The View From Here.

31 May 2011 | 10 Comments

Four weeks until she arrives.  I’m looking forward to not waddling and to not sweating like a whore in church every time the thermometer creeps higher than 75 degrees.  This is my view now… see there used to be feet somewhere, but not so much any more.  Just boobs and belly.

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But, I Don’t Speak Portuguese.

26 May 2011 | 13 Comments

In my quest to cram all kinds of stuff into these last four {and a half, but who is counting} weeks before baby girl’s arrival, I’ve been making appointments left and right.  I am totally loyal to my people too… they’re just unfortunately all at different salons all over the city.  If you’re local and want suggestions, shoot me an email.  Back to the appointments.

One to my massage therapist for a long overdue pre-natal massage. 

One to my hair girl for a cut and color.  Incidentally, I’m taking suggestions for color, help a girl out.  I’m thinking red and blonde highlights?  I’m totally intrigued by ombre too, but if it’s done wrong it just looks like hell.

A pedicure appointment.  Pink, of course!

I just had my brows waxed and I’ll have them done again just before.  T is a waxing goddess, she is quite simply spectacular and I love her.  We were discussing what happens if I go into labor early.  I told her I’d be making a frantic phone call to the salon to see if she could fit me in and she assured me she would make it happen.  She’s awesome like that.

Then she relayed a story about having a client who came in for a wax while having contractions and she was afraid the whole time her water was going to break.  A wax.  A Brazilian. 

If anything is going to send you over the edge and into active labor, having every piece of hair ripped off your labia is going to do it.

T assured me that it’s not that bad and that I should think about it, which I did for about 3.4 seconds before cringing and deciding it is decidedly not for me.  She said, oh your hair isn’t course so it wouldn’t even hurt.  Dude.  It’s one thing to get your legs waxed or your eyebrows, it’s another to get on all fours, stick your legs over your head, and have every crevice waxed.  Never mind the fact that when you’re naked from the waist down and eight months pregnant things are not pretty.  You obviously can’t be drunk for it and ibuprofen is out, so I’m sure is vicoden which is the only good alternative I can come up with for that kind of pain. 

I can see her getting one strip off, me yelling “holyMotherofGodthatHurtlikeaBitch,” followed by me getting up and running from the table screaming.  I am pretty sure I’d be that dramatic with searing pain to my genitals.

And then I would need to find a new eyebrow goddess and we can’t be having that.  

A Brazilian?  No thank you, I don’t speak Portuguese. 

Spill it ladies.  Who’s had one?  Did you love it or hate it?  Are you just as afraid of having one as I am?

Carpet and Appointments and To Do Lists, Oh My.

24 May 2011 | 2 Comments

I am having a get my shit together kind of week.  I have three appointments, my father in law’s birthday, the car is going into the mechanic, a trip 45 mintues away to IKEA, World Market, and Homegoods for last minute room additions, Finn has two classes, and sometime this week we’d actually like to see the newest addition to our family.  {I might add that they are leaving the hospital this morning and he still doesn’t have a name.}

The carpet for our bedroom comes tomorrow!  TOMORROW!!  People, we’ve been camping out in Finn’s room for two months while the construction and painting and baseboards were being stripped and new underlayment was being laid and on and on and on.  Two months!  TWO very pregnant hormone filled months.  The upheaval has been that much harder to take.

It seems as if it is the never ending project and I’m a little excited to be *thisclose* to being done.

I will have a closet rather than a dining room filled with our clothes.  I WILL BE ABLE TO USE MY DINING ROOM TABLE!  Oh, how I have missed you sweet dining room table.  I am going to buy two dozen roses for the very center of the table for the first dinner. 

Don’t even get me started on the french doors that have not been opened yet this year. 

We can’t actually move in to our room for 72 hours since new carpet isn’t the best for pregnant lungs, but Dave can finish up the closet install while we wait. 

Where was I?  Oh yes, getting my shit together… someone send help and a lot of it.

What is on your agenda for the week?


23 May 2011 | 2 Comments

Friday we decided to take Finn and Myles to the toy store get the new Cars 2 guys.  It was so much fun watching them choose which characters they deemed worthy of coming home with them… and of course, they ended up with the exact same.  Then we spent some time at my Meme’s house with John & Amanda while the boys played with their new loot.  Amanda and I sat our overly pregnant asses on the couch and commiserated about being ready for these babies to arrive any time.  That night, I slept a grand total of three and one half hours.  A special shout out to the Enchiladas Veracruz for keeping me wide awake and in searing heartburn until 3:30 in the morning. 

Saturday morning I got up and mowed the lawn.  You would think that after the last time I would have learned my lesson that mowing the lawn isn’t the easiest thing when you’re eight months pregnant, but I haven’t.  It has to look totally absurd.  The way I look at it, it counts as exercise.  Dave even did the edging, I think it was mostly so the neighbors won’t think he’s a tool for having his very pregnant wife out mowing, but I’ll take it.  Then I made asked Dave to remove all of the furniture from the front porch and drag it out to the driveway to scrub it all down with my helper.  I’m pretty sure too the neighbors thought we were the Clampetts.  I would have carried it myself, but I likely would have herniated something since I can’t even see my feet right now.

Next up, we power washed the porch and scrubbed every surface.  By we I mean, I power washed our outdoor rug and Dave did the rest of it while I took a three hour nap.  My house might still be a disaster until the carpet arrives Wednesday for our bedroom, but we’re now porch party ready.  That my friends is of utmost importance for summer.  Finn has spent every waking minute out there since, usually conning Dexter or Monty out there with him and littering it with his toys.

