Category: Childhood

My First Pedicure

Am I the only 34-year-old who has never ever in her whole entire life had a pedicure?! I know, shocking, right? Have I missed out on some important rite of passage into womanhood? I sure hope not because the idea of sitting in a nail salon getting high on formaldehyde isn’t exactly on my to-do list anytime soon ; )

It has never struck me as weird before, but lately I’ve felt a little backwards as everyone around me seems focused on their nails (the explosion of Jamberry, perhaps?), and even my very casualest and DIYer friends take the time to go to the nail salon on occasion.

Growing up, I didn’t even own nail polish until I was in my teens, and then it was only because my mom bought a single bottle to do her nails for her high-school reunion, and I stole the bottle from her ; ) She probably doesn’t even remember…

From that point on, I nearly always had nail polish on my toenails. Call me weird, but I think toes and feet in general aren’t the most attractive appendages, and with my propensity for wearing flip-flops and being barefoot on the beach, I like to dress my piggies up just a tad. But I still have never been to a salon or even let anyone else touch my feet to do my nails.

Have I also mentioned I don’t like people touching my feet? Yeah… Major hindrance.

Well, today I took the first step toward a real pedicure…

I survived, and the girls had a blast. I blogged to distract my brain the fact that my feet were being touched.

But really, Missy was very gentle and only touched my toes. As I sit here admiring my somewhere messy pedicure, it has occurred to me that I just got a new color on my toenails without a single bit of effort on my part, and I kinda like it! Typically, I’ll let my nails go until they look beyond shabby simply because I’m too lazy busy to clean the old polish off and repaint multiple coats.

I think I may have just found the solution to great-looking toes all summer! Now if they could just get the hang of applying Jamberries…

Walking the Boardwalk

Still craving a cool walk on the coast, we ventured further north to a town with a boardwalk along the oceanside bluffs. No fear of snakes or impassable trails HERE! And it was even cool enough to wear jackets for most of the walk.

We passed a nice lady who was out for her daily walk, then a few minutes later, she passed us when she turned around to walk back to her car. The sight of us on a bench having a pre-walk snack (gotta keep these kids fueled!) was so adorable to her that she announced, “You have to let me take your pictures because you all look so cute!” So here we are in all our adorableness ; )


Bug enjoys the cooler weather the most as he’s always been extra-sensitive to ambient temperatures. I think he also just likes an excuse to be able to wear his favorite green hoodie because it makes him feel very Hulk-like! IMG_5949

Grandma and Grandpa joined us for a little while before leaving for a wedding, so it was just a nice casual walk. No sandy messes to clean up, no heavy bags to haul, just our family enjoying the ocean breeze and having fun with our cameras.



This girl is her own personal stylist! I’ve always had these expectations of me picking out my girls’ outfits and dressing them like mini-me’s  until they were at least twelve… Funny the things we assume until we actually become a mom! While she and I share alot of the same tastes, she definitely has her own way of putting outfits together, and I’m learning to give her some freedom to express herself. She adores accessories and seems to have a knack (NOT inherited from me, by the way!) for making them look as effortless as an afternoon stroll on the coast : ) IMG_5959


I heard on the news about the Children’s virus that is quickly spreading across the Midwestern U.S. These things always give me an initial freak-out reaction that goes something like, “We’re not going ANYWHERE, and we’re going to wash our hands at least a hundred and seven times a day, and if we DO have to go anywhere, we will not even BREATHE!” One of my worst nightmares as a mother is having to see one of my children in the hospital battling a deadly illness. Most of that probably stems from watching my firstborn baby struggling for life in a neonatal ICU for his first week, so yes, I get a little overly-paranoid.

My next reaction is to form a more realistic battle plan. I hollered at the kids, “Everybody look at Mommy!” Eight eyes turned toward me, and I launched into the whole, “We’re going to build our immune systems” pep talk. Four blank stares. Right; not nutrition researchers. Scratch that. New tactic.

“Did you guys know there is a superhero living INSIDE of you?”

Oh yeah! THAT got their attention!

Amidst disbelieving giggles and bright eyes, I told them, “Yes! Seriously! There is a superhero living inside of you! It’s called your Immune System.”

“That Superhero lives inside of you and fights the bad guys that try to get in and make you sick. Does anyone know where he gets his superpowers?”

More wide-eyes and giggles. My oldest superkid ventured an answer, “Our food?”

Whew! I guess I’m doing something right if at least one of my children knows that foundational answer!

“Right! How is our food a superpower?”


…OK, maybe I still have some teaching to do…

“Our food has vitamins and proteins that our Superhero uses to fight off the Supervillains. If we don’t eat enough vitamins and protein, our Superhero loses his powers! And sugar is like Kryptonite!!!

