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I Just Joined A New Club, But Wasn’t Aware of It

17 Mar

I could be your worst Book Club nightmare.

Just strolling on in to eat the snacks and talk about scenes in the book that only come out in the movie. It’s taken me a year to read two books. Just two. And I’m not even finished yet. It’s not to say that the books are bad, they’re not. They’re actually pretty good. Really good.

It’s something else holding me back, interrupting the nooks and crannies of quiet time and peace, making my eyes heavy, so heavy that I knock out with having only read a page. It’s the culprit that keeps your bookmark on the same page for weeks, it’s the thing that keeps you renewing different copies of the same book from the library for over and over again. It comes to a point where you should really purchase it by now.

It’s parenthood.

Yup, that pesky responsibility keeps getting in the way of a good book … well parenthood and my love of Netflix. I usually keep this shame and embarrassment to myself. I mean what kind of writer am I if I’m not reading other people’s work? I mean I even have an autographed copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book hanging out in bag, next to the Chapstick, still marked on Chapter 4.

Lie.

Chapter 2.

The embarrassment even compels me to lie where my bookmark falls. I’m so used to keeping it to myself, I try to downplay it in public. But every so often when my buddy posts something, I am reminded of this failure even more and there’s downplaying it to her. I confess. Automatically. And after our little conversation I think I should really be banned from any book club entirely.

You see my blogging buddy, Jackie Cangro is an avid reader and posts these amazing reading lists on novels that appeal to every kind of book lover. And every time I see it, I jot down at least one or two books and let her know how amazing they sound and how ready I am to walk on over to Barnes and Noble and head over to Amazon.com to buy it.

But that never happens.

I end up being the bad Book Club member of a club I was never invited to be a part of, sad I know. The kind you don’t want to invite back because they never finish the book, or they have yet to get started.

But then I realized something … I HAVE been part of a book club and finishing books every month sometimes three, four, five books. I just wasn’t realizing it because it was the Parenthood Book Club. I’ve been hanging out with Dr. Seuss, Mo Willems, Victoria Kann, Herman Parish, Ted Arnold, Roald Dahl, Henry Winkler, Beverly Cleary, Jack Chabert, Jeffrey Brown, Tom Angleberger, Wendelin Van Draanen, and many others.

So I stand corrected.

Parenthood hasn’t  made me a terrible book club member, I just joined a new club and wasn’t aware of it. Adventures come in all kinds of genres.

Here are our top picks:

jedi-academy

For adventure and young Jedis.

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scaredysquirrelbooks

My kids enjoy the laughs Scaredy Squirrel brings.

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Heres_Hank-02

The Here’s Hank series is one of the funniest and engaging stories involving a young boy and his adventures with family, friends, or school.

.

MoWill

This series always cracks up my kindergartner. Easy to read and fun.

.

Lorax

Who doesn’t love Dr.Seuss right?

.

Amelia

We love Amelia Bedelia’s smart, strong, funny, and independent mind. Her adventures always keep my kindergartner engaged.

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Shredderman Books

Standing up to bullies, solving mysteries, and doing the right thing are all part of this amazing series for young kids.

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WhoWas

My son loves this nonfiction series! It talks about the lives of important historical figures in a way that’s interesting for young readers.

.

ralph

I loved Beverly Clearly growing up and was so happy that my son enjoyed the adventurous story of Ralph and his motorcycle.

.

charlie

This classic had my son looking for Willy Wonka Gobbstoppers and Everlasting Chewing Gum. It was an imaginative ride that proved to be one of his favorites.

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FLY_GUY_COVER

Fly Guy! His stories make a kindergartner and 3rd grader laugh. Fly Guy explores both fiction and nonfiction genres. His adventures in fiction explore school, museums, restaurants, fly swatters, Frankenstein and other fun stories that revolve around friendship. The nonfiction series helps kids learn about science, animals, and environments.

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Feel free to check some of these out with your young book lovers. There are so many authors and books that we’ve come across that I couldn’t mention, but if you know of any feel free to share!

Have a great weekend!

Moving to Phase II

27 Feb

 

 

I have to admit I did have my first-time-mom moments.

You do.

It’s your first time and you freak out. You get all sanitizer-Baby-Einstein crazy.

It happens.

I could have been the mom in this commercial easily. But luckily I became the second-kid mom, before I had my second kid. And I was grateful not to have gone through so many crazy-neurotic-mom moments.

