Category Archives: Life


Think about your parents for a minute. Are there some phrases or things they said to you or your siblings repeatedly? When I think about my mom and dad, here are a few of the things that stand out to me:

“Dang, Tina!” – A cross between “Dang, Gina” from the sitcom Martin and Tina the llama from Napoleon Dynamite.

“You’re killing me, James” – my mom mistakenly quoting Sandlot

“I love a challenge” – my mom anytime my siblings or I said we weren’t doing something she told us to do.

Well, now thanks to my mom, Kora loves a challenge too.  It all started a couple of weeks ago when we went to visit the grandparents.  Kora and two of her cousins were playing in the yard with my mom.  She started giving them challenges that they needed to complete:

  • Run and touch three trees and come back
  • Run and touch something red and come back
  • Sit in two different chairs and come back

I was completely surprised by how much the kids enjoyed these challenges – they were begging for more.  It’s always the simplest things that the kids seem to love most. (My mom always joked that as kids we would always compliment her more on her dinners of macaroni and cheese with BBQ hot dogs than on meals where she would slave away in the kitchen.)

The next day, while playing inside, Kora and her cousins asked for some more challenges. I will admit that some of the challenges were legitimate and some of the challenges were used to help clean up the toy area a little – ‘I challenge you to find three blue toys and put them on the shelf’.  I did challenge the five year old to find a toy shaped like a triangle.  He searched for a little while and then he found a toy fence that he shaped into a triangle – clever little guy!

Since our visit, Kora has continued to ask me for challenges.  Anywhere we go, she wants a challenge. We went to a splash pad with some friends one day, and I think she got one of her friends hooked on challenges. They had so much fun filling a bucket and dumping it on their heads and getting splashed by three different sprayers.

We’ve done challenges at the park and challenges at the mall.  Here’s Kora trying to make a tower of checkers:

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Completing challenges is one of those activities that I absolutely love.  It can be done anywhere, you just adapt the challenge to your environment.  It can also be played with any number of people and any age range can be challenged.  The challenges can also be used as a learning tool.  The challenges can ask kids to find a certain number of items (counting) or to find certain shapes, colors, letters, etc.  Outdoor challenges are a great way for kids to get exercise as well as improve coordination and balance.

I challenge you to use Challenges with your kid this week. But fair warning: they might get addicted!  I’d love to hear how you used challenges with your family.

 

 

 

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This summer I’ve been taking advantage of the Kids Bowl Free program at our local bowling alley.  If you don’t know about this program, check it out here.  I was skeptical about signing up my three year old, but she has been having so much fun bowling.  She has a pretty funny celebration dance after she bowls – she usually does her victory dance before the ball even hits the pins!

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Usually, if I take enough snacks with us, my youngest daughter will sit happily at the table stuffing her adorable little face.  This last time however, there weren’t enough snacks in the world to keep this baby happy.  Lila was content for the first half of the game and then she got sleepy and only wanted to be held.  I ended up bowling the rest of the game with a baby on my hip.

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It was weird, but once I started bowling while holding a baby, my game actually started improving. Before having to hold Lila, I didn’t bowl a single strike or spare, but after picking her up, I continued to bowl strikes and/or spares.  I guess the baby corrected my bowling posture.

 

While I was bowling, I had a thought:  Why is there no such thing as the MomOlympics? Why do we not have a contest that features moms and their amazing multitasking ways?

If there were a MomOlympics (and there totally should be) here are a few of the events that should be included:

  1. The Marathon – Moms would line up at the starting line with their child in a jogging stroller.
  2. Rock Climbing – Babies would be snuggled up in the baby carrier as Mom ascends the rock wall.
  3. Bowling – With the baby on one hip, the Moms would bowl one handed.
  4. Swimming – Mom swims while towing a child in a raft behind her.
  5. Baton Twirling – With every toss of the baton, Mom would have to bend down to tend to the baby.
  6. Paddle Boarding – Mom paddles while the child sits on the board at Mom’s feet.
  7. Dodgeball – The Moms play dodgeball while trying to keep their children from being pegged with the ball.
  8. Rhythmic Gymnastics – Mom would use the ribbon to not only entertain the crowd but also to soothe a crying baby.
  9. Curling – Mom would throw the stone while instructed her children to “Sweep! Sweep!”
  10. Yoga – Moms would twist and bend into the most complicated of poses – partially due to the nature of the pose and partially because they are reaching for their child in order to keep them from wondering off.

