Kid Reads, Reading

The Poky Little Puppy-Classic Kid Book

How many of you remember reading this or your parents reading you this book when you were a kid? Truthfully, I had forgotten about this book until a friend of mine gave us a bunch of their books, her kids were to old for these special classics so I happily took them.

I remember as a kid thinking how special the books were with the golden spine. As an adult reading them to my kids now, I feel that they are even more special. We read a lot of newer character books, Dora and Diego the Explorers, Last Kids on Earth, The Magic Treehouse, etc, etc, but none of them made quite the same impression on my kids.

It was interesting to hear how they reacted to the Poky Little Puppy and how they felt about the consequences enforced by his mother after getting into trouble. In the story, Poky and his siblings keep sneaking out of the yard by digging under the fence to explore the surrounding world, despite warnings from their mother not to do it otherwise no dessert! However, the first couple of times Poky comes back after his siblings have gone to bed and eats the dessert for himself.

My son “Ninja D” and I had a somewhat heated discussion about this. lol He feels that the mother was being unfair to the puppies for not giving them dessert before bed.

So naturally I asked, “so there are no consequences for the puppies breaking the rules?”

he replied, “they only wanted to explore and learn about their world, it’s not their fault they get bored in the yard!”

Me: it’s natural to want to explore the world, but they are to small to go out by themselves. What if something bad happened to them? They wouldn’t know what to do or how to defend themselves.”

Ninja D: “well, their mommy needs to find a better solution. Why can’t she go with them to explore?”

Me: “Maybe she was busy working, cleaning, and cooking for the puppies and she doesn’t have time right then to take them exploring. Maybe the puppies should have asked her if she could schedule time to take them out”

Ninja D: “yeah, maybe. But she needs to be the one to have that idea and talk to them. Not just torture them with no dessert”

Me: “so, do I have to worry about you exploring the world without me?”

Ninja D: “heck no!” “you’re stuck with me!”

I found it to be an interesting moment and very insightful to how his mind works. He doesn’t lack discipline or consequences for his actions. But his mind does process information in a very different way than the majority of kids his age. He already at the age of 8 years old values communication and working things out. He is coming to understand that his mind processes differently and he is trying harder to talk and ask questions instead of get angry and frustrated because he doesn’t understand. I to am trying to understand and have a different response to his impulsive defiance and naturally dramatic personality. As long as he waits till after I have had my coffee, we are usually good for the day.

These kind of conversations don’t usually happen with newer stories. The action and adventure stories are fun, but nothing beats the classics. I am going to look into getting more of the Little Golden Book Classics.

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, Smart, Strong, and Successful Day!

Lessons As We Grow

Trying to Make it Perfect

For the last few weekends the weather has been horrible. This past weekend we had a tropical storm passing by. We have resorted to chanting ancient magic to try and make the sun come out. It goes like this:

Rain, Rain GO AWAY

Come again some other day

Mommy and Daddy need the boys to get outside and play!

I try and make our moments perfect, or course. This is the only moment just like this that I will ever have. How did I make a rainy weekend in a covid world perfect you ask? I did all the normal things in life and recognized, it’s not forever.

I cleaned the house, exercised for a while, took a nice long shower, caught up on work projects, finished reading one of my books, celebrated the Miami Dolphins winning, drank wine and played games with the boys on the Wii.

Yes, I said Wii.

They try to get me to play minecraft on the tablets. But I don’t get it. Give me a Wii mote or Dance Revolution dance pad and I’m good to go. I did introduce them to Resident Evil……they weren’t ready for it. I paid the sleepless consequences for that one.

Yes overall, we try to have fun no matter what. There were even a few moments where I actually felt bored…..it’s a rare feeling for me, it was nice in a boring kind of way.

In a few weeks we are going to venture to St. Augustine, FL and I can hardly wait. It’s going to be a little bit of a pain in the butt, because we take a lot of precautions against COVID. But I need this vacation to happen. I bought a fun scavenger hunt secret mission book to do as a family. It takes you to different places of interest (mostly free ones) and tells some history about while you pretend to be a secret agent. I look forward to sharing our St. Augustine adventure with y’all!

