Category Archives: Family

Memory Rocks

“Tell me a story, mama.”

Every night when I go through the bedtime routine with my son, he asks me to tell him a story. A real story.

THE PRESSURE!!!

He likes stories with drama and danger the best. Like that time I got a flat tire going 60 mph down I-84. Or when the security guards at JC Penney used to duck behind garment racks when they were trying to catch someone stealing.

The problem is my memory is TERRIBLE when it comes to these little, every day memories and experiences. Especially ones from decades ago.

I’m not sure what I’m doing with all my brain cells, but saving up countless stories to tell my 7-year-old is definitely not on the list.

I have found the more I tell him stories, the more I jog my memory about something else. However, my life has not been THAT exciting. I’m running out of G-rated danger and drama stories for the blood-thirsty kid.

Tangible items also help jog my memory. Seeing a picture from a trip, for instance. Or picking up a childhood momento or souvenir.

One such ‘souvenir’ that inevitably makes it home from day trips, vacations and walks around the block are rocks.

If you’re the parent of little kids, you probably have a washing machine full of rocks. Oy!

For the rocks that are purposefully collected, I typically dump them into a special bowl. The pocketfuls of gravel…those go back to nature.

It dawned on me one day (thanks, brain cells) that if I write a date and location on the rocks, I’ll have another way to jog my memory about a really cool moment in time.

I have this rock from 2004, which I collected in South Dakota while on a road trip with my dad. We saw Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore and hundreds of miles of fields.

I have this rock from my mom. It was purchased, not found.

She gave me a handful of heart-shaped rocks over the years. I had moved away from home when she started this gesture and I think it was her way of telling me her heart was always with me. Or, perhaps, I was never far from her heart.

Either way, message received and cherished.

Here’s one from recently.

My son found this rock on the beach in Ireland.

It was one of those perfect, freeze time sort of days. I hope I will always remember his little voice saying, “Mama! Mom! Look at this one!”

I could show you more, but you don’t have all day and I’m getting uncomfortably sentimental over these darn memory rocks.

Happy collecting, friends. Your memory will thank you later.

….

P.S. Don’t swipe rocks from places where it’s not allowed. The planet thanks you. Over and out.

Books My Kids Are Reading Part 4

I was reading aloud to the kids last week while we waited at the train station. My son, in typical fashion, was sitting on my lap and my daughter was sitting on my right. On her right sat an elderly man.

I read for 5 or 6 minutes while the kids munched on their after school snack. When they hopped up to throw their granola bar wrappers in the bin, the man turned to me and with a quiet, gravelly voice said, “I remember my mum reading to me when I was a young lad.”

I noticed his eyes had teared up.

“She’s been gone 5 years now.”

With that he got up, pulled his hanky from his pocket to wipe his eyes and walked off to board his train.

I didn’t have a chance to say much of anything in reply before he left.

It’s probably for the best. It was such a sweet, sincere moment of remembrance.

I certainly didn’t want to tarnish it by telling him that I’d started using our train commute to read to the kids because holy heck, they turn into wild animals given too much idle time. Dealing with wild animals squabbling siblings in public sends my blood pressure through the roof. So basically, I’m channeling their energy into books instead of bugging each other.

But perhaps, one day, decades from now, my kids will fondly remember this reading time too.

So, read to your kids! And your grandkids! It might not seem like it now, but it will make a difference.

Here are a few books that we’ve enjoyed reading lately. My kids are ages 7 and 10.


THE MIDNIGHT GANG by David Walliams

We are making our way through the world of David Walliams. My favorite book so far, and probably the kids’ too, is The Midnight Gang.

In this book, the kids in the hospital have a secret club. They help make each child’s biggest dream come true, which means every night they are going on fantastic adventures through the hospital.

There’s adventure, drama, humor and some poignantly sweet moments as well.


THE BOY IN THE DRESS by David Walliams

My kids have been asking some TOUGH life questions lately. Those questions that are perfectly normal, but that as a parent make you want to do that slow backward slide out of the room to avoid answering. If you’re like me you spend a lot of time second-guessing if you got the explanation right because you’re never prepared for these questions!

I thought this book was headed into one of those territories. I was wrong. It was really just about a kid who missed his mom. It was about a kid who was different. It was about how real friends will rally around you no matter how different you are.

My kids laughed. They were amazed. But they didn’t ask me any tough questions. See? They are always keeping me on my toes.

We’ve also read some of David Walliams’ other books such as Awful Auntie, Demon Dentist and Ratburger. I have to say, the adults in these three David Walliams books are terrible individuals.

He always brings the books to a nice, happy conclusion, but man, his adult characters are bad, bad people. For some reason, my kids don’t pick up on that. Their favorite thing to do is to interrupt my reading to say, “I think I know what’s going to happen next!” They seem to take these stories at face level: there’s good, there’s evil, and good always wins.

Also, there is one reoccurring character in all of David Walliams’ books, Raj, who runs the newsagent shop. If you read more than one of his books, your kids will love to see how Raj pops up in each story. He’s definitely a quirky character and my kids adore him.


HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD WITH A BALL OF STRING by Tim Cooke

This was my favorite book of the last month! I bought it on a whim and it’s a keeper!

It’s a world history book written and illustrated in a kid-friendly way. So many history books are dreadfully dull. Not this one. Even the word choice and phrasing was geared to make history exciting for kids (and parents too). Best of all, each topic was short and sweet.

Every page spread is a different historical era:
Base a Philosophy…On Beans (Pythagoras)
Start a Renaissance…By Getting Naked (da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.)
Win Battles…By Shooting Backwards (Genghis Khan and the Mongols)
Start a Democracy…With Wet Feet (Magna Carta and King John)
Get Out of a Depression…By Planting Trees (New Deal and FDR)
Go to the Moon…With a Pocket Calculator (Neil Armstrong and NASA)

It looks like this book may be out of print, so the only ones available on Amazon are used. Don’t get scalped though! I’m mainly mentioning this book so that if you see it at the library or in a bookshop you’ll know to snatch it up. Also, it was SO, SO good!


HOUSE OF ROBOTS by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

This is the first time we’ve read any of James Patterson’s children’s books. My kids, especially my son, ATE THIS BOOK UP!

It was about robots, after all!

This book and the others by Patterson take place in middle school, but this one didn’t seem too old subject-wise for either of my kids. It mainly dealt with typical things you might find in any school: best friends, lunch room antics and bullies. Oh, and what happens if your new “brother” is a robot and your mom makes you take him to school. You know, the usual!

I really liked how the mom in the book was a genius robotics professor. It was a great way to introduce girls to the idea of a career in science.

