Wednesday, December 26, 2007

merry christmas & I'm in Florida!

Christmas is over...we packed the car and headed south...arrived in St Petersburg, Florida this morning at 10 am...sunny, and 80...more later!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The mean old bus driver was right!

Reality check time.  My junior high group this year is a group of perfectly normal teens.  Mostly skater (sk8r!!) boy types who on occasion will bring their skateboards on the bus and have learned to hand them over to me for safe keeping or face a long cold walk home.  Some wear tight ripped jeans (rumor has it they shop in the girl's section), have long hair with bangs, mostly harmless lads who just wanna skate and have fun.  Last week I observed (bus driver lingo) a few of them on a pond near the bus stop.  I scolded them and told them that they had no idea how thick the ice was yet.  And I did not want to fish them out before my morning coffee.

Flash to this past Friday evening a 19 year old fell through some ice in a town near mine.  The current dragged him to the middle of the pond trapping him...his body was not found for two hours.  He was gone.

Flash to this morning, of course me being a mother (nag, "I told you so") I asked if said skater boy had heard the news.  He said yes...thought for a moment and said, "yeah but that ice was deep, our pond is only 2 feet deep!"  WOW!  the young!

So cute yet so stupid!

Also, the bus Gods have been pleased with me, I no longer am doing a alternative school route, I now have an extra 2 hours break in the afternoon.  Yippeee!~


*** we are driving to Florida, my hubby used to drive over the road and we once made it to Los Angeles in 36 hours, we will be leaving Christmas evening & heading home on January 4th***

I am open to any J-land meetings!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

where's the time gone?????

Neither snow nor sleet nor rain, nor dark of night has kept this bus driver from her duties.  That being said this is actually the first day since the Thanksgiving break that I have had time to come J-land.  Please forgive my absence, I miss you all.

I have been one busy girl   Along with my regular bus duties, I have had a few extra trips added, along with our Christmas party for work last Saturday.  This year Liz and I have also chose to make many of our gifts.  Great for the soul plus the added benefit of sitting down and creating. 

Things are well here, Mark has found a winter job hauling mail for a nearby company.  He worked there a few winters ago and they have great respect for his work ethic.  This is good news for this job is an answer to much prayer.  He loves his regular job, but construction being as it is, slow, we must think of ways to keep an income going during the slow times.  He plans on going back to his regular job in April.  He starts this job in January.

Our plan for the holidays is to leave Illinois for Florida on Christmas evening.   We will be gone for 10 days, I long for the sun and the sand, not to mention the time spent with my dad.  He is still a young 70 and is very excited about our coming.

Otherwise every one is fine here.  The grand kids will be here next weekend, my son Eric is thinking about taking a job in Wisconsin traveling for Menards, the older sons are laid off also, but have a stand by job for a company that plows snow for O'Hare airport.   Having children in their twenties is like watching a play, you sit and watch, clap, sigh and hope for a happy ending.

I am glad I am the age I am.  I tend to look at the bright side of my life now.  When I have a situation at work  I tend to look for the humor, especially with kids.  Just last week a group of 8 th grade boys were out on an icy pond at their bus stop...I told them to pleeeeeeeease stay off as they did not know how thick the ice was.    I did not want to fish them out of the cold water so early in the morning.  They gave me a hard time, but stayed off the ice at least in the morning.

I know there are many who are feeling great loss and sadness this time of year, but please please remember you are loved, there is always something to be learned each day and this too shall pass, God bless!



Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Thanksgiving break was both fun and full of rest.  I used a couple of the days to just unplug and rest my brain.  The stress of dealing with a bus load of kids and daily traffic has a way of wearing on a person.  The break was a welcome one.

The food was plentiful and spending time with the kids was great too. 

Dakota on Thanksgiving day...

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The grandsons all had colds and drippy noses.  Dayton is cutting molars so he's especially drippy.  Isn't he cute all snotty and red!???

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Jacob loves girls and has a crush on one of Liz's girlfriends.  He also spent a lot of time with my son Tim's girlfriend Kristin on Thanksgiving day..  He's a smart boy, she can cook!

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The boys came over Saturday night for a sleepover.  I have been helping an older lady and she had asked me to come over Saturday night for a couple of hours.  Mark stayed with the babies and even got them to put vicks on their throats.  Kept them from coughing all night! 

Sunday was a bit hairy as it's been freezing here, too cold to play at the park.

I only have three weeks until my Christmas break.  I have been packing in as many extra hours as possible.  Next week I have three extra trips. 

Still planning a trip to Florida over far so good....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

happy thanksgiving...

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Dakota, a few weeks ago...

I am enjoying a well deserved day off...Both Monday and Tuesday nights I had sports trips that lasted until 8:30 in the evening.  The weather has been awful, rainy, and cold and now snow is expected.  I actually enjoyed the trip the basketball time was polite and well behaved.  I am actually off work until Monday.

We are going to Jeremy and Tracey's house for Thanksgiving.  This is odd in that last year we were not allowed, because Mark's ex was going to be there.  Now she is coming in the morning so we are invited for dinner.  We are very civil to one another, but kids even as adults have weird ideas about relationships.  I was surprised by this invite.  I heard about it in the middle of buying my Thanksgiving dinner on Monday morning.  At first I was mad, thinking we were only being invited as after thoughts, but my better judgement took over, and was actually relieved, less cooking for me!  I put most of the dinner back on the shelves, saved the Turkey, he was on sale.  Him, I will cook Friday.

The boys will be here Saturday night.  I miss them a lot and I know having grandma time is so important to them too.


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Dayton...same day...

So today I am grateful and blessed.  I will be with all my children tomorrow.  And I give God the Glory!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Being Thankful

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Hubby & the wedding reception.

