Sort of #SilentSunday

I would normally stick with the theme #SilentSunday, but I have been so absent from my little blog that I feel obligated to write something!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I setup a wide variety of paper, stamps, heart punches, and other craft items for the kids.  They went CRAZY making pictures and cards. While I wasn’t thrilled with the mess (or using blank cards as “picture paper,” I stepped back a bit after a few days and just enjoyed their creations that were made with love.

I believe my five year old made most of these. They are pretty sweet.

valentines

A whole lotta love went into these masterpieces

After all of their card-making, the kids insisted that we make cards for them, and so Daddy O. and I did.  It’s becoming a tradition each year, as I shared in this Fly on the Wall post from two years ago now.  Daddy O. broke out the Spirograph and even made me a card. It was pretty sweet.

So cheers everyone! I hope you felt the love this past week as much as I did!

2017 Resolutions – With a Little Help from my Friends

Hello 2017!

WordPress just told me that it’s been 20 days since my last post. GAHH! Where has the time gone?! Soon I’ll be telling you about it on my Fly on the Wall post next week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions and goals. Each year is an opportunity to take stock of that last year and articulate ways to improve, to be a better parent, wife, employee, and person in general.

While I talked about Less Hurry, Less Worry last January (and yes, I still need to follow my own advice), I have another part of my resolutions for this year: with a little help from my friends. 

I heard this Beatles song just earlier this week, as my son watched an episode of Beat Bugs on Netflix. If you haven’t checked it out, you should – it’s cute, and we could all use tolerable kid’s shows, right?!

Anyway, these adorable Beat Bugs sang With a Little Help from my Friends on this particular episode, and it struck me how fitting this song was for the day.  I had enjoyed a much needed phone call with a best friend who lives several states away. It was so wonderful to connect with her and share what was going on in our lives. We have known each other since elementary school, so some things can just be left unsaid when we talk, as we have such a beautiful history together. We totally understand what we’re going through as the “default, do-it-all parents” of younger children.

It dawned on me that I need calls like this more often! I need help from my friends to stick to my goals and resolutions in 2017 and beyond! While I often like to be independent and just “deal with it” on my own, that strategy doesn’t make me feel better. It’s okay to reach out and bend a friend’s ear for awhile. Social media can’t be a substitute for a real, live phone call or face to face meeting.

With support from my friends in more phone calls & get togethers, I hope to work on these resolutions:

  • Be less judgmental
  • Complain less
  • Be more patient, especially in the mornings (a carry over from Less Hurry, Less Worry)
  • Floss more (I say this every year!)
  • Eat less meat

I hope to have more updates on how I am doing on these to keep myself accountable both on my blog AND with my friends.

What are you working on for 2017? Are friends a key part of making your resolutions happen?

Parenting is Like a Family Bike Ride Part 2

Last year I wrote part one of Parenting is Like a Family Bike Ride, and it’s hard to believe that one year later my oldest has ditched her training wheels for good.

Sometimes kids make up their minds quickly.

Early on in summer Big Sister asked to have her training wheels taken off of her bike. I stalled a bit, saving this project for Daddy O., but finally, tired of waiting (and having a tendency towards impatience) I broke out the tool box and took the training wheels off myself. The result – she tried it a few times and was scared of falling. We’d practice every now and then, but she would find something that wasn’t quite right. Her helmet was too small. What if she fell? She wanted knee & elbow pads.

Some More Motivation – and Safety Gear

We shopped for a bigger sized bike helmet together and found a really cute, pink & purple set of elbow and knee pads and gloves. Daddy O. would walk beside her, holding on, as they practiced balancing, braking, stopping.  I’d help her practice, which involved a lot of holding her bike as she whispered to herself, “I can do this. I can do this.” It often was more talking and waiting than actual riding. Grandma even practiced with her for a brief time, only making it two mailboxes down from our own home, but still, she was out there, cautiously figuring it out.

I was talking with complaining to my sister about our biking riding woes and asked how her two boys learned how to ride their bikes without training wheels. She told me that they worked on it EVERY DAY. I shared this idea with Big Sister – using her aunt’s method, which is already cooler than what mom says, and she agreed.

A Little Push to Get Started

I went along with her unique routine that she established with Daddy O., which was a pass of braking practice before trying to pedal on her own. I’d hold onto her bike seat as she mentally prepared herself and said, “I can do this.”  With a little help, she started on her own and rode down a few houses. We turned around and I helped her start going down the street with a little decline to give her some momentum, so she could just coast and balance.

