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A Mother’s Vacation

By April 16, 2018 Family Life

      Vacation is usually something a person uses to refresh themselves from everyday life. A mother’s vacation is almost the opposite. 

Being on vacation with your family is a time to build all kinds of wonderful memories. There’s the fun tourist stops, the dad jokes, the music you force your kids to listen, and interesting restaurants. Vacation also means: bickering kids, keeping track of a thousand trinkets, making sure everyone has enough underwear, and sheer exhaustion at the end of every day.

I adore my family. I live with dinosaurs that make me smile, and make me want to run away screaming into the night. Looking forward to vacation every year, I realize, I am not the one on vacation. I spend my time prepping the family. Starting by reminding a week out to gather some items you may want to play with in the car. Hey take a look to make sure what ever shirt you desperately will need to wear is clean and set aside.

That’s just the beginning. The shopping for snacks, the packing , and finally loading the family up and getting on the road. Just the beginning of the trip is enough to make you want to fly to Tahiti without the rest of them! You are the mom, I chant this in my head, so you will survive. I don’t know about your trips but ours are by car. They also happen to be about 10-16 hours in length. For a tiny T-Rex, this can be the end of the world. Fortunately, he lasts until about the last 2 hours before really giving me a problem.

Once we make it to our destination, I think phew vacation. Then I remember how silly I am. Once we’ve landed in our place, I become concierge, keeper of the tiny treasures, doctor, teacher, etc. I stop to look at every thing the kids want to look at. I can tell you right now the Lego store is not really worth spending two hours in when I made a good lap the first half hour.

The Idea….

As a mom, I got to thinking how unfair it is that we never get a vacation. We prep, we monitor, we unpack at home. We need a vacation from our vacation. I told my husband this and he laughed at me. I started thinking, someone should invent the mom amusement park. Only moms are allowed inside. You are assigned a person who will follow you around, refill your drink, carry your trinkets, and comfort you when you get over tired or upset.

We wouldn’t need rides. We would get tea and books. Coffee with our girlfriends on a non-food crusted couch. We could go shopping in stores WE wanted. No whining, crying, or tantrums when we would say, ” I’m going in to look at candles. ” I would personally wish for a lovely deep bath surrounded by a private garden full of lovely flowers. You know, things we never get in real life! A girl can dream.

The family….

My family does love a vacation. We go about once a year, and I do look forward to it. Then I look forward to being home in my own chaos! Do you have any fun mom escape ideas? I’d love to hear them.

 

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That Stinking TV and Why I am so Mad at it!

By December 30, 2017 Family Life
My Son's future. Thanks Mortal-Mirror

Most people love that stinking TV, but I have a deep love/hate relationship with this electronic monster. 

 

TV is usually something a person looks so forward to having in their possession. It is a warm embrace at the end of the day as you can plop down and watch whatever you like to numb the mind from the day’s grievances. I, however, have a complex emotion towards the TV. I enjoy a few shows here and there, don’t get me wrong. Its the absolute mind numbing shows they have for kids that just is infuriating to me.

I have a rule with our toddler. He is to get no more than an hour a day of TV.  Now if you are anything like my mother, the protests are already flying!

” I let you watch Mr. Rodgers, Sesame Street, Square one, Where in the world is Carmen San Diego….” The end of that was that I turned out just fine. Which I like to think I did. I then have to show her that studies show kids should not just sit and watch TV as it can do more harm . Especially when the show is something like Sponge Bob. I shudder at that show. Again, this is just my own personal opinion. I am not telling you to not let your kiddo watch more TV. You can bet there are days where mine definitely has. I was so sick, the flu is fun, and to have him be calm I watch a barrage of Disney movies that I can only tell you made him love TV more than anything.

Which is why my hate part of the relationship is now the predominate side of how I feel about TV. I think it mostly stems from the absolute melt downs that come from being told he cannot sit and watch yet another super hero show as it is bedtime. The tears, begging, negotiating, defiance, and then the dreaded, ” I don’t like you, you’re a bed mom.” OH BUDDY! that just gets my goat!