We also managed to pack in a baby shower, more yard work, touch up painting in our room, a trip to Costco, some book reading, lots of laundry {including everything for baby girl’s first couple months} and dinner at my mom’s.  Our weekend was overflowing.

We ended the crazy weekend with a phone call that Amanda’s water broke {lucky girl} and their baby boy is on his way.  A couple hours pass and BAM he’s here!  Yay for new cousins and the good news is that she made it to the hospital in time to get an epidural!  I’m wondering if they are going to choose his name or if we’re going to be back to popular vote like Myles & Colin.  I’ll keep you posted.

How was your weekend?  Anything exciting to share?

The Rapture.

20 May 2011 | 13 Comments

So tomorrow is the Rapture.  Also known as Judgment Day.  The End of the World is coming, but not for five more months… October 21.  Tomorrow everyone’s fates will be decided, some will go to Heaven, the rest will live with what they claim are going to be pretty shitty conditions here on Earth until October.

So there is that on the agenda for tomorrow along with maybe some gardening while we wait.  Oh, and some more work on our bedroom because Rapture or not, the carpet for our bedroom is arriving {FINALLY} on Wednesday and I’ll be damned {no pun intended} if we don’t finish this room.

It would really suck if Finn and Dave get chosen, but I get left behind because I say things like fuck on the internet for the whole world to read. 

What are your plans?

Compulsive List Maker

19 May 2011 | 19 Comments

Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a compulsive list maker.  That’s right.  I make lists.

Grocery lists, packing lists, blog lists, cleaning lists, “to do” lists, baby lists, house lists… the lists, they are endless.  I cross the done things out with a single line through it, preferably with a black Sharpie.  The lure of the cross out is so tempting that I’ll write a cleaning list that includes Living Room: vacuum, dust, windex… just so I can cross them all off individually.  I’ve got it bad.  BAD, I say!

It drives Dave absolutely nuts.  He is decidedly not of the list making type.

The things that don’t get done get moved to a new list.  You can see why finding 5 lists with a dozen crossed out things and repeats of those that never get done might drive Dave to drink just a little?

Which are you, list maker or not?


18 May 2011 | 9 Comments

There are reasons Dave married me.  Mostly because I am totally awesome. 

It has kind of been one of those weeks at our house.  You know the ones.

We managed to somehow get a laundry cap stuck in the floor drain and it was um impeding the flow of water from the washer into the drain.  By impeding I mean shooting water all over the basement floor while Dave looked on totally flabbergasted.  No, I have no idea how it happened, but in this house I am not surprised.

He stuck his hand in there and had zero luck pulling the cap out.  He stuck the snake in there to see how far in the blockage was… at that point he wasn’t sure if it was a detergent lid or a tennis ball that Monty enjoys watching bounce down the stairs.  He was pretty sure that he would have to rip out the gorgeous pipe work that he did several months ago and start over OR call in Roto Rooter to retrieve the offending object.

“D, what about sticking the shop vac in there and seeing if it sucks it out?”  Downstairs he and his little assistant went.

*Insert shop vac noises coming from the basement and little footsteps on the stairs.*

“Mommy, Daddy said you are a genius.” 

And ok ok, it came through a four year old intermediary, but I think the sentiment is just as sweet.  Maybe he’ll keep me around?


17 May 2011 | 5 Comments

Finn is lounging on the couch in only his Hulk undies talking to himself about Scooby Doo and Spiderman being best friends.  Occasionally, he busts out with a “Scooby Dooby Doooo” and the lyrics to the Spiderman song along with various and sundry other Spidey sound effects.

He’s supposed to be cleaning up his toy stash.

If I was rotten, I’d be taping this to use as blackmail when he is fifteen and brings a girl home for the first time.  Instead, I am pretending to work on the computer and secretly listening to every word.  His imagination makes me feel all gooey and proud to be his Mama.

He’s becoming more and more of a boy each day.  Only this afternoon, we were doing yard work and he {shirtless and wearing jeans no less} was helping his Daddy move a few bricks into a pile.  I suddenly realized that he’s no longer just “helping” his Daddy, but really helping

When did this happen?

He used to be so little.

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16 May 2011 | 7 Comments

We had a crazy weekend.  And by crazy I mean mostly I was mostly crazy and Dave was along for the ride.  I’ve been having contractions, I’m assuming Braxton Hicks because they’re irregular, worse in the afternoon & evening and it’s way too early for little Miss to be making her appearance.  {Yep, I’m upping my water and talking to my OB at today’s appointment just to be on the safe side.}  It has however kicked off a bit of the crazy in me.

Friday my mom was off work so we went out to a great breakfast.  Then to Target where I proceeded to buy everything I needed for the hospital and some little things for baby girl.  Then it was off to Costco to stock up on other random things that we probably don’t need that my pregnancy brain has insisted that we have just in case.  Everyone needs enough detergent for half a year of laundry, right?  Right?

Dave came home and I insisted on mowing the lawn, never mind the smirk he gave me that said, “you are getting to the lunatic stage of pregnancy Michelle.”  It was a really good idea until suddenly it wasn’t and I realized that maybe the last twenty or so feet still needed to be mowed and I was clearly in need of sitting on my ass with a LARGE glass of water.  Maybe mowing the lawn in 87 degree weather while seven and a half months pregnant isn’t the most intelligent decision I could have made.  So Dave laughed at me and gladly took over.