It’s amazing what a little push can do to get kids going on the right path. Don’t we as adults often need a little push and encouragement in our own lives too?

A lot of Work & Dedication Pays Off

We spent a little bit of time each day trying to ride her bike. We did miss a day here or there, but all of the consistent practice really helped build her confidence.

Similarly, there is A LOT of work in parenting, and you have to be show-up each and every day for your kids.

A Time to Let Go

Finally I heard, “No, Mom, don’t hold onto the back of my bike seat. I’m going to do it myself.”  And like that, she was off on her own!

there-she-goes-on-two-wheels-go-mama-o

Look at her go!! Whoo hoo!

Now she wants to take a quick spin around the block and ride her bike almost daily. When I look back to our “practice sessions” I thought it was taking SO LONG, but lo and behold, she gained confidence and learned how to ride on two wheels. This is a continual lesson in patience that I’m still learning as a parent!

1st-time-bike-riding-on-two-wheels-without-help

Big Sister and Daddy O. celebrating their ride around the block together.

Sure, she’s fallen since then, but we’ve heard an immediate, “I’m okay,” and she’s hopped right back on her bike and kept on riding. Wow – how proud I am of this little girl! If she approaches all challenges in life like she’s done with learning how to ride a bike, she will go so far.

As my kids grow older, there are more and more times when I can let go and allow them to figure things out on their own. And yet, there are still times when I hear “Mom” being yelled out, so I know that I’m still needed.

Stay Together

Today I can ride my own bike right next to my daughter. We can ride through the neighborhood at a leisurely pace and chat a bit. I hope this is something we can continue to enjoy to do together for years to come.

As for Little Brother (almost 5), I am still walking beside him as he grows more comfortable with his bike and training wheels. I know it’s only a matter of time when we’ll take those training wheels off and pedal away together for a family bike ride. Until he’s ready for that, I’ll wait patiently and hold on to this time.

 

 

Life Lessons from Camping in the Rain

We spent the weekend camping as a family, and most of the time it rained except for small breaks on Saturday and all day Sunday, when we were packing up to leave. As one can expect, the weekend had some highs and lows, but all in all I’d still call it a good one. When I thought about it, there definitely were some life lessons that could be gleaned from camping in the rain:

  1. Life’s Messy – you’re GOING to get dirty, especially at a muddy campsite that has soaked up rain for 15 hours! We have this screened in entry way into our tent, and it just had puddle and mud from our shoes all over. I kept trying to wipe a bit up with towels, but just had accept that it was going to stay dirty until it could dry out. Fortunately everything DID get cleaned up, multiple loads of laundry later. So go ahead and accept the dirt! There will always be a load of laundry to do.
  2. You’re not in control – This is a big one for me, as someone who loves to plan. I look at my lists and pack as best as I can for camping, but you certainly cannot plan the weather, as much as we’d like to. We woke up to rain Friday night that continued practically ALL day Saturday. This changed our hiking plans, and so we found a small coffee shop, where we grabbed breakfast, hung out, and later drove to meet my parents for a visit and lunch. We found joy and fun in the unexpected, reminding me to embrace whatever life and weather brings!

    beautiful latte

    When it rains, go enjoy a latte! This one was so pretty & delicious.

  3. Good Things Take Time – Everything takes longer when you’re camping, and in preparing meals, this is so true. Some of our most memorable meals are when we’re camping. This summer we grilled salmon and red potatoes over the fire. We’ve had elaborate breakfasts – omelettes, fried potatoes, bacon & toast over the fire or on our camp stove. Plus there’s nothing like a perfectly toasted marshmallow on a s’more! It’s all so good eating al fresco and well worth the wait!
  4. Unplug – We didn’t really occupy ourselves or our kids with electronics the entire weekend, even with the rain. My daughter and I enjoyed coloring pictures together at the coffee shop and in the tent. Daddy O. and the kids fished in the drizzle. We played games as a family and took a hike when the sun finally came out. We hung out around the fire. It was good, quality time together as a family….and not that we didn’t have our “moments” when the tent became a time-out location because we did. Cram four people into a tent and moments will teeter between harmony and discord. It just happens.

    Mama O and family camping on a sunny day

    One our our first camping trips as a family. We were on a nature hike in this picture and loving the sunny day in the great outdoors!