Shows teach them rotten things

That is what gets me so flustered. When he was only watching about an hour, we had less fits. We were less likely to throw ourselves or toys to the ground and like a 16 year old huff at me and tell me what a lousy parent I am. Serious! I started really watching what my son watches. It is no wonder. Most kids shows have the parents as these dingy inattentive people who provide you food and a home, but will let you get away with murder because they are too busy or dumb. I was so upset. Most parents aren’t that way. At least I hope they aren’t.

Telling our kids they can be super heroes is great, telling them they can be because mom is too dumb to figure out that you are gone all night and will take no notice of the costume you wear that smells like foot after running, jumping and karate fighting. I can guarantee I would notice my sleep deprived kid moving like a slug in the morning and smelling like foot. Also, I think there would be weird things going on around my house that would cause me to take note, like installation of secret lair equipment. We live in a two story house, not an alpine mountain castle.  I digress.

Personally, I have a beef with a certain sea life creature in brown angular pants. I was never a fan, and then they did a study and showed that it was doing exactly like I felt it was. It was making kids focus less, and test lower. Kids are sponges just eager to soak up knowledge. Some of what is geared for our kids is doing the opposite of that!

These are not zombie fueling shows!

A few friendly faces to educate and relate to.

PBS is my Friend

I have no beef with Sesame Street. Aside from Elmo being slightly annoying, the letters, and counting are all still educational and fun and they incorporate music. It has my smile of approval. Also, I love dinosaur train( big surprise right!) because they teach the actual names of the dinosaurs and the eras they live in. Shows that are imparting something to my kiddo are shows I can get behind. I sit and watch these as well as shows like Super Why so that I can further elaborate on the concept he is learning later. If he watches a show that teaches him about rhyming ab words and sings a song, you better believe I am trying to remember the song. Its a hoot to watch when one gets stuck in your head.

TV can be your pal and babysitter, and it can be used for further educational concepts. Just be sure you are involved with your kiddo and let him know that no amount of sneaking around is going to get past you, and the giant robot on the lawn is going to be explained! What are your thoughts on TV and screen times? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

 

 

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My Child Needs Me, So Does Yours

By September 21, 2017 Family Life

With school starting back up, your child needs you to be their rock. They need us to be their protector and their advocate. 

Usually I am happy to write blog posts on my child doing something ridiculous. He is notorious for doing so. However, I have run into a similar conversation over the last couple weeks that has really struck a cord in me. I may sound like I am ranting, but honestly, I am trying to champion.

We wait nine months for this amazing little bundle of awesome to arrive. Fawning and swearing that we will do anything for this child, we take them to the doctor, and do check ups. However, somewhere in there some us become selfish. We may notice something seems amiss with our baby. Maybe their breathing is causing issues, maybe they are delayed in milestone achievements. I have trouble here. People I have talked to become more concerned with how they feel about the situation.

Instead of becoming an advocate for their child, they enter denial. Brushing off comments, and concerns of friends and family as unfounded. My darling dino following, please read this next sentence twice if you need to. Your child’s health is more important than your ego. You did not choose to give your child whatever they may have. My son has a growth hormone deficiency. I didn’t plot for it to happen. It happened. I refused to bury my head. I stepped up and made the calls, hounded doctors, and tried to move heaven and earth to get the testing done and the meds started. He is now growing and healthy and I couldn’t be happier.

No one wants to hear that their child is being diagnosed with something. Its scary, and it is much easier to want to ignore its happening. When you hear the diagnosis, your world feels like it may stop for a minute, but it doesn’t stop. Your child is still the wonderful bundle of awesome you brought into this world. The only difference to your world now is that you have to step up in ways you maybe didn’t think of before.

I feel like I am ranting, but truly, having your child diagnosed with a condition does not discredit your ability to be a parent, it also doesn’t mean your child will never reach the potential you hoped. People who have disabilities break barriers all the time. The first thing they usually say is that it was the support of their family and their never ending cheerleading that got them there. Overall, I just want to reassure you, there are many very helpful doctors, nurses, therapists and techs who can open so many doors for you and a child who may have a disability. Please, take those opportunities.

