noticed that the laundry room light was on (I am notorious for leaving the lights burning all over the husband loves me for this).  He politely requested that I turn it off, to which I was much obliged, but upon attempting to enter the laundry room I received a shower and realized that water was pouring out of the door jamb.  I began getting that feeling in the pit of my know, the feeling that you are about to lose a fistful of money.  Ugh!

That's when panic set in.  J went into solution mode and went to investigate the attic from the garage to see what damage was visible.  We are lacking in the extension ladder department and the step ladder we have is tall enough to allow you to stand on the top step to be able to peer into the attic, but actually getting up there would be tricky...and stupid.  Sure enough, he had me climb up there as well and unfortunately I could see light (and water) pouring in through a large hole in the roof.  That is when the tornado sirens went off.  I sat the boys down to eat dinner as we checked news and radar to make sure the tornado was not on top of us (we don't spook easily in Kansas), and seeing that we were in the clear, for at least the moment, I began to search the house for further damage.  The same thing that was occuring in the laundry room was happening in the closet in X-man's room, but that seemed to be it.  In the meantime, my lovely husband was a whirlwind in and out of the house trying to figure out how to block the rain from pouring into the gaping hole in the skin of our home.  I entered the garage to find him scheming on how to hoist himself into the attic from the top step of the step ladder.  That's when I laid down the law...I explained to him that what was done was done.  We were already going to be paying the deductible whether the water damage stopped here or destroyed our entire home, but I was so not excited about the prospect of having to drag my husband off of the floor of the garage where he splatted from the attic because of the lack of proper equipment, load his lifeless body and the wiggly ones of our boys into the car and head out in this beast of a storm to get to the E.R.  He finally saw the light and agreed to wait until the storm subsided and he could crawl onto the roof to do some repair from the outside.  We sat and tried to eat, though our appetites were long gone.  The rain finally stopped and the sun seeped through the clouds as if to say, "why the long face?"  It was such a taunting tone.  The neighborhood suddenly came to life among the leftovers of what looked to be the largest batting practice on record...our yards were speckled with baseballs, buried into the soft ground where they had been randomly tossed.  Neighbors gathered in yards sharing their tales, kids squealed with delight in the sudden stillness of the evening as they splashed in puddles and pounding could be heard from all corners of the area as temporary repairs began.  This is what we found in our afermath.

Our largest hole...softballish in size

There are divots like this scattered all over the roof

This one is almost the same size as the one J retrieved during the storm.  You can see the dirt displaced as it collided with the lawn.

This one is also about the same size and you can really tell how deep it is buried into the earth
A hole in the gutter...but more noticeable is the clear night sky left behind in the wake of all that chaos
We also sustained damage to our fence, air conditioner, possibly the siding and numerous water spots indoors all the way down to the floor boards seen through the rafters in the basement.  We are very aware that it could be months before our house is returned to its former self, but we fared so much better than many people in the direct area and are simply thankful that we were all home, together when it happened.  It takes evenings like these to appreciate the mundane routine of day to day activities and to truly remember that we are very far from the ones in control!

Darn Good Guardian Angels

This week I have been floating through a very thankful haze.  I am tired as usual because my boys still think it is fun to run me ragged.  This is nothing new, but today I am thankful that I have little boys waking me up in the dead of night just for a quick hug of reassurance before they drift back off to their dreams of mud puddles, peanut butter and giant friendly dogs.  It is very sad that traumatic events have to occur sometimes to jog your stubborn, skeptical, pessimistic brain into realizing how good you have it and we seem to have had a series of these events in the last couple of weeks.

Gokey has been accident prone from birth.  His actual birth was about as smooth as it was rather quiet and peaceful and he came out calm and content...and hungry, just a snippet into what makes him tick!  I don't know if it's just that he is the second child and we just aren't as doting or concerned as we were with X-man or if he just always happens to constantly be at the receiving end of "the wrong place at the wrong time" scenarios, but this kid has been truly banged up in his short 16 months.  Let's 3 months he slid out of my lap during a middle of the night feed during which I just could not keep myself from dozing off, allowing him to tumble to the floor.  At 6 months he dove out of Daddy's arms after a diaper change and plummeted to the floor.  At 7 months, big brother generously opened the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the basement so Gokey could flip flop down first.  At 14 months he slipped head first into a large, very sturdy (sturdier than his noggin, anyway) coffee table that resulted in the largest knot I have ever seen on a forehead in my life.  In between all of these there have been numerous bumps, bruises, falls and scrapes...more so, it seems, than his brother ever had, and we truly hope that he never goes bald (although genetics are working against him in this area...thank you very much, Daddy, Grandpa Moose and Grandfather) because I am pretty sure he owns one of the lumpiest heads out there disguised with a very good head of hair at the moment.  there have been numerous occasions that I have looked to the heavens and proclaimed tearful "thank-you's" to an extremely overworked guardian angel, who somehow assists in keeping the kid relatively unscathed despite the traumas he stumbles through.