I am finally having a free Saturday to sit at one of my favorite computer and catch up with J-land.  This is a busy time of year and it seems to be getting earlier than ever!  Christmas music in the air & lights up are one thing, but those balloon things up in people yards is too, too much!  At least let's enjoy fall people!

My entry today is all about being thankful...I tend to freak out less when I remind myself of what I have and where I've come from...I am one blessed girl, but still tend to hang out in the land of fear.  Not a nice place for sure...

My family and friends are so important to me.  I tend to not nurture my friendships, usually back away from letting people get too close, but I think I have matured and grown out of that.  I am even letting people hug me, weird...but nice.  I have some old friends that work with now.  It's so wonderful to have them around.

Last Sunday went to a small store front church with a girl at was a very, very powerful experience for me.  God has always been good to me, me not so good back.  I tend to be a control freak and try and plan out everything in my life.  Not so easy, but I am learning (again) to step back do what I can and let God do the rest. 

I am off work Wednesday through Sunday!  Monday & Tuesday and 5 hours school days, and I do have a sports trip Monday night.  BUT I made sure I have off the rest of the week.  To be filled with family, food and fun...I've earned the time off.

I am also thankful that my hubby is working today.  Saturday work has been no where to be found this construction season & with a short week next week we are very blessed to have this extra work. 

I truly believe, but have a hard time practicing, that what we focus on we become.  Today I am focusing on my wonderful life, and while I still have some problems they will all work out in the is good.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bobby's wedding

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My children...Liz, Eric, Tim and I...

I've known Bobby's father since I was a teen going to the local pool and he was a life guard.  Bobby always played sports with my boys so his mom and dad became fast friends of ours during our 'going to the kid's sports' days.   Bobby's mom now works with me and we have always had a warm friendship.  After college my son Tim & Bobby shared a house along with a few other guys.  When it was time for Bobby to get married he chose my son to be his best man.

The wedding was this past Saturday.  And I have to say the wedding was beautiful, but the reception was awesome...very very fun.  These kids wanted to put a good party and they succeeded.

I danced!  To Britney Spears!   But sorry no dirty dancing, that was saved for the over 60 crowd!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

fall fun

Grabbing a moment to share my family fall fun from last weekend.  I am doing this to remind myself just how blessed I am.  I will be by to visit very soon!!

Thank you all for being my online friends!



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Dakota, Dayton & Jacob.  It's nearly impossible to get them all to stand still to snap a group picture.



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Baby Dayton is getting so big!

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It's hard to see with the shadows but this is grandpa and the two big boys.  We had a great time with the leave pile!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hallween, work and too much sugar!


My busy life, filled with work, family and of course FUN!


Jacob...he was all hugs and smiles this weekend!

Way too busy!

My work schedule is nothing like years past.  Gone are my lengthy breaks, no more Wednesday midday's off.  I am lucky to get an hour in the am, and a short break in the pm.  The morning break have been being used for errands.  Now I know how normal working people feel...but work is good so I do not complain.  

Some days I am lucky to get a quick nap in one of the seat in the school bus!  Thank God for cell phones with alarms...

I survived Halloween, always a chore for educators and anyone who deals with children.  And to top the week off there was  threat of violence at one of high schools so my normally fearless junior high kids were freaking out and spreading their own rumors, which I put an end to.  Thankfully we had no school yesterday, hopefully the candy will be gone and the kids can go back to their less sugared up selves.

We went with the grand kids trick or treating.  It was very entertaining to see their excitement. 


Jacob and Dakota were Knights...

Dayton the Dragon of course!   or the Candy monster, take your pick.

The kids were here overnight yesterday.  Thank God grandma gets an extra hour of sleep tonight.  Next week proves to be even busier for me, with an evening trip for work Monday, and I have started a part time job one evening a week helping a senior, Wednesday I am subbing for a friend.   But I have my eye on the prize...Christmas break...on the beaches of St Petersburg, Florida for a visit with dad!

Stay safe!




Saturday, October 20, 2007

too warm for fall

The weather is extremely warm here in the Midwest for mid October.  Today was a lovely 75, tomorrow promises to be warmer.  The trees which should be a blaze with color are just now, reds, yellows.  I know this because my son Eric will be 23 on the 24th and I remember coming home with him from the hospital to a lovely autumn show.   Every time in the past I tried to have an outdoor birthday party for Liz or Eric it was so cold we froze. 

Today I watched the grand kids at their house, Mark's ex was there in the morning.  They baked ... I reaped the rewards...yummy cupcakes and cookies.  We were cordial, I have little regard for her as a person, she is the type that never takes responsibility for her actions, ever.  But I do show respect to her, she is my stepkid's mother.  Later the boys and I played outside and then indoors in their bedroom.  Jacob did not want me to leave.  

Dakota is officially growing up.  He posed for this shot at the farm and he no longer says, "me" when referring to himself, he now says "I".  The little guy is growing up!


So far this has been a great weekend...Mark even took a walk around the neighborhood with me!  Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Liz turns 19

Tomorrow my girl turns 19.  Wow does time fly by.  Seems only a while ago we were playing Barbie & doll house...her favorites.

My niece happened to have these pictures posted to here face book blog.  She must have a scanner, I do not. 

This is Liz's first Christmas.  Look at how lovely my hair is....a grown out perm dyed reddish...I was a single mom of three, no job, living with my parents...

This must be when Liz was around 1 or so...with my niece, Jeni...still living with my folks, except now my brother (Jeni's dad) and nephew live with us & my folks.   Saints they were!

The child never liked to wear clothes...Looking back I realize how faith and a lot of hard work can bring a little family into a wonderful life.   My children and I have come so far!

My kid today...she designed this bouquet in floral design last school year.  Sometimes I do believe she raised me.  She is an old soul and wise beyond her years.  She is my idol, my heart and I am so very proud to be her mother.

