Coffee Break #42
Well, hey there friends! It’s been a little while since I’ve done our monthly Coffee Break chat, and it feels like there is SO much to catch up on! So take a break with me and let me fill you in on our Spring Break adventure, a fun birthday milestone for my oldest boy, and a few things I’m loving these days!
RV Tripping for Spring Break
The main reason I missed April’s Coffee Break post is that I was on Spring Break with my family. And this year, we decided to do something…well…a bit different! We rented a Class A RV and visited Gatlingburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
In general, our family is an “outdoor” family. Greg and the two big boys are all scouts; and Greg and I would take a good hike over a day at the beach any time. Lovers of National Parks, hiking, camping, and even glamping, we thought trailer camping would be an appealing adventure for the whole family. But now having given it a try, I’m not entirely sure it was a home run…for me at least (the boys loved it!)
There were two big surprises for me…
First, traveling in the RV was not nearly as enjoyable as I thought it would be. It was loud and bumpy, and it felt strange (and challenging!) to be so far away from the kids (for snacks, drinks, etc). By the time we arrived in our campsite, my nerves were absolutely frayed from the windy, winding trip; and I was instantly dreading the 8-hour return drive home. I really expected the journey to be smooth, peaceful, and relaxing but it felt and sounded like a very loud, very turbulent airplane ride.
The other really surprising thing to me is that I didn’t really feel like we were “camping.” The RV resort/campground we stayed at was indeed very fun with a pool, playground, activities, and more. But it was also a lot of concrete and vehicles. I didn’t at all feel “off the grid” like we do when we rent cabins or camp on our own. When we returned home, we didn’t have that same rejuvenation we typically feel after spending a week out in nature.
I think charming cabins, yurts, tree houses, and tiny homes are more our speed, but my husband is not ready to move on just yet. So for those of you who own or regularly rent an RV, towable trailer, or 5th wheel…what did we miss? Why didn’t I love it? What did we do wrong? What do we need to try next? This really seems like it should be a great fit for our family, but I’m not yet sold!
12 Years of Boy Birthday Fun!
Last month, our oldest son turned 12…12!
And because the projects for his “Monster” first birthday party are some of the very first posts I ever shared here on the blog, I always feel a connection between his birthday celebrations and my online presence.
Although I stopped sharing his full-scale party reveals a while back, every year I still do my very best to bring his latest obsession to life. This year, we did a Mario-themed party for 12 of his friends, complete with a visit to the theatre and a MarioKart tournament. It was a big, long, (and loud!) party; and in so many ways, it felt like a fitting end to an era. Not to say we won’t celebrate him going forward, but he’s starting to get to an age where themed parties with balloons and decorations and party favors aren’t exactly…cool!
So as we teased him that this year was “it,” we also had fun looking back at the 12 birthday party themes we’ve done for him, including Monsters, Ninja Turtles, Planes, Pokemon, and so many more. What started as fun “Mom crafting” for my first born eventually became a special and meaningful tradition for both of us. I loved using my creative talents to celebrate him each year, and he always got such a kick seeing how I brought certain things to life with paper, balloons, cake, and more!
With two more little boys coming up behind him, there’s still lots of celebrations ahead. How many more themes will we cover, I wonder!?
Do The Kids Help with Home Projects?
In thinking about how much our oldest son enjoys seeing what I do for his birthday parties, I thought this would be a good reader question to answer this month:
Q: Do your boys enjoy decorating/organizing/working on projects? I have boys myself who I try to involve, but for the most part, they want nothing to do with it!
Of the three, our middle son (6 years old) is our crafty one and quite often has tape and scissors in hand. (It’s his art drawer that I am in the process of organizing!)
Every now and then, he will ask to help (that’s him helping us on this project below) but it’s usually sporadic and just for a little while. That said, he loooooves going to the hardware store or craft store with me to look at all the things. Like mine, his brain can see so much possibility in raw materials, and it’s fun watching him explore, brainstorm, and problem solve.
While none of the boys necessarily enjoy helping, they very much appreciate what I do and tell me so frequently. Very often, they will come into a space I’m working on say, “Wow Mom, it’s looking really good!” Or out of the blue, one will say “I really like the ___ you added to ___ room.” And almost always, when they ask if I can make them something…and I can…they are very impressed! To them, Mom can seemingly make just about anything (although, that’s not quite true!)
- Square Snack Size Bags – This is totally random, but I just discovered these square-sized snack baggies. Oftentimes sandwich bags are too big, and the rectangle bags don’t fit certain items. But this size and shape seem to be juuuuust right for so many random things! I buy mine at Walmart but maybe they are becoming more common in other stores.
- PBS Kids Games App – We don’t play a lot of games on our phones, but I had to entertain my 3 year old at a lot of basketball practices and games over the last few months. I’m not sure how long ago, but (I think) PBS split their shows and games into two separate apps. My son loves these games, and they keep him entertained longer than most others we’ve tried. I’m really impressed by how well designed and “educational” the games are…I don’t even mind helping or playing along as needed!
- Kids Jammies – We bought our two younger boys these jammies for a Halloween costume almost two years ago! Just recently, we bought new sets in bigger sizes because despite being too small, the boys would reach for these night after night after night. They are just so comfy and come in lots of fun colors! (I just noticed the boys are wearing their grey ones in the RV bedtime photo!)
- All In Motion Racerback Tank Top – I haven’t updated my workout clothes in quite a few years; so on a whim, I snagged this tank from Target. I loved it so much, I went back and bought 3 other colors! What’s so special about it? It cuts off just below the belly button rather than below my hips. So while it’s modest enough for the bus stop and a walk around the neighborhood, it doesn’t cover (and therefor accentuate) my stomach pooch. (I’m wearing it in the waterfall picture at the top of this post, actually!)
- Uzzle – My sister bought us this game a few years ago, and we’ve just started playing it more since it appeals to all the different ages in our family and even among neighborhood friends. The little guy can just stack the blocks, while the adults and bigger kids can race to match the puzzle. Highly recommend…but watch for sales to stock up on multiple sets!
- Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist – After watching some heavier shows, Greg and I were looking for something light-hearted. The concept of this show appealed to us (we’re big fans of Glee, Pitch Perfect, etc); but just a few episodes in, I wasn’t into it and we almost stopped. But after about 6-7 episodes, we were totally hooked and are now very sad the show hasn’t been extended. If you need a light, happy, feel-good show…give this one a try! (And hang on through the cheesiness of the first few shows!)
You guys always ask the greatest questions, and I love answering them! If you have any topics or questions you’d love to see me cover, submit them via the (anonymous) form below. Then keep an eye out for answers in upcoming Coffee Breaks!
That’s it for me this month, thanks for catching up!