Spectacular China Lights Exhibit

If you ever hear of the China Lights Exhibit in your area, I’d highly recommend going! We went several months ago, but I enjoy looking at our pictures from that night so much that I decided it was “blog worthy.”  My entire family really enjoyed it!

We had tried going during the week, but arrived too late to really see much before our kids needed to go to bed. For our second attempt, we arrived extra early to buy tickets before the gates even opened. To pass the time, our kids played in the leaves, and we took a selfie with the entrance gate in the background.

pre-china-lights

Fall fun as we waited for dusk – playing in the leaves, Daddy & Mama O. with the red entrance gates behind us.

While it wasn’t yet dark when we entered the exhibit, we did enjoy grabbing some Chinese food to fuel up.  Around the dining area were animals representing the Chinese zodiac signs. I’m a monkey. Daddy O. is a horse. My daughter is definitely an ox – well described as determined and a bit stubborn. My son is a rabbit, which was not as easy to see, but he is fast!

After eating dinner, I managed to grab this great picture of the pagoda with the brilliant blue sky behind it. As you can see in later pictures, the sky turned to black as time passed.

china-lights-header

The pagoda was one of the highlights of the exhibit, positioned right near the entrance. 

The dragon was huge and beautiful. The white speck in the sky is the moon. It really was a lovely night for viewing the lights.

china-lights-collage

Huge dragon, bottom left: Gates near the entrance, me & Daddy O., Fish, and Flower Lantern walkway

These pictures were just a sampling of the exhibit. There were animals of all kinds – zebras, giraffes, swans, penguins, bears, birds, fish, and more!

dragon-made-of-glass-bottles

This dragon was made from glass bottles. 

You can see some animated characters from “Finding Dori” in the background too. There were a collection of four glass-bottle dragons.

peacock-on-the-fan

My daughter really liked the flowers and peacocks on this giant fan display. 

The China Lights truly were beautiful! We had such a fabulous time walking through them as a family.  Have you seen them before? What lovely pictures are waiting in your queue for your blog?

 

Sort of #SilentSunday

I would normally stick with the theme #SilentSunday, but I have been so absent from my little blog that I feel obligated to write something!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I setup a wide variety of paper, stamps, heart punches, and other craft items for the kids.  They went CRAZY making pictures and cards. While I wasn’t thrilled with the mess (or using blank cards as “picture paper,” I stepped back a bit after a few days and just enjoyed their creations that were made with love.

I believe my five year old made most of these. They are pretty sweet.

valentines

A whole lotta love went into these masterpieces

After all of their card-making, the kids insisted that we make cards for them, and so Daddy O. and I did.  It’s becoming a tradition each year, as I shared in this Fly on the Wall post from two years ago now.  Daddy O. broke out the Spirograph and even made me a card. It was pretty sweet.

So cheers everyone! I hope you felt the love this past week as much as I did!

Fly on the Wall: Mom Jedi

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                   http://www.bakinginatornado.com/

Searching for Sanity                 http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com

Eileen’s Perpetually Busy            http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/

Spatulas on Parade                    http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

A Little Piece of Peace                 http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope                   http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy           http://dinoheromommy.com/

Cluttered Genius             http://www.clutteredgenius.com

Here’s who you’ll be hearing from in my house:

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 7
  • Little Brother, age 5

Christmas Recap

My kids definitely know the lyrics to “Jingle Bells. Batman Smells,” but they were getting creative for the “12 Days of Christmas.”  Big Sister kept singing, “A party in a pear tree.”

After Christmas, I said to my family, “Well, we have to clean up after Santa where he had his cookies. He was a busy guy, so no time to clean-up.”

Little Brother chimed in, “Yeah, Santa doesn’t do dishes.”

I agreed, “No, not when he’s out delivering presents, but if I were Mrs. Claus, I’d have him help do dishes.”

I wrote about what Big Sister really wanted for Christmas in this last Fly on the Wall post. Well, Santa did find a way to bring her what she had on her list. Here she is on Christmas morning:

 

big-sister-and-puppy

So happy with her puppy named Cutie.

