Fly on the Wall: Smart Kids

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.

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.

The first day back to school after the holidays and I ask the kids how their day was.

Big Sister: Good

Little Brother: Annoying!

I could tell Little Brother was grumpy and tired, so I said later, “Well, maybe you should go to bed early. Sometimes after a bad day, a good night’s rest will make you feel better.”

Little Brother replied, “I didn’t say I had a bad day. It was a miserable day.”

Okay then…

Just Between Siblings

I can’t remember the exact context, but I heard the kids talking:

Little Brother: Me thinking only of myself.

Big Sister: If you do that, then you can’t be a Jedi.

Daddy O. has them well-trained on Star Wars.

Two Cute One-liners from Smart Kids

Big Sister’s friend said, “Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.”

Little Brother declared (as he asked me to read him a story), “A story will make a good snuggle even better.”

Future Blogger?

Little Brother brought home some journal entries from his kindergarten class, and they really are great. It’s adorable to see what stands out in his mind and what he chooses to draw and share. I think he could be a future blogger.

Journal Thing a ma bob

I played with my little blue thing a ma bob this morning.

Journal Kicked my Heel

I accidentally kicked my heel yesterday.

Riveting, right?!

Journal Beer Garden

I went to the beer gardens.

YES, this is true.  We DID take the kids to a beer garden in town.  There IS a playground and slide there, so it IS family-friendly.  No, this isn’t a weekly thing. Of course, he writes about this in kindergarten!!

Grandma’s Got a New Job

My mom recently retired, and her schedule has been quite full. I was telling Daddy O., “Grandma is working the polls.”

And then I realized that it could be interpreted as “poles.” We just cracked up.

Grandma will be working as part of the primary election staff just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The BEST for Last!

Big Sister: Mom is smart.  She is raising two kids.

Amen, sister!

Now go read those other fantastic blogs for a peek into some other homes:

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

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

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

Bookworm in the Kitchen             http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

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

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Best Toy Ever: YEARS of Building Fun

As many parents know, some toys just remain a hit year after year, while others have come and gone.

This one has been a clear favorite since they first arrived in 2013.  (Thanks, Amazon purchase history!) It’s the Magna Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set. 

No, this is not a sponsored post either, just an unsolicited review from a happy mom.

We bought these when my son was two years old.  He looked like this then:

toddler

2 year old big boy

Now he’s six years old, and he is still building and creating with these Magna Tiles.  His cousin and eight-year-old sister were playing with them over the weekend.  Inventing who know’s what and having a blast.

Go Mama O. Magna Tiles Tower

2018 and this toy is still going strong

After building and toppling countless towers, he knows now to add “stabilizers” to the bottom. When he runs out of squares, he puts two triangles together to make a square.  He’s learning and playing all at the same time.  Genius! They’ve routinely made a bowling ally (kind of like a maze with a bouncy ball) and many other creations.  These Magna Tiles have withstood much use and abuse through the years, and I can’t recall ever having to throw one piece away! Just last week, I found a stack of them in my eight-year-old daughter’s closet.

I remember buying these Magna Tiles years ago with Christmas money from Great Grandma, and yes, it was a lot of money to spend on one toy.  We’ve also added a building pack, so the kids could create vehicles, which have been mostly trains in our house! (I’ve written about cardboard trains and the Illinois Railroad Museum)

And yeah, we really loved trains – especially here in April 2014:

Little Brother watching trains

My Little Railroader

As I look back on these pictures and blog posts, it IS nice to see that my kids will still play with toys and, in fact, are still little kids (despite their growing size).  I can’t freeze time, as much as I’d like to, and while I want my kids to stay little, stay sweet, I can be more mindful of times that I catch them “being little” and playing intently with toys. Take a picture (as my son requested this morning even though we were busy getting ready for school), and enjoy the moment.

While my kiddos are much too big for the term “babies don’t keep,” I have experienced that time flies when your kids are in school full-time. There will be a time that these toys aren’t as appealing as sports and activities win out over playing at home.

Until then, we’ll gladly embrace the Magna Tile towers and messes that may come along with them.

 

 

Seeing the Light: China Lights Season Two

I had to share these gorgeous pictures of China Lights, something my family has really enjoyed the past two years.  Here is my post from last year (if you want more pictures)!

Similar to last year, we arrived before sunset with our tickets in hand.  We managed to catch the lights display on the very last day. My first pictures are at twilight, when the sky is a lighter blue.

China Lights Dino, Flower collage Go Mama O.

Dinosaurs, flowers, and hummingbird in the tree

The displays had changed from 2016, and it was still a great variety, though the dinosaurs replacing the beautiful pagoda was a little under-whelming. This was my shote of the pagoda from last year:

china-lights-header

2016 Pagoda – one of the highlights of the exhibit

One of our favorites this year was the panda scene.

