Mommy Moment Monday…We need another holiday!


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I love the holiday season!  The gatherings, food, decorations, the holiday spirit, all of it!  When it’s time to take all the decorations down and pack them away until next year, I always find it to be soooooo depressing…My house looks bare and Valentine’s Day seems too far away.  My niece came up with a great idea to combat these winter blahs.  She came up with a new holiday she deems, “The Festival of Snow and Light!”  She decided they were allowed to keep up any decorations that were more “winter” than “Christmas,” like snowmen, white twinkle lights, etc…What to do with the gaping hole in the living room where the Chrismtas tree used to be?  “Don’t worry, Mom,”  she said.  “We can make some more paper snowflakes to go on the windows in that corner.”

Aren’t kids great?  🙂

Some ways to celebrate The Festival of Snow and Light:

-paper snowflakes

-make “snow” art using cotton balls, glue, and construction paper

-read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (watch in on youtube here)

-watch snow/ winter-themed movies like Snow Day

-go outside and make snow angels, snowballs, and forts.  Follow with hot chocolate, of course!

-make “snowball” cookies

-decorate your bedroom with white twinkle lights.  Bonus, they are probably on Christmas clearance right now, so it’s a great time to stock up!

Have fun and stay warm!

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The moment when…you find your kid sleeping in random places…


Happy Monday everyone!  Mondays can be rough, but a Monday right before Christmas hardly even seems like a real Monday.  We are traveling and blessed this Christmas to be spending time with family.  But, traveling with kids means lots of “kids-sleeping-in-random-places.”  Or just falling asleep wherever they can to keep up with the holiday bustle.

The car...This one isn't too random...but sometimes the only way to catch some zzz's when traveling during nap time.

The car…This one isn’t too random…but sometimes the only way to catch some zzz’s when traveling during nap time.

Or when you try for two hours putting them on a bed to take a nap and they insist over and over, “I AM NOT TIRED!” …and then promptly fall asleep on the couch causing everyone to tiptoe for the next hour or so to not wake the child and disturb the peace.

sleeping on couch

Okay, this one is more random.  We were moving from Hawaii back to the mainland and it was just a crazy time.  We took a break for lunch and found a restaurant to eat but there was a wait.  We settled in and got out our phones so the kids would have something to keep them busy.  We looked and saw them both laid out like this…

sleeping on benches

Who knew benches outside a busy restaurant could be an oasis on a busy day?

One of my favorites was when we couldn’t find our oldest one day (that’s happened to others out there, right?) .  We looked all over our house, the garage, the yard, getting more panicked by the second.  We finally found him upstairs.  In the cabinet we have in our hallway.  He loves tight spaces and crawled in there to play with his stuffed animals and fell asleep.  I can’t find the picture or I would share.

The last one I had to share (and I do have the picture), happened a few summers ago.  We were driving from New Jersey to Michigan and stopping and doing lots of family stuff on the way.  By the time we got to our final destination he crawled out of his carseat…and laid on the driveway.

Ah, nothing like a warm driveway at the end of a hard day.

Ah, nothing like a warm driveway at the end of a hard day.

Hope you have a great Monday, and get some rest this holiday season.  In a bed or a random place 🙂

Making a Believer Out of Your Kid


She’sssss backkk!

It’s hard when you have children who have a compromised pretend and imaginary minds to engage them in play. Last year, the Elf on the Shelf was a major holiday event. I had debated a few months prior whether or not to participate. Bug only thinks in black and white and has a difficult time with make believe. He is too smart for his age. I know with a lot of ASD children it is the same way. It’s not that they may not believe in the holiday magic, it’s more they just don’t have the capacity to do so. It’s confusing to them and it’s intangible to the eyes and mind. How do you believe in something you can’t see? How do you make someone believe? Well, you can’t. But all you can do it try. So I decided to try. Up until that point my kids really didn’t know who or what Santa was. Between their age and the ASD, they really hadn’t been impregnanted with the whole “holiday magic” ideals. But isn’t that what we as parents are here for- to be teachers to our children; from teaching the facts of life to the magic of dreams.

So, without further ado- here’s Holly!
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Last year, Hubs was away and was not able to participate. I am so flipping excited he will be home this year to help with the shanagans. So to start out the season right- a letter from Santa deliver by Holly. The envelope is a cute little addition (printable PDF pinned on our Pinterest board) from The Fancy Yancey’s blog. The letter (also printable PDF pinned on our Pinterest account) dictates a few reminders to the kids about the rules.

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I’ll post as often as I am able to her daily nuances. Check my Instagram feed for all her actions and check out our Pinterest for links to cool Elf related creative ideas.

How Do You Explain Thankfulness to Your Kids?