I’ve never gained so much wisdom in such a short amount of time. Wisdom usually takes time, long periods of it. Parenthood kicks your ass and you’re in hyper-drive-super-speed mode and the learning continues. This is where the comedy kicks in … it absolutely  has to otherwise you’ll probably suffer a nervous break down every week. So when I saw this Luvs commercial, I had to share it. I had to spread the knowledge just in case there were others out there still clinging onto phase I of parenthood and worrying whether or not they were failing.

We all fail.

No worries.

And if someone tells you they’re not. Dude. They’re lying. Straight out in your face lying. They are. Everyone fails during the parenthood journey. You’re fine. You’ve become part of the learning curve.

And if you’re still clinging to phase I, let me let you in on a little secret … those happy moms on the cover of the Babies R Us catalog are just models. Airbrushed happy models with plenty of sleep, matching socks, and daily ten-minute showers. Real parents are lucky if they get five or six hours of uninterrupted sleeps, a pair of clean socks, and a five-minute bird-bath.

We fall apart. All parents fall apart. It happens. We have our moment when it’s just too much, and we realize phase I is just for the catalog fake parents.

You want to be real?

Come to phase II, it’s less stressful. I still get gray hair, though. And I’m still neurotic, but just in  a different way.

But no worries, if you’re still in phase I. It’s something everyone goes through … everyone. And then we get wise. We move over to phase II.

So we’ll be waiting for you here … with a glass of wine and some chocolate.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

16 Sep
Inside

Inside

Always curious … always exploring … always wanting to look at what’s  inside.

Parenthood is Full of Surprises

31 May

I’ve been to a few of these, including five of my own. All with mixed emotions of hurray and what-the-hell-is-waiting-for-me-now? But I’d never been to one as a parent.

It freaks you out. You completely change into a dress-wearing person. Something that my Chapstick type of personality isn’t too comfortable with, but you go with it. And then aside from transforming your wardrobe, your attitude also begins changing. You notice certain feelings taking over you as you see the school program with your kids name on it.

You really don’t want to turn into that crazed photo mom whose big head comes out in everyone’s picture. You really don’t want to be the kind of annoying person you write about. So you restrain yourself. You check your crazy at the door. After all it’s preschool. Get a grip. Coloring, cutting on the dotted line, and Llama, Llama Red Pajama. Nevertheless I found myself calling this a milestone moment in his mini life, sort of like walking and getting potty trained. In parent world this is big.

So I struggled with my crazy. I never had to do that before, usually I let my freak flag fly. But this was no freak flag, this was annoying crazy parent flag and you need to check that quick. You don’t want to regret anything later that day. You know yourself. So I sat there with mixed feelings about the whole thing. I mean I don’t know what the other Children of the Corn photo crazed parents were feeling at the time, probably no shame seeing how most of their heads with bad hair and ginormous cameras showed up in many of my shots. But all I know was that in the end I was proud to have not gone over the crazy parent cliff.

I was also surprised that I had become sappy. Not balling out soap-opera crying sappy, or the beautiful teary-eyed single drop creeping out of the corner sappy. Just the internal, pensive kind, with emotions swirling about which started when I saw him walk down the aisle in his miniature cap and gown. I thought Holy Crap! He’s going to be strolling down the aisle in another cap and gown in 2025 and then I’ll probably be a real sap. Dude it was like last week when I was cursing up a storm dropping the F-Bomb every five minutes during labor down at Catholic hospital down the street. Just last week, I thought.

But then he smiled at me and it was all good. I was still a little sappy, but I put it in perspective. I’d been mindfully present in the moments that mattered … the sand castle building, the Lego constructing, the pizza making, the stay-at-home movie night going, the family game night doing, the bike riding adventuring, the museum experiencing, the zoo exploring, the superhero pretending, and the night-time story reading. I’d been present the whole time.

Exhausted? Yes. In need of wine and chocolate during the quiet of the night. Definitely.

But also present, and not just going through the motions. There, I was there and enjoying it. So I decided to start mindfully enjoying the graduation, and stop thinking about the future, stop thinking sappy, and stop thinking about the crazy parents surrounding me.

Once I stopped, it ended up being a good day.

 

Walking towards the future ... and me behind him trying to catch up.

Walking towards the future … and me behind him trying to catch up.

 

The program that got me thinking.

The program that got me thinking all sappy.

