Day 2: African Safari Wildlife Park

Well, I have had some time to process the fact that the kiddos have HFMD.  I have contacted all the kiddos parents who planned on attending the b-day party on Sunday and explained the situation. I changed our “yes attending” R.S.V.Ps for all immediate playgroup meetups to “not attending”. And my hubby has contacted the parents of children our children have been in contact with this past weekend.  Minus the entire water park of course, to bad there isn’t an app for that. I do feel horrible about the fact that we might have exposed more children.  Although, it does seem like HFMD is going around, and as a close confidant of mine stated, HFMD is the new chickenpox, and maybe she is right?  Maybe 20 years from now my grandchildren will be receiving the HFMD vaccine and I will be sharing the story of when my children had HFMD.  I would tell them about today and how their grandfather called off work to stay with me and the kiddos. How he had a great plan for having a fun-filled family day with the children that did not involve them being around others but was sure to guarantee a memorable experience, one we would cherish……..

We told the children we had a fun afternoon planned but that it would remain a surprise until we arrived at our destination. Sure enough, a tough game of 20 questions followed, they were so eager to know where they were going. Thankfully lunch via drive-thru lead them off the trail for a few minutes and they got to eat their food in the car since they were contagious, which just added to the entire experience. What is it about a drive-thru and eating in the car that is such a treat to a child? Forty minutes later and we were there….

African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton Ohio

It was the perfect park for our little ones.  They could stay in the car the entire time so we didn’t have to worry about them coming in contact with others.  It was so much fun! I have to say I was honesty surprised at how much I truly enjoyed this experience with my family.  We purchased 4 cups of grains and 2 bags of carrots to feed the animals and let me tell you there is nothing cuter than those animals’ big brown eyes peering into the car; of course, they only come a close second to the big blue eyes of my babes gazing back at them.  Having the animals come up to your car and feed them was so cool……

 

Of course it was a little difficult to capture the entire giraffe. His head was so large that his nose took up the entire window cavity. Then my hubby decided to open up the sun roof for easier access. Being able to feed a giraffe while in the car with my family was by far my favorite.

 

After we, and by we, I mean my hubby, son, and I fed the animals I grabbed the hand sanitizer. Squirting hand sanitizer that contains alcohol onto a child’s hand that has HFMD is not recommended. What follows is screaming, then panting, and a sincere question of “why would you do that?”. What’s even worse is when your mom quickly grabs her water to pour on the burning hand in hopes of cooling them off only to realize she has a lemon in the water.

I felt so horrible, poor kiddo. But besides the hand sanitizing and lemon water incident the day was wonderful. If it wasn’t for HFMD we probably would have experienced this outing with friends and we might have missed out on this amazing family bonding experience. Should I be thanking whoever my kiddos contracted HFMD from?  Since it was the HFMD that made us not include others in on this experience? Maybe….just maybe there is a blessing in disguised?

Kings Island,I-75 Scavenger Hunt, and a Lesson on Love

For Father’s Day this year instead of doing the typical backyard BBQ my Dad invited the entire family to Kings Island for a fun-filled Family Day. What a Dad, right!?! In order to honor my hubby’s side of the family we went to King’s Island the weekend after Father’s Day.  Which couldn’t have worked out more perfectly, we had such a gorgeous day at King’s Island while Father’s Day ended up being a little soggy.

So, in preparation for our road trip to Cincinnati I printed off a scavenger hunt for the kiddos in hopes of keeping them occupied during the drive. I did a quick google search of the various images located near I-75 of the city/towns we drove past and added a few expressway affiliated symbols we would pass along the way. I then pasted the images to a word document, printed them off, pasted them onto construction paper for better durability, and glued an envelope to the back of one of the construction papers, and placed stickers inside the envelopes to act as markers to mark off the images as we passed them on I-75.

