prayteachlove

A little faith and a lot of love go a long way…

Save yourself

First of all, I feel the need to update the nicknames I’ve used for my kiddos the past couple years as they have changed and grown and developed their own little personalities. So let’s start there.

Gorilla is a typical firstborn. Strong-willed, rule follower, bossy, responsible, funny, and super smart. He’s a thinker, always has a million things on his mind, a little worrier who thrives on routine, structure and preparedness. I shall call him…El Presidente (or EP) from this day forward.

Binxy has grown into quite the feisty young lady. She knows what she likes…and what she doesn’t. Sometimes she speaks and it appears she is either a 17 year old or a 43 year old trapped inside a 4 year old’s body. She takes no crap and is hilarious. Her name shall now become…Sassy Pants (or SP).

Now that that’s settled, I can continue. Sassy Pants chose a Barbie book at the library today, (of course she did). We returned home and immediately she demanded that I read it to her. As I read through the story, I couldn’t help but notice that the two main female characters ended up being rescued at one point by two minor characters who happened to be male. 

Hold up. I am not ok with that and it’s not a message I choose to relay to my daughter. So as she asked me to read it the story to her three more times, I changed that part…”and then the girls saved themselves.” And since then, it’s been on my mind and heart.

My mother is a very independent, strong woman. One thing she was sure to teach me was that it is important that I am always able to stand on my own two feet. Shit happens and life throws curveballs and she said I needed to be sure I could always take care of myself, and my kids if I chose to have them one day, which obviously I did. That stuck with me. I come from a long line of fighters and survivors and I don’t plan to stop that lineage with myself. 

Something that has become increasingly more clear to me as I age is just how messy and complicated life can get. We are conditioned not to talk openly about that as a society just as we have been conditioned as little girls that men rescue us. These are two things I strongly disagree with.

I think more than ever it’s important for us to openly discuss tough topics and I believe girls need to know they can save themselves. They do not need a man, or anyone else for that matter, to rescue them. 

Jennifer Anniston recently penned an essay in which she declared,

“Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”

We get to decide our own “happily ever after.” How powerful. I want my daughter to embrace her own happily ever after, whatever that may be. Perhaps for Barbie and her friends, being rescued by hunky male twins is their own happily ever after, and if so, good for them. But SP will know that there is more than one way to be rescued, and sometimes saving yourself is exactly what you want or need to do. There is no shame in that, no shame in walking a less traveled path, as long as you keep moving forward.

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Growing up

It happened. My baby boy grew up. He’s officially a kindergartener. 

He has been so excited to start school. It probably helps that his mama is a teacher who has had him tag along to her classroom numerous times, especially during the summer. He could. Not. Wait.

I’m not typically a crier but today, I shed some tears as his bus pulled away.

 
The best part was hearing about his day after I picked him up when I got off work. He was so excited about the magic playdoh he used that changed color when he made a wish. He loved sharing the Pete the Cat book they read today. Oh, and remember the first day teacher gift we made? The Gorilla was ecstatic that his teacher thanked him and PATTED HIS HEAD when he presented it to her. He gushed out how she loved it. And to top it all off, he ended by telling me how he can’t wait to go back to kindergarten tomorrow! I am so great fun for his teacher who made today such a special day for him, and for us. 

He even had a special friend meet him when he arrived home from school! (Our dog!)  

I also checked in with Binxy to see how her day went without her sidekick. 

She reported that she had a good day with daddy but she missed her brother!! My heart melted when she confessed that!

I have so much more to write, but not much time so more updates to come later!!   

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Pinterest project update!

“You stand in the line just to hit a new low

You’re faking a smile with the coffee to go

You tell me your life’s been way off line

You’re falling to pieces every time

And I don’t need no carryin’ on


Cause you had a bad day

You’re taking one down

You sing a sad song just to turn it around

You say you don’t know

You tell me don’t lie

You work at a smile and you go for a ride

You had a bad day

The camera don’t lie

You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind

You had a bad day

You had a bad day”

Daniel Powter, Bad Day

Well, I’ve had a couple of bad days for sure. Today included. I even tried to drown my sorrows in some tasty pasta salad. 
Note: I didn’t drown. Neither did my sorrows. However, I have a pretty bad stomachache to accompany my raging headache and bad attitude.  