 

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Sugar For My Love

By August 7, 2017 Family Life
Sugar jar

This little sugar bowl has sat on my counter for four years. Its the sweetest reason why. 

My husband loves sugar in his coffee. The fact that he drinks coffee is comical , because four years ago he didn’t. However, four years ago, we wed. I then corrupted him and got him drinking coffee with sugar in it. Over the last couple years, I have tried to upgrade this little jar, but he just will not have it.

You see, my husband, he hates change. On top of that he is sentimental. A quality I love about him. We met in first grade, and I think somehow I am a memento from childhood. When he decides that something has value, he won’t come right out and say it. I found this out the hard way with our sugar jar.

This little jar came from the very first ever gift basket he got as a married man from his boss. It contained huckleberry jelly. Now as we know, I love huckleberry, so he beaming gave me this from his basket. Being a grateful and dutiful wife, I devoured that jelly. Also being a crazy hording crafter, I cleaned the jar and held on to it just in case.

Soon, I corrupted him into getting up and having a cozy cup of coffee with a wee bit of sweetener for him. He had to be difficult ( insert a wicked grin here.) and have a particular kind of sweetener. So of course I had to have somewhere to put it. Enter adorable jelly jar. I fill this little sugar jar up every few days, and I have for several years. I sell Tupperware, and when I have tried to swap out old jelly jar to new Tupperware, I get grumbles and complaints about the convenience of the jar vs the new whatever.

It took me a while, but then it dawned on me. He had assigned this amazing sweet memory to this little jar. We were newly married, we had little money, and I kept this little jar full for him so we could enjoy a cup of coffee together each morning. It was simple, it was a time when it was just us.

I decided that the jar will not be replaced. I will refill the sugar every few days, and I will get up each morning and make his coffee for him so we can have a cup amongst the craziness of our day. Its a small thing, but its such a sweet one.

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A Shark Holiday for the month

By August 7, 2017 Crafty Us!, Family Life

July , oh the beauty of July. Its hot, and sunny, and its time once again for the week I wait all year for. Shark Week!!  

I absolutely love the ocean as you may have read in an earlier post. I love everything about it, the smell, the sight, the creatures within. As terrifying as they are portrayed, I adore sharks. They are fascinating to me. They are so sleek and mysterious. That’s why Discovery Channel was kind enough to create a holiday that is a week long just for me. At least that’s what I tell myself about Shark Week.

The problem with Shark Week, is its only a week long. My sister and I decided all of July should be a celebration of the salty deep and we plan a month of crazy that revolves around the ocean and sharks. We decorate the house, line up crafts, and come up with crazy treats.

One of my favorite ideas for us to make this year is the Shark I-spy bottle. My little T-Rex is in a program called Parents as Teachers. It is an amazing program that allows kids to get a leg up and be prepared for kindergarten by focusing on emotional, social, and educational development. A couple weeks ago, we made I-spy bottles with bugs. I decided this would be cool for shark week as well.

When you are making a I-spy bottle, make sure you choose a good bottle. I personally love Gatorade bottles. They are strong, and have a nice wide mouth so you can slide fun items in. Plus they are big enough that little hands are able to grasp them while shaking and moving it to find the treasures within.

When you are filling up an I-spy bottle you need to consider the actual filling material. I prefer to use rice. I shifts easy and the objects move easily through it. It can be done with beans, lentils, popcorn kernels, its really up to you. I used rice, and in this case, I am dying the rice blue with food coloring. To do this, decide what it is that you want to put in the bottles. I am doing a little sea creature variety pack that I bought from the local party store. I am also using little pony beads, gems, and a few other small little fun things to find. Since my items vary from bg to small, I use the rice,

To dye the rice, I put a few cupfuls in a gallon Ziplock bag and then I add a few drops of blue. Zip up the bag ans shake like your life depends on it. The kids love this part. I sing songs and we dance all while shaking the bag. A few favorites of mine, Mack the knife, Jaws theme, Slippery Fish, and well, Twist and shout ( I love the Beatles.) Once you have the shade of blue you desire, open the bag and let it dry for just a bit. You don;t want your octopus having blue smears on his face.