Happy Birthday Liz!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A boy & his ruff


If you look on Bandit's head you can see he even held onto Dakota's motorcycle guy for him...smiling the whole time.....

Saturday, October 13, 2007

working for a living....

I am finally able to take a moment to update!  My work schedule has become so full that I have only bits and moments of time to jump on the computer!  Mark and I both have been blessed with extra hours.  YAY!

I had the boys all last weekend.  It was very hot, 90's, but we had already planned a trip to the Pumpkin Farm.  Mark was working so Liz came with me.  The boys had a blast.  I am the type that would rather see them enjoy whatever they choose at this type of place rather than run through and see every thing...they were able to play in the corn, dig in the sand, climb a straw bale pile.  We took a ride in a wagon pulled by 2 draft horses.  The man who was steering the horses  let the kids sit up front with him.


Lucky Grandma had great timing too.  The farm was having a special event complete with Monster Trucks.  Jacob's favorite Gravedigger was there! 

The day was topped off with yummy Apple cinnamon donuts!  Go Grandma!!


Sunday, September 30, 2007

the weekend....

The nice thing about being a grandma and a mother of grown children is that most weekends are mine...well, mostly...I do have a husband too!

I have been mostly wandering around my house, doing this and that.  Weekends like this are nice, they recharge the soul.

My husband is very sports minded.  Today he is flipping between the Chicago Bears, Nascar racing and golf...yawn!....he would be watching the Cubs if they were playing...after all the Cubbies have won their division!   The Cubs have long been known to be cursed and haven't won the world series in forever.  Cubs fans are going nuts.  I used to follow them way back when I was a child...I even kept a score sheet while I watched the games.  I could name the whole team, one of the players, Ernie Banks came to my grade school.  He had a motto each year...that year it was the Cubs will shine in 69.  boy that does age me.  I think I still have his autograph.

Today would have been my mother's 69th birthday.  She's been gone for 8 years.   Time is a weird feels like so long ago...but I can still feel her all around me.  She is missed.

It's still unseasonably warm here in the Midwest, but no complaints from me.  Liz and I went to the nearby Methodist church this morning.  I've gone many times over the years.  I tend to be a wanderer when it comes to church too.  We went to the contemporary soon as I walked in an older lady I've know forever grabbed me and hugged me.  "Thanks, Donna"  hugs are always welcome.  She promptly scolded me for my wet hair.  I love that.

We all could use more hugs!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I am feeling much better today.  The weather has been an unseasonably hot, 90's and sitting in a big yellow tube all day can get to road construction has been horrible.  Yesterday I saw a little car try to driver under a semi trailer...needless to say he didn't make it.  My midday preschool route is growing and is now up to 24.  I no longer have Wednesday mid days off so now I am having to actually work for my pay.  That's ok, it forces me to manage my time better.

Today is much cooler and  the headache I had from the weather change is now gone. 

A video game name "Halo 3" came out yesterday so that was the topic of my junior high route.  This kept them occupied the 10 minute trip to school.  I have had to use much humor in keeping them in line.  They were allowed to stand last year and I told them to stop living in the past that the rule is sit while the bus is moving.

Being creative is also useful for grade schoolers.  There has been a war going on in the back of the bus between the older and younger kids.  I only have 20 kids total on the bus, but kids are kids.  I solved this by assigning a day for each grade level, starting with first grade.   They each get their own day to sit in the coveted back seats.  So far so good.

A couple of days ago my neighbor who is 5 and rides my bus yelled at my daughter, who was sitting on a bench in the yard, out his window.

----"hey girl!  do you know that my bus driver lives in your house??"

see they can be cute after all!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ovarian Cancer awareness

September is Ovarian Cancer month...we have a friend who passed away from the silent killer nearly 5 years ago.  She wasn't diagnosised until she was already stage 3. 

Every year her husband has a bike run/fund raiser for the hospital that she was treated at, for research and treatment of others. 

Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day.  We started at a Harley Davidson dealer a few towns from here.  There were over 200 bikes that traveled the 15 miles to a VFW in another town.  There is nothing like the roar of 200 bikes!

Her motto was turning a whisper into a roar...

here is a copy of the poem she wrote when she got sick...she was truly a hero!

Turning a Whisper into a Roar

I never thought I would get it, so healthy I lived my life,
It snuck up upon me, a whisper, oh the strife.
I did not know Ovarian Cancer, I did not know its signs,
So much I've learned since then, I've read so many lines.

There is no magic dust, no magic cure for me,
Like so many others, it wasn't caught till Stage 3C.
So there were surgeries and chemos, there were doctors and nurses you'd adore
It would have been nice to meet them through a totally different door.

I saw the fear and pain within my mother's eyes,
My husband was so supportive, holding me for those needed cries.
I knew I had a fight ahead, so courage I had to muster,
There was no time for half-baked schemes or anything lackluster.

They say Ovarian Cancer is a Silent Killer, that it whispers as it spreads,
Too many have been dying, too many now-empty beds,
I knew I had to yell, to scream from a mountaintop,
To bring awareness out there, no one could make me stop.

There is no detection test, a pap smear does not do it,
We have to come upwith one, we have to see to it.
And therefore the awareness run was born, a run with cars and bikes,
To have some fun and raise some funds, so others wouldn't have to fight.

Through many sponsorships and donators, a successful event we had,
We hope to make it annual, for this I am truly glad.
If this event saves one person, our efforts haven't been in vain
Research dollars and awareness are what we have to gain.

So many special people, so many special friends,
I've been so blessed in life to have support that never ends.
I'd like to take this time to thank you, for the many things I am thankful for,
But especially to thank you for helping me Turn a Whisper into a Roar!

