Thursday, March 26, 2015

Girl on a Mission

It has been a while.  What has sparked my desire to start blogging again is my recent decision to travel across the world to Madagascar.  My Church Harvest Ridge is sending a group of people to Madagascar to help build a church (that is the primary reason for going, nobody can be too sure what God will have us doing once we arrive there).  I have always felt a desire to do missions work and was called very early in my life to do that work.  Unfortunately I made my own plans in the past and ventured off the course.  But that course gave me a beautiful, amazing, daughter and has allowed me to grow and I am working on getting back on course.  

So a trip to Madagascar is not cheap.  I have spent some time trying to think of creative ways to fund raise for this trip.  I definitely would rather not just send out letters to friends and family asking for donations.  So I did what all young people (yep I'm still young) do when they are looking for answers... I google'd it and came up with this website called bonfire funds.  The person, or organization, that is trying to raise money designs a t-shirt and then the website sells the t-shirt and the organization gets a portion of the profits from the t-shirts. Here is the link to where the shirt can be purchased.  It is pretty basic, but I wanted to use the colors in the flag of Madagascar.  

I also plan on making some crafty items and selling them.  Some of these items include Peek-a-Boo Pumpkin seat covers and swaddler wraps. So if you know of anyone having a baby (if you work at my hospital you certainly know someone) feel free to reach out and contact me to make something awesome for you!

I wanted to thank everyone in advance for your support and for helping live out this dream I have had for a VERY long long time.  - Mommy Spooner

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Keeping The "Special"

Here is a photo of "Nin-ty" and a
much smaller Little Spooner
Today I got "nin-ty" (that is Little Spooner speak for her blanket) literally thrown in my face.  I was resting on the couch while we let our lunch settle and took in some "Muppets Most Wanted". I may or may not have been dozing off a little, but Little Spooner was snuggling right along side of me.  After the movie ended I asked her to turn off the television and we would go outside to play... which was quickly prompted by a grunt, foot stomp and nin-ty in my face (not playfully thrown either).  The first words out of my mouth were, (stated ever so calmly) "you better get in your room".  I went into her room 5 minutes later and she was out like a light.  I do not think she has ever acted this way, EVER.
Stunned is probably the best way to describe how I was feeling.  To quote one of my favorite movies from my younger years, "who throws his shoe?".  I can usually put up with a lot... For a 5 year-old she can try to be quite manipulative.  I can handle the "I miss my Daddy" when I am not letting her have her way, or how quick she can flip from smiley/happy to the biggest crocodile tears you have every seen this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.  All that, while unacceptable, I can handle.

Geauga County Fair... Shortly after this she asked if she could
get a cow.  As "un-country" as Avon has become maybe we
could bring back the 4-H
I feel like I do a pretty decent job as a single Mom.  We do lots of fun things (just yesterday we went to the Geauga County Fair, we've been kayaking, going to the zoo, movies in the park, swimming).  While I feel it is important to do fun things, it is just as important to appreciate staying home.  I know the "competition" I am up against when it comes to fun activities, or the amount of toys that are being bought, or types of gifts being purchased.  I was raised, for the most part, staying home and playing outside or inside with my toys.  My parents did not feel the need to constantly be entertaining us by