Saturday we did a whole lot of shopping and planting and more yard work in between bouts of thunderstorms.  And there were lots and lots of those.  I baked, I made pizza with our newly potted basil.  I separated baby clothes into sizes.  HOW does she have a better wardrobe in utero than I do after 35 years?  I also made a list for the hospital and realized I haven’t even thought of a baby book for her. 

Sunday we had an amazing brunch for my dad’s birthday.  He insisted that it wasn’t for his birthday, that we were just having brunch for the sake of brunch.  Wait, I need to tell you that I am always the freaking planner in our family, I know this surprises you.  My sister Lyndsey decided to take over the planning and it was awesome.  She kicks all kinds of brunch planning ass and we have officially voted her the Christmas brunch planner.  I may never plan another thing ever, she did that great a job. 

I made a blueberry lemon version of this breakfast cheesecake and it was delicious.  We also woke up reeeeeallly late {we all slept until 10:15, can you believe it?!?!} so the fact that my contribution to brunch was already done was the biggest bonus of the morning.  All I had to do was show up. 

Then the Davester went on a date with me {and the rest of my family and our favorite neighbors} to see Bridesmaids.  Hilarious.  Go see it.  Pay theater prices and laugh your ass off.  My sisters loved it, my brother loved it, my dad loved it, we all laughed non-stop for two hours.

So there you have it.  Our weekend filled with what I am assuming is just the start of the crazy.  Stick around, you never know what’s coming next. 

Now it’s your turn, what did you do?

Friday the 13th.

13 May 2011 | 4 Comments

We’re cool. 

Thursday the 12th on the other hand… not so much. 

I’ll spare you the details of our insurance debacle that almost resulted in me losing it AND having to switch doctors even though, you know my c-section is already scheduled for a couple weeks from now and all.   On top of that an insurance customer service rep that should be absolutely ashamed of his not so veiled threats and piss poor attitude.  Oh yeah.  Thankfully there are small miracles and lovely insurance liaisons to fix things and not have the pregnant woman go into labor early due to stress.  Seriously, this woman is getting flowers once it’s all officially fixed because she is absolutely lovely.

I do have to find a new OB/Gyn after baby girl arrives which I am less than thrilled about.  If you’re local and love yours {really we’re done having babies so it would just be for annual visits} please shoot me an email with your recommendation. 

Did I also mention that Blogger has been down for two days and has managed to somehow eat my post about pregnant bellies?  It is reposted, but if you commented on the original {and there were some CRAZY belly touching stories} your comment has been eaten by a cyber monster that lives under the bed.  It may also be a conspiracy by the belly touchers to keep me silenced!

So there you have it.  I hope you have an amazing weekend peeps.  Any big plans?

Pregnant Bellies Are NOT Public Domain.

12 May 2011 | 16 Comments

By nature, I’m a touchy person.  My family, we are affectionate.  It’s still a running joke in our family that my mom likes to torture Dave with mother in law hugs every chance she gets.  I hug my friends.  I shake hands.  Touchy.

What you won’t see me doing ever is uninvitingly touching a pregnant woman’s belly whether she’s a friend or a stranger.  Hey, don’t worry, you won’t ever see me touching a non-pregnant woman’s belly.  And dudes, rest easy, I won’t be reaching for yours either. 

In turn, don’t expect to touch mine.  That’s right.  If you don’t fall into one of these categories, keep your hands off… you are my husband, your name is Finnegan and I gave birth to you, you are my very close family member, or my very close friend.  Allow me to clarify, if you aren’t sure about your category or you found out on Facebook that we were having this baby, you can bet your ass you’re not in the aforementioned, don’t take it personally, just keep your hands off.

It’s a phenomenon that I wasn’t even aware of until I had Finn four years ago. 

An old lady accosted me in the store with hands on the belly and questions of the gender.  I was so shocked that I was rendered speechless.  Co-workers that I wasn’t even social with outside of work would come up and pat my stomach.  Friends thought they had free reign to belly touch away until I as politely as I could told them how uncomfortable it made me.  I even had my mom and sisters telling family friends that it freaked me out so my baby shower wasn’t one big belly touching fest, though there at least it was a little more natural that someone would reach out and touch.  The grocery store or a restaurant or the post office waiting in line by a stranger though?  It was enough to send me over the edge. 

I’m not quite sure when it became ok for acquaintances, friends of friends, or complete strangers to lay their hands on a pregnant woman’s belly but really, I’d like it to stop.  My stomach is not public domain.  I am not Buddha, you don’t rub me for luck.  

Now that I know, this time I’m much more aware of tactics to keep your hands off my belly.  I’ll turn away or take a step back if I see you wiggling your fingers like you want to touch.  Little old ladies be damned, if you don’t know me and go in for the pat, I’ll just start screaming “STRANGER DANGER!” until you back off the belly.  There are still occasional sneak attacks, but I’ll remove your hand and tell you not to touch me if it happens.  If you’re super annoying I may even just grab your belly too, but I’d rather we just all keep our hands to ourselves.

Spill it, what are your best belly protecting secrets?  Are you a belly toucher?  Did you like having your pregnant belly touched or did it creep you out? 

Happy Birthday to Yoooooou.

11 May 2011 | 2 Comments

Today my dad is old.  Well, he’s old every day, but today he’s even older.  Is it possible to be older than dinosaurs?

