Explore. Imagine. Love.

Purposeful parenting amid a world of sugar, screens and schedules.


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Fairy Tea Party

Spring is here!  The changing of seasons is great time for a fairy tea party.

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We did one in the fall and it was great fun.  I wanted to keep the party small so I decided just to invite our girl friends.  The girls all dressed up as fall fairies and everyone contributed some yummy fall food.  Apple-cranberry chicken salad sandwiches, pumpkin bread, apple crisp, etc.  We had cinnamon tea and apple cider and drank them in adorable little tea cups.  We had our gathering outside, surrounded by apple trees and fall leaves.  It was lovely.

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After the tea party all the girls gathered on a picnic blanket and I read this Fairy Houses book.  It is a really cute story about a girl who makes a fairy house in the woods and waits for fairies to come enjoy the house.  While she waits, the house is visited by different forest creatures.  I like that it talks about only using things from nature, which is really good to keep in mind when building a fairy house in the forest.  We did not follow these rules because we were making our houses for our backyards 🙂

After the story all the girls made their own fairy house.  The houses were adorable!  They were all very different.  The girls all brought their own fairy house base and some craft supplies to share.

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Big Sis set her house up under a lilac bush, and even made a little tree for her fairy.  Then she put a toy fairy in there to live.  Because although she loves to dream and pretend and imagine, she is far too practical to think that a real fairy would come to live in her house.  haha

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I hope someone decides to have a spring fairy party!  Let me know how it goes 🙂

Thanks for reading!

 

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Why Oh Why Am I Always Running Late?!

Time

Am I the only one who just can’t seem to figure out how much extra time to give myself to get somewhere with kids?  I really hope it’s not just me.  But really…I’m terrible at it.  I am not consistent at all.  Some days I’m right on time.  Some days I’m 5, 10, even 20 minutes late.  So ridiculous.  Sometimes I’m early.  One time we were 25 minutes early to gymnastics class and I had to chase my toddling baby all over the lobby as we waited.

After some trial and error I can usually figure it out if we’re going to the same place each time…although there are always variances.  Such as…

On their way to the van, they manage to get soaking wet and need to change their clothes.

My three year old took her pants off without me noticing and although we we arrived on time, I had to wait in the parking lot as she took her socks and shoes off, put her pants back on, and then put her socks and shoes back on.

Many times Little Sis gets out of the van without shoes.  Usually she has taken them off while we drive, but there have been times when she got into the van without shoes and I just didn’t notice.  Luckily, I usually keep some in the van for just that reason!

Sometimes everyone will get ready to go surprisingly fast.  I actually gave us more than enough time to get ready.  We’ll have thirty minutes before we need to leave.  So I let them play for a bit.  Sometimes that works out fine.  Other times my three year old decides that this is a good time to take everything off that we just got on her and, instead, put on a fairy costume.

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They can’t find socks. They can’t find shoes.

I want them to wear hiking shoes for a specific reason and they want to wear dress shoes or flip flops.  Reasoning with a three year old doesn’t work well.

One time my alarm went off and my husband and I got everyone up to get ready for church.  Little Bear was so tired and crabby that I laid him back down to get some more rest while the rest of us got ready to go.  The girls commented on how dark it was outside and we gave them a little homeschool lesson on winter days vs. summer days.  Then we looked at a clock and realized it was two hours earlier than we thought it was.  Someone (my one year old who likes to push buttons) had changed the time zone on my atomic alarm clock and we didn’t notice until we were pretty much ready to go.

They are hungry.  They are thirsty.

There is a sudden, excruciatingly painful injury that has come out of nowhere and it has greatly affected the five-year-old’s ability to walk.

Someone needs to go potty.

The baby has pooped even though I just changed his diaper.  Or worse….pooped on his clothes and has gotten on me.  That hasn’t happened lately but is not uncommon with new babies.  haha

The only coat in the whole world that is worth wearing is the coat we cannot find.

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They want to bring a toy.  They can’t find the toy.  They are afraid the toy is lost forever.

Suddenly the three year old does NOT want to go to the place we are going and she does NOT like our friends.

Just as I’m about to buckle her, Little Sis realizes that her hair is in a pony tail instead of a messy bun and wiggles and kicks and refuses to be buckled because she wanted a bun…even though she never told me that she wanted a bun.