Dorene Gae Knapp

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A very long month

This has been a very long beginning to school.  Most likely because I had no real break for summer I feel like I have been driving forever.  I am sure most people who work normal 9 to 5 jobs must think I am feeling sorry for myself...true, but usually my self pity is very short lived.  I am always the first to leave a pity party....too boring!

My routes are behaving... finally.  Usually the first few weeks are either the honeymoon period or a period of testing.  Rarely do I have a honeymoon group.  This year is no different.

I have been very busy at work, but I love my job and the perks are great.  I think we have at least two paid days off next month.

But there are days when I am emotionally burned out.  It's a rough world out there, so fast too.

The kids were here last night into today.  They are growing so fast.   Jacob will be going to school next fall!  They are becoming quite firm in their personalities too.

Remember last year when Jacob would hide when the camera came out?  Now he poses for me!

But a few behaviors, such as telling me no, (a big no no, I remind them who they are speaking to),  and thinking they can boss me around have to checked at the door.

Dakota does not like his picture taken, I always try and remember that he is still only 2, won't be 3 until December.   He tends to be the one doing most of the bossing around.  He also has no tolerance for Dayton the baby...but Dayton is becoming quite the bully himself.  But as with my own kids they fight and make up quickly.

Dayton who at 15 months still has to be watched like a hawk as he is into everything... his head tends to lead when he walks, resulting in a few crashes.

The weather has been great, the men are working as is Liz...the bills are getting paid and there's food on the is good.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

At my job we have over 100 drivers &  at least 50 bus monitors.   They discourage us from working over 40 hours as the school district does not like to pay overtime.  We can work over 40, but they don't like it.  Actually I am paid twice per month and they figure out my contracted hours and then divide them by how many pay periods we work.  That way we get paid over spring and winter break.  It works it very nice for us.

Everything is by seniority and they have some goofy formula to figure out how to award trips.  Trips are a hot commodity as they are easy money and usually put a person into over time.  I bid a bunch for next Saturday and won a soccer trip toward Chicago in Lyons Township which is near the Brookfield Zoo.  It's all 4 high school grades so it should last all day...which is sweet.

Work has been extremely slow for my husband as it's rained every week including this one.  Bums him out, but throughout our marriage one or the other of us is usually doing most of the work load.  I wish the weather would behave he makes twice as much money as I do ;)  Things always balance out...

Today's midday went well again with the exception of one kid that is a very large 3 year old.  Mom said he'd cry and he whimpered a bit when we did our drop at the school.  He was fine after he got off.  Most usually are.  School is just too much for some.

I did have one little guy behind me pretending to be shooting a gun, most boys including my own, and my grandsons love guns.  When mine were young I was into being more of an Earth momma, I am still bit of a hippie.  My kids were breastfeed and I made all their baby food.  I was very anti guns.  My sons had other ideas, they used to make guns out of the mega legos, Tim once took a bit out of a saline and began shooting.  Jacob uses race tracks for guns....::::sigh:::: my daughter never did that.

My day went much smoother, I only got yelled at by one mom.  She wanted to be sure I had her kid seat belted before I went the 3 houses down from her to pick up the next stop.   Yesterday I was extremely late, we only belt pre schoolers to keep them tied down for everyone's good.  Seat belts are not mandatory in buses.  That is another subject up for debate.  I feel little ones should be belted in because they tend to stand up, BUT I also feel children are perfectly save in a bus.  Having 50 kids in seat belts is a nightmare.  Imagine a burning bus and one person trying to be sure 50 kids unbelted and got off the bus safely???   I once heard people stating they feel the only reason there aren't seatbelts in all the seats of buses is because of money.  Not's because no bus drive wants to liable for seeing to it that 50 kids are belted in. 

Ok, I am off my soapbox.

The kids are coming over tomorrow night, they will be here until Saturday afternoon.  I have milk, peanut butter and 'ookies...grandma's ready!

Oh the kid in the U-tube clip is fine, once they knocked him out and straightened out his arm he was in less pain.  He's only upset that his football career is most likely least for this year.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Thanks to two older brothers Dayton has played with anything with wheels since he could grab them...complete with sound effects....usually involving spit.

I am spending next Saturday with them, then to the yearly county fair for a date with Hubby.

Today was my first full day of routes.  In the morning I go in later than last year but after my routes I shuttle a girl to the other high school for a class.  Still my morning is a short one.

Today my midday was living hell...the main highway to my first pick up is now full of strip malls and large department stores.  At every entrance is a stop light.  About a mile from my first pick up is a new Menards/JC Penneys/Office Depot complex.  This line of intersections have been a work zone for months.  I went through there yesterday (in my car) with no problem.  Today the road was down to one lane, took me extra time and of course I was then very late.  This after leaving base (where we keep our buses) early.

Parents of pre schoolers, especially the first day are antsy.  Mine were no different.  Fortunately my group  of 20 are quiet and well behaved.  Many are not from our country, but they do know who Sponge Bob is!

My monitor and friend Julie has been with me for this being our third year.  The girl is a saint.   She understands children and most of all me!  It was also hot today...and I had hot flashes...YAY!

I was supposed to do another shuttle after my pre school route but I was too late. 

I am getting over 40 hours per week.  My husband has been praying for extra hours for us...ok now he needs to pray for him to get extra work, I am tired...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

U tube & the boy's brother's broken arm


I don't know if I did this right, but Tim and Eric's half brother broke his arm a few weeks ago at football scrimmage.  It's pretty gross so if your screamish don't look...the goofy kid posted it on U-Tube

the water is receding

We explained to Jacob that the park had flooded so we would have to play at the grade school.    After a bit he wanted to know why our park was floated.I think he finally understood after Liz explained to him the difference between flooding and floating.  At least I think he did.  You never know, that child has a memory that goes on forever.  He'll come in pretty handy, because mine is really going to hell.


