Cypress Forest Splash Pad

My mom’s group met at the Cypress Forest Recreation Center and hit the splash pad. It was hot, so the kids appreciated the water, and we appreciated the pavilions with the shade! I had been to the splash pad once before, but this time was better because The Younger had friends her own age to play with, and there were no birthday parties to crowd the water.

The kids had a ball! They shot each other with ‘water guns,’ played with the sand toys we brought along, and of course ran just for the sake of running!

This is a cute splash pad, but it is pretty small. The parking is $5 too, which I find steep, but there is a nature preserve in the back and picnic tables to eat lunch at if you want. I think when the weather cools down a bit, it will be a great place to spend the day with the family!

Field of Dreams

The Older had a wonderful opportunity with the Tampa Bay Yankees last night; he got to go on the field, run the bases, and then hit the field with the players for the National Anthem. The team has Field of Dreams events like this for the little league teams in the area, and it was a fantastic time!

Here he is running the bases:

(The Younger got to run the bases too, which was nice)

After they ran the bases, it was time to take the field! The kids got to line up, then they were assigned a player to go on the field with for the National Anthem.

This is my favorite picture (that I was able to capture. I missed the one of the three outfielders giving him high-fives).

It was a fantastic day, and I cannot stress enough how wonderful events like this are. This team and all the staff at the stadium are so friendly, and the kids always end up having a wonderful time. If you are in the area and love baseball, please try to get to a game. You won’t be sorry!

Little Passports

I’m excited to begin the adventures of Little Passports again with The Older! We had a subscription for 6  months last summer, and he loved getting postcards from Sam and Sophia every month. He began to see that the world is so much bigger than our little corner of Florida, and we did a lot of “extra” things related to the countries that were featured each month. He hasn’t opened the package for this month yet so I can’t post pictures of what’s arrived, but I know it’s France! C’est magnifique, non?

I’m posting the original post I did when we started the adventures so you can see all the fabulous stuff you get. Once he opens this month’s package, I’ll get some pictures of that as well. It’s always something fun and exciting!

One of the summer goals I have for The Older is for him to learn that the world extends beyond our neighborhood, and I’ve been wondering how to teach diversity in a way he can understand and appreciate. It’s a “grown-up” concept, but it is so important given the cultural diversity of our nation and our world.

I received an offer through Mamapedia for Little Passports last month, and I read through the site with excitement because it is exactly the type of thing that will help The Older learn and have fun doing it. So, for days I’ve been running out to the mailbox waiting for the first shipment to arrive, and it finally did! I ripped open the box, and this is what we received:

How cute! It’s like a suitcase, and it reminds me of a lunchbox with the little metal handles. I opened it, and I loved what I found inside of it:

So, our adventure begins tomorrow when The Older has a day off from camp. I’m so excited to do this with him and learn about other countries as well. I have projects set up to do monthly that tie into each country we learn about, and I’m hoping that we are going to have as much fun as I think we are!

Water Balloon Fun

I will be back to my regular posting after this week. Until then, here’s another older post of mine that I hope inspires some fun time with the kids.

It was such a hot day, I decided to forgo my “lesson” and let the kids have some old-fashioned fun playing with water balloons. I picked up a pack at The Dollar Store the other day and was happy that they were on hand so I didn’t have to load everyone up and go to the store.

After about a year of my life passing before getting a pile of balloons large enough to make the whole thing worthwhile, we headed out to the middle of the yard to toss them back and forth.

I thought we may have to “teach” The Younger how to play, but she got right into it, tossing the balloons so they landed right at The Older’s feet. As you can tell by the picture, that isn’t exactly how he wanted it to go, but that’s okay.

The Older got a bit excited when his turn came around and didn’t understand why we couldn’t smash the balloons into the body of his sister, but she didn’t seem to mind at all when he actually hit her…

… which ended up being a good thing, because she got soaked.

They had a great time, and I laughed so hard I actually fell over twice. The kids were wet, happy, and tired by the time we were done, and I considered the activity a complete success. If you get a chance, head out and toss some water balloons. I can guarantee you’ll at least get a chuckle out of it!

Sometimes in the rush of life, we can forget that just the simplest things, like eating together, can bring us back together as a family. It’s so easy to get caught up in the evening sports practices, committee meetings, working late, etc., and it’s not unheard of to go literally days without talking with each other rather than at each other.

I was reminded of this today as we were sitting around outside eating burgers off the grill after a hectic week of work and late summertime activities. The Older was talking about birds and swimming, a little of this, a little of that, and then he popped out with “I think the three biggest forces out there are the sun, Mother Nature, and God.” It struck me that I had no idea he was thinking these things, and I had to take a moment to catch my breath. I forget how much goes on in my children’s heads sometimes, and it’s gentle reminders like this that make me want to pull in the reins a bit, say “no” to some things that we do that take up time away from each other, and make sure that we set time aside to talk every day. I’d hate to miss out on another great moment like this was because I was too busy to pay attention to it!