If you have a reluctant reader, this book is illustrated with a lot of thought bubbles. My son complains about reading a page of text, but has no problem reading thought and voice bubbles. It’s an excellent way to sneak extra reading aloud in.

We can’t wait to check out more of James Patterson’s books.


THE IMAGINARY by A.F. Harrold

This book was SO different from what we’ve been reading lately. My kids are still talking about it.

The premise of this book is what if imaginary friends are real? What happens to the imaginaries when their real-life friends grow up and don’t believe in them anymore? Rudger is Amanda’s imaginary friend and he soon learns that an evil man is after the imaginaries. How can an imaginary boy save the day in the real world?

The description of this book says it is in the vein of Coraline. I can see that. It’s a little dark and definitely fantastical. If your kids like Harry Potter, they will like this book. My kids loved the suspense and the sweet ending.


WARRIORS MANGA BOX SET: GRAYSTRIPE’S ADVENTURE by Erin Hunter

We are going broke buying my daughter the Warrior Cat books!

When she is into something, she’s REALLY into it. The Warrior Cat books are one of those things. There are a ton of books in this best-selling series by Erin Hunter and my daughter can keep them all straight.

In her painting class she has been painting the book covers. When she does imaginary play, it’s always about Warrior Cats. Oh, and Warrior Cats is being turned into a movie. I believe my daughter has a countdown going.

I do not understand the world of Warrior Cats, but she LOVES it!

She got this box set for her birthday. Manga is a Japanese-style of graphic novels. However, if straight chapter books are up your kid’s alley, there are a whole bunch of those too!

If you have an older kid who likes cats, check this series out.


HORTEN’S MIRACULOUS MECHANISM’S: MAGIC, MYSTERY, & A VERY STRANGE ADVENTURE by Lissa Evans

This book was so clever and so much fun to read. We’re still talking about it!

The book description says it best: “As if being small and having S. Horten as his name isn’t bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends. But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart’s swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony–a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth–and Tony’s marvelous, long-lost workshop. Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door… and encounters trouble from another magician who’s also desperate to get hold of Tony’s treasures.”


Here are past posts on books we LOVE
1. Books My Kids Are Reading Part 3
2. Books My Kids Are Reading Part 2
3. Books My Kids Are Reading Now (Part 1)
4. Two Children’s Books That Made My Eyes Leak – Cried my eyes out. Still my favorite books.
5. Star Wars Phonics Books – These worked miracles at encouraging my son to read


If you know of any books my kids would love, please let me know.

Having a new book to look forward to reading makes us pretty darn happy!

Also, it apparently keeps this mom from blowing a gasket during our commute. So, really, books are saving the day!

 

 

*affiliate links contained in this post*

The Unexpected Thing to Save When Your Parent Dies

My mom died in a car accident.

To me, she is forever frozen in time as a larger-than-life, full-of-zest, tell-it-like-it-is, 52-year-old.

Her 65th birthday would have been yesterday.

The reverberations of her death echo through my family to this day. It irrevocably changed us all in ways that are still unfolding. Not a day goes by that she is not on my mind. Not one.

When someone dies, there are immense amounts of mourning. Understatement of the year.

There are also practical matters that callously intrude upon your grief. Decisions to be made. Items to be sorted. Paperwork to be completed. Things that must be done RIGHT. NOW. Before you’ve even laid the deceased to rest. Or worse, just so you CAN lay the deceased to rest.

Case in point. I was instructed by the funeral home to pick an outfit for my mom to be buried in. Complete with underwear.

Seriously?

Underwear? You’ve got to be kidding me.

If you were going to pick one pair of underwear to wear for all of eternity, which one would it be?

To this day, I can remember standing in front of my mother’s underwear drawer and the thoughts that broke through the haze of grief were just borderline ridiculous.
-No one should go through their mom’s underwear drawer. EW! 
-Oh, racy underwear. Go mom!
-Ew! My mom has racy underwear? 
-Why are you holding onto THIS pair? Seriously, mom. The elastic is all stretched out.
-Is this all of it? I wonder if I should check the dirty clothes basket.
-EW. I don’t even like checking MY dirty clothes basket.
-Granny panties or thong for all eternity? Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions.
-How DO you get underwear on a dead person?
-Should I just buy a new pair? Nah. That seems crazy. 

-Why do you have to be buried in underwear anyway?
-I mean, what if you always went commando?
-What are they going to do? Not bury her because I delivered a suit sans underwear?
-The funeral home wasn’t messing with me, were they? Nah. They wouldn’t do that. Would they? 
-How long have I been standing here? This is getting awkward.

Sadly, that was the least horrible thing I did in the days leading up to and after my mom’s funeral.

As life marches on, so do the practicalities of dismantling a life well-lived.

I sorted through clothing, pictures, keepsakes, paperwork, jewelry and so on and so forth.

The one unexpected thing I’m glad I saved are copies of my mom’s handwriting.

A Christmas sticker that says “To: Annisa, From: Mom and Dad.” We all know Dad had no clue what that Christmas present was.


A nickname written on a cardboard box filled with childhood trinkets.

I discarded the trinkets, but kept that piece of the box because no one else called me that.

It was just one of those sweet things between a mother and a child.


Similar to DNA and fingerprints, a person’s handwriting is a physical manifestation of their individuality. There’s just something so incredibly personal about someone’s handwriting – especially their signature. It is uniquely them.

I can recognize my mom’s handwriting at a glance from every birthday card she wrote, every permission slip she signed, every note she left me on the kitchen table, every shopping list she handed me. From years and years of communication via pen and paper.

And every time I see her handwriting, I am slammed back to a time when my mom was a living, breathing force to be reckoned with. A time when I could call her, see her, hug her. A time I, no doubt, took for granted because I didn’t know it was ending.

Her image fades, her voice fades, her smell fades, but her handwriting, to this day, is bright and bold. It is a piece of her…a thought and an action that flowed out of her heart and onto paper especially for me.

Something so insignificant at the time – a nickname written on a box – is now something I cherish with all my heart.

I still get a lump in my throat – all these years later – whenever I speak or write about my mom. I find myself lacking the words to express the totality of my emotions, so I will keep it simple. I am so happy I saved pieces of her handwriting after she died.

I promise you will be too.

That Time I Was SURE I Was Going to See a Unicorn

Most of us are never far from a camera. It is 2017 after all.

We can document the fantastic and the mundane all we want. I can’t tell you how many pictures I have of the inside of my children’s noses just because they used my camera phone for 4.7 seconds while I wasn’t looking. I especially love the videos they make of their noses when they think they are taking a picture.

