True Love is…a smoldering dishwasher, puking child, & exhaustion!?!

Based upon the title you might be thinking what kind of twisted freak is this woman? Lol! And trust me; I would have thought the same thing just days ago, Sunday to be exact. On Sunday life was perfect but of course I didn’t realize that because I was frantically getting ready for the week, meal planning, doing laundry, helping kiddos with their Valentine’s, etc. I am a sucker for all holidays and Valentine’s Day is the Olympics of holidays for me. I find so much joy in smothering all my sweethearts with love, heart shaped everything, gifts, surprises, and of course a fabulous meal. I had everything planned out perfectly, this year I was going to surprise the kids after school with balloons in the car, take them to a movie, and come home to a dinner table adorn with heart shaped waffles, eggs, strawberries, X & O shaped bacon (yep, I am that mom…coming to terms with it is the first step), chocolates, etc.


It was going to blow them away; it would be my best surprise yet (even better than taking them to Boyd’s for the Retro candies for school), we are talking Pinterest Perfection!  But life had other plans, turns out the surprise was on me!


Sunday: Nothing like traumatizing the kids during bedtime!

Sunday night the kiddos headed up to bed after dinner and I prepped leftovers in the kitchen for lunch the next day. I was standing by the sink and suddenly, out of know where, the dishwasher made a spark followed by a sizzle, and then started smoking. The darn thing wasn’t even running!?! I called in my husband for reinforcements and rushed downstairs to turn off the breaker. (Something about water and electricity just didn’t sit well with me). Apparently like most things in our household the circuit breaker is a bit wonky when it comes to the labels. What seemed like a minute to me must have felt like an eternity to my husband because he frantically yelled down, “just turn it off!”.  So naturally, I panicked. I just started flipping switches two at a time, including the one to the upstairs and basement. The high pitched screams that pierced my eardrum were clear indications that I flipped the wrong switch and now not only were the children freaking out in the dark upstairs, but, I too was in the dark downstairs.  Meanwhile the dishwasher continued melting & smoking while my husband stood by helplessly. I eventually managed to manipulate the switches in the dark, turned off the electricity to the kitchen, and turned back on the electrically to the basement and upstairs. As I made my way back up to the kitchen I could hear the dog’s paws rushing down the stairs from above, he had left his post upstairs with the kids to check things out. After knocking a few things over with his cone of shame that he obtained thanks to double ear infections he came barreling around the corner to a dark kitchen with one path of light streaming from a flashlight on the floor that illuminated the cloud of smoke coming from the dishwasher. Once he saw that smoke he started barking ferociously which resulted in the kids practically sliding down the stairs in fright. And there the entire family stood at 9:30pm assembled in the dark kitchen in shock and amazement. It felt like a dramatic scene from a play. The flashlight gave the dishwasher the perfect spotlight and the smoke added a nice dramatic effect.  The smell of plastic burning began to fill the room. Thankfully my husband was able to pull the dishwasher out from under the counter and unplug it, but when doing so the dog saw this great beast of a smoking appliance as a threat and tried to attack, retreating in fear each time but none the less barking his cone of shame head off. Crisis mostly averted.


Monday: She’s upstairs puking!

Monday night after dinner I cleared the table and carefully stacked the dirty dishes on top of the other dirty dishes…I am getting quit good at balancing them; it’s almost an art, lol! And then I sat down with my 5th grader and we put the finishing touches on their Valentines for school the next day. valentines201All three kiddos were super excited for their Valentine’s Day party the next day, since they kind of got robbed of their party at Christmas time due to a snow day their anticipation was super amplified. They checked the forecast for the next day and let out a huge sigh of relief when they saw that fog, snow, and ice were nowhere on the radar. Each sat out their clothes…pinks, reds, and even a tutu with gold glitter hearts was the preferred apparel for our little fashionista.


Everything was going so smoothly and then it happened. My husband came downstairs to let me know, “She’s puking upstairs”. My heart sank. I knew what that meant; someone wasn’t wearing her gold glitter heart tutu tomorrow, wasn’t passing out Valentines, and wasn’t going to be attending her Valentine’s Day party.

Tuesday: Calgon take me away!

So here I sit, Tuesday morning and I am absolutely exhausted after getting up 8+ times with my poor baby girl. My kitchen counters are filled with mountains of dirty dishes, laundry needs to be done, rooms need to be cleaned (and sanitized), that darn dog just managed to annihilate his cone of shame, and my Valentine’s Day plans that I was so looking forward to are a bust. And yet I am over the moon, and no, that’s not just the ridiculous combination of exhaustion and caffeine talking.

This year I finally get it! I finally realize the true treasures of Valentine’s Day, granted I had to go on one twisted, crazy, exhausting scavenger hunt to find them but find them I did! And it turns out they have been here all along but I have been so distracted by my own expectations that I couldn’t see them. The dishwasher dying it’s slow smoky death revealed a part of my husband I had taken for granted, he is not only our family’s provider but our protector, he is willing to risk his life for our family…there is no amount of roses that can equal that!  I learned that in my regimented ways I have missed out on precious moments…sitting with my 5th grader and putting together Valentines while talking about life brought me more joy than a million boxes of chocolate.  But the biggest take away from this crazy week (thus far-God may have more lessons in store!), and it was something that dawned on me when I rushed to my daughter’s side for the 5th time at 4:30am, I learned that I am enough! My children don’t need fancy balloons, food shaped like hearts; the best gift I can give them is my unconditional love, day, or night, no matter the circumstances, no amount of store bought anything or fancy food can replace a mother’s love.  Thus I am over the moon, bursting with blessings & love sans the typical Valentine’s Day garb.

