Waiting For Fireworks

IMG_20150704_203828_resizedShe has goosebumps; as the sun goes down it gets a little chilly.

“Mom is it time yet?” she asks for the hundredth time. Almost, I say.

The other kids are playing, calling to her to come jump on the trampoline, have a cupcake, get back in the pool.

Traces of frosting have dried on her tanned cheek, and she tries to lick it off with her frosting-stained tongue.

Her eyes twinkle with anticipation. She can hardly stand still.

She runs to the counter in her dirty, bare feet, hair still dripping wetly down her back after playing in the pool all day.

She climbs up the stones carefully so that she can wait.

She wants to be right in the middle of the counter that all of the kids will pile on to when the show begins.

Patiently she sits watching for the first colorful burst.

“Mom look!” She sees them out in the distance, miles and miles away but undeniably what she’s been waiting to see.

In just ten more minutes or so, she’ll see them directly above her head. She’ll be squirming and squealing with excitement, and I will enjoy every minute of watching her and the rest of the kids watching the fireworks in awe of the beautiful colors and patterns.

Wishing For Just One More Afternoon At The Park

This morning, after dropping the girls off at kindergarten, I was driving to the grocery store and passed the park. The park where each of my babies sat in a swing for the first time. The park that has the slide that I have a picture of each of them sitting on with static hair. The park where I used to take them all for afternoon picnics, long before second grade and kindergarten and preschool.

I passed by that park, and longed for just one more afternoon with those toddlers that have since turned into children.

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I remember how much I hated having to push swings over and over again until I finally said no more, while they begged for just a little bit longer. I remember that I had other more “important” things to do rather than take them to the park (again). I used to prefer them to sit and watch TV or play outside instead of another afternoon at the park.

And now? I would do almost anything to have just one more afternoon with those babies that used to love the park.

I look back, and realize how much time I wasted with them as I wished time would hurry up and pass…wanting them to get bigger. Wanting them to get through the Terrible Twos stage and the cling-on-to-mommy-constantly stage. I wished all of that time away – I took it for granted. And now I regret it.

Because I would love to spend just one more afternoon at the park with those little people that Ethan, and Lila, and Mia were just a few years ago.

And I’ll use this as a reminder to enjoy them each day, even on the bad days, because time is passing much too quickly and before I know it, they’ll be all grown up.

Disclosure: Written with tears tumbling down my cheeks and full of regret for all of those times that I wished them big.

When Did The Girls Get So Big?

This morning started out the same as any other morning. The kids woke up, had some breakfast, and chaos ensued when trying to get Ethan ready 10 minutes before he had to run out the door for school.

The girls and I worked on their homework and practiced sight words. We read a book and sang a few songs. They helped me pack lunches, and then we went upstairs to get them ready for school.

They picked out their own outfits and got dressed by themselves. They told me how they wanted to wear their hair. They put on their socks and shoes. And then we went out to check to see what was growing in the planter box they helped me plant.

When they turned back towards me, this is what I saw:

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When did they get so big? Weren’t they just this big?

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Almost five years ago to the day.

I keep thinking that I want them to grow up, and then I am surprised on a daily basis by how fast they really are doing it. I look at the picture I took of them this morning, and I don’t see babies or toddlers. I see beautiful little girls. Independent little girls who can’t seem to get enough learning and information or feed their curiosity fast enough. I’m so proud of them.

I know I wrote about this same thing recently, but I just couldn’t believe it this morning when those big little girls turned around this morning.

It all just goes so fast.

The Sparkup Reader: Our Newest Family Approved Product

It’s not very often that I find a product that is really cool, that I recommend to my friends, that I like, that the kids like, and that everybody I mention it to wants to check out. That pretty much describes the Sparkup Reader to a tee.

The Sparkup Reader allows parents (grandparents, friends...anybody!) to create personalized audio recordings of any illustrated children’s book. Kids can listen, read along and feel connected to the person who is reading the book...even if that person isn't there.

What is the Sparkup Reader? It allows parents (grandparents, friends…anybody!) to create personalized audio recordings of any illustrated children’s book in the world. Really! Now what’s so cool about this is that the kids can listen, read along and feel connected to the person who is reading the book…even if that person isn’t there.

It helps children to practice their reading skills while also providing the emotional connection of a loved one’s voice.

The Sparkup Reader allows parents (grandparents, friends...anybody!) to create personalized audio recordings of any illustrated children’s book. Kids can listen, read along and feel connected to the person who is reading the book...even if that person isn't there.

So how does the Sparkup Reader work? You attach it to the top of a book and and it records the reader’s voice while tracking each page with its built-in camera. Sparkup uses a tiny camera as its “eye”, and a tiny computer chip as its “brain”.