Don’t worry. I won’t show you pictures of that. How about a nice sunset instead?

Ahhh….


Here’s a story of a recent time I wished I had a camera, but didn’t. THE HORROR!!!

Over Easter we visited family in Florida for what can only be described as an epic week of fun and relaxation. We rented paddle boards to use in the early mornings while the ocean was as clear and calm as glass. We also used them when the water wasn’t clear and calm as glass. You can imagine how that worked out.

Wet. Very, very wet.

We didn’t have fancy dry bags with us to protect our phones – clearly a necessity. Time on the water was just that – time to enjoy, truly enjoy, being on the water. Emphasis being ON the water, not IN the water. If we were lucky.

The first morning out, Handy Husband and I were paddling up the coastline just inside the swim bouys and I thought I saw a fin. EEK!

Turns out, I saw TWO fins. DOUBLE EEK!!

Thankfully, they weren’t shark fins. Were you worried?

They were dolphin fins.

The dolphins were taking a leisurely swim up the coast. So leisurely that Handy Husband and I were able to catch up to them and follow their journey for about 15 minutes. They’d dive under the water and several seconds later surface. Each time we could hear them blowing the air out of their blowholes.

At one point, as the dolphins started to swim farther out to sea, we passed them and they were probably 8 feet from our boards.

SO CRAZY CLOSE!


We weren’t trying to get that close. It was just hard to keep track of the dolphins when they went underwater. I have no doubt they knew where we were, but they didn’t seem particularly concerned with us.

Pretty much that entire 15 minutes I kept saying out loud, “I can’t believe this. This is amazing. I can’t believe this. This is AMAZING!!!!!!”

Except I was yelling it so that Handy Husband could hear me over the roar of the ocean. He just kept nodding, like “Yeah, I get it, I get it. You can calm down now.” AS IF!

I’m not easily impressed anymore. Perhaps I’m even a bit jaded, but this experience…words – even those shouted across an ocean – don’t do it justice.

The next morning I practically poured the coffee down Handy Husband’s throat to hurry him out the door to the beach. I was pretty sure our next paddle session would be a bit of a letdown compared to yesterday’s, but I had to get out there to see what the ocean had in store for us.

HAD. TO.

I was hauling my board toward the again calm water when a couple walked past me and said, “There’s a manatee out there, if you hurry, you can catch up to it.”

SAY WHAT????

No. Way. No WAY. No way!

Basically, there’s no way this was happening again and no way I was going to a) catch up to a manatee and b) find a manatee in this big, vast ocean.

But, people, that’s exactly what happened. Honestly, it was even cooler than seeing the dolphins. And we all know how I freaked out over the dolphins!

We caught up to the manatee, which was also taking its sweet time swimming up the coast. It would surface and dive similar to how the dolphins did. We paddled behind it for awhile and then we lost it. It was gone.

Just after I was sure that was the last I’d seen of my new friend, the manatee, I paddled over a really long, wide, dark shape.

HOLY SEA COW!!!!!!!

Yep. I paddled right over the manatee. There aren’t enough exclamation points!!!!!!

I almost peed my swimsuit.

Then, the manatee surfaced literally 3 feet behind my board. I could see its whiskers!

I didn’t know what to do. I’m yelling at Handy Husband to make sure he’s seeing this. He is, but what can he do? Nothing. Nothing but watch the spectacle unfold.

The manatee went under the water again and I was so scared it was going to come up under my board, that I dropped down to my knees to hold on. That probably wouldn’t have helped, but it seemed prudent at the time.

Manatees are gentle, plant-eating creatures, but I’m confident I don’t want to fall on top of one in the wide open ocean. I don’t even like it when seaweed touches my leg.

After a few seconds of “WOAH, WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN” the manatee surfaced far enough away from me that I felt comfortable getting back up and resuming my paddling.

I think the manatee and I made a connection after that encounter. A bond, if you will.

As if saying so long suckers goodbye, the manatee surfaced one more time within a paddle’s distance of my board, causing me to freak out again, before disappearing into the ocean and swimming away.

At this point, we were a 30-minute paddle away from our beach house and I rode that adrenaline high all the way home.

And for the second time in two days, I returned to the house yelling “BEST DAY EVER” to all of the groggy-eyed adults and kids present. I think they secretly liked it when I woke them up this way. We all love smug exercise people before we’ve had our morning coffee, don’t we???

Did I wish I had a camera with me both days? Oh, you bet I did. I was so glad Handy Husband was with me. No one would have believed me otherwise that we had two incredible encounters in two days with sea creatures. Plus, I really wanted to share the experience with my kids! Now all I can say was, “you had to be there” and “the early bird gets to see dolphins” and “Na-nana-naa-nah!” and other annoying things like that.

On the third day out, I was pretty sure the only thing left to see was a unicorn. I’d already been incredibly lucky right? How much luckier could one person get? Unicorn lucky.

But, alas, my luck had run out. For the remainder of our trip there were no unicorns, no dolphins, no sharks, no turtles, no manatees. We didn’t even see a fish! And I thought to myself every darn day, “Why do people paddle board? My arms are ACHING! This is hard!” Oh, right…Mother Nature…gorgeous views…be happy enjoying the great outdoors…good workout. Sure, sure. But I wanted to paddle with the dolphins and the manatees! I hadn’t seen a unicorn yet!  *insert a toddler-sized foot stomp here* 

I’ve had time to reflect on this whole paddle boarding experience. It’s an interesting metaphor for marriage. Didn’t know I was going there? Me either when I started writing this post.

Hear me out. The totality of this paddle boarding experience, much like a healthy marriage, was not perfect, but it is something you’d never want to miss out on.

Of all the people on the planet, I was out there with the one person I’d chosen to spend my life with. The one person I continue to choose and who chooses me back. Sometimes it’s exciting and sometimes it’s routine. Sometimes it’s hard work and the wind is blowing against us. Sometimes disaster strikes and we have to figure out how to survive. Sometimes we’re giddy with excitement because we can’t believe THAT just happened.

Even if I could document the experience with a camera, it would never capture the whole story. That’s why comparing our lives to someone else’s is just silly. I can tell you about it, and you can probably relate, but you won’t ever really get it. Because it’s unique to us. You weren’t there. And every day, without any guarantees of what lies in store, we choose to get up and do it again.

I know I am incredibly lucky and blessed. I daresay, unicorn lucky. More and more, I realize it is not stuff or status or the trappings that matter. It is the moments, the experiences, the relationships that I value the most and that make me the happiest.