  5. Appreciation for Non-camping – We came home last night, started unpacking and cleaning up. My shower felt so luxurious compared to the 3 minute shower I took at the campsite. We slept great in our own beds without a 3am wake up and walk outside to the bathroom. I returned home with a thankful heart, feeling blessed for the time with these precious people in such a beautiful setting.

Though we’ve only been camping for the last three summers, I know it’s something that we will continue for years to come because it’s such a valuable, relaxing time to be together as a family. Simply put, it’s good for us all, mind, body, and soul.We always walk away thinking, “Next time we should pack that,” or “let’s try this camping spot next summer,” so we will be at it again with new places to explore and more memories to make together.

Fly on the Wall: Cuckoo Gaga Cray Cray

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 10 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.

Here’s who you’ll be hearing from:

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 6
  • Little Brother, age 4

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links at the bottom of my post for a peek into some other homes:

Can you Hear Me Now?

Ever feel like family members don’t listen to you? This happens all the time with my kids and happened recently with Daddy O. It went like this:

Me: There are extra english muffins in the freezer if you want some.

Two minutes later, Daddy O: Do we have english muffins?

Me: Big sister likes blueberries now.

Two minutes later, Daddy O to Big Sister: Do you like blueberries?

Me: Honestly, you didn’t hear me say those two things just minutes ago? Sigh…

Fashion Feedback

I did some shopping online and we had some interesting reactions to what I found.

Big sister: This is our like a belt on my sandal! I love them. (The “belt strap” is by her heel.)

Sandals

Adorable- do they come in my size?

Little Brother: Shirts should cover my privates. (Upon trying on his new size 5 shirt, it covered his privates.)

Daddy O.: No, shirts don’t have to do that. I think Mom was saying that she likes shirts that cover her privates when she wears leggings.

Mama O in workout gear

This is an example of what I mean – I like a longer top to cover my “privates” when I wear leggings / spandex. This is my workout gear with #noMakeup #noFilter

I don’t always look cute when I workout. I also have these mannish, padded bike shorts. I’ll take function, comfort, and a good workout over cuteness anytime!

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Me: (reacting to another online purchase) Isn’t the back of this sports bra cute?

Back detail of new sports bra (same yoga outfit as above).

Daddy O: Isn’t that like something Kendall Jenner would wear?

Me: Ugh. Did you really just say that?! How do you know what she wears?

Daddy O: I read it online.

Me: Wow, what a great way to spend your lunch hour! (Why did I ask? As a side note, cute sports bras are NOT comfortable. Don’t buy this kind of stuff online if you can’t return it. Ugh..but at least I won’t be wearing something that causes my husband to compare me to Kendall Jenner!)

Where do they come up with this?

Daddy O: Don’t be Cuckoo Gaga Cray Cray! (to Big Sister) Eat your breakfast.

Me: Wow, you came up with that one?

Daddy O: Yes, I guess I did.

Me: A new low in parenting, Daddy! That sounds like something from that Barbie show – lol. (Or possibly a new high in parenting as he relates to our 6 year old daughter – ha)

I’ve been calling Big Sister my mini-me for some time. Here we are together in a selfie that she didn’t want to be in:

Mama O and Mini Me

Anyway, she told me this week, “If I’m your mini-me, then you are my big-me.” Good point, but mini-me sounds way cuter! We talked about this last month, and she suggested I’d have white hair in a few months. It’s tough being the “big-me” I guess!

Mealtime Goofiness

Big sister to Little Brother (who was acting goofy at dinner): You can never be president!

Me: like he’s acting so weird that this would be brought up if he ran for president? Hmm when you were 4 we heard you had bad table manners.

Little Brother: (eating grapes) This tastes like chicken. (What?!)

Day Without the Kids

We had a very fun Saturday out, meeting family to canoe / kayak and go on a brewery tour. As usual, we were cutting it a bit close and should have left earlier.

Daddy O: What’s our ETA?

Me: Late!

Truth be told we were actually right on time. The rental place on the river opened right at the time of our canoe rental, so we made it! YES!

More Fantastic Fly Posts

Now, shoo fly & click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

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

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

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

Searching for Sanity                    http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com

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

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy         http://dinoheromommy.com/

Southern Belle Charm                   http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Eileen’s Perpetually Busy               http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/

Molly Ritterbeck                             http://mollyritterbeck.com/