Member That Sunday?

Dear Chica,

Member that nearly perfect summer Sunday when you were five?

Member how Bubba didn’t sleep at church or on the way home so it worked out for ALL of us to nap after lunch?  In our own beds.  At the same time.

And member our full-family wrestling match in Mommy and Daddy’s bed when everybody woke up?  I liked the part when Daddy cracked up because Bubba did his “Ahhhhhhh Bubbaaaaa” battle cry.

Member how you and me and Bubba went berry picking in the neighbor’s yard?  I think you decided you liked berries that day just to prove me wrong.  You were good at finding the dark ones.  Bubba was good at repeating the words dark and light, but I don’t think he really knew what that meant, do you?  Member how he insisted on us giving him berries, and then he just licked them and threw them down?  That Bubba.  I fell for it every time.

IMG_0356 IMG_0366 IMG_0355

splashin'Member how we got so hot we decided we had to go cool off at the splash park?  Well after a while, nobody could get the water to turn back on, so we decided to leave.  We were pretty lucky that those other fountains downtown were going, don’t ya think?  I had fun watching you and Bubba weave in and out of them together.  It actually looked like you were having more fun there than at the real splash park.

Member how Bubba ate more of my dinner than his own?  Never mind, that’s every night.

Member how we drove all the way to the mall for our after dinner walk, only to remember once we got there that it was Sunday and the mall closes early?  I think our plan B turned out more fun anyway, though.  We took our mall walking to Target and zoomed in and out of the aisles.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget how we each walked down different aisles at the same time, racing each other to the end.  You giggled good and loud every time you ran into Daddy.  Daddy doesn’t usually let us be so loud when we are at the store, but I guess it was okay tonight because you were laughing at him.

I member that the night ended perfectly with you helping me fold a basket of laundry and (mostly) reading me two Elephant and Piggie books.

Pretty much the only imperfect part that Sunday was what Bubba had to do in the morning to get me out of bed.  After trying to drag me out and begging, “Mommy, eat!” he resorted to another, more creative, plan.  Member how he took his diaper right off and peed a great big puddle at the foot of my bed?  It worked.  I got up.

Nope.  I don’t think I’ll be forgetting that.

Currently Me

A few weeks ago I wrote “currently” posts about Chica and Bubba.  I knew it made sense to write one about myself next, but sometimes as a mommy it feels pretty hard to separate what I’m doing from what we’re doing.  If they’re reading Elephant and Piggie and watching Momo’s World, chances are I am too.  But things have slowed down a bit lately, and it seems as if I might have enough of me back to write about.  So here goes…

Eating:  Homemade chocolate chip cookies and skim milk.  And by “homemade” I mean the break apart kind that are ready to go on the pan, because even the slice from the tube kind is one more unnecessary step I don’t need these days.  I baked them yesterday to prepare for a showing of our house in hopes that the yummy smell would linger long enough for our visitors.  A friend in our Sunday School class said that the fresh baked cookies on the table were a major selling point for him when they were looking for houses, so I decided to try his trick.  We had three showings, and only one cookie was eaten.  Oh well….more for me.

Reading:  Colossians 3.  I was challenged last week to memorize it, and I’ve made it to about verse 8 so far.  Verse 15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”  The person who issued the challenge wondered what life might look like if we actually went to work each day with Christ’s peace ruling us.  My mind immediately jumped to September and pictured how that would change my school day.  But just now, writing this, I realized there’s no need to wait until September.  Come Peace.  Come when Bubba refuses to get in the car seat and no one wants to eat any of the eight healthy lunch options I offer.     Come when I have to wash the sheets three days in a row and when nap time seems an eternity away.  Rule my heart then, ok?

Listening:  Billy Joel on Pandora.  Nearly every song conjures up some almost forgotten memory for me… dancing with hairbrushes in hand during a giggly sleepover, the marvel of a friend’s player piano in her basement, a mix CD Jay made me while we dating, or window-down drives to the Peaks Camp.  “Riding around with the car top down and the radio on….”  Mmmm.

Watching:  Well, Jay and I had been watching The Voice.  I was totally pulling for the quirky girl with the tight pants and huge glasses, but whatevs.  As is customary in our house, the reruns of West Wing have begun to play again…our fallback show whenever we run out of something else we can both agree on.  I never thought it was a show I would like or even understand, but now I think it gets better every time we watch it….and we’ve watched it a bunch.

Saying:    I’m going to run the 10 Miler.  Jay and I first talked about it on our bike ride this week, and I think we have a good time picked out that I can start to run regularly.  Today I told two different friends I was going for it, and now…umm…I’m telling you.  Maybe it will be harder to back out that way.  Hold me to it, friends!

Hoping:  That someone will buy our house so we can finally start looking for real, and not just online, at new places.  And so that I don’t have to keep hiding my soap and shampoo in the cabinet under the sink.  That and about a million other things that are annoying to a housekeeping challenged girl like me while our house is on the market.  This too shall pass, I know.     

Learning:  This.  Really, take a minute to read it…you’ll be glad you did.  I used to be the avocado mom just a little bit, I think, but now I’m the mom doing a little cheer if I can get them to eat chicken nuggets.  Forget the vegetables.