When you are ready to start the bottle, I always put in a good handful of rice for the base. Then layer a variety of things, add a few beads and a shark, then rice, a gem and a diver, then rice, etc. Do not fill the bottle the entire way, You want room to move and shake and see what the little one can bring to the surface, I’d leave half the bottle to at least 2 inches from the top. T-Rex likes half the bottle because he has success shaking and seeing things come to he surface much faster.

I love this activity, it helps shark week carry on from just our official last week in July. If you want to catch the fever, you can head over to Discovery Channel and check out a preview for shark week, and the other cool sneak peeks. If it doesn’t get you excited for my favorite shark holiday, I don’t know what will!

 

 

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A Sign Everywhere.

By July 24, 2017 Crafty Us!, Family Life
My light switch sign

As a former teacher, literacy is super important to me. That’s why my house is covered in signs labeling everything.

It sometimes looks like you’ve walked into a classroom. Who labels their door with a sign that says door unless they are right? I do! I have a bunch of label all over my house. At first, my poor hubby was less than thrilled over the labels. Our home began to look lovely to me, lavender cards appearing all over. When people would ask me why they were out, I stated simply my poor hubby had no idea what things were in the house.

Honestly, the signs are for the T-Rex ( and when the hubby gets lost in the house.) When children are young they learn through so many senses. They shove everything in their mouth to see the texture, temperature, shape, etc. To show them that you are the person named mommy or daddy, you point to yourself. Its a visual cue. Hence, where the signs come in. If I wanted little T to see that I was talking about the door, not only did I point to the door, but the word. and I would say it several times. Repetition is the key!

So, now my house is getting covered slowly by more and more signs. Every time I think, ” Oh! He should know what that looks like!”, a new label goes up. Each door, appliance and piece of furniture almost, has its proper sign. Its so easy to do. Run to the dollar and grab some sharpies, and a package of index cards. You can pick up so double sided tape, or use like I do the painters tape and after you write up your sign stick on there!!

In case you were                     unaware…Stairs. —>

Now, it is not just awesome to have the signs up and available for seeing when having normal conversations, but we play games with ours, too. I sit in the middle of the floor and say, ” Can you find me the word for wall?” then he runs around trying to figure out the word for wall. Now he realizes that the words are on purple cards. Hence he is going to find one of those, but he then remembers I said wall, so he looks for signs there. It is a fun way to engage him and also make him learn! I love listening to him giggle and say, ” I found it mommy, I found wall.” It’s just all around fun to do, and just so simple to help them increase their learning and understanding of the world around them!

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My top 5 things to do in Newport Oregon

By July 13, 2017 Family Life

I love Newport Oregon. It is my favorite spot to vacation by far. I thought I’d share my favorite places to go with you in case you make the trek to see this gorgeous little town. 

This weekend my cousin is getting married. She is exchanging vows on the beautiful coast of Oregon. While she is closer to the California border, I love a different part of Oregon. I love Newport! I saw the ocean for the first time there, and where I honey mooned. Oh my soul is tethered to the ocean there.

Newport is a great town nestled against the coast. It has an amazing historic boardwalk which houses some of my favorite things to do. I thought I’d share my top 5 things I love to do in Newport with you.

  1. The Sea Lion Pier–     When walking through the historic boardwalk, I love  hearing this lovely bellowing sound. It gets louder the closer to to this wonderful restaurant that allows you to sit out and actually watch these crazy sea lions as they bask below. You can also walk down to the pier and watch them as they swim and argue and bask at any point during the day. I love it, my nephew loved it. I am hoping when I finally get to take my son, he will love it!
  2. The Newport Candy Company- 

    This tiny little candy shop is amazing. I will swear that they have the best salt water taffy in Newport. I happen to be a Salt Water taffy junkie, but I love them above all others.. They have sea foam candy and chocolates too, and a host of other fun things, but the bins and bins of taffy. Oh my sugar levels are rising thinking of it!

  3. Yaquina Head Lighthouse-

    This is awesome. Nestled on the coast line, you actually leave Newport and venture through Depot Bay. You can buy a sweet day pass and it gets you 3 days of fun here. Now, I am easily entertained. They have tide pools, and wildlife viewing. My favorite is going up to the top of the lighthouse. It is a gorgeous view and a great workout, given you aren’t afraid of heights. Its  one of the tallest lighthouses on the coast.

