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.



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.


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: C’est la Vie

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:

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.

Mixed up Lyrics

One night at dinner, my kids were changing the words to “I like to Move it, Move it” song.

Mom, your song should be, “I like to talk it, talk it. I like to talk it, talk it.  I like to …. talk it!”

Dad, your song should be, “I like to snooze it, snooze it. I like to snooze it, snooze it. I like to … snooze it!”

Big sister’s is, “I like to read it, read it. I like to read it, read it. I like to … read it!”

Little brother’s is simply the song, being an active little boy that he is!

Little Brother’s Funny Sayings

Mom, can you do a rainbow load of laundry?

This sounded so sweet. I wash a lot of the bright colors together, but never thought of it as a rainbow load.  It almost makes doing laundry sound like fun…almost.

Mom: Hey, can you help me make breakfast?

Little Brother: No, I’m in Legoland.

in Lego land

Busy building away

Little Brother refers to his comforter on his bed as a confronter.

A few weeks ago I bought a chewable vitamin.  They were an unwelcome change from the gummy vitamins they replaced.

Kids' Multivitamin Bottle

The horror – chewable vitamins.

Little brother’s reaction: I have to eat 150 of them.

And later –

“The world is against me.”

Wow…just wow.

Serious Readers

My kids really enjoy reading.  Sometimes bookmarks can’t be found.  As in this case:

quality reading material

Sometimes you just use a tissue for a bookmark

This is an example of the quality material they read.

These Kids

During dinner Big Sister said, “C’est la Vie.”

Little Brother responded: La Vie

Yes…it does sound like, “Say la vie.”

Big, Big Sister

My little girl turned 9 this month. Daddy O. recently commented to me that our daughter is now halfway to 18.


When I think about it that way, this parenting gig is going by way too fast!

Here’s a picture of her at her friend birthday party (they made unicorn crafts at Michael’s Craft Store).

Big Sister Unicorn

Big sister and her unicorn sleeping mask

She even wears more grown-up clothing.  I want to borrow these boots of hers.


Are these girls boots available in my size?

Me and Daddy O.

One woman from church said to me, “My friend and I saw you and your family in church, and we think you look like teenagers.”

Hmm…well, we are well past that phase.  Daddy O. is almost 40.

Here’s a recent picture of our youthful selves.

Mama O and Daddy O Sept 2018

Now go check out these other Fly on the Wall Posts:

Baking in a Tornado

Menopausal Mother 

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Spatulas on Parade