I know it sounds so cliché but this Valentine’s Day the gifts I am most thankful for is my husband, children, my family’s health, and all the amazing people in my life…dishes be damned! 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day, loves! Cheers to finding the REAL treasures in your life!



10 Ways to Keep Kids Active in Toledo This Winter

Its official Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow; we will have 6 more weeks of winter! 6 more weeks of the kids getting home from school just before dark, 6 more weeks of not just cold temps, but, wind chill temps too! And let’s be honest, we live in Northwest Ohio, 6 weeks is being generous, sometimes Spring time weather doesn’t grace us with its presence until mid-May! Pair all that with the fact that The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stipulates that children need at least 60 minutes of aerobic activity a day… (Specifically; vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week,  muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week, and bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes). (Source; )…and to further complicate the issue one can’t forget about homework, parents’ work schedule, evening activities, and the lure of the screen. It’s enough to make even the most optimistic parent want to just toss in the towel, call it a winter, and hibernate till spring.

First things first, let’s check those screens into the Mobile Motel where they can recharge and rest up for a few hours. (I would encourage your family to come up with check-in and check-out times that suit your family’s schedule. Having the screens out of site and out of mind will help remove that temptation. Added bonus, you will always know where the screen is & it will be charged. Winning!!).





10 Ways to Keep Kids Active in Toledo This Winter:

  1. Walk to school! We started walking to school this year and while there was a bit of resistance in the beginning we have all come to enjoy and look forward to our walks in the morning. And recently our school introduced Active4.Me. It is a program that promotes physical activity and walkable communities. Active4.Me uses a barcode system to keep track of students’ active trips to and from school, CO2, calories, miles and how much gas savings for each student, their classroom, grade or for the whole district. It notifies parents that children have arrived safely, students can win prizes, and it is a great way to promote safe active communities. Website:
  2. Earn Prizes for being Active!?! Winter Quest by Metroparks Toledo is a great initiative to get everyone outdoors and active. Simply download your journal, track your activity, and submit it via a message on the Metropark’s Facebook page or in person to be entered into a drawing for a prize. Names are drawn every Monday….but hurry Winter Quest end February 28th. Website:
  3. Feel like life with kids is a 3-ring circus? Why not make it official and sign them up for Circus Classes! Birds Eye View Circus is Toledo’s Premiere Circus School and Performance Space. They offer Trapeze, Silks, Lyra, Aerial, Tight Wire, etc. drop in or classes for youth and adults. Website:
  4. Make it a family date at Ohio Skate! Why let the kids have all the fun? Skate rentals are reasonably priced to accommodate most budgets. For list of locations, prices, hours, etc. click on link to website:
  5. Spend the Day at Maumee Bay State Park! The Lodge offers Day Passes Sunday- Thursday (8am-10pm). Children 2 & under are FREE, Children 3 & Up and Adults are $12 + tax for the day. That means you have all access to the locker rooms, sauna, hot tub, pool, splash area, kids area, arcade space, & fireplaces. What’s more, if it snows you can sled down the big hill, and if we get 6 inches you can rent skis too…then go warm up by the fireplace with hot cocoa or take a dip in the hot tub. This is a great one for Sundays, family fun days!! Website:
  6. Ice ice baby! Take the kiddos to the only open air ice rink in northwest Ohio & southeast Michigan, at Ottawa Park!! General Admission is $4 (3 & under are free) Skate rental is $2. For directions, hours, etc. click on link to their website:
  7. Say Cheese! Enjoy a Photo Scavenger Hunt at the Park(s)! Since the Parks uphold the motto of “Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.”- Chief Seattle- a photo scavenger hunt is perfect! Put together a quick list of items to find, grab the camera, and have kiddos snap shots as you walk one of the trails. To add to the fun and adventure, challenge yourselves to visit a different park each week, print off the kiddos’ findings and let them put together a winter book with all their pictures.photohunt
  8. Prefer a more climate controlled park? One that is bright long after the sun goes down? Then head for the sky, Sky Zone! Half hour jump times are just $10, one hour is $15, for more pricing options and hours (Toddler Time: Fridays 10am-12pm, $8 per toddler, parents are FREE) click on website link….don’t forget your Sky Socks! Website:
  9. Swing sets indoors!?! Dreams do come true! Take the kiddos to Sylvania Playland where they can enjoy five inflatables, four swing sets, & a toddler area. Care to extend the fun? Play a game of glow-in-the-dark mini golf, 18 holes, with 4 awesome themes (underwater, pirates, dinosaurs, knights and dragons). For location, hours, and pricing click on the link to the website:
  10. There’s only one place your child can go to sail on a pirate ship, narrowly escape a monster shark, trek the jungle among gorillas and iguanas, weave his way through a dazzling maze, defy gravity, visit a neighboring kingdom’s castle, and then take a seat on his own castle’s throne – all in one day! Funigans!! Kiddos can bounce, slide, jump, and run around on their giant inflatables, play Lazer tag, and challenge one another in the arcade. For location, hours, pricing, etc. click on link to website:

Have a favorite activity that your kiddos enjoy during the winter time that didn’t make the list? Please share.