taking us to fun places on a weekly/daily basis.  When we did fun things or went to fun places it was greatly appreciated and most of all SPECIAL. When these types of things become expected, where is the "special"?
My parents took us to the fair, and took us amusement parks when we were of age/size.  They did not take us to Cedar Point until we were tall enough to ride a majority of the rides (what a waste of money to take small children there when they cannot even ride half of the rides). We had fun family vacations, and they took us camping.  I do not feel like I was cheated out of my childhood because I didn't go to Chuck-E-Cheese on a regular basis, or taken to concerts with pop stars where we sat in the front row (oh yeah this happened, even against my better judgement as her Mother), or constantly doing SOMETHING fun.
I guess my question is, when we spoil our children like this now when they are so young, where do you go from here? Is there a precedent being set? I constantly feel like Little Spooner "expects" me to entertain her.  At times it is like she is unable to just play with her toys in her room without my full undivided attention.  There are days that I am amazed that I get anything done at all due to her constant whining of being "bored" or having "nothing to do".  I feel like I am at my wits end as far as what to do anymore.  I gave up a looong time ago trying to be the "fun" parent, because I know that later in Little Spooners life, it is not only going to be the "fun" times that shape who she is as a person.  Sure she will remember some of the fun things, but she won't remember how many times I did or didn't take her to Kiddy Park or how many times I did not buy her a stuffed animal at the zoo.  All I can do is hope she will remember the important things, and the life lessons that I am going to try to teach her, and hopefully I can still keep some some things "special" for her.
Do you ever feel like you are at your wits end trying to keep up with the Jones's when it comes to entertaining your kids?? What are some fun things that you do around the house to make staying home fun? Or better yet, what are some budget friendly excursions you take your kids on so that you don't have to break your budget? - Mommy Spooner (this entire post was written while Little Spooner slept off her rage)

Friday, August 15, 2014

My New "Thing"

Think long and hard about this... Do you have a "thing"? By "thing" I mean a hobby, or something that makes you, you? Some people have photography, running, painting, building, gardening, reading, etc... That is their "thing".  I was honestly thinking the other day about how I don't really have a "thing".  I work, and I take care of Little Spooner, but what could my "thing" be? I do not want to be defined by my career, and as much as I love being a mom and that is a good majority of who I am, it is not the "whole" me. I "enjoy" working out, but not to the extent that it is my "thing"... the last thing people probably think about when they hear my name is "exercise", lol. The second to last thing they probably think about is "outdoors"... For a girl who has a serious case of Ichthyophobia, I would probably be the last person you would think of who's "thing" would be what I am about to share with you... As long as I can remember I have LOVED being out on the water.  If I'm on a boat, I am a happy girl.  The idea to even try what I am about to share with you, came about last year.  Unfortunately I never made it out to give it a try.  This year I was determined, and on a sunny Wednesday afternoon I'm pretty sure I found my "thing".  

With one my Besties in tow, Little Spooner and I set out on our first ever kayaking adventure down the Rocky River! Little Spooner was hesitant at first, and not incredibly excited about the idea of kayaking (but I'm pretty sure she had no idea what a kayak was). With one trip, I was hooked and so was she.  It was not nearly as difficulty paddling as I had anticipated, or perhaps the Pure Barre classes I had taken (over a month ago) really did improve my upper arm and core strength! 

I loved it so much I went out alone, early on the following Saturday morning and had coffee on the river! Who would have thunk such a thing would be happening? It is like the water has been calling me to it this summer, and I have finally answered the call.  While I have taken my phone the past couple of times to capture pictures/memories, it is so liberating to leave the phone in the car, and escape for an hour or so.  I look forward to the day that Little Spooner and I have our own kayak, and can go exploring longer/bigger rivers, and eventually she can have her own and we can do this together.

Muh Spooner getting in on the kayaking action!

We have rented kayaks at two different places.  The first one was 41 North in the Rocky River Reservation portion of The Metroparks.  Then Jenn and I rented from West River Kayak in Vermillion (just across the bridge and under the water tower). You really cannot beat the cost to rent a kayak, for a single it is $15/hour plus $5 for each additional half hour. The tandem is $20 an hour with $5 each additional $5/hr. They also rent paddle boards, which I am pretty sure you will never catch me on one of those.  

It makes my heart feel good when I ask Little Spooner what she wants to do today, and she responds excitedly, "can we go kayaking?!??!".  Do you have a thing? What is it, or what would you like it to be? What do you want people to think of when they hear your name? I hope to become more outdoorsy, and embrace the nature and beauty around me, and to help slow down Little Spooners and my days together.  She's only little once, right? I have also been doing a lot of soul searching lately, and really focusing on what Gods plan for my life could be.  Why am I in this place, embracing this phase of my life, and how is God going to use me where I am right now. I have been reading "The Resolution for Women" by Priscilla Shirer and I have really enjoyed the insights she shares. 