Happy days at the park before the flood. 

Jacob told me the other day that Dakota dropped his flame sunglasses in the driveway and mommy ran them over....the little trooper told me he'd glue them and they'd be fine.   Always Mr junior fix-it that kid.

This morning my husband was outside mowing the lawn and I came out to read the newspaper.   Afterward he joined me as we sat on the lawn chairs which were located near our garbage cans.  I went inside for a moment when suddenly he came running in the house telling me that as we sat enjoying small talk a young opossum had been laying in the garbage can amid the empty pizza boxes deposit by my kid. 

Poor guy just looked up at me as if to say, "come on lady, I got in this thing now get me out!".  We freed him and off he went.   Living by the river we have all sorts of creatures hanging around our home.  I hear the town nearby has had at least 20 rabid bats that have been hanging around people's homes.  One old granny was bit by one.   Right now with all the rain we have huge spiders building their webs in our bushes outside our windows.  They look scary but I know they are harmless, but try telling my big stepson that.

My front yard has become quite the habitat for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, I have even spied a finch or two.   I gave up on trying to weed it.  The weeds are happy enough living amongst the hostas and ivy.

Enjoy your Labor Day!




Friday, August 31, 2007

Schools in....

Schools started Wednesday ... I have two challenging groups but fortunately I now know to be proactive in making sure the rules are enforced.

My junior high group is large and a bit smart assy, thinking if they told me that last years driver made special drop offs I would actually care  and do it also...NOT.  Kids today are way to lazy and a short walk to their homes from a bus stop is NOT unfair or child abuse.

The kids came over last night ... we went to the park and fun was had by all...

Tracey is learning to cut hair.  We are going to a wedding tomorrow and I really needed a trim.  This afternoon she trimmed my hair, next week she learns how to layer.  My hair needs some layers so next week I will have layers.  I have some pretty handy kids!  They make cute kids too!


Dakota, the kids never stand still enough for me to take any good pictures.  they will be back next weekend...I'll try again!

Friday, August 24, 2007

water, water everywhere....

We had major flooding in my part of the world this past week.   Chicago proper and the northern suburbs had many old trees down and loss of electric power.  Some of these trees are very old and landed on cars and people's homes.  I feel so blessed that our large trees did not come down.

As for us we only had a little water in our old basement.  Our basement is limestone filled with the height of the storm last night a big stream of water squirted in through the limestone.  It looked like someone stuck a hose in the wall and turned on the water.  Luckily it landed in the old water softener and only lasted a few minutes before it stopped.  We do not use our basement for anything of value so fortunately nothing was lost.

Today during my dry run for my new route, which is in my own neighborhood, I watched people walking around the river that is about two blocks from my home.  It is the Fox river and the park I take the boys to is underwater.  

This evening I took a walk to the library and took this picture of the pathway to the park.

On the right side of the picture is a creek that runs into the river.  Tomorrow I will go take some day time shots.  This pathway leads to the park.

It was too dark to take pictures of the park that was totally under water.  The Fox River is still rising so it will be a while before the park will be usable again. 

I have been very busy this week with trips.  Yesterday one of the two storms that came through hit just as I was getting ready to pick up my girls tennis trip.  It was canceled of course, but I was still paid for three hours. 

As I said we bid on our trips and I am pleased with the one I got.  The grade school kids are my own neighborhood so they shall be easy to deal with.  Kids usually don't like to misbehave when they know their neighbor is taking them to school.

Tomorrow I head toward the city (Chicago) with the freshman football team.  I know it will be a muddy messy affair and I will not be taking my own bus as it is down for repairs.  It sat all summer and the safety gate in the front of the bus has stopped working.  It's in the morning so I will have the rest of the weekend to relax.  School starts Wednesday and I am very ready for a routine.  Hope this rain stops soon so my son and husband can go back to their routine!

I hear the 10 year drought in Texas is over!!  anybody want me to send some water your way???!!!


Saturday, August 18, 2007

saturday...wish it was sunny

Yesterday was a glorious sunny coolish (high 70's) low humidly day & of course I was stuck indoors in an all day meeting for work.  That's ok though it was a paid all day meeting. 

I had trips early in the week and they all went well.  Today I went to our base/work and looked over the many routes for this coming school year.  I have about 10 picked out.  I usually get close to what I want as many driver do not like to drive junior high kids.  I prefer them to high school as they still have some innocence and respect for authority.   Bidding is Tuesday morning.  This process takes forever...but it's fair. 

Next week I have four trips again.  I am off Monday and Friday, but I will have to drive a dry run of my routes after we pick them on Tuesday, so I will need to fit that in.  And I work Saturday morning.  Three of the trips are for sports: soccer, tennis and freshman football.  I have no clue as to why none of the senior drivers bid on any of the trips this next week  except maybe they don't want to come off summer break early.

Again fine by's easy money.

Last night my son called me to tell me his 9th grade half brother got hurt in his football scrimmage.  The poor kid's arm was broken so bad it was shaped like an S.  Tim called me this morning and said his brother is doing fine, it got reset to the poor kid's relief and he will be in a full arm cast for 6 weeks.

I get along well with my son's father.  We have been divorced since 1985 and we both worked hard to get along.  His wife is fine too.   Forgive and good comes from holding grudges for things that have changed and are long over.  Their dad and I should never had been together in the first place...we are total opposites.  We are much better people apart.  We have both proved time and time again that we are good parents to our children.  They even used to invite Liz over when she was a wee one.  And after I got married to Mark his kids often went with my boys to their dads for visits.  There is a fine line that has to be kept to avoid weirdness, but things have turned out fine.

Tim is the one who was in the softball tournament last weekend.  They got third and are going to the State finals.