 

The clear shot I tried to take of my son and his graduating class, but no luck with everyone else's camera never getting out of the shot. I didn't understand why they kept taking pictures constantly ... they were in the front row.

The clear shot I tried to take of my son and his graduating class, but no luck with everyone else’s camera in the way. I didn’t understand why they kept taking pictures constantly … they were in the front row. Front. All they needed to do was take one picture. I mean all I needed was one. No luck. I had better luck outside by the fountain.

 

I saw this outside while we were taking pictures and thought dude I should totally capture this. A minute later my one year old decided to explore it, and ended up breaking the fake rock. She broke it in front of a few other spectators, so all we could do was hide our holy-crap moment, pick up the pieces and walk away.

While we were enjoying the ability to take pictures without interference, I noticed this rock and thought dude I should totally capture this. What a great sign. A minute later my one year old decided to notice it too. She ended up breaking the fake rock in front of a few other spectators. So all we could do was hide our holy-crap moment, pick up the pieces of hope, and try to walk away unnoticed.

 

While trying to escape the scolding eyes of witnesses, my son decided he needed a cold beverage. I assured him we had plenty of juice boxes in the car and we needed to leave the cookie and punch reception before his sister got a hold of another decorative memento.

While trying to escape the scolding eyes of witnesses, my son decided he needed a cold beverage. I assured him we had plenty of juice boxes in the car and we needed to leave the cookie and punch reception before his sister got a hold of another decorative memento.

Sandbox List Adventure 10: The Tastiest Ten Minutes of the Day

25 Apr

I don’t know if every kid dreams about it, but I know they think about it. I used to think about it a lot, when I was five, six, seven … all the way to 37. Yup. To this day I think about it, and it makes me smile. However my dentist says it’s my weakness and charges me an obscene amount of money to fix my cavities. He says I may have to give it up. I say they need to work harder on inventing better toothpaste because there’s no way I’m giving it up. It’s like air. A necessity.

Milk. Cream. Sugar. Those are the basic ingredients.  I’ve had them on their own multiple times, but they are definitely best when they are churned together and frozen, sealed tight in a container … just waiting for me on aisle 7 of the supermarket. Dude. That’s the best. Ben & Jerry’s. They are geniuses … geniuses I tell you! My kids are aware of this phenomenon and always look forward to birthday parties because ice cream is usually one of the side dishes. And even though I get to have some secretly once or twice a week, it’s something that my kids may get once a month. You know, I’m trying to develop healthy eaters.

So when we were driving home from the book festival this weekend and I asked my son what he wanted for dinner I was surprised by his answer, but even more surprised by my own.

“What do you want for dinner?” I asked as a red light stopped us in front of a 31 Flavors.

“Ice cream.”

“Ice cream? You can’t have ice cream for dinner.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not good for you. It’s only supposed to be a treat once in a while, and usually after your meal.”

“I have not had ice cream in a long, long, long while and I already had my snack.”

“You haven’t had dinner.”

“Ice cream can be dinner.”

I paused, thinking about my college days.

“So can we have ice cream for dinner?”

I thought about his Sandbox List Adventures and nodded.

“Yeah, I guess you can. Just for today.”

Dude. The woo-hoo was like a SuperBowl touchdown with two seconds to go in overtime kind of woo-hoo. It was a pretty big one. So I turned the corner and drove the car into the 31 Flavors parking lot to begin our Sandbox List Adventure.

 

We arrived and the seatbelts couldn't be taken off fast enough.

We arrived and the seatbelts couldn’t be taken off fast enough.

 

There were many options to choose from and I was sure he was going to fancy it up.

There were many options to choose from and I was sure he was going to fancy it up. I know I was thinking about it.

 

When he saw these I thought ... dude it's on. He's most definitely going to ask for one of these.

When he saw these I thought … dude it’s on. He’s most definitely going to ask for one of these.

 

And while he was contemplating his cone purchase I was contemplating a cake purchase. Oreo cookies make for a great cake accessory.

And while he was contemplating his cone purchase I was contemplating a cake purchase. Oreo cookies make for a great cake accessory.

 

But before he decided we did a little taste testing.

But before he decided, we did a little taste testing.

 

With all the available choices he decided on a cup. Chocolate chip with chocolate sprinkles. Dude. He definitely takes after me.

And it was funny, with all the available choices, he decided on a cup. Chocolate chip with chocolate sprinkles. Dude. He definitely takes after me.

