There is nothing better than family time. On our recent trip to Iowa we popped over to the Omaha Zoo in Nebraska with family. The kids absolutely LOVED all the animals but I am pretty certain their favorite part was when I snapped that photo above of them enjoying a train ride around the property.
For me, though, the Jelly Fish and Peacocks. Those were my favorites, they are such beautiful animals. The Zoo had this Giraffe encounter where you could get up close and personal to them and the best part? FREE! We didn't have to pay to get closer!
Even on vacation it can be hard to have relaxing family time, especially with little ones. Making sure you have some quiet and calm fun is a must.
I feel like now-a-days, less and less I see children out playing in their yards. Drinking from the hose. Having fun the "old fashioned way". Life is full of screens and technology and kids aren't given the opportunity to just be a kid. To have imaginary friends. To learn the hard way you have to wait for the water to cool down before drinking from the hose.
I promised myself if I ever became a mom I would let them be little as long as possible. Let them get road rash from learning to ride a bike. Let them get that horrid burn from sliding down a hot slide too fast.
Let them experience life..because those memories will be worth it when they are older. they wont remember the games they played on their tablets...they will remember the games you played with them in the yard.
A child only gets one childhood.
Let them drink from the hose.
Let them play with that water.
Let them get dirty.
One childhood. That’s it.
Make it worth it.
Make it memorable.
Make it priceless.
“Let them be little, cause they're only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love, everyday.
Let em cry, let em giggle, let them sleep in the middle.
Oh just let them be little.”
I'm a firm believer that vacations are a time for regrouping.
A time to refresh your soul.
A time for serenity.
So you can image how excited I was when we got to my in-laws new home in Iowa this week and THIS was the gorgeous view from their driveway.
Crops for days.
It was perfect. Our first true family vacation and I couldn't have asked for a better one.
Vacations are a great bonding time for families, trust me. Traveling with THREE kids 6 and under is ROUGH. You learn how to bond quick on that airplane to keep everyone happy.
Stay tuned in July for my Tips for Traveling with three and a recap of all the amazing fun that happened on our Iowa adventure!
Until then.. tell me about YOUR first family vacation on our comments.
National Selfie Day!
We could look at today as a day that didn't exist before. Selfies have become the popular go to picture in this modern social media word.
Some look at selfies people post and get annoyed. Why does someone have to post so many pictures of themselves?
I personally LOVE seeing selfies. I love that people feel good enough about themselves to share. I love seeing the smiles of my friends and the silly Snapchat faces.
Why are we so quick to judge these days? Why cant we just be excited for our friends? For their accomplishments. For their joys.
I say Celebrate today. Celebrate your friends. Celebrate yourself.
Lets see those selfies!
Has your little one asked to write a letter to the big jolly man?
Did you know, with the help of the USPS your little ones can write a letter to Santa AND get a response? If you didn't, now you do!
According to the USPS, in 1912 Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock made it legal for postal workers and local citizens to respond to the hundreds of Santa letters they received every year.
Years later its actually a huge to do!
You can actually 'adopt' a letter if you live local enough to a participating post office. If you choose to adopt a letter you can do one of two things with it. 1. Respond as Santa Claus or 2. Make the little ones Christmas wish come true.
How to mail your letter!
Step 1: Have your little write their letter
Step 2: Address your letter to Santa Claus, North Pole,
Step 3: Place letter in your mailbox
Step 4: Wait for Santa's Response
**Your child's letter will be mailed to the nearest participating post office ( see chart below ) if you aren't close enough to a participating office or worry you may not be keep reading for more information**
If you aren't close enough to a PARTICIPATING location you can still write santa!
Step 1: Have your little write their letter to Santa
Step 2: Place letter in an envelope addressed to Santa Claus, North Pole
Step 3: Write a personalized response to your little and sign it "From Santa"
Step 4: Place both letters in an envelope addressed to your child
Step 5: Add the return address: SANTA, NORTH POLE, to the envelope
Step 6: Ensure a First Class Mail Stamp is placed on the envelope
Step 7: Place the complete envelope into a larger envelope, with appropriate Stamp and address it to :
North Pole Postmark Postmaster
4141 Postmark Dr
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998
All letters must make it to the anchorage postmaster no later than december 15th!
Just like most girls I grew up dreaming of what I would name my kids if I ever grew up to be a mom.
I wanted a name that meant something. Something they could grow to love and appreciate as so much more than just what they are called.
I always dreamed of having an adorable little girl to name after my sister. Spitting image of me but with my sisters strong will and ability to make sure everyone around her was okay. You see, my sister Ashley has been through hell and back. She’s been through things in her lifetime no one should have to face and through it all she ALWAYS made sure I was okay.
She is my best friend.
I wanted to honor that, honor her.
I wanted a little girl I could name after her.
Sawyer Elizabeth, that had been the plan since as long as I could remember. I’d have a little girl and name her Sawyer, strong first name that isn’t insanely common and Elizabeth, my sisters middle name.
It was perfect.
But in my young years I forgot life doesn’t work that way. You don’t always get what you dream. When doctors told me I would likely never have children that dream got pushed aside. Maybe I would adopt one day and get to give my sister a little namesake.
But not likely.
So, you can image the shock when come this last March there was a little plus sign on that stick my sister convinced me to pee on.
I immediately started remembering that old dream of naming a little girl after her.
Again, I forgot that life doesn’t always give you what you want.
Sometimes it gives you what you need.
