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.

 

 

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Ever Wish you Could Keep Your Kids in a Bubble?

I mean this literally and figuratively, especially with what is going on in today’s world. I do wish I could keep my kids safe in a bubble, especially while they are young. I know that this is not possible, as bubbles will break far too easily. And rightfully so, for I know that they will need to learn and grow beyond the “safe” perimeter that my husband and I establish throughout their lives. But still…doesn’t it sound so nice?!

Here’s the visual to go along with it –  my kids actually experienced being encased by a bubble-tube at a recent visit to a children’s museum in Rockford, Illinois. It was so cool that I even had to try it out!

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Bubble, bubble, bubble – Pop! Big sister checks it out. 

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Then Little Brother tried it. I love his expression in the lower left picture!

Yes, He’s Still my Baby

Ever since my son started 4 year old kindergarten this year, I have been thinking that he is definitely growing up a lot. School can do that to kids, and it’s a good thing, right?! And then this post, Be my Baby for a Little Longer, came up in my newsfeed in Facebook. Isn’t this picture of my then two year old so timely?

2 yr old running by 2 year old crossing sign

Not going to slow down for your picture! And not slowing down on growing up either!

Those days of post-bath snuggles and even morning snuggle are long gone or slowly fading away. Nowadays we can be found sort of snuggled up together with a book. He still loves being read to and still wants to be picked up, especially when he’s upset. It’s me who is joking, “Awh, my baby.” And he always will be my baby and mama’s boy.

At dinner recently, we were asking the kids about their favorite part of the day. My son chimed in, “My favorite part of the day was Mama.” I asked, “Well, was it something you did with mama?” His reply was precious, ” No, just Mama!” Melt my heart…

As he continues to grow up and become slightly more independent, I am learning more about how he sees and experiences the world around him. Take this, for example, as I found him waiting for the bus one day.

little-brother-and-the-mailbox-go-mama-o

Got mail?! Oh wait, there’s an echo if I yell through here.

It was too cute! I hope this sweet, goofy little baby of mine will always keep his curiosity and sense of fun. Even if he is getting bigger, he is still my baby in my mind and heart.

“I Knew the Day Would Come.”

Yikes!

The owner of our day care for the last seven years said this to me a few weeks ago, when I turned in our notice that today would be our last day for our youngest there.

I knew it too, and now that it’s here, we adults are all a little emotional about it!

It was a no-mascara kind of morning.

My oldest has her last day of kindergarten, and my youngest has his last morning at our day care center. My babies are growing up!

For the past two years, I have been able to call my daughter a kindergarten-er (4K and 5K). Now she will be a first-grader! She has grown up and learned so much these past 180 days. And I think back to the hurried mornings with my reminders to “get going.” This is apparently what I like to say according to my son:

Mothers day 2016

My mother’s day “card” from my four year old son.

180 days Big Sister “got going” and went to an awesome school led by talented, caring teachers.

I volunteered and helped her class learn about art. It was a joy to see 20 little five and six year olds each month and watch them create projects based on famous works of art. We learned together and had fun!

Little Brother will end his pre-school program at our day care and will be in four-year-old kindergarten this fall. First grade and kindergarten here my kids come. Watch out!

I knew this day – the last day – would come, and so I thought it would be no big deal. To my son and daughter, it was just like any other day. Little Brother was grumpy and sat in the car as I walked Big Sister up to the kindergarten playground. I then dropped him off at day care, shedding some tears and hugging the day care owner and teachers who have known my kids since they were babies.

But, wow – 6 years. This is a big deal. Where did the time go?!

There’s a lot of great memories and love for all of the wonderful teachers who have helped shape my kiddos these past 4 – 6 years.

Overwhelmed after both drop-offs, I took a walk and decompressed a bit, enjoying a beautiful, sunny morning and reflecting on the past year(s).

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Ahh – nature, and a bit of exercise.

I am so proud of my kids and so thankful for walking along with them, as they learn and grow.

As I posted in the beginning of the school year, I hope that this summer we can enjoy, love much, and simply “live” in the moment!  Cheers & happy summer!