Anyone have any suggestions on “things we should do” while there? I welcome and would love any ideas you guys might have!

Until next time,

Stay Happy, Healthy, Smart, Strong, and Successful!

Cheers!

This turned into more of a jog than a walk 🙂
Adventures, Beaches, Just Outside

A Long Weekend on Cocoa Beach, FL

Cocoa Beach, FL Behind the South Beach Inn

This post is a little bit overdue. Life has been so crazy since the kids have been doing virtual school, I feel overdue on several things. Back in September we finally took a little break from life and had a wonderful long weekend on Cocoa Beach. We didn’t do any of the “touristy” things as we are still keeping our distance but we still had fun.

We arrived on Friday to our hotel, The South Beach Inn. It’s about 2-3 miles from the pier where the “hot spots” are. When we go on vacation we always look for places that have a kitchen. Even without COVID we prefer to cook our own meals, not just because it saves on money, but dining out isn’t enjoyable for us with small hyper kids. This place had a kitchen, a bedroom, sofa bed for the kids, and was right on the beach. It was extremely clean and super affordable! It had a nice yard and place for grilling and having get togethers, a deck with plenty of chairs and benches to relax that is lighted at night, a shower to wash off the salt and sand before you go back to your room, as well as beach gear (boogie boards, chairs, etc) you could borrow if needed. The staff was friendly and very helpful when needed. The hotel is an older hotel and has character to it, regardless I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for an affordable place on Cocoa Beach.

Backside of Inn
Second Floor, from outside our room

We arrived during high tide on Friday, the waves were brutal on the beach. If you are a surfer, you would have loved it! If you are a family with smaller kids, probably less love for the waves. Even for me, after being in the water for 5 minutes, I was over it! The waves were so high and smacked me so hard that it rolled me under water and dragged me thru the sand back to the shoreline several times. The boys didn’t go out as far as I did and it was actually worse for them closer to the beach. So, mostly we made sand castles on Friday. Saturday and Sunday were not to bad during low tide. We had a lot more fun with the boogie boards and playing in the ocean. High tide started coming in between 3-5:00pm, so we had pretty much the whole day to play in the water.

We drove to the pier on Saturday just to see what it was all about. Parking is $15 for the day and since this is where all the shops and restaurants are it was very crowded. We decided it wasn’t worth it, went to Publix and spent $15 on some chicken wings and wine then headed back to the hotel for lunch and walked to the beach.

My husband in our beach spot. As you can see, not crowded at all

Another great thing about this beach is there are a lot of sea treasures to be found!

All of us enjoyed our long weekend at Cocoa Beach and will definitely be back. Next time I hope to be able to check out the Kennedy Space Center and see one of the rocket launches.

Lessons As We Grow, Running

Running Thru 2020

It has definitely been a year to reflect and reinvent. Well, for most. For me, it’s just another year full of challenges. Helping my boys who have more learning challenges than most kids their age in the general population; every year is a year for me to acquire a new level of patience, understanding, and to continuously try to think outside the box to find solutions that will help them but also to find balance between “Career/Work Time”, “Family Time”, “Husband Time, Troubleshoot problems at School time”, and most importantly “Me Time”.

Successful people often say: “You need to prioritize. You can do everything, you just can’t do everything at once.” Well, all of those things I have listed are top priorities and I really have no choice but to do everything at once. What am I saying?, there is always a choice. I choose to put energy into all of those categories because if I don’t now, I’m going to be to far behind later. I may not be getting as far as I would like, but being able to move an inch is better than not moving at all.

This year has actually been less stressful than most. We as a family are in a better place emotionally, we all get along better. That in itself is a big relief and accomplishment that allows me to be able to balance better. Because I have to work from home, I transferred to a different department that allows me to be more flexible with my daily schedule, thus enabling me to help the kids with school (cry. sob. drink.) and for me to get on a better exercise routine.

Exercise is Essential. If I don’t run or at the very least walk daily, I feel absolutely miserable. Running has been a positive attitude life saver for me and has probably saved my kids from a Mommy Monster on a few occasions. Not to say that I haven’t lost my shit a few times this year, but running has alleviated and dissolved some of the chaos. I am getting a little pissed off that I haven’t lost any weight though. I have ran about 200 miles this year and cut out fast food but have only lost a few pounds. Another thing I have had to learn to be “ok” with to be happy. I feel better however. That’s the important part.

