Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Summer To-Do List

This summer our family is trying to focus more on each other and quality time. In such a fast paced world where kids are at the mercy of their parents' work schedules, I don't think children get the attention they deserve. The husband and I are trying to hive our two memories they will cherish. So here is our list of things we want to try and fit in this summer. Don't let the high number of items on the list put you off; some of these things can be done together and some don't take any time at all. Most of them are also budget friendly, with only a handful of them actually costing much. And we are spreading those things out a bit.
We challenge you to complete the list with us! And we hope your summer is as fun as we plan ours to be! Don't forget to follow us as we check things off the list and discover all the ways we managed to fit everything in one summer!
 NOTE: The list will be completed from May 30th - August 26th, our official summer vacation. This list was made from 2 lists found on They can be found at The Crafting Chicks and The Freckled Fox.
NOTE2: We may not get to the whole list! And while we tried to do it all as a family, due to scheduling (and the nature of the item) a couple had to be done without one parent or the other.

Summer List

1. Go to the drive-in movie                                       51. Participate in a library storytime
2. Watch Fireworks                                                 52. Visit a state landmark
3. Go to an aquarium                                                53. Build sandcastles
4. Ride on a ferris wheel                                           54. Play a game of charades
5. Go to the beach                                                   55. Go bowling
6. Make homemade popsicles                                  56. Go to a farmer's market
7. Build a blanket fort                                               57. Paint rocks
8. Jump through sprinklers                                        58. Go to the lake
9. Have a bonfire                                                      59. Make Tie-Die t-shirts
10. Go on a roadtrip                                                 60. Make homemade ice cream
11. Sing loudly with the car windows down               61. Play night games
12. Go running at sunset                                            62. Go to a dollar movie
13. Read a book in the sun                                        63. Play mini golf
14. Have breakfast in bed                                         64. Run in a family race
15. Eat sno-cones                                                     65. Go to a baseball game
16. Have a scavenger/treasure hunt                           66. Have a dance party
17. Make s'mores                                                     67. Have a girls camping trip
18. Have a silly string fight                                         68. Have a paper airplane contest
19. Go swimming                                                      69. Go berry picking
20. Visit the museum                                                 70. Go on a boat
21. Ride bikes                                                          71. Bake and decorate a cake
22. Go thrifting                                                          72. Bake mini pies
23. Go on a hike                                                       73. Have a water balloon fight
24. Sleep on the trampoline truck bed under the stars 
25. Visit the zoo                                                        74. Have a marshmallow fight
26. Have a movie series marathon                             75. Do a kid's service project
27. Go to the park concerts                                       76. Go stargazing
28. Have a picnic                                                       77. Go to the park
29. Play frisbee                                                          78. Play jax
30. Have a water fight                                                79. Paint your own pottery
31. Do finger painting                                                 80. Play boardgames
32. Go boating/kayaking                                            81. Go to a festival
33. Blow bubbles                                                       82. Visit a historical site
34. Random Acts of Kindness                                    83. Leave nice notes on cars
35. Frozen yogurt                                                      84. Make Jell-O Jigglers
36. Play Freeze Tag                                                   85. Make a Flat Stanley
37. Wash car in swimsuits                                           86. Go fishing
38. Taco truck                                                           87. Have a teddybear picnic
39. Have a BBQ                                                        88. Plant something
40. Go swimming at 5 different water parks                89. Go to a garage sale
41. Host a puppet show                                             90. Play Hide-n-seek
42. Visit a waterfall                                                     91. Start a grateful jar
43. Do a Home Depot kids Workshop                       92. Go to a rodeo
44. Do a backyard campout                                       93. Make suckers
45. Make sidewalk chalk masterpieces                       94. Go to a carnival
46. Play frisbee golf                                                   95. Have a read-a-thon
47. Dance in the rain                                                  96. Fly a kite
48. Do a MadLibs                                                     97. Have a gaming party
49. Pick Wildflowers                                                 98. Go camping
50. Eat at a popular restaurant found on Yelp or Urban Spoon

A big "Thank You" goes out to my step-mom, the amazing De Vickery, who sat down and helped me figure out which of these things would be possible with where we live! Check her out over at Two Traveling Greyhounds. She is having her own summer fun!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Why I Am Letting My 7 yr old On Facebook

My son says some pretty crazy things. A lot of my own Facebook posts are his quotes, our conversations, or descriptions of his latest ideas and adventures. Many times I have been told to make a group for everyone to read and share their own stories of my son's antics. But I am a writer with two blogs and my own Facebook page, keeping up with yet another page was not going to make the project fun for me. Then I realized, my son is seven years old! Perfectly capable of writing his own updates and sharing his favorite YouTube videos with family he doesn't see often enough. So why couldn't he have his own Facebook page to update as he wanted and see what those family members posted in return. Facebook has serious privacy settings for a reason, although no one uses them these days, and they make it pretty hard for outsiders to see a person's content (yes I have tried to stalk people and run into those said walls). And right now my son is used to my constant monitoring, hovering over his shoulder as he plays Wild Krats games on my laptop. Until he is much older he won't know the privacy of his own computer, and right now he doesn't contest that rule. So why wait until he is thirteen, stubborn, wanting to post what is cool, avoiding his parents, and most likely to get into trouble. No. Instead I will give him an account that only I know the password to. Warn him that everyone in the family can see whatever he says. And get him used to behaving appropriately on the internet which so many young people abuse these days.