Then, at the completion of the Scavenger Hunt, which just so happened to coincide with the end of our road trip they each received a prize. No, your eyes do not deceive you, that is Christmas wrap, lol!  (Side note: Kroger’s has a lot of toys on sale. I purchased a Green Lantern action figure for $5, our son loved it! He wants to know when we are having another Scavenger hunt).

At the halfway point, Lima Ohio, I included a snack, mini-M&M cookies, Yum!

So we stayed the night at the Homewood Suites in Miamisburg on Friday night so we could wake up  revived and spend an entire day at Kings Island. But on our way to Kings Island that morning we receive a surprising phone call. Our Yellow Labrador did something to his leg and he was in the Animal Hospital.  Thankfully our good friends were watching him and took exceptional care of him, even medicated him twice a day and yes, they have their own family of 5 to care for, Big shout out to the Reeds and thank you for taking such good care of our Deuce while we were away.

So once we entered the park our minds were a little distracted since nothing has ever happened to our 9-year-old Deuce and he has never had surgery or been medicated in his life. But was had a decision to make, a mental decision, we could either allow our fun-filled family day to be hijacked by thoughts of Deuce and the “what ifs” or we could enjoy our time with our children, my parents, and siblings.  It took a moment, I am not going to lie, and yes, I had an image in my mind of our poor dog limping everywhere and needing assistance and wondering why we had abandoned him.  But I tried to focus my attention on the amazing gift God had blessed me with, my awesome family, the beaitufl weather, and the possibilites that lay ahead, and I realized it would be insulting to all parties involved, including myself, if I rejected this gift.  So I chose joy, happiness, and the opportunity to make some new amazing memories knowing full well that our friends at home would take excellent care of our four-legged family members.  And memories, boy did we make some exceptional memories…..

 

 

 

It was amazing how joyful my day became once I adjusted my demeanor and reflected on the love that was exuded in this fun-filled family day. For it was the love I knew our friends had for Deuce that eased my worries and comforted my spirit. It was the love my father had for his entire family that brought about such a wonderful day. It was the patience and love my mother has for our marriage that encouraged my hubby and I to have a family moment with our children. It was the selflessness and love that my sister and brother exuded for me and my children when they patiently waited in line and road the roller coaster, swam, and swaddled our toddler (they are young, not married, and have not children they could have chosen a selfish route, they could have disappeared the entire day, but they did not, they stayed, they helped, they loved).  It was the love I have for my hubby, children, parents, and siblings that encouraged a manifestation of joy within me. What an amazing gift to be given, love, when you are truly loved and loved in return you are the richest person on this planet. No amount of money, fancy clothes, cars, houses, purses, exotic trips, or materialistic things, can compensate for the riches of truly being loved. For without love you are bankrupt, and that is a torment within that I pray to God that my children and loved ones never experience.

The tired mother’s creed {with free printable}

We just got home from Kings Island (I will be blogging about this later) and we are regrouping before a Mud Hens Game this evening. I went to check my email and saw that a very dear friend sent me an email with a link to the following (boy does she know me, it was precisely what I needed to read at this moment):

For the days we are running on empty. For the days we just don’t think we have it in us to read one more story, play one more game of Uno, wash one more round of sheets. For the days when we think everyone else has it altogether. For the days we’re sure anyone else would do this job better.

 

For those days. You know the ones.

Repeat after me:

 1.I shall not judge my house, my kid’s summer activities or my crafting skills by Pinterest’s standards.

 2.I shall not measure what I’ve accomplished today by the loads of unfolded laundry but by the assurance of deep love I’ve tickled into my kids

 3.I shall say “yes” to blanket forts and see past the chaos to the memories we’re building.

 4.I shall surprise my kids with trips to get ice cream when they’re already in their pajamas.

 5.I shall not compare myself to other mothers, but find my identity in the God who trusted me with these kids in the first place.

 6.I shall remember that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.

 7.I shall play music loudly and teach my kids the joy of wildly uncoordinated dance.

