A visit to the Fire Station

Did you know that you can visit your local fire station for a free tour any time? All it takes is a courtesy phone call to let them know you are coming and the knowledge that if there is a call, they will have to end the fun early.

I got in touch with the fire chief of our local station (Worthington) and he was happy to let me know that for their station, early evening is the best time for visits. We were excited to pack up the kids after work and head out. Firefighting runs in the family, and Matt often regrets not going into it straight out of high school. Maybe Rhys will carry on the tradition.

We went in through the office door, where there is a waiting area with fun things to browse. This time of day is not my kids' shining behavior hour, but the staff was very patient with us. Even when Rhys hauled it down the hallway and into a bedroom.

The truck had just come back from a run, so they needed a few minutes to get ready, and then Firefighter Dunn came to greet us. He gave the kids their own hats and we made our way to the garage.

I wasn't expecting the kids to be as apprehensive as they were, so they were a little whiny and shy. I guess seeing the enormous equipment in person is a bit of a shock for the first time, and Larkyn was sure that the siren would go off any minute. Everyone was so friendly, even sharing their knowledge of Peppa Pig!

We got to see all the different vehicles, he asked the kids questions to engage them, and offered for them to try a few things (neither was willing, but maybe next time!)

This was a perfect experience for my little firetruck-lover and for big sis to see that firefighters are friendly and not to be feared. Matt and I also learned a lot, and we stopped for a quiet (or not) moment at the memorial outside the museum. The whole experience led to great conversations about honoring public servants like firefighters.

If you plan a visit, please make sure to call your local department ahead of time. If you have a child like Rhys, you might be interested in having a birthday party at the Upper Arlington station or the Central Ohio Fire Museum

The BIG Cbus Kids Spring List

It is finally here! SPRING in Columbus can run the gamut from flip flops to snow boot weather. But one thing is for sure; there are tons of things you and your family can do to keep busy during the last few months of school. A lot of them seem to be indoors, as many outdoor events are not scheduled for these unpredictable spring weekends.

As always, I have organized these by date. Enjoy and as always, I will be adding to the list as local businesses adjust their spring calendars:


You can find tons of Easter egg hunts just by googling or using this listing

Franklin Park Conservatory
Worthington Library Chick checks (throughout March and April)
Stop in the children's area to see how the baby chicks are growing.

Metro Parks
March brings a spring break scavenger hunt at Blendon Woods, Pre-K story time at Scioto Audubon, and even and Easter egg hunt at Slate Run. Any day is a good day to go to a Metro Park!

Culinary Institute of Piccadilly (3/24)

Peter Rabbit Party at the Powell Library (3/25)

Our Cupcakery Mini Pastry Chef Baking Camps (3/25-3/26)

Eggs Paws and Claws at the Columbus Zoo (3/25-3/26)

Hippy Hop Flying Pancake Breakfast and Bunny Run (3/26)
You must register for this breakfast and run at the Franklin County Fairgrounds

Make and Take Bunny Tic Tac Toe (3/26)
The Columbus Michael's locations offer an easy craft class that the kids can enjoy while you shop inside Michael's for your Easter and spring decor ideas. Click the link to sign up at your closest store.

Kids Can! Cooking classes at Glass Rooster Cannery (3/29-3/31)
Kids learn how to cook favorites such as tacos and appetizers, and then get to take it home.

Westerville Library Muppet Matinee  (3/30)

ZenKids Toddler and preschool art classes (3/31)


Franklin Park Conservatory
  • Thursday Preschool Programs
  • Very Hungry Caterpillar 4/2
  • Butterfly Sand Art 4/9 ($2)
  • Butterfly Umbrellas 4/16
  • Tulips and Tutus 4/23
  • Our Zoo to You 4/30
Metro Parks
In April, look forward to sheep shearing and lamb time at Slate Run, frogs and toads at Three Creeks, and trucks, tractors and worms at Blacklick Woods.

Little Princess Dash and Lady Tutu 5K (4/2)
Easton Town Center
This race is for girl under 8 years old and benefits Make A Wish.

Paper Moon Art Studio Toddler Time  (Mondays starting 4/4)

Paper Moon Art Studio Pre-K Art Play  (Wednesdays starting 4/6)

Pickerington Kiddo Art with Anna (4/5 and every Tue at 4:15)
This Art with Anna class for kids grades K-8 is held at Epiphany Lutheran Church, but you don't need to be a member. 

