One of the greatest things we can teach our children is the gift of giving. This past year I have been blessed to be able to support the Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. In doing so my children are learning a valuable lesson to carry with them into their future.
I want my children to grow up knowing what our military men and women (active duty and veterans) have done for our country and the sacrifices they make to keep America safe. Educating them and encouraging them to be a part of a charity organization teaches them compassion early on.
Start by discussing what the charity is for and then ask them what they could do to help raise money for a cause? Bounce around some ideas; a lemonade stand, selling old toys, or creating drawings and selling them to friends and family.
My husband and I donated money but wanted our kids to actively participate in earning and donating their own money. They decided to have a lemonade stand to raise money for the Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. This motorcycle endurance ride raises money for Honor Flight which pays for WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Veterans trip to Washington D.C. to see the memorials that were built to honor them.
This charity struck a chord for me. These senior citizen aged men and women who want to visit the memorials are on limited income and would never be able to pay for such a trip themselves. Many need special accommodations and guardians to accompany them on their trip. It costs about $1,000 to send a veteran to D.C. Is this not the least we can do for these survivors of war?
My kids thought this was a pretty cool charity for two reasons. The first reason – well Duh – Harley Davidson motorcycles are involved and the second because their dad served in the U.S. Navy and they had other relatives serve in the military.
If you want more information on how you can donate or have your kids donate click here: Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride.
This story is about the single water bottle and a 45 minute road trip. The hubs and I load the kids in the truck to drive 45 minutes away – to where?? I don’t even remember… and honestly it doesn’t matter. One important fact I do remember is: we only had ONE – UNO – UN – EINS. That is singular – 1 lone water bottle. I know, most of you at this point surely are gasping at the sheer thought of loading two children into a car and driving 45 minutes with only 1 water bottle. What kind of mother am I?
Do you know what this singular water bottle represents to an 8 and 6 year old brother and sister? Let me enlighten you….
A singular water bottle, in a close confined space, where BOTH of your parents cannot escape represents the biggest winning moment for sibling children ever! If there was some kind of Star Wars mind degeneration power, a single water bottle in a car owns it!
We are 5 minutes into our journey when one of the two mid size humans discovers the single water bottle sitting peacefully in the cup holder of the truck.
Seeing the water, Ann Marie says: “I am thirsty.”
I oblige her by handing back the bottle of water which she promptly begins to guzzle. Here is where the word – Competition – comes into play. Instantly, Knight realizes he is nearly on deaths bed because he is desperately dehydrated and needs a drink instantly in order to survive a single minute longer.
He yells: “Don’t drink it all, I want some too! I haven’t drank anything ALL day and need some water right this second.”
To which then Ann Marie begins to chug-a-lug faster than a frat boy with a beer bong.
I, of course intervene (which of course is their plan ALL the Fudge Along!).
I say: “Ann Marie – ok, that is enough, give Knight some.”
She reluctantly, and slightly violently, gives Knight the lone water bottle. To which he instantly starts guzzling. To which then Ann Marie yells his name at the TOP of her lungs – which in a tightly confined vehicle bounces off every door, ceiling, and window to echo back into your ear equally as loud as the moment she screams his name.
Ann Marie: ” KNIGHT!!!!!! DON’T DRINK IT ALL!!!!!!”
Now – I am yelling at Ann Marie not to yell. Which is just stupid…. But I don’t really care cause damn it, I am gonna win this one!
I now grab the single water bottle which is nearly gone – and if I wasn’t so adverse to paying a ticket for a $500 littering charge would have thrown the damn thing out the window for sheer effect. Which being a mother of 5 (3 being grown humans), I know effect does one thing and one thing only…. make your kids laugh and cheer in delight inside at the power they have to mentally break down a perfectly sane adult.
Competition….. Make a note on this one….
Being a parent is almost like going to the grocery store with a list, checking things off as you go along. When your children are young there are obvious Check List Items; for example, your babies first word, sitting up alone, walking, talking, and so on.
Then in elementary school it is reading, playing with friends instead of along side of friends, and finally understanding jokes!
Middle school consists of watching your child’s perceived drama unfold and melt down, then think inside your head…. Oh Lord if only that was all I had to worry about, all the while supporting them in their time of need.
High school means watching your child excel at sports, academic achievements, driving, dating, dances and of course graduation!
And then… your child gets married…. There are so many ‘how could it be so’ moments that go along with this mile stone. 1: How the fudge am I old enough to have birthed a child and raised them to adulthood? Surely there must be a mistake….. 2: How is my baby…. the one who needed me but didn’t need me, who cried for help yet pushed me away when I tried to help, the baby… who relied on me for everything – who would not be alive if not for her parents feeding her and making sure she had her basic needs met….. HOW…. is she old enough to be a grown person, to have her own mind, to have her own love, to be in the world as her own human???? HOW????