The Great Guitar Hanging Debacle

I’d like you to think that all of our home projects go off without a hitch. We don’t encounter any unexpected challenges. The husband and I always agree about the ideal method of approaching a project. We always come in under budget. Heck, we probably make money because we find a suitcase of $100 bills hidden in the walls – every time. Furthermore, my husband reads my mind when I have a vision of how I want something to look. It saves so much time with the communication process.

Doesn’t this happen in your house too?

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

Real-life home projects with your real-life significant other are slightly less perfect than that.

At least, they are in my house.

So sit back and let me tell you a real-life story of that time we hung a guitar on the wall.


It all started because a wall-mounted hook I ordered specifically for a guitar never showed up.

Instead of reordering and hoping for the best, I decided I could make my own hook. Right then. Because in my head, I knew how it could work.

While my husband had the drill out working on another honey-do project, I explained my idea. Essentially, if we (he) inserted two really long screws into the wall side-by-side, we (me) could create a makeshift hook for the guitar. Then we (me) would be really happy. YAY!!!

I chose to ignore forgot how much Handy Husband dislikes drilling into concrete walls, which he had just been doing for that previously mentioned honey-do project. I also neglected to check didn’t realize that we didn’t have the right anchors to hold the screws in place. Details, details. I’m a big picture person!

Handy Husband and I will both agree concrete is way less predictable and far more annoying to work with than wood or drywall when it comes to home projects. That’s why we are so glad, so glad that 90% of the walls in our current home are made of concrete. YAY!!!

It should also be noted that I appreciate sarcasm way more than Handy Husband does.

Fast forward 5 minutes and 5 muttered-under-the-breath curse words later and the screws were in the wall. But there was no way they were actually going to stay in the wall – let alone hold anything up.

Handy Husband just rolled his eyes. I KNOW! That cute man rolled his eyes. At me!

In case you haven’t been married for fifty bajillion years like we have, that’s nonverbal communication for, “See, I told you so, but I go along with your crazy ideas because I love you. Also, you kept bugging me. But mainly because I love you and you’re beautiful and smart.”

When he does this, and I think it’s why he actually does it, I consider it a personal challenge.

Fine. I’ll come out of my big picture cloud and wade into the details. I LOVE creative problem-solving.

That wasn’t sarcasm. I actually do.

I could have walked down to the hardware store, but it was Sunday and it was closed. I could have waited until Monday, but hello? We’re solving problems here! Creatively! Plus, that would have involved waiting and I’m not very patient.


I decided this situation called for the big guns. The crafter’s best friend. Hot glue.

I figured, I’ll try it. If it worked, great. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t tell Handy Husband no harm. I would endure the eye rolls because, yes, he was right. Then I would go to the hardware store for a proper anchor. Or I would reorder the proper hook that never arrived. Something proper would happen.

I held the screws level and with a little prayer, squeezed hot glue into the hole and around the screw. This, in effect, filled up the gaps between the screw and the concrete and made a makeshift wall anchor.

At that point, I may or may not have sang an “I’m so awesome” song. That part is a little fuzzy.

(image)

To protect the guitar when it was resting on the screws, I wrapped the screws in twine, securing it with, you guessed it, hot glue. For the finishing touch on my makeshift guitar hook, I hot glued a pom pom on the end of each screw. Is there anything hot glue can’t do?

Now, even though I’ve qualified that this is not a proper guitar-hanging solution, I feel the need to offer some technical qualifications. Normally, you’d hang a guitar just below the guitar head. This particular guitar is an inexpensive child’s guitar and it has open space in the head allowing for this particular solution to work with 2.75-inch screws. I’d need a lot longer screws to hang the guitar below the head. Is it good for this particular guitar? I’m sure it’s not ideal, but I haven’t noticed any difference – this guitar needs constant tuning anyway.


It’s been about 3 months and the glue is still holding strong. Frankly, that kind of surprises me! I don’t know how long this solution will ultimately last, but I’ll be happy if it lasts until we move again. Ha!

I wouldn’t risk this fix if I was hanging something super heavy, if this was a valuable guitar, or if I was hanging it high off the ground. In this particular situation, however, it has worked. Plus, this story is about the foibles of real life, so I’m letting it all hang out off the wall, so to speak.

Truth be told, I’m quite happy with how this quirky solution turned out. I like it way better than the boring guitar hook that got lost in the mail. I’m also thankful for Handy Husband who indulges my whims and works together with me to create a pretty happy home. Eye rolls and all.


P.S. In case you are wondering what kind of guitar hook I would purchase, this is not it.

10 Tips for Surviving a Parade With Kids

Let’s talk parades.

I LOVE parades, which just proves I’m a complicated individual. I don’t enjoy hanging out with large groups of people. I’m not very patient. And did I mention ALL. THE. PEOPLE?

Yet, I love parades!

It’s probably nostalgia knocking on my door. I remember going to a 4th of July parade as a little girl with my grandma and cousins. I remember exactly where we’d sit on a curb with a few trees doing a terrible job of shading us from the July sun. I remember cowgirl princesses on horses and beauty queens in convertibles doing that elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist wave as they slowly passed by. There were restored hot rod cars, old-fashioned firetrucks and best of all, square dancers do-si-do-ing down Main Street. Through the rosy lens of childhood, it was AMAZING.

When I had kids, I was ready to carry on those traditions. Relive it all through their bright little eyes.

But, man.

Childhood Me didn’t realize it’s a little more complicated than just showing up with a 3-year-old and a newborn and expecting everyone to have the most fun in the history of fun.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned in the last 10 years about surviving a parade with your kids and I daresay, even enjoying it! Surviving it is a good start, but parades are awesome! Let’s enjoy the experience too!

Tip #1: Lower Your Expectations

I realize the irony here. I encourage you to aim higher in the introduction and now I’m all “bring it back down, bring it back down.” Remember the complicated individual part?

What I really mean is don’t put so much pressure on you, the day or the event itself to bring about some sort of kumbaya family bonding moment. It’s a parade. And you’re going there with your real family, not those perfect kids from the Gap commercials.

With that in mind, do what you can to set yourselves up for success by planning ahead.

The rest? As much as it pains me to say, you can’t plan your way through everything. That’s why a good attitude can go a long way toward making the experience fun and memorable. So put on a smile in the event something zigs, when you expected it to zag. Remember, it’s just a parade.


Tip #2: Know Before You Go

Knowledge is your friend, folks.

Ask other people who have attended the parade in prior years for their advice for viewing, seating (do people bring chairs or is it standing only), how to get there, when will streets be shut down, where to park, etc. If you don’t know anyone who has attended the parade before, go online to find answers. Or you can be like me and call the local municipality that’s hosting the parade. It’s their job to answer your most burning questions and they love it when someone isn’t calling to complain. Truly.