Some more home projects, and pletny more adventures are coming up, stay tuned!- Mommy Spooner

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mammoth Cave

No we did not fall off the face of the Earth.  Little Spooner and I are still alive and kicking! :) Literally, and soon-to-be figuratively! Our summer has been quite full, and INCREDIBLY fun! We have done all sorts of stuff, kid-friendly G-rated fun! I been trying to make it a point to get in touch with my 41/2 year old self to really figure out how to help her enjoy her summer... So I have been thinking about stuff that would be fun to do when you are 4. Do you ever feel like you juts aren't connecting with your kids? I feel so awful sometimes because I am probably the WORST Barbie player, ever.  I was not even very good at it when I was little... I just liked to brush their hair and change their clothes. Usually someone else had a "plot" for playing, I just kind of went along with it...
Anyways so one of our first big adventures of the summer was a trip to visit our southern "kin-folk", the HERMONS! It was my favorite Little Mans 2nd Birthday!! Holy cow! I cannot even believe he is this big.. A lot sure has happened in 2 years! I remember the day he was born just like it was yesterday. Little Spooner, Nana, and I packed up the Jetta (I  never blogged about the new car, and probably should have since it is a dream come true) and hauled it down to Tennessee! We had a lot of fun visiting, and getting to see Auntie Coles big belly.  It always melts my heart to see their faces light up when Little Spooner and Little Man see each other for the first time! Just shows the true bond of family. Wish we could see them more!
If ya'll didn't know, that's my
nephew B.I. in there!

After a VERY brief visit, Little Spooner and I left Nana in TN and headed back north. Being the daughter of my father, I thought how fun it would be to take Little Spooner through Mammoth Cave National Park in Ken-ducky (if you ask Little Spooner).  This is something I remember doing on our way down to Oklahoma one year (not Mammoth Cave, but a different cavern), and she's at a pretty fun age where this stuff is pretty cool! So we made our way back into Mammoth Cave National Park... quite the hike form the highway I must say.  It went from pouring rain to 100% humidity in about 15 minutes on our drive to the cave.  After we bought our tickets, we waited for our tour to leave.  We had a really funny guide which was nice.  We then walked down to the cave opening.  Where it went from sticky, sweaty, humidity, to feeling like air conditioning was being pumped out of the ground. As I stared into the large hole in the ground all I kept thinking was "You're not claustrophobic, you are only several hundred feet below the ground, if anything happens you are only surround by 30 other people who will all be running like maniacs"... It was like the moment you realize that you are afraid of getting stuck in an elevator once the elevator door doesn't open at work. It took us a little while to adjust to the cold once we got into the cave... not to mention our eyes adjusting to the darkness.  There was no flash photography allowed, so I apologize for the quality of the photos... 
"pre-cave" entrance
I do not remember anyone giving warning about people being too tall or too "large" (if you will).  There were some parts that would have been a tight squeeze for some.  Not to mention the large staircase we had to ascend to get back up. All-in-all this took us 2 hours to walk through, and it was only a 2 mile tour! The lady at the ticket booth said this is the tour most school groups take... who let's their kids go into a cave without them!?!?! :-) I see a lot of school field trip "chaperoning" in my future!- and I'm looking forward to them!
Going through, Fat Mans Misery

Fat Mans Misery... super narrow passage way.
She said she was "feeling very tall"
Have you visited anywhere fun this summer that is kid and budget friendly? I feel like I have spent a lot of this summer introducing Little Spooner to new things, and I am okay with that.  Future posts to come in regards to many more things that we are trying! I hope everyone is having a fun, yet safe summer!- Mommy Spooner
After squeezing through Fat Mans Misery

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Coming... NOW!

