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.

#onWisconsin

 

12 Days of Christmas – Sweet Memories

We took down our Christmas tree today.  I didn’t realize until today that it lasted all 12 days of Christmas.

Our real Fraser Fir was nick named Mr. FFR (fluffy, Fraser) by my kids, and yes, we name our trees.  It’s a thing…maybe just our thing? Anyway, Mr. FFR really lasted a long time.  Sure the needles were falling, but he really looked full and beautiful adorned with lights and ornaments until the very end.

Just look:

mr ffr 2018

Our tree in 2018

Every Christmas Tree Tells a Story

I couldn’t help but feel a little sentimental taking down the tree with so many stories behind the decorations on our tree year after year.  Our grandparents and parents gave us so many beautiful ornaments from little on, and some of them have become our daughter’s favorites. My dad handmade wooden sled ornaments years ago.  My mom made both the angel that tops our tree and the tree skirt at the bottom.

cat-by-christmas-tree

Big Sumo Kitty loves sitting on the tree skirt my mom made.

Ornaments remind me of places we’ve lived or traveled – two more recent ones from the Grand Canyon and South Dakota.

There’s ornaments from Germany and Austria to remember my high school foreign exchange program and my semester abroad in Vienna. There’s a hang gliding Santa that my best friend gave me because I went paragliding in Switzerland.

One plastic orb holds freeze dried flowers from my wedding bouquet.

Another high heel ornament reminds me of our favorite girls’ nights with my sister, cousin and aunt.

Each one of us have ornaments from the year we were born – mine and Daddy O’s looking a little more well-loved than our kids’ numerous baby ornaments.

This tree is our life as a family.  It’s adorned with a whole lot of love through many years.

And then there’s  the ornaments and gifts that our kids have made.  Each year more ornament crafts make their way from backpacks and onto our tree.  Today, I have to confess, that some of the ones in bad shape (sticker, foam type) went in the garbage! Many, however, are part of our annual holiday decor.

christmas crafts from kids go mama o

Most recent craft – top left: hand print trees, reindeer painting (2018, Little Brother), reindeer flower pot (2017 Big Sister), hand print tree (Little Brother), ribbon tree (2017 Big Sister).

While most of these projects were made at school, I remember Big Sister making the reindeer flower pot craft in our basement inside of a patio furniture box that transformed into a “workshop / fort” for our her.  She had glue, paint, pipe cleaners and the flower pots all assembled in her work station down there.  In the end, she gave me, Daddy O. and her brother each a reindeer flower pot.  They turned out adorable, and we were proud of her for putting so much effort into these gifts.

The hand prints are getting bigger through the years, and I can’t help but wonder when they’ll stop doing these hand print crafts.  At seven and nine, my kiddos are growing up for sure, but still firmly believe in the magic of Christmas.  Big Sister wrote a letter to Santa for our elf Fred to deliver to him. Elf on the Shelf proved to be an amazing way to motivate the kids to get out of bed in the month of December. It was really fun and very sweet.

Here was a new event that Big Sister created at grandma and grandpa’s house this year:

jingle bell sing along

Big Sister’s first concert for family

What will next year hold for our family? How much longer will these sweet traditions last?  I can’t predict for sure.

And while some traditions fade away (and I may will be a little sad), I hope we’ll find a way to make new family traditions. Until that day comes, I’m just going to soak up and savor all of the sweetness and joy that this parenting gig can hold.

This is what I found on the back of Little Brother’s hand print craft:

thank you for being my mama

A sweet note just for me

 

 

Fly on the Wall: ___ There it is!

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 6 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 

Menopausal Mother

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Spatulas on Parade

My Brand of Crazy  

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

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 8
  • Little Brother, age 6

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.

Happy Dad

Mama O. to Daddy O. on a Friday afternoon: Have you been drinking?

Daddy O.: No, why?

Mama O.: You just seem extra funny.  I guess you’re happier on half days of work.  (His company has summer hours, so he works 9 hour days and enjoys a half day most Fridays.  It has been really nice – we’ve all been happier on Fridays!)

Our Kids

We had some extra quiet time around the house as our kids went with their grandparents for a mini-vacation this summer.  During that time, Daddy O. remarked, “I guess we can’t get rid of all of our children” (referring to our fur baby, Sumo Kitty sat at the breakfast table with us).

Sumo Kitty

Sumo Kitty – this is her typical annoyed expression

We were talking about face recognition capabilities.  For my laptop, I explained that the camera scans for my face and then logs me in.  Little Brother said, “Since Big Sister is a miniature version of Mom, I bet she could login to your computer.”

We tried it, and it didn’t work….yet.

Here is a picture of us together.

Mama O and Big Sister in the North Woods

Mama O. and her mini-me.

This summer we’ve been watching baking shows.  Nailed It was definitely a favorite in our house.  I think that’s why our kids are getting more adventurous.  Case in point: Big Sister added bacon to her cereal.  Who wouldn’t want bacon flavored Cheerios?

Bacon cereal

Anything is better with Bacon!

Historic Action Figures

Daddy O.: What are these?

Mama O.: They are Play Mobil figures my parents gave to the kids from their trip to Germany.

Duerer and Martin Luther

Playmobil figures from Germany. The writing in the book is in German, translates to Book of the Old Testament. The New Testament translated by Doctor Martin Luther.

Big Sister: My guy looks nothing like Martin Luther King Jr.

Mama O.: No, it’s Martin Luther, a famous German who translated the Bible from Latin (just keeping it high level).

Daddy O.: Who’s the other guy?

Mama O.:  I think it’s Albrecht Duerer, a German painter.

Daddy O.: What?! I didn’t know they made historic, German action figures?

Mama O.: Pretty awesome, right?! LOL

My German major and one German Art of the Middle Ages class IS being put to good use.

Tip for the Outdoors

While camping and hiking, we remind kids of the saying for poison ivy, “Leaves of three, let it be.” The kid’s aunt chimed in, “Leaves of four, eat some more!”

Remembering Past Summers

Last summer we took an amazing family vacation to South Dakota.  My scrapbooking hobby always runs behind, so I have been putting together some pages from last year.  Since he saw some pictures from our trip, Little Brother asked me, “How long did we drive to South Dakota?”

I responded, “About 7 hours was the longest we were in the car.”  And then he said, “That was painful.”

This is more of the summer grumpiness we experience with Little Brother every year.  Last year, he said, “Adults almost always ruin my mood – especially you Mom.”  I’m not going to lie, I can’t wait for back to school time!!

Lyrics from Another Time

Does anyone remember the song “Whoomp, there is is!”?

Our kids heard it and immediately thought that they were saying, “Poop, there it is!”  Sigh…you have to love potty humor.

It’s no surprise that this is what Little Brother painted when we took some time to paint at our local pottery shop.

Summer painted creations

Poop Emoji bank (Little Brother), Pony (Big Sister), and Soap Dish (Mama O.)

Okay, that’s all for me and my crazy crew.  Now be sure to check out those other fun Fly on the Wall blog posts!

 

Cheers to all Fathers!

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing Dads out there!

Today I celebrated with the father of our sweet kids.  We went to church as a family and ventured to a water park to beat the heat, stopping for Culver’s fast food and frozen custard along the way.

In true Daddy O. fashion, he kept his cool even when the kids were losing it in the backseat.  While we don’t have pictures from the waterpark (not really the best photo opps IMHO), I though I’d share a few of my favorite Daddy O. pictures.

Pictures with Daddy O.

Daddy O. through the years – being an awesome dad

From eye-roll to crazy face making while reading stories, Daddy O. is patient, loving, and a kid at heart. We’re so blessed to call you ours.  Love you!