And why is this concept such a bad thing? What happened to expecting more from our children and teaching them responsibility and consequence? My son will one day be a contributing member of society, I think now is an excellent time to begin instilling in him the morals and values to make him someone I will be proud of.

So I am stepping out of society's comfort zone to try to help the next generation. If I am wrong, expect a letter of apology on here in ten years. But then I don't see others apologizing for some of the teens I see these days. Parenting is a trial and error experiment with much higher stakes than some would like to admit. I am hoping to change the world through my kids. Just wish me luck.

Monday, May 5, 2014

My Daughter Turned Me Into A Girl

I am the oldest of 3 girls. While my mother had a full time job and was involved in church activities a lot of the time, she was still there to talk to me about what being a girl meant, all the fun little details we dread. But as things turned out I spent a lot more time with my father and his car club, which I believe influenced me to be more of a tomboy. I wore a lot of baggy clothes because I wasn't happy with my body type, I found male super heroes to have more interesting stories, and the only women that I really liked wore trying to fit into a man's world i.e. Xena, Dana Scully, Captain Janeway, and Captian Samantha Carter (don't get me wrong, I also saw them as strong women just making it in general, but the pant suites didn't help). I always got along a lot better with the boys in the neighborhood, never having more than two female friends at a time until High School. It wasn't until I began dating the man that would be my husband that I even began to start thinking of myself as a real girl. Suddenly someone was interested in my looks! My dad was shocked at the tight jeans hidden under the hockey jersey. Makeup didn't come into play but once every three years for very special occasions; Senior Prom, the night he proposed, my wedding!

So when I found out that we were going to have a little girl the second time around, I cried. Sure I can pass it off as I was just happy to know what gender this little creature we had waited so long for was. But the truth is, I was terrified! What if she liked dresses? Better call up my friends for makeup advice! Worse: What if her dream is to be a ballerina or cheerleader!? I had no idea what I was doing! The most I did for date night was paint my nails, throw on a skirt that I felt nearly naked in, and put on a little eye makeup. I do feel at home in heals, but that has always been more for showing off and hiding my height issues.

I remember barely being pregnant and going into Toys'R'Us for a gift for a friend's daughter. My husband left me to look at another Nerf gun for my son, an aisle I feel totally at home in. But I had to find a gift! So I stood in the little girl's aisle, looking at all this pink! I literally began to have a panic attack. My husband came back to find me sitting on the floor, staring at five different stuffed dolls wide eyed and non-responsive. I admit, I over reacted, but I couldn't help it, girls terrify me!

How does someone like me make it through being a mom to a little girl? I had the right little girl! My daughter loves to tackle her brother, and I am not talking about just running at him, she actually looks like a little football player charging a guy! She runs down the toy aisle at a store and her eye is first caught by the fighter planes painted camo meant to attract boys! Her favorite thing to do to me is to run up and burp in my face or fart on my lap while we snuggle! She is the product of a house that is used to being centered around a boy. But you know what she wanted for her second birthday? Little Mermaid. Nothing else would do! While she is running around the house in her big brother's baggy athletic shorts, she has on her little princess dress heals. Every night after a bath to get all the mud off, she selects a new pair of earrings to wear the next day. My daughter is a perfect mix of attitudes that catches me off guard, makes me laugh, and comforts me.

Every Saturday we sit down and paint our nails because she just loves switching colors. I am slowly learning new ways to do my long hair so that when she gets older I will know it all. I pick out cute outfits for her every day and it has rubbed off onto me picking out stylish clothes for myself, when I can afford it.

But she hasn't just made it so that I embrace the little girly things I shunned when I was younger. She has made me comfortable in my own skin. I am working on getting fit, not so that she can see me skinny, but so that she can see me happy. I don't want a six pack of abs, I just want to smile when I have to put on a bathing suite. Her fascination at "that time of the month" makes me realize it is something that is perfectly common and sets me out as a healthy woman in my prime. The way she watches me with her brother and the other kids I watch fascinates me as she passes it onto her babies and makes me proud of my job, something others seem to take for granted. And the way she is delighted in the bits of my religion she sees renews my own delight in worshiping a female figure.

No longer am I terrified of her getting older and girlier. Instead I am eager to show her what all I know and have learned over the years. A whole world of wonder awaits a young girl, and I get the pleasure of introducing my daughter to it with pleasure! Yeah, society has made it difficult on being a woman in today's world, but if mother's can stop listening to what society thinks a woman she be and just lived how they were happy, girls would be in much better places as they grew up, just my humble opinion.

So I look forward to the challenge of raising a little girl. I hope other mothers are just as excited! Has having a girl made you different? I want to know! Or have you always been into the girl scene and have had a boy? I bet it is just as challenging for you. Let me know!