 8.I shall remind myself that perfect is simply a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land.

 9.I shall embrace the fact that in becoming a mom I traded perfect for a house full of real.

 10.I shall promise to love this body that bore these three children – out loud, especially in front of my daughter.

 11.I shall give my other mother friends the gift of guilt-free friendship.

 12.I shall do my best to admit to my people my “unfine” moments.

 13.I shall say “sorry” when sorry is necessary.

 14.I pray God I shall never be too proud, angry or stubborn to ask for my children’s forgiveness.

 15.I shall make space in my grown up world for goofball moments with my kids.

 16.I shall love their father and make sure they know I love him.

 17.I shall model kind words – to kids and grown-ups alike.

 18.I shall not be intimidated by the inside of my minivan – this season of chip bags, goldfish crackers and discarded socks too shall pass.

 19.I shall always make time to encourage new moms.

 20.I shall not resent that last call for kisses and cups of water but remember instead that when I blink they’ll all be in college.

 

~ with love from one tired mother to another.

Source

 

{click here to download the below printable version}

 

Thank you Kristy

If you can relate, if you are also a tired mother, reply with a brief message expressing so. Please share this with all the tired moms in your life.

Sleep Under Party

Okay, remember when you were a pre-teen and all the rage on the weekends was a sleep over at a friend’s house? You would pack your pjs, stuff to do, and grab a pillow and sleeping bag and rush to the car in anticipation. Or, if you were one of the fortunate souls you only lived a few houses down and you could just walk to your friend’s house. Then once you arrived the excitement would build….what to do first? Pizza, duh! Then it was off to dish about all the cute boys at school, while sporadically giving props and snubs on fashion as well as hair accessories/styles seen at school, the mall, magazines, Hollywood, etc.   Then the night would continue on with various activities like painting nails, looking through seventeen, playing games, and watching movies that our parents might not be too fond of, like Dirty Dancing and Tremors (that darn movie gave me nightmares, I guess I had it coming, serves me right for watching something I knew I shouldn’t have been). Oh, and remember the crazy games of truth or dare? If memory serves me correctly I think one game ended when a few girls started streaking down the street in the middle of the night.  Yep, now that’s a party, lol!  Ever wish you could go back to those days? Just relinquish your responsibility and obligations as a parent and be a teenager again? Well, you can!! Granted a sleep over is a tad ridiculous and not always practical at our age but a Sleep Under Party is totally feasible!

Invite a group of your closets friends over to your home for a Sleep Under Party. I know what you are thinking, I don’t want to clean, cook, hunt for the perfect outfit, and entertain but the best part is when you do it right you don’t have to do any of those (okay, well, maybe clean a little. I don’t advice inviting people over to see your dirty cloths sprawled across the floor and dinner for the night before still caked on pot, pans, and dishes throughout the kitchen. So, yes, some tidying might be in order, but nothing major.)

Here are the rules for hosting a Mom’s Sleep Under Party:

1. Everyone must come dressed in their Pajamas. This keeps the dress code simple and comfortable.

2. Everyone brings one dish or beverage to share (funny thing, these are often something chocolate and wine). However if you don’t want to have duplicate dishes or a bunch of bottles of wine and no food I would advise posting a message on Facebook and have guest reply stating what they will be brining. Having guest bring a dish or beverage keep the hostess’ responsibilities to a minimum, makes everyone feel like an important part of the evening, and it is a great way to share new recipes.

3. Have a few activities planned and sitting out to play in case the conversation doesn’t flow as quickly as you would like. A game tends to get a party started. Though, I must admit, I have thrown a few sleep under parties and the conversation never lulls, in fact I often have to boot the ladies out when I start mumbling like an idiot after exhaustion takes control of me.

4.For added fun you could make it into a Spa Night. Have a Massage therapist on hand for massages, the ladies could make sugar scrubs, or have someone give pedicures, etc.