This week the second born of my first set got married…. I watched her stress days before the wedding, I watched her get drunker than all drunk during her bachelorette party (like any young 23 year old would!), I watched her get ready – fret over her hair and dress, watched her walk down the isle, watched her stand with her husband to be at the altar, simply watched her grow…. watched her marry her love, her kindred spirit, the one…. who was placed in the world for her to find and cleave to….
I am speechless.
It was 23 years ago she was born… and 23 years later… she is grown and on her way.
It happens, I know…. Just way too fast….
Congratulations to my baby girl and her husband – my new son. As a parent, this is just another milestone that never crossed my mind as I was changing her diaper, or as I sat on the floor with my arms stretched out ready to catch her as she took her first steps, or when I saw her face light up as she ran into my bedroom waving a dollar the tooth ferry left her for that first baby tooth!
I keep telling myself, it is just another milestone, like all the rest, etched in my memory like it was yesterday. I will cherish this one like all the others.
Proud and Happy!!!
Personally, I think it means mama had a baby and then a few more and then they grew and mama became slightly more and more insane every day until her head popped right off!
OK, maybe, I am ever so slightly exaggerating.
My head is still attached.
Some days my kids look at me like I have gone mad. Right in the dag-gone middle of my mega mom melt down the corners of their mouth’s curl just enough for me to notice the gratification they consume over my monster-size justified fit.
So, waaaaay back when, so far back the internet does not even have the answer…. Small children were witness to their mom’s head popping off during a totally justified meltdown.
And that my friends is how that child’s favorite chant came to be.
Or maybe not but I think it fits and is reasonable so I am just gonna roll with it.
I am a self-proclaimed green thumb. Last summer I began my garden experiment with yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and pumpkins. Unlike my cooking abilities and much to my surprise, I was wildly successful. I had zucchini and squash for all who wanted it. Our pumpkins flourished and gave us 6 cute lil Jack O’lanterns for Halloween. Tomatoes were plentiful, but I bought plants so I cannot take all the credit on those.
This year I decided to branch out. I still planted the basic yellow squash, zucchini, and tomatoes but added bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, and my favorite – watermelon. Having a garden is incredibly easy and tons of fun. The kids love going out with me to pick their own veggies. I love that they learn where food comes from, how to care for a garden, and most of all – how exciting it is to eat something you’ve nurtured and grown.
I keep thinking about how much more I could grow if I had an acre of land. Oh the things I could grow, corn, green beans, lettuce, carrots, kale and so much more. And how about some spices too! Until then, each year I plan on adding more garden beds to my tiny yard. After 44 years, I just may have found my passion.
Love My Veggies!
Tell me about your garden? What is the variety you plant? Do you have any space saving garden bed suggestions?
Join in on the discussion on Facebook.
Maybe I am just a hillbilly living in suburbia?
Last year Knight and the hubby went to the man store (aka, Homedepot) and purchased scrap wood. The purpose was to allow Knight to build something. And that he did. He built a bicycle jump with no plans and no help. ALL BY HIMSELF. It is awesome! However, based on suburbia standards this unsightly jump is an eyesore to all the people who must drive by. How do I know? Because my HOA let me know in the form of an official letter. Clearly, the hunk of wood is an embarrassment to the community.
Really? A bicycle jump built entirely by a 7 year old is a complete disaster? It works perfectly and he uses it every day. He drags it out onto the sidewalk where he and his neighborhood friends compare with one another how incredibly rad their jumps are. Should we not be celebrating such an achievement, as parents and community members. Has America become this entitled? It is shameful. I live in a nice house, in a nice part of town and yet I am embarrassed at how some people think. Is this who we’ve become? Our big houses, in shiny neighborhoods, displaying our perfectionism to the outside world, this somehow defines who we are? This is not ME. I am embarrassed, not of the jump, but to be associated with people whose perceived image ultimately corrupts the very world around them.
What does this teach our children? To be elitists, or worse materialistic elitists perhaps. Not my kids, they will know that every home you pass by has a story. Every person is equal to the next person, big house, tiny house, apartment, or living in a box on the street. There is NO difference. Living life with false perception is a wasted experience. My kids will know what defines you is not what you own, where you live, how perfect your house looks, or who you associate with. You are defined by the compassion you have for ALL people around you regardless of their ‘things’.