In the grand scheme of things, my problems aren’t that serious. I know that. So rather than lament on and on about my #firstworldproblems, (yes, I did just use a hashtag in my blog post), let’s talk PINTEREST!!

Basically, I’m a pretty crappy mom about 360 days of the year. There’s about 5 days or so when I seem to nail it and typically those days occurs on birthdays and during the summer. It’s during these warm weather months that I’m blessed to be home with my babies that I try to plan exciting and new things for my offspring. I’d like to think I’m building their background knowledge and keeping them from ever becoming bored and making memories. Then, my little jerks, I mean angels, bring me back to reality by having the following conversations with their father:

Gorilla: Why does mama keep planning things for us to do?

Big Daddy B: She wants you to have fun!

Gorilla: Well, it needs to stop. Now.

Too bad, I’m not stopping. You WILL have fun this summer you ungrateful…well, you will. I demand fun in the summer. And what else is more fun than a PINTEREST INSPIRED PIE PARTY!!

So, awhile ago I found this pin for a mini-pie bar. 

I decided to up the ante a bit and throw a pie party for my kiddos and some of their friends.

There were lots of fun toppings. 



And the end results were pretty tasty.    

The kids seemed to have fun, so I consider it a success!

Besides pie parties, we’ve kept busy in other ways as well.

We’ve spent time at the neighborhood park. 

We went to a local carnival. I should note that I hate heights and Ferris wheels. I especially loathe carnival grade Ferris wheels. I have no trust in the rusty screws that allegedly hold them together. However, my son begged to ride the Ferris wheel, and so I sucked it up, held on to him for dear life, and we rode. Of course, he loved it.   

 
Sparklers with Daddy on a rainy 4th of July.  

A visit to the Choo Choo Barn in Lancaster. 

 

A tour of the Utz potato chip factory in Hanover.   

 
  
  

And while I’m not dragging my family around making them enjoy the all that our local area has to offer, I completed yet another Pinterest project which I’m rather proud of. 

I pinned instructions to make a floating vanity. 
Then I  got to work. My mom, Binxy, and I went to Lowe’s to get my materials. I started with a large shelf. 
I painted it. Big Daddy B kindly hung it. I would have done that myself but he was itching to use the drill. Men and their tools.

And now I have a floating vanity. 

I don’t have my stuff organized the way I want yet, and I still want to add a few girly touches. But overall, I’m very happy with the result!

And if all that doesn’t erase my “woe is me” attitude, my new weather app, (Authentic Weather), certainly will.  

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Things I should not have said to my 3 year old

So recently I’ve said some questionable things to my very bright 3 year old.  There have been consequences.

1.  “Jesus is with you in your heart.” – So much for trying to teach my kid values. I’ve now terrified him because he believes there is a small man living in his chest.  He chooses random times to tell me that he doesn’t want “the man in there” (while pointing to his chest) to go with him…like into Walmart. Smart kid with his understanding that Walmart = Hell.

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2.  “Hahahahaha!” Ok, so this isn’t technically a phrase, but I may have laughed at him recently when he sharted. Our family happens to find passing gas and poop hilarious topics of conversation and typically, as a 3 year old boy, the Gorilla has truly enjoyed talking about all things bowel-related. Apparently that does not apply to times when he has just accidentally crapped himself and he screamed at me politely asked me to stop laughing at his poop.

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These are just the most recent two that have come to mind.  We should probably cool it on the potty humor in our house though, because he definitely may have dropped a family created rhyme that includes the word “butt” to the pediatrician at his last visit. Mother of the Year here folks!

