Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fun Friday – 3 tips to creating a memorable vacation

When was the last time you vacationed with family? Not just a getaway with your significant other and the kids, but one that includes other relatives? It happened to me, actually it was a planned vacation.

Here’s how my vacation began…

It was the cruise of a lifetime. We traveled with 682 folks who were a group ballroom dancers and steppers. My mother and uncle are seasoned ballroom dancers, but my brother, my other uncle and I were along for the family camaraderie.

I should have known from the turbulence in the air on our flight to Florida, that my trip would be rocky. On the airplane, I sat next to a husband and wife. I had the window seat, the husband was in the middle and the wife was on the aisle.

At one point, we hit a lot of turbulence and the wife screamed and grabbed her husband’s arm. I just shut my eyes tight and grabbed her husband’s other arm. I apologized once the turbulence ended. We chatted after that and I had made new friends.

Tip #1 – Don’t be afraid to make friends

My family and I, along with 100 or so others in our group spent the night at a hotel the day before our cruise was to leave.

With so many people in our traveling party, there were 3 buses and 3 time frames that the buses traveled from the hotel to the port we were leaving from. No one from my family was scheduled to leave the hotel at the same time I was scheduled.

My mom went to the waiting area with me to see if they would allow her to board with me. I wanted someone else to go with me because I was unfamiliar with the process and my mom and uncle have traveled with this group for the past few years.

We waited along the side walk until the leader told us we could board. After a few minutes, the leader made an announcement. “If your ticket does NOT say 9:30, you will not be allowed to board the bus.”

The line began to move. I told mom, “I guess I’ll see you at the port.”

I pulled my luggage behind me slowly. You would have thought I was 5 years old and not 51. I felt like I was being torn from my mother. I almost reached out like an actress in a movie and said, “Mama.”

Tip #2 – Relax, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Once aboard the ship, it was smooth sailing…almost. On the fourth day of the cruise the ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My family and I disembarked together ready for an adventure. As we walked the quarter mile from the ship to our destination, right in front of us was our first tourist stop - Walgreen’s Drug Store.

I said to my brother, “Really…we came all the way to San Juan to shop at Walgreens? Can we go somewhere else first?”

I actually made a purchase while we were there – a few souvenirs and some candy, so all was not lost.

Once we left Walgreen’s we hopped on a tour bus a wonderful experience.   We saw Old San Juan, visited historic areas and walked along a beach.

All in all if was a fantastic trip.

Tip #3 – Live, love, laugh – it’s okay to laugh at yourself

What tips do you have for creating a memorable vacation?



Monday, May 15, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Mother’s Day

Mama's young men
Are you a proud Mama? Although Mother’s Day is recognized as the second Sunday in May, this entire week will be dedicated to celebrating mom’s. Kudos to you for all that you do for your family.

If you had to name one thing that you are proud of at this moment, what would it be? My source of parenting joy place right now is my youngest son’s accomplishments. The fact that he has grown/matured during his senior year of high school.

I have learned to celebrate the small accomplishments along the way-Rookie of the Year in Rugby, honor roll, acceptance to college. As my son’s Senior year of high school comes to a close, end of the year activities are underway. Most recently was his prom.

As you celebrate your proud Mama moment, here are a few words of encouragement.

YouTube Video Credit: Jamar 813

You are a great mother.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Fun Friday – The price of friendship

photo credit: I love my friends and family

How often do take the time to just sit and chat with a friend?

Mom and I decided to sit at a local fast food restaurant in her neighborhood and work on a couple of projects. As we chatted and worked, mom reminded me that there was a 30 minute time limit for paying customers. The policy was in effect to deter people from just loitering at the establishment.

In order to be in compliance (as a paying customer), we made a purchase.  When the cashier asked what we wanted I spoke first, “I’ll have an orange juice.”

“What size?”

Mom chimed in, “Give us two large orange juices.”

I guess I took too long to respond.

“That will be $5.91.”

I looked at my mom as I handed the money to the cashier. “$5.91?! Is that fresh squeezed, are they using a bag of oranges? I can get a half gallon of orange juice for less than that.”

Mom just smiled, “I didn’t think it would cost that much. I don’t normally buy orange juice.”

We took our seats, sipped our orange, and chatted about our current works in progress. We laughed, we reminisced and part of the time we did nothing at all. By the time we left the restaurant, it was two hours later that we initially walked through the door.

We had broken the rule of the 30 minute limit. I told mom to just consider the cost of the orange juice as our booth rent. $5.91…a small price to pay for time well spent.

When was the last time you spent quality time with a friend or loved one? Do it now.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Parenting blueprint – 3 tips for effective parenting

“Mama, did you see that tackle I made?”

“Did you see me shake that boy when I scored that lay-up?”

Over the years there have been many cheers from the 50 yard line, shouts from gymnasium bleachers and countless end of season banquets. And there have been days where parenting was less than glamorous.  Is there a parenting blueprint to guide us through the jungle of parenthood?

I haven’t discovered a parenting blueprint, but I have come up with three tips that I’ve found effective for a parenting toolkit.

1.      Find Balance – often as parents we believe we have to always put our children first, to the point of not taking care of ourselves. In order to be healthy and experience less stress we must have balance. Take care of the children, but also find something that you like to do and do it. Don’t think you have to wait until the children grow up.

2.      Seek parenting resources – participate in a play group if you have younger children. If you have teens, share your experiences with other parents of teens. You will discover that you are not the only parent with a teen you have to beg to clean his room, wash the dishes or do homework.

3.      Support your child’s interests – my boys have been involved with sports from the time of pre-school soccer, little league football, AAU sports and high school sports. My younger son (high school senior) added rugby to his list of sports last year. I don’t know anything about rugby, but when he runs with the ball, I’m right there cheering for him and the team.

Below are a couple of recent videos of my time on the sidelines of sporting events.

Rugby - Washtenaw Dark Army

High School Track Meet

What tips would you add in developing a parenting blueprint?