She does not want my help.  She needs my help.  She does not want my help.  She needs my help.

And then, of course,  there are my own flaws.  I’m up most of the night because kids keep waking me up and I can’t get back to sleep so I oversleep in the morning.  I can’t find the diaper bag.   I can’t find my keys.  I can’t find my water bottle.  I just remembered that I was supposed to pack a lunch.  What was that address again?  Ugh, I fed the kids but forgot to feed myself.  Oh shoot, I was going to run this errand while we were out…do I still have time?  Why isn’t the van starting?!

THEN on top of all THAT, there’s…

Agh, we’re just barely on time but now we have to walk all the way over here and juggle kids, bag and wallet and pay for parking!

Traffic!?  It’s 10am on a Tuesday….

Oh no…I forgot to give myself time to set up my stroller.  (I have an awesome stroller that is a bike trailer and a stroller.  It comes apart and lays flat but takes quite a bit of time to set up.)

I’ve been a mom for almost six years.  You’d think that I’d have it down by now.  You’d think that I’d remember that even though it only takes twenty minutes to drive somewhere doesn’t mean I can wait until twenty minutes before we need to be there to say, “OK!  Everyone to the van!”  But you’d be wrong.  That still happens.  And then how late we are depends on all the variables.

Sometimes it all goes smoothly and we are right on time.

I think that’s the problem, really.  If we were never on time I’d realize that I really need to change something.  But when we’re on time about 50% of the time, it messes with my mind!  🙂

All this being said…I do not think it’s cool to use my kids as an excuse for always being late.  I do try hard to be on time and think others should, too.  But kids sure don’t make it easy!  As important as I think it is to be on time, I also don’t think it helps to get bent out of shape about it.  It is what it is…apologize and do something different next time.  Let’s remember to give others, and ourselves, grace.  I wrote this post because I think it’s good to be able to laugh about it, rather than just feeling frustrated.  I hope this post gave you a chuckle and maybe some of you out there are nodding your heads because you experience these things as well.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?!  Any funny stories? Any tips for being on time?  Are you the kind of person who is just always on time no matter what?  We don’t want your kind here.  No need to comment.  😉  

 


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Vomit Vomit Everywhere! (And a Broken Van Too.)

Last week was nuts.

Thursday we were going to grab some dinner and groceries and drop our van off at the mechanic’s because it had been acting funny. (Which stinks because we just spent a bunch of money on a new transmission!)  He said he had a loaner vehicle for us. (We have the best mechanic!) But before we could do anything, we found ourselves in a van that wouldn’t start, stuck in an intersection during rush hour. (Well, as rush hour as it gets in my smallish town.) My husband pushed as I steered and we made it into a little parking lot. He messed with some things and it started up so we could make it to the mechanic without any more incidents. Then we went out to eat and had some fun family time rather than grocery shopping.  

That night I was awake most of the night with a stomach ache that would not go away. I thought maybe it had something to do with the meal I ordered while we were out. But the next day I could barely stand up. I was weak and had the chills and was crazy tired. My husband just happened to have a day that he could easily come home and take care of the kids while I stayed in bed. Later that day Big Sis had a bit of a stomach ache too so I figured she had it too, whatever it was. Then we were better.  

i dont have any pictures of any of these events of course, but Big Sis drew this picture of someone sitting up in bed at night and iI thought it was fitting. 🙂

The next night Little Sis was up most of the night throwing up. Her bed. Our bed. Her floor. We caught some in towels. We had to wash her hair almost every time. The next day she was fine. 

The next night she threw up again. The next day she was fine. My husband was sick though, more like how I had it. The next day he was fine. 

So I thought we had all had it. All except Little Bear, who I was hopefully giving antibodies to through breast milk. So Tuesday night we went to a Saint Patrick’s Day party at our friends’ house. Big Sis had a bunch of food in her mouth and was whining about it. I told her to spit it out so she went to spit it in the garbage in the bathroom…

And she threw up. I turned to look for the toilet and she threw up on the floor. And a little on her sister who had come to see what was up. Then I turned the other way to look for the toilet and she threw up over there. I finally found the toilet behind the open door and she was done. 

I have never seen a room so full of vomit. At my friends’ house with a bunch of guests in the next room!

