Family Vacation Pictures: The Good, the Bad, and Mostly Silly

Hi ya! I was scrolling through some pictures from our road trip out to Washington D.C., and I couldn’t help but make some collages of our many attempts to get a nice family picture. It was a beautiful spring day on the Mall. While we missed the main cherry blossoms, it was still a lovely temperature, which was much, much nicer than the spring we’ve been having in Wisconsin. My kids were having more fun being silly for pictures I was trying to take to mark the occasion: their first trip to D.C.

Here’s what I could capture:

Go Mama O. family vacation silly pics 2017

Top: Goofy faces in from of the Washington Memorial, and cuddling her water bottle at the Lincoln Memorial. Bottom: On the road! Daddy O. isn’t so sure about this trip in this picture (ha ha). 

Go Mama O family vacation 2017.png

More family picture attempts that day. That’s my annoyed face in the lower right.

The one on the top left is one of the last pictures of the day. We quick grabbed some ice cream and shakes from an ice cream truck because it was hot and we were all tired from a day of walking.  If my son had worn sunglasses, it might be almost passable.  At least we are all in the picture, unlike the one at the Lincoln Memorial, where my son is hiding behind Daddy O. (riding on his back). I also like the one on the top right, where my daughter looks confused and my son is sort of winking.

At any rate, these collages are fun.  Much like any family vacation in its entirety, they are not perfect by any means. There are good times, bad times, and down right ugly times as kids (and adults) get tired, impatient, and sick of being in the car for so long. We were silly. We did laugh and have fun, and we did it all together, making memories along the way.  These pictures are reminders of all that!

Cheers to family pictures of all kinds!

More stories about our trip will be coming.

Fly on the Wall: Is it Kiddie Cocktail Time?

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 14 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.

Fly on the Wall Post

I’ll take you back to Christmas for a few favorite phrases we heard over the holidays.

My FAVORITE came from big sister on Christmas morning (now 5 years old): We were good! Santa did come!

So precious!

Here were some picture highlights from our Christmas:

Mama O.'s Christmas with family - Elsa WAS under the tree for big sister!

Mama O.’s Christmas with family – Elsa WAS under the tree for big sister, as a doll and beautiful quilt from Grandma! I’m posing with my fun food processor – it’s AWESOME!

Big sister & Little brother (3 years old) would alternately say, “You’re going to be on the naughty list.” I believe this started up again the DAY AFTER Christmas! They are really understanding this Santa thing!

Daddy O. (who had a lot of time off during the holidays – yay) commented one day, “There is glitter everywhere.” My response, “I think it was Twilight Sparkle (a My Little Pony), but welcome to having a daughter.”  This also reminds me of the viral post about sending your enemies glitter – this probably wouldn’t phase our house!

As I mentioned in this post, I buy my own Santa presents and actually saw Daddy O. come home with the food processor that I suggested as a gift idea. It’s fine…I’m just more of the shopper in our house.  I DID have a little snafu with my own Santa system this year. On December 30th, while Daddy O. and I were watching a movie, I suddenly realized, “Wait, I think I have a Christmas present I didn’t open in my stocking.”  I was right!

Don't forget about small boxes you buy for yourself! This one was jewelry!

Don’t forget about small boxes you buy for yourself! This one was jewelry!

While putting together a Lego-like Barbie Dream House with big sister, she needed to take a break, explaining, “Mom, I have to go blow up the Death Star (her brother’s toy).” My my, she will be one well-rounded girl!

Fun with Star Wars

Daddy O. is a big Star Wars fan, so we’ve been watching some of the movies together and reading Star Wars books as a family.  As I mentioned earlier, my son received a “blow up the Death Star” car / race track toy that both kids enjoy. Some Star Wars related chatter in our home:

Big sister: I called my brother a wookie.

A lot of questions:

  • Little brother: Why did Anakin turn to the dark side?
  • Big sister: Is Darth Sidious the Emperor? Why did he turn to the dark side?

Both kids: Baby Ewoks are cute!

Daddy O.’s Birthday

To celebrate, I pulled out all the stops: I bought him bacon, telling him, “Because nothing says happy birthday like bacon.” Besides bacon, we enjoyed some time at an indoor water park, went out for sushi as a family, and watched another Star Wars movie as a family that night. It was a good time!

Polar Vortex – Best Quote from Daddy O.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather – only inappropriate clothing.”  This was so true during the polar vortex that dropped temps down to -25 with the wind chill. I dressed like this when bringing big sister to school:

#winning! Screw you polar vortex - we're still going out of the house!

