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Archive for July, 2013

Today I want to share a public safety announcement with you – one that has nothing to do with car seats.

Last summer, my longtime boss and friend, Jamie, very nearly lost his life while he was wading in Lake Michigan and got caught in a rip current. Jamie was lucky – he was saved by a kayaker who heard his cries for help. Realizing how lucky he is, he has devoted himself to using his communication skills (we’re both professional communicators) to spread awareness and help others.

Please watch and share the PSA that Jamie created, and then read his full story. (I still can’t read it or hear him present it without getting tears in my eyes.)

You just might save someone’s life.

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Patience is a Virtue

Earlier this week, Tim and I took the kids to Michigan’s Adventure, a regional amusement park that we’ve visited every summer since 2004. We love it – the price is right, the park is small and easy to navigate, lines are short, etc. Even though Cedar Point is about the same distance, we’ve never seriously considered taking the kids there because the tradeoffs (trading the things listed above for bigger/better rides) just wouldn’t be worth it.

This year was great for Allie. She has just hit 48″, so she is tall enough to ride all but one ride. She told us on the way home that “This was my best Michigan Adventure day ever because I got to ride all the big roller coasters!” She’s turned into quite the a coaster fan, and I’m thrilled. I’ve always loved roller coasters, except for the especially rattly ones. (Tip: Don’t ride something called “Shivering Timbers” if you don’t like the rattly coasters.)

Our mistake this year? Taking Jenny.

We usually wait until a kid is four to take them to the amusement park. We intended to wait until next year with Jenny, but this trip was planned somewhat at the last minute and we didn’t have anyone to leave her with. Adam and Allie wanted to take her with us, and she wanted to go … so Tim and I said yes, against our better judgement. (We even turned down a night-before offer from my sister to watch Jenny – we’d been telling her for days that she was going with us, so it seemed a little cruel to change our plans at the last minute.)

Turns out we should have waited after all, and left her with Aunt Betsy. We were so excited about taking her, but it just didn’t go the way we hoped it would. Jenny had fun, but wasn’t interested in riding anything except the really little kiddie rides. So, in the interest of letting the big kids ride big kid rides, we split up almost immediately, and Tim and I pretty much spent the whole day trading off Jenny and the big kids. It worked out all right, I guess, except for the last hour, when I somehow ended up with both Adam and Jenny.

J tantrum 2

Yes, that’s my three-year-old throwing a tantrum in the middle of the sidewalk at the amusement park. For those of you who think it’s so sweet that Adam was “watching over her” – this picture was taken as he briefly looked up from holding his head in his hands, saying “Come ON, Jenny! MOM, can’t you DO something?!”

Ironically, this was the second time she threw a fit that day – in pretty much the exact same spot. I don’t recall her problem the first time, but this time she was mad because she wanted to go back to the helicopters (kiddie ride) and I had the gall to insist that we let Adam ride some big kid rides for the last 45 minutes before the park closed. (She and I had just spent about two hours in the kiddie area, and I even bought her an ice cream cone.)

So, we’ll definitely return next year, but Jenny may be visiting Aunt Betsy that day.

(She DID have some fun, as you can see in the pictures below. Adam even humored her by riding on the Winky the Whale ride once.)

kids in whales

J snoopy

J in boat

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Adam, Allie and I had a fun adventure today. A while back, I found a “Groupon” for a local athletic center that has an indoor water park – four passes for $24. So the three of us, along with one of Adam’s buddies, spent the day playing in the pool, floating down the lazy river, rushing down the spiral water slide, and frolicking in the splash pool.

We broke for a (second) bite to eat around dinnertime.┬áSince the passes were “all access,” the kids had decided that they wanted to stop swimming before this snack break and explore the rock climbing wall afterward. Adam’s friend had tried (and loved) rock climbing when they were in Boy Scouts, but it had started raining just before Adam’s turn on their big outing. So he was anxious to try it. Allie was a little trepidatious but was willing to try.

I was so proud of both my kids! They took turns for about 45 minutes, and each made about eight attempts to reach the top. Adam didn’t quite make it to the top, but certainly wore himself out trying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him work so hard at something.

Allie, on the other hand, made it to the top! (I do think it helped that she is so lightweight, the bungee cord probably gave her more of a boost than it did Adam.)

AER rock wall

Just look at her up there! I can’t wait to see what she wants to try next. (Swimming lessons, actually – and we’ve got them planned for fall.)

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The Energizer Bunny

Remember the Energizer Bunny, from the old battery commercials? You know, the one that just keeps going and going … and going …

That’s Jenny.

We had an extremely busy day today. First up was my nephew’s first birthday party, in a town 1.5 hours away. The kids all had a blast, and the girls ran around playing in the wading pool, filling water balloons, etc. Next up was a wedding reception for the young woman who was our summer nanny last year. They had a band and a dance floor set up. Jenny danced for about a half our with our friend (Allie’s best friend’s mom, who is one of my best friends.)

Adam and I figured we’d leave once our friends left, since the only other person we knew was the bride. Nope – we stayed for at least another 90 minutes, with Jenny pretty much dancing the WHOLE time (much of it with Adam, who had patiently been waiting for our friend to leave so that J would pay attention to him).

I thought she’d be exhausted by 8 – busy day, she spent the whole time outside (even the reception was outside), etc. On the contrary – she danced until 9:30! She probably would have gone longer, but the band took a break and Adam and I decided it was a good chance to make our departure.

(And even once we got home, she didn’t crash – she played on my phone for a little while, until at least 10:30.)

A & J dancing

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Taking After Her Siblings

I don’t know what it is with my kids, but they have all been fascinated with looking into the refrigerator. (Believe me, there’s never much of interest inside it – just the usual product, milk/cheese/yogurt, leftovers, etc.)

Check out this recent picture of Jenny. (I can’t quite tell whether she’s going for the Hershey’s syrup or the salad dressing. Hershey’s, probably.)

J fridge

Now, compare it to the pictures here. Tell me there’s not some kind of weird trend with my kids?

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