I am forever grateful to this angelic individual today for his devoted protection over the last couple of weeks.  The first of this series of events was one afternoon recently when the boys were getting antsy and I promised them after I finished up filling out a part request form online for one of their toys that pooped out prematurely, we would venture to the great outdoors.  X-man coaxed his little brother back to his bedroom so they could play until their promised adventure could be fulfilled.  I could hear them back there playing so nicely and then X-man emerged carrying an item kept in the top drawer of his dresser that he should not be able to reach.  I sternly scolded him, returned the item, closed the 3 of 5 drawers that he had opened in order to climb the dresser to his summit and explained to him that climbing his dresser is very dangerous and could hurt him very badly.  All the while, Gokey, rather oblivious to my presence, was playing with puzzles quietly on the floor.  X-man repeated my warnings, so it seemed they had been absorbed, I once again promised that I was almost done and we would soon go outside and returned to my internet ventures.  No sooner had my rear hit the chair, there was a massive, bone-chilling crash in the bedroom.  I launched into a panicked sprint to X-man's bedroom, my only comfort that I could distinctly hear 2 sets of screams, so at least both of my babies were alive.  I found X-man glued to the back wall opposite the dresser screaming in terror, where I assume he ran for cover after he began to climb again and watched the event unfold.  Poor Gokey was exactly where I had left him last playing with his puzzles, trapped from mid-back down.  I lifted the bulky dresser and scooped him up, immediately heading to the car to rush to the ER for fear of broken ribs and crushed organs.  X-man trailed behind me in tears, but by the time we reached the kitchen with my very calm, even-toned husband on the phone, Gokey's crying had stopped and he was happily babbling in my arms.  How?  The next day I expected to find the poor kid speckled with bruises and found nothing.  After calming poor X-man down and then myself, I returned to the bedroom to clean up broken glass from picture frames and return 2 very dazed pet mice, Pepper and Brisket, to their humble abode that had been flung to the floor in the crash.  A certain angel whispered in my ear to anchor that cumbersome piece of furniture to the wall...and we listened.

Last week, after I had moved on and stopped replaying "what-if's" in my head, we were back into our normal routine.  The boys, 2 of our dogs and I left to go on a long morning walk.  On these excursions, I usually take the double stroller.  Gokey perches up front, X-man rides his bike along until he tires and then the bike can fit between the front seat and the back jump seat where X-man can either ride or walk a dog if he chooses.  We were approaching the busiest street that we cross and though the speed limit is 40 mph, the average speed is usually much higher. As we were approaching, I was prepping X-man on the daily reminders to "stop, wait and look both ways when we get there," we slowed to a halt, I was instructing dogs to sit on their hineys and all of a sudden, to my horror, Gokey was zipping out of the front seat to make a dash for the street.  He is very rarely buckled in because he likes to hop on and off and stroll with us, but it's never been at such a critical moment and was never something I even let my worst-case-scenario radar ponder.  I snagged the giggling bandit before he even hit the street as a mini van zoomed by, completely oblivious to the near miss.  Despite the blazing sun and high morning temperatures, I spent the rest of that walk in another teary fog, knowing I would never forgive myself had something terrible happened.  A certain, now familiar angel whispered in my ear to buckle the daring darling in...and I listened.

Last weekend we visited my in-laws for the day on Saturday as J's Granny, Gokey's Godmother, was there visiting.  I had just relayed the story of Gokey's dash for traffic earlier in the week only an hour prior and was standing by the front door where I could watch the boys play with their cousin and neighbor boy on the adjacent porch and still participate in the conversations in the living room.  Someone asked the neighbor boy to recite his brother's names, a list that can be colossal in this small, Catholic community.  He spoke them very softly right outside the screen door, so I turned my head to relay the list to the living room.  As I turned back, I caught the horrific sight of Gokey once again making a break for the street, his end goal being the trampoline across the street belonging to the "Grandfatherly" neighbor who so generously lends out his yard's treasures to the neighborhood kids.  I yelped as he stumbled in his "toddler-jog" into the street behind a parked car as, yet again, a mini van (very prevalent in this prolific community) barreled down the street without the slightest notion that a tiny boy was about to toddle into it's path.  I launched into rescue mode immediately and thankfully, the van whizzed by just out of Gokey's reach and I subsequently scooped the giggling bundle into my arms.  The van hit the brakes when they realized the near-horror with a glance in their rear-view mirror to see me standing in the street squeezing the life out of the kid in a love-grip of relief.  This time it truly rocked me.  It was so close to horrible it makes my stomach turn thinking about it.  Several hours later, making the 2 1/2 hour trip home I finally broke down.  I thought I was watching...just a 2 second glance away and the entire scenario changed!  I have learned from Mr. Gokey's angel...I am trying to see ahead, but sometimes my ability to foresee is blurred.  I know I can't prevent every fall, bump and bruise...from the looks of it, I haven't prevented many. :)  It's no secret that I am a control freak, and realistically I understand that I cannot be there all the time, but there is not a mother out there that wouldn't feel endless guilt if something were to happen to their child when they weren't watching, but they could have been.

This lovely, wonderful angel is still whispering...I am pretty sure he has been all along.  Hold them, hug them, kiss them, tell them they are smart, adorable and them! Yes...I am listening.