I have joined several running groups on Facebook and follow many runners/walkers on Instagram some of whom I chat with. Since I have started the blog site and joined runners on social media, I have come to believe that runners are the happiest most positive people on this planet. Seriously, they are so encouraging, supportive, adventurous, and for the most part, SUPER HAPPY people. I absolutely love it. The days that I feel drained and worn down, all I have to do is scroll through my social media pages for 5 minutes, it’s enough to make me say “Fine. I will get off my ass and give it a go”. 4-5 miles later, drenched in sweat, I’m feeling re-energized and happy I did it.

I’ve also taken a like to virtual runs. I don’t really care for the ones where I just get a medal. I usually join the ones where I get a tank top or t-shirt instead. the medals are beautiful, but they just end up in a box. My kids also like to do the virtual runs, but honestly they would rather have YouTube Minecraft Video time as a reward. Whatever gets them moving.

Getting into a running routine has been the biggest benefit for me so far in 2020, I am going to keep running thru 2020 and into 2021 with the goal of completing at least one half marathon next year.

We have each other. And we are making the best of a “lock down” situation. 2020 is only 365 days. It won’t last forever, as with everything in life.

Embrace the good and take note of the bad or Embrace the bad and criticize the good. I choose the to Embrace the Good.

Just some fun
Adventures, Just Outside, State and National Parks

Everglades City, Florida

If you are looking for some peace and quite in South Florida, this is one of the best places to go. On the south west side of the state and part of the ten thousand islands, this is an ideal location for kayaking and paddle boarding. We enjoy packing a cooler full of cold drinks, some sandwiches and launching our kayaks at Everglades National Park. Typically, my husband enjoys fishing more than I do, I am more into paddling around and soaking in the sun, salt, and serenity; snapping pictures of all the amazing creatures. But from time to time, I will toss my line in and see if I get lucky.

taking a break from kayaking

I have never seen any alligators or crocodiles here, that’s not to say they aren’t around, because you never know, but I have never seen them here. Me and my young boys have no problem getting in the water and splashing and playing around. I am always on the look out and we don’t venture to far from shore when swimming, because hey, it’s Florida and there are numerous cold blooded animals that can eat you. But like I said, I have never seen them here, but I have seen dolphins playing in the water near the islands while kayaking, it is always a super fun experience when dolphins are around. I have also seen several different crab species, conchs, and a variety of bird species here. The water is brackish, it opens up to the ocean about 3 miles off the main shore, past the ten thousand islands. We always has the luck of catching salt water catfish, they are a very bony fish and eating it can be a little annoying. Usually we fry it up and most of the bones with the meat and it tastes really good. If you find yourself catching them be careful because their fins are like switch blades and hurt like hell if they get you, after being stuck a few times I make my husband take the fish off the hooks when I catch one! 🙂

Florida Fishing: Gafftopsail Catfish (Bagre Marinus)
Saltwater Catfish. I don’t have any of my own pics, so I borrowed from the internet.
Horse Shoe Crabs
Fiddler Crab

Everglades City also home to Big Cypress National Preserve, air boat rides, kayak rentals, sea food festivals (when covid-19 isn’t a thing) and many other fun adventures. I highly recommend checking out Everglades City and all of it’s natural treasures. I have included the link below if you would like more information about this amazing place. Just don’t forget the bug spray and sunscreen!

https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/everglades-city.html

Lessons As We Grow

I Think I Need to Teach Quiet Time

When is the last time your kid had to just sit still without a phone, tablet, t.v, or an adult engaging him or her?

I took them to one of the city parks near me on Saturday to get some fresh air and do some jogging. I’m trying to run outside more often rather than on the treadmill, I think it’s a much better workout. They have electric scooters they like to ride, but I also want them to exercise so I intentionally didn’t charge them before hand, I figured I could do about 1-2 miles by myself while they rode around before the scooters died, then they could jog/walk with me the last couple of miles.