 

His sister didn't really have a choice, but was definitely enjoying the Cookies N' Cream.

His sister didn’t really have a choice, but was definitely enjoying the Cookies N’ Cream.

 

It was the fastest dinner they have ever eaten. There was no fighting. No spoon dropping. No reminders to finish eating. Just concentration and focus, in addition to a lot of smiles and spoons dancing around in creamy cool deliciousness. In fact I had to tell them to slow down. I didn’t want to deal with their first brain freeze. I told them they had to eat slowly and enjoy it. The adventure lasted about ten minutes, but it was the tastiest ten minutes they had all day.

 

 

Yeah … I Don’t Know What It Is About Easter Egg Hunts

29 Mar

As Easter weekend approaches I’m bracing myself for encounters with crazy parents and crowds of children. Just thinking about it causes anxiety and I think I’ll need to meditate twice tonight just to prepare myself for the aggravation ahead of me this weekend.

There are two egg hunts in my parenting future. One on Saturday. One on Sunday. I so wish I could just scrap the Saturday one and go to the beach with the kids, but we’re making memories, right? So I gotta just cowboy up.

But in truth it’s not so much the kids that will annoy me, it’s the parents. Have you seen these people on Easter in Easter Egg Hunts? Have you seen them leave their own kid in the dust and steamroll other three-year olds for a purple plastic egg?

Duuuuuuuuude.

I saw this and I thought of them.

 

Image via LeFunny.net

Image via LeFunny.net

 

I don’t know what it is about Easter Egg Hunts that brings out the crazy and the stupid in people. But it does. Wish me luck as I encounter all kinds of parents this weekend. I’ll try to remain Zen-like.

 

Sandbox Adventure List IX: I’m Glad I Didn’t Push The Snooze Button This Time

19 Mar

Just because I’m awake at the crack of dawn doesn’t mean I like it. I know some parents might think that waking up before 7 a.m. is awesome. But I fall under the category of snooze-button advocate.

When my son has a day off from preschool I really don’t feel the need to get up and go. I’m all for the “give me five more minutes” routine, which eventually turns into an hour of PBS Kids, The Sprout Channel, or Nickelodeon.

Don’t judge me.

But this weekend, the morning routine was a little different. And I have to say that the blame wasn’t on Curious George this time. It happened to be children’s author Laura Numeroff and her partner in crime Felicia Bond.  After reading If You Give a Pig Party and a few others from that series he decided that some of those adventures were pretty cool. I mean he always thought they were cool. We’ve read them hundreds of times, so I don’t know what it is that sparked the inspiration, but the fuse was lit.

What adventure? What specials tools or props on this one?  Pillows. This one happened to involve pillows.

Now normally I only use pillows to rest my weary head, or bury my head in an attempt for deep uninterrupted sleep. But my son thought differently. At 7:03 on Sunday morning … he thought differently.

I didn’t see it flying high above the bed, and I sure didn’t hear it, but I felt it. Smack! The red Angry Bird pillow happened to hit my face. Normally pillows are soft in nature, but when they’re thrown at you at 7:03 in the morning? Not so much. I think they’re made of hard cotton, or something. Waking me at this hour in that manner would usually get the Incredible Hulk in me all riled up. But as I looked up I saw both of them with their morning hair and sneaky smiles.

Then I heard it … PILLOW FIGHT!

 

My son heading for cover.

My son heading for cover.

 

Dude it was on.  For the next twenty minutes pillows of all sizes were flying high. As you all know I’m not the greatest morning person, but I made the exception that day. Groggy, tired, and exhausted. But I cowboy-ed up and went with the flow. Going with the flow … it’s something that I’ve been constantly reminded of during my recent meditation challenge. It was the first time I hadn’t hit the snooze button … it proved to be a good decision.

 

Little sister surveying the situation, trying to grab the Angry Bird pillow before her brother.

Little sister surveying the situation, trying to grab the Angry Bird pillow before her brother.

 

I tackled the Angry Bird pillows and flung them over. Sometimes his little Flintstone Vitamin body would withstand the blow, but other times he’d wobble and fall into the covers, only to be bombarded with more pillows and victory screams from his sister. It was one of the loudest and most fun mornings we’ve had. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t done this before, definitely a good addition to the Sandbox Adventure List. I’m glad I didn’t push the snooze button this time. I would’ve missed out.