It's over Labor day, and we have a wedding to go to ... but I'd still like to try and go and cheer my kid on...I never tire of being my kid's number one fan!

Tim is in the front row third from the right behind the trophy.



Monday, August 13, 2007

The weekend

Hiccup boy did stop..& did go to sleep, but awoke at 6:00 am.  Thankfully, Liz had worked the night before and came home in time to give me a 1 hour nap. 

Saturday Mark worked so my mission was to play, play and play with the grandsons.

First we went to the store, then to the most favorite park...


Look closely and see baby Dayton's little size 4 black crocs!  He still hasn't mastered the idea to sit down and slide!

We then went home, ate lunch, took a nap, played in the pool...afterward we headed to my son Tim's softball tournament.  More playground and then home to another bath and bed...guess who slept 11 hours!???  oh I did too!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Did you know that a one year old can hiccup for 90 straight minutes?

Yes, he can, I experienced it first hand at 2:30 am....


Friday, August 10, 2007

2 snoring childlren

Two of the three grand babies are snoring away ... .  Mark's ex was at it again, knowing we were going to have the boys she tried to get Dakota and Jacob to come to her trailer ... Jacob refused.  She is a repeat offender and only asks for them on the weekends she knows we will have them here.  Oh well, Jeremy is going to bring Dakota over tomorrow as he feels it too hot for him.  They have a wedding that Tracey is in so the boys will be here until Sunday.

It was most likely for the best as Jacob feel asleep at 8:00 on the couch and after a walk/run with his short stumpy legs Dayton had a bath and a bottle and passed out. 

After not working all week my husband is working tomorrow...time and a half...weird, but I am thankful.  Seems a job they weren't going to do because of some union B.S. they are now doing.

I made a deal with my husband if he got a winter driving job (he gets laid off in January and we try and survive on his unemployment and my income) I'd bid on every extra trip at work...this week I did.  AND for next week I have a trip every single day!

So much for my summer off...that's ok, we really need the money and I don't mind.  One of the trips is to a water park, and another is to a mini golf course.  The other two are to nearby pools.  And Friday we have our all staff meeting for work.

I never turn down work.  now my husband has to keep up his end of the deal!

Better hit the bed, the boys love to be early raisers

Thursday, August 9, 2007

what day is it??

The biggest problem I have with not working a regular route is a routine.  I am a creature of habit, and tend to wander if I don't have to be anywhere at any certain time.  The weather has been down right tropical with rain everyday.  The heat and humidly makes for a sauna effect outdoors.  I don't mind. The other evening I walked to the library and pictured the downtown area as it would be during our annual Christmas walk.  It's usually freezing and/or snowing.   That thought cooled me right down and while I enjoy fall, winter in the Midwest is too long.  I am a more the warm climate type.  I am not whining about the heat, it's just the rain.   Oh well this too shall pass.

I worked yesterday.  There are six schools that house the day care groups during the summer.  Every Wednesday they all go to a nearby water park.  The kids love it.  During the ride there one kid decided to freak out after the teacher told another aide that he would be 'watching' over him during the stay at the park.  This kid screamed "I don't want anyone to watch me!"  Two kids nearby egged him on, which didn't help.  I just smiled, kids freaking out is not a bother to me.

On the way home though, the kid came on the bus with a big gauze patch over his eye.  Ooopsy, see kid that's what happens when you freak! 

Today, I am still doing some cleaning/throwing away of papers.  I tend to save papers, they have no use but I do come by it honestly, my grandmother was a hoarder, she came from the "old country" Czechoslovakia.  She used to save baggies of coins in her big bra.  Of course this is not the depression nor am I big enough to stuff anything anywhere on my person.

I even found an old 5.0 version of AOL in a box! 

Out with the old in with the new!



Monday, August 6, 2007


It's been hot and raining for the last two days.   The temp has been in the high 90's with heat index of 105.  My husband doesn't work when it rains.  So the never used brand new Air Conditioner came out.  It made a huge difference especially when there is soooooooooo much togetherness with me and hubby stuck indoors!

There's painting on the house to do, but it's outside and the rain makes it too wet to paint. 

I am just enjoying being off and doing whatever I want.

Oh and my mammogram that I had done today was NORMAL...YAY

Tomorrow's another day!





Sunday, August 5, 2007

give it a day or two things will change


I never get tired of looking at my little guys!  Above is an old one of Dayton, he's changed so much in just a few months. 


Right at this moment my hubby is talking to his step mom.  The step mom who said I was controlling, the one who was mad at him, the one who I think is just getting old, lonely, or just plain bored and like to stir up stuff....I did send her another card, one written by Liz thanking her for her gift, I also added that my husband enjoyed talking to her especially sharing stories of his dad...that must of worked because she called. 

Or  maybe Mark's sister who likes to have one too many Buds and has a few issues from childhood made up a lot of the stories. 

Who knows, I don't care, they are talking...a happy hubby know the rest...

Liz got registered for school Friday.  She only goes Tuesdays and Thursdays all day, great for the gas is about a quarter tank of gas a day so....I am happy about that.  She can change her work to days and still have time to do homework.

She went with her boyfriend and his family to Southern Illinois where he goes to school to move him in.  He is an R/A this year and a Junior.  We never allowed her to go before because we felt a high school child didn't belong at a college.  Now she's old enough.  Besides, they have been dating for nearly 3 years, there is no reason to hurry the process.  I still don't get why so many kids are in such a hurry to grow up.  I'd love to go back in time and do a lot over...but I suppose I wouldn't be the me I am now.

That is mainly why I have forced myself to slow down and enjoy life more.  Pay attention to what is going on right now and appreciate it.  I missed so much in my past because I was always looking ahead, worrying, never satisfied with where I was.  It took me to reach 50 to stop and realize this...Life is always subject to change.  We must do the best we can and believe that everything is as it should be.