Right on time, the scooters gave out. They did about a quarter of a mile before the crying and whining began, I wasn’t going to let them ruin my work out yet again, so I sat them in the middle of the park (the paved path around it is just a little bigger than a football field and goes in a circle) under some nice shady pine trees, gave them the water and told them not to move from this spot. To just sit and relax since they were so tired and they better not move because someone might run away with them. Basically scaring the crap out of them not to move. I could see them at all times where they sat and there was only 1 other family there, the park I might add is away from the road mostly hidden by trees, so I wasn’t to worried about it. I just wanted them to sit still and stop whining so I could get the last of my jogging in.

As I ran my laps, I watched them and realized that I can’t remember the last time they just sat without something keeping their mind going. In fact, besides bedtime, they have NEVER just sat and talked to each other or be alone with themselves and they are nearly 8 years old. This was a mind blowing realization because it was a normal thing for us to do when we were kids. Sit under a shady tree and talk or play; lay in the grass and look up at the clouds and ponder life. They are not learning how to be comfortable with themselves, with their minds. This wasn’t something that ever had to be a lesson for kids, it was something we did because there was nothing else to do.

As I finished up, they joined me for my last lap and they started asking me questions about the world and talking about more relevant things instead of going on and on and on about Minecraft and YouTube characters. It was wonderful seeing them express interest in the real world.

Going forward, looks like we need to add yoga and meditation to the list of things to do. I wish I had listened to the recommendations do keep electronics away from kids for as long as possible. I am going to start having quiet time with them twice a week to begin, I think it’s important they become comfortable with their own minds and silence. I will need to start with short periods and work my way to 30 minutes, they are not going to like it at first. Their brains are over stimulated and with hyperactivity a factor, it’s going to be a challenge.

Challenge accepted!

Let’s see where this goes, I will keep you posted.

Salute!

Adventures, Just Outside

Suches, GA Such a Beautiful Place it is

If you are looking for a beautiful quite place to get away from it all, I highly recommend Suches, GA.

I hesitate to tell y’all about this place because I loved it so much. It’s a small town located in North Georgia with the windiest roads I have ever been on. I grew up in in Paulding County, GA but I have lived in South Florida for nearly 20 years. We only have 90 degree turns here that take you left or right. There is no up and down windy roads anywhere in these parts. These roads in Suches, made me a little bit nervous going into it for the first time.

We drove from South, FL all the way thru. It was about 12, 13,14 hours…….with the kiddos and stopping at Wal-Mart to stock up on food before we got into town, it was a long trip, I lost count of the hours. But it was worth it.

We rented a cabin from one of those rent your house apps, which isn’t as weird as some folks think. We have done it on a few trips now and have always had a good experience, (knock on wood), it had everything we needed. Seclusion, Jacuzzi, near-by River, and Mountain View. Basically PERFECTION.

I was able to teach my boys what Lightning Bugs (also known as fireflies) are and how to catch them and put them in a jar. We played in the rivers, went tubing down the Tocca River, they mined for Gems at the Lily Pad, I showed them all of the critters that hide under rotting logs like salamanders, giant centipedes and millipedes, night crawlers, rolly pollies, and beetles of all kinds. They destroyed all the beautiful mushrooms we found, after I took pictures of course, and really got to experience the simple life. The fact I got to show my kids this world without electronics, the world I grew up in, meant a lot to me.

Living down here, life is fast and expensive, and overall high demanding without any woods to disappear in, it can be stressful. Sure we have the Ocean and a lot of city and county parks, but it’s just not the same I love the ocean. But I think I love mountains and waterfalls a little bit more.

My parents and brother’s family still lives up that way, my dad and brother actually hunt and fish in Suches. It was a fun coincidence that they were there the same weekend we were. The kids got to play with their cousins and spend time with family. We went waterfalls, a suspended bridge, and the Chattahoochee National Hatchery where they breed the trout to restock the streams and rivers. I have to warn you though, getting to these places is a challenge if you’re not use to dirt roads up a mountain.

If you ever do find yourself in Suches, GA a few must do things that I have first hand knowledge are:

Toccoa River Swinging Bridge

Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

Toccoa Valley Campground and Tubing

Lily Pad Gem Mining