A healthy little bundle of baby BOY growing very healthy and strong inside of me. I couldn’t be happier. But how was I going to give this little baby the perfect name. A name that would mean everything I wanted it to mean.
I wasn’t going to get a second chance at this so it had to be perfect.
After lots of talks and ideas with my husband we finally settled on the absolutely perfect name for this little miracle baby.
A name that not only was a namesake once, but TWICE.
This little baby will grow up being guided by two amazing people who have meant more than you could know to my husband and I. Two people we felt deserved to have a little one to carry on their names and personalities that we are so sure will shine through.
Ashton Earl Kramer
will make his entrance late this year with two strong names to guide him.
He will not get to know his Great Grandpa Earl in real life, but the memories and family stories that my husband will get to share with him will teach him just why the name is so important.
And as for his Aunt Ashley… well she is already plotting ways to turn him in to a mini her to torment me. He will grow up knowing that Ashton is after Ashley and yes, she may be a girl, but she’s an amazing role model and he will be lucky to have her to look up to.
Five years ago, I heard the dreaded words no woman wants to hear.
I couldn’t have kids…
At least not unless I spent a lot of time and money in the doctor’s office.
At only 22 it was a hard pill to swallow, I had dream names picked out, I knew I wanted a little girl in dance or a little boy that played soccer. At 22 I should have been excited and looking forward to having a family with my then husband, but life had other plans for me.
After a lot of soul searching I came to terms with knowing I would never have a little bundle of joy of my own blood.
Maybe I would foster.
Maybe I would adopt.
I worked a lot, I got divorced, (for other reasons), I moved, I moved again, I got on with my life and I went back to school to learn a new trade and better myself.
It’s funny how life works out. At 22 I was devastated, heartbroken, I thought that I WAS BROKEN.
Turns out that maybe life just knew better, maybe life was waiting for the right time to send me the miracle it knew I so desperately wanted but never thought I could have.
Because three months ago. I took a test.
It was a joke. I knew it would be false but I also knew I had to rule it out for the Dr. before he would do any more testing to figure out what was wrong.
And then you see it wasn’t.
It wasn’t false.
That little plus sign stared back at me and I thought I was losing my mind. I even reached for the instructions like I wasn’t 27 and didn’t know how pregnancy tests work. HAH
Joke was on me.
Because miracles do happen.
And my little miracle is due this New Year’s Eve.
The Instant mom, the one no one considers a mom.
To the girlfriend of a guy with kids.
To the guardian who gained custody.
This is for you.
Becoming and instant mom isn’t easy, I can tell you first hand that it turns your life upside down but sometimes…sometimes it gets turned upside down for the better.
I used to not consider myself a “mom”. They aren’t my kids I would tell myself... because that’s what society would say.
The thing is though, they ARE my kids.
I didn’t give birth to them.
I didn’t adopt them.
I’m not married to their dad.
But they ARE mine.
They are mine when they are sick at 1 am and I’m right there with their dad worried we may have to do a hospital run. They are mine when they wake me up instead of him at 7 am for waffles and orange juice. They are mine when they snuggle me and tell me they love me.
They may not be mine biologically, they may not be mine by marriage… but they are mine, so don’t tell me that they aren’t. Don’t make me feel like I should explain that “oh they are my boyfriends”. Don’t make me feel like I can’t claim them.
Because they ARE mine.
When you start dating someone who has children you must understand you are not the top priority and neither is your significant other. If you want to make a relationship work where kids are involved then the kids are top priority to both of you.
Now, now I am not saying that you and your boyfriend are not important because you are and please do not ever let either of you forget that your relationship IS of UPMOST importance but the kids should come first, especially when they are at a young age.
When I started dating my boyfriend I knew what I was getting in to. I knew he had two young boys under the school age and I knew along with that would come a lot of “mom” like duties even if he didn’t think it would.
You see, when you date a man with kids (or a woman with kids for that matter) they are not asking you to become their parent but you WILL take on roles that are like a parent would. You’ll get up at 3am to put them back in bed. You will wake up at 7am so your boyfriend can sleep in some days.
You will get excited when they come home with school projects they can’t wait to tell you about. You will take them shopping for holidays and birthdays for their dad’s gifts because they don’t have anyone else to and they want to surprise him too. You will deal with bath times and tantrums and time outs and so so much more.
Becoming an instant mom is hard. You go from being single and casually dating to living with a man who has kids and it takes a little getting used to but if you let yourself open-up to the idea you might just realize that it will turn your whole world right side up instead of upside down.
Two years ago, I was single, divorced, I never thought I would re marry or fall in love again or have children to care for and then one day I was an ‘Instant Mom’. I was helping make lunches for PreK and mini pancakes for breakfast with two little ones running around the kitchen asking if they could help me even though they would just make a giant mess in the process.
To the Instant Moms. It’s not easy, it’s a change, a challenge, for some it’s a struggle that is harder than others. Once you get the hang of it, once you embrace the chaos you realize it’s this whole world you never thought you would be a part of but now that you are you have no idea what you would do without those little sticky fingers in your life and their amazing father who trusted to bring you in to theirs.
I wouldn’t change it for the world.
They changed me.
They made me better.
They are mine.
HI! I'm Veronica and I'm the voice behind the blog. I love red wine, tacos and coffee after 5 pm. I'm a local Photographer by day & by night I host monthly Girls Night Out Events and Networking Socials around town. I'm a West Coast girl living in an East Coast world and I couldn't love it any more. Thanks for visiting Pensacola Housewives!