Fly on the Wall: Balancing Crazy & Awesome Days

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 8 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

Menopausal Mother

Searching for Sanity 

Spatulas on Parade  

A Little Piece of Peace

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Bookworm in the Kitchen

Here’s who you’ll be hearing from:

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 7
  • Little Brother, age 5

For more Fly Posts, you can see my Fly on the Wall PAGE!

Yikes! This is only the third time this year that I’ve been part of this blogging challenge.  A lot has been going on – major volunteering, launching my marketing business, but I did take some time to hang with my girls and see Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block. Unfortunately, Paula Abdul wasn’t able to perform due to an injury.  My dear BFF (who I knew back when these bands were around) warned me before the concert that we may hear, “Old voices.”  I really didn’t know what she meant, so she went on, “You know, they may just sound old and different.”  Well…here’s what they looked like:


New Kids on the Block  rocking it in St. Paul, MN

NKOTB collage

Fireworks, lights, Joe getting up close & personal with the fans! They put on an entertaining show!

I didn’t think they sounded old.  Boyz II Men still had it too! It was a very fun night!

After that week, it’s been a balancing act of summer school, sports, work, and fun with family & friends.  All good things of course!

Fast forward to July 4th, and Daddy O had this to say:

“I feel unpatriotic drinking this beer.”

Molson biere

Some Expressions are Tough to Understand 

Me: I need to balance my checkbook. Big sister: What are you balancing it on?

Me: We’ll be carpooling today with our neighbors.  Big sister replies, “I hope the water’s warm.”  Hmm…there’s no pool in the car.

Summer Grumpiness

Big Sister: Adults almost always ruin my mood especially you Mom.

This is what I get for laying down the law during summer!  It’s funny because her comment reminds me of what they said last summer. I wrote about it in “You Might be Home with your Kids for Summer if…”

I was talking to Little Brother about getting along with friends, after hearing that he was name-calling. He went on to say, “those darn friends mess everything up sometimes.”  For being five, he sure can sound like a grumpy old man sometimes!

Crazy Little Brother

Little Brother kept saying “subspicious” for several weeks.

Little Brother describing his two recess times at school: I play Ningajo in the morning and monster in the afternoon.

We ended up finding a love seat and two chairs for our living room. Once they were delivered, Little Brother referred to it as a “love couch.”

While helping with chores, I discovered that Little Brother loves to scrub with the toilet brush. “It’s kind of like stirring a big soup,” he said. Stir on, I say!

Me to Little Brother: Stop being crazy!
Big Sister explains: He was born crazy, mom.

Little Brother was sitting on my lap, and asked where my heart was. He guessed, “between those Rocky Mountains?” Yes, referring to my boobs! Ahh! Previously, he told us that, “boobs are enjoyable.” The gray hairs are coming already because of this kid!

Awesome has a New Meaning

Me at dinnertime: My day was productive.
Kids: What does that mean?
Little Brother: Like awesome?
Me: Yes, exactly!

I hope you all have an awesome rest of July! Cheers, my dear readers.


Checking Things off our Summer Bucket List

Earlier in summer we created our family’s bucket list, and now that it’s almost August, I thought I’d share what we’ve been up to.

Mama O.'s summer bucket list

Mama O.’s family bucket list for 2016 

There’s a lot that we’ve done! From camping, fishing and playing checkers to ice skating, the zoo, and my son’s choice, “be lazy and boring,” it’s been a fun summer in Wisconsin. 

His “be lazy” comment reminds me of an old post I wrote about regular old summer days as I remembered them growing up…days when we’d whine about being bored with nothing to do, forcing us to invent our own fun.

As summer school ends, we’ll have some less hectic days where we can sleep in and let the day unfold as it will. While I’m looking forward to it, the planner in me wants to fill up our calendar more. Either way, I’m sure we’ll knock some more items off our bucket list and just have time to relax. 

Here are some pictures of our summer thus far:

Scenes from summer

From top left: some serious reporting at a weather exhibit at a museum in Chicago, fishing, riding the boats at Bay Beach, being lazy, hiking by Lake Michigan, watching ducks.

Fly on the Wall – Getting Older!

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.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on the links at the end of this post for a peek into some other homes.