  4.  The Newport Aquarium-  I don’t care how many times I have been here, I love it. The sea life you get to encounter, the passages of the deep tunnel, I absolutely love it. They have changing exhibits and exhibits that are permanently there. It is not the most giant of aquariums, but I have never spent under 3 hours there. I get lost in watching otters frolic, or caressing a sea anemone in the tide pools, I adore this place.

      5. Sea Lion Caves-                                                                                                                                                                                    Ok, this one is not actually in Newport, but it is about 40 miles away, the drive is AWESOME! You go through Waldport , Yachats , and a pretty mountain road. It is amazing. I love not only the drive there, but the caves themselves are amazing.There is the opportunity to view the sea lions out on the shores below and playing in the water, and if you are keen eyed you can spot whales playing out in the waves. You make your way to the elevator and go down 240 ft. An immense sea cave is filled with sea lions and  information galore. I love to walk up the stair case inside and get a breath taking view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Highly recommend!  You can check out their webcam here.

I adore the coast, and I am so jealous of my cousin, but I will make it there soon enough. The waves are beckoning!! Do you have a place you just love and calls to you?

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Can A T-Rex Tinkle in the Potty?

By June 19, 2017 Family Life

I was seriously beginning to question my ability as a mother. I had bought all the treasures, candy, the celebration decor. We talked about it daily, and I mean DAILY. My darling little T-Rex just refused to go on the big boy potty. He would want to try, but then he would hold it until he got a new diaper on. I was beginning to think I would be sending diapers with him to school. That was until this weekend.

We were home and enjoying a rare lazy day. We curled up and watched movies. We ate together, we had “coffee” together. His was cocoa. It was a spur of the moment thing I decided to strip him down and said, ” OK,  if you have to go potty, you go on your car potty OK.” He just grinned and said no he wanted his diaper. I stood my ground. I was compassionate and said ” No way! You are going naked and you are gonna try today.” I am so kind some days.

As I got up to make lunch, I hear the sweetest giggle drift to me followed by , ” Mommy, I went potty!” I won’t lie, my first feeling was not joy. My T-Rex has refused to potty train for months now. He has peed on the floor in protest. I knew he had done it again. I carefully made my way to the den and peeked in. His little head was bent over the potty chair examining the contents inside. I seriously though he put goldfish crackers in there, but I asked if he had truly gone.

I have rarely seen my son peacock, but in this moment he did. He stood up as straight as could be, put his hands on his hips and said, I did mommy.”  I’ll be darned if he hadn’t. I squealed and jumped up and down, clapping and signing, and telling him how big he was, and then the topper to it all. He got a cup of M&Ms. We were both grinning like a couple of fools, but for different reasons at that moment. He had been eyeing that container of candy for a while now, and I was thrilled to not be scrubbing the floor.

To my sheer delight and joy, he went 3 more times that night. Each time being rewarded with candy and praise and singing. He thinks it is the greatest thing on the planet when I make up silly songs for him. I am hoping that my bullheaded little angel on’t have this be a single day thing. However, as a fore mentioned, he is a bull headed little twerp if I ever met one. He gets it from his fath…. me , he totally gets it from me. I am just as strong willed as he is. God help us when he gets to be a teen.  Its taken months to persuade him to potty train, lord knows how it will go with me asking for him to clean his room, or put clothes in the hamper.  Actually, he really is a polite boy, I can’t complain. He is bull headed though.

Do your kids , or spouse, or fur babies eve just have that ornery streak? I love it and I have trouble with it! How do you deal?

 

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Raising the Next Universal Champion

By June 13, 2017 Family Life

My house is huge into the WWE. My husband can tell you all sorts of crazy trivia about all kinds of different wrestlers. Yes we are very aware that it is choreographed. Yes we know that they are all story lines and some of those sworn enemies are truly best friends. However, there is something magical about having friends come over and watch matches and root on your favorite guy and eat and laugh and enjoy the awesome that is WWE

Now with this in mind, it was hilarious to me when my child became aware f himself as an entity. He initially said things like me and I, and then one day he started only referring to himself in the third person. The first time he did it, I roared. I was sure it was a subtle silly quirk he’d outgrow and I ignored it. As time has gone by , he does it increasingly so. To the point that I think Vince himself may have subtly planted the next champion in my home.

