Newsflash: Things will get Trashed in your Car

I give you Exhibit A: trashed backseat kick mats & organizers:

Backseat Kick mats

Backseat Kick Mats & Organizer after several years of use and abuse

I took this picture after our road trip to Washington D.C. because my SUV ends up being a huge mess after road trips.  It occurred to me then that these seat protectors / organizers have really seen better days.  The one on the right has held up slightly better, but the organizer pockets on the top are velcro-ed to the back.  The velcro doesn’t hold that well, so the top flap of pockets flops down and hits my daughter’s knees. Seeing the state of these kick mats, I thought two things:

  1. Wow, they are really trashed. I should probably buy some new ones.
  2. How old are they anyway?

I looked up my purchase history in Amazon (isn’t Amazon great?!) and saw that they were ordered in 2014 and 2013! These kick mats arrived when my kids were around 4 and 2. They have lived through a lot of tantrums and backseat shenanigans.

Here are the product links if you are curious:

Britax Back of Front Seat Kick Mats

Prince Lionheart Backseat Organizer

Now that my kids are 5 and 7, they don’t need much of the gear that they had when they were babies. My car, on the other hand, DOES still require some child-proofing to help minimize the amount of stains and wear and tear that happens in the back seat. I may have to reorder one of these.

 

 

Mom Problems: Logistics 

Hey blog! It has been way too long, and while I wanted to do a #SilentSunday post (yesterday), but this blog has been #SilentMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday for so long that I felt compelled to write something.

Right now I am in summer logistics mode, trying to plan out what will keep my lovely two children occupied, entertained, and learning a bit while school’s out. An added bonus – these activities help keep me sane, giving me time to tackle my to-do list and hopefully work a few hours for my freelancing gig. These are all good things.

The downside of all these activities is the running around and kid shuttling. I think I need a taxi driver hat!

As I look at our proposed schedule, I know it’s my own doing. We want our kids active instead of hanging out at home and peppering me with,”Mom, I’m bored.” I try to keep it reasonable with open days and times for impromptu fun, so there’s a balance. Conflicts do come up, so we’ll have to pick and choose what we end up doing at certain times. Perfect attendance is over-rated, right?

Last night I successfully registered my five and seven year old for a round of activities – awesome offerings through summer school, sports held at the same time, and a class each at our local zoo on the same day.  Today I added in swimming lessons too. Next on the list: vacation bible school, and then I think we’re all set.  Now I just need the weather to cooperate, so we can enjoy t-ball and softball games in the upcoming weeks! Too bad moms can’t control Mother Nature herself!

I’m really looking forward to summer and time will tell how well I planned it all out for my family!

What is your favorite advice to get through summer logistics planning for your kids and family? Please share with a comment!

 

 

 

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!

big-sister-in-a-bubble

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

bubble-little-brother

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

Fly on the Wall: Parenting in a Nutshell

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 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                   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/

The Bergham Chronicles               http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

When I Grow Up                       http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/

Wanting to Regress, I Guess

In past Fly on the Wall posts I have talked about growing older, mostly as it relates to my kids. In a unique twist, I heard my kids say, “I wish we were babies, and you had to change our diapers.”

Daddy O. replied, “Babies don’t earn coins for doing jobs. They can’t buy things with money. They can’t go swimming by themselves.” At age 6 Big Sister can be in the water by herself with an adult on the pool deck. Little Brother still needs an adult in the water with him at age 5.

Little Brother explained, “We would just swim on you. You do all the work, and we do all the relaxing.”

Me lamenting to Daddy O., “That’s parenting in a nutshell.” Sigh.

Camping / Outdoor Quips

While we were hiking, we had to double back to reach the correct trail. I was able to say, “Turn by the floating caterpillar!” It did appear to be floating, suspended on a thin line of a spider’s web. It was cool!

Both kids asked on our hike, “Are there wolves in the woods?”

I replied, “Just make your annoying noises and they’ll stay away.”

Big Sister was a big discouraged after fishing, saying, “I know why we didn’t catch any fish. It’s because we SUCK!” Wow, I didn’t realize she knew that phrase.  I explained that they didn’t suck, but they just needed to find a better fishing spot…and the fish don’t always bite, blah, blah blah (I’m sure she just heard the voice of Charlie Brown’s Mom.)

Wedding = Kid Free Time!

Daddy and Mama O. wedding 2016.png

Daddy and Mama O all fancy for the wedding – what I can do with time to fix my hair.

Daddy O. and I attended a beautiful wedding of an extended family member, while our kids went with their aunt and uncle and cousins. At the end of the weekend, Big Sister explained, “At our aunt’s house, you get points for sleeping in.” Hmm…maybe we should do that at home!

On our drive to the wedding we were enjoying some 80’s music. I heard the station identification and said, “Wait, is this the oldies station?!”  Daddy O. remarked, “Yeah, we are oldies.”

While up north we saw a few “Man’s Sale” signs. My sister and I laughed, wondering if men were for sale.  A few miles down the road more signs gave a few more clues as to what a “Man’s Sale” was – fishing, hunting, clothing for men, but it was a good laugh!

Little Brother’s New Game

At the step in our garage that leads to our home there were four water bottles lined up. Daddy O. asked, “What’s with these water bottles here?”

Me: It was a game. Little Brother would ride his bike around the garage and would deliver me a water bottle that he pretended was a bottle of wine. Then he’d ride around again and pick up another bottle and deliver it to me. I think it’s a good game.

Daddy O: Okay then…

Now shoo fly, and go check out all of these other posts!

 

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.