Friday, July 25, 2008

Life as a Single Parent

After ProLife Festival we decided that the kids and I would stay in MI while Chad went back to work in FL. We figured I'd stay for the month of July and then wait to see what would happen next.

So all this month I've been a single parent!

The first week we were here I made a lot of trips to see people. It was nice being able to catch up with everyone. While visiting my Mom, she asked if I could help her out a couple days. Thinking it'd be just that, I agreed.

I've been working every day since! (Except Sundays)

Which has been both a blessing and a bane. A blessing because we've not had any disposable income that I could use while here, and working for my Mom provides just what the kids and I need. Working for Mom also provides us a vehicle to use, an added bonus even if it's a gas hog. It's been a considerable bane because I'm spending all my time working and I've barely seen my kids!

For the most part J hangs out with me at Mom's while I work, but I'm working and he's playing games or watching TV, or out fishing when K is with him. Most of the time K is at her cousin's so I don't see much of her. I don't like that I'm losing touch with my kids. I'm glad this is only for a short season!

I've been so wrapped up with work I've let the RV become a mess - even though we've only stayed in the RV 1/3 of the time! I've not had the opportunity to get out and see anyone really, nor have the kids and I been able to get out and do much. We did go to a movie last week. And we've been to dinner at Cleve's twice. But that's it. I've also not been able to make any dreads to sell, nor work on school. I've been meaning to scan some photos and update some of my photo files but I still haven't gotten to it. It's even taken me this long to update my blog!

Last weekend the kids stayed over at Grandma Benkert's and I flew to FL to spend some time with Chad. It was nice to spend time together (even though the weather was nasty sticky-hot) and talk about things. We spent our time playing tourist in St. Augustine, which is something I've wanted to do for years and years now. It was a great treat. But I missed the kids even more!

I don't know how single parents do this. I'm sad about all the time I've lost this month with the kids - I can't imagine what life would be like if I had to do this full time. And I'm actually lucky because I have family and friends who've been more than generous in helping us out. If I were doing this on my own it'd be a nightmare.

Thankfully, this season is coming to an end soon. The kids and I will be flying back to FL in another week or so. And where we go from there? We'll just wait and see.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Line Dancing!

Yep. I went line dancing. I didn't figure I'd dance much at all. And I didn't. But I did learn one new dance. I rather enjoyed it.

It was a little difficult at first, being out of practice with choreographed dances. After the first few times through, my training kicked in and I was able to get the hang of it.

Leah plans to take me again. We'll see how well I remember what I learned! :P

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Chicago holiday!

After ProLife we hung out at Mom's in Dowagiac for a bit. Chad decided to fly back to Orlando while the kids and I stay in the oh, so lovely Michigan!

For the 4th of July holiday Mom and Sheri put together a little trip for us. We left Wed. night for Chicago via the Southshore. For Grandma and the kids this was the normal mode of transportation. But for me, this was a first! I'd never been on any kind of train before, so I was experiencing this all for the first time!

We stayed with Uncle Ben and Aunt Sheri (who made some rather delish tacos for dinner) and prepared for the next day's adventures.

On Thursday, Uncle Ben had the day off so he played tour guide.

The first adventure was for the kids. Uncle Ben took them for a ride on his scooter up an down the alley. I'm not sure who had more fun - the kids or Uncle Ben?

After the scooter excitement, Uncle Ben began our city tour with a trip to Millenium Park so I could see the Cloud Gate. Everyone but me has seen this marvel and I'm so glad everyone was willing to make the trek to see it again! :D While I was snapping pictures I caught this one of Jeremy getting into the snack bag!

Then we were off across the park. It was so pretty with all the flowers everywhere! Once through the park we made a venture through the Taste of Chicago festival that was happening. So many people! We didn't stop - just passed through. I didn't even snap one picture here - I was too worried about getting separated or losing one of the kids!

Next stop was the Art Museum. Jeremy wanted to see some old masters and I just wanted to see everything! We didn't get to see as many masters as we'd liked as the museum is adding a new wing and many of the galleries we wanted to see were closed. But I did get to see my favorite landscape (by Seurat)and was able to share it with the kids! Jeremy and I took quite a few pictures in the museum. But the kids' patience with me didn't last forever so we left. (I did manage a few pictures of tudor and elizabethan costume for my research!) Here's everyone taking a break while waiting for me to catch up! :D Once outside we parked on the steps next to one of the lions and had a snack for lunch.

On to the Field Museum! As we came up the hill in front we saw a bunch of these amazing globes! I snapped a picture or two of every single one of them. Kylie took some pictures of her favorites. I remember reading an article somewhere about these. I'm glad I got to see them! We spent the afternoon looking at all kinds of neat things. Once inside the museum we had to choose which exhibits we wanted to see. There is a great exhibit on the Native Americans. It would take a couple days to see all of it! So we did that one and the Egyptian exibit - one of Kylie's favorites. And of course we popped in to see the dinosaurs! It was a great afternoon - except for periodic comments from Jeremy that he's "seen this before, can we move on?"

After the Field we wandered over to the lawn to claim our spot for the fireworks that night. The wind off the lake was a bit chilly and we spent our time trying to keep warm while people watching.

Aunt Sheri brought us dinner - fried chicken, potato wedges, sweet bread, and cookies. Yummy! I think Kylie was just polishing off the last bite of her cookie!

Jeremy got a little bored waiting so he wanted to play with the camera. His camera is too slow (now that he's interested in photography we'll find a better one) so we used mine. Since Jeremy was cuddled up with me to stay warm, I'm actually in a photo too! :D Doesn't happen often. We took about 8 pictures making silly faces. We were very entertaining to our neighbors :P

After 4 1/2 hours of waiting the fireworks finally started! Late, but they did start! We're not sure why, but the orchestra did not play, so the radio station threw together some music to play along. I took quite a few shots, trying to keep the city in the frame but after a while the smoke started to build up and it was difficult to get a clean photo.

The walk home after the fireworks was quite an adventure in and of itself! So many people all trying to get to the same place. We were part of an ocean of people. It was sometimes difficult to hold onto Jeremy and stay with the group. Rather than move along at the pace of the crowd there were always people pushing their way through and separating me and Jeremy from the rest of them. But Uncle Ben made sure to keep an eye on us, I noted. Once we were out of the crown and onto the street it was a bit easier. I even managed a quick photo, and while it's not clean, it does convey the movement of the people. When we got up to the stop for the train we needed there were already hundreds of people lined up waiting to get on. So Uncle Ben took us around another way and we picked up a different train. There was almost no one there! We were quite lucky. It still made for a late night, but not as late as if we'd had to wait in that line! You rock Uncle Ben!

The next morning of course we were dragging. The kids and I slept until almost 10 Chicago time! EEek! I guess we really were tired! But it was a good tired. :D