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You know you gave up as a parent when…

The other day I stopped to pick up a few groceries. As I waited in line, I noticed the lady in front of me place a box of those frozen peanut butter and jelly crustless sandwiches on the check out belt.  You know the ones I’m talking about…

As she piled her other groceries around that purple box, I smiled to myself. She had given up. I’ve been there. Haven’t we all? I mean, she was paying over $2.00 for 4 small crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I am not judging her by any means. If we were able to allot more money to our budgeted “food money” then I’d probably stock up on those babies. I get it. I’ve given up too. Thankfully my kids are still unable to tell you exactly how many nights they’ve eaten frozen waffles (yes, I toasted them…slightly…) and pretzels for dinner. The Gorilla watches videos on the iPad more than I care to admit right now. (We had to find a way to sleep in past 5:30 am!) And Binxy may or may not be learning to count…thanks to Sesame Street and Sesame Street alone. (*gasp* But she’s a TEACHER! – you) (Oh calm down…I’m a human mother too! – me)

How have you given up as a parent?

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Vacation with toddlers…Part 3

(Get caught up with part 1 here and part 2 here!)

Thankfully when I broke the news to the Gorilla and the rest of my family that Pop Pop was demanding dinner before shopping, they were only mildly irritated and there were no earth-shattering meltdowns. The Gorilla refused to sit still or eat his dinner, but we made it and finally at 8:30 p.m. (Arizona time) we found a Target and purchased the Thomas Shark Exhibit. Success!

The next few days were a whirlwind of activities…

Chillin' out at the hotel...

Chillin’ out at the hotel…

...eating delicious southwestern food...

…eating delicious southwestern food…

hats

…buying (and wearing) silly hats…

051 …visiting family…

066

…dressing up (Big Daddy Byron & me)…

110

…attending a wedding…

124

…and swimming!

Though we really did have a lot of fun, doing these things was far from easy.  Our toddlers didn’t care that we were in Arizona, at a hotel, or trying to chat with family we hadn’t seen in years.  They wanted what they wanted NOW. But we survived and on the 15th, we began the long trip home.

I woke up and did not feel well at all.  I was focused on not vomiting anywhere in public so I didn’t look very nice as I really didn’t care what I looked like as long as there were no bodily fluids spewing from me. (Vomiting after waking up? Is she PREGNANT?!  – you) (ABSOLUTELY NOT. No, I am not pregnant! – me) After we returned the rental cars and made it through security we headed to our gate.  I was feeling slightly better but still weak when another female passenger caught my eye, looked me up and down, made a face and rolled her eyes at me.  She clearly conveyed her message that my hobo look was not welcome in her presence.  Thankfully (for her) I was weak and not in the mood to put her in her place.  Thankfully (for me) another stranger would do an act of kindness that completely cancelled this out near the end of our trip!

The two flights home were a little easier than the first two since the Gorilla and Binxy knew what to expect.  They weren’t happy about having to sit in one spot for 2-3 hours at a time, but they were a little less vocal about their displeasure. By the time we reached Baltimore at 11:00 p.m. Pennsylvania time, we were all tired, grouchy, and not looking forward to the hour and a half drive from the airport to our home.

During the last 15 minutes of the flight, Binxy had fallen asleep in my arms.  I carried her off the plane and to the baggage claim area where I found a bench to settle down on while everyone else went to collect our luggage.

I was really cherishing this time with my sleeping angel.  You see, since she is such a good sleeper and has never slept with us, only in her crib, I never really get to see her sleep…especially not in a well lit area where I can really look at her. She. Is. Gorgeous. I was relishing in the fact that the little angel in my arms was my baby when I felt a hand on my knee. I looked up and there was another mom, unknown to me, though I recognized her from our flight as we had made eye contact and smiled as we were boarding a few hours before.  She was maybe 5 or 10 years older than me, and she was smiling yet again.  I saw her little (and big) ones walk past with her husband and she said, “You’re a trooper mom. You’re doing a great job.  I know how it is traveling with kids and you’re doing fine.  Go home and get some rest, you deserve it.” And then she walked away.

I am not someone who cries easily so I did not cry. But I did have tears in my eyes which is significant. This total stranger from our flight took the time to stop by and tell a haggard looking mom (me) that she’s doing a good job. I was really touched and grateful that God sent this woman my way with this particular message at a time when I really needed it.

