Monday, August 23, 2010

Priorities - It Took a Tornado to Set Them Straight!

What a great feeling to have a keyboard under my fingers again!  I'm so fortunate to be able to sit here, plugging away at my dilapidated laptop, and share my latest adventure with you.

Last Thursday, the town I live in experienced storms that would change many people's lives in a matter of just a few short minutes! Those monsters of nature knocked out our power for 73 of the LONGEST hours of my life. But those first 30 minutes were, by far, the worst, and had the most impact in my life!

What started out as a typical evening turned out to be not so typical after all! Shortly after finishing up our meal and clearing the table, I decided to run some quick errands, all of which would keep me within the same one square mile.  Familiar territory, or so I thought.

First stop - the Avon lady (I love my Avon lady) just 7 short streets away! Yay for me! I was picking up a secret reward for the boys - Wii accessories they've been asking for since Christmas when they got their game system.  And a bonus for me, new make up to make me feel better about myself now that I'm exercising and eat (mostly) healthy again.  As I was leaving I heard a familiar sound, but just what it was did not register in this tired-all-the-time brain. 

Next stop - my good deed for the day.  Off to the brother-in-law's to deliver some meatloaf and mashed potato left-overs for his Friday lunch. Just as I pulled into his driveway, that all too familiar sound got louder... MUCH louder... MUCH MUCH LOUDER!!! Holy crap shit! IT'S THE TORNADO WARNING SIREN!!! The run-down brain FINALLY kicked in! Oh, and how it kicked in!  I threw the left-overs at my brother-in-law, and at the same time called my hubby screaming like a banshee to get the boys to the basement... forgetting that they were already playing down there when I left the house.  Maternal instincts were running high. So high I wasn't thinking straight.

The very first thought in my mind is get my boys in the basement!! The very reasons for my being were in harm's way!  I just couldn't get home fast enough! The longest drive of my life... 2 streets over from where I was, about an eighth of a mile.  It felt like I would NEVER get there! "God", I bargained, "if You get me home safe I'll do anything for You.  Just let me hold onto my boys till the storm passes."

Made it home in just seconds.  Just as the car pulled into the driveway, the waring sirens stopped.   All clear! Thank God! I was so relieved I went in and kissed hubby and the boys. Thanking God all the while and thinking "Cool, I can finish up my errands and cross them off the list. Maybe I can even tackle a few other projects."

After a brief conversation with my husband, knowing that we were still under a tornado watch, I decided that I could make it to my niece's house and back -- less than 1 mile round trip -- BEFORE the rain came!  No big deal! Right? The sirens stopped, we were just gonna get some rain.... Ummm, no.

Being a girl from the east coast, I've lived through my fair share of hurricanes.  Piece of cake!  Tornadoes however are horses of a TOTALLY different color!  I was clueless what to expect when the tornado in question is about 5 miles from your house and headed in your direction.  Boy was I blond that night!!

I made it to my niece's house just in time for the thunder and lightning to start.  I traded her a cupcake carrier for some delicious peanut butter cookies and quickly hopped back in the car and headed for home. This time obeying the speed limit. After all, I had plenty of time, it wasn't raining yet and the thunder and lightning were still timed fairly far apart.  We're ONLY gonna get rain. What's the big deal?  Holy crap shit! I was SO wrong!!

Just as I rounded the bend the sky turned an eerie shade of greenish-gray; the very same color of sky just like in The Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch released the flying monkeys to scoop up Dorothy and crew.  Well, I thought, my babies are on the other side of the major road and I've got several more blocks to go.... I floored it all the way home, blowing through stop signs and a red light (luckily, there was no traffic at any of them). To hell with the speed limit, my babies are again in jeopardy!

Motherly adrenaline was working in over-drive! Made it home and into the basement with the rest of our family and we just held on for the bumpy ride. (Little did I know that when the power went out the second tornado was!) I kissed and hugged my children more that night more than I think I have kissed them in their entire lifetimes -- total -- combined.

When we emerged from the basement, Buddy, our six year old, looked out the front picture-window and asked why there was a tree in our usually vacant front yard. What??  We walked out on the porch, looked around and there were chunks of branches everywhere, the street was flooded and we were all in the dark.  But all of us, our neighbors included, were safe and no one lost their lives, their belongings or their homes.  We all learned the next day that two tornadoes blew through our neighborhood diagonally through the center.  They were each over three miles wide and two and one-half football fields deep, F-1 category.  We survived....

Moral of the story?  My priorities were knocked out of line early that night thinking errands were more important than staying and protecting my family. It took two tornadoes skipping through my backyard (and 73 hours in the dark) to set them straight! 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Namaste By Day is giving away a GORGEOUS bracelet!

If you haven't discovered her candid writings, please stop over and show some love to Namaste By Day. Great blog and an extra... she's hosting a Give Away of an absolutely gorgeous Coppin Gifts' signature daVinci bead bracelet! And wasn't I surprised to learn that one of HER favorite beads was a turtle. And those of you that know me know how I am about my TURTLES!!!