Also, for the love of your sanity, know the parade route. It will, most likely, be published online. This is good for a variety of reasons such as helping you decide where to watch the parade. It also helps you understand road closures that will impede your commute to and from the event. Traffic is probably going to be messed up, so take a deep breath, allow extra time and just go with the flow detour.

At the recent St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin we understood the road closures, but we were not fully aware of the public transportation closures. Not all of the train stations were open on parade day, so we had to walk a bit further to catch a train home…in the rain. Lesson learned.

The last thing to know before you go? Ask yourself if you and your kids can handle it? Really handle it.

I’ve often dragged my kids somewhere and then been upset because they had a meltdown halfway through. Of course we weren’t having fun then. Neither was I. Their behavior was less about them and more about me putting them in a situation they weren’t ready to handle. If you have really little kids that will miss a nap or won’t stay in a stroller or cannot handle waiting, then by all means, wait another year. This is about making good memories, not about souring them (and yourself) on the experience.


Tip #3: Come Prepared

You need to channel your inner Boy Scout for this one. Be prepared. You could be waiting a good long while for the parade to start. Plus, the parade itself could last over an hour. Food, water and something for the kids to do while you wait will be lifesavers.

At the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, I knew we’d have to stake out our spot if we wanted to keep it. I also knew the parade started at lunch time and the restaurants would be extra busy. That was a hassle I didn’t want to deal with, so I packed a lunch.

As far as pre-parade entertainment, we arrived at 10 a.m. for a 12 p.m. parade. It was closer to 12:30 by the time the parade reached our spot. That’s a lot of waiting no matter if you are 5 or 50. We brought books and tablets to keep the kids busy. Kids might be able to jump on a trampoline for 2 hours straight, but to ask them to stand perfectly still behind a parade barricade for 2 hours is pretty much Mission Impossible. My kids sat on the ground and read their books, played their games, ate their lunch and then popped up every now and then to see what was happening around us. They were entertained and I wasn’t stressed about them getting lost in a crowd of strangers.

How we’ve chosen to handle the parade wait has been different for every single parade we’ve attended. Figure out what works for you given the parade circumstances and the ages of your children.


Tip #4: Bring Reinforcements

Especially if you have younger kids, it’s always good when the adult to child ratio is in your favor. Grandparents are lifesavers when it comes to this!

In terms of keeping kids entertained before the parade starts, there is nothing better than having friends along. Yes, thankfully, friends beat out books and technology in our house. Human interaction for the win!

If you can plan to watch the parade with someone else, it will add to the experience (aka the fun) for all.


Tip #5: Know the Weather

This comes back to being prepared, but you have to know what the weather might do during the parade. For those summer parades, do you have sunscreen, a hat, water, a fan, etc? For the parades where the weather might not be so nice, do you have rain gear and warm clothes?

For the Dublin parade I packed small blankets and even garbage bags. Garbage bags can be versatile if you need to make a dry place to sit, a bag to hold parade loot, or to fashion a makeshift poncho.

In case you are wondering, yes, I sometimes feel like a sherpa hauling all of this stuff around in my backpack. But the one time I don’t is the one time I need it.

The guys in the below photo? Let’s just say I hope their arm paint was waterproof because it started raining halfway through the parade. Major bummer, but the show must go on!


Tip #6: Decide in Advance Where You Want to View the Parade

I know plenty of people who never wait for a parade to start. They will always show up 30 minutes late and somehow find a place to stand to view the festivities. It helps that they are tall.

I prefer to view the parade from the start of the route. Especially when you are attending the event with children, it’s just less waiting time. If the parade starts at noon and it starts on time, it still will take several minutes for the parade to travel even a few blocks.

Plus, the performers in the parade are still giving it 110% at the start of the parade. By the end of the parade…they might be a little less enthusiastic. Or they’ve run out of candy to throw. Or they are drenched and their poor fingers are too cold to play the tuba like they usually do.

I don’t even want to know what happens to the poor lady walking on stilts…


Tip #7: Slightly Dehydrate

I’m not telling you to dehydrate yourself or your kids. That would be bad and I’m not qualified to give you medical advice. Not qualified.

What I am saying is it might be hard to find a bathroom at a parade. So if you know you are going to be standing outside for 2 hours before a parade starts, you might not want to give the kids that extra juice box right before you leave the house. Some parades set up extra toilets to handle the demand…some don’t. Or they don’t have near enough toilets.

Better yet, pick a strategic parade viewing spot close to a bathroom. It’s not the worst idea ever. Perhaps that’s what this guy was looking for…


Tip #8: Get in the Spirit

Part of the fun of attending a parade is getting yourself in the spirit. This might mean wearing green to a St. Patrick’s Day parade, wearing a Santa Hat to a Christmas parade, etc.

It also means cheering and clapping when the parade floats go by. I’ve been to parades where the attendees burst out into song and it pretty much made my year!


Tip #9: Be Respectful and Aware

Cultural Respect:
Pay attention to any cultural or patriotic customs that are observed during a parade and be respectful. For instance, in the United States it is customary to stand when the American Flag passes by at the start of the parade.

Other countries may have their own customs. Be culturally aware of what’s happening around you to prevent a faux pas.

Personal Space? Forget About it! So, Be Aware:
Especially if you are going to a standing room only parade, be prepared to have your personal sense of space violated. There will be crowding. Lots of crowding.

If someone is too invasive, then just politely remind them that, for instance, your child’s head is not a tripod base for their cell phone camera. Most people like that will just move on after you’ve gently reminded them to be considerate.

Make sure any valuables are safely tucked away or protected if you know people are going to be bumping up against you. Don’t leave money, keys or phones in your back pockets and be careful about jacket pockets. Just be cautious and aware.


Tip #10: Put Away The Camera

Take a few photos to remember the parade, but after that, put away the camera.

Seriously, put it away.

Be present in the moment.

Watch your children’s reactions to the outrageously amazing floats that go by. Take time to notice all the details that you don’t when you’re viewing life through your phone screen.

The best memories of all won’t be the ones you capture on your screen. They will be the ones you capture with your heart.

Trust me. You won’t regret it.


I do love a parade. I don’t care if they are cheesey. It is incredibly heartwarming to see hundreds or even thousands of people with different backgrounds and viewpoints come together for one moment in time.

And for that one moment, they are all in agreement over the simple premise that parades rock! They enthusiastically cheer on the kids in the marching band, the horses, the pooper scooper guy, the grand marshall in the convertible, the firefighters, the local carpet cleaner’s mascot. It’s a big community love fest and it reminds you of the good in humanity.