Before I knew it my family was ready to go with our bags.  We hopped on the wrong bus and headed to the daily parking garage instead of the long-term parking lot.  Finally we got on the right bus which was PACKED.  The driver was a tough lady who was not taking anyone’s crap even though there were some rude people on the bus who were making comments about her. (Apparently everyone was irritated and ready to get home.) As we entered and couldn’t find seats she demanded that someone give their seat up for me since I was still holding a sleeping Binxy (who was beginning to wake), and a very nice lady did so immediately. By the time we reached our stop, Binxy had fully woken and peed through her diaper all over me and no one could remember exactly where the van was.  Needless to say there was some yelling and profanity discussion about where the van was and what we were doing. At long last, my dad located the van, Big Daddy Byron changed Binxy, we loaded up and took off.  And hour and a half later, we were home, sweet home.  By 2 a.m. I had changed out of my urine soaked clothes (thanks Binxy!) and we finally fell asleep in our bed. AMEN!

It definitely wasn’t our most relaxing vacation but it was memorable. And that’s what vacations are all about…making memories! 🙂

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Vacation with toddlers…Part 2

(If you’re just tuning in and need to read Part 1 of our Vacation with Toddlers, you can find it here.)

Fancy schmancy

Fancy schmancy

So we left the Tucson airport feeling relieved that we survived (barely) the 2 flights there. We hopped in our Dodge Charger, cranked up the AC, and began the journey to our hotel which was a resort. Our relief was short-lived though as I had to follow my mother and father in their rental car to our destination.

(Forgive me mom for the next part…) So, my mom is a nervous driver/passenger. And I use “nervous” lightly. Because I actually mean she’s bat sh*t crazy when she’s in a car. It was like following a drunk race car driver.  All the while we could see my parents’ arms flailing as they yelled at each other in the vehicle in front of us, arguing over how to get to the hotel and when we would call to beg them to slow down or at least use a turn signal occasionally, we could hear the shrill screams and profanity respectful, loving disagreement, promptly hung up, and prayed that we ended up at a hotel…any hotel at this point.

Thankfully, we did make it. The kids, the adults, the tons of luggage…we made it. Again, we felt some relief as we were greeted by bellhops (is that what they’re called? I’m too lazy to check) who held the doors for us as we entered to check in. We gave our names at the front desk and then the panic that I was so familiar with by this time set in again when the hotel personnel at the desk informed us that we were 3 hours early to check in to our 3 rooms…

WHAT?! Ok, so we completely forgot to calculate the time difference when we all agreed during the reservation process that 4 pm was a check in time that would work for us…because it was almost 4 pm…in PENNSYLVANIA. We could work with that though. What we could not work with was paying for THREE rooms. Who booked us 3 rooms? Not I! In fact, none of us had. It was a mistake on the hotel’s end and of course it took nearly 20 minutes for the hotel people to figure out how to cancel one of the rooms in our names. 20 minutes was more than enough time for the Gorilla to realize that we were not shopping for his promised Thomas the Tank toys.  Constant whining ensued from our 3 year old who HAD TO GO SHOPPING NOW as we impatiently tried to figure out the reservation snafu so we could get our junk luggage into our rooms. I began to feel the all too familiar irritated stare from the beady eyes of the annoyed patrons and employees in the lobby who were witness to our 2 toddlers who had barely slept since midnight (their time!).  It was time to haul ass and get out of there so Big Daddy Byron and I took our little living hurricanes out to the car where they calmed slightly in the dry heat of the parking lot while my parents dealt with the reservation mess at the desk.

Finally, we were granted key cards and the fact that there was NO PARKING WHATSOEVER near the building where our rooms were located couldn’t stop us. We took advantage of the valet services and of the bellhop who offered to deliver our bags. At this point, we could not have cared less about the ridiculous charges for these services because we were exhausted. Well, the Gorilla and Binxy were’t exhausted but the adults were.

We arrived in our rooms.

One view from our room...

One view from our room…

...and the other view.

…and the other view.

