Museum of Life and Science

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Della and I decided we needed to get out the house, after a long week, so what better place to go, on a dreary day, than the museum.  I have not been to the Museum of Life and Science since I was is in grade school and that’s been a long darn time.  It was exciting to share this experience with her and discover new things together.

The Museum of Life and Science is in Durham, NC.  Looking from the outside, you would never expect the amazing adventures that lie ahead.  We started the day with some music in the musical instrument section outside. Della loved the drums and I must say, my baby got rhythm. We then moved over to the farmyard, to look at the baby animals, before heading off to the train.

The train makes two circles around the park. While riding you can spot dinosaurs in between the trees, animals statues, a giant tree house, and wonderful artwork.  Right before pulling into the the train station, the train enters a tunnel and every one is encouraged to scream as loud as they can. Della and I definitely got our scream on.

The Magical Wings Butterfly House was amazing.  Who knew so many types of butterflies existed.  The museum has a butterfly conservatory that feels like a tropical paradise. All I needed was a beach and I would have been in heaven.

Inside the museum, there is an art gallery and a place for kids to create their own art pieces.  Della’s favorite part was definitely the weather center.  She got to see how clouds and tornadoes form and how changes in the atmosphere affect our weather.

There’s so much to do in at the Museum of Life and Science but we couldn’t fit it all in one day.  After a good three hours, we  were exhausted.  I see us spending many days here this summer.  Since we love going to different museums and science centers, I signed up for a membership.  The membership has great benefits, such as – free entry into the center, early entry for special exhibits, discounts at the center store and cafe’, and discounts or free entry into affiliated science centers around the world.

So, if you’re bored and looking for something fun and educational, check out your local museum or science center. It’s a great way to play and learn at the same time.

 

Yes Della, Your Feelings do Matter

As a mother of a three year old, I know first hand  kids crying is not the most joyous sound to hear.  I know it can get on a person’s nerves and make them uncomfortable.  I know I just want it to stop as soon as possible.  I know I am making it about me and my comfort and not about comforting my daughter. I also know, I am wrong for doing this.

Today, as I listened to my daughter cry because she couldn’t have a piece of chocolate (she’d just had chocolate ice cream) and I told her to stop because I didn’t want to hear her cry, I realized I was not letting her acknowledge her feelings about her circumstances at the moment.  When she decided to go upstairs and cry by herself, I listened to my sister tell her to go back downstairs and cry because she didn’t want to hear it, I realized she was not letting my Della acknowledge her feelings.  When Della came back downstairs looking lost and defeated, I realized I had taken away her power to express her sadness and frustration. I and my sister were telling her, her feelings didn’t matter.

Della is three and three year olds cry.  Does she cry all day?  No. Does she throw temper tantrums? Rarely.  Does she gets sad and overwhelmed at times?  Yes.  But, she is a toddler and she is learning how to process her emotions.  She is learning how to express herself in a world of where it seems everyone can do what they want but her.  As a three year old, she cannot sit down and properly express to me how she’s feeling and control her emotions every day all day.  Usually, Della is pretty good as controlling her feelings.  If she’s upset and crying, she will go sit on the steps, cry, get herself together, and come talk to me afterwards, but, as she gets older, it’s getting harder for her to process and understand these new feelings.

As she looked up at me, with her big brown eyes, feeling defeated and emotionally drained, I realized I was letting my feelings and my emotions dictated how she should express herself.  It also made me look at myself and how I dealt with emotions and acknowledge the shadows of my past.  How I felt I needed to hide when I was feeling sad, when I cried, or was feeling frustrated because I knew my parents didn’t want to “hear that noise”.  I was reminded of how I felt my feelings and sadness didn’t matter and how I felt scared to show any emotion besides happiness for fear of making someone else uncomfortable.  It also reminded me of how alone I felt, as a child and teenage, because I didn’t have anyone to help me understand what I was feeling.  How alone I feel now.  How, as a society, the only emotion acceptable to show is happiness.

I refuse to let Della think the only time she can be around her family is when she is happy.  The only time we want her to show emotions is when she is entertaining us or other people.  The only time she is a good child is when she is happy.  I don’t want her to think she can’t be comfortable, expressing her sadness, in her own home.  I don’t want her to grow up with the belief that other’s feelings are more important than hers.  That she is not allowed to feel frustrated or sad. That she is only here to make other’s happy.

Does this mean I am going to let her throw temper tantrums all day?  No.  It means I am going to acknowledge her feels and her.  I am going to try to help her understand and process these feelings. Not because, I don’t want to hear her cry, but because I want her to understand she can cry and there is someone here to help and love her.  I want her to know and feel she has emotional support.  I want her to know my feelings are not more important than hers and she doesn’t have to hide her sadness. Della is not just my daughter, or a niece, or a granddaughter, she is her own person, who has feelings and insecurities just like everyone else.  As her mom, it’s my responsibility to help her become the best person she can be. Because, she’s too young to live in a world where no one cares.