Perhaps I am just a hillbilly living in suburbia. If that’s the case, then I apologize for not conforming to this perceived reality. But I doubt that, God alone knows the truth behind all perfectly groomed houses, somethings you just cannot cover up.
Have HOA’s gone too far? Have you had experiences that have questioning the true integrity of people?
Beau & Calvin
Beau has been dating someone now for – I want to say half a year now. Maybe longer, but I am old so last week to me usually means two months ago. Anyhow, her boyfriend is a really nice guy and I totally approve. Whenever he is over, the hubby loves to drill him. One time, he was asking him all kinds of questions then suddenly says something about cleaning his gun. The boyfriend, we will call him Calvin, looked up so fast when he heard the word Gun, like when you’re at a little league game and you hear someone yell ‘Heads UP’, it was classically hilarious, I could not stop laughing. The look on his face was priceless, as in if there was a MasterCard Priceless commercial. The exact look that you want someone dating your daughter to have. Something like this:
Bowl of Cereral = $.50 cents
Daughter’s Prom Dress = $300.00
Look on boyfriend’s face when he hears the word GUN come from his girlfriend’s father = PRICELESS!!!!
Fast forward now about 3 months later. We had Calvin over tonight for dinner. The hubby was talking to him in is usual interrogation manner, something about how Beau never lets him buy her things, blah, blah, blah then hubby says, common, help us out and buy her some clothes. Calvin responded by saying: “so you want me to buy her some lingerie?”
Hubby had a mouth full of soda that literally projectiles out his mouth and nose upon hearing Calvin’s proposal. The funniest comeback and payback for the gun comment I have ever heard in my life. I could not stop laughing! Dude that was funny…. Ahem, as long as you didn’t really mean it, Calvin!
Knight & the Future
Tonight Knight tells me (apparently my cost conscious son): “If I don’t have a lot of money when I go to college, I will go to the one that I can afford, because it is better than not going at all.” God love this kid!
Ann Marie & Injuries
Strike 1: Back in May, Ann Marie broke her ankle on the trampoline. Strike 2: No sooner than when she got her cast off, we were on the last leg of our hike in the Rocky Mountains when she tripped and fell forehead first on the ONLY rock withing 30 square feet on the trail. The rock happened to be angled and pointed up, ideally perfect for major injury if you find it with your forehead. Chances are HIGH with Ann Marie that she would land on that rock. She had a black, bright pink, purple and blue eye for a week and a half. Strike 3: On our vacation to Montana, Ann Marie jumped in the pool at a corner, turned as she jumped in and hit her chin on the side of the pool. With an emergency run to the Target First Aid isle and a little creative Band-aide stitchery, we closed the wound and she is now on her road to wound-less-ness. First time in a few months. Keep it up Ann Marie so I can pay off the hospital bills before you rack up new ones!
What was the memorable moment of your week?
We just got back from a mini vacation road trip to Montana. Dang if we haven’t become experts at road tripping with little ones. You may have seen us at the gas station, we were the ones with the kids in mismatched PJ’s, hair wild as the wind, and wearing only socks (non matching socks of coures). Pretty sure I saw a redneck sneak a pic, then exclaimed to his wife: “This is going on the Wall of Walmart.”
Yep, we deserve that medal.
None the less. It was awesome! The entire purpose of our trip was to pick up a cow we bought from my hubby’s Navy buddy from back in the day. Off we went, bye-bye Colorado. We drove through the farmlands of Wyoming and the mountains of Montana. Did I mention, I am in love. The landscape. To die for. I have actually been through the same roadway last year but for some reason this year the beauty, more like the simplicity, struck me hard.
The kids were the most rockin’ ride-a-longs for this trip. Someone advised me about getting little cheap toys, putting them into bags and handing them out every hour or so along the trip. I spend $25 at Party City for small trinkets and party bags. I filled each bag with two little cheap items. And every hour and a half I gave them each a bag (of course with IDENTICAL ITEMS in each one – I wasn’t born yesterday people). I consider our family seasoned road trippers and the bag ides was clearly the best one yet.
We stayed the first two nights in Bozeman, Montana. Which I have sort of a connection with Belgrade/Bozeman and my oldest daughter, we will save that story for another day. As always Bozeman and Belgrade did not fail to impress. We hiked up to the ‘M’ which is around 3 1/2 miles, the longest hike our kids have been on. The grade was fairly steep at times too. Actually, let me clarify that. About 1/2 mile in, there is a sign that says: Easier hike: 1 1/2 miles with an arrow pointing to the left. More difficult but significantly shorter hike: 1/2 mile with and arrow pointing up. Normal 44 year old parents of two small children would opt for the longer yet easier hike. Apparently, We are not your traditional rational older parents. We opted for the shorter, get there faster hike. I’m just sayin’, I do not recommend this way for people with small children. You will ultimately look like dumb and dumber, grasping tightly onto your child’s arm, trying to keep them from sliding on the loose gravel down the really steep mountain side. There were people saying, idiots, under their breath – I am certain of it.
