Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Totally Cute Tuesday

Grumpy Bear is going on an adventure, I guess
She dressed him, put shoes on him, and buckled him in. He was grumpy the whole time. (That's my dad's sense of humor coming out...) 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tuscora Park: A Hidden Gem

My Aunt Cathy sent me an email in the spring with information on two different kiddie parks she thought Addy might like - Memphis Kiddie Park and Tuscora Park. I had never heard of either of them. After reviewing the websites for each, I decided Tuscora Park seemed to be a very neat place. On Friday, we finally made the trip there, along with Aunt Cathy and Grandma. 

The park is located in New Philadelphia, about an hour drive from us. It is an expansive, well maintained park with numerous pavilions, picnic tables, and open grassy areas.

There are at least three large, modern playgrounds throughout the park - possibly even more in areas that we didn't make it to. Addy really enjoyed the playground pictured below.

She's in there somewhere, climbing the rope ladder

There is a beautiful, serene pond with a fountain, surrounded by lots and lots of geese.

There are three swimming pools: a lap pool, a diving pool, and a kiddie pool. All are enclosed in their own area and surrounded by lots of grassy area. 

And then there's the main attraction that brought us to the park: the kiddie amusement rides! 
 

Kiddie planes

Kiddie cars & trucks (hilarious that she climbed in with a girl
that could be mistaken for her twin!)
This part of the park is ideal for kids of Addy's age and/or heighth. A few of the rides are for children 40"-48" only. Addy is 41"...can you believe my three-year-old is 41" tall already?!?!? 
 
There is even a roller coaster! It's low to the ground and a short ride with just a few hills, but it does go fairly fast and it's pretty jerky. The operator lets it go around the track three times before stopping it. Addy wanted to ride it when we first arrived, but chickened out after she handed her ticket to the operator. When it was time to choose her final ride of the day, she decided she was brave enough to try again. But...as soon as the coaster made its descent down the first hill, she freaked out. 

She's the girl in the front that looks like she just crapped her pants.

As the coaster approached the operator stand, she begged the girl to stop and let her off, and she did. She came running down the ramp toward me, terrified and sad, exclaiming that it was way too fast. I am very proud of her for trying, though.

There are also a few rides that adults can enjoy with the kids:

The train - Addy insisted we sit in separate seats the second time
we rode it
 
Aunt Cathy on the carousel

Addy, me, and Aunt Cathy ready for the carousel to start. This was the second
time we rode it, when Addy was brave enough to ride a horse for the first time.

We are up in the blue cage on the ferris wheel

There's Addy peeking out
Grandma prefers to be behind the camera rather than in front of it, but to prove she was with us, here is a picture of her at the bench below while we were on the ferris wheel:

Grandma was there, I swear
There were a couple of meltdowns, and at least three trips & falls (typical incidents for any outing lately). But I am truly blown away by how wonderful Tuscora Park is. A repeat visit will definitely be on our summer to-do list for next year!

 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hey, I put some new shoes on

And suddenly everything is right!

Shoes have been an ongoing battle here for about six months. Addy puts up a massive fight when we require her to wear anything other than her favorite boots:

I do love these boots. And she gets a compliment on them at least once
every single time she wears them out.

She claims all her other shoes hurt her feet, or feel weird, or are messed up, or are tricky, or just aren't right. I let her wear her boots whenever possible, because they're easy on and easy off and it avoids conflict. But, sometimes, real shoes that stay on and are safe to walk in are required, you know? The only pair, of about six to choose from, that she will wear is her old, worn down, filthy, too-small-for-her-feet tennis shoes. And because they are too small, she has spent the last two months or so wearing them without socks. So guess what? They smell like death warmed over, smothered in rotten trash, and then peed on. I'm not kidding either - because she did pee on them at some point. I reached my limit with them, so I bought a new pair of very similar tennis shoes for her. She must have reached her limit too, because she LOVES them and has not argued about wearing them one single time!  

