Cousins are Forever Fun

Cousins are friends forever. They are the ones that you run around with all summer long; climbing trees, catching lightning bugs, water fights, slurping popsicles, riding bikes, and playing make-believe games (my favorite of the kids’ right now is their time travel game where they go to dinosaur world, leaf world, swimming world, you name it and they have a world for it).

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Cousins are what childhood is made of. I am so glad that I am able to be home this summer so all the kids can play together. It never ceases to amaze me that after spending all day together they still want to spend the night with each other. They are the best of friends.

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And as exhausted as I am lately, summer is wearing me out and I am ready for school to start (and I think I’m the only one), I am thankful for the chaos of the kids.

Today they made me so happy.

It all started with a craft. “Go outside and sit at the tables and we will do our craft,” I hollered to the kids. They all cheered. But do you think they went and sat at the tables and were ready?

NO WAY! Of course they didn’t listen.

I put the paint box under my arm and headed outside. What in the world were they doing?! I could hear their voices through the window and it definitely didn’t sound like they were sitting at the table ready for our craft, which really kind of annoyed me because I thrive on organization and structure.

But what I found (I was so lucky to have the camera in my hand) just made me smile and laugh.

This is what cousins are all about…(and why I was laughing instead of being annoyed because they didn’t listen.)

Having fun and making things up on the spur of the moment. They have the moves! And Collin being Collin, did you catch the part where he tried to take Kiley’s leg out from under her? I didn’t until the second viewing. Geesh!

And it also made me realize something…I am so task driven and love my schedule…But sometimes you have to stop and dance. Enjoy the moment.

I think of all of my cousins and the fun and trouble we created, especially over the summer time, and I can’t help but laugh at all the stories that run through my mind.

Today I am thankful for all my cousins. We had a lot of fun. And I am going to stop and have a little fun before the kids start school.

What are some of your favorite past times with your cousins? Share them in the comments. I would love to hear your stories!

***note: That was Elsie screaming at the end of the video. I was not stepping on her and she was not hurt, she was just under my feet throwing one of her normal tantrums, which is a whole other story for another day. We are just used to it.***

The Real Reason I Take the Kids to the Park

Almost everyday, weather permitting, I take the kids to the park in the morning. They have a blast and work on running out some of that bundled up energy AND it makes me look like the coolest mom ever- Rock Star Mom.

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But truthfully, there are “alternative reasons” why we are at the park.

1. It gives me space from the kids. They are not right under my feet whining or complaining about something to do or being bored.

The bonus for me: I sit in the sun and relax. I read, write, or plan out my week. I take time to just RELAX a little.

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2. My main goal is to wear them out so when nap time/quiet times rolls around they are actually asleep or quiet.

The bonus for me: I get time to fold laundry, do the dishes, sweep the floors. But seriously, who am I kidding. I catch up on my new show, Pretty Little Liars, or I take a nap also. I spend that peaceful time doing what I want to do.

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There are so many things I SHOULD be doing…and I will get to them. Right now it is important I do things with the kids, like taking them to the park.

You know, it kind of sounds like I really don’t do anything with them. But we do all kinds of stuff. I’m with them every day and all day. These are just some of the ways I find time for myself amidst all of the chaos.

A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

How do you squeeze in time for you?

Where I’m From – Writer’s Workshop


I am from friendship bracelets knotted and twisted from embroidery floss, jelly shoes and riding a ten speed when it was cool, from Nintendo, Mtv, and dial-up Internet .

I am from the hot summer days with freshly cut grass that sticks to the bottom of bare feet.

I am from stinky marigolds growing around the front porch steps, the streets lined with trees and painted mailboxes. 

I am from boating on the muddy Mississippi and boring parents who were home every night, from Linda and Jean and Lorraine.

I am from the dinner at the table every night at 5  and eat your vegetables.

From do your homework right when you get home from school and do your chores before you go out and play.

I am from sleeping in on Sundays and slumber parties, popcorn and movies, and of course, staying up late.

I’m from the heart of Illinois, Land of Lincoln, hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, corn on the cob and cantaloupe.

From the nights watching Grandma Linda get ready for Bingo and her fancy perfume, the searching for four-leaf clovers for luck, “Here, Grandma! I just found one for you!” From picking tomatoes and chasing lightning bugs on Grandma Jean’s farm, hot sticky days splashing in an old washbucket.