As I re-read my quotes for this month’s Fly Post, I see a similar theme of everyone getting older, and not just my kids, me too! My 6 year old thinks I will age very quickly…read on for the gory details of what I have been hearing lately.

Observations of my 6 year old    

So we have this sign hanging up in our kitchen:

Sign in our kitchen - family rules

Big sister (looking at the sign): Did you know it doesn’t  have a period. And it would go on and on.

Me: So you’d read it really fast like that?

Big sister: yeah.

Me: Should it have a period  or exclamation  point?

Big sister: a period.

Me: You are too funny! You’ve really  learned a lot in kindergarten. You’ve had some great teachers!

On Growing Up

On Little Brother’s last day of daycare, the owner said, “I knew this day would come.” It also coincided with Big Sister’s last day of Kindergarten. There were tears for my four and six year old “babies” who are not really babies anymore! You can read more about my thoughts on that here.

Another sign of Little Brother growing up is that I don’t always get my daily snuggles at breakfast. Big sister commented one morning: Morning snuggle is fading.

Sigh…so it is! But I’ll gladly take it when I can get it.

Making Envelopes?

Both kids: Watch me make an envelope
Me: Licking paper does not make an envelope.  (Oh well, it kept them busy…and I guess there are worse things that they could be licking besides paper.)

Licking paper

Showing off his envelope

Aging Quickly

Me to Big sister: We are similar. We have similar personalities. We look alike.
Big sister: but my hair is longer.
Me: And I will always look older.
Big sister: Maybe When I’m 7, you’ll probably have white hair! (She turns 7 this November! Fortunately I don’t have gray hairs yet!)

The Summer Struggle is Real

Me to kids: Don’t let mom’s car be a garbage dump!

I wrote “You Might be Home with your Kids for Summer If…” with the garbage dump as one of the main signs.


I made a great overnight crockpot breakfast casserole recently, and it received mixed reviews.

Little Brother on my egg casserole: I don’t want any yuck-a-role / gross-a-role
Big sister: No, it’s yum-a-role!

Little Brother: It’s not sea weed, it’s lake weed! (on swimming and catching a lot of sea weed while camping).

Here they are before fishing (so excited!).

getting ready to fish

My two little fishers – ready to go! Only Big Sister caught one.

I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying summer as much as we are! Thanks for stopping by. Now be sure to check out these links below:

Baking in a Tornado    

Juicebox Confession          

Menopausal Mother          

Spatulas on Parade           

Searching for Sanity

Never Ever Give Up Hope   

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Southern Belle Charm         

Molly Ritterbeck   

5 Lessons from Summer Vacation

The busyness of summer leaves little time to sit back, reflect, and blog! I have been writing blog posts in my head, many of them continue to reside there, never making a debut on Alas, here’s a stolen moment online to share 5 lessons from summer vacation:

  1. You WILL forget something! This goes for something on the way to your destination OR leaving something behind. Check & check to both of these scenarios. When we went camping, we were packed and ready to leave on time. Here’s the expert packing job by Daddy O. below:
    SUV packed up for camping

    All packed up with everything we need for camping…or so we thought.

    One and a half hours into our journey we realized we had forgotten our air mattress and tarp. UGH!  On to Plan B (or #3 below).

  2. Kids will get antsy in the car. No Matter What! Sometimes they even want the thing you forget. On our last road trip, we just brought our portable DVD player, which is a huge hit. The Fox and the Hound and The Fox and the Hound II were new found Disney favorites.
  3. Improvise. Go with the Flow. Since we forgot our air mattress and tarp, we made a stop at Wal-mart before getting to the campsite. We opted NOT to buy a tarp and fortunately were fine without it. As for kids getting antsy in the car, Daddy O. resorted to playing the Star Wars soundtrack that he has on his phone. It really is quite entertaining (thank you to the composer, John Williams!), though my son interrupts every minute or so, asking “Daddy, what’s happening now?”
  4. Bend the rules. Similar to #3, we have to just let go a bit & let the day take us where it may. During camping the kids just have to stay up later because it still is light out, and they want to enjoy the campfire with s’mores. Daddy O. took big sister swimming past her bedtime on a recent hotel stay, and I took both kids for a quick morning swim before starting our day. In all cases, we managed with less sleep and some good naps in the car (myself included)!
  5. Relax and have fun! Sometimes I get frustrated that we are not “on time” or stressed that plans are not unfolding as I had expected, so I have to remind myself to just chill out! Our kids no longer nap, so we can handle doing more on vacation. On our last trip, we had some downtime at the hotel to rest before dinner, and it was just what we needed to re-charge. When we arrived at the restaurant, a bit later than I had hoped, we had to wait about 20 minutes…which wasn’t ideal. Fortunately, we were able to walk around outside and explore the riverfront to make time quickly. We ordered the kids’ meals right away to stave off any hunger induced whining. And Daddy O and I enjoyed a microbrew while we waited for our food…and we did relax & enjoy our family vacation time.