"Hey! I'm ready to go somewhere in my new shoes, RIGHT NOW. So can
you please get this seat in the car?!?!?!"

"C'mon mom. I'm serious here. I'm ready to go."



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer of Swimming

Addy's love for water has blossomed this summer, starting with our family vacation in June, during which she learned to swim on her own with her float on. Here are some pics from a few of the water adventures we've been enjoying:

Addy and Aunt Steph floating in the pool on vacation
(Point Harbor, NC)

My baby went kayaking in the sound!!!! Here she is with Jake,
getting brave and adventurous.


Climbing onto the dock after kayaking.

Addy and Aunt Steph relaxing in the hot tub on vacation
(Point Harbor, NC)


Riding the dolphin float in the pool on vacation


Sinking her toes into the sand at the ocean
(Nags Head, NC)

Swimming with mommy (and Grandma) at the condominium pool
of Grandma's friend

Swimming with a buddy in the pool at the home of one of Grammy's friends

Making new friends at the home of one of Grammy's friends

And here is a video of Addy newly swimming throughout the pool on vacation:


Before the summer is out, we hope to spend an afternoon up on the shores of Lake Erie, and hit up the pool at least one more time. I love to see her confidence growing with each trip into the water!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

The dress up stage is in full effect


She's even pulling up her dress to show off her sparkly shoes. And now I really want to repurpose an old dresser into a dress-up wardrobe, like this on Pinterest:


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chickens

My dear friend Jennifer recently embarked on the journey of raising chickens. You can read all about it on her blog here.

So these chickens have now made her house the absolute coolest place to be in Addy's mind. We visited them last week (because Addy is asking all the time, "Can we call Jennifer and see how her chickens are growing up?"), and Jen's youngest boy showed us what a good chicken-raising helper he is: 


That's bug (as Jennifer calls him), holding one of the friendly hens while Addy tries to feed her a leaf. These kids are adorable, are they not? Bug is amazing with these chickens. He jumped right in their grazing area and quickly picked one up. Addy tried to emulate, but her quick movements scared them all away. Regardless, she was tickled pink to spend some time hanging out with them. I have to admit, they are pretty cool to watch! Maybe next time I'll try to pick one up too! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

My bologna has a middle name

My middle name is Marie, and so is my sister's. You would think my mom or dad had some sort of family significance in using the same middle name for both of us, but apparently, they just happened to like it. I continued the tradition and used Marie for Addison's middle name as well. 

When you're growing up, of course the only time you hear your middle name being used is when you're in trouble, doing something you shouldn't be doing. So naturally, what we heard was either "Stacy Marie!" Or "Stephanie Marie!" We have a funny story in our family dating back to when Stephanie was about four years old, and I was two. Stephanie caught my dad doing something she didn't think my mom would approve of (no one remembers what, exactly), and reacting as she had always seen mom do with us, she promptly yelled, "Daddy Marie!" Since then, giving everyone and everything the middle name Marie has become somewhat of an inside joke for our family. Insert this fabulous card my sister stumbled upon and sent me for my birthday one year:



Last weekend, Matt and Addy and I spent a large chunk of time doing yard work outside. Matt's task was to transport a dirt pile from our front yard to the perimeter of the house in the backyard. Each time he loaded up the wheelbarrow, Addy would follow him to the back yard to watch him dump it. On one occasion, she was busy catching frogs and missed the trip to the back. When she came looking for him and didn't see him, to my utter delight she called out for him, "Daddy? Daddy Marie? Where are you Daddy Marie?"

It gets even better. A few days later Addy sat down next to me on the couch and quickly expressed her concern over my need for a shower with, "Ewwww, you're STINKY MARIE! You need a shower!" 