5.What happens at a Sleep Under Party stays at a Sleep Under Party, just kidding!! No weird stuff, just moms chilling and having a much deserving fun, relaxing evening with friends.

So, you might not be able to be a teenager again and chances are you will not be streaking down your street at midnight (unless you want to have that weird, extremely awkward conversation with your neighbor in the morning) but you can encompass the ambiance of the occasion in a more grown-up manner.

 

So, what do you think? Do you see yourself throwing a Sleep Under party anytime soon? Or, maybe you have thrown a similar party, how did it go?

Happy Birthday Celebration

Happy Birthday to our little Power Ranger! We had so much fun I didn’t get a chance to post this yesterday, we partied ALL Day!

The day started off with our birthday boy entering the kitchen and being greeted by his new set of golf clubs and a brand-spanking-new Red Power Ranger Costume!

Followed by a Family favorite tradition, doughnut BIRTHDAY BREAKFAST!! We only purchase donuts for birthday breakfasts that way they are a real special treat for the family to enjoy together.

 

Then we were off to story time at the library and yes, since it was his birthday I allowed him to wear his Power Ranger costume. Mind you it got up to like 93 degrees and I am sure that costume adds at least 5 more, that material does not breathe, but he didn’t care, in his mind he was a Power Ranger for his birthday! Notice the power ranger in the crowd of kids?….

 

After story time we met up with my family at the Docks for lunch. And yes, he was still wearing his Power Ranger costume and by now I made certain he rehydrated every half hour or so.

We ended up eating at El Vaquero, a Mexican restaurant.  As luck would have it, on your birthday they place a Sombrero on your head and sing to you. Cool, right!?!  That’s what I thoughts. But no, he was not in the least bit excited.  He sat there with a look of disgust as his cheeks turned as red as the Sombrero on his head and the tears began to well within his eyes. Not the reaction I had anticipated. When I asked why he was not happy he explained, “They sang the whole song in Spanish. It is my birthday and I want them to see in American”.

So after walking along the water for a few minutes we headed to the pool where our now sweat doused Power Ranger needed to cool off.  Then a quick birthday snack thanks to Nana, Cake in a Cup, YUM!!! And yes, we finally made his little 5 year-old wish come true we sang Happy Birthday in French, lol! Just kidding we sang it in American or, as us adults commonly refer to, English, we sang the English version.

Then it was time to head home for pizza and another birthday celebration with my hubby’s side of the family.  He was pretty excited because this year, instead of mommy baking a cake and spending hours decorating it; I spent my time more wisely.  My son and I made the cake together and then he shared the decorating process with his sisters, it was so much fun and really added to the birthday memories bank.  Granted there were a few bites of nothing but sprinkles but what a small sacrifice for such a wonderful experience.

 

Last night as I gazed into our little man’s room and he lay grasping his Power Ranger mask in bed I started to tear up.  And as the tears rolled down my face I was reminded of my mother and how she used to do the same when he children were little. At the time I never understood why she would cry but I get it now.  The days just go by way to fast and we do not get them back.  And yet, when we halt our rapid thoughts and embrace the moment, it can become too overwhelming for us moms.  Because if we stop and truly inhale the moment we become immersed with the memories of yesterday and the wonder and awe of the future and it is in that moment that immortality hits and we find ourselves drowning with emotions.

For yesterday was a beautiful memory that will forever be cherished, today is a gift to be treasured, and tomorrow….well, that is not promised.

Happy Birthday Little Power Ranger and I thank God for entrusting me as your mommy, for it is us, mommy and daddy who have been blessed by your presence.

 

Do you have any birthday traditions in your household?  Do you have any hilarious birthday stories? Perhaps your child has or had a costume they wanted to wear everywhere (please say they did, it would be nice to know I am not alone)?  Please share, I so enjoy reading your personal experiences. 