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{This is my favorite picture of the two of us, taken last year at Finn’s birthday.} 

We’re celebrating with brunch on Sunday, don’t worry dad… the only job Elise will get is toast duty.


Spring Cleaning–My Favorite Cleaning Products

10 May 2011 | 10 Comments

It’s spring {ok, ok LATE spring} and that means the dreaded cleaning must begin.  It doesn’t help that for the last few months, we’ve been bunking with Finn while our bedroom is overhauled AND my nesting is kicking into high gear.  The combination is a recipe for scrubbing down every surface in sight and just in time too because this house is a DISASTER area right now.

I must confess, I have tried an impressive amount of cleaning products.  Much to my mom’s dismay, I am not a neat freak or a cleaning maniac by nature, but somehow the lure of a new product kicks me into cleaning gear.  I am a marketers dream.  Something new?  Ooooooh shiny.  Even better if it makes my cleaning routine faster. 

Ha!  You see there?  I don’t even have a cleaning routine!  But, if a product is so good that it gets me out to lunch with my friends faster or an extra half an hour of nap time, I’m all about it.  Even better if it smells luscious and makes Dave think that he married someone that sort of knows what they are doing.  You know… a miracle product.

Ok, so there are no miracle products or we would all be using them.  There are, however a few products I absolutely love and to which I am extremely loyal.


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Microfiber Cleaning Cloths.  Oh my love for these, is undeniable they are so useful for cleaning everything and they are re-usable.  I use them for dusting, for cleaning glass, for cleaning stainless steel, for wiping down counters, and for scrubbing floors.  We bought ours at Costco, a giant pack of them for super cheap.  {I think they were in the auto section actually.}  Just pitch them into the washer and voila, good as new.  You’re not supposed to put them in the dryer with fabric softener, but I always do and they’ve still lasted 3 years and are going strong.


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Arm & Hammer Oxy Laundry Detergent in Fresh Scent.  This laundry detergent is my absolute favorite for a few reasons.  Dave is allergic to some other brands, I absolutely love the scent, and unlike some other detergents, I feel like this rinses very clean and never leaves a residue on our clothes.  I also love that they frequently have coupons and their regular prices aren’t outrageous to begin with.


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Method Stainless Steel Cleaner.  I’ve tried a few things over the years for our {perpetually fingerprinted} fridge and our stainless worktable that we use as an extension of our counter.  We’ve used wipes and three or four other brands of cleaner, but Method smells really, really good and in combination with the microfiber cloths, takes just a minute to spray on and wipe away all those prints.  Method products can be a little pricey, but one bottle of this stuff lasts forever.


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Mr Clean Magic Eraser.  This is just an occasional use item in our house, but one that I always have on hand.  I don’t even need to know what makes this ‘magic’ I just want to enjoy the awesomeness.  Crayon, scuffs, all kinds of random weird marks… they DISAPPEAR people, with just a swipe or two of the eraser.  Truly magic.

Honorable MentionsMrs Meyers Clean Day Lemon Verbena countertop spray smells SO good it feels like a room freshener rather than a cleaner.  Plain old Clorox Bleach mixed with water for disinfecting the entire bathroom & kitchen sink.  Windex for my mirrors & windows.  Our Dyson also gets a mention, it’s so fun to see all the junk you’re vacuuming up {and makes you feel like you should be doing it more often} plus, I love all the tools it comes with, great for cobwebs and pet hair! 

Your turn, tell me your faves!  Have you done any spring cleaning?


Disclosure:  Just so we’re clear, the opinions stated are my own, I have not been compensated in any way by any of these companies. 

OK, Someone… Anyone… Name This Baby.

09 May 2011 | 59 Comments

We’re really trying to be proactive.  I swear we are, but it’s just not coming to us.  Her name, that is.  The name I love is still in the running, but I’m not as stuck on that being THE one as I was early on. 

Mariah just named her babies after the décor in their apartment, Moroccan… and Monroe because apparently she has a bit of a thing for the former actress.  You notice, she sure wasn’t going to name her Norma Jean. 

We’re waiting, scouring name sites and trying not to take clues from celebrities.  We would end up with an Eclectic for our house décor or maybe Orange, to go with Gweneth’s daughter Apple?  I did eat a massive amount of oranges during my first trimester.  What do you think?

We like different, {but not celebrity fake made up name different} so pretty much anything in the SSA Top names is out.  Call us traumatized, but as a Michelle and a Dave, we’re pretty sure that NOT being one of 5 others in your class with the same name would be great.  I am still shaking my fist at the makers of Glee for effing up Finn staying under the radar. 

So, I’m just putting it out there, name this baby, will ya?  I’m asking, begging really, throw a girl name {or twelve} our way.  Give us your suggestions, I’d love to hear them. 

Mother’s Day.

08 May 2011 | 0 Comments
It really sucked and I swear, kind of a lot in this post, so you’re warned.

We woke up late.  Only, I thought it was 7:10… which means I thought we woke up early.  Dave insists he told me it was 8:10 {but I just magically heard 7:10} so we lounged around before my mom called and I wondered why she was calling me before 8 am.  Turns out it was because it was shortly before 9 am.  I was the only one that had ironed anything and we all needed showers and the dog needed to be fed and our lounging quickly turned into complete and utter chaos.