 

 

 

 

 

When Kids Get Sick

The last two months have been the longest months of my  life.  Della has been sick for two months straight and I am not talking about a little sniffle.  We have fought two stomach viruses, croup, and pneumonia. She’s also been to the emergency room three times. You know you’ve visited the ER too much when the admin knows you on sight.  Thankfully, Della has a wonderful pediatrician and the ER doctors, nurses, and staff were amazing.

I understand kids get sick and it’s all part of growing up, but, honestly, it seems as if she has been sick the whole year.  It doesn’t help that she was a preemie and her immune system is still not quite up to par as term babies.  Also, it seems like every time I get her healthy, she goes back to daycare and gets sick again.  I know, as she gets older, her immune system will improve and she will get less illnesses.  I just hate to see her down and out, not laughing, playing, or eating. I miss her terrorizing her big cousins and leaving a trail of toys from one floor of the house to the other.  No parent wants to see their child ill or being stuck with needles in the ER. Every time she goes, I have flashbacks of her in NICU. So, hopefully, no more trips anytime soon.

As of today, my little one is finally healthy and back in daycare, playing with her friends.  She’s smiling, playing, and running around with more energy than ever. She’s giving cuddles and wiping kisses.  She’s being Della and I am loving every minute of it.

Hill Ridge Farms – Pumpkin Patch

It’s Fall and Halloween, so we had to visit the pumpkin patch at Hill Ridge Farms.  The kids had a blast.  There was so much for them to do.  They had bouncy houses, slides, swings, a giant bouncy pumpkin, animals, games, and FOOD (funnel cakes, ice cream, popcorn, sandwiches, hot dogs,..) The adults were more excited about food but hey, it’s all in the name of making memories.

Della had her first train ride and hay ride with her big cousin, Bre.  At the end of the hay ride, the kids went to a giant pumpkin patch and picked out the perfect pumpkin.

Hill Ridge Farms is a great place to take the kids where they can run wild and free and learn in the process.  I can definitely say they enjoyed themselves.  We can’t wait to go back for the Christmas lights.

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Sunday Style

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Shirt – Carters $6   Skirt – Target $12  Shoes – Marshall’s $12

How We Make Co-Parenting Work

I get so many questions about how I get along with Della’s father or how do we make co-parenting work.  There’s the “Does he have a say in what you do for her” or ” How do can you stand to talk to him” or the “Don’t you hate him now that you are not together”?  People are often surprised by my response.

Yes, he does have a say in her life.  I don’t concern him with the routine day-to-day stuff but for important things, like her health or daycare, I do consult him.  Now, if he has her and has a question, he calls me and asks for advice.  I think  it has more to do with her being a girl and he only raised boys.  No, we don’t hate each other.  We are actually really good friends and we talk all the time and it really helped that we were friends before we had a child together.  We have no intentions of ever getting back together.  He has moved on with his life and is in a relationship with a wonder person and I have moved on with my life.  I actually talk to both him and his wife and there is open communication between all of us.

The most important thing, to him and me, is our daughter knows she is love and wanted.  We make sure she is able to talk to either of us whenever she wants.  She can call her dad, stepmom, or brothers, at anytime, and they will talk to her or video chat with her.  She spends weekends or weekdays, when he’s not working, with her family.

I grew up in a home with both my parents.  They were married for almost 40 years, until my dad passed.  Even though my dad was in the home, my mom was a single parent in raising us. Now, my dad worked everyday and provided a home for us (my mom also worked just as many or more hours), but he wasn’t there for my sister and me, as a dad.  He didn’t show us the love, little kids needed, growing up.  We rarely got hugs or conversations, he didn’t ask us about school, boys, the sports we played, and he never came to one game or awards ceremony. So, as you can image, I went looking for that love in the wrong way and caused myself a lot of pain and heartache.

I never want Della to feel the loneliness and hurt I felt growing up.  I never want her to wish her dad would hold her, play with her, or say something nice to her.  I never want her to feel like she doesn’t matter.  He dad shows her all the things, and more, I wished my dad would have shown me.  Even her brothers are protective of her and they are much older than her.  And yes, she has them wrapped around her finger, and I love it.  Our whole family loves it.  We don’t want her to feel she needs to look to a boy or man, outside her family, to get the love she is missing from her dad.

So, how do we make co-parenting work- we put our daughter’s needs and wants first.  No matter how we feel about each other or if we have disagreements, we always make sure we put her first.

 

Pictures in the Park

It’s been crazy hot, in NC, and Della and I have not spent as much time in the park as usual.  Last Sunday, my little superhero decided she wanted to take pics in the park.  So, she got dressed and to the park we went.  No, it wasn’t raining, but she loves her rain boots and she thought, just maybe, she would find some muddy puddles to jump in…lol  Yes, it was still hot as heck, but anything to see a smile on her little face.

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