These are only a few of the newer
patters for summer!
Ok.. So I have facebook'd about it... started a fb page about it... posted pictures... so now I need to blog about it (natural progression).
I recently signed up as a consultant for an up-and-coming company called Honey & Lace.  Here are the background details.... My friend Julie turned me on to this company, and if anyone knows me they know my not-so-secret addiction to Maxi Skirts. So this company was started by a Mother who wanted to provide her daughter with a skirt that was stylish yet comfortable (who doesn't love that?).  What started out as just a small company that sold in boutiques (Julie discovered them on Zulilly actually), has turned into a direct sales company.  H&L is only about 2 years old.  When I inquired with the company about starting as a consultant the CEO Diane Ingram is the person who called me back directly.  That is the second thing that sold me on this company... the first was the awesome maxi's (duh!).

Girls leggings

H&L not only has maxi skirts, they have pencil skirts, leggings and dresses.  But wait, there's more! They also have really cute skirts and leggings for your mini-me! Which I love!  One thing about the company though is that they operate on a boutique scale, so there is a limited amount of all patterns and skirts, so if you see it today and don't get it, it could potentially be sold out tomorrow.

So here is how it works...
1. Buy directly from the website.  You can visit Honey & Lace to find what you are looking for, and peruse what is available on-line. Sizes range from XS-XXL. If you order from the site, use the code: JESSICASHL (all caps) at check-out time and you will receive 10% off your entire order.  Downside to this is you have to pay shipping & handling, and you may not have as much of a variety to chose from.  You are kind of at the mercy of what is posted on the site.
2. Host a Home Boutique... I know I know, you've had so many 31, Tupperware, and Pampered Chef parties to last a lifetime.... but trust me when I tell you this is different.  What will happen is you will invite your friends over, I bring the skirts, and you all get to try them on and pick and choose what you want.  You pay right then and there, and potentially get to take it home that night (pending what inventory I have that day)! It's shopping with your friends without having to find a parking spot at the mall! Not only that, but you will have access to newer prints that may not even be posted on-line, and I have a direct contact with the warehouse to pull aside the items that you want.
More samples of patterns that are available, but not on
the site yet!
3. Ask me to see the goods! You can message me, call me, email me, fb me, instagram me, tweet @ me (true story- you could even yell "hey Jenn" from across the room and I will turn around because for some reason a lot of people think my name is Jenn)... however you can get a hold of me do it, and I will bring the stuff to you!

So if my excitement about this is not conveying well I apologize, because I am SOOOOOOOO excited about this! I am excited to see where this takes me.  For many of you who have tried the Direct Sales "thing" in the past you may roll your eyes at this, but I want people to join my team.  If you have any interest at all in the company or just love the way the product looks let me know.  I can explain further why this is a great time to get involved with this little company... you will be surprised!

So there it is folks! That's what I am up to these days!- Mommy Spooner (@Mommy_Spooner on Twitter)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mothers Day Post

Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms!  So I am a day late in posting this... but Mothers Day was yesterday.  I would have posted this yesterday, but I was exhausted and in bed by 9:30 after an amazing weekend with Little Spooner.  Our weekend was filled with the International Children's Festival downtown, 2 plays, Brunch at Market in Rocky River, swimming and dance class.
Last Mothers Day I reflected on how amazing my Mother is.  This Mothers Day I was reflecting a lot on how I would not be a Mother if it were not for Little Spooner.  It is because of her that I try so hard, and because of her that I constantly am trying to think of ways to better myself to be the best example for her.  Lord knows where I would be right now if I didn't have her to anchor me, and keep me in check.  Sometimes all it takes is a glance from her and I know she is saying "I love you mom", or a quick grab of my hand to cause my eyes to well-up with a few tears.  She truly is amazing, smart, funny, and caring little girl.  Before you are a Mom you only think you know what real, unadulterated, unfiltered love is... but really you have no idea. While surfing through the MOPS blog "Hello, Darling" I came upon this music video by JJ Heller- I Dream of you.  It kind of hi-jacked the original post that I had started (not to mention drove me to tears, how cute are those little girls).  The original post was going to highlight all of the fun things we did this past weekend, but honestly my favorite part of this weekend was just being "present" with her.  The Children's Festival downtown was fun. Brunch with our family was delicious.  We even took in a play with Nana.  It was all great and memorable, but the best part was not being distracted.