If you are thinking about attending a parade with children, I hope one or more of these tips help make your experience happy and memorable.

 

 

 

I Just Want ONE Good Picture

One good picture.

Is that too much for a mom to ask?

We recently went on a hike. It was one of those “let’s go for a walk” moments when Handy Husband dupes us all and we end up hiking 7 miles. I’m fairly certain the entire trip was uphill both ways, but I probably imagined the snow and burning coals part. The mud was real though.

If you can’t tell, there’s a chasm between Handy Husband’s definition of a “walk” and everyone else’s. But we are all healthier for it.

If you ever go on a “walk” with my husband, make sure you pack your survival gear. You’ll probably be outside WAY longer than you anticipated.

But I digress!

Anyway, we finally reached the second summit during this hike and I wanted to get just one nice photo of me and the kids.

Except my son was “having a moment.” Probably because we just hiked up two mountains and he swore both his legs, his pinkie finger and his right butt cheek were broke. And we were out of fruit snacks. He wouldn’t even look at the camera.

And my daughter. Well…

I don’t even know what to say about that. Maybe, it’s always the quiet ones that surprise you? Maybe, she takes photobombing to a whole new level?

I finally wrangled her in closer, but my son was still being difficult. He gets his stubbornness from someone…definitely not me.


I actually liked that one though for a few reasons.
#1: The camera caught me looking down at my daughter with a smile. I don’t remember what was expressed in this moment, but I know it was silly and she made me smile. I’m thankful for her easy-going spirit. Plus, she mixes fabric patterns like no one else.

#2: I am still strong enough to hold my 6-year-old.

I know he’s probably too old for that, but there will come a point when I will never be able to pick him up again. Do you remember the last time you held your youngest child? If I knew it was going to be the last time, I’d be bereft. The gradual passage of time is merciful in that regard.

Holding my kids is one of my greatest joys as a mother. This boy still sits on my lap no matter where we are: home, restaurant, train, bus, move theater. He melts my heart with how fiercely he demonstrates his love.

#3: My hair does WILD things when it is windy (and when it’s not windy). You just have embrace it and laugh.

Then we finished the photo session with this gem. Heads cut off, finger over the lens and my husband looks like he has man boobs.

Slap that one in a frame.

Fast forward 4 days.

The kids and I went to the park on a dreary, drizzly afternoon.

“This rain is perfect mom! We don’t like to get too hot when we play.”

Glad we moved to Ireland then, kids.

When we were finally ready to leave I saw a beautiful field of daffodils. I told the kids I wanted one good picture before we left.

This is not what I’d classify as “good.”


Nor is this.

But, again, spot on with the pattern mixing.


And this one take good to a whole different level.

By the way, I don’t post photos that my kids find objectionable. Rest assured, they are quite happy with these photos.

I’m still hoping for just one good one that I can actually put in a frame. You know, if I actually went to the trouble of getting things printed to go in a frame with any sort of regularity. Truth.

If this was a Hollywood-type blog, I’d finish this post with a perfectly-styled family photo. Alas, this is real life. My real life. And sarcasm aside, I’m pretty happy with how it’s going. Faux nose picking pictures and all.


P.S. No bones or butt cheeks were actually broken in the course of our fun family hike.

School Break – I’m Totally Sleeping IN

Happy Monday!

I slept in today because my kids have a midterm break from school.

By slept in, I mean 7 a.m. My dumb internal alarm clock cannot pretend it is a teenager.

Oh, and by internal alarm clock, I mean bladder.

I really think I’ve got this “aging gracefully” thing down.

I think I enjoy a week without homework and packing lunches as much, maybe even more, than my kids do! Not even exaggerating.

All that to say, I’m taking the week off from blogging to spend time with the kiddos.

We’re going to hang out with friends and explore more of Ireland. Follow me on Instagram to see where our adventures take us! Or don’t and I’ll probably tell you about it later.

I hope we’ll add a few new happy memories to our memory bank.

See you next week!

P.S. In the last picture, that’s the Irish Sea just below the clouds, not the sky. Our kids are pointing south toward a town called Bray. They are getting pretty good at identifying where everything is located on this little island we call home.

Travel: Copenhagen, Denmark With Kids

One of our goals when we moved to Ireland was to use our time here to explore as much of Europe as possible.

We were able to visit two countries during the holidays: Denmark and Sweden.

Since we spent the bulk of our time in the Copenhagen area, that will be the focus of this post.

GETTING THERE

Thus far, we’ve had good experiences finding relatively inexpensive airfare on the budget airline, Ryan Air. All 4 of us were able to fly round trip between Dublin and Copenhagen for less than what we have been used to paying for one roundtrip ticket on most any of our travels in the continental U.S. Airfare is so much more affordable in Europe for some reason.

It’s fairly common in Europe to board the plane on the tarmac – from the front and the back. It does make boarding and deplaning much quicker, but it can be a little chilly in the winter!

Off we go!


This isn’t our plane, of course, but this is the view when flying into Copenhagen on a grey, winter day. We found the immigration screening process to be quick and public transportation out of the airport, at least the trains, were easy to find and use.

There are kiosks at the airport for buying train tickets for travel around Copenhagen. There are separate kiosks for buying train tickets to Sweden. Everything is clearly marked in English.


We arrived in Copenhagen around 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Denmark loves to celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks. I don’t know when they started, but I can definitely say fireworks were going off all around the city between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. I fell asleep after that! It was a special way to start our visit to this amazing country.


PLACES TO VISIT IN and AROUND COPENHAGEN WITH KIDS

National Aquarium Denmark 

This was one of the best aquariums we’ve ever visited. Not quite as spectacular as the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, but close.

We watched the sharks being fed, walked through an undersea tunnel, watched seal otters play in buckets of ice and got up close and personal with sea life in the touch tank.

As is typical of my children, their favorite part of the aquarium was the outdoor playground. Even though the water had been turned off to the playground for the winter and the temperature was 37F, that didn’t stop my kids from playing outside three different times.

And yes, he does have a coat. And gloves. And a hat. And a strong stubborn streak.

In regard to children’s meals in the cafe – fish and chips was the most kid-friendly option. They did have juice and chocolate milk. The chocolate milk came in a can, so that was a fun, new experience for my kids. And I told my son the fish was chicken. Everybody was happy.


Hans Christian Anderson Fairytale House

The famous author, Hans Christian Anderson, was from Denmark. Did you know that? He wrote some works that you may be very familiar with: The Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes, among others.