Peace…sweet peace at last…or not. Because the Gorilla had still not forgotten that we were not perusing Thomas items for him to purchase with our money. Thankfully we were all pretty exhausted by this time and we convinced the Gorilla that after we unpacked and took a nap, we would go, first thing, to the nearest Wal-Mart or Target and buy him whatever his little greedy 3 year old heart desired.

So we began to unpack.  The room seemed pretty nice. Two queen beds would work for us. The Gorilla and Big Daddy Byron could nap in one and Binxy and I could nap in the other. I was sure Binxy would be fine even though she’s never slept in anything but a crib or pack ‘n play before. Big Daddy Byron, the organizational master that he is, was swiftly unpacking our bags while I decided to check out the size of the mini-fridge so I could make a shopping list of snacks and such that could be kept in the room. It turns out, the fridge was a mini-bar. If this had been a romantic vacation for just Big Daddy Byron and me, I would have started uncapping bottles and guzzling the sweet nectar that stared back at me as I opened the fridge. But this was a family vacation. With toddlers. Who are CONSTANTLY HUNGRY AND THIRSTY. Where was I supposed to keep their food and beverages?! Oh and look at that…the nice hotel staff left a $3.00 Kit Kat, $3.00 pack of 2 Oreos, and a plethora of other over priced candy and junk food in plain view of anyone, including my toddlers, who could see inside of the fridge. I slammed the door shut before any tiny eyes could see those goodies and whispered to Big Daddy that we needed to bag up that sweet paraphernalia so that the kiddos couldn’t see it or taste it. No way in Hell was I going to pay $3.00 for a half eaten Kit Kat bar which is what would happen if they got their chubby little hands on it. He quickly reorganized the fridge so that we had hidden the contraband and made a few inches of extra space in what seemed to be the world’s smallest hotel mini-fridge.

So we barely had a fridge, no microwave, and it was time to sleep. The Gorilla, our 3 year old stage 5 clinger who hasn’t slept a full night through and has slept in bed with us for the past 18 months or so, cuddled in with Big Daddy. (Why did we wait 18 months and then let him in bed with us? That’s a whole separate blog post, but long story short, we should be given medals, not criticized, for hearing him scream all night in his crib for the first 18 months straight attempting the CIO [Cry It Out] method. Don’t believe that’s what happened? Ask our neighbor. She met with us to let us know her concerns of his constant screaming. He sleeps much more soundly when with us now.)

Binxy crawled into bed with me. However she seemed to have found her second wind and found it hilarious to be in a queen sized bed that was not her crib or pack ‘n play. I let her bounce around and test out all the pillows thinking she would wind down and fall asleep as soon as the novelty had worn off. WRONG. 15 minutes later and she was still at it. By this time I had slept 1 hour in almost 48 hours. Big Daddy had slept for 2 hours. We were on the edge. He snapped and called the front desk to request a pack ‘n play. 10 minutes later it had not yet arrived and Binxy was done playing on the bed and decided it was time to walk run the halls. She screamed until I took her into the hall. We walked. Well, she ran and I stumbled from exhaustion. 20 minutes had passed and no pack ‘n play. Big Daddy called the front desk and explained our situation. We needed that pack n’ play NOW or one of us was going over the balcony outside of our room. As he relayed the severity of our situation, Binxy joyfully bounced up and down the hallway as I monitored her with a glassy-eyed stare. After 40 minutes, the pack ‘n play finally arrived and I came to the realization that no one who works at this hotel must have ever had a toddler because if they had, they would have sensed the desperation of our situation and sent the pack ‘n play up within the first 10 minutes.

Big Daddy set up the pack ‘n play and I laid Binxy inside. Within 60 seconds she was out. We all climbed back into bed and finally fell into a sweet, sweet slumber.  Upon waking, as in the second the Gorilla woke, he reminded us that we owed him a shopping trip. NOW. We found my parents in their room next door and headed to the lobby. The valet brought our vehicles to us and as we climbed into the cars, my father announced that we were going to find something to eat before going shopping.