 

Along with the above already established sports, MomOlympics would also host events like:

  1. Lego Obstacle course – Mom walks through a land mine of Legos while holding a baby on one hip and carrying a load of groceries.
  2. Diaper Changing Challenge – Moms get timed on how fast they can change a diaper.
  3. Laundry Folding Challenge – Moms race to fold as many towels as they can while their children “help” (read: unfold) them.
  4. Grocery Store Challenge – Moms (with children in the shopping cart) would race up and down the aisles trying to get everything on the list before the kids start whining or crying.
  5.  Potty Training Sprint – Moms must locate a potty and sprint to get their potty training child onto the toilet before an accident occurs.

 

I really think I’m on to something amazing here. MomOlympics could be an international success! Who’s up for a little friendly competition!?! I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas for MomOlympic events!

 


Is it coincidence that Kora started channeling her inner Lynda Carter with the release of the new Wonder Woman movie or did someone sneak her to see the movie without me knowing?

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Ever since she turned three, she thinks she is sooooooo big.  She likes to stand up tall, puff out her chest, show off her muscles and tell me that she’s “big and brave and strong and tough!”.

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She has recently become adamant that she’s doesn’t need help getting dressed in the morning. If I start to help her she forcefully tells me “No, I’m a girl. I can do it.”  And she’s right.  She is a girl, and she can do it!

 

I’m not sure where she got this “I’m a girl; I can do it” attitude, but I love it.  There are so many times where girls are made to feel like they are incapable of doing certain things just because of their gender.  I want my girls to know that they are capable of anything they set their minds to.

 

Want to be a doctor? I’m a girl. I can do it.

Want to be a chef? I’m a girl. I can do it.

Want to be a firefighter? I’m a girl. I can do it.

Want to be {insert any other profession here}. I’m a girl. I can do it.

Want to get dressed by yourself? I’m a girl. I can do it.

 

(FYI: The three professions above are the three things Kora has told me she wants to be when she grows up.)

 

I will continue to encourage this girl power as Kora and her little sister grow. I will encourage my girls to be strong and independent; confident and courageous.  It’s an everyday challenge trying to raise two Wonder Women, but I’m a girl.  I can do it.

 

 



Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the afternoon with my two girls, my mother and my grandmother.  We didn’t have any special plans or do anything out of the ordinary.  We just sat in my mother’s living room and watched the kids play.  Other than four generations of strong willed women in one room, it was nothing to write home about.

But that’s what made it a great Mother’s Day.  I was able to enjoy the company of my mother and grandmother while watching my two little girls play.  I know there are many people out there who wish they could have had a day like I had.

A friend from high school recently lost his mother in a tragic car accident.  I can’t help but think of him and his family this Mother’s Day.  I grieve for him and his children as they mourn their loss.  I know they would do anything to be able to spend one more Mother’s Day with her.

I also keep thinking of the friends and family that have lost children or who have struggled with becoming a mom.  Mother’s Day must be a terribly painful time for them. I happen to be reading a memoir about a woman who struggled with infertility before finally adopting a child.  In the book she writes about the staggering number of children in the United States alone that are in need of a loving home.  I ache for the children who are motherless and for the women who yearn to be mothers but aren’t.

Mother’s Day is the one day of the year set aside to honor the mothers in our lives – mothers, mother-in-laws, grandmothers, or any other motherly figure.  But is one day really enough? If the mothers in your life are anything like the mothers in mine, one day of celebrating is really not sufficient. Mother’s Day should be a yearlong celebration! We should appreciate all the things they do for us each and every day.

I love being a mother.  It is hard work, and it seems like it gets harder every day.  I have been pooped on, puked on, and as I write this, my daughter, who is sleeping next to me, reached up and pinched me! She’s sleeping and felt the need to pinch my arm. Motherhood hurts! But I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.  These two little girls are my everything. I am continually being amazed by the things they do, and I love being  a part of their lives.

Kora made me a mommy and Lila renewed my subscription.  I love these little girls more than they will ever know and it a blessing to be their mother.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 


Early last week, my husband asked me if I wanted to go camping this weekend.  I’m always up for a camping trip, so my answer naturally was, “Sure!”.  Within minutes, my husband had us a reservation at a campground a half hour from Scarborough Renaissance Festival.

Camping and a Renaissance Festival in one weekend? Score! Now just to decide what to wear.  My husband secretly wants to be a pirate in real life, so I knew that his costume was set.  Since the girls had outgrown their pirate costumes from last year, I had to find them something new to wear.

A quick search on Amazon and I had the girls matching mermaid outfits! I could have purchased more elaborate costumes, but opted for simple and comfortable.  I didn’t want their costume to make them (and me) miserable all day.

I also found me a pair of mermaid pants! I was a little nervous about wearing such bold pants, but I have learned over the years that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is out of place at the Renaissance Festival.  That’s what is so great about Ren Fest.  The attire ranges from everyday clothes to the most elaborate costumes (dragons, fairies, barbarians, etc) and everything in between.  I like to dress up, but still want to be comfortable and able to chase two little ones around.