 

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure VI: Curious George Strikes Again

18 Feb

I never would have thought a monkey would inspire so many adventures. But apparently if it happens on Curious George, chances are that my son is definitely interested in adding that adventure to his Sandbox List. Well in truth anything on PBS and The Sprout Channel tends to get his curiosity going.

Just wish the flu wasn’t so powerful. It’s been tough to kick this one. I’ve battled 12 rounds and it had me down for the count, but I’m back up again, thanks to multiple trips to the CVS in my proper middle-of-the-night sweats and a t-shirt uniform. I may have looked crappy, but I’m doing my best to try to regain my energy so that it meets my son’s everyday standards. I think I need more vitamins. Even though I’m finally turning a corner the crappy-sick feeling continues attacking my immune system, but adventure and a four-year old do not wait for you to be at 100 percent. So I cowboy-ed up and tackled another item on The List. Something requiring worms.

Yeah that’s right … worms. And you know me. I needed a little assistance, because slimy crawly creatures and The Guat … they don’t mix. I mean Curious George didn’t need any help from The Man in the Yellow Hat. But it’s a cartoon. The Guats are living in a little bit more challenging circumstances, but we did all right on our first fishing expedition. We may not have caught any fish that day, and my son may have been a little disappointed, but at least we had no hooking eye-gauging incidents with the fishing pole or falling in the lake accidents, and that’s what really mattered. A successful failure. Well probably not. Catching a fish would have been totally cool, because you know that Curious George caught three of them. But maybe it will happen on our next fishing adventure, you know when there are no suspect teenage characters throwing pinecones in the lake, scaring the fish. Yeah … we definitely need a teenage-free lake environment.

 

Hiking up the hill, having our Andy Griffith Show-Opie moment.

Hiking up the hill, having our Andy Griffith Show-Opie moment.

 

 

Teaching his sister the ins and outs of his new fishing pole ... well at least everything he saw on Curious George.

Teaching his sister the ins and outs of his new fishing pole … well at least everything he saw on Curious George.

 

 

My son practicing the reeling part of catching a fish.

My son practicing the reeling part of catching a fish.

 

 

Getting some pointers from his dad before he gets ready to cast his line.

Getting some pointers from his dad before he gets ready to cast his line.

 

 

The excitement was building and he was ready to do this on his own. I was worried about the sharp hook at the end, but he assured me he was being careful as he checked his fishing equipment one last time.

The excitement was building and he was ready to do this on his own. I was worried about the sharp hook at the end, but he assured me he was being careful as he checked his fishing equipment one last time.

 

 

Fishing 11

His sister was more interested in yelling at the ducks than our fishing adventure.

 

Fishing 20

The ducks that caused all the commotion.

 

The Waiting Game. Something that required a lot of Goldfish Crackers and inventive stories on how he would catch all kinds of fish. We lasted about forty-five minutes. Better luck next time. Definitely.

The Waiting Game. Something that required a lot of Goldfish Crackers and inventive stories on how he would catch all kinds of fish. We lasted about twenty-five minutes before he lost all hope and wanted to play Angry Birds. Better luck next time. Definitely. And there will be a next time. He assured me. “We just need more worms, mom. Curious George had a lot of worms and a bigger lake.”

 

 

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure IV: The Big Splash

25 Jan

They see it lingering between the cracks. Drop by drop. It accumulates and waits. It calls to every Nickelodeon, Sprout Channel, and Cartoon Network watcher. It calls to everyone under four-feet tall and some of us over four-feet.

Rain puddles.

Kids see them and their eyes widen. They smile as they walk toward it. The excitement builds.

It sits still and waits for the Stride Rites, the Saucony, the Pumas, the Dora the Explorer boots, or the Spiderman shoes with flashing lights. It waits patiently, not knowing the outcome, but knowing that something big is about to happen.

As they get closer to examine it and think of the best way to get the maximum benefit from its existence, they hear it …

“Noooooooooooo!”

It happens. It always happens.

But not today. Not on Sandbox Adventure List Day.

I’m always in rush to get somewhere. I’m always on a schedule. Everything has its moment and it’s timed so that nap time happens when it has to and lunch takes place when it needs to. Everything affects the outcome of bed time and it’s usually in everyone’s best interest if things go accordingly. But today it was raining. So there was no rush to go anywhere. No rush to make it on time to any outdoor activities. There was no outdoors.  So it had become errand day and upon our return, I saw the puddles scattered throughout the parking lot. Small, medium, and large. I smiled.