You have got to be kidding me. The Gorilla is going to lose it. I cannot put off this shopping trip one more time. We are going to see the meaning of “ape shit crazy” the minute I tell this kid we have to go eat before he gets something from the Thomas collection at the local Wal-Mart or Target. I argued with my dad but apparently the elderly outrank toddlers and he was dead set on eating first. I had to go along with him…he was paying for this meal! Oh, and I was starving since I (and Big Daddy) hadn’t eaten at all through the day or on the flights at any point. I tentatively sat inside the car…took a deep breath…and relayed the message to the Gorilla and the rest of my family that Pop pop was taking us to eat before we went shopping…

Check back for Vacation with Toddlers…Part 3 to find out what happened! 🙂

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Vacation with toddlers…Part 1

Let me preface this post with an explanation of why there are no photos. Because there’s no humanly way to get photos when you are a huge ball of anxiety taking 2 toddlers on their first plane ride.

I have family in Arizona and due to distance and life we aren’t terribly close but we all try to be there for each other when major life milestones occur. So when my oldest niece invited us to her wedding, we were super excited to go. What’s not exciting about toting two toddlers across the country?

When we first told the Gorilla, our 3 year old, he told us in no uncertain terms that he was NOT flying on a plane. Absolutely no way. Any time we brought it up we were told adamantly that it was not happening and if we pressed the issue, it typically ended in salty tears and piercing screams. A few days before we were scheduled to leave, the Gorilla changed his tune and suddenly seemed excited for the trip. I was overjoyed. Then one of my best friends reminded me that it was probably Binxy that I should be worried about with flying, not the Gorilla. I panicked. She was right. The Gorilla had been so vocal about not flying that I never thought that my little girl would protest the idea in any way at any time. I. Was. Wrong.

We woke our little angels up at 3 a.m. on July 10th and took off on our hour and a half drive to the airport with my parents. The adults hadn’t slept much but everyone seemed fairly cheerful and we were all equipped with coffee to make the early morning commute a little more bearable. The kids were happy and awake which we thought was ok because it could work to our advantage – by the time we took off, they would be so tired they’d just sleep on the flight.

As we unloaded the van and caught the bus to the airport my anxiety began to build. It would be awhile before we boarded. The kids needed to eat. We needed to get through security. Did I remember to pack everything? What were we thinking? The kids wanted to run around the airport. We had to figure out how to print our e-tickets & get our luggage checked. We did it. We made it through security. Now we just had to wait.

As we waited, I became more anxious. I saw the annoyed glances from some of the other passengers as they watched our kids run and scream and occasionally cry in the waiting area at the gate. I knew they were praying we weren’t on their flight. Finally, it was time to board. The Gorilla was excited. Binxy was tired. Really tired. We entered the plane, found our seats, and got situated. Now I haven’t been on a plane for 4 years but I feel that they have shrunk since then. We crammed our carry on bags, iPads, and family of 4 into 3 seats. Big Daddy Byron and I pulled out books, crayons, stickers, juice, and snacks. We were prepared. Then the plane took off.

The Gorilla loved take off. He was curious and excited. Binxy had had enough. She was tired and not having any of this take off crap. She squirmed. She whined. She screamed. For the first half of the flight, we were “that family.” After take off, the Gorilla got bored. No amount of crayons, books, or snacks could keep him happy. Our kids pretty much let the flight crew and all other passengers know that sitting in one cramped spot for 2-3 hours was bullshit and they were rebelling. At one point another passenger seated a little bit behind us asked for a seat change. I’d like to think it wasn’t because of our darling screamers but who knows. I couldn’t hear what she gave as her reason above the shrill shrieks of my 21 month old.

We were able to calm the Gorilla by this time with bribery. We promised to buy him whatever Thomas the Tank items he wanted as soon as we landed in Arizona. We would find the closest store and go shopping right away. I silently thanked God I brought our credit card and then it was up to me to calm Binxy because she’s mama’s girl through and through. However, finally I passed Binxy off to my mom. I was going to lose it. I was sure I was deaf in at least one ear and felt bruised from the constant kicking and punches from her little fists for nearly 2 hours.