And – for the record. It is not shorter. The two elderly women who were walking in front of us, beat us to the top. If you are in shape, don’t have two small children that you are trying to prevent from somersaulting down the mountain side, it would totally be faster. We made it and here is the picture of our accomplishment.
Then of course the other activity of choice, swimming! The kids proved they are part fish by the endless hours they swam. They had a blast!
The third day we drove 3 hours up to Great Falls, Montana to meet the former Navy man turned rancher. Super nice guy. He had a bunch of cattle out in the fields and of course – a hammock! Knight and Ann Marie have never experience a hammock. Let’s just say they loved it. They are not quite old enough to play – let’s flip each other out of the hammock on purpose yet, but they did take a few spills while trying to navigate in and out of it.
How I dream of the day I can kick back, close my eyes, and doze off in a hammock – for more than 20 seconds.
The trip home.
We set off on our destination home at roughly 6AM. Car loaded with snacks, kids, cooler’s and party bags! About 5 hours into our journey along one of the 70 mile an hour back roads, some form of animal was crossing the road. Hubby slows the car and we both lean forward to try to figure out what kind of wild animal it is, a beaver? As we get closer we realize, it is a long haired Dachshund. Huh? That’s weird, there were no houses for miles and miles and miles. We stop the car and coming from the other direction is a semi, he too see’s the tiny pooch and stops beside us. We are now blocking the entire roadway. I know, I know, to all us suburanites blocking the flow of traffic is a downright outrage. Calm down people, I am pretty sure we could have stayed parked on the roadway for 30 minutes and not a single car would drive up. The puppy was hesitant at first, then I leaned down like a had a snack and he came to me. I scooped him up and off we went on a new adventure of trying to find the owner! The town of Harlowton, Montana was just a few miles up the road surely someone there will know whose dog this is (that is how it works in small towns of like 500 people). The puppy had tags with a vet contact number and address for Harlowton but because it was Sunday they were not open. We did manage to find the sheriff station and left the puppy with them. A lady came out and said, I am pretty sure I know whose dog this is. See… small town livin’. Ahhh sounds good on paper doesn’t it? I am guessing the pup got spooked by fireworks over the 4th and ran off. He was pretty far out for his tiny legs to travel.
It felt good to save a life, and then…. it felt horrible. You see when the puppy got in the car, he would not sit on my lap, he hightailed it onto Ann Marie’s lap where he excitedly sat and continuously gave her kisses. This is like heaven for a 5 year old. A new puppy! She was in love, TRUE LOVE. We explained to her that it is the right thing to return the puppy, he has a family and probably a little girl just like Ann Marie is sitting at home crying for her missing puppy. This explanation is just too logical and mature for her. After all, she was in love. The tears lasted for a good 15 or 20 minutes. She was heartbroken.
The value of lessons learned on road trips with children cannot be learned by reading a book or simply talking about lessons of life. I am honored to provide my children the experience to see the world and how other people live their lives first hand. That about sums it up, another fabulous road trip for our pocket of memories.
Now, where should we go on our next road trip?
This is the single most commonality which unites every parent and places them in a special elite club of: Are you FREAKING kidding me? (or if you have a sailor mouth insert the actual F word here). The club is not for the weak at heart. There is puke, poop, vomit, and other nastiness that you never entertained possible.
The other night just before bed I had Knight go hop in my shower. “It is time for bed Knight, I holler as I open the door to the shower. What I see will terrorize non-parents, parents, and OCD people everywhere. Knight turns to me and says, “I am cleaning my butt.” My momstincts say: “Awesome, honey. Good job getting all the nooks and cranny’s.” Until suddenly I see it… my bar of FACE SOAP being swiped up and down my 7 year old’s backside like a credit card at the supermarket check out.
Every parent who does not have a nanny to do laundry has seen it… the undies in the hamper. Cleanliness does not set in for children until much older. Apparently teaching a child to wipe their backsides is much more difficult than one might think. Go ahead, insert a #hastag #parentfail here.
My F-A-C-E. S-O-A-P!
How long has this practice been going on? How many mornings have I grabbed that same facial soap bar, rubbing it back and forth across my FACE, completely unaware the night before my 7 yr old was paying for groceries and gas with his backside!
You always hear people say…. I don’t know how kids survive to parenthood. Seriously? How do parents survive parenthood?