We should never give up on our dreams...God is always in control, not me!

Next weekend we have the kids all weekend.  Tracey is in a wedding.  I am looking forward to it.  Next week I only have one work related trip on Wednesday.  Otherwise I am free....hopefully the rain will go away so I can enjoy!

I will anyway!


Thursday, August 2, 2007




Liz's biological father came into town this past weekend.  Just like he promised the judge and me, he brought the check for his part of her freshman year at the Junior College.  He works for a major airline so he and family members can fly anywhere the airline goes for standby/for free.   This was why I never pressed him for more child support I feared he'd cry to the judge about his "rights" and want me to send her to him because she is also able to fly for free.  I just couldn't see putting a 6 year old on a plane, and have him not be at the airport, he had proved how undependable he was in the past.

Her last visit with him was when she was 6.  I finally let him take her alone, before he only had supervised visits per my choice.  During support hearings the judge gave him very limited visitation, he only argued the amount of support, because he had so many other children.  To this the judge replied, "you make them, you pay for them, get another job"  After the day long visit  he brought her back and she promptly threw up and had a major asthma attack.  Then he disappeared for 6 months only to call me to tell me he was moving.

So as fate would have it Liz and her boyfriend Mike drove out to T's sister's house on Sunday.  The family was there, aunts, uncle, cousins...and the all smoked....well, not the 5 year old, but give her time.

And to top off the smoke feast they all bitched about how the state of Illinois has passed a law banning smoking in public spaces.  hmmmmmmm   how some things never change.

But Liz did say she got to see her half sister (the peacemaker who always tries to keep intouch with all the kids/ex-wives/ex-girlfriends).  She did get her GED and is going to nursing school. 

Liz is still in some sort of "I am giving the guy a chance" mode...that's up to her.  She is my daughter and no one can change that. 

She did get her college check, and some coupons to fly.  I told her she should go see grandpa in St Pete.....


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rosie the repairman


After the plumping mess we had over the Christmas holiday we had a huge water bill.  The village bills for both water usage and sewer.  Since what goes in must come out our bill was high on both ends (ha).  When trying to unclog the clog my husband ran the water out of ever faucet he could...hence the high water bill.

Shortly after this our never in 12 years used by us water softener which is still hooked up via the plumbing but not plugged in sprang a leak.  It was a big leak too coming out a hose.  Being the impulsive type I simply cut the hose off thinking it was just the left over water in the tank leaking.  NO of course not it was water right from the system.  Our stupid solution was to stick the hose down the drain and wait until we could figure out the problem....then I just pinched the hose hoping this would stop the leak, no it just dripped some place else.  My basement is old, limestone & is always damp in the summer.  later, my being too cheap to call a plumber made things worse.... our water bill continued to climb.  Now my village is very much into water conservation...there's water bans, water restrictions and that sort of thing.  Do you think said village could give us a notice on how high the water usage was??  nope, BUT after freaking out, I took action.  I looked at the mess of pipes in my basement and figured out how to by pass the old relic of a softener...deed done no more drips! 

Now I needed my husband to figure out these problems....well he did do the plumbing I supervised...

~emission light on car came on....eeeeeeeee ...  the car is due to go to the emission lanes and last time this happened to our truck (check engine light) itcost $600 to fix!

solution?  hubby tightened gas driver daughter had gotten gas and didn't tighten cap....fixed

Same for the sun roof, a piece of plastic broke off...hubby fixed it again....

I wonder if there is a business for this type of simple problem solving??


Saturday, July 28, 2007

me, Kota

... the gallon of milk is empty, the cats have come out of hiding, the dog has cleaned up the cracker crumbs all over the kitchen floor...the boys must of left!  The boys were here overnight and we had quite a visit.  Dayton is trying very hard to talk, he jabbers nonstop saying, "hey baby" me following me all over the house.  He also is quite the walker.

My stepson Jeremy fishing with Dakota...4/2007

We noticed that the boys can be quite demanding, and being we raised the others with manners and hope that the grand kids would have the same we tried to correct them when the began asking for "Grandma get me some milk" became "Grandma may I, can I have some milk please"--Jacob.  Dakota at 2 1/2 still doesn't use proper nouns, everything is "me want...or me want milk please" or "him want this".  And if you try and correct him..."me, I want"...he'll figure it out.  Their parents have noticed this too and I see them trying to squash this too.  They'll get it...

Dakota's got potty training down so well that we took an hour long walk to the park and no accidents.  Nothing like walking 6 blocks home from the park with a kid with wet pants, which happened to me last summer with Jacob.  It had been a while since I did the potty training thing...I am getting that too.

In my last entry I was talking about Dayton's blanket.  The Christmas Dakota was born Mark was laid off with no unemployment, we were short on money.  My mother was a crafty type so when she died I inherited all her yarn. She had taken baby yarn and made a bunch of squares.  I wanted to give Tracey a part of her so I took the squares finished the blanket and gave it to Dakota for Christmas.  For Jacob I used some of the extra skeins mom had & made a huge blanketfor him.  Well, come to find out years later Traceythought the blanket was hers...she and Jacob actually fought over with making a big boy blanket for Dakota, I am going to make Jacob another blanket.   I am going to teach the girl how to crotchet...then she can make her own!  She did cherish the mom blanket which made me happy.



Jacob and Dakota...4/2007

Since I featured both Jacob and Dayton on my last to entries, I'll share  Dakota...