Fly on the Wall: C is for…

It’s that time of the month again! Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post.  I’ve written these posts before, and you can find past posts on this page of my blog.

Today 12 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:

What We’ve Been Up to Lately…

So this happened –

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And it’s been a stressful process! After working hard and staging our home for pictures, Daddy O. asked me what I wanted to do that weekend.  My reply was, “Nothing! Let the house get a little messy before our listing goes live.”

Fortunately, our home had an accepted offer in about three weeks, so now we’re onto packing.

Here’s how another conversation went:

Me: Ugh, we have 12 teacups in this set of china from my grandma. How do I pack all of this?

Daddy O: Well, if you get rid of it, you’re ruining our kids’ chances of being on Antiques Roadshow.

We are keeping the teacups.

C is for…

We stayed overnight at Grandma & Grandpa’s for Easter and had the kids take a bath / shower before Easter Sunday. I set out the travel toiletries for Big Sister’s turn to clean up, giving her my small shampoo and conditioner bottles to use. Daddy O. came down and said, “Big sister just conditioned her entire body. Her explanation was that she thought the ‘c'(on top of the bottle) was for clean.”

Touchy Stomachs

Me: My stomach feels touchy.

Big sister: What happens when you touch it?

magic shell flavors

Daddy O. remarked, “Nothing natural comes out that way or in that color.”

Doesn’t it look pretty though?  Tastes good too when your stomach isn’t touchy!

Best of my Fly on the Wall Posts

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been part of these post for the past two years!

Big sister, Mama O, Daddy O, and Little Brother

US in Summer 2013 – one of my favorite family pictures

April 2014 was my first post and I’ve kept on participating regularly.  I’ve enjoyed looking back through the posts to share some of my favorites:

The Golden Rule

We’ve been talking about the Golden Rule, after reading the Berenstain Bear’s book and big sister went to vacation bible school for the first time this summer.  I was a bit surprised when big sister said, “Mom, remember the golden rule: You get what you get, and don’t throw a fit.”

An interesting interpretation of a rule by little bro:

Not eating your boogers is the golden rule.

I guess we need to review the Golden Rule a few more times!

On Getting Tired

Little brother: I took a yawn.  (or in other cases, when he’s not tired, he says, “I didn’t take a yawn.”

Me: yawning with exaggeration

Little brother: That’s a Thunder Yawn!

Daddy O.: What’s a thunder yawn?

Little brother: A really big yawn.

I hope this post hasn’t generated too many yawns – be them tiny or thunder yawns!

Difficult Words to Pronounce

We were just sitting outside in our backyard on a beautiful, though windy summer day. Big sister says, “Look the leaves on the tree are wrestling.”  “Oh you mean rustling. The leaves on the tree are rustling,” I explained. She was so close to the right word!  It IS hard to pronounce and remember so many words as a kid!

While we were driving somewhere, he asked in his sweet little voice, “Do leaping willows jump?” I had to explain that they are called weeping willows, and no, they did not jump.

Do Books Take Baths?

My mom gave me some old books from my own childhood and even some from when my dad was a kid.  My son especially loves Grandpa’s train book! When talking about the books, I said, “It’s an old book from when mom was little. It has old book smell.” Big sister replied, “Pweh! Do books take baths?”

Random

Big sister said she had a “knick knack name” from a friend at school.

Big sister: Mom, I have a big brain like you. I have all sorts of things in my brain this morning.

Big sister shares, “Guess what Mom? Sometimes my brain goes crazy.”

Love

At the end of a long, busy day with the kids, I was tired and just sitting down to read a magazine.  My son scooted up on my lap, saying, “Can I come up?” I’m sure I grumbled something, but then he said one of the sweetest phrases that I have ever heard:

I love you more than anything!

On my birthday last year big sister gave me a hug and said:

I love you all around the universe.

I certainly love these posts to help me remember and record such sweetness! And it’s great to be part of such a fun group of bloggers – for more Fly fun, be sure to click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado

Juicebox Confession

Menopausal Mother

Someone Else’s Genius

Spatulas on Parade

Searching for Sanity

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Southern Belle Charm

My Brain on Kids

The Angrivated Mom