Tag Archives: Family Time

T4 Goes Camping

A few months ago, a couple parents from our church’s playgroup decided to plan a weekend camping trip. Dates were picked. A location was picked. Reservations were made. Life went on.

Then it was time.

Five families. 10 adults. 10 kids. Three tents. Two cabins. One weekend.

Getting to the campsite was an adventure. Not knowing what to expect and forever the worrier, I packed for every situation my overactive brain could create. It still felt like I was forgetting something. We could barely fit the four of us in the car. It took longer than it should have to walk out the house and actually get on the road, but we made it to O’Connell’s Yogi Bear Park in Amboy, IL. It was Pirate’s Weekend and packed. There were tents everywhere. Annnnd, we had no service.

The girls TD1 played at the group campsite while T-Daddy and I unloaded the car. TD2 managed to give 10 adults several heart attacks within a 30-minute time span running back and forth between the campsite and our cabin. She had apparently memorized the route in the five seconds before her runaway streak began. This was gonna be a fun weekend.

We hung out around the fire for a couple hours before heading back to our cabin to call it a night. It seemed like forever before the TDs’ excitement came down to a level conducive to sleeping. I incorrectly assumed there would be two twin beds – TDs in one; T-Parents in the other. I packed two sets of twin sheets and two pillows. T-Daddy and I could share a pillow and the girls could share the other. We had two bunk beds with a full on the bottom and a twin on top. Each girl wanted their own twin bed and agreed to take turns with the blanket and pillow. T-Daddy and I used two twin-sized sheets to cover a full mattress and hoped for the best.

Every 30 seconds, my eyes jumped open and scanned the floor for one of the girls. Turns out, they were just wrestling with the wall and ceiling, not actually falling out the bed. At some point, they both got down and ended up in bed with T-Daddy and I. That was some great sleep. T-Daddy took TD2 to the community outhouse and they both moved to the top bunk when they got back. Somehow, I managed to get up before the rest of T4 and behave as a functioning adult.

T-Daddy tried to start a fire in our fire pit to cook bacon, but apparently we needed a bodybag’s worth of firewood to be able to do anything but inhale smoke. We ended up using the group’s fire before heading fishing.

The girls had a blast fishing. TD1 caught three fish and TD2 caught one. I have to say: 1. I never thought I’d touch a live fish. 2. Tryna yank a hook out a fish’s mouth seems like a new level of fish torture. I almost wanted to just learn how to gut and cook it rather than throw it back in the water. 3. I’m not sure how worried I should be that my daughters thoroughly enjoyed cutting worms in half and sinking a hook in them.

After fishing, we had lunch then went on the Heyride of Water Torture. We drove around the campgrounds while people pointed hoses and threw water balloons at us. Parents tried to shield and/or comfort their screaming kids. As I used my body to block TD2 from getting wet, I felt like Luke Cage…except for he’s bulletproof and I’m hardly waterproof.

The rest of the day pretty much consisted of the pool, watching the cardboard boat regatta, dinner and hanging out around the campfire. It was a fun and relaxing day, minus one unfortunate bathroom incident which may or may not involved me trying to get TD2 to rinse off in the shower. We walked in the shower and upon seeing a clump of hair over the drain, she immediately started screaming “No yucky! I don’t want to step in the yucky. Don’t put me in the yucky.” I held her up so that the water could run over her, but I’m not entirely convinced she didn’t walk away from that incident unscathed.

When it was time to retreat back to our cabin, the girls passed directly out. T-Daddy and I took the opportunity to have some quiet (after the camp-wide pool party ended), child-free time under the stars. Staring up at the sky, watching stars shoot across the vastness then disappear was mesmerizing.

The next morning, we packed up our cabin and met our group for breakfast. The kids played while the parents talked. Then everyone went their separate ways.

All in all, the camping trip was fun and I had a great time getting to know the other families better. Once I got over the initial shock of not having a signal, it was actually quite relaxing being disconnected. I don’t think I’ll ever be a public/shared bathroom person, but I enjoyed being outdoors. T4 will definitely go camping again.