In the fairytale house you can listen to condensed versions of Anderson’s most famous fairytales. The displays were mainly static with lights and sounds adding to the dramatic effect, but my kids seemed to enjoy it.

The below scene is from The Emperor’s New Clothes. Don’t worry…the buns were as risqué as it got and we all had a good chuckle over it. Especially me. We are that mature in this family.

You’ll spend less than an hour in this attraction. It is located across from City Hall and in the same building as the Ripley’s Believe It or Not attraction.

Guinness World Records

My kids are obsessed with the Guinness Book of World Records. They got the 2017 book detailing the most recent records for Christmas. When they realized there was a Guinness World Records attraction, well, there was no dissuading them from including this in our itinerary.

Honestly, I was prepared for a completely lame experience. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong. (It does happen from time to time!) There were interactive activities for the kids and adults around every corner. We probably spent 90 minutes there – at least.

We did get the double admission ticket to the Guinness World Record attraction and The Mystic Exploratorie. The Mystic Exploratorie would be too scary for young children. It’s dark, creepy, a little disturbing and there are things that jump out and make scary noises. It’s also not something that I would pay admission for as a stand alone attraction. It’s a short and sweet thrill experience.

You should know that both of these attractions are affiliated with the Ripley’s Believe It or Not organization and you can buy a combo ticket to Ripley’s, Guinness, The Mystic Exploratorie and the Hans Christian Anderson Fairytale House.


Tycho Brahe Planetarium

If mom and dad need a nap break in the middle of the day, let me recommend a stop at the planetarium.

We watched a fascinating IMAX show about the planets. I only understood a dozen words during the entire show, since it was in Danish. Three quarters of those words were the names of the planets. Uranus is still a funny word – even with a Danish accent.

While you can purchase headphones that will translate the show into English for you, my kids didn’t seem to mind watching the show in Danish. My husband didn’t mind either because he was recharging with his eyes closed and missed most of the show.

There are also quite a few other science and space-related activities for the kids to enjoy before and after the IMAX show. We learned how much objects weigh on the different planets, we tried to launch a satellite and make it land in the correct spot and we got hands-on with other experiments too.

Maritime Museum of Denmark

The Maritime Museum of Denmark is one of the most gorgeous museums I’ve ever visited. It’s built into an old dry dock and the museum’s architecture in incredible.

However, this was more of a ‘stop and read about things’ museum instead of a ‘touch everything’ museum. The two things my kids (ages 6 and 9) really enjoyed were climbing on this upside down wooden boat…


…and drawing sailor tattoos on their arms.

Don’t worry. My son did not want the tattoo of the busty lady.

Neither did my daughter.


If you have older kids or kids who are really into maritime history, this is a museum to visit. If your kids do better in an environment where they can get hands-on with their learning, then skip this attraction.

The museum does have a cafe. The kid-friendly option on the menu is a fish cake served with a side of raw parsnips and cucumbers. One of my children had this meal. The other one ate a chocolate muffin and chocolate milk.

Just keeping it real…

Kronborg Castle

Seeing a castle while in Denmark is a must. There are a bunch of them. Kronborg Castle is right next to the Maritime Museum of Denmark and happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its importance as a Renaissance castle in Northern Europe.

You can walk through the castle and see a little bit of what life might have been like several hundred years ago. You can also go underneath the castle into the casements…kind of like the castle version of a basement. It’s dark, creepy and awesome.

Krongborg Castle is also known as Hamlet’s Castle because it was, to quote Wikipedia “immortalized as Elsinore in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.”


This is the view from the very top of the castle at the town of Helsingør. I wish we had had more time to explore this little town. We did stop in at the cafe at the base of the library to have hot chocolate for the kids and a latte for the parents, but I was ready to see more!

Unfortunately, our kids were tired, it was brutally cold and my son had tripped on some stone steps inside the castle, so we cut our losses and caught the train back to our hotel.


National Museum of Denmark

The National Museum of Denmark is the country’s cultural museum. The primary reason we visited the museum is that it has an entire section devoted just to kids.

My husband went off to explore the main part of the museum while I hung out with the kids in the Children’s Museum.

There was a full scale replica of a Viking ship. There was a section devoted to medieval history where the kids could dress up like knights, complete with wooden swords. There was also an old-fashioned school room from the 1940s where the kids could get hands-on with learning and playing. There was a room where the kids could sit down and color pictures then hang their artwork on the wall for everyone to admire.


The Children’s Museum also had an entire section devoted to Pakistani culture. I was surprised about this (in a pleasant way) and I asked one of the museum staff why Denmark’s cultural museum would devote such a large and permanent part of the museum to Pakistan. She told me, in perfect English, that they want all children who visit the museum to feel welcome and to learn about the world around them. I did a little Googling while my kids were playing and as of a few years ago, Pakistanis made of the 5th largest group of immigrants and descendants to Denmark.

The Children’s Museum was staffed with employees who engaged the kids with the different parts of the museum. They explained how a Pakistani market was run or how the Vikings sailed in rough seas. They also were around to make sure the kids didn’t get too rowdy with the wooden swords.

Keep in mind the child in front of the counter hasn’t learned English yet. My kids don’t speak Danish. They are playing in a Pakistani grocery store. And everyone had an amazing time. It is possible to overcome our differences, folks. Kids are proof of that.


Other Places to Visit

There are other kid-friendly places to visit that we did not get to because they were either closed for the season, the weather wasn’t conducive to the experience, or we just ran out of time.

Tivoli Gardens
Legoland Denmark
Copenhagen Zoo

For a full list, check out: VisitCopenhagen.com



SHOPPING, FOOD AND PLAYGROUNDS

We don’t typically go shopping, other than stopping in a souvenir shop, when we are traveling with kids, but sometimes we walk through shopping areas on the way to various attractions.

What I liked about Copenhagen is that we stumbled on multiple playgrounds scattered throughout the city during our explorations. Perhaps it was our good luck, but you need a bit of that when traveling with kids.

Below is the famous pedestrian street Strøget.


We did stop in at the Lego store on Strøget Street – mainly to look – because Legoland is closed during the winter.

This was a pretty underwhelming experience. I didn’t find it to be any more special than any other Lego store. We opted not to buy anything because we can find most of the Lego sets at home for less money. The store was also packed to the gills with shoppers. The security people were friendly though. Ha!


Every once in awhile I like to be the fun parent, so when I saw these chocolate covered waffles on a stick at a shop on Strøget Street, well, we had to stop.

See? I can be spontaneous!

My kids look so, so tired in this picture. I guess that’s what happens when you travel and then try and stay up late to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Sugar should fix that!