I wish I had a million pretty pictures of all of the motherly loveliness, but I don’t have those because in every fucking picture I am wearing a dress that looks like a giant hideous tent.  No, really.  I felt like shit about the dress in the first place and everyone’s assurances that it looked “cute” made me feel like I was just being the crazy pregnant lady.  When I saw the photos after brunch though, I only felt totally disgusted and pissed that I wore it out in public, it was that bad.  Apparently, I must look like absolute shit all of the time for people to say that a sack hanging off of me looked good. 

Then I spent the whole day feeling really really alone. 

Instead of family time or doing something fun, Dave holed up in our bedroom pounding nails into the floor and Finn played games on PBS Kids.  I took a nap.  Dinner was talked about instead of made, and just lead to an argument to top it all off.  I ended up with cereal.

I also cried.  A lot.  Stupid sobbing snot filled hormonal awesomeness. 

I know I sound like a whiney bitch.  I just wanted you to know that things, they aren’t always perfect. 
There are days that you want a re-do.  There are days when you feel like hell, you feel empty, everything hurts right down to your soul, your husband feels a million miles away instead of like your partner, your pregnancy hormones are raging, and you just want a fucking hug that never comes.

Yes, there are even suck-filled Mother’s Days. 

My Janet.

06 May 2011 | 6 Comments

Anyone that knows her, acknowledges that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Mom, I love you for all of the 239,397 things that make you so very uniquely YOU.

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S'mores 141 Meg & Nick Wedding 123

Happy {early} Mother’s Day!


Make Your Own Nachos

05 May 2011 | 7 Comments

Happy Cinco de Mayo! 

This is such an easy lunch and a great project for little hands. 

Finnegan and Myles loved making their own nacho lunch.  We provided them with black beans, refried beans, seasoned ground beef, and two kinds of cheese and let them fill their nachos.  You can use whatever kind of tortilla chips that you like, here we used Scoops so they could fill them easily.  They took their nacho making duties very seriously, filling each to the very top with fillings.


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Then we popped them into the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  We topped with sour cream and served them alongside fresh avocado chunks and  fruit.


50 Things to Do With Kids in Toledo, Ohio

04 May 2011 | 39 Comments

Are you looking for something to do with kids in the Toledo, Ohio area?  I was shocked to find that there wasn’t a comprehensive list anywhere to be had of all the fun things to do with kiddos in our hometown.   

In an effort to beat the “there is NOTHING to do!” syndrome, take a look at all the fun places there are to explore, enough for an entire stay-cation and more. You will find activities for all seasons, some inside and some outdoors, and for kids of all ages.  Everything on the list is within an hour’s drive of the city.  If you’re a native Toledoan or just passing through for a day, I hope you can find something fun and interesting to do.  Some of these items are even FREE. 

50 Things To Do in Toledo for Kids

I have also included a {More} link at the end of the suggestions that I have featured before at So Wonderful, So Marvelous.  {It also made me realize how much I don’t write about, we’ve been to some of these places dozens of times!}  You can click the link to see photos and a personal account of some of our favorites.