Home for the Holidays

*cue up *NSYNC*

As I write this, I am currently enjoying watching the TDs veg out with toys, books, puzzles and Netflix. Despite currently fighting allergy/sinus issues, I am thoroughly enjoying being home with them on their winter break. It’s been mostly relaxing, entertaining and full throttle (because apparently kids go on break, but they don’t break….go figure!)

But I have to be honest, I was a bit of a scrooge leading up to the holidays. I dreaded Christmas and wanted to just skip it. I may have even complained about it to a few dozen people. There was very little Christmas music (which I’m sure pleased T-Daddy). I didn’t change my ringtone this year (though I really need to change it, period). We were kinda late decorating the tree and getting Princess (formerly known as Strawberry better known as Elf on the Shelf) here from the North Pole.

Then it was time for the girls’ holiday program. Almost everyone in the family came, which made the girls really happy. And that made me happy. It worked out that both their uncle and their grandparents were in town that day and we were able to arrange for them to be there. Then their uncle spent many days of his trip here with them. TD1 was so excited to be the one to show him how to make root beer floats and give him his first one (not really, but somehow she came to that conclusion).

As a family, we ate all kinds of “bad” food and laughed and joked. We watched movies and played games. We put together puzzles and played with their new toys. We attended church for the first time on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. And we got to see both sides of the family on Christmas day without tons of driving, family politics, tension and stress. Everything, everyone has just been easy peasy this holiday season.

It’s been as if the universe knew exactly what I needed to lift my spirits. It’s been so nice to relax and enjoy my girls in their elements. To not have to yell at them to hurry up because we’re behind schedule. To just take a break. Soon, we’ll be back to the grind of things, but for now, I’m enjoying being home with them on their break. After all, it’s the first time since TD1 was a baby.

TD1 Turns 5

Yesterday, TD1 turned 5 and we celebrated by taking a road trip to Indiana. Though, to be honest, the celebration actually started on Thursday. I went to her school to read a story with her to her class. Then we sang and danced and TD1 passed out the treats we made. Later, some friends and family came over to sing happy birthday and eat cupcakes.

We were supposed to go to Nashville (Brown County), Indiana, but never made it because nothing goes as planned with T4. Instead we ended up going to White River State Park in Indianapolis and getting pizza. For a brief second, I was bummed that we didn’t get to celebrate the way I had planned, but I was later reminded that some of the best things in life aren’t always planned. *cough cough TD1 cough cough*

TD1 5 BdayWe had uninterrupted family time sprinkled with a basket full of candy and TD1 got to call a lot of shots. In her words, “My birthday is awesome!” We laughed and were silly together and on the drive home, it hit me: T-Daddy and I have a FIVE year-old!!!!

It’s hard to believe that five years have passed since I gave birth to this little one. She has changed my life in so many ways and I love watching her go through life. She’s smart and independent and loves helping others. It may sound cliche, but she really does make me want to be a better person. I want to be a good example of the type of woman she should aspire to be. I am also proud of who she has already become. I wish I could take all the credit, but I can’t. She’s her own person and she makes her own choices daily. And she’s managed to survive five years of having T-Daddy and me as her parents.

Happy Five Years TD1!!!!

DIY or Just DIFM

  I was in Barnes and Noble browsing, killing time while I waited for T-Daddy to pick me up when I stumbled upon the Kids’ Craft section. It was full of books and boxes for kids to do lots of fun things like build your own erasers and rock painting kits.

“Man the girls would love this!”

I reached for several different kits, each time stopping myself. The girls would love this. Mommy wouldn’t. I want to love it. I want to do all kinds of fun, artsy things with them. I just never have time. I’m full of ideas, but not enough time or patience to execute.