#winning! Screw you polar vortex – we’re still going out of the house!

Little Brother’s Highlights

A lot of a three year old’s comments fall under a random category, so it is with his words that I will leave you.

Mom, I want one of those cheese-curdy things.

It was a cauliflower. And he ATE it! YES!

Last Friday at 10:00 am he says:

Mom, I want a kiddie cocktail!”

My reply:

No honey, I will not make you a kiddie cocktail. Maybe tonight.

Little brother was saying “governor” in place of “co-worker,” as in, “Daddy, do you need to take that Lego movie back to your governor?”

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!

I hope you hear a lot of sweet words like that in your home too! Have a lovely Friday and be sure to click on these links for a peek into some other homes too:

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

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

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home

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

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                        Stacy Sews and Schools

http://dinoheromommy.com/                                   Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://www.JuiceboxConfession.com                    Juicebox Confession

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                              Battered Hope

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

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                       Someone Else’s Genius

http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                            The Sadder But Wiser Girl

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                             Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                       The Momisodes

5 Reasons Why I Love Being an Aunt

I truly love being an aunt! And I am so proud of all my sweet nieces & nephews just like I am of my own kids. My sister and siblings-in-laws are pretty cool people, and their offspring has followed their down their path of coolness (obviously).  I am blessed to be called “Aunt Cathy” by eight little people all under the age of six!  The youngest was just born this week (ALMOST born yesterday in fact).

Thinking of all of them and having spent a lot of time with them recently, has motivated me to share a few reasons why I love being an aunt:

  1. You help me reminisce – my younger nieces and nephews help me remember what my kids were like at their age.  The latest birth led to a trip down memory lane for my two kids, who HAD to see their baby books. I also enjoyed watching my almost 2 year old nephew, who needed some extra rocking before bedtime – something my 3 year old has outgrown!
  2. You give me a preview of the future – only one nephew is older than my own daughter, so I love watching him learn & grow into a school-aged kid. He is full of energy and so diplomatic in his word selection, saying “that isn’t my style, Aunt Cathy,” when he was out with our family. He has also taken my younger son under his wing. So precious!
  3. You may think I’m cool in ways my kids may not – I may do things a little differently than your parents do at your home. Maybe that means you can get away with certain things…maybe not. Certainly I try to do something fun when the kids come over. We do crafts and test out Pinterest projects here, so I hope that makes me a “cool aunt.” Let’s face it, it must be easier to be a cool aunt than a cool mom, so I’ll aim for that title!
  4. More fun / less work! Simply put – nieces & nephews go back home! Along with the fun theme, I know your time at our home has an end-time, so it’s easier to be focused on playing & having fun than trying to keep our house clean.  Your parents will pick you up, so it’s not a long-haul endeavor as it is with raising your own kids. Instead I think of their visits as little sprints versus the marathon of being a parent (which is also extremely rewarding & satisfying…not to slight my own kids in this post).
  5. You are / will be among my kids’ best friends – As I mentioned in #2, I love seeing the interaction between my kids and their cousins. They are all so close in age, so they all chum around together.  Who knows, maybe my nephew will even ask my daughter to prom someday (as friends of course!), just like my dad took his cousin to prom back in the day (as friends of course)!  ha ha

It’s so rewarding to be part of the village that influences and cheers for kids as they grow and mature. Similarly, I appreciate all of the aunts and uncles that my kids have to look up to and bond with throughout their formative years.  Life is good as Aunt Cathy!

Fly on the Wall – Do Books Take Baths?

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 16 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.

Fly on the Wall Post

I feel like I’ve been buzzing around a lot lately with family activities, birthdays, passing along baby gear, and not a lot of blogging.  I have been having fun with my own side business in addition to my part time job. Basically, I get to prepare / eat amazing food, drink wine and help prepare some freezer meals while I work. Read more about my job here.

Back to Fly on the Wall….

Bye Bye Baby Gear

I had a lot of gear from my kids that wasn’t needed by friends or family having kids, so I found a local charity for single moms who took a wide range of donations. I loaded my car with a highchair, bouncer, jumper, infant bathtub among other things, and buckled little brother into his seat. On the way to the donation center, he said, “I call baby toys a bunch of junk!” And “There’s a bunch of junk in the back.”

Hey bud, you used that junk!! I hope it helps another family too!

Music to my Ears

Big sister: Mom, can I wash the floors? I need a bucket.

Mom / Dad: Sure!

Big sister: C’mon Mom, help us. It’s fun.

Me: No, that’s okay honey. You’re doing great.

