Fly on the Wall: Making Merry

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 5 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.

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

Baking In A Tornado

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Menopausal Mother  

Spatulas on Parade  

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

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 10
  • Little Brother, age 8

Since I have been writing these blog posts since 2014, I have my own Fly Post Page.  Check it out if you want to hear more craziness from my house.

Around our House

Me (as I was cleaning for our kids’ joint birthday party): Maybe we should have people over more often. It really makes me clean our house.

Big Sister: I call 10 zero teen.

Little Brother (not wanting to do chores): What am I, your slave?!

During breakfast, Big Sister came up with this:

Get Happiness. It’s out there somewhere. It’s not in a store.

Profound, right?

As I was talking about plans and what I needed Daddy O. to do, he asked me to stop lecturing him. I replied, “I’m not lecturing. I’m talking in a loud voice….a stern, loud voice…oh wait…”

Where are my Kids?

It was a Saturday, and we were in the middle of a busy day.  I had just taken the kids grocery shopping and was now home unpacking groceries.  I started getting some things ready for lunch, but I noticed that I had no idea where the kids went.  Being the louder of the two adults in our house, I tend to call for my kids across the house.  I even stuck my head out the door and yelled their names. No answer.  Not. A. Peep.

I was getting kind of worried, so I decided to look for them, continuing to call their names.  I finally found them in the basement and made them come upstairs for lunch.

I explained to them, “When someone is yelling your name, you need to answer. I was getting worried that you ran off or something.  It’s not nice to make your mom worry.”

Very calmly, Little Brother chimed in, “Well, when I grow up and have kids, if I don’t like them, then I would just let them go.”

“What?!” I laughed…”You would just let your kids run away! That’s crazy.  I guess Daddy and I will be babysitting a lot, so you don’t lose your kids then.”

Making Merry

I had the chance to learn how to make my own wreath with my sister in law.  I loved getting crafty with her that morning.  We made really large wreaths with wire frames.  I was able to use boughs that we had cut down from our frasier fir tree that our kids named Timber. My sister in law used spruce that park rangers provided.

Here were the beautiful end results:

Wreath making 2019

The wreath I made had the burlap bow.  It was too big to fit on our mantel, so I moved our outdoor wreath indoors.

Christmas Quotes

During breakfast, Big Sister moved our countdown to Christmas calendar, and started singing, “There are 12 days till Christmas, and I don’t have a true love.”

I replied, “Well, your family can be your true love.”  Her answer, “Icky.”

I found some random handwritten notes from Little Brother in a box of scrap paper:


Notes: never eat a gingerbread ornament

For the record, both kids have taken a bite out of old gingerbread ornaments.  I hope this note will serve as a reminder for them.

Another note said:

What is the saddest day for a child?

The day after Christmas.

The Spirit of Giving

This is the first year my kids had specific gift ideas for family members, so Daddy O. and I took separate shopping trips with each kid. I was so impressed with Little Brother as we bought gifts for a friend’s birthday, two kids in need from our schools, Daddy O. and Big Sister.

During our shopping, he said once, “Mom, this is on my Christmas list, ” but did not whine for it. He carefully helped me find gifts for each person on our list. We even took time to compare prices. He was so patient and well behaved. I was so proud!

After our trip, we rushed home and brought the gifts upstairs to wrap in his bedroom (just in case Daddy O. and Big Sister would be getting home before the gifts were wrapped).

Little Brother admitted, “I like wrapping gifts.”

Later Big Sister came home and had to sneak Little Brother’s gift upstairs for us to wrap.

“I can’t wait to see his face when he opens it,” she told me.

The spirit of giving was alive and well that day!

The next morning, Little Brother asked me if we could let Big Sister open her gift before Christmas. I told him that she can wait.

It’s so sweet to see these kids think of each other. They really love this time of year.  Little Brother even wore this one morning for breakfast.

Getting in the spirit Go Mama O.jpg

Why not wear a Santa hat to breakfast?

Wishing you all much merriment and cheer this time of year!

Fly on the Wall: Fireflies and Summer Rules

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 5 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

Never Ever Give Up Hope  

Menopausal Mother  

Spatulas on Parade  

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

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 9
  • Little Brother, age 7

Since I have been writing these blog posts since 2014, I have my own Fly Post Page.  Check it out if you want to hear more craziness from my house.

Summer Conversations

We were in a hotel room for a family gathering and settling in for the night.

Big Sister: Why are there bumps on the ceiling?

Little Brother: It’s a horrible paint job.

