well, i just returned last night from four whole days alone with my husband. that's right, FOUR DAYS! we've previously never left our kids for more than 48 hours, so this was heaven. it's not that i'm one of those moms that thinks i would miss them too much ( i was counting the minutes till we could leave) it's just that who on earth can i ask to keep four kids? so, we decided that we needed to get away and the only way to do so is to split them up. we carted them all of off to different people. my parents, sister in law & best friend. now, as if packing and preparing for six people isn't enough, last sunday we get a hurricane. in ohio. i'm not making this up. we had the remnants of hurricane ike here which produced winds up to 80 miles an hour, downing thousands of trees and knocking out power to 40.000 people just in our town. so we stayed here sunday night and when i awoke on monday, still no power. that means not only can i not turn on any lights, but i can't make coffee. somebody call FEMA, this is an emergency. as soon as my kids woke up (it took all my self control not to wake them) i got everyone ready and in the car. first stop, coffee shop. they didn't have power either, but were open making iced drinks. hot or cold, i don't care, as long as there's expresso in there somewhere. next stop was picking up breakfast for the kids and then off to drop off all of our groceries that had survived at our pastors house since he still had power. turned out, we didn't get power until tuesday night. we stayed at the in laws (who didn't have cable or phone, but did have electricity) thankfully, i really love my in laws. my mother in law is the best. she's so fun to be around, and so wonderful. not once during that time did i feel that she was put out by having us there. if i had raised all my children and had finally arrived blissfully at the stage of living alone with my husband, i think my children and four grandchildren might drive me a little bit crazy. but they were wonderful. my father in law is the man every person would want for a father. he tends to be on the quiet side, but when he speaks it's either very insightful or hilarious. and he would literally give you the shirt off his back. he'll drop anything and come and help you. i have a lot of friends who have less than desirable relationships with their in laws, i'm so blessed to have the ones i have. so after that beginning of the week, we were finally out of here! some plans had to be rearranged, since one of my childcare providers still didn't have power, but we were finally on the road. i was nervous about leaving my youngest, because he's my baby :) but i knew he was in good hands. we went to cleveland and stayed in a really nice hotel downtown. (pic above) we walked all over downtown, eating and talking and laughing and people watching. we went to cedar point, the rock and roll hall of fame, and took lots of naps! it was so nice to be able to have no schedule! with four kids, our life is very regimented and very scheduled. it's the only way to maintain sanity. so a break from that was so nice. we came home sunday and all the kids did great. on top of the wonderful love and care they were given, every single person sent their respective child home with a suitcase full of clean clothes. can you believe that? after keeping my kids for four days, they did their laundry too. it overwhelms me that i am so blessed to have the people in my life that i do. even the puppy had been given a bath and had a nice new collar on! we were so happy to see them all. we lasted an hour or so before we remembered why we needed a break in the first place.