Monday, February 28, 2011

Adventures in Parenting: What the Hell is with all the Screaming?

For those of you following along at home, we have a four-year-old and a one-year-old. Sometimes they are quiet and play nice. Sometimes.

Most of the time, though, that isn't the case. I'm sure any of you that have more than one child know what I'm talking about here. One could be playing with a toy and the other has nothing to do with it, and then sees the other one playing with that toy and now they've got to have it.

For example, Ava's playing with a train that Logan hasn't looked at all day. He sees and needs his train back. Or Logan's playing with one of Ava's toys and she wants it back. Since she doesn't understand yet, she screams and hits. Logan knows he's not supposed to hit, so he can't do anything about it and so he cries and tattles and yells. And of course if they're actually playing together, Logan's usually concerned that Ava's going to break or knock over or somehow wreck whatever they're playing with and so he starts getting vocal as soon as she gets near him.

This afternoon they were playing okay. They were at the train table, and as long as I was sitting right there everything seemed to be fine. Sure, Logan would hover protectively over Thomas and the 12 or so train cars he had trailing behind, afraid that Ava would knock them over, but I was able to keep him calm. I went upstairs to check on something and was upstairs for no more than two minutes and there was screams coming from both sides.

Then there's the fact that they just won't listen. Ava understands a surprising amount for her age, but there's a lot she doesn't understand. Plus, when she wants something, she doesn't give a rat's ass what you're trying to tell her. She just wants you to fork over whatever she wants NOW. Logan is a little stir crazy from being inside most of the winter, and he's testing his limits, seeing how far he can push us.

I really don't know what the point of all this is, other than to rant a little bit. Okay. I feel a little better now.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Some Thoughts on Snow Removal

Living in the greater Chicagoland area, we were hit by Snowpocalypse 2011 on Tuesday night/Wednesday. The official total for O'Hare airport, which is only a few miles away, was 20.2 inches. Due to all of the strong winds, accumulation on our driveway alone ranged from a couple inches to about chest high.

That's my car there, the drift next to it completely covered our garbage cans. The shallowest snow bank was directly in front of the car. The tallest was just past that. Between the garage in the far back and the tall drift in front of the car everything was 2-3 feet deep. All the stuff the plows pushed up on our driveway made the snow about 2.5-3 feet deep at the end of the driveway.

I managed to cut a single path from the garage to the street, clear a single path on the sidewalks, and start to clean out behind my car when the snowblower broke. From that point, it was shovel or be stranded. It took about 3 hours after the snowblower broke for us to clear just enough room to get the cars out onto the street.

While I was throwing shovelful after shovelful of snow over increasingly large piles, I had some thoughts about other methods of snow removal. Let me share them with you.

1. Pour out the rest of the gas for the broken snowblower, light a match and walk away. Possibly effective in the short term, but it wouldn't cover much area.

2. Take my father-in-laws space heater out of his room, plug it in, and set it on one of the drifts. His space heater isn't one of the ones that rattles and blows hot air and will cause a fire if you look at it wrong. His is one that's more like a radiator and creates ambient heat. While this might be somewhat effective, I didn't want to short out the heater, and wouldn't have had enough time for it to melt all the snow.

3. Dig out our little fire pit thingie, start a fire next to a snow drift, and move it around as the drift melted. The two big problems with this right off the bat would be digging out the fire pit and then digging out dry wood (if we have any at this point).

4. Body heat. When I got tired, I just sat down in the snow. While this was kind of comfortable, I was too bundled up for my heat to get through, and I was just compacting the snow instead of melting it.

Anybody have any good, or even not so good, ideas for snow removal?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

St. Jude Tike-A-Thon

Logan participated in the St. Jude Research Hospital Trike-A-Thon at this preschool last week. They were late getting the fund-raising packets so we were not able to collect donations before the event, but we are now! Logan completed 12 laps for the Trike-A-Thon and learned all about bike safety and earned his Trike License! He also learned about the incredible kids at St. Jude and how the Trike-A-Thon was going to help them get better!

If you are able to make a donation on his behalf we (and St. Jude's) would greatly appreciate it. I can't image what those parents and children go through and anything we can do to help, I am sure they will be forever grateful for.

Click on the link below to donate: