Summer Travel – Toronto, Canada

Della finally got her passport so her dad and I decided a short trip to Toronto, Canada would be fun.  Della is great on planes and she loves flying. She doesn’t even get nervous when there’s turbulence. She says it feels like she’s on a roller coaster. Thank goodness because having a crying and nervous kid on a plane is no fun. We wanted to go somewhere quick and fun, so Canada was a great choice. We took a quick flight to Toronto and enjoyed four days of wonderful weather, food, and people.

The first day, we arrived, we went to Niagara Falls. Della loved it. If the kid could have jumped in the waterfall, she probably would have. I have to admit, I was impressed to. We both love the water so seeing the waterfall was so cool. Her dad is from Niagara Falls, NY, so he wasn’t fazed. Shoot, he could walk to the waterfalls from his childhood home.  I was amazed at the people who got in the little boat to go into the waterfall. Umm… no. Standing by the rail was good for us. Since Dad’s family lives right across the bridge, we decided to drive over and have a mini family reunion and visit the NY side of the falls. The NY side was quieter and calmer than the Canadian side but we still enjoyed it.

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Day two consisted of Ripley’s Aquarium, CN Tower, trains, and boat watching. Animals and water made for one happy kid. What kid doesn’t love sharks, fish, and all the other crazy sea life. Dad and I had a great time ourselves. I must say we did fall in love with the pink jellyfish. They were so majestic and hypnotizing. We starting thinking we could have these at home but that thought quickly went away when I remember how I almost go stung by one at the beach. Some things are better admired from afar.

Next, we made our way of the maze of kids and parents in the aquarium gift shop to and exit to see the Rogers Centre and CN Tower. We didn’t get to catch the game but we got to take a peak from the glass floor in the CN Tower. The line for the tower tour was crazy but moved pretty quickly but not fast enough for a restless toddler. The excitement built as we took the elevator to the top and exited to see the beautiful skyline of the city. Della was so hyped. We decided to eat lunch in the restaurant and enjoy the boats and planes.  The food was pretty good and thankfully they had cheese pizza for my picky eater. Outside the tower, we quickly took in the train exhibit and called it a day.

Day three was all about the CNE.  The Canadian National Exhibition is a big festival/event  that takes place right before and into the Canadian Labour Day. There were games, rides, shows, and food. They had a building just for food places. Della enjoyed the farm animals and games. We didn’t ride anything but we walked around the all the gift stations and bought a couple of gifts. Since we had an early flight the next morning, we called it a day so we could rest and pack for the flight home.

Waterfalls, sea life, boats and family made the trip a huge success. Della didn’t want to leave and stills talks about the waterfalls today. Maybe, when it gets warmer, we can go back for the weekend.

Share your summer vacation and what fun things you did with your family. Also, share any recommendations for family friendly trips.

5 Things I’ve learned from My 3 Year Old

I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost six months and I must say it has been interesting.  My daughter is three going on sixty.  I like to tell people she’s an old lady stuck in a toddler’s body.  Sometimes, I think she is my grandmother reincarnated. Being home with her 24 hrs a day, I have learned a great deal about how the her mind works. She is very cunning, sneaky, and calculating.  She is also sarcastic and very blunt. So, her is a list of things I’ve learned from her since we’ve been tied to the hip.

1)  What I ate and liked yesterday (or even the week before) is not what I like today. – Yeah, this chick’s appetite changes like the wind.  Sometimes from one day to another or even from one hour to another.  She went from eating spaghetti and peanut butter crackers regularly to hating them overnight.  I’m like really, you were just begging for peanut butter crackers last night and now it’s yuck. This really makes grocery shopping hell.

2)  Don’t let strangers ask her questions because 3yr olds are very blunt.  –  My daughter is very quiet and to herself and doesn’t really do people.  But, every time we go the store an unknowing target approaches and start asking questions and, as I said, my daughter is very blunt and sometimes the answers can come off as mean or hurtful. This can lead to awkward  moments and glares at me. So, I try to limit the questions people ask for their sake and mine.

3)  There is no such thing as privacy or alone time. – Who knew once you had kids you would no longer be able to use the bathroom alone or even go downstairs without being followed.  I didn’t  know I would have two shadows.  IT SUCKS.  Especially when you just want to pee or poop alone.  Like really kid, this is not the time for conversations. I’m trying to concentrate here.