So, I’ve made some new friends lately, and I was tempted to think their kids were taking naps on a schedule at me and they were enjoying their big houses and flat yards at me.  But here’s the kicker:  “We can choose to see each other as competition or as fellow warriors – fighting the same fight on the same team. One goal – many paths. We can learn from each other. We can even ENJOY each other.”   Yep, I’m learning to let that happen.  One goal — many paths.  I like it.

So, what’s happening currently with you?

This post was inspired by Mama. Papa. Bubba. who was inspired by Sometimes Sweet who was inspired by MeganIsLove.  Pass it on.

Happy Pig

So Bubba hit a new phase last week.  I think we’ll call it the Repeat Two Words Over and Over Until Mommy Loses Her Mind phase.

Nana has a pig.  A singing, tutu wearing pig.  The pig was a birthday gift from an equally eccentric family member.  At first Bubba was terrified of the pig, probably because it’s almost as tall has he is, and he accidentally met her eye to eye right outside the bedroom door while in a post-nap stupor.  Creepy pig.  Poor kid.

The pig eventually won Bubba over when he realized that she does, in fact, sing his most favorite song, Happy BirthdaySo now he will sing/dance along with the pig as many times in a row as Mommy can stand.  But always from a distance.  Someone else must push her “butt”…that’s Bubba for “button,” of course.

When I got home from the Grand Canyon, it didn’t take him a but short while to start talking about the “Happy Pig”.  But when Happy Pig comes to mind, it’s somehow not enough to mention her just once or twice.  I think in Bubba’s mind you must repeat a phrase at least twenty times in a row for your audience to know the passion that is felt for a certain subject.

The only tiny problem with this particular current object of his affection is that it’s very hard to distinguish whether he’s talking about the pig or showing off his other latest trick: learning to spell his real name.  Context clues are key here.  So far he’s only got the last three letters down, but either way, they both sound like this:

“I-P-P, I-P-P, I-P-P, I-P-P, I-P-P, I-P-P, I-P-P, I-P-P, I-P-P, I-P-P…”

No less than 20 times in a row.  Every time.

Again, poor kid.


It Might Be a Great Vacation If…

IMG_0343Last week I was so blessed to spend a week exploring the Grand Canyon with my dad and brother.  We went to Havasu Falls on an REI tour.  Our guides were the best of the best, the scenery was unbelievable, the accommodations were exceptional, and the hiking was a welcomed challenge.



One day while relaxing in my tent I decided to jot down a few things that were so great about the adventure we were enjoying.

It Might Be a Great Vacation If…

10. Your cell phone is 10 miles away, uphill.
9.  Your to-do list for the next day consists of only the following:  hike 7 miles, brush your teeth, float on the creek, and wash your underwear.
8.  You learn about biology, sociology, and geology all within a half mile hike.IMG_0306
7.  You can play UNO while someone else makes dinner.
6.  You can relax in a creek-side hammock while someone else cleans up dinner.
5.  Your once blue shoes look like this at the end of the day.    ———–>
4.  You are having so much fun you don’t want to stop to take pictures.
3.  No one cares if you shower or not.
2.  You forget where you put your watch and decide not to look for it.
1.  You get to spend lots of time with family and meet new friends that become like family.

bubba he-mutI had one full day home, and then it was right back on the road for vacation with the other half of my family.  We spent the beginning of this week in the friendly, quiet town of Damascus, VA where we rode the 30-some mile Creeper Trail.  This is our third time making this trip in just as many years, and we were already planning our return on the ride home.  I have such fond memories as a kid of returning to the same river beach for family vacations, year after year.  Maybe this Creeper Trail will become the same for my two.  Again, we were having so much fun, we didn’t really stop to take pictures….just this one of Bubba in his “he-mut”.

Tonight when I finally sat down to type out my “Great Vacation” list above, I started to think I needed to add one more…

It might be a great vacation if you’re glad to be home.

I think the whole point of vacation is to give you a breather from real life.  In my case, vacation (especially the first one) was a chance to catch up on some major alone-time hours that my introverted, mommy self never can seem to find.  By the end of the week, my introvert tank was spilling over the brim, and I was ready to be home with my people.  I think that means it was a truly excellent vacation….it was just long enough and relaxing enough to get me excited to come back to the everyday, real life.

So I know I’ve only been home home for something like seven hours, but I’m glad to be back in the normal rhythm of things here.  (Maybe ask me again how I’m liking the rhythm in 27 hours when the temperature’s pushing 90, I’ve run out of inside ideas, and nobody will nap.  Never mind…don’t ask.)

But tonight was good.  We ate pancakes for dinner, and Jay had it all cleaned up before anyone left the table.  After that we took a drive to the mall so we didn’t have to do our post-dinner walk in the rain.  (Nope…I’m not too proud to admit I’m a mall walker.)  Before bed we worked a few puzzles and chased fireflies.  I even managed to keep my cool when Chica threw her royal tantrum over the bugs.  Yep…it was a good night.

Vacation was great, and I’m glad to be home.

