Mom’s Night Out – Book Club Style!

So I had the best time last night attending a “Richardson Reads One Book” event as my first meeting with a new book club! (Thanks again, Lindsay, for inviting me!) I had such a fun time — from hearing the author speak, to meeting some new mom friends, to talking about reading and writing — two of my favorite things in the whole world. I’m so glad I went — because it almost didn’t happen…

I had marked the date on my calendar for weeks. All of my children’s practices and games were announced, and by pure luck (or, as I like to believe, because it was a sign), that night remained open. We only had one practice for my daughter, and my husband assured me he could handle carpool and the bedtime routine. But, of course, things didn’t go as planned. Another practice got added at the same time as my daughter’s — but a kind friend offered to bring my son home from that. Then, my husband’s car unexpectedly broke down. Luckily, Lindsay graciously offered to take me to and from our meeting.

I’ll admit — it seemed like having a night to myself wasn’t in the cards. External forces kept coming at me — but my friends and my family worked together and encouraged me to make it happen! One friend said if we waited for the perfect night to do anything for ourselves, we’d be waiting forever. So, I went for it — and I’m so thankful that I did! It was just the right dose of adult conversation, sprinkled with life stories and inquisitive questions, that I needed!

One other note: one of my favorite passages in the book described a young girl (about my little guy’s age) who ate her first ice cream treat while perched on her father’s shoulders…she made a colossal mess, but the parents just enjoyed the sweet moment — which ended up being such a wise choice in light of a tragedy that strikes their family soon thereafter. It was with that in the back of my mind that I decided to let my little guy have an ice cream cone on the way home yesterday evening. He was sad that we didn’t have time to play at the park that evening, and when I mentioned ice cream cone — his eyes lit up. I can’t help smiling whenever I see his excited ice cream experience:

Bringing the Beach Home…

Ever since we took a memory-filled RV trip to Destin beach in Florida a few years ago, I have been in love with the ocean. Nothing seems to bother me when I’m there…not the ever-present sand that seems to permeate everything, not the grimy saltwater that burns your eyes and your throat when you get taken down by a wave, and not the rowdiness of my kids – because (lucky for us) it’s pretty hard to be too loud on the beach. Our summer escapes are the one time I can truly relax.

But that week passes by too quickly, and soon it’s back to school time – and then fall starts to slowly blow in (which I am very thankful for, by the way) – but before I know it, I am longing for a time at the beach that is months and months away.

Well, this year, when summer ended, I decided my beach mindset didn’t have to. I’ve brought a little bit of the beach home with me in a few fun ways:

1 – A sound machine: this was originally used by my babies, to help soothe them to sleep and block out the loud sounds of the older children! We always left it on the soothing “brook” setting, but one day towards the end of summer (after we had returned from our last little trip to Galveston), my mom happened to switch it to the “ocean” setting. And I was hooked! At night, before I go to bed, I can close my eyes and pretend like I’m back at the beach. I am slowly lulled to sleep by the rolling waves (at least until one or more of my children finds a reason to wake me!).

2 – A little décor: this doesn’t have to be expensive or extensive, but I have added a couple of little décor items to my desk that remind me of the beach. So when I need a break, I can just glance over at the seascape reminding me to “relax” (thanks, Mom!) and think back to that time when I could sit in the sand and stare out at the beautiful ocean. You might also bring home a small souvenir from your trip to place in a prominent spot to remind you of the joy of your vacation.

3 – A bottle of body wash: this may seem silly, but when I saw this coconut-themed body wash at the store, I had to get this tropical reminder. It is a fun energy boost, right before our family bedtime routine (which definitely demands a lot of energy!) – or a great start to the morning (it all depends on when I’m lucky enough to get a chance to shower!).

Perhaps you love the snow-capped mountains or a lush English garden or the vineyards of Italy. Take a few minutes to think of some smalls ways you could bring a little bit of what you love home with you!