Summer Reading Program and The Farmer’s Market

We originally planned on going to Maumee Bay for the day to play in the sand, swim, play on the playground, and enjoy a picnic lunch with some of our friends. As luck would have it the weather did not cooperate. Instead of being a warm June day it was rather cool, especially in the morning and by Lake Erie the temperature is usually a few degrees cooler.  So we cancelled our Maumee Bay day and just went with the flow….wherever the day took us.  And where it took us was to the Library where the kiddos signed up for the Summer Reading Program and then after lunch and quiet time we went to the Farmer’s Market.  Surprisingly, the day was delightful.  It was one of those days where all the kiddos seem to get along well, no arguing, no meltdowns, no toddler tantrums or mommy tantrums, just a perfect day.  Thought I would share some pictures from our perfect day…I will treasure today!

Here we are signing up for the Summer Reading program, each kiddo then carefully selected  6 books to checkout in order to get them started on their summer reading. ( I also added a few books on CD and tape….our preschooler feels more independent that way).

 

Then, after a light lunch and quiet time, quiet time that actually turned into nap time for all 3.  Yes, that’s right, all 3 of my kiddos napped.  And that is not all; I actually had to wake them up to go to the Farmer’s Market.  Told you, the perfect day! Once up they counted out their change from their piggy banks in hopes of scoring cool stuff from the Farmer’s Market.  Then we headed to the Market…..

First Stop, Kettle Corn…everyone got samples and we stopped to watch it being made, our son’s favorite.

Then we stopped to smell the candles and our daughter decided to spend her loot on the delicious, colorful, princess candles…her words, not mine.

We grabbed some fresh pizza bread for dinner and strawberries for dessert.

All that shopping had them parched….Raspberry lemonade please……

My little photographer forgot to include my head, lol!……….

Then we headed home for dinner…..

Have you ever had one of those days where your plans went awry?  How did your day play out? Or, maybe you have experienced one of those perfect days?

Book Club: What should we read next? Need suggestions Please!

Our book club is at that emotional sector of our current book; where the anxiety peaks just before the end of a book…do you know the feeling?  The feeling of waiting hours before you read the last sentence of the book because you don’t want it to be over? Then, after finally reading that last sentence you experience such a low that you need to go searching for that next book…that next great book….the one that will build up the anticipation within you….that will give you that natural high again.  Okay, yes, I realize that sounds like an individual who might have a problem…. I suppose my drug of choice is reading, lol!

 

We have officially completed, or at least most of us, Bloom, by Kelle Hampton.  I blogged about the book earlier, here is the link for those who are interested,

And I am happy to say that we had the opportunity to meet Kelle in person and get our books signed. It was a book club first! I must say she is not only a great writer but also, possibly a fashion icon. Here we are taking our mini road trip to get our books signed….

Waiting in line to get our books signed…….

Here we are…guess which one is Kelle, lol!

 

We have read a nice variety of books, from fiction, non-fiction, self-help, etc. Here is a quick list of the books we have read in the past……

This book was amazing. It really pin-pointed the main issue parents tend to experience when disciplining their children, maintaining their own composure.  2 year olds are supposed to have temper tantrums, not 32 year olds. I would give this book 5 stars ***** 

 

This book was okay.  She had a lot of valuable points to be made and ones that I agree with however the manner in which she portrayed the information was a little condescending and even hypocritical at times.  I would give this book 3 stars ***

This book was funny and allowed moms to know that they are not alone when it comes to motherhood. However after reading a few chapters I felt like it became a little redundant. I would give this book 3 stars ***

This book was amazing….I would highly recommend this book! It was difficult to put down. We had a movie night after we finished reading the book and the movie pales in comparison. You need to read the book! Hands down, 5 stars *****

This was also a good book and a really fast read.  We have not had a movie night but it is in the works.  I would give it 4 stars ****

You can read my thought in the link above…

 

 

So, we are open to any and all suggestions. What is a great book you just couldn’t put down?