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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A Guide: How to Walk like you’re Pregnant

Disclaimer – no, I am NOT pregnant.

I did, however, learn over the weekend that you can teach anyone (in my case my husband) how to walk like a pregnant woman.  Without further ado, here’s the quick go-to guide:

How to Walk like you’re Pregnant

  1. Procure a pair of snowshoes.
  2. Find a snow covered area for hiking.
  3. Awkwardly bend over and strap on snowshoes.
  4. Point toes slightly out to the side and begin walking.
  5. For added effect, place a 40 – 60 lb. backpack on frontwards.
  6. Keep walking for at least an hour for the full “pregnant lady” simulation.

This effective how to guide will soon replace the common “put on the weighted boobs and baby bump” that my husband and I experienced in our birthing class.  He wore it for a full two minutes – just like the other dads, and just like the other moms, I laughed and shook my head, thinking, “You have NO clue what this is like.”  Snowshoeing was spot-on for the pregnant waddle.

Though we’re standing still in the pictures below, trust me, we were both waddling.  The pictures were taken in Door County, Wisconsin at Peninsula State Park.  This is otherwise known as the “thumb” in the mitten shape of the state of Wisconsin. Daddy O. and I enjoyed a little kid-free weekend getaway (yes, this IS late March in Wisconsin). Since we live here (and plan to for years to come), we are deciding to embrace winter and get into more outdoor activities, making snowshoeing a great choice! The park was so peaceful and quiet – a stark contrast from the warmer summer months.

Plus, Door County is a cherry lover’s paradise. We indulged in cherry stuffed french toast, cherry juice, cherry pastries, cherry soda / wine…it seems the cherry options are endless! My husband LOVED it!

All in all it was a beautiful, relaxing, and delicious way to recharge – something all parents / couples need from time to time. What do you like to do on your getaways?

How else do you simulate pregnancy to help others understand how it feels?  Do you have any suggestions other than snowshoeing?

Wisconsin Winter Wonderland

Hooray – we’ll have a white Christmas!  We took some time today to enjoy the white stuff, as we Wisconsinites or Sconnies have to do. Even though I do get sick of snow by the end of the season, the first snow still excites me, and I admire the beauty of it sticking to the trees. So pretty, right?

My daughter is loving her snow suit, gladly posing for this picture.  Then with a close up and BIG SMILE! The joy in her cannot be contained, so she closes her eyes! So adorable.

My son, on the other hand, was not so excited to play in the snow.  We tried pulling him around in the sled (both me and my daughter), but he wasn’t a fan. We’ll have to try again another day.

When we look up to the sky this is what we see. I love it!  I used some of the snow pictures to make my new header too, playing around with the various effects.  Enjoy the winter wonderland!  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here with more snow on the way.