She takes it for walks around the house, feeds it, and cleans up after it. (It’s the puppy that eats its own poop – a little to close to real life, right?!)

We celebrated New Year’s with my sister and her family. Randomly, my eight year old nephew (the oldest kid there), said, “I wish I could walk on water like Jesus….because then I could get up water skiing all the time!”

Double Entendre

I was being goofy while playing the game called Cootie with the hubs and my kids. Putting on all the various bug body parts reminded me of the Paul Anka tune, “Put your Head on my Shoulder.”  So I was singing “put your leg on my cootie.”  It took me and Daddy O. a few turns until I sang, “put your head on my cootie” to realize the double entendre. I stopped signing. LOL

cootie-game-pic

The game of Cootie – anyone else remember this? It is probably from the 80’s, as it was a game from my childhood.

Another Game

For Big Sister’s birthday, we received a really fun family trivia game called “Beat the Parents.” Kids and parents are asked separate questions. For one question, I asked the kids, “What is Old Faithful?”

Little Brother replied, “Loving.”

Me, laughing, “No, good try. It’s a thing of nature.”

Other Funnies

We had a “nature sounds” alarm clock that we received as a wedding present. It became Big Sister’s clock when she was a baby, and she has fallen asleep to nature sounds for years (usually a pond sound or waterfall).  Well, after 11 years of service, the nature sounds alarm clock died, so I had to find replacements; this time for both kids who each wanted their own. I found this one from Amazon:

new-clock-radio

New Clock Radio with custom soothing sounds

As you can see, it has a lot of buttons on it, so I had to read the directions for setup. My kids were excitedly pressing all the buttons, and Daddy O. was asking how to work it. I replied, “Well, it doesn’t say what to do when your kid presses buttons 29 times in a row!” Geez!

After school one day, Little Brother complained that a boy on the bus took of his hat. I asked what he did. Little Brother said, “Nothing.”

I continued to tell him, “Well, you have to learn to stand up for yourself.”

His comment, “There’s no standing on the bus.”

Kids can be so literal!

The Best for Last

I poured syrup on my daughter’s pancakes without her asking, so she asked, “Did you read my mind?” I replied, “I did.”

Without missing a beat, Big Sister said, “Moms can’t read minds, only Jedis can.”

My reply, “What if I’m a Mom Jedi?!”

Parting Words

And for one more picture, I will leave you with a a new sign that I bought at a local craft marketplace. I love the saying…

be-the-good-sign-on-the-mantle

Now, shoo Fly and be sure to read what’s going on with the other fabulous bloggers in this challenge!

 

 

2017 Resolutions – With a Little Help from my Friends

Hello 2017!

WordPress just told me that it’s been 20 days since my last post. GAHH! Where has the time gone?! Soon I’ll be telling you about it on my Fly on the Wall post next week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions and goals. Each year is an opportunity to take stock of that last year and articulate ways to improve, to be a better parent, wife, employee, and person in general.

While I talked about Less Hurry, Less Worry last January (and yes, I still need to follow my own advice), I have another part of my resolutions for this year: with a little help from my friends. 

I heard this Beatles song just earlier this week, as my son watched an episode of Beat Bugs on Netflix. If you haven’t checked it out, you should – it’s cute, and we could all use tolerable kid’s shows, right?!

Anyway, these adorable Beat Bugs sang With a Little Help from my Friends on this particular episode, and it struck me how fitting this song was for the day.  I had enjoyed a much needed phone call with a best friend who lives several states away. It was so wonderful to connect with her and share what was going on in our lives. We have known each other since elementary school, so some things can just be left unsaid when we talk, as we have such a beautiful history together. We totally understand what we’re going through as the “default, do-it-all parents” of younger children.

It dawned on me that I need calls like this more often! I need help from my friends to stick to my goals and resolutions in 2017 and beyond! While I often like to be independent and just “deal with it” on my own, that strategy doesn’t make me feel better. It’s okay to reach out and bend a friend’s ear for awhile. Social media can’t be a substitute for a real, live phone call or face to face meeting.