I have created a few fall DIY projects for around our home. The one I am most excited about is our “Thanksgiving Tree”. Its a take on the 30 days of thankfulness that spam Facebook every year. I strive really hard to make sure my children know the sacrifice their father makes and people who came before their dad and people who will come after their dad; including maybe them. But then we get into a slight issue that always makes explaining the definition of the words very hard. I was taught long ago, not to include the word you are defining in the definition. After I had children the questions of “w’ started to appear. Some are easy, and so are not. However, the problem I soon discovered was that with my children’s unique challenges explaining something to them they can not touch or see is harder than explaining the word. So how do you explain thankfulness to children? How do you explain it to children who do not understand anything than a tangible concept? For my “Thanksgiving Tree” idea to work, I first have to  explain what thankfulness is. And here we are on day 11 and I still can not come up with a formidable solution.

I looked around Google and Pinterest for some ideas for activities or speeches to give and nothing really popped out at me. However, as I was looking I realized a few things that did seem to help me.

1) Children are children. They are egotistical and self-centered. Eventually, by the grace of God, they won’t be. But until they learn by life lessons what thankful means, they will all be greedy little creatures.

I typically get upset and irritated by their “I want” attitudes. They seem to think owning some ridiculous toy on TV will fill their happy bubble for life, or until the batteries run out. But after accepting the realization that they are egotistical and self-centered, I realized their normal for now. Until they are able to comprehend a life outside of theirs is just as worthy as theirs, I must pat their egos and lead them down a path to one day have that self realization.

One way I can do that is being positive. I used to be a Eeyore, as my mom called me. Much of my life with gloomy and grey. Then one day I had my own self-realization (mine was at age 30, I hope my children’s is before that!). Every day was the way I made it; the way I saw it. I realized always yelling at my kids on my gloomy days was turning them into me. I saw their sad faces and their cracked hearts from my words and realized words hurt (another lesson that took me too long to learn). One day I stopped pointing out all the negative- “stop hitting your sister”, “be quite”, “your room looks horrible”. And I started pointing out the positive- “You are being so nice to your sister”, “great job using your inside voice”, “I’m so proud of you for cleaning your room”. Eventually, I started seeing the result. My children are complimenting each other, giving hi-5’s when they have good reports for school and cheering each other on when trying something new for dinner. Trust me, I am not perfect, and I still have those gloomy days. But the realization that they do actually listen and learn from you is astounding.

So I may not be able to teach them what thankfulness is today; but maybe in a few years, without some intellectual speech, they will discover the definition on their own. There is always the chance they never will. I accept that. It will be a hard lesson for me to learn; but I will love my children regardless of their understanding of thankfulness. I know that every day I am thankful for my children and their presence on this earth. Even if that includes gloomy days.

Found the following image circulating around Facebook today.

Stick a Fork in Me I’m Done: Why I Need a Vacation from my Vacation Planning


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Oh my gee! I can’t see straight because my contacts are glued to my eyes from staring at my computer screen for the last three days while trying to book a family vacation. With all the stress and anxiety it has caused me, I need a vacation from all this vacation planning. My nerves are shot and if Hubs refuses to answer one more call from me trying to verify answers; I will go through the phone and tightly wrap my hands around his cute little neck.

Why is planning a vacation so hard?! I think its because I over analyze everything. I can’t just make a simple decision. I have to feel that I have made the best choice after weighing all options. It’s decision overload. So what options did I look at?

We looked at going home at Christmas. Barf, $5000 just for plane tickets is to expensive for our blood. So we looked at Disneyland. The kids have been asking since we got back this past February and I agree. Disney! But Disney at Christmas is just high as ranked up there with realizing you are out of milk…on pay day. Nuf said. So we thought about a staycation. Sigh, living in paradise has it’s up and downs… we have experienced all there is to experience here.

I can’t take another Christmas 4000 miles away from family. Having already spent two holidays away from them, it might put me on Prozac to experience another. It’s just the quiet of it all. No grandparent’s gushing over their grandkids; no brothers playing football in the snow; and no turkey on the dinning room table. Staying here is not a option.

So off I went in search of a cheap, but fun alternative; and wouldn’t you know.? There is more than just one island in Hawaii?! Oh snap, say whaaaa? There are several. So why not. Has anyone every asked you if you have visited Hawaii? I always wonder if its a trick question. Yes, I have visited a few islands that make up the entire state of Hawaii. Have you? It’s sorta a pet peeve of mine. But whatevs.

We have already been to two islands. We want to get to the Big Island, but really only desire to see the volcanoes and no desire to spend hours and hours driving. So we decided to do a staycation on Kauai. But is it really a staycation then if we leave the island? Whatever it is, it will be fun. Today I booked the house from Vacation Rentals By Owner online. Several friends have recommended and used them. I’ll write up a review after we return.

I am so excited to go. The last step is to book our flight and rental car. We were trying to piece together our trip; booking everything separate. Which was still cheaper than the tickets alone back home, but way to expensive for the budget we had in mind. Then we tried bundling them on sites like expedia.com or priceline.com; but neither had a feature to only book a car and flight. They both wanted us to include the hotel. So ITR to the rescue!

If you have never used the ITR at your base – GO! Run Fast! They not only saved us over $1000, they were also to obtain a much desired mini van for our vacation. The only thing we are missing? A Christmas tree. Maybe we can ship one?