My superhero connoisseur gave him a persona, and we named him Super Vitaminman. I loved the addition of that villainous bug!

Here is our plan to combat Cold and Flu Season 2014:

No sugar! This is always my foundation because sugar kills white blood cells. Without white blood cells on the front lines, you’re battling a lost cause.

Lots of protein. Protein is the building block for healthy cells, especially those white ones! So eat that juicy steak and golden-roasted chicken as if your life depends on it! Because it does ; )

More fresh stuff. We already eat a good amount of fruit and veggies in our house, but we can always do better, so we’re super-charging our veggie intake to get all those antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes to fight bad bacteria.

Fill in the holes. Just eating fruits and veggies isn’t always enough these days. Sometimes they need an extra boost to bring the vitamin content up to what it used to be half a century ago. There are a dozen reasons our veggies and fruits leave holes behind, but that’s another story for another day. For now, there are holes to be filled. In our home we fill our holes with… *drumroll please*


Super-vitamins for super-kids who want super-powers. No need for plasma bolts when you’ve got THIS in your hand!

This is the only children’s multi-vitamin available in the U.S. that has Lactoferrin. That sounds like an awesome name for a superhero, doesn’t it?! Lactoferrinman…? Never mind!

Lactoferrin is a nutrient in breastmilk that gives babies an extra immune boost. If your baby never had the opportunity to breastfeed, they could sure use some of this stuff! Even if your baby DID breastfeed, there’s nothing wrong with an extra boost, especially during cold and flu and allergy season : )

Incredivites have zero artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives, or contaminates (like lead!), and all the vitamins are extracted from real food ingredients, nothing synthesized in a lab! I’ve searched far and wide and I can’t find anything else that comes close to the vitamin content in these incredible chewables. Nor have I found anything else that does as good of a job at protecting my kiddos from all the flu bugs. They’re sweetened with Xylitol, so not only are they not BAD for your teeth, they’re actually GOOD for your teeth. All four of my kiddos have taken these as soon as they had the teeth to chew them with (some of them even before that; I just crushed them up and added them to their baby food!).

And if all THAT isn’t enough, just check out the Super designs on the tablets : ) Which one does YOUR kid think is the coolest? Mine love the surprise of seeing which super power they get each morning ; )

Go here to get these for your own kiddos, or leave a comment below if you want to know more! I love questions : )


My Favorite Beach

I got to choose the destination today, so off we headed to my favorite stretch of beach. This one is mostly unknown to tourists, which means there are only ever a few locals there enjoying a morning run or practicing their surfing skills. It’s perfection as far as beaches go; long stretches of sand, big waves to play in, and no sounds except my own children playing and the sea birds flying over us. So if it’s such a perfect beach, why don’t the tourists flock to it, you ask? Ah, well, you see, it requires a small feat of endurance to trek through the protective dunes that shield it from the main roads. I am always up for the trek knowing the jewel that awaits at the end of it : ) Bitty Girl made the trek on her own this year!

I know it doesn’t look like a big deal as far as distance, but trust me, trying to walk through all that dry sand is no easy task. You definitely get a great leg workout! And the view is gorgeous, of course!


Today, a previous beach-bum had kindly left a massive hole for us. It saved us adults some digging, and we were more than happy to sit back and see what the kids would do with it…



Wait. What is she doing? Do I want to watch this?!


She’s too crazy NOT to watch! Can you believe this?! The expression on her face, the wild abandon that she displayed in leaping off that edge. I love her trust in her own abilities. No fear!

Look at her face. I couldn’t stop laughing : ) She did this over and over, laughing in pure exhilaration every time. If I could’ve looked as graceful as she does flying into a hole, I’d have tried it too just to see if it was really as fun as she made it look : )

IMG_5508She was quite pleased with her performance ; )

This little guy wasn’t crazy enough to attempt flying, but he wanted to be part of the photo action. Gotta love his adorable sunscreen-smeared face!

See, what did I tell ya? Miles of deserted beach : ) Every time I’m here, I imagine myself going for a run across the soft sand with the waves lapping at my feet. …And every time I’m here, I tell myself, “maybe next time…” as I spread my towel over the sand and sit down to soak in the view ; ) Seriously, though, sometime when I don’t have to keep such a close eye on little kids, I will run sprints up and down this stretch of beach and enjoy every second of it!