Relax Like It’s 1989 – Adult Coloring Books!

So if you’ve been in a bookstore lately or skimmed through the bestsellers list on Amazon.com, you may have noticed an interesting new trend. I must admit, I was a little nervous when I first heard the phrase “adult coloring book” and my husband did a double-take when I mentioned I wanted to buy one. But much to his relief, an adult coloring book is simply comprised of beautiful, detailed illustrations and provides a fun and relaxing way to unwind (at least the ones I’ve come across!). I love the first one that I’ve tried…

The other day, my mom, daughter, and I spent part of an afternoon coloring…

I was a bit skeptical at first – how relaxing could this actually be? But the intricate design does force you to slow down and be purposeful with your strokes. And it does actually cause you to relax…it worked great for me until a group of loud, messy boys stormed into the kitchen and shattered our little bubble of tranquility – they wanted us to play and how can you resist this face?

Though we didn’t get too much time together, I did really enjoy the coloring book — it not only had beautiful pictures but it also had neat extras like bookmarks, cards, and gift tags. My daughter even colored one of the pages and we framed it for her to give to her grandma for her birthday. It was a hit!

Details:
“Today Is Going To Be A Great Day” Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
I found this one on Amazon, but I’ve noticed a variety at Barnes and Noble as well!

 

Why I love “The Middle”

The Middle (on ABC, Wednesdays, 7pm Central) is one of my favorite shows! I look forward to it every week, and when I realized that I get to watch it tonight, I thought I’d share with you why I love this show:

1 – It reminds me that every family has their quirks — When I watch this family of five going through their daily routine, I can totally relate to the issues they face. Some nights, all we have time for is fast food (okay, a lot of nights lately). Sometimes, my kids do crazy things that I just don’t understand — but instead of feeling weird, this show reminds me that not being perfect is actually normal.

2 – It makes me laugh out loud — Besides giving me the chance to relax and “escape” for half an hour during the show, often I find myself laughing out loud as I watch their amusing (and relatable!) antics. It’s sad to realize that many times during the day, I haven’t had a chance to really relax and enjoy myself…and just have fun. “The Middle” never fails to crack me up and gives me that stress release and happiness boost that will carry me into the next day!

3 – It always has a good ending — Despite all the messes the Heck family finds themselves in, they somehow always find a silver lining amidst all the negative. Yes, I realize this is just TV, but it’s a good reminder that there is often some sort of lesson to be learned or positive side to see, even in the tough parts of life.

Can’t wait to watch tonight!

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Lucas playing soccer — now that’s an episode for “The Middle”!

 

4 Family Valentine Ideas

Here are 4 ideas for Valentine gifts that the whole family can enjoy:

  • Take it outside: purchase a volleyball net, a soccer goal, a kickball set or some other outdoor family game that everyone can participate in
  • Family game night: purchase one or two new board games and a deck of cards to create a weekly tradition
  • Explore your town: consider a family membership to a zoo or aquarium or museum so that your family can enjoy a whole year of learning and having fun
  • In the mail: consider purchasing each person an interest-specific and age-appropriate magazine subscription (either traditional mail or digital!)…again, this stretches the benefits throughout the whole year!

 

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 Exploring the amazing creatures at the aquarium…

Our Trip to Sharkarosa!

I really love going to birthday parties with my kids — it is such a great opportunity to catch up with my mom friends!!! At one not too long ago, I got a wealth of advice — from great vacationing tips to an idea for a short day trip to a place called Sharkarosa.

Sharkarosa is about an hour to an hour and a half north of Dallas (depending on where you live and how fast you drive!) in Pilot Point, TX. It has a “tram ride” that allows you to feed a wide variety of animals, like these camels:

It was very age appropriate for my children (ages 3, 5, and 7). We spent about an hour or so there, and the kids had a great time!

Mom friends are such a wonderful resource — not only do they allow you to vent, they also have awesome advice!!!