So stop on over to If I Can't Win DaVinci Beads... and tell her Just A Philly Girl sent you!

Peace, love & turtles,

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Devotion Is Over

Dear Messrs. Hershey and Coca-Cola,

I'm writing today to inform you that I am leaving you and officially ending our love triangle. I know it will be hard for you both survive without me and it won't be easy for me either, but I must move on. It's not that I don't love you, it's just that you are slowly killing me, draining me of my energy and you're keeping me from sleeping through the night. You have repeatedly kept me from exercising and taking care of my health.

Our time together was, to say the least, among the happiest of my life. But  that happiness has faded into the sunset. You see, I've got three wonderful men in my life who matter more to me that you two do. But the most important thing that matters is that I am here for my men, the big one and the two little ones. So I've decided to walk away, not looking back.

Please don't cry or make a fuss, don't call and don't write.  I'm NOT taking you back no matter how much you beg! I'm sure in just a short time, you will find someone else to love, but for us it is over!  From here on in, I'll be spending more time chasing around my two darling boys and enjoying life with husband as we all get fit and stay that way. 

Have a wonderful life... just not with me!


Just a Philly Girl

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Wanna Write a Children's Book... I Must be Certifiable!

Several month's ago, Kelly DiPucchio came to my son's school to speak about what it's like to write children's books. Holy cow! I didn't know when I volunteered to help with getting the students shuttled in and out of the Media Center that, by the end of the morning, I'd have the writing bug. It didn't jump out at me right away. It sat, festering inside of me. Lingering, just waiting for the right moment to start screaming like a banshee "Let me out! Let me out! And let me start writing!"

About a month ago, it hit me like a tons of bricks. I want, no, I NEED, to write a book. So like any good and semi-intelligent person would do I googled "Writing Children's Books" and came back with so much information my head was spinning. Was I crazy? What was I thinking? I can't do this. My work isn't any good. I can't limit my book to 1,000 to 1,500 words. I'll never be a writer! Hogwash!

Later that evening while chatting with the hubby, I asked him what he thought if I told him I wanted to write a children's book. His reply was less than stellar. In fact, he looked at me like I was, in fact, certifiable! *Poof!* Went the dream. Or so I thought!

The next morning, I sat down and wrote 676 words of my story. I am so proud of my accomplishment so far. The book sits unfinished to date due to having a life outside of my computer. But I've already asked my cousin's daughter (who I've never metbut have seen her amazing work) to be my illustrator. She is an uber-gifted artist! Now I have even more reason to finish the book since now the world knows I'm writing it!

Do I know if it will ever be published? No. Do I hope it will be? Yes indeed! It's my dream, my heart's passion. And I'm running with it! Let's hope I don't trip along the way and fall flat on my face!!

A PTA Mom's Delight

Well, we just had our Summer Brain Storming meeting for my oldest son's school PTA. What a GREAT group of ladies that are a part of this community. In the span of a few hours we laughed and we cried, we shared crazy stories of our summers so far. So many things going on in all of our lives. So much tragedy and some happy news too. It was the highlight of the week so far... Not bad since it was only Monday!

It always amazes me how a group of women coming from different backgrounds who are all so different in so many ways can be so similar at the same time. These women amaze me! I have learned so much about being a mom to a school-age child just from one school year with these ladies!

Hit a wall with a behavior issue? At least ONE of these gals has walked in my shoes. Need the name of a good dentist or doctor? Just ask and you'll get a list as long as your arm. It's so nice to be able to have friends to go to for HONEST advice. A real sense of loving community!

Amazingly heartwarming for a girl who's transplanted from Philly to the mid-west! Who'd have thunk it?? Not me!

The Most Unbelievable Blue Eyes I’ve (Ever) Never Seen

That’s right, you read the title correctly, it does say NEVER. Those eyes, you see, belong to the most precious being I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of… my precious princess, Samantha Marie.

My princess was born way too early on a dreary morning in mid-November of 2001. Twenty-four and a half weeks into my pregnancy, “slim chances of survival” were the doctor’s words to my husband and I. But the little princess beat the odds, well sort of. She patiently waited 4 full days water my water broke before deciding it was time to meet her Mama face-to-face.

What a scary day! One minute going for an amnio, the next minute being prepped for a c–section delivery. The dreams I dreamed of for my child were all coming to a potential end. Born at 10:36 AM and weighing a mere 1 and ½ pounds, my precious auburn haired little girl came into the world.

Being SO tiny and SO premature, Samantha never truly opened her eyes… but I know they were a blazing blue! Mama and Daddy both have deep blue eyes and for those that know your basic science that only means one thing, Baby Girl definitely was going to have blue eyes, just like her brothers to come after her.

That evening when I got to hold her tiny frame I my arms, all I could do was stare at her eyes. And somehow I knew she could see me, only something another mother in my position could understand.

It’s been 8 and ½ long years since that day, but when I close my eyes I can still see her blazing baby blues!