Well, I wasn’t sure what to think. We had now definitely all had it, right? But Big Sis does have a really crazy gag reflex.  Wednesday went by and everyone felt great. Wednesday night went by without any vomit. We figured we could go to gymnastics class Thursday afternoon. We planned to pick up our van from the mechanic after class. But right as we pulled up to gymnastics, Big Sis vomited. 

In the car. 

The loaner car.   

At least it happened before we got to class. Can you imagine her throwing up all over the gymnastics floor? She would have been so embarrassed and she would have exposed all the other kids to this nonsense. 

Luckily she did not get any vomit in the loaner car, it was all just on her and in her car seat. I stopped by a friend’s house to borrow some cleaning supplies and was able to clean everything up and go pick up our van without any more throw up. We had plastic bags and towels ready just in case though!

My out of town friend was staying with us and got sick the way my husband and I did. For some reason it affects adults and children differently.

I was starting to wonder when this would finally end. When can I take my kids out and not have to wonder if someone was going to vomit! When can we go out and not worry about spreading it? After some serious google research I decided that if nobody had thrown up in 48 hours, we were in the clear. 

We met that requirement and were able to have a great weekend. 

So! This post doesn’t have a point to it. Just a day in the life of us 🙂 

Kids are crazy. Life is crazy. Sometimes there’s lots of vomit. 

  


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Baby It’s Cold Outside

It is starting to get nicer out and we’ve been getting outside a lot more lately.

But what do we do when we are stuck in doors a lot during the cold months?

Arts and crafts

They draw, paint and sculpt with playdoh. We make necklaces and bracelets. I buy fun cheap little activities like this sticker face book (hours and hours of fun. ..money well spent!)  I have a million things pinned on Pinterest that I would love to do with them, but the truth is, it is very hard to do a planned activity like that when I am juggling so many other things. So they usually just do whatever they feel like doing, and I just do my best to make sure they don’t end up painting or drawing all over the house 😉

Play games together

We play board games like Memory, Go Fish, Candyland, and Sequence for kids. I really like Sequence. We do puzzles. We play games like Hide and Seek and made up games like Run Away From the Bear. Dance parties are a favorite.

Pretend play

They play Mommy and Sweetie, princesses, mermaids, pirates, camping, the beach, store, restaurant…the usual things kids pretend. We like to make forts.  They like to put on concerts and puppet shows.  Some favorite toys lately have been the microphone, keyboard, and drums.

Read

In addition to normal little story books for kids their age, we like to read chapter books out loud. We just started on TheMagicTreehouse series. They also like to sit and look at books and I encourage them to read to their little brother. He loves it and they love it too! I sometimes fall into the trap of only reading at bedtime so I have been trying to be more purposeful about reading whenever they feel like it during the day or I suggest it if they aren’t sure what to do next.

Go to fun indoor places

We have so many fun places to go in my town. We are on a tight budget but we budget to do some cool things each month…indoor swimming pool, bowling, bouncy houses, carousel, gymnastics play time, etc. There are free things like story time at the library or the play area in the mall or a mcdonalds play place. And there are sometimes options to make things cheaper. For example my first year I applied for a scholarship to the children’s museum and got a year membership for free. The next year I discovered that they had a new option for a membership of paying seven dollars a month for my whole family. Great deal considering it is normally over $4 per person per visit!

Go Outside Anyway!

I am more of a baby about the cold than my kids. Since we have a fenced yard now I will let them go play outside while I stay with the baby and keep an eye on them from the window. They love playing in the snow. Playing outside is actually something they get a sticker for on their daily sticker chart so even if it is cold they try to get outside for at least a little each day.

Get involved with a group

There are great opportunities for moms in a lot of communities. MOPs is a cool thing that a lot of moms like. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. There are other things I was looking into, too, but the thing I am really excited about now is a homeschooling preschool group that I started with a friend. I didn’t like the idea of doing a normal preschool group because we would be making relationships with people who would end up going to school soon and then we would have to start over. So, if there is not a group that fits your family, try making one! 🙂 social media these days is such a great resource. Find a local moms group on Facebook and find out what other moms in your community are doing. I made some friends that way too.