Actually it was just the ceiling’s drywall.

Later, as the kids are still not asleep, Little Brother says to me, “If I had a retainer, I’d want one with teeth.  Your retainer makes your teeth look rotten.”

While driving in the car, Little Brother said, “When I grow up, I would want my house to have a yard that attracts wildlife.”

Me: What does that mean?

Little Brother: I wouldn’t cut the grass. Well, maybe not until it got really long.

I don’t know – maybe he wants a herd of goats to cut the grass for him.  That might not be a bad idea.

No Such Thing as a BFF

I’ve organized several play dates over summer for my kids, and I’ve asked Little Brother if he wants to see his BFF.  He always says, “I don’t have a BFF, just a BF.  There really aren’t BFFs since you can’t be best friends with someone when you are a baby.”

Well, then!

A New Kind of Burp

Yes, our meal times and snacks are full of manners.  Big Sister made a weird noise, and I told her, “Wow, that sounded like a bark burp.”

Apparently it was a sneeze and a burp that happened at the same time.

Watching Fireflies

When Big Sister was younger, she would tell fireflies to “light up your butts.”

That expression has stuck in our family.  We were watching fireflies in our backyard from Little Brother’s bedroom window one night. Here’s how the conversation went:

Little Brother: I like watching fireflies from my room. It’s relaxing.

Me: Are the fireflies going away now? Maybe they’re running out of butt juice.

Little Brother: Butt juice is diarrhea.

And we both laugh!!

Daddy O.: You two and your potty humor!

Rules for Summer

Daddy O: There should be a limit on how many times a week you eat ice cream.

Really?!  There were some evenings that I wanted to just eat ice cream for dinner!

Big Sister and Little Brother: We have a “one stuffed animal” per summer rule.  You buy us one stuffed animal from the zoo.

I have to admit that I let this one happen.  My kids are still little and love stuffed animals, so I bought little brother a Red Panda and Big Sister an otter.  And then they had to draw a picture of red panda together.  Little Brother made an animal research book about red panda too. Their stuffed animals became educational somehow!!  Look at these cuties:

Later in summer, Little Brother saved up money to buy a harbor seal.  He reads with that guy too.

Summer reading to seal

Little Brother and another reading pal.

Summer Classics

It wouldn’t be summer without hearing these sayings EVERY DAY:

Little Brother: Mom, I’m bored.

Little Brother: There’s nothing to do.

Little Brother / Big Sister: Can I have technology time?

Me: Why don’t you do a chore?

Me: Stop fighting.

Me: Go to your room.

Me: No more screen time.

Me: Is it time for school to start yet?

And that’s a wrap on this Fly on the Wall blog post!  Now shoo, and check out the other fun bloggers!


Road Trip to Madison with Kids

Ah, Madison!  When isn’t it a fun road trip to visit Madison with kids?!

Whenever I return to Madison, it feels a bit like coming home.

Daddy O. and I called Madison home because we both went to college at UW-Madison. We first met on campus and actually lived in apartment buildings next to one another.  That’s the beginning of our love story in a nutshell.

Anyway, it is lovely to return to Madison as a couple and with our kids.

Most recently, we went as a family. I spent time with the kids at the Madison Children’s Museum.  It’s definitely one of our all time favorite museums that we’ve been to countless times through the years.

Now that our kids are getting older, they tend to gravitate to different exhibits, but still enjoy checking it out (yay)!

Madison Childrens Museum 2019

A few pictures from our visit to the Madison Children’s Museum

We love the rooftop garden with views of the state capitol (see top left image for a picture of my kids on the play structure on the roof).

I love the art space, where kids can create from a variety of up cycled materials. They made a raft and a sling shot with popsicle sticks and LOTS of glue.  At another station, daughter painted on the windows.  There are so many cool things to check out in the art area and throughout the entire museum.

It was our first time discovering this giant fish and a pretend play lake area.

We also checked out the Urb Garden this time, located right off of the lowest level.

Every time we go there, my kids pose with the animals near the front door.  This time they chose to hug and make a goofy face by the penguin.

Madison Childrens Museum penguins

Colorful penguin near the entrance of the Madison Children’s Museum

After playing and eating our packed lunch at the museum, we decided it was time for Babcock ice cream at Memorial Union.

We all picked a different flavor: chocolate, cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter (my favorite), and mocha chocolate chip (pretty good).

And it wouldn’t be a visit to the terrace without a picture in the giant chair.

UW Memorial Union

Big Sister and Little Brother – so hard to get a nice picture. Mama and Daddy O. at the Terrace.