Big sister: You have to do it like Cinderella does!

Me thinking – we need to watch that movie more often!! Our house would be so clean!

This wasn't exactly said, but it was written, which counts for Fly on the Wall.

This wasn’t exactly said, but it was written exactly how big sister would say it, which counts for Fly on the Wall.

Playing the Game

When getting dressed, my son will say, “Wait, let me check and see if it’s size 3,” because he is 3 years old.  Upon seeing a 2 on the tag (some of which still fit him), he’ll choose something else. Daddy O. responded one time, “Do you want to see a 3?”  When he said yes, Daddy O. took a sharpie to the shirt & turned the 2 into a 3.  Problem solved & shirt worn! We’ve done this to a few of his shirts now. I write more about that here.

changing little brother's shirt to 3T

Play the game while getting dressed – a new size!

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?”

My Birthday

My daughter was born one week after my birthday, so I’m always focused on her birthday party when my own rolls around.  Still, we had some fun celebrating my special day as a family.  My colleagues bought me cake & a balloon at work and my husband bought me chocolate covered cannoli from our local Italian bakery. YUM! He put candles in the cannoli and he & big sister sang me Happy Birthday.  Little brother wasn’t singing at all.  When they sang, “How old are you?” he chimed in, “I’m not old.”  So true, so true my little man!

mama O. and my birthday cake

Sweet birthday treats waiting for me in the office

Melt my Heart

Big sister is into coloring and making art projects.  She has so many of them that I often encourage sending them to our family.  Sometimes she decides without me asking who will be the lucky recipient of her artwork. For one particular piece she recently said, “Can we send this leaf up to heaven?”  My reply, “Who do you want to give it to?” Big sister said, “Great Grandma.”

At this point I got a little choked up because she mentioned a grandma who passed away when I was still in high school. She’s seen pictures of her and we’ve talked about her. I WISH I would have just said, “sure, we can send it up to her. Let me get an envelope,” but instead I said, ” Sweetie, you haven’t even met her. She would love you very much. I think Great Grandma can see this beautiful leaf you made already.” Just precious! How do kids come up with this stuff?!

Random Comments

Ahhh…I had some Fly on the Wall “memo” saved in my phone.  Some mysterious phone monster deleted them. I think one gem was from my daughter, as we were driving to Illinois, she declared, “Someday I’ll name my kid Illinois.”  Okay, honey!

Big sister: My poop was like an eel turd.
Me & Daddy O.: What?!
Big Sis: my poop looked like an eel.
Wow! Thanks!

As I’m pulling out of a parking lot, little brothers reminds me in his sweet voice, “You’re not in a demo derby!”

Little Brother: When I get big, I’m going to hunt bees.

Me to wild kids: it’s not wrestle-mania kids!
Big sister: what? Wrestlevania?
Yes, not that either kids!

Big sister: The sky looks like a maze of clouds. (such a good description for that day)!

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

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

http://www.therowdybaker.com                                  The Rowdy Baker

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                          The Momisodes

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

http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                                   The Sadder But Wiser Girl

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                        Stacy Sews and Schools

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

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                 Battered Hope

http://dinoheromommy.com/                         Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                   Someone Else’s Genius

http://www.crumpetsandbollocks.com                     Crumpets and Bollocks

http://www.juiceboxconfession.com                          Juicebox Confession

http://www.risanye.com                                              Risa Nye

The END of Napping as We Know It

It has happened now for good.

The END of NAPPING for big sister.  At just about 40 months, she has said goodbye to her afternoon nap and hello to an earlier bedtime!

The end of napping as we know it is tough for me.  I CHERISHED coordinated nap schedules with big sister and little brother snoozing peacefully, freeing me up to do my own stuff.  I talked about how I love quiet time in this post.

How do I know the end is here?  Well, she hasn’t napped in over a week.  Today I tried my best to tire her out, complete with running around at open gym, more climbing and playing at the Y, and over an hour of reading together.  I successfully left her in her room for quiet time, and when I checked on her, it was clear she was just playing and chattering to herself.  Sigh….

According to the BEST sleep book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D., naps disappear between ages three and six.

“On their third birthday, most children (91 percent) are still napping every day. At age four, about 50 percent of children nap five days a week, and by age five, about 25 percent of children are napping about four days each week.”

With naps out the door, I think I will still continue about an hour of quiet play in her room after reading stories together, secretly hoping she will decide to nap on some days.  Other parents, what do you do when the napping stops?

Big sister sleeping at 10 months old

Big sister sleeping at 10 months old