There are a few things that I am trying to change to better myself as a Mom.  I am currently making a pledge to be more "present" in my life, so I am trying my hardest to avoid a lot of things... I have come to realize that next year she will be in school half of a day, and the year after that she will be gone all day, so there is not a lot of time left to savor the moments at home or out and about exploring the world together.  So that is my goal for the next year.  When I am with Little Spooner, I am going to be "with" her, not just in the same room, or distracted.  Sure there are times when the laundry needs folded, or the bathroom needs cleaned, etc... but the times when its her and I, I want us to engage in each others presence.  I want to establish a relationship that is open, and she can feel safe to discuss anything with me.  As she gets older it might not stay the same, but I want her to look forward to our afternoons together. When we sit down to dinner I want there to be conversation not just about the day but about life, instead of each of us staring into our phones or eating in silence.

We are not supposed to compare ourselves to other moms or women, but I am sure we all suffer from the same amount of Mom-guilt at times.  What is one way that you think you could enrich the relationship you  have with your kids?- Mommy Spooner

Monday, May 5, 2014


This weekend I was introduced to possibly the BEST guacamole I have ever tasted, on top of a few other things.  If you know me, you know that me and avocados do not exactly get along (even though I do love their taste).  They just cause me to feel a little "off" if you will.

We enjoyed a nice dinner out at El Carnicero.  El Carnicero is the newest member of Eric Williams' (owner and chef extraordinaire) restaurant family (also owns Momocho, in Ohio City, and Happy Dog).  We actually had the pleasure of being able to meet Eric himself as he made his way around the restaurant.  The restaurant is located in the old McCarthy's in Lakewood on Detroit Rd for those who might like enjoy traveling to Ohio City where parking is not always convenient.  Parking at this particular location can be a little tricky, but the wait is well worth it.  The decor of the place was pretty cool as well.  Luchador (mexican wrestler) masks displayed nicely in the old DJ booth, along with some behind the bar.  The graphic art on th walls too was really neat, and the lighting was perfect (not too dark).

We were lucky enough to get a spot right outside the restaurant on the street.  The wait was only 30 minutes for a table, so we had a seat at the bar.  Being the indecisive female that I am, I went with the margarita sampler.  It was hard to narrow it down to 3, but I went with the pineapple, strawberry rhubarb, and the tradicional.  I was most excited to try the strawberry rhubarb and was not disappointed.  The tradicional was also amazing, you cannot go wrong with a traditional margarita.  The pineapple was delicious as well, but the other two were by far my favorites.  Not to mention the really cool "las vegas-esqe" tequila sign over the bar.

With our drinks we ordered the goat cheese guac which was incredibly creamy, and the goat cheese added a sharpness to the guac... amazeballs is the only way to describe it.  The chips were warm and hearty, not flimsy and thin like at most restaurants.  I could have ate the entire bowl of guac by myself... (note to self, NEVER go here alone... or DO IT).

For entrees I got the Camaron taquitos, and Music Man go the Barriga taquitos.  His was MUCH better than mine, mostly because it was pork belly and tasted like bacon (I'm pretty sure bacon out ranks most things). The one thing that did not get it's own picture was the papas fritas that we split. Skinny shoestring fries covered in Chimichurri sauce (which I have never had before and now want to put it on EVERYTHING).

Other than the guac, and the margaritas and the food, my last favorite part of this restaurant is this "piece de resistance" (my keyboard does not type french)..... A divider wall that is made from the pallets/crates that the avocados are shipped in.  I kind of feel like my house needs one of these... lol. Perhaps outside on the deck I can make one into a privacy wall??? This would be awesome.  The space itself has the same layout as McCarthy's, but this is DEFINITELY NOT McCarthy's anymore... The great part was is that I still remembered where the bathrooms were, and the girls is even a little bigger than before :)

Have you eaten anywhere new lately? If so where and what was your favorite part?- Mommy Spooner