As we got out of the car, I noticed the familiar gleam in the eyes. The sneaky smiles. And then the hesitation as they waited to hear my voice, hear the dreaded, “Nooooooooooooo!” and see the stern look on my face. But what they heard instead was, “All right. Let’s see it. Let’s see the big splash.” And what they saw instead was my smile and my New Balance jumping in the puddles to join them too. For the next fifteen-to-twenty minutes, we splashed our way to six soaked shoes, six drenched socks, and three wet pants. It was a sweet Sandbox Adventure for everyone.

 

 

Looking and thinking ...thinking what to do

Looking and thinking … thinking what to do.

 

The first jump.

Getting ready for an Olympic-sized long jump attempt.

 

A game of splash tag.

A game of splash tag.

 

The Big Stomp.

The Big Stomp.

 

Planning for the Big Splash.

Planning for the Big Splash.

 

 

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Happiness Project Update 20: Paying It Forward One Penny at a Time

23 Jan

“Feel good, be good and do good.” Author Unknown.

I’m all for this. I’m all about the good. I mean who isn’t, right? So while working on expanding some of that good, I continue on my Happiness Project quest and finished the Buying Some Happiness section in Gretchen Rubin‘s book. I liked the fact that she was realistic in most of the chapter, admitting to the fact that money does help provide options for happiness or moments of happiness, but it’s not the main mojo for it.

I concur. Money plays a factor. Most people don’t think so, or might not admit it. But I do. I came clean about it in my last HP Update.

But as I kept reading she brought up an interesting point …

“It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that if you have something you love or there’s something you want, you’ll be happier with more.”

Dude. This would never happen with chocolate. Never. I know they say “never say never,” but I’m saying it. I could never buy enough chocolate. There is no limit to the powers of the cacao bean. However, when talking about parenting and kids, curbing your enthusiasm is a definite must.

Image via happiness-project.com

Image via happiness-project.com

As adults we know that there’s a line when it comes to buying things for yourself as a reward or special splurge, and turning into a crazed shopaholic with 12 different credit cards all maxed out. We get it. At least some of us do. But when you’re at the train store, or Target, or Best Buy, or Costco and your kids want you to buy them something every single time you go somewhere, that seems to be the path of a shopaholic for sure. We all want nice things and we all want them for our kids, but when it comes to them, sometimes buying them more “stuff” can do more damage than good. Sometimes teaching your kids about modest pleasures instead of instant gratification can help in their own happiness. It can help produce an atmosphere of growth, appreciation for the “good things,” and fiscal responsibility. And then you feel ecstatic as parent because you think you did an awesome job of raising someone who isn’t materialistic in a very money-oriented label-minded world. You raised someone with values and that makes you extremely happy as a parent.

For instance LEGOLAND. It is the be all and end all of trips when it comes to my four-year old. It is his mecca. It is his chocolate. Now some people have the ability to take their kids four or five times a year. We go once a year. I explained that the trip usually comes as a result of all his good behavior throughout the year and I mention some of his achievements, like sharing with his sister knowing full well she’s probably going to stomp on the toy in the end, being able to finally master penmanship and write his name, being able to transition successfully into preschool even though they have Children of the Corn-like parents roaming around,  like working hard, practicing and doing well in his little golf competition, and for being an overall good kid.

I also make him aware that we save all year-long. We put in all our spare change from every purchase into his makeshift piggy bank we created out of an old Kleenex box. We got Martha Stewart creative and thus was his LEGOLAND box was born. Quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. Even some dollar bills. Every day we’d add a little something and he’d see his savings grow.  And he wouldn’t take any money out of it no matter what. He knew he was getting closer to his goal. We ended up with about 250+ dollars last year. And he enjoyed spending every bit of it on the entrance to the park, hot dogs, chocolate cake, Lego souvenirs, and Lego memories.

Once the morning came and he saw his empty box, he said … “We need to start saving money in my LEGOLAND box so we can go again. It’s gonna take a long time. But we can do it.”

I like his perseverance. It makes me think that I have taught him something, hopefully it’s in the realm of appreciating good things when they happen to you and being able to be responsible enough with your money that you can save up for what you want and enjoy it with the people you love. Hopefully I’ve paid the happiness lesson forward, one penny at time.