4)  I will watch the same movie or cartoon over and over and over again, because it’s funny (umm no it’s not kid). – I’m all for a good movie or cartoon. Heck I miss Saturday morning cartoons, but these cartoons out now are just blah.  Like really the Bubble Guppies live underwater but light fires and carry umbrellas when it rains. WHY – YOU’RE UNDER WATER?  And if I watch the Minion movie one more time…. (deep breaths, deep breaths)

5)  Don’t ever tell a child you will do or buy something and don’t because they will never forget and will never let you forget. – Kid, sometimes I just agree to the things you say so you will stop asking. I don’t really expect you to remember that two weeks ago mommy said she would buy you a Doc McStuffins’ ambulance and ask did I buy it every time I come in the house.  I also wasn’t prepared for you to ask me  are we going to the beach a thousand times a day.  But as I look back, I know I set myself up for this.

Honestly, being a stay-at-home mom is great.  I get to spend so much time with my little one and travel with her.  We wake up together and go to bed together which makes it easy to keep her on a schedule.  But, there are times when it really tests my patience and I have to remember she is three and this stage will pass.  She’s growing so fast and each day it seems like there is something new.  I know I will look back on this time and wish these moments would have lasted forever (except the not using the bathroom alone).

Eat..Play..Sleep

This year has been a transition year for me and Della.  I lost my job and took her out of daycare. Because of my crazy commute to work, being in traffic almost three hours some days, my sister would pick her up from daycare because of how late I got home.  By the time I did get home, we would only have an hour of mommy and me time before she had to go to bed. So, we’ve basically been adjusting to being together 24/7 and getting to know each other again.  I cut back on blogging and decided to spend the time just hanging with Della. It’s been stressful for us both as we are both very stubborn people but very much worth it.

I think the hardest part has been adjusting to her eating habits.  When she was in daycare, they had a schedule and she pretty much knew what she was going to eat everyday for breakfast, lunch, and snack.  None of this was stuff we had at home.  Her daycare served a lot of prepackaged food and we cook with mostly fresh food.  Trying to get her to eat fresh food for each meal was a huge challenge. I think I heard “I don’t like that” or ” we don’t eat that at school” a billion times.  I wasted so much food trying to push her to eat and because my three-year old’s attitude is a carbon copy of mine and her dad’s, it causes a lot of tense moments. Like I said, we are both stubborn people. Eventually, I gave in to some of the prepackaged foods she liked, and slowly she began to eat fresh foods again. Now, she helps me cook meals and rarely eats prepackaged ones.

One thing my little has taught me is to play more.  I was so stressed out from work and the being stuck in traffic, I barely wanted or had the energy to play when I got home.  Since Della was so used to get up early for daycare, she continued to get up early.  I was not happy about this because I finally wanted to enjoy sleeping in for once.  Heck, I thought she would sleep in since she didn’t have to go to daycare.  Nope, in true kid form, she was up when the first ray of sunlight hit the window ready to play.  I’m not one to talk first thing in the morning and her cheerfulness, millions of questions, and requests to play were not very welcoming.  Little by little as we went outside, in the very early morning, I learned to enjoy our early morning play dates.  I’ve taught her to play games, such as hopscotch, kick ball, and how to fly a kite.  We’ve enjoy making stories using sidewalk chalk paint and playing school on the chalkboard in the garage. Yes, she is the teacher most of the time. We’re mostly just having fun and letting the day take us where it wants.

Bedtime plays a major part in our days.  Della rarely takes naps anymore and by the end of the day, she is so worn out.  When she gets tired she is not a nice or happy toddler. When it’s bed time, and we are all cuddled up, I ask her to tell me about her day. At first she wasn’t really feeling it because she didn’t know what to say. She would just say it was  OK.  I would ask questions about how she felt, what she did, what she ate, or what did she like best about her day.  As time went by, she began to open up and express herself more. It’s all about getting to know her as a person, what she likes, her personality, and how she views the world and our time together without pushing her to share her feelings.  Now, when we go to bed, she crawls in my arms and says mommy I want to tell you about my day.  It feels good to hear the excitement in her voice and know that she feels comfortable talking and opening up to me about things that matter to her.  I hope, as she gets old, she continues to feel she can openly talk to me about things going on in her life.

These months haven’t been all rainbows and glitter.  We’ve cried, gotten on each other’s nerves, and had more personality clashes than needed, but we’ve learned to so much in the process.  We’ve learned to enjoy our mommy and me moments more. We’ve learned to enjoy our free time with play instead of worry and frustration, how to communicate so we understand how the other person feels and what they need. We’ve also learned to cook so good recipes from Pinterest.  But, the most important thing we’ve learned it love and enjoy life.

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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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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