Best (Daddy) Staycation Ever: Lynchburg Edition

Five nights from now I’ll be sleeping in a tent at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  My brother, Dad, and I will be hiking the 10+ miles to Havasu Falls, and I am beyond excited.

I’m super thankful for both my mom and Jay who are making this trip possible by watching Chica and Bubba for the week that we are gone.  That’s some big time love right there.

In preparation for Jay’s days with the kiddos in Lynchburg, I sat down and typed out every possible fun thing I could think of for him to do with them while I’m gone.  I fully realize that survival mode may kick in, and they’ll spend 95% of the time watching Elmo’s World and escaping to Nana’s house.  And I am totally great with that…I get it.

But sometimes the biggest barrier to doing something fun is just not having a fresh idea or all the info.  It’s not so easy to come up with the ideas when someone’s throwing a tantrum in the floor and you realize that NOW is the time to move on to the next thing…preferably  out of the house.  So thus the Best Daddy Staycation Ever: Lynchburg Edition list was born.

And after I finished typing it, I realized that I might just be pulling out this list again in those desperate tantrum-on-the-floor moments when I return home for to the remainder of the summer. So maybe there’s one or two of you that would like the list as well.  At least it might save you the time it takes to look up the hours of operation for some of the spots you don’t visit often.

So feel free to download the document below.  I edited the one I gave to Jay because, well, you don’t really need to know where we keep the sidewalk chalk or the phone numbers of friends to call to send out an S.O.S.  (Friends…you know who you are….feel free to call and check on them ’round about Wednesday or Thursday!)  I left off some obvious toddler activities that are just a given, like reading.  I’m pretty sure Bubba could do that all day, but one daddy can only read Barnyard Dance so many times in a 24 hour period. There were a few Lynchburg spots I didn’t include because I knew Jay wouldn’t be interested.  Ex. He doesn’t do pools.  Oh, and he’s going to have them Tuesday through Friday, so I only included activities that were scheduled for those days.

Finally, if you live somewhere other than Lynchburg, maybe you’ll be inspired to edit this list to include the best ideas and times for your own city.  Feel free to share it here if you want.

Happy Staycation!

Lynchburg Staycation  <—-Download here!

P.S.  I had totally intended to add links for many of these places, but the rumored storm is here and in full swing.  I expect we may lose power shortly, so I’m just going to post as-is.  I’m praying this summer’s derecho is nothing like last year’s!

Did That Really Just Happen?

Did I really just bribe my five year old with the following statement, “If you guys are seen and not heard while Mommy is having her meeting, we’ll go get some ice cream afterwards.  OK?” 

Yep, that really did happen today.  Now that’s some quality parenting right there.  Granted, I did relate it to a classic work of children’s literature in the process, but I’m not truly sure that makes it any better.  Several times in the Little House books Laura reluctantly remembers that children are to be seen and not heard.  Chica totally fell for my reference and agreed to give it her best shot.  Actually, who am I kidding?  It was the ice cream, not Laura.  Either way, she was mostly good during the meeting, and I decided I would forgive her short-lived and not-too-distracting barking and crawling because 1) it kept Bubba entertained and 2) I really wanted ice cream.  Daddy even met us there.  Bonus.

Count RaggiDid Chica really just tell me, “The Count Reggi is the national bird of Guinea,” while riding home from said meeting?

Yes, that happened today too.  By now I probably shouldn’t be surprised by the things she remembers from Wild Kratts and just trust that she knows what she’s talking about.  But tonight I decided to follow her rabbit trail and double check the truly random info that spills out of her little head.  Turns out she’s right.  The Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise, also known as Count Raggi’s Bird-of-Paradise, is Papua New Guinea’s national bird.  It seems this bird is best known for the male’s red plumes and elaborate courtship dance.  There.  You’ve learned your one new thing for the day.  You’re welcome.

P.S.  Does the educational value of Wild Kratts somehow make up for the lack of parenting finesse demonstrated in my ice cream bribe?  I’d say it’s likely.

Did Chica really just strip down naked in the middle of playgroup?

Oh, did that ever happen today.  The same girl who can rattle off animal facts quicker than I can google them, still doesn’t know that the backyard of a stranger’s house is not the place to change into your swimsuit when you’re five.  So here I am at playgroup for the second time ever, trying really hard to appear that I have it all together in front of these moms who do this for a living.  (I feel like I just pretend during the summer.)  So the experienced moms apparently know that you dress your kids appropriately ahead of time when there’s going to be water to avoid a situation just like this one.  Yep…got that one for next time.  So I’m digging around in my bag to find Bubba’s bathing suit when I look up and am blinded by a mysterious white light.  J/K….it’s just Chica in all her sun-deprived glory standing by the baby pool, waiting.   I couldn’t find that bathing suit fast enough.  Let’s just hope all my new mama friends were thinking more of, “Oh, poor teacher mom who’s still figuring this out,” and less of, “Wonder what kind of crazy stuff goes on at their house?”   Let’s hope.

In celebration of ChicaAndBubba’s 100th post, will you consider leaving me your best “Did that really just happen?” moment from the week?  I’d love to hear it!

Image:  Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) © cliff1066  | Flickr Creative Commons