More than just ONE Day for Mama O!

I have to admit that I enjoyed several special treats over an extended Mother’s Day! It was a relatively quiet weekend for us, just staying close to home, but we packed in a lot of family fun. Here are the highlights:

Saturday morning we headed to our favorite nature center for a family hike.  We FINALLY enjoyed beautiful spring weather with temps hitting the low 70’s.  Every time we hike these trails the kids are able to hike farther and discover new things along the way. It’s fun to share in their excitement and wonder of nature.

going for a family hike Mother's Day weekend

Our view from the side of the lake and energetic hugs from my kids!

After enjoying the trails, we ventured back to the nature center to check out the animals (snake, turtles, rats) and relax in the rocking chairs.  My kids decided to page through books they found on the coffee table.  I gladly picked up a magazine and leafed through it as well. It was quite peaceful for about 10 whole minutes!

reading at the nature center

Post-hike: My little readers

We went home for some downtime and got ready for our family date night – the first time we had taken the kids to a Japanese restaurant, my favorite date night location. (I also write about my memories of being an intern at a Japanese company for one summer in this post and this one too.) Both kids loved the edamame.  While they munched, I discussed the best roll options with Daddy O. – the Fujiyama roll, Happy Roll, something with Unagi (eel) and maybe a Philly Roll.  Little brother chimed in, “Do they have a Tootsie Roll?” So adorable!  “No, honey, not at this restaurant.”

I ordered the kids a Katsu-don (breaded chicken over a bowl of rice), and it went over pretty well.  I was impressed with their willingness to try new things for the most part – (my four year old was a champ) and had fun feeding them a few more bites at the end of the meal with chopsticks. I can foresee a return trip to this place! YAY!

We walked down the strip mall (real high end dining, right?!) to a frozen yogurt place for dessert. This place was also a hit!  I especially loved the futuristic seating and backdrop – perfect for my impromptu (and obligatory) mother’s day photo shoot.

fun with pictures at the frozen yogurt joint

How cute are we?! Isn’t this the best backdrop?

Sunday brought more delicious food – chocolate covered cannoli – at the Italian bakery and hot ham and rolls that we ate on our back porch. I was treated to more good things – being outside, gardening, playing, and taking a nap in the afternoon while watching The Little Mermaid.

On Monday I assumed it was business as usual, as both Daddy O. and I headed to work. I picked the kids up from school and was surprised by their beautiful presents (that were left at school over the weekend).

Mama O's Mother's Day Gifts

Mama O’s Mother’s Day Gifts

I love the cards, handprint flowers, painted pot, and the small jar of bath salts (not pictured here).  It was really sweet – and kudos to their teachers for coming up with these projects!

As with any holiday, I try not to get too hung up on the actual day itself. I’m all about “extended celebrations” like my mother’s day weekend because there’s always something surprising or sweet that seems to happen each and every day with kids.  They are my life’s greatest blessing. How honored I am to share this crazy beautiful life with them!

How was your Mother’s Day?  Hope it was happy and full of great moments!

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Elements of an Awesome Day

These were my thoughts last Friday, as the weather this week is leaving much to be desired! Still…here are some things that make for an awesome day:

  1. Plenty of sunshine and time outside to enjoy it. This meant playing in the park, doing some gardening while the kids played, watching my son “color” the pink big-wheel blue.
  2. Good books to read (either to my kids or myself).  We had a whole new collection of library books to enjoy together today. So fun! As you know, I love to read to my kids.
  3. Being greeted with a huge hug from my two year old, followed by a big monkey pile hug with my four year old and nephew (after I had a chance to quick run to the grocery store while my sister watched the kids play at the park). I just love these kids to pieces! AND it’s amazing how quickly I can shop-solo.
  4. Grilling out burgers and getting that “grilled meat smell” stuck to your hair / clothes. We haven’t had many warm days that have been suitable for grilling out, so this one was special, as were the blue cheese stuffed burgers! Yum!
  5. Scooping up a tired, two year old, who was so pooped out from all the fun of the day that he fell asleep on his blanket on the floor…at 6pm.  He was so exhausted from skipping his nap that I even managed to change his diaper without waking him. He stirred only a little when I picked him up to carry him to bed.

so tired

So many elements of this awesome day reminded me of my “Million Dollar Moments” post from my blog’s early stages in 2012. From that post, I explain:

“These are the moments when you wouldn’t trade a million dollars to be experiencing anything else in the world at that singular point in time. These are the moments when you are overflowing with thankfulness, and you want to freeze time to just be present in the beauty of your children and life as a whole.”

For such moments and days like today, I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful. God IS good!

The Joy of Giving and Feigning Joy of Receiving

Did you ever get a Christmas gift that you didn’t really want? We have all been there, right?

In my case, I am honest to a fault when I react to my husband’s gifts. I don’t know why…maybe I just can’t fake enthisiasm with him. I feel badly, and I already did it TWICE this holiday.

Let me begin by saying I am not overly into receiving gifts. I enjoy giving presents much more. Above everything else, I value the time and experience with loved ones over the holidays. For example, after exchanging some family presents tonight, my 3 year old spontaneously hugged me and said, “Thank you!” It was so heartfelt and beautiful – just magical! One other gift is seeing my 15 month old walk on his own with much more confidence and purpose. Adorable. And I am one proud mama.

Okay, so I gave my husband two ideas – a list of Aveda makeup lipgloss and eye shadow, and biking gear that would be cuter than the workout gear I have been wearing for several years! I opened the lipgloss- perfect. Thank you Daddy O. I opened the eye shadow, and it wasn’t the shade I remembered, so I told Daddy O that I may go back to look at other colors. Maybe it was mis-labeled? My internal dialogue is saying, “Stop talking and deal with this later when he may not know.”

The second gift I opened tonight – padded biking shorts covered by looser fitting black shorts. I said, “thank you,” and should have stopped there, but I couldn’t. “Are these women’s? Oh yeah the tag says women’s. Maybe I need to try them on.” I tried them on later after the kiddos were in bed, and they still look rather mannish and not the cute, flattering option I had envisioned. Functional, yes. Sigh.. so sorry Daddy O for being horrible at receiving gifts from you. I love you no matter what I find under the tree, as long as I am admiring the tree with you.

How do you react when you have concerns about the gifts you receive? What is your favorite gift / memory?

Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and joyful Christmas.