As you can see, even at ages seven and nine, we don’t always manage to have both kids smiling at the same time.

Daddy O. and I are pros though, even making a W with our feet!

Madison is such a lovely city, and we sure had a great visit as a family.  We may be grooming our kids to be future Badgers….just maybe.



My Mom-cation in Atlanta

Way back in November, one of my very best friends (who happens to live out of state) asked what I wanted for my birthday.  I explained that it would be fun to just take a trip together.  I’d love to just hangout together!

And so, we scoured over airfares and researched travel destinations that would be warmer than Wisconsin and easier for us both to reach with a direct flight.

Atlanta was the perfect destination for our mom-cation. Yes, mom-cations are a thing, and science even proves that we need them, just read It’s science: Girls weekends boost mental health.

Day 1: Ponce City Market + Spa Time

Upon arrival, we met up in the airport and grabbed our very first Lyft ride to Ponce City Market.

Ponce City Market

Ponce City Market – possibly the coolest food hall of all time.

This place was amazing!!  We stopped at the French bakery for croissants and cappuccino before having to catch another Lyft to our pedicure appointments.

French Bakery and donut from Ponce City Market Go Mama O.

Almost too pretty to eat.  Almost… The donut came from another food stall at Ponce City Market.

Day 2: National Center for Civil & Human Rights

During the month of February, Black History Month, the Civil & Human Rights Museum had free admission, so it was no surprise that it was a popular destination on Saturday morning.

Civil and Human Rights Museum

We had a long, but worthwhile wait for this museum

spring flowers in Atlanta

So excited to see FLOWERS and grass in February (unlike Wisconsin)

The museum in a word is POWERFUL.

They have a lunch counter simulation where you sit in a row with other museum-goers, put on headphones, and hear the taunting and feel your seat jerk (being kicked) to give you a small taste of what protesters experienced.

I cannot even begin to imagine what that was like.

They had signs that listed the Jim Crow laws of each state that seem so ridiculous to read.  Sadly, this was not that long ago.  And we still have a long ways to go to achieve equality for all.

While the main floor looks at the civil rights movements in the U.S., the top floor looks at human rights issues happening all across the world: women’s rights, human trafficking, LGBTQ rights, rights of the disabled, workers rights…and more.  As a country and as an entire world, there is work still to be done.

Let’s all help the change.

Here’s the waterfall sculpture outside of the museum.  I especially love the Margaret Mead quote.

Day 3: Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park

The next morning, we wanted to walk to a dinner in the historic Martin Luther King Jr. neighborhood.  The walk from our Air BnB was a bit longer than expected…and not as enjoyable as it was slightly drizzling at the time.  Nevertheless, we carried on.

Unfortunately, our restaurant of choice was closed, so we googled other nearby dining establishments, ending up at the Thumbs Up Diner.

Mama O at Thumbs Up Cafe

Mama O. outside of Thumbs Up Diner.

Cathy and BFF in Atlanta.jpg

Mama O. and her BFF at breakfast. The diner had really fun paintings.  It was hopping! 

After filling our bellies with a big breakfast, we explored the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park.

MLK National Historic Site

We started in the visitor center that gave more in-depth timelines about MLK Jr.’s and Coretta Scott King’s lives.  Another exhibit talked about Mahatma Gandhi’s life, which served as an inspiration for Martin Luther King Jr.

Not far from the visitor center was his birth home. Apparently reservations to tour the home go very fast and early in the morning, so we were only able to look at the exterior and pictures of the interior at the adjacent building and gift shop.

Martin Luther King Jr Birthplace.jpg

MLK Jr. was born here. 

Day 4: More Great Food and the Beltline

Our last day in Atlanta we enjoyed another hearty breakfast before having to catch our flights back home.

yummy breakfast

French toast and fried chicken on a biscuit

The sun was shining and we had some extra time, so we started to walk around the neighborhood, finding the Atlanta BeltLine. It really was a cool walking path, busy with walkers, bikers of all ages. There are many murals adorning the bridge underpasses and walls. I really liked the donut and witch with a cat murals.

Ironically, the beltline path led us back to our favorite stop: Ponce City Market, where we grabbed a yummy smoothie as a snack – a preferred alternative to airport food.

All in all, I have to say that Atlanta was a pretty cool city!  I loved the chance to getaway from frigid Wisconsin in February for a mom cation with one of my very best friends.

Atlanta skyline

Atlanta skyline

Atlanta, I’ll see you another time! Cheers!