  1. Take a class at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg, Ohio.   They have all sorts of creative class ideas for all ages from pottery to animals to camping!  You can also wander the grounds, they are absolutely beautiful, Virginia’s Garden is made especially for little ones.
  2. Fossil Park in Sylvania is completely FREE from the parking, to the park, to the fossils you find.  Young paleontologists can spend all day digging for treasures in a safe environment.  There are no tools permitted, however you can bring a brush or toothbrush to brush off your fossils, water to wash them off, and something to carry them home in.
  3. Visit Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio. Open late April through October, this ‘village’ takes you back in time to explore northwest Ohio as it was in the 1800’s.  Be sure to visit the old school house, the general store, & the little pioneer’s homestead, where the littlest guests can pretend to milk a cow.  {More} 
  4. The Toledo Zoo. Nature’s Neighborhood, animal feedings, and classes; there are tons of things to do in every season. The Lights Before Christmas are a favorite activity to start the Christmas season in our family. If you haven’t been to the zoo in the last two years, I urge you to visit. Here is another hint, buy a membership, after just two visits it pays for itself and offers perks such as free parking & discounts on classes!  {More} 
  5. Get down to the Jefferson Street Dock at Promenade Park to catch a Maumee River cruise on the Sandpiper!  From May to October you can also enjoy educational field trips and private parties in addition to the cruises open to the public.  Reservations are required.
  6. Imagination Station is a hands on science museum.  They are constantly bringing in new exhibits, but the old favorites like the high wire cycle and the giant piano are staples kids want to enjoy time and again.  They haven’t left out younger guests either, Little Kidspace has a grocery, hospital, water tables, and tons of other hands-on play experiences.
  7. Hit the playground!  Fort Imagination at Woodlands Park in Perrysburg, Ohio has a huge assortment of playground equipment.  It also boasts a great fenced in area for children under 5 to play away from the big kids.  Check out Monclova Park {located on Monclova Road across from St Luke’s Hospital} for sky high twisty slides and lots of fun equipment to climb all over.  Carr Park in Bedford, MI is another with great playground equipment to explore.  Please add your playground recommendations in the comments! 
  8. Make a visit to the Toledo Firefighters Museum.  Open on Saturdays from 12 – 4 pm {during the week by appointment only} in the old Number 18 fire house.  It boasts a fire education center where kids can learn how to escape a fire, as well as a collection of old pumps, a ladder truck, and vintage uniforms.
  9. Toledo Mud Hens Baseball Games are a Toledo tradition.  Kids run the bases Sundays after the game and all weekend games also offer fireworks.  You can join the Muddy’s Buddies Kids Club {FREE but quantities are limited} for special perks like ticket discounts.  The Hens love their young fans and their community, they also host coloring contests, baseball clinics, and scout sleepover nights at Fifth Third Field.  
  10. The Walleye Drop is a New Year tradition like no other.  Instead of the Times’ Square ball drop, the town of Port Clinton drops a 600 pound Walleye to ring in the year.  There are children’s activities, games, and a special early Walleye drop for little ones who can’t make it to midnight.
  11. Visit the Toledo Museum of Art; not only does our world class museum offer tons of art classes, they have special Family Time guided tours on Sundays.  Don’t forget a stop at the Family Center.  Each Tuesday and Thursday from 10 – 3 and Sunday from noon – 5:30, there are themed art activities & a spacious playroom with tons of interesting items to spark imagination.  Admission to the museum and Family Center activities are free, parking is $5. 
  12. Visit MacQueen’s Orchard in Maumee, OH or Erie Orchard in Erie, MI in the fall for apple picking and demonstrations on cider making.  Please note that both orchards also offer fall festivals with lots of children’s activities.  For a quiet afternoon picking apples, it’s best to go before the festivals because the trees tend to get picked over.  {More}
  13. Grab a blanket and head to Promenade Park for the Fourth of July Fireworks downtown! {More}
  14. University of Toledo Rockets Football Game.
  15. Children’s program at the Valentine Theater.  Each season they offer several programs that are meant for little ones and provides the perfect excuse to explore the renovated historic theater. 
  16. Explore WGTE, our local PBS station, for children’s events.  A few times a year {their big festival is in June} they host Family Fun Days that are free to the public.  They also share public appearances by kid favorites like Super Why!  You can also sign up for their WGTE Kids Text Alerts to receive the information directly to your phone.
  17. Bundle up, strap on your ice skates {or rent them there} and hit Ottawa Park for outdoor ice skating!  You can buy a pass for the season or just an afternoon of open skating.  There are also drop in hockey games and rink rental available.
  18. Would you rather keep your skating off the ice?  Ohio Skate and Swanton Coliseum offer roller skating year round for all ages.
  19. Toledo Symphony Family Concert Series.  This is a great idea for little musicians or for anyone that enjoys listening to music, each year the symphony offers several concerts made for little {and grown up} ears.  The Halloween Spooktacular is a must!
  20. Grab a hot dog at the world famous Tony Packo’s.  This is a Toledo institution, both the original location on the east side, and Packo’s at the Park in downtown.  See if you can spot your favorite star’s autograph on a hot dog bun!
  21. Is your little one a big reader?  The Toledo Public Library offers tons of options for fun.  There are FREE classes & special programs from preschool to teen at each branch.  The downtown branch offers a children’s library where you can find an aquarium, a life sized Sheep in a Jeep, Cat in the Hat, and all sorts of fun rooms to explore, there is even a special toddler room with toys and picture books.  Pack a lunch, bring a blanket and listen to musicians entertain you during the summer Brown Bag Concert Series at the downtown branch.  While all lunches in the series are family friendly, they usually offer one or two special children’s entertainers. 
  22. Explore the Toledo Metroparks.  There are classes  for every age group from Wee Workshops on different topics, to classes about birds or frogs, to monthly Full Moon Walks. Even little nature lovers can find a class to suit them, Toddler Trails is a nature walk for 18 month olds – 3 year olds and a parent.  Pack a picnic lunch with your friends, play on the playgrounds, enjoy the many nature trails, and winter activities such as cross country skiing.  Admission & parking is FREE, classes are a nominal fee.  A tip from my friend Karen, head to Side Cut park in Maumee in the evening {around 6 – 8 pm} to do some deer watching, they love the river side of the park!  {More}
  23. Toledo Walleye Hockey games are another fun family activity.  There are tons of theme nights for kids and don’t forget to have your picture taken with Spike and Cattrick!
  24. The German American Fest is arguably the biggest and best festival in the Toledo area.  Each year nearly 35,000 visitors flock to Oak Shade Grove to have a taste of potato pancakes, schnitzel, and other German delicacies.  Sunday afternoons are the best for children and usually are less expensive. 
  25. Toledo Speedway offers ARCA racing to enjoy.  There are special kids nights where young fans are given free admission and other perks.