With support from my friends in more phone calls & get togethers, I hope to work on these resolutions:

  • Be less judgmental
  • Complain less
  • Be more patient, especially in the mornings (a carry over from Less Hurry, Less Worry)
  • Floss more (I say this every year!)
  • Eat less meat

I hope to have more updates on how I am doing on these to keep myself accountable both on my blog AND with my friends.

What are you working on for 2017? Are friends a key part of making your resolutions happen?

Fly on the Wall – Holiday Sentiments

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 bloggers are inviting you to catch a Fly on the Wall Postglimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

I love this challenge so much that I even have my own page for it on my blog HERE.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                   http://www.bakinginatornado.com/

Menopausal Mother                    http://www.menopausalmom.com/

Spatulas on Parade                     http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

Searching for Sanity                    http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope             http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy         http://dinoheromommy.com/

Southern Belle Charm                   http://www.southernbellecharm.com

A Little Piece of Peace                   http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Thanksgiving Leftovers

My 5 and 7 year old kids had some silly thoughts on what to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. Here’s what they shared as we were driving to Grandma and Grandpa’s house:

Big sister: I’m thankful I’m not an ant, so I won’t get squished.

Little brother: I’m thankful I’m not a tree, then I won’t get cut down. (He was thinking of the evergreen trees that we cut down for our Christmas tree)

Little Brother: I’m thankful that God made candy.

Many of Little Brother’s religious ed classmates also were thankful for candy, though some did say things like, “family, friends, our house.”

Decorating our Home

Little brother: Do you know that this stocking is a sock for a giant?

The kids went crazy decorating the tree. They wanted to put ornaments on so quickly. I just listened as I was nearby:

Big sister: Let’s put the cross next to the angel.

Little brother: Yeah, it’s like God is watching over us.

It was too sweet! I guess he is learning something from church / religious ed besides being thankful for God making candy.

 A New Rule

It was a frightfully frigid day with a high of five degrees, so I felt motivated (finally) to make something. We had shredded zucchini in the freezer, so I made zucchini bread. When it came time to eat it, I helped myself to the crust and an inside piece. Little Brother said, “No fair! You got two pieces.” I replied, “Yes, the baker gets two!”

Our Affordable Art Gallery

We have been coloring and painting (as usual), and I wanted to finally clean up our creations. Little Brother and I decided to hang up some of our favorites in an “art gallery” in our home.  We have two display areas. Here they are:

art-gallery-go-mama-o

I overheard Little Brother talking to Daddy O. about the gallery, and he said, “Yeah, I think we should charge 299 for some pictures.”  Then he paused, “or maybe 199.”  I am not sure if he meant $299 and $199 or $2.99 and $1.99. Either way, some of his priceless works are saved in a storage bin under his bed.

Santa, You are the Best

FINALLY  after five and seven years, respectively, the kids are okay with visiting Santa this year. Here they were with him earlier this month:

go-mama-o-santa-pic-2016

Little brother and Big sister hanging with Santa

Big sister has been consistent in asking Santa and writing about what she wants: “I want a puppy that eats its own poop.”

Santa’s response, “We’ll try.”

Bless your heart Santa! This ACTUALLY is a real toy. See Target, FurReal Friends Pax, My Poopin’ Pup.  The food that you can feed it is actually then pooped out, and I believe you then feed the same pellets to the dog. Sigh.

She has been so consistent in asking for this toy, writing a letter to Santa over the weekend and asking for the same thing. I told her today that I emailed her letter to Santa, since it wouldn’t reach the North Pole in time via the postal service.

Santa’s response was cute –

“I see you’d like a special friend for Christmas. Now one thing about a puppy, real, or even pretend, is that flying in my sleigh can be a bit scary for them….. Now you know I will try my best for you, but I will have to check with your family if that’s ok. Will you check too? “

Santa, you are the best!!

I hope Santa is good to you and yours this holiday too! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!