The sun burned through the fog a couple hours later. Did I not tell you this beach is pure perfection?! Am I totally weird to look at this and see a living room color scheme? Blue walls, sand-colored rug, and throw pillows in every shade of aqua…


IMG_5530The water is always warmest in the late afternoon hours. That’s when kids get brave enough to venture into the cold water, especially this kid… He has turned into a fish in the pool at home, and it has really boosted his oceanside confidence. He was practicing his attack on the waves, having a blast jumping into each new surge. Don’t worry, they look high, but it’s an optical illusion; the water is barely calf-deep right here, so the waves have to go UP then disperse. It’s when they go up, that you can jump into them and pretend you’re in deep water ; )

There was a little boy on the beach giving away shells that he no longer wanted. I guess he thought Bitty was cute and wanted her to have them : ) I told her you can hear the ocean inside. She totally bought it and walked around with the shell to her ear announcing, “I hear it! I hear the ocean, Mommy!”

A perfect day ended with–ummm… hmmm… I couldn’t figure out if he was supposed to be the Statue of Liberty or Thor the Avenger… Whichever he was, he was cracking himself up and wanted to make sure I preserved the moment ; )


Sadder Sunday

Sunday was less jovial than the previous days. Daddy had to bid us all farewell and return home. His vacation days are limited, so he flies home for a few weeks while the rest of us enjoy the coast for a little longer (and taunt him with pictures of cool water and sunny beaches!) until he flies back to drive us home.

We drove to the airport with him and enjoyed a leisurely lunch at a cafe overlooking the runways before following him the Security check-point where we waved goodbye. It’s always sad to be apart, but in the end, my always self-less husband would rather us take a fun vacation without him than be cooped up at home with nothing to do while he gets a new youth soccer season up and running. By the time we come home from vacation, the hard work will be done, and all we have to do is jump into a new practice schedule. …I say “all” a little tongue-in-cheek because it’s not exactly that simple ; ) That’s when I am back in full-time-mom mode, juggling school, soccer, meals, and keeping the house running like clockwork–Ha! If only… 😉

BUT, vacation is not the time to dwell on normal-life craziness! Back to our Sunday…

We left the airport and headed to the center of the city to run an errand before going back to our temporary home. It should have been a quick, easy errand to pick up a few groceries, but I had a brief moment of trust at the restaurant that resulted in my sweet girl having a food-sensitivity reaction in the middle of the grocery store. No, not a life-threatening anaphylactic shock kind of reaction, thank goodness, but a neurological reaction resulting in uncontrollable hyperactivity. I’m talking twirling and waving her arms around irregardless of the people around her, making exaggerated and uncontrolled facial contortions while cackling crazily and talking nonsense at the top of her lungs. I was near tears as I tried to navigate the crowded, unfamiliar store while dealing with a food-additive-possessed child. All I wanted was to go back in time and beg the waiter to leave her French Fries unseasoned!

I’m sure there are people who think I’m exaggerating or overly-paranoid when I start knit-picking my daughter’s food, but most people are usually not privy to the scene that happens thirty minutes later when I don’t knit-pick. Well, now here it was, on display for an entire grocery store. All I could do was try to finish my shopping as quickly as possible and get home so I could give her a therapeutic dose of B-Complex and magnesium to rebalance her system.

I’ll spare you the details of the remaining hours of the day only to say that supper was a trial, Grandma and Grandpa were more than a little shocked and speechless at the obvious change in their usually introverted and agreeable granddaughter, and a quiet walk to the swings turned into a complete defiant meltdown. Back at the house, an emotional little girl drew me a picture of a girl with a sad face in an attempt to communicate how she was feeling inside. She burst into tears as she laid it on my lap. All I could do was cry, helpless.

We sat together for almost an hour, crying and talking about how she was feeling and how certain things in foods affect her behavior and emotions. I know. I also struggle with reactions to food additives. It’s hard to see my daughter go through the cycle of crazy-hyper, socially wired, defiant, and finally emotionally spent to the point of unstoppable tears. I don’t know why she is sensitive while my other children seem to be fine. I replay my pregnancy with her wondering what I might have done or eaten to make her more sensitive. I ask myself what I could have done differently to spare her these intense reactions. The honest truth is, I DON’T know, and I can’t change anything from the past. All I can do now is be vigilant, help her recognize her sensitivities and learn which foods and situations affect her, and teach her how to take care of herself through it so she can come out on the other side of the cycle still-healthy and smiling.

As we were wiping our tears, my oldest son snuck in and slipped a piece of paper to us. It was the picture of the sad girl but he had drawn a very bold smile over the thin down-turned mouth. I love that about my son; he may be easily-distracted and not one for sharing his own feelings, but when someone has a need, he SEES it and is the first to offer help and comfort, especially if that someone is one of his siblings.

We smiled at the picture and knew it was time to turn our tears into happy smiles. It had been a rough, emotionally-charged afternoon, but we emerged from it, stronger, calmer, and with a renewed determination to be watchful even if it means saying NO to something everyone else is enjoying. The aftermath is not worth it. I am glad she understands that and also knows that her mommy is right there with her. I love you, Sweet Girl!