  26. Ritter Planetarium-Brooks Observatory at the University of Toledo.  Public children’s programs {for all ages} run each Saturday at 1:00 pm from September through May.  They also have Scout programs and School programs from preschool through high school. 
  27. Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is a world class amusement park.  They are most known for the crazy roller coasters, but did you know they also offer tons of options {and greatly reduced ticket prices!} for their smallest guests?  They have Camp Snoopy, family shows, the junior Gemini area, kiddy kingdom and their newest kid’s area Planet Snoopy.  If you want to make it a weekend trip, there are plenty of hotels in the area and Soak City is a fun outdoor water park for cooling off on hot summer days. {More} {More}
  28. Providence Park in Grand Rapids, Ohio offers the Isaac Ludwig Grist Mill & Canal Boat rides.  In addition to the canal experience, you will find a working limestone lock, characters in period attire, a general store, and Providence Dam to explore.
  29. Toledo Botanical Garden boasts amongst many others, a shade garden, aquatic garden, a rose garden, as well as a unique pioneer garden with a log cabin.  They offer a summer education series for children ages 6 – 12  where they can explore classes on life as a pioneer, pottery, and other fun topics.  Don’t forget to check out the Crosby Festival of the Arts in June!
  30. At Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio there are trails to walk, picnics to be had, golfing, swimming, and tons of other activities for kids of all ages.  Don’t forget to check out the Nature Center!  In the winter, you can cross country ski, ice skate, and sled then warm up with a hot chocolate in the lodge.  Make it more than a day trip,  you can rent cabins, stay in the lodge, or try your hand at camping in one of the 252 campsites.  
  31. The Willis B Boyer museum ship is free to tour for those 10 and under.  A lake freighter retired in 1980, the ship was turned into the largest museum ship on the inland seas.
  32. One of our family’s favorites is the Toledo Farmer’s Market, we’re there nearly every Saturday of the summer.  It is a great way to introduce your children to healthy food choices fresh from local farms.  There are even special events all summer long including several kids days where they can try yoga, pet farm animals, play games, and have a story time.  Don’t forget a Flying Rhino Coffee for mom & dad while you wander through the market!  {More{More}
  33. For presidential and history buffs, the Rutheford B Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, is for you!  Discover everything there is to know about our 19th president.  The center boasts the Hayes Home a 31 room mansion, the Hayes Museum, as well as the well kept grounds of Spiegel Grove, all are open year round for tours. 
  34. Toledo and Lake Erie Western Railway & Museum in Waterville is a must for train enthusiasts.  You can board the Blue Bird for a 60 minute, 15 mile ride around northwest Ohio. All aboard!
  35. Head back to the War of 1812 at Ft Meigs Battlefield in Perrysburg, Ohio.  The current site hosts a Museum & Education center, four blockhouses, a stockade, and a museum store.  The grounds are extensive and offer interpretive signs to explain the early events of the War of 1812.
  36. The second Sunday in October the town of Grand Rapids plays host to the annual Apple Butter Fest.  There are crafts, applebutter making demonstrations, every apple food you can think of, pioneer demonstrations, and a great children’s area with shows and entertainment for the little ones.
  37. Are you faced with a rainy or snowy day?  Sylvania Playland offers an indoor playground and tons of inflatables to bounce the energy out.
  38. Plan a visit to the amazing Butterfly House in Whitehouse, Ohio.  From May until September learn about the lifecycle of the butterfly and surround yourself with over 100 different species of butterflies.  
  39. Pack up your kids and the car and head to a drive in movie!  Both Sundance Kid Drive In in Oregon, Ohio and  Field of Dreams Drive In in Liberty Center, Ohio offer first run movies in a fun drive in atmosphere.  There is usually an early child-friendly show followed by one for the grown ups, check the schedule for movie times.  
  40. Put-In-Bay is a fabulous day trip from Toledo.  Hop on the Jet Express or on the Miller Ferry for the short ride over to the island.  Explore the island by bicycle {or a tandem!} or by golf cart, both are available for rent on the island.  Be sure to check out Oliver Hazard Perry Memorial.  For some games and fun head over to Perry’s Cave for a tour, gemstone mining, butterfly house, miniature golf and other fun activities.  There is also a great playground, picnic tables, and canons to climb on in DiRivera Park where you can enjoy the water view.
  41. Head out to the fields for an afternoon of strawberry picking at Johnston Fruit Farms in Swanton, Ohio or Polter’s Berry Farm in Fremont, Ohio.  Even little hands can help choose the juiciest berries.  Strawberry season is usually late May and early to mid-June here in the Toledo area.  {More} 
  42. Explore life as the early settlers did at the Wollcot House complex in Maumee, Ohio.  Visit the Wollcot House, original to the property, a train depot, country church, log cabin, and other buildings that now reside on the property.  They even offer a History Day Camp in the summer for 3rd – 6th graders.
  43. Why not hit the water park in the middle of winter?  You can choose from four indoor water parks in the area, Splash Bay in Maumee, Kalahari Resorts or Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky or Splash Universe in Dundee.  Each offers day passes to the water park as well as overnight accommodations if you want to make it a mini vacation.
  44. The African Safari and Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio is a unique way to spend an afternoon.  In addition to the animal shows, pony rides, & jungle junction playland,  the main attraction is the drive through safari park where you can get up close and personal with the animals and even feed them a snack.
  45. The Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky is sure to make your head spin.  You can see the creation of new carousel animals as they’re being carved, unusual carousel animals, and of course the 1939 Allan Herschell refurbished carousel.
  46. The Toledo Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker is the longest running annual production in the United States.  I remember seeing this as a child and went back as an adult, it’s a wonderful Christmastime outing for girls and boys alike.  The costumes, the music, and of course the dancing are mesmerizing.  
  47. The American Civil War Museum of Ohio in Tiffin, Ohio is a family friendly museum that offers over 10,000 square feet of space.  Talking, laughing, learning and enjoying yourself is encouraged here.  There are over 40 hands on exhibits, an extensive research library, and you can even dress up in reproduction Civil War uniforms.  {YES, photography is allowed!} 
  48. Snooks Dream Car Museum in Bowling Green, Ohio offers the chance to jump back in time and to explore tons of cool cars. 
  49. Pemberville Free Fair is a fun event with a small town feel.  They have everything from games and food, to a youth talent show, to a Big Wheel race, to a FREE kids’ zone for children 5th grade and under.  For 2011, it is August 18-21, with the kiddie parade at 6:30 on the 18th. 
  50. Toledo Train Day is a great way to spend a few hours.  Once a year, Toledo’s Amtrack Station in downtown plays host to a full day of every kind of train imaginable from exploring real engines to sleeper cars to model trains that you must see to believe.  Everything is free from admission to parking.  You can find more info on the TMACOG site and here is a link to the flyer from the 2011 event. 