I am from a box of Polaroids and faded pictures on my parent’s back porch. Some scattered here, others scattered there, old pictures in frames sitting against the attic wall. The old ones tucked safely away, the new ones hanging on the living room wall, smiling grandkids around a Christmas tree.

Thanks Mom and Dad. I love where I’m from.
Mama’s Losin’ It

This post was from the amazing Mama Kat, I just love her site (link on the button above). I had so much fun doing this exercise. If you want to give it a try you can find the template here…and don’t forget to share your link!

Look, Mom! No Training Wheels.

Bradley learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels over the weekend. He still needs a little help. He can’t really get started, or steer, for that matter, but he is getting the hang of it. I’m not. It’s hard to see my baby turn into a little boy. First Kindergarten pre-registration, now no training wheels! Next I will have to hand over my car keys. NO!!!! Time is going by way too fast! It makes my chest tighten and I get all panicky inside, it feels like a million butterflies flapping their powdery wings against a glass jar in the scorching summer sun.

Maybe there should be training wheels for parenting. But then there is that motto –  No matter if you’re ready or not, the training wheels have to come off sometime. *sigh* I’m the resistant child…strangling a leg outside the Kindergarten classroom, “Don’t go! Please! Not yet. Don’t leave me!!!!!”

It is an exciting time though, being five and finally starting to figure out life and how stuff works, a little. Being five means getting to stay up until 9pm and being able to hold up all your fingers on one hand to show how old you are, big deal. And of course, learning to ride a bike…and fall and get up again. And fall some more.

Do you remember your first bike? Do you remember learning to ride a bike?

I don’t really remember my first bike, but I remember my favorite bike. A pink Huffy, dirt bike style. It wasn’t a baby pink, or a fuchsia pink, it was more of a darkened Pepto-Bismol pink. Not to girly or frilly, but just pink enough. I remember the dirt between the rubber grips on the handle and how I liked to strum the hard plastic with my thumb, like a guitar. I remember the cushioned seat that I tried to stand on while riding, pretending I was a circus performer. That never worked very well.

 I was relieved that my bike didn’t have streamers or a basket, even though I wished it had a license plate with my name on it. I wish we had a picture of it. The only picture is the fuzzy one in my head. But sometimes those are the best memories, I guess, because you can fill in the missing spots with whatever you want.

Oh, the places that bike took me…oh, the memories.

 I remember riding that bike up and down the street, all the way to the Nazarene Church with the big  rusty bell that was at the end of our street, which really wasn’t that far, but as far as I was allowed to go and equalled my freedom.

 I remember the neighbor boy taught me how to do burn outs. Pedal, pedal, pedal super fast and then slam your feet backwards for the break, standing up with one foot down so you could swing the bike in a circle around you, spraying gravel like water from a hose. After each time I would get off my bike and inspect the road to see if I left tire marks. It usually only happened when it was hot and the tar was able to smear. 

That was also the summer of the worst bicycle crash of my life. I went to do a burn out; my bike stopped at the end of the hill, but I didn’t. I skidded face first into a pile of gravel. My face turned into a humongous scab and I had to drink oatmeal from a straw for a week. I never was very athletic. I have only come to face this fact in my older age, since recovery takes quite a while longer.

I wonder what Bradley will remember about his first bike. Will he remember his dad holding the back of the seat, steadying and pushing him, “Pedal, pedal, pedal.” Will he remember the church parking lot where he learned? Will he remember running into the dumpster?

I wish I knew what I was like when I was five. We have photos, but no detailed memorabilia. That is why I scrapbook and blog, to help my kids remember all these fun and crazy times. And there can be blurry spots, because I want them to have room to fill in with their imaginations.

And as I’m typing this something just smacked up against the house. Bradley and Collin are playing outside. I assume Bradley and a wiffle ball are the culprits. Will he remember me storming out the screen door and hollering, “What in the world was that?” The funniest part was that he was trying to run to the farthest part of the backyard, like it couldn’t be him. He turned around, “I don’t know, Mom,” so innocently.

Scraped shins, bruised knees, and scabby elbows are just part of childhood, like bikes scattered on the front lawn and mosquito bitten kids chasing lightning bugs, or a homemade game of baseball on the lawn. Childhood.

What do you remember?


p.s. Check out Bradley’s video below.