Movie days

I love me a good movie day. We like to play in the snow and then come in for a movie and hot cocoa. Everything in moderation! 🙂

What are some fun things you do when it is cold outside? Thanks for reading!


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Summer’s a Windin’ Down!

I haven’t blogged as much as usual lately.  My husband is starting to work more again this week (he is a teacher.)  We’ve been trying to do as many fun things as possible with the time we have left.  Big Sis did her first ever session of swim lessons and it was awesome!  So proud of her for getting over her fears and doing so well so quickly.

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We also traveled to my hometown to visit my family and go to the fair.  We have a fair here that we went to but the fair in my hometown is considerably better.  It was fun to take the kids and they loved going on rides with grandparents.

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And we’re getting a lot done!  We’ve been cleaning/purging- going through our closet and getting rid of clothes that don’t fit anymore and selling all sorts of things on craigslist that we no longer need.  I’ve  started preparing more for Little Bear (baby #3.)  I’ve been going through my baby clothes and taking out gender neutral stuff, going through and organizing clothes that I’ve bought at garage sales and that have been given to me, and putting sizes newborn to 3 months in the new dresser (after spending a lot of time scouring second hand shops and the internet trying to find an affordable used dresser!)  Looking through my girl clothes, I am sad that this baby won’t be wearing some of my favorite outfits, but it is fun getting different things for a cute little boy.

I thought I’d post a few photos of our recent outings….we have seen a lot of frogs this summer.  And recently as we were driving not far from our house to have a picnic, we saw a mom and baby moose!   What fun that was for everyone!  Big Sis is still talking about it.

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So, summer’s a windin’ down!  Summer is my favorite time of year because we get out of the house so much and go camping and my husband is home so much.  But fall is my favorite season.  I am looking forward to pumpkin and apple baked goods, apple cider, lots of crockpot meals, beautiful leaves, cool weather, fun Halloween costumes (we have been watching a certain 80’s cartoon on youtube lately to prepare for this year’s costumes), and of course…having a baby!!

What are you doing before summer ends?  What are you most looking forward to about fall?

Thanks for reading 🙂


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Family from Small-ish Hippie Town Visits Swanky Hotel in Larger City

We live in a sort of hippie, outdoorsy college town of about 65,000 people.  People bike everywhere and there are bike lanes everywhere for them.  Breastfeeding, baby wearing and home births are normal.  Chacos are worn with any outfit, even when dressing for a wedding or job interview.  In order to be super cool here you need to drive a subaru and own a dog…and take that dog to the local ice cream shop downtown for a doggie ice cream cone…and be loyal to that ice cream shop and no other ice cream shop even if you have to wait in line for an hour.  There is an ordinance that buildings and signs have to be under a certain height in order to preserve the natural beauty and mountain scenery.  We have one of the largest numbers of nonprofits per capita because people are so passionate about causes.  People love buying local and taking part in local events.  This is my town.  hehe  And although I don’t own a subaru or a pair of chacos and I don’t love dogs or biking…this is where I am comfortable.

Now switch gears to me visiting, well, just about any big city at all, and I am suddenly completely out of my comfort zone.  People really care about their clothes and their vehicles and purses and shoes…?  Everyone has a smart phone and they are on them all the time.  There are a lot of people…everywhere…and it’s exhausting.  Finding a parking spot is like a sport- you have to stalk people and stop traffic with your blinker on and claim your territory.  And it takes at least 30 minutes to get anywhere.  Am I right?  😉

My husband needed to travel to a bigger city in another state to attend a work conference.  The city is actually not as big or as different as I described above, but it is still a bigger city than I am used to.  Since he was going to be gone for five days, we decided to go with him.  The hotel and gas were paid for, after all, why not jump at the chance for a practically free vacation?  I looked up all these fun things I could do for cheap with the kids while we were there and we all had a really good time.  But I just have to tell you about this hotel.  It is known for it’s swankiness and the cheapest rooms run normally around $180 per night (they gave everyone attending the conference a discount so it actually didn’t cost any more than any other hotel in the area…but either way, we didn’t have to pay for it!)

