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You are viewing 20 posts in the category Family Time

I'm a genius.

by Jen

It's the little things. I am so proud of myself because I ordered all the kids' school supplies ONLINE from one of those huge office supply stores. Got exactly what I wanted, everything was still in-stock and they delivered it to our house the next day, free. Also, I got two bottles of complimentary glue. (That's a $1.50 value, folks!)

When it arrived I felt even more like a genius. It was boxes and boxes of stuff and so heavy. You know how detailed those lists get, right... especially now that the boys are in fourth grade...

Now we just have to get our Cozi calendar in shape. (Don't forget to enter our Facebook contest!) Now that the kids are back in school (I hope yours are too by now!) it's a great time to get even more organized.

So, what are you most proud of pulling off this back-to-school season?


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Our beach, er, mountain vacation adventure

by Jen

Well, sometimes things don’t turn out exactly like you plan. Like when you arrange a beach vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Hurricane Irene decides that would be an excellent time to pay a visit as well.

Yeah. You know that teeny little strip of sand that juts out into the Atlantic? Those Outer Banks.

This is our first ever evacuation vacation. (We’re still here!)

So, instead of spending a week at the beach with our dear pals at their beach house, we spent 30 lovely hours at the beach and then drove like bats out of you-know-where for eight hours to the mountains of NC. (Cue banjo getaway music.)


Turns out Asheville is gorgeous this time of year. Just a little windy on the mountaintops when there’s a FREAKING HUGE HURRICANE belting the other side of the state.

And here’s what we learned: we have really great friends all over the place. Like our old college friends who we spent a day with at a park near Duke University. Like our old neighbors, who saw we were heading their way (thanks, Facebook!) and took us into their home in the mountains and showed us a great time. And our friends in Raleigh who hosted us multiple times as we crisscrossed the state.

Also, everyone learned that sometimes when Mom panics, she’s RIGHT. (The road that we escaped on is still washed out… we would still be stuck out there.)

It’s a small world. And when it’s full of friends like ours with plenty of sweet tea, fried chicken and biscuits, it’s really great. Thanks everyone for the hospitality! It feels really good to know there's a wide and strong safety net out there for our family.


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I love birthdays!

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Birthday Party!


So…we came up with an ingenious solution for the boys’ birthday party. We hired a couple of college kids to do an Ultimate Frisbee camp! (Jen and I attended one of those nerdy colleges whose football team regularly lost by double digits, but whose Frisbee team competed on a national level.) The kids were active and worn out before they got to the cake, they got to learn and play a “nice kid” sport that none of them were particularly good or bad at. And it was cheap!

Most of the kids had a great time. I say most, because yes…we had a couple of predictable non-participants. (Next year, I believe we’ll edit the invite list…is that bad to say?) The backpack donation went really well too in case you were wondering.

Oh, and the birthday gifts for the boys?

Let’s just say there’s a guitar store in the neighborhood with a sweet double-neck in the window right now…

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Balance Bikes!

by: Joe

OK…this falls into the category of products I can’t endorse strongly enough.

[caption id="attachment_453" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Several brands of balance bikes, a small pedal bike and an old-fashioned tricycle. "]

Looking back on our parenting road map so far, there are lots of things I see we could have done better, a few others that I could have gone either way with, several things I feel downright ashamed of, and a few where I say, “hey, we did that part right!”

One of those “right” things: Balance bikes.

When all of us parents were kids, we perched way in the air on a way-too-tall bike with training wheels (which in reality are wheels that train you how not to balance) and rode that way for a summer or two to “learn”. Then the day finally came where your dad took them off, and proceeded to run after you down the street while you teetered along, and at best you ended the day with a couple of skinned knees, a fear of asphalt, and the shaky ability to ride a two-wheeler. This usually happened anywhere between ages 5 and 8.

Somewhere along the way, someone figured out that bikes could be made small, so kids could get on and off easily, and didn’t have far to fall.

But then some OTHER genius figured out that without pedals, a kid could just run their bike around Flintstones’ style, and get the hang of the balance part first…without ever growing dependent on training wheels. By the time the little person transitions to a bike with pedals, they know how to do it instinctively…no more skinned knees (or fewer). Best of all, they can transition to riding a two-wheeler with pedals and without training wheels around age 3 or 4.

So now how will modern parents teach their kids to overcome fears and increase their pain tolerance? Not sure, but I’m happy to have my little bike riders.


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Training 'em in

by Jen

We were at a barbecue recently with a group of friends. There were lots of kids, but our boys were the oldest, and the only boys. The parents really wanted to hang out and catch up, the boys were feeling a little awkward being the oldest, so, I HIRED them (with a promise of a trip to the hobby store) to BABYSIT!

They spent two hours watching the younger kids, all girls, seven of them, ranging from age five down to just 18 months. And at the end, both of the boys were wiped out.

When we got home, as they were heading to bed, Chip said, “Man, mom. I’m exhausted. Not sleepy, just tired. Whew.”

Harvey added, with a sort of saggy look, “I just got a little flash of what it’s like to be a parent.”

Can’t wait to hire them again.

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Wordless Wednesday


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Wic-i-up and Whippo

by Jen

Things you should have at summer camp:

A dog.

He came with his own tennis ball accessory.

A lake.

Sunsets were included.

A faux Indian name.

And an invented definition of said name.

Delicious camp grub. The pink stuff is called Whippo.

That\'s jello powder mixed with cool whip.

I don\'t need to tell you how super awesome this camp was. Did I mention the inflatable slide?


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Wordless Wednesday 8.3.2011

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There goes the neighborhood...

by Jen

Well, it happened. Little people have moved into our yard. Looks like we have gnomes...

Or maybe fairies.

It depends on which of our kids you ask. Mavis thinks they are fairies, named Leaf and Flower. The boys, however, are lobbying for gnomes. Whoever they are, so far, we know they like Cheerios and are really prolific letter writers. And apparently they\'re into olde English.

And they\'ve spent the morning playing at this all together. I love them. And those gnome fairies.

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