5 minutes. It took 5 minutes with Grammy for her to calm down and go to sleep. SERIOUSLY!?! Whatever. I didn’t even care. The screams had subsided and I knew the ringing in my ears would eventually go away too. I relaxed for the remaining ride until we departed from the plane. As soon as we stepped off a couple people threw us the side-eye but then there were those who looked at us sympathetically and a couple even made passing comments about how they hoped our next flight went better. Way to make my anxiety rise about the next flight.

Thankfully we had a short layover and before we knew it we were back on another plane. I felt sick. Could we survive another couple of hours of screams? It turns out…we could. Because there wasn’t much screaming. The Gorilla was content because he knew he had won and was going on a shopping spree when this plane landed.  Binxy (the traitor) sat with Grammy and was as happy as a clam. The one time she made a peep, a friendly flight attendant fed her some yogurt (literally, spoon fed her the first few bites!), and she calmed down. I was relieved that they were so well-behaved but was on edge that at any moment they would snap and so I had myself an adult beverage and tried to relax. I was grateful when we landed without any major incidents. The other passengers were grateful too…several of them who had been on the first flight with us mentioned in passing that the kids did much better the 2nd time around. Thanks for noticing people, thanks for noticing.

We had made it to Arizona. Big Daddy Byron and the Gorilla went to claim our bags as Binxy and I headed to the rental car desk. The man there was super nice and actually from our neck of the woods in PA. Big Daddy and the Gorilla arrived and watched Binxy run around as I finished up the transaction. The rental car guy threw in our car seats for free because he said he could tell we were good parents from what he had seen while I was filling out the paper work. I told him, “You obviously weren’t on our flights, but thank you. We’ll take it.” He also hooked us up with a Dodge Charger because my “big brute” of a husband would “get a kick out of driving it.” Yep, every man’s dream is to drive a Charger loaded down with 2 car seats and screaming toddlers. I didn’t care though.  I was so happy we were back on the ground and he was friendly that he could have rented me a tandem bike and we would have pedaled off to our hotel with smiles on our faces.

Speaking of our hotel…tune in later this week for part 2 of our vacation with toddlers…it turns out that resorts aren’t so kid-friendly…

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Summer fun!

Today marks 3 weeks of summer fun! I’m still in “summer mommy” mode and it’s been GREAT! Here’s an update of what we’ve been up to!

We've enjoyed ice cream...

We’ve enjoyed ice cream…

...and played outside...

…and played outside…

 

...and we picked cherries!

…and we picked cherries!

 

(Oh and I recommend checking out the advice about washing cherries (or any berries) using vinegar to help keep them fresh longer!)

We’ve also…

...eaten more ice cream with friends!

…eaten more ice cream with friends!

We took a trip to Pittsburgh to visit friends and we went to Idlewild Park!

Thomas was the guest of honor on our trip to Idlewild! :)

Thomas was the guest of honor on our trip to Idlewild! 🙂

 

Wheeeeeee!

Wheeeeeee!

 

Additionally, we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo!

We compared Big Daddy Byron's height to the animals' heights at the zoo!

We compared Big Daddy Byron’s height to the animals’ heights at the zoo!

 

We like elephants!

We like elephants!

 

Then we came home and went to a carnival!

Vroom, vroom!

Vroom, vroom!

Oh and we found some time to swim!

Oh and we found some time to swim!

Then we took a tour of a farm!

I see you Bessie!

I see you Bessie!

 

As you can see, we have been busy, busy, busy!!!

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Summer mommy is here!

This post is an hour in the making and I only just logged in. It took me that long to figure out how to load photos from my phone to my laptop which included everything freezing, me threatening to throw things, and now finally, jammin’ to my tunes as I begin to type. Amen that I didn’t break anything.