The night before the fair, I made Kora a mermaid tail out of foam to wear with her costume. She loved it and showed it off to everyone we passed at the festival.  She didn’t wear it long, but thankfully it lasted long enough to get a picture of her in it with the ‘real’ mermaids!

Throughout the day, I received several compliments on my pants and on the girls’ outfits. As I am the picture taker of the family, I don’t appear in many pictures.  This is the only picture of me in my mermaid pants.  Aren’t they so shiny? I think I may have to buy another pair in a different color.

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The girls had a blast at the festival.  Kora loved the mermaids and had to say hi to everyone she saw in an elaborate costume.  The dragon Fireflicker was her favorite! Lila could have spent all day at the petting zoo.  She loves animals!

 

We had such a fun, yet very exhausting day.    I absolutely loved our pirate/mermaid combination.  In fact, I think I’m going to do a little work on making my mermaid costume a little more elaborate before the fall’s Ren Fest.

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Have you ever made plans to do something that seemed like it would be fun and then start wondering why in the world you committed to doing said activity? Well, that recently happened to me.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom sent out a group text to the family asking who wanted to play in a dodgeball tournament.  The local athletic booster club was hosting the tournament as a fundraiser, and my dad said he would pay the entrance fee if we wanted to get a team together.  The tournament was scheduled for Easter weekend, so since my brothers and I were all coming into town for the holiday, it worked out that we could all play.  The team would consist of me, my three brothers, my husband, and my nephew.

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With the tournament weeks away, I was excited about playing.  As the date approached, I grew more and more nervous.  I hadn’t played a competitive sport in a looooooong time, and was worried about being out of shape.

On the morning of the tournament, I was really regretting my decision to play.  Why did I think this was going to be a good idea? Since registering our team, I learned about some of the other teams – the fire department had a team, the sheriff’s department had a team, and the nursing home staff had a team.  I wasn’t necessarily concerned with the nursing home staff, but I was worried about the fire department and the sheriff’s department.  These are men and women who have physically demanding jobs.  I was not looking forward to what was about to take place.

I really started sweating bullets once we arrived at the gym.  I was looking around at the all the other teams and I was seeing lots of guys that looked pretty strong and athletic.  I was hoping to see more girls playing, but as it turned out, there was only one other team with a girl on it.  I watched the speed at which the guys warming up threw the ball, thinking about how much it would hurt if I couldn’t dodge it.  Why did I do this to myself?

Our first game quickly approached, and my worst fear came true – I took a dodgeball to the face! I think the crowd gasped in unison, but I can’t be sure as my ears were ringing.  In all fairness, I was already out when I got clobbered.  I had tried to catch a ball, but unfortunately I dropped it.  I took the ball to the face on my way off the court.  If the other games were going to be like this one, I was in BIG trouble!

We ended up losing that game, but we didn’t go down without a fight.  Everyone on my team was out, except for my husband.  The other team only had one player as well, so it came down to sudden death.  According to the rules of dodgeball, during sudden death, the centerline is dissolved, allowing the players to chase each other down.  Thomas put up a good fight – he dodged, ducked, dipped, dived, and dodged – but finally he got hit with a ball.  It was a great match!

We ended up playing seven games, and I can happily say that I didn’t get pegged in the face again! We won a few games, we lost a few games, but we had fun the whole time.  Competing as a team with my brothers, husband, and nephew was a blast.

A game of dodgeball doesn’t last very long, but it is very exhausting.  After seven games, we were wiped out! When the tournament ended, we headed to Dairy Queen to recuperate with buy one, get one free Blizzards! (The new Reese’s Extreme blizzard is awesome!) While playing, it’s hard to see everything else on the court, so it was great talking to each other about the different games we played while enjoying a yummy treat.  During one of the games, my youngest brother managed to throw the ball cross court and hit my grandmother (and break her glasses!) who had come to watch us play.  We gave him a hard time about that for sure!

We had so much fun playing that I think the 6 D’s of Dodgeball – Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, Dodge, and Dairy Queen – has become a new family tradition.  Comment below with your favorite family tradition.

 

 


Today’s post is not about what I planned to write about today.  I had a plan to write a totally awesome post, but parenting got in the way.  I have a child with a fever today, who only wants her mommy.

My poor baby is trying to take a nap and just cried out, “Mommy!”  So of course, I rush to her side to try and soothe her.  I’m now lying with her in bed typing away as she tosses and turns.

So instead of spending any more time on my computer today, I’m going to snuggle and love on my baby.  I’m going to lay with her as she has way too much screen time today – we’ll probably watch a lot of Octonauts and maybe even a little Pokemon.

Instead of writing what I planned on writing, I’m going to go be a mom.  I’ll write that totally awesome post another time!