I hope you enjoyed this list and have found one or two activities to share with your kids.  Feel free to share with your friends, just click on the little share icons below to easily post on Facebook, Twitter, or to e-mail.  If there is anything that you love to do in Toledo that I may have missed, please add new ideas to the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

I bought diapers, now someone return my sanity.

03 May 2011 | 14 Comments
After my panic of last week, I bought diapers.  Two big {Expensive!  Why don’t I remember how expensive diapers are??} boxes of diapers at Target.  Then I got into a fight with Dave because he wanted to put them in the basement and I don’t want them to smell like basement and he said, “why do you care if they smell like basement if she is going to shit in them?”  But I don’t want her butt to smell like basement so they are living in the dining room with the entire contents of our bedroom… yes… still.

I also bought 1100 wipes at Costco.  That should last her about the first month, right? 
And baby wash… though WTF Huggies Natural Care, WHERE did you go?  Probably hanging out with the All Baby Detergent that apparently disappeared as well.  Those were two of my favorite baby items with Finnegan and both are gone?  Bastards.  Now if I want that baby smell on her clothes I guess I am going to have to sell a kidney and buy Dreft? 

My sister also came over to go through countless giant boxes of baby crap.  It turns out that we have towels and tiny little baby socks and those thin flannel-y  blankets that are fabulous for swaddling.  We also have a surprising amount of clothes that are gender neutral enough for her to use. 

The rest I packed up and sent to my cousin’s house.  {Remember they have boy #3 arriving just a couple weeks before baby girl.}  It was liberating and I’ve got to say, bittersweet.  I can’t believe I will never have another boy.  I did pull a few very special things out that most reminded me of his infancy and put them in a box to keep for Finn.

I scheduled a hair appointment and I’m going to schedule my prenatal massage for this week.  I also scheduled every OB appointment until her due date.  People, there are just FIVE left.  By the end of the week, she will have an actual scheduled birthday.  

Wait… what?  You mean we’re actually having a baby? 

Dave and I were talking about how incredibly weird this feeling of impending parenthood is this time around.  Neither of us felt this anxious or petrified really if we’re being honest here, when we were awaiting Finn.  I blame it on the fact that the first time, no matter how prepped you think you are, you have no fucking clue what you’re in for.  I remember driving to the hospital to have Finn and just thinking, oh I hope I like him and he likes me.  Seriously, all you first time Mamas, bask in the glory of your cluelessness because the second time around you know what is coming… once they are out they are so much work, you know the sleeplessness, the pain of the shower hitting your newly engorged boobs, the fact that you will not eat a hot meal for the first six months, the poop, the frustration, it’s all coming for you. 

You just have to hope and pray that the baby giggles, the cooing, the snuggling and the sweet smell of newness {even if you have to sell a kidney to pay for it} make up for all the other stuff.

Edited to add... this is from Huggies because I am THAT crazy lady that asks WHY my favorite shit is gone...
Dear Michelle,
Thanks for your e-mail about HUGGIES® Bath and Body products.
Due to a marked decline in consumer preference, we are no longer manufacturing HUGGIES® Bath & Body products. These products were discontinued in 2009.  We regret that some of our loyal customers will be disappointed and apologize for any inconvenience.
With the hope that you will continue to use Kimberly-Clark products, we are sending you some cost-saving coupons through the mail.  Thanks again for contacting us and for giving us an opportunity to respond.  We value you as our customer.

JeanConsumer Services, Kimberly-Clark Corp.Lead the world in essentials for a better life.


02 May 2011 | 6 Comments

I know this is all anyone will be talking about for the next few days, bear with me for just a moment.  Osama Bin Laden has been killed.  This man has been responsible for thousands upon thousands of deaths, not only on 9/11, but in attacks around the world.  It’s shocking, it’s certainly not anything I thought I would be writing about much too late on a Sunday evening.

The moment it was released by the media, I started to think back to that day ten years ago.  It’s amazing what your mind will do.  I was sitting at work when my boss came into my office.  We were initially in shock about the plane hitting the tower, it had to be an accident, right?  There was speculation about what kind of idiot wouldn’t be able to miss a building.  When the second plane hit we saw it live, people started to panic, started to realize, and by the time the Pentagon was hit they were evacuating our building and sending everyone home.  Airplanes were grounded at whatever airports were closest.  People were glued to their TVs, they were crying, they were in shock.

It was absolutely surreal that day and the days to follow, the first time in my lifetime, that war was brought to our shores.  It was terrifying, it was simply unfathomable the magnitude of death and destruction. 

Every single person who remembers that day was affected, each one a victim on so many levels.  Reality changed.

In the ten years since the attacks, people have softened in remembering, time passes and you start to forget.  But not for those families of those who were killed.  Every single day their loved one is gone. 

Bin Laden’s death isn’t going to bring those people back to their families. 

Those Navy Seals, President Obama, all of the people responsible for the accurate intelligence, they were just doing their jobs.  A job ten years in the making.

I don’t know that there needs to be jubilee or celebration, but I hope it brings some closure.  Some peace.

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