Also, I now need a waffle maker. And some melted chocolate. You can keep the sprinkles.

In general, we found food to be WAY more expensive in Denmark than what we are used to spending. Especially when it came to eating in restaurants. It was not unusual for us to spend 80 dollars/euros on lunch during this trip. And I’m not talking about a two martini lunch at a fancy restaurant either. I’m talking about kids meals and salads. That’s INSANE.

We found it was more affordable to buy prepackaged salads and sandwiches from grocery or convenience stores. 7/11 is super popular in Denmark. Yes, THAT 7/11, home of the slushy. But it’s not the convenience store like you are used to in the United States. They sell plenty of freshly made, healthy food in addition to chips and sodas. My kids are pretty content to eat peanut butter and jelly, so we also bought a loaf of bread at a grocery store and ate sandwiches a few nights. We are super glamorous that way.

If your hotel room rate includes a free breakfast, definitely consider that option. I know that by opting for the combo deal, we definitely saved money.

BIKES

Bikes in Copenhagen are everywhere. I can’t emphasize this enough. By and large, bike lanes are as wide as car lanes. It seemed like we saw more bikes crossing an intersection during rush hour than we did cars.

On pretty much every corner and outside every office building you could find bike racks packed with bikes.

This is a terrible photo showing how prominent bikes are, but I just liked all the bricks. The bikes are off to the side. Squint and you can see them.

If you’d like to try cycling while in Copenhagen, your hotel most likely offers bike rentals. Ours did and some of the bikes had child carriers attached. I’m not certain what the helmet laws are in Copenhagen, as I saw most people riding without helmets.

Often times I had to remind my kids that where they were walking was a bike lane, not a sidewalk, so they needed to be careful and watch out!


PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Transportation is always a concern when traveling to a foreign country. Copenhagen’s public transportation system was, by far, one of the nicest we’ve experienced so far.

Trains leave directly from the airport, which makes getting to your hotel a breeze.

This is Copenhagen Central Station, which is right across the street from Tivoli Gardens and near other attractions. Not all of the stations are this way, but this one had multiple fast food restaurants and coffee shops, including Starbucks. It also had an organic grocery store which was handy when we picked up dinner to eat back at the hotel.


My son is obsessed with trains and pretty much ALL of his 6-year-old dreams came true when we, by chance, got to ride on a double decker train.


There isn’t always a place to scan train tickets at the train station – especially if you are traveling on a tourist card – so be prepared for train employees to come around checking your ticket during your ride.

If you are traveling with a stroller or a bicycle, there are special spots in the train cars where you can park these bulky items.


THE “MUST HAVE” WHEN VISITING COPENHAGEN

The thing you MUST GET when visiting Copenhagen is the Copenhagen Card.


This card covers admission fees to over 70 attractions plus ALL of your public transportation in the greater Copenhagen area.

Plus, KIDS are FREE with the card. So, kids 12 and under get into attractions for free and ride on public transportation for free. This saved us so much money. I wish we had something like this in Dublin.

We were in Copenhagen for 5 days and purchased two 120-hour cards for our family of 4. Our total was approximately 225 euros, which is roughly the same in U.S. dollars. The only attraction we spent money on was the Guinness World Records place and we received a discount on that because we had the Copenhagen Card. Everything else I detailed above we did not pay extra for. For everything we did and the number of trains and buses we rode on, this was a heck of a good deal.

Just beware – we were not able to purchase this card at the airport because we arrived late in the day and the tourist office was closed. We ended up buying the Copenhagen Card the next day at the Central Train Station.

Learn more about the Copenhagen Card here.


We thoroughly enjoyed visiting Copenhagen. Even in the dead of winter the city was a vibrant place. Everyone we met spoke perfect English and it made getting around, ordering food, etc. much easier. We are so happy we rang in the New Year in Copenhagen and we would love to go back when it is a wee bit warmer.

If you’d like to see more photos, arguably better photos of our trip, check out my Instagram feed.

Friday Funnies #3

Well, we survived our first week back to school after the holidays. Just barely.

Humor gets me through it all! Here are some moments, pictures and stories that made me laugh out loud recently.


BUSINESS ADVICE FROM KIDS

6-year-old Son: How many subscribers do you have, mom?

Me: On YouTube? I haven’t posted any videos, so zero.

Son: What about on that other thing you do?

Me: My blog? Probably 3? I don’t know. I don’t pay attention.

Son: Wow. That’s bad. That’s really bad. You should work on that.

Me: Thanks, kid.


INTERVIEWING 101

If I ever go back to the corporate world…

(source: @leahgay on instagram)


Yep. This. All of this.

Especially back in the days when I had to wrestle kids into car seats.

(image)

I haven’t driven a car in 6 months though, so let’s just hope I remember how…


LIBRARY CONVERSATIONS

The scenario: sitting on the floor of the library reading a book about knights with my son. I’m not sure why this book prompted the following conversation, but I’ve learned to just go with the flow on these random interruptions.

Son: Jumping jacks are really good, mom.

Me: Yes, I know.

Son: Do you know why?

Me: Well, it’s good exercise…

Son: No, mom. *he sighs heavily like he can’t believe he has to explain this* Because if someone is shooting bullets at your feet, you know how to jump really good so you don’t get hit.

Me: I was going to say that too.


CRAFTING PROBLEMS

This is something my husband would say…


READING FOIBLES

Last month we were reading a book about trains. One of the pages showed a picture similar to this one of Union Station in Colorado.

(image via)

In a burst of excitement, my 6-year-old pointed to the Union Station sign and triumphantly said, “Mom! There might not be a pickled onion museum, but there’s an ONION station!”

Then I died laughing.

To his credit, the letters u-n often make the “un” sound instead of an “you-n” sound.


I always enjoy the best parenting tweets of the week on the Huffington Post. This is a sampling of what they deemed to be the 50 best parenting tweets of the year.

Honest to goodness, Kate Hall nailed our weekend activity planning on the head. Then, after all is said and done, whichever kid whined the most inevitably says, “that was the funnest activity EVER.”

Then I’m all, “that’s nice because we’re never leaving the house again.”

Yep!! Just what Amy Dillon said. When I ask my kids what they enjoyed most about (insert any activity they were dying to participate in here) they inevitably say, “snack.”

I should just hand them a fruit snack every Saturday and call it good.

If you’ve met my children, then you’ll know that 97.3% of my life is telling one of my kids to put their clothes back on. Don’t even get me started on the shoes.


I hope you had a great week filled with plenty of humor! Happy Friday the 13th, everyone!