China Lights Panda Scene

Huge bamboo forest – so adorable

We also liked walking through the tunnels of the Chinese Zodiac signs.

Chinese zodiac tunnel Go Mama O.

View from the path – walking under Chinese zodiac signs

More beautiful lights: flowers, the regal entry gate, dragon and tunnels.

China Lights Gate collage Go Mama O.

The lights really come alive when it’s really dark! Love the variety.

We liked these little owls too. The colors and detail are so pretty!

Moon, Mama O, Daddy O, Little Bro

Is it a moon or a banana? Big sister took this picture of Daddy & Mama O. and Little Brother.

Though it’s difficult to choose, my favorite animal was the dragon.  It’s one of the largest displays in the entire exhibit, and I love the moon in the picture.

China Lights collage dragon, elephant

Massive dragon, and patterned pachyderm

China Lights is becoming a wonderful family tradition! We hope to enjoy more light displays together through the years. Cheers!

 

 

Mini Fly on the Wall

Hey there! My Fly on the Wall friends just posted yesterday, but I wasn’t organized to sign-up in advance to participate.  After reading the group’s posts, I thought I would join in with my own post.  Better late than never, right?

For more Fly on the Wall, hop on over to this writing challenge founder’s blog: Baking in a Tornado.

South Dakota Vacation

We ventured to South Dakota during summer, and had an awesome time! It was a great family destination for our 5 and 7 year old kids. Before we went, my 5 year old son asked, “Do they speak English in South Dakota?”

On our drive from Sioux Falls to Desmet, our kids decided to make a honking sound whenever they saw an animal. This continued throughout the entire week. Sigh. Fortunately, there are open fields for long stretches where you don’t see much at all, like this:

Desmet Ingalls Homestead

View of the prairie from the Ingalls Homestead in Desmet, SD.

The drive up to Desmet from Sioux Falls though beautiful, went through a quite rural part of the state.  The population density is quite low in much of South Dakota, so I told Daddy O., “If we ever want to live off the grid, we can move out here!”

When driving past the many farms and lush green fields, my son observed, “I bet that farmer has 5 green thumbs.”

We could almost picture what it must have been like for the first settlers in the 1800’s who arrived here.  The Ingalls Visitor Center consists of the Ingalls homestead, a sod house, shanty, church, barn and one-room classroom. We even rode on a covered wagon and learned about what life was like for the Ingalls family. We were struck by the extreme quiet of the land: no sounds of planes or cars zooming by on nearby roads, simply the sounds of the wind rushing through the prairie grasses. Beautiful.

Wildlife Watching

We were excited to see bison, but just saw a lot of cattle, especially on the eastern part of the state. My daughter explained, “The cows are all black, and the bison are chocolate colored.” Can you tell we like desserts?

bison Custer State Park.jpg

See, they are chocolate colored! Bison at Custer State Park

We drove the wildlife loop road at Custer State Park, and having been in the car for at least an hour, our kids asked, “Can we watch a show (on our portable DVD player)?”

“No!” I said, “Nature is your show. Look out your window!” So many amazing views:

Custer State Park collage.jpg

Top left: a baby burro paid us a visit on the Wildlife Loop, top right: view of the Cathedral Spires, Bottom left: Stockade Lake, bottom right: bison along the road out of Custer State Park

The Black Hills

When we arrived in Rapid City, I said, “Look, kids, the Black Hills. Aren’t they pretty?”

My son’s response, “They look gray.”

black hills view from Mt. Rushmore

View of the Black (gray) Hills from Mt. Rushmore

In Rapid City, we enjoyed an awesome meal and beverages at Firehouse Brewery. We sat in a covered outdoor area (fortunately) and watched a major rain and hail storm come down. The food and beer were delicious – a welcome change from the fast food we had on the trip out to Rapid City.  The company was nice too with everyone getting along, and I remarked to Daddy O., “This feels like a date night, except we have our kids along.”  He replied, “It’s like our marriage is one long date-night.” Awh….

Hitting the Road

I have memories of my own family vacations as a kid, and we would wake up EARLY, maybe around 5am to get a jump on a day of long driving. I have not been able to replicate this timing for my family much to my dismay.

One morning after sleeping in, my daughter said, “Waking up early for me was unsuccessful.”

This happened on most days, and I just had to go with it. Oh well…

Best for Last

I was talking about the errands I ran during the week, talking about the things I picked up at a grocery store in a quick stop.

My son chimed in and said, “Wow, Mom, you work hard.”

“Yes, dear, why yes I do! Thank you!” He got a big hug for saying that!

Hope you all are hearing sweet things like that in your home too!

Have a great day all! Thanks for stopping by.

Now check out more Fly on the Wall posts, starting with Baking in a Tornado.