I’m sure if I could slow down long enough to focus on the now and not the million other things I have to do, I could create some awesome projects with the girls. A few years ago, I decided I was going to teach myself how to draw because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to know how to do. It lasted all of three weeks. I managed to draw a few things, including a not-so-deformed Spiderman. It was enough to convince me that I could be good. Something happened, I fell out of my practice routine and the drawing journal I invested in has been collecting dust ever since.

So I put each kit down and moved on to another section with a hint of sadness. I wish I could buy all these DIY kits and actually complete them. But I know, in all honesty, they would just collect dust. Another great idea that I didn’t have the time to execute.

I dream of one day being able to manage my time and prioritize obligations so that I can be that super DIY mom. But today…today, I’m just that DIFM (do-it-for-me) mom. So I bought the Look and Find Jake and the Neverland Pirates book and skipped over the artsy stuff.

This-A Make-A Me Happy

Dinner time with T4 and here’s why:

Since I went back to work 2.5 years ago, I have struggled with my decision to do so. It was always my dream to be a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to raise my kids and give them the solid foundation they needed. I wanted to invest wholeheartedly in them. I didn’t want them to feel that anyone or thing came before them. I didn’t wanna be that workaholic who missed those treasured moments.

Then I got pregnant unplanned. And people talked. And the joy I was supposed to feel was replaced with this ever-burning need to prove myself.

→Prove that my innocent child wasn’t ruining my life.
→Prove that I wasn’t just some non-contributing member of my family laying around, waiting for Todd to take care of me. (Man, the way some people talk about stay-at-home moms is heartbreaking, to say the least.)
→Prove that I wasn’t a failure at life.
→Prove that I could take care of this little person that I had brought into the world despite being told to do otherwise.

So, I went back to work. I had this child that I did not plan, but that was not going to stop me from giving her the world that I wanted her to have. It would just have to be modified.

☆★I want to stop here and say that Todd was 100% on board with whichever decision I made – stay at home or go back to work – so long as our bills were paid. And, our bills would be paid if I stayed at home, but that’s all. There would be no saving, no room for growth. And, if something happened to Todd, I’d be in no position to carry us.★☆

So I went back to work, so we could give our daughter the childhood we wanted her to have. Only I felt like I was failing her. Our commute made for long days and I’d come home tired, then had to cook and off to bed she went. Our only “time” together was in the car.

Even after having another child and going through the routine a second time, I still hadn’t figured it out. I wasn’t giving my children the time and piece of me that I felt they deserved. Rolls on the floor and dance parties were reserved for Saturday’s. There was little time to just sit in the amazingness that is them. Because there’s always something to do.

Then we moved and bought a dining table. And BAM! Instant family time.

This little piece of furniture has added so much to my life in the past month. We went from eating in front of a Netflix-playing TV, not saying one word to each other to sitting around a table talking to each other. And, I love every minute of it. I suddenly feel like I’ve gained extra time with my daughters.

And the best part? Temi insists on leading us in grace every meal.

To keep this little piece of happiness, our table is a device-free zone during meals. No phones, iPad, TV or laptop.

And, this-a make-a me happy! ♡♥

*Don’t mind the shirtless girl who wants her “shirt off like Daddy!”

Bah Humbug

For whatever reason, I really wasn’t into Christmas this year, and events leading up to and surrounding Christmas really didn’t help my mood. At one point, I decided to sit Christmas out. But thinking about the money we had already spent and certain people that were depending on us, I changed my mind.

I’m glad I did. For me, the whole holiday was still kind of just eh, but my girls enjoyed it. And we were able to bring smiles to some faces. And, that outweighs my grumpiness.

I’m sure next year I’ll be in a better mood. I’m already deciding that I’m not going to let anything bring me down. I am going to celebrate with enthusiasm with my family.

Say (Chuck E.) Cheese

On Sunday, we took Temi to my little cousin’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. I’m not sure if Temi was taking it all in or what, but she was not trying to play any games or do anything. She looked straight bored. After walking around for a while, she started to loosen up and before long, she was running around like she owned the joint…until Chuck E. came out. Then she was scared straight. All in all, I’d say she had an awesome time.
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