So I’m writing this as Summer Mommy.  Summer Mommy is fun. She’s relaxed and laid back.  She doesn’t wear make up and rarely wears anything even remotely constricting. I never really give it two thoughts. Then this morning happened. I scheduled multiple appointments today.  As I waited to see my chiropractor, there was a pretty girl sitting across from me.  I could smell her from where I sat. Ok, that sounds creepy but I swear I wasn’t sniffing her.  She just over did it on the perfume but had she not bathed in it I think I would have liked it. Her outfit was summery and cute and every accessory matched – necklace, bracelet, earrings, shoes, purse. Her finger and toe nails were beautiful.  She checked her make up two times which was subtle but perfect for what she was wearing. Took her mirror back out to fluff her bangs.  I smiled to myself. Oh, to be young and care about my appearance again. I was mentally calculating her age.  Probably early to mid twenties. WAIT! What is that!?! As she “fixed” her hair I noticed it. Wedding bands. She’s married?!?! See, in my head, people who are married are older. They are MY age. They have kids like me. They are tired like me. Or, they are supposed to be.  She’s married?! Does she have kids? I am freaking out in my head that this lady is married, probably has kids, and looks awesome. The next obvious step is to take stock of my appearance in my head.  Even though I’m not wearing perfume, I showered this morning so I’m feeling good. But then I remember I totally did not brush my hair as I ran out the door to my earlier appointment. No make up. Yoga pants and t-shirt. I did remember to put on my wedding rings today so I sort of have jewelry. My nails are kind of trashy – green and black zebra print. One is broken.  Good Lord, why is she looking at me?! Then I watch has she takes out a mirror and changes up her pony tail so that it’s more of a messy bun. This chick even has bobby pins she pulls out of her coordinated purse and re-styles her hair. I run my hand through mine and try not to make a scene as my fingers get stuck in a knot and I trap myself in my own hair.  Thankfully I escape without being noticed as she’s too busy playing hairdresser. Please Lord, do not let her have children. People with toddlers don’t look like that. Do they?

After my 3 minute mental freak out I calmed down. She may have looked nicer than me but I was definitely winning when it came to personalities.  She didn’t make eye contact with anyone else who walked in. I smiled at everyone and said hi and they did the same. One mom came with her son who was probably 12-13. We joked about the game he was playing on his iPod as he waited for his mom. She completely ignored him.  One of the ladies who worked there reassured the pretty girl that it wouldn’t be much longer. She kind of sighed and acted like she was in a ton of pain. (Um, you’re not in that much pain lady. You’re lifting your arms as you re-do your hair and you’ve been fine when it’s just you and me.) My chiropractor (who it turns out was hers too) happened to walk past with a new patient and was all, “Oh, hey Kari! How are you? How are the kids? I’ll be with you in a bit” and then it was, “Hi _ _ _ _, I’ll be with you in a minute.” Definite difference. Pretty girl didn’t smile once while we waited. So though she may have looked better than me on the outside, behind my summer hobo look I had it going on.

Speaking of my current status of “summer hobo” I’m enjoying it. So when we were invited to a Father’s Day cook-out, I figured I’d make a dessert instead of buying it last minute like I typically do when I’m working.  This of course means that my love affair with Pinterest continues.  Since recently we and some friends of our have enjoyed making s’mores together I thought I’d take a Pinterest and S’more inspired dessert.  Simple, right? Just a few key ingredients…

Marshmallows...I can figure out marshmallows, right?

Marshmallows…I can figure out marshmallows, right?

I began my melting the marshmallows. I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to add butter. Doesn’t butter make it so the marshmallows don’t stick to the pot? I debated for about 5 minutes then figured, everything’s better with butter, right? As I was trying to get the above photo though, they kind of…burned. I figured that would just add a little extra “roasted” flavor and kept going.

Next, I added the Golden Grahams.  Stir, stir, stir.  I got this! I was feeling proud. This wouldn’t turn out like the curdled cupcake incident. I spread the mixture into a container evenly.  All that was left was sprinkling on some more marshmallows and chocolate chips. I couldn’t possibly mess that up!

WRONG! I grabbed WHITE chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate!

WRONG! I grabbed WHITE chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate!

Seriously?! By this point I thought, screw this, chocolate is chocolate and I’m going with it. No one would be surprised – my close friends and family know that I was not blessed with any kind of cooking or baking skills. So I ended up taking this…

and it was a hit! Pretty tasty if I do say so myself. :)

and it was a hit! Pretty tasty if I do say so myself. 🙂

I might be a summer hobo who can’t cook but I’m loving every second of it. 🙂

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