What lessons have you learned from vacation? How do you pack in summer fun & balance it with chill out time at home?

Cheers & happy summer!

Our Normal vs. Over the Top Last Day of School Ideas

I recently read “10 Ways to Celebrate School’s End with your Kids” in a local parenting newspaper. First, don’t we all love such top 10 lists? Those darn headlines just suck us in.

Anyway, back to the article.

Some ideas are fine, realistic ideas that I deem normal for our family, while others just are way over the top ideas that I will NOT be doing with my kids. I am all for making the end of school year special and celebrating my oldest completing her year as a four year old kindergartener, but let’s not get all crazy about it! I don’t want the end of the school year to eclipse even more important events, such as birthdays, Christmas and Easter.

Big sister waving goodbye on her 1st day of school. Sniff. Sniff.

Big sister waving goodbye on her 1st day of 4K. I’ll need to take an end of year picture too!

At any rate, here’s our list of normal vs. over the top ideas for the last day of school:

  1. Last Day of School Indicators – I’ll frequently say, “Honey, it’s the last day of school” to help motivate my daughter to get ready. (Article suggests taping crepe paper streamers on their door. No thanks.)
  2. Special Breakfast – In the interest of being on time and NOT missing her bus, I’ll make a normal breakfast. (Article suggests party food – an ice cream sundae with cereal topping. Hmmm…sounds like too much sugar to add to the inherent excitement of the last day. No thanks.)
  3. Plan something fun – YES, we are going to go out to eat as a family and let my daughter choose where we go. (Article says a friend’s mom rents a bounce house for the last day & has kids over for a play date. Wow! Sounds like fun, but we’ll go smaller scale.)
  4. Last day outfit – My daughter will wear whatever she chooses to leave on time. She chose her outfit on the first day as well; see picture above. Now I just have to remember to take a picture! (Article suggests a special last day of school outfit, which is not a bad idea.)
  5. Invite friends over – Check – we have two play dates this week, though not on the “BIG DAY.” I’m also trying to get done my home related chores & errands, so we can just focus on having fun on her last day of school.
  6. Plan summer activities – We will talk about our summer plans as a family. (Article suggests creating a summer bucket list as a family.)
  7. Plan stay-up-late activities – I’m sure we’ll do something fun as a family after eating out. (Article suggests a movie night & having their favorite movie snacks to keep them fed until midnight. Fortunately, a late bedtime for us is probably 8:30 – 9 pm.)
  8. Balloons – I don’t think I’ll celebrate with balloons after having to break up sibling fights about balloons and having some balloon-related injuries in our house. (Article suggests filling back of car with balloons as you pick up your kid from school.) Another over the top idea is greeting your kids with a water gun fight when they get off the bus. I think I’ll just give her a big hug instead!
  9. Stock up on summer fun – This goes back to #6. We have a fun summer planned, and I’ll probably troll Pinterest for some fun activities from time to time.
  10. Stop being a grown up for awhile – Yes, we can all stand to let loose and have fun with the last day of school.

I am certainly proud of my daughter’s first official year in school, and I look forward to celebrating and enjoying summer with her. Reading this article sort of made me feel like a “stick in the mud,” but, as with anything, I think you have to determine what makes sense for your family, and create your own traditions for big days. The excitement of the last school day is a given (for most kids & parents anyway), so I’ll be happy to play off of her mood, be silly, and have fun!

Cheers to a great school year & summer ahead!

How do you feel about these last day of school ideas?