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It is funny… So very much has been going on that I would love to blog about, and yet – blogging has taken a backseat (actually, it is stuffed in the trunk beneath the jumper cables) to the rest of my life.

I am a pretty good whiner and complainer; and yes, handling the kids and being sorta homeless is tough, but I really don’t have that much to bitch about.  We have been bouncing from guest room to guest room, inching our way across the country.  We spent a few weeks with my mom in Chicago.  Now we are camped at the family farm in Iowa with my grandmother.  A few might say that it is tough being a single mom; because being a single mom IS tough.  This is not single parenting, though.  I’ve got more extra sets of hands than I ever had in Ohio.  I’ve got someone to eat dinner with that is fully capable of using their fork for its intended purpose.  It is nice to carry on an actual conversation; one that doesn’t involve detailed descriptions of bowel movements or superheroes.

Come to think of it, most of us have had the flu over the past week and a half, so I suppose I have been having a few extra conversations about pooping.

My brother picked Nathan up from the airport for me, and the first words I uttered to him were “Can you get me something to throw up in?”  Who says romance is dead?

Nathan came in to Chicago for the holidays.  The original plan was to head on back to Colorado right after Christmas, but the closing on our Ohio house was delayed (yay, real estate!!), which also meant that we wouldn’t be able to close on our Colorado house on time.  This is why I’m hanging out in the friendly state of Iowa; the internet connection may suck, but the company is good.  My great-aunt was also visiting; she left this morning after we made sure we gave her a parting gift – the flu followed us here from Chicago.

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The holidays were great; we saw the famed Zoo Lights at Brookfield Zoo and took the train into the city to see the holiday windows on State Street.  After breaking bread at Marshall Field’s (which is now Macy’s but will forever be Field’s in my heart), we headed back for Christmas Eve dinner at my parent’s house.  By that time my brother, Finn, Alice and my stepdad had all been leveled by the flu.   Or, as my brother Mike eloquently observed while my youngest brother Jeremy was barfing; “T-Rex is in there attacking the toilet.”  Ick.

We are all unplugged (literally and figuratively) at the farm now in Iowa.  I get spotty cell service, there is zero Wi-Fi and the Internet speeds are about as fast as they were around the time of Christ.  I can get Pinterest and Facebook on my phone if I sit in the exact right spot upstairs.  You know what, though?  It isn’t so bad.  It makes me feel like I’m back in high school, when we only had land lines and AOL Instant Messenger was a tool for occasional entertainment only.

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Instead, we have been celebrating Grandma’s birthday and playing out in the snow.  We’ve built a snowman, explored the barn and corn crib, poked sticks at the frozen pond and seen the frozen grape vines.  I keep telling Finny about Grandpa Stan’s garden, Grandpa Stan’s pond, Grandpa Stan’s tractor…  This is the first time I’ve been back to the farm since my grandfather’s funeral.

“Do you want to see where grapes come from, Finn?  I’ll take you to Grandpa Stan’s garden and show you the grape vines.”

“No.  I want to see him.”

“Who is him, Finn?”

“This guy you keep talking about.  Grandpa.”

And so I find myself crying in the middle of the frozen prairie amongst the dead milkweed.  I’m sad that Finn didn’t get a chance to experience the force of nature that was Grandpa Stan.

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So… For the next week and a half, we will be completing an entire snow family, exploring the chicken house come greenhouse and searching for the perfect coat for Princess Backfat; it is way too cold for a pea coat here in The Hawkeye State.

We’ve already checked “Iowa Skiing” off our list.  For those of you who aren’t intimately familiar with this favorite winter activity of native Iowans, it involves a four-wheeler, a length of rope and an ice-fishing sled.  Maybe a visual is in order:

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Though it isn’t necessarily recommended for grandmothers or toddlers, we are working on getting these two on the sled this coming week.

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