You can record the book yourself, in any language, and add your own personal touches. You can also download professional recordings with sound effects from the Sparkup website. Then any time the device is re-attached to that book, the camera recognizes its images and plays the appropriate recording for each page. Now what’s cool about the Sparkup Reader is that it follows the child’s pace and reads aloud as he or she turns the pages – even out of order!

The reader is now used daily in our house. Mia absolutely loves to read…so much so that she would be happy if we did nothing other than read all day, everyday. I feel lots of guilt telling her that I can’t read to her right now because I don’t have time/am working/don’t want to read the same book over again for the 1,112,456 time. But she can do it herself with the Sparkup Reader!

The Sparkup Reader allows parents (grandparents, friends...anybody!) to create personalized audio recordings of any illustrated children’s book. Kids can listen, read along and feel connected to the person who is reading the book...even if that person isn't there.

This morning I came downstairs to find Mia reading with the Sparkup Reader. She loves being able to pick from a selection of books and hear me read her a story, even when I’m not sitting next to her. And she is now trying to find her sight words as she reads. I couldn’t be happier!

The Sparkup Reader allows parents (grandparents, friends...anybody!) to create personalized audio recordings of any illustrated children’s book. Kids can listen, read along and feel connected to the person who is reading the book...even if that person isn't there.
Even Lila, who is not a huge fan of reading, loves to hear her Mommy read Guess How Much I Love You on the Sparkup Reader. Look at that smile!

I highly recommend that you check out the Sparkup Reader, especially if you have little bookworms in your house. You can purchase the Sparkup Reader on Amazon or www.sparkupreader.com for $59.99.

Christmas is on the way…buy a Sparkup Reader for your kids now. That leaves you plenty of time to have Daddy, the grandparents, you, and any other people close to the kids record a book for them. What a great family gift idea, right?!

Disclaimer: I received a Sparkup Reader in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

thankyou

The New Lalaloopsy Dolls Are Fun And Cute! #TeamLalaloopsy

Is your child part of #TeamLalaloopsy? The new Lalaloopsy dolls are fun and interactive. They'd make perfect birthday or Christmas gifts for your favorite girl!

Christmas is on its way, and if you are like me, you are already thinking about what the kids are going to be asking for this year and you might have even already started shopping! One thing I know will be on the girls’ lists is Lalaloopsy. My girls adore Lalaloopsy, so when I was given the opportunity to have them check out the new Lalaloopsy dolls, I jumped at the chance, and they were so excited.

Is your child part of #TeamLalaloopsy? The new Lalaloopsy dolls are fun and interactive. They'd make perfect birthday or Christmas gifts for your favorite girl!

Surprisingly, there were no fights over who was going to get which Lalaloopsy dolls. Lila selected the Lalaloopsy Diaper Surprise doll (this girl LOVES babies) and Mia chose the Lalaloopsy Girls doll.

Is your child part of #TeamLalaloopsy? The new Lalaloopsy dolls are fun and interactive. They'd make perfect birthday or Christmas gifts for your favorite girl!

The Lalaloopsy Diaper Surprise baby is really cute. The baby actually poops magical charms in reusable diapers! Sounds weird, but the kids loved giving her a bottle, pressing her belly “button,” and then checking in her diaper for “poop”…magical charms that Lila put on a bracelet! She keeps the bracelet on her backpack, and I’m surprised by how many little girls ask her about it.

Is your child part of #TeamLalaloopsy? The new Lalaloopsy dolls are fun and interactive. They'd make perfect birthday or Christmas gifts for your favorite girl!

Mia, my little fashionista, was excited to play with her doll, Lalaloopsy Girls doll, Jewel Sparkles. She styles her hair and changes her clothes. And if you get her hair wet, it changes colors! Jewel even came with a hair clip that Mia can wear in her hair!

They are also looking forward to a new Lalaloopsy product – the Lalaloopsy Baking Oven. They love to bake and we even have created some recipes they want to try out! Check out this video that shows what the oven can do.

If your girls love their Lalaloopsy dolls and are Lalaloopsy fans like mine, make sure to visit the Lalaloopsy Website for all the Lalaloopsy you can find. Also sign them up for the Lalaloopsy Insiders, a fun social community where fans get special access to the world of Lalaloopsy and can share their love of these magical dolls.

Do your kids love Lalaloopsy dolls? Which are their favorites?

Disclaimer: I have received this product from MGA as part of their toy tester program.#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between my blog and MGAE. This could include MGAE providing me w/ content, product, access or other forms of payment.