I tried to correct it and make sure he was using the correct verbiage, but somehow he sucked me into it. I will parrot back to him the exact way he says things. Then I am shocked by how quickly I forget that I am supposed to be teaching him to be a non arrogant functioning member of society!

” The T-Rex is mad at you, T-Rex is so mad at you!” echoes through my house more often than not anymore. It just cracks me up. Now we just start poking the bear and ask random goofy questions to get him to respond in third person. I realize this is a form of torment, but it’s a harmless torment. Questions like, Is that my motorcycle? Is that my shoe? quickly get replied to with NO! It’s T-Rex’s …whatever it may be. It has yet to make me not laugh. Even in his most defiant and trying moments, when he decides to use it, I have to remember I am being a disciplinary figure and not his audience. Then I walk to another room and roll.

To top the whole thing off, he is becoming a huge wrestling fan himself. He sees their logo and begins jumping up and down and yelling, ” Dubya E!!!” He has a wrestling buddy that he grapples with during the show. Yes, he commentates and T-Rex always wins, he’s the good guy. Ha!

Do your kids ever do anything that just makes it hard to get through the moment without bursting into laughter!

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Fear is a four letter word, usually followed by other four letter words.

By June 9, 2017 Family Life

Everyone has fears. You can be tough and say you don’t have one, but everyone has a fear. It can be something as tiny as germs, or something as massive as clowns. I have two major fears. One being Spiders. I hate them, oh I hate the thought, sight, sound , YES spiders make a sound. Its an evil chortle as they descend to get in your hair!

My deep loathing of the arachnid nation has been an ongoing battle since I was tiny. Now at almost 6 foot, and enough years under my belt to know that I’m bigger than they are and so it shouldn’t be a big deal. No matter how many times I tell my brain that, it revolts and tells me it is most definitely a big deal and that it is possible we need to carry a blow torch at times for our protection. When T-Rex was born I vowed to myself I would do all I could to keep from transferring my fears to him. Especially since my husband loves those eight legged freaks. He had two tarantulas for a while, and living in the same space as those tiny terrors was a lot to handle.

Fast forward almost three years. My precious toddler spots a delightful treat, Satan’s little pet. I of course do what I do best in that situation, I scream for my hubby and burst into tears as I grab my child to flee this horrendous situation. My husband decides this is a great opportunity to teach our son about his passion. So sitting in tears I relinquish my favorite little person in the world. He toddles over to his dad and watches as my crazy husband picks up the stupid thing. I am now borderline falling apart into a million pieces. Trying desperately to be a supportive and non-fear transferring mother, I squeak and nod happily as he giggles watching the acrobatics of this demon as it tries to crawl all over to escape.  I try calmly to remind them both that handling spiders is not a game and can be dangerous if we do not know the spider.

A week later as I am swinging in the backyard watching my little boy play, I notice him stoop down and start talking to something. He then stands up and is very clearly holding something, and makes his way to the tree. I call out and ask my dear little angel what h is doing. Without skipping a beat he turns, grins, and holds up his tiny clenched fingers and shouts out, ” Mommy , I have a spider! I put him on the tree.” Now it was my turn to not skip, and I yelped and ran screaming drop it drop it drop it.

It was that small moment after admonishing repeatedly how there was not to be picking up spiders unless daddy was there that was a turning point for my son. He now is afraid of spiders and they are everywhere and to be blamed for everything. He stubbed his little toe and when I asked him how it happened he told me a spider made him do it. I try really hard to not just roll laughing at that point. I realize two things very clearly now. 1) I failed in an epic way at not transferring my fears. and 2) the spiders that live around my house are very organized and are responsible for a lot of mischief. My darling boy now has the best cop out ever when asked what happened. Those darn ol spiders did it.

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