Family from Small-ish Hippie Town Visits Swanky Hotel in Larger City

So I’m super pregnant, right?  I mean, I’m about 7 months pregnant but look more like 8 or 9 because it’s my third kid and I’m pretty sure this boy is going to be huge.  (I hope that I am wrong about that!)  Because of this, there is no way I’m roadtripping in normal clothes.  Loose gym shorts, tank top, and sports bra.  My kids also have comfortable travelling clothes, plus they’ve been sleeping, sweating, and eating snacks…like trailmix with chocolate chips.  So their hair is messy and they have chocolate faces.  We pull up to the hotel and they have valet.  Seriously?  Valet?  Isn’t that something they just do in the movies? 😉  Of course we want to avoid paying for something like that but we also have a ton of stuff to unload so we pull in and ask what to do.  They say we can park there long enough to get our stuff out and then we need to go to the parking garage across the street (for $15 per night, by the way…so much for a free trip!)  I ask if there is a cart we can grab since we have a lot of stuff (five days with two kids…we have bags of food, a cooler, toys, luggage, a pack’n’play…) so they send a bellhop over to help us.  My husband takes the van across the street and I follow the guy and our cart of luggage up to our room on the 11th floor.  But first we have to go past a swanky restaurant, a little cafe, the hotel lobby, and a lot of beautifully dressed people.  I am holding Big Sis’s hand and she is holding Little Sis’s hand and Little Sis is carrying a baby doll.  As I look at my adorable, messy children, my huge belly sticking out under an old gray tanktop and black sports bra, and the little train we have formed as we walk through this fancy pants hotel, I can’t keep the huge grin off of my face.  Between my smile and the cute kids, the people we walk past can’t help but smiling back.

When we get to our room the anxiety of having someone help me with my luggage sets in.  Am I supposed to tip him?  How much?  Do I have any cash?  Before I can figure out what to do, he has unloaded everything and is on his way.  Oh well.  haha

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Then as I’m organizing all of our stuff I realize that there isn’t a fridge or a microwave!  What?  I’ve never stayed in a hotel that didn’t have those things that I can remember.  We always have a cooler full of food and I always look forward to having a microwave because we don’t have one at home (by choice) so it’s a treat for us to have microwave popcorn and easy mac!  hehe  I actually brought some with us.  But no microwave.  Luckily I had just had this conversation with a friend earlier that day.  He had said that some hotels will bring you a fridge.  I was skeptical that a nice hotel wouldn’t have fridges in the rooms, but he was right.  And he was right about them bringing us a fridge too…for $7 a night plus tax.  Not what I’d like to spend my money on, especially since this hotel was supposed to be free and parking is already going to be super expensive.  But it’s better than letting our food go to waste.  Especially since it costs $11.50 to get some juice, two pastries, and a coffee here.  Come on, where’s the free continental breakfast?  😉  Also, the water bottles they leave on the table have a little sign that says they are $2 each.  And there are very few channels on the tv- you have to pay a ton of money to watch most things.  Does it really make sense for a hotel to be so expensive but offer way less than a cheaper hotel?  I’d much rather be staying at a Best Western or something!

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I say all this though because I think it’s fun to share our experience and I find humor in my family staying at such a place, not because I want to complain.  Amazingly comfortable beds, a fun view from the 11th floor, and a fantastic location.  We were downtown and could walk to a lot of the cool places I wanted to take the kids.  It was SO fun to get out of town and the girls were thrilled to stay at a hotel- they did great too with sleeping and nap time and not being rowdy.  It was a really fun trip.  We visited a lot of fun places- they had a great children’s museum a few blocks from our hotel.  That and swimming at the hotel were probably the girls’ favorite parts.

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It never stopped making me laugh to walk through the lobby with my silly kids while all these fancy adults were there to eat at the fancy restaurant.  We didn’t see any other kids there until the last day- we happened to be in the lobby when another family showed up in their normal clothes carrying their pack’n’play and a cooler- and I recognized the expression on their faces as they walked through the swanky lobby. I think that although we felt a little out of place, we were a welcome site.  We got smiles wherever we went.  A lot of people we came across were men on business trips and some of them would tell us that our girls made them miss their kids back home and that it was hard to be away from them for more than a day or so.  And I bet the housekeepers get a kick out of cleaning our room.  Toys, cereal boxes, a sheet to divide the room for naptime, and we’ve decorated the tv with photos from Chuck E. Cheese.

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I hope you enjoyed my random ramblings about our trip.  Thanks for reading!