And so the cycle continues. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Letter to My Daughter

Dear Addison,

One of the things I love best about having you as my daughter is that I get to see the world through your eyes. So many times, watching you has reminded me of what truly matters in life: being loved and giving love. The best thing about your age right now, as a girl, is that you are absolutely in love with yourself. You radiate confidence, and you see pure beauty when you look in the mirror. When you get dressed, or play with your hair, or even put one of your daddy's hats on your head, you say, "Don't I look beautiful!" You are not yet aware of what society and the media deems "beautiful", you have no idea what being teased feels like, and you don't know what it means to compare yourself to other girls. As you grow into a woman and learn those things, I wish that it wouldn't have any impact on your confidence, but it undoubtedly will.

As your mother, I am the role model that will shape how you view your body, how you react to the portrayal of women in media, and how you cope with societal pressures of what it means to be a woman. If I teach you nothing else, I hope I can teach you this: Your self-worth is not determined by your physical attractiveness. 

As I write you this letter, I am nearly 34 years old, and I am just now allowing myself to believe that statement. My self worth is not determined by my physical attractiveness. My self-worth is determined by the actions I take every day. It's found in the way I treat other people, and the effort I put into relationships. My self-worth is the result of the person I am on the inside. It has nothing to do with the size of my waist, my weight on the scale, or the shape of my arms.

I want you to know that YOU are the reason I'm finally finding the self-confidence to think this way. I look at you, and you are the spitting image of me. And I think, this little girl is so beautiful.


 You have my thin, flat hair. I've always complained about my hair, but I look at yours and see beauty. You have my wide feet, with a bulbous big toe. I cringe when I look at my feet, but I look at yours and think how awesome your feet are to carry your body wherever you go. You have my smile, right down to my ornery smirk. I've never liked my smile because it's not "classically beautiful", but I look at your smile and it fills my heart with joy. You are beautiful, and through you, I'm learning that I am too. Thank you for that gift.

I hope that I can take this newfound confidence and teach you that, while it's important to take care of yourself and present yourself to the world in a clean and well-groomed manner, your value as a woman goes far deeper than your appearance. I hope I can give you the tools to battle the bitchy girls in high school who try to make you feel inferior, or the boy in sixth grade who tells you your knees are fat. I hope I can teach you to always see something beautiful when you look in the mirror and when you examine your soul. I am aware of the responsibility I bear in shaping your vision of your self-worth, and I know it starts with improving my own. I promise you that I will do my best. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Totally Cute Tuesday

Making "Dirt Soup"


She caught a toad all by herself!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nut Job

Last week while on our road trip, Addy had some trouble sitting through the movie Frozen at my friend's house, which is usually the case when we try to sit down and watch a movie. Coincidentally, the very next day, my friend Stacey invited us to an upcoming free screening of Frozen at her local library. Given the previous night's experience, I declined her invitation, and resigned myself to continue to patiently wait for Addy's attention span to improve.
 
We had plans to visit the zoo with my sister, Stephanie, on Wednesday, but with temps here still in the low 30's, we had to plan for an indoor activity. Stephanie suggested going to see a movie for $1 movie day in Canton. I decided that since it would be two adults versus one child, it would be the perfect time to give the movie theater a try. So we took Addy to see the animated film Nut Job.
 
Cute little movie
 Aunt Steph treated Addy to popcorn and cookies
 
The popcorn wasn't really bigger than her, I promise
and we settled in to our seats, not really sure what to expect, but assuming we would not be seeing the whole movie.

Addy cheesin' it up with Aunt Steph
Amazingly, Addy lasted over an hour before she became really fidgety and asked to get up and walk around. There was even a super cute ten minutes when Addy was curled up on Stephanie's lap with her blanket, calmly focused on the movie. And then there was a most embarrassing moment when, during a quiet time, Addy exclaimed loudly, "I farted! Hahahahaha!" That received a few hushed chuckles from the people surrounding us, and I muffled my laughter for a good three minutes. It was one of those moments that you can't stop laughing because you know you aren't supposed to be laughing.
 
Addy and I walked a few laps around the hallway outside the theater, then Stephanie took a turn with her until the movie ended. Even though she didn't see the whole film, she thought the dark theater and huge TV (her words) were really cool. So, her first movie in the theater was about as successful as we can hope to get with an energetic three year old. Yay!!!!