Such a charmer...6/2007


Thursday, July 26, 2007


Tracey and Jeremy went to see Michael Buble in concert last night.  Tracey loves the guy and Jeremy surprised her with tickets, good ones too.  Mark's ex took Jacob and Dakota to her trailer, she does this when she thinks I've spent too much time with them...but not baby Dayton, so I went out and sat with him.  Liz came with so he got the total Grandma, Aunt La La spoiling treatment.  The kid goes to bed early, so I spent the evening looking through Tracey's downloaded pictures.  I lifted these...

from May, 2007--Dayton

I made this blanket for him when he was born, he will not sleep without it.  It was supposed to be self stripping yarn, but it didn't work for me, it is very soft!  Like grandma!


also from May 2007--Dayton--pre haircut

This is from prom when Tracey did Liz's hair.  Tracey started beauty school Tuesday. 

June/2007--Dayton post haircut

Such a happy baby...

Tomorrow I am going out and picking them up for an overnight...I miss my boys!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

mid summer day

Yesterday my stepson Matt had a 'bag' party.  You know that game where you take homemade bean bags and throw them at a box with a hole in it?  He invited some friends and family and each participating person paid some money and they picked teams and had an all day tournament.  It was fun for me as my dil Brandy is a teacher so some of the guest are teachers too.  Also, Mark and I went to school with many of their friends parents.  Sometimes I forget that I am old and we talk about things we have in common.  Like school, students, their parents and even them!    Matthew (my stepson) never invites his mother to these things...I think she's only been to his home 2 times, but Mark and I are always invited.   I get along with Brandy's parents.  This is a good thing.  Oh and the food was awesome.

Today, I have been pretty much wandering...I do that sometimes when I have nothing better to do.  I did go get milk (the kids will be here this week, and we must have milk!) and noticed that the back to school stuff is out...seems soon to me....then I took the dog for a walk, it's lovely outside...all the rain has really made for a colorful neighborhood.  Oh and I pulled weeds, with the flowers come the weeds.  Oh and the never ending laundry....I have clothes line outside.

Liz drove herself back and forth to work last night...nice thing as she starts at 10 pm and ends at 6 am....after I made sure was home at 6:00 I didn't wake up again until I heard the church bells 9:00!!!   Gotta love the summer....

Here's some pics of  Jacob, he loves his real 4 wheeler that he has had since he was 3.  It is perfectly safe as it only stays in first gear, and it turns off if he falls off.  Daddy made the hills...long pants, a helmet and sturdy shoes are a must.

I am looking forward to spending time with these cuties!


Friday, July 20, 2007

Liz & really I am letting her grow up ;)

Kristin girl friend of my son Tim and Liz

Today Liz and I went to the DMV and she finally got her driver's license.  WHEW!  She tried to get out of it, said she had pink eye or some such thing when she woke up so she had to wear her glasses instead of contacts and then there was the sun, it was making her eyes hurt.  When she took drivers ed in school (which cost $150) her instructor was unable to test her hence the trip to the DMV.  I think drivers ed is up to $300 now, had I known she wouldn't be tested I would have throw a fit.

I had promised my husband that I'd move out if we didn't go see I am having issues....Liz is my last kid, I even had to marry a guy with five kids to get my kid fix.  This year will be the first year in 20 that I do not have a kid going to school, well junior college, but that does not feel like school.  You know school where they do choir programs and you watch sports. I know I know they will have all that at Junior College, but geeeeeez my kid is now an adult....officially!

She passed by the way...she thought she did not...the DMV was a popular spot today.  I even sat with a lady I used to work with, two of her sons were trying to get their licenses too. think of her car insurance!

Mark and I once had three teenage boys driving all at the same time, their dad helped with insurance, but God that was expensive....and I lived through that and I'll live through this too....

Oh yeah, Tracey is going to cosmetology school and I will have the boys on Tuesdays and Thursdays...I guess going full steam ahead into the grandma phase will be just fine by me!  Plus I get to send them home when I am done with them!!!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thankful for you!


A while back I was nominated in a fellow j-lander's journal, her name is Kas and she home schools her children.  She is my hero, she is all the things I wish I had been when I was having babies, I wish I had been bolder back then.  No matter I am a good mom now.  I love reading about her family.  She is a real sweetheart.

Oh horror it was nearly a month ago!  I am so sorry!  But I do feel honored!

Also, I was nominated by Kathy who has a private journal for the Rockin' girl award!

Thank you Thank you!  I totally feel loved in a time of my life where I am going through nothing but CHANGE!

First things first, I have been around J-land for  3 years, I remember my 1st entry, whining about not seeing my grandson Jacob, three years later I am the one who keeps not just Jacob, but his 2 brothers. 

Changes, so many over the years in J-land.

Who can forget when AOL came up with the ads and so many bolted from aol journals.  Many just went private and were never heard from again, or went to another journal space.  I felt hurt, but with change comes new friends.  I have friends here that I value and enjoy keeping up with.  AND THEY ARE YOU ALL!

You all keep me sane, in all this madness...called my life.

I was going to complain about Liz's party, my drunk brother not attending this after my family spend much money and time planning his daughter's wedding, who also did not attend, her excuse was her father in law who had an accident 3 weeks ago.  Truly that was the only blot on what was otherwise a fun day.  My parents best friends came, they made me feel that tie to my past.  All my boys came, Liz had a few friends, but many were at the matinee for one of the plays  held this summer.  Liz's boyfriend Mike is on a mission trip in Georgia, but his mom came and she fit right in with the family.

Liz was happy, so mom's happy!

I was very weepy Monday when I went back to work, then I got in my bus and the driver that subbed for me while I was at court is a sweet lovely lady named Maggie, she actually encouraged me to drive all those 5 years ago.  She left me a little note that said simply, "I miss your smiling face."  I cried.  Sometime when you think the world isn't such a happy place you look and you realize it is, you look for the love, and there it is, right there!

The weather has been awful, rain, storms, and humid...but that's ok.  I have friends and that's what matters!  Thanks for being my friends!

This is an old pic of the boys, but it's adorable