Snoopy! presented by Columbus Children's Theatre (4/7-4/24)

Columbus Clippers (4/7 is Opening Day!)

Westerville Mom and Me Tea (4/9)

Eric Litwin Presentation (4/11)
If your kids love Pete the Cat, register your family to come see Mr. Eric present and then have your favorite books signed. You MUST register!

Music Class at Little Skipper's Play cafe (4/11 and every other Monday 10-11 am)

Little Peacasso Art class at Peapod play cafe (4/14)

Free Cone Day at Velvet Ice Cream (to celebrate opening for the season) (4/16)

Fairytale Luncheon at the Columbus Zoo (4/23)

Clintonville Farmers Market (4/30 and every Saturday after)


Franklin Park Conservatory
Metro Parks
May brings the Central Ohio Folk Music Festival at Battelle Darby, an evening family hike at Glacier Ridge, and family fun night at Highbanks.

Worthington Farmers Market (every Saturday starting in May)

Ohio Railway Museum opening day (5/1)

Cats Presented by Columbus Children's Theatre (5/5-5/15)

Touch a Truck (5/6)

Green on the Green (5/7)
Vendors and exhibits that teach families how to protect our planet

Ohio Railway Museum National Train Day 

Upper Arlington Spring Fling (5/21)

Velvet Ice Cream Festival (5/24, 25, 26)
Much more than just ice cream: A parade, live music, vendors, magic shows and more!

Columbus Asian Festival (5/28-29)
Franklin Park--downtown

Worthington Memorial Day Parade (5/30)

Don't forget about these ongoing activities:

Free Sundays at The Columbus Museum of Art
Family swims at Goldfish Swim school (M-Th 12:00-1:00, F 6:30-8:00)
Open Play time at Brick of Dreams

t w o

I never know where to being with birthday posts. I feel like birthdays put the year in perspective; it's such a good time to look back at all the pictures and consequently cry your eyes out.

Two years ago, I was holding my Rhys Christopher after a night of an unsuccessful induction. He just didn't want to come out and I had technically been in labor for two weeks ("unproductive labor", yayyyyy). Finally, FINALLY, I got to hold the baby who completed my life.

That sounds little trite...our missing piece and whatnot. But truly, his arrival centered my life. I was already a mother, but knew I wanted another child. When Rhys was placed in my arms, it was with many tears and I just knew that he is where life would begin for me.

I was so in love, but also a little nervous about bringing up a boy. I had zero experience.

As he turns two, he is starting to have a mind of his own. Meaning, he will take his shoes off anywhere and chuck them (bowling alley, backwards onto the dashboard of my car). I caught him sneaking a "pancake" (cupcake) today from underneath the glass dome. Sweets are his jam, and it should be noted that he ate the cupcake and the wrapper pictured below.

His speech has exploded, and he chatters his way through the day...all day. He wakes up saying "DADDY!" and probably says it 150 times throughout the day. It can be attached to anything; "Daddy truck", "Daddy sleep", or in response to anything that I do that he doesn't like ("Daaaaddddyy!" In a nutshell, the kid is crazy for his dad.

He loves firetrucks, diggers, and running around. On the playground, he's not really into one particular thing like big sis, but just runs/skips from one place to the next, helping me get my cardio.

Speaking of Larkyn, two years into this gig and they still love each other. He runs after her and calls her "Wokky". He bonks her on the head with trucks, and she takes every bath toy from him in the tub. True love.

He does have his moments if he is overtired or confined for too long. We get the maniacal laughter and boneless body when you try to pick him up. But all in all, he is such a sweet boy. He says "bless you", "thank you", give hugs and kisses, and says "I wuwoo" at night.

Not a day goes by when I don't wish my dad was still here to enjoy him. He would sit and shake his head and always asked "Where's my boy?"

To my forever baby, I love you so much. Love, mommy.

Spring Break in Cbus

Pretty soon, it's time to head to our yachts and rooftop bars in South Beach, right?

Ha, me neither. If you are sticking around town for your kids' spring break (or if you don't have kids but feel like treating yourself to a little spring break), I devised a little itinerary with so much fun that you won't even notice there's no umbrella in your drink.

Please make sure you check that these places are open on the day you choose. Some of them would be new to me as well, so please leave your comments if you've ever visited any of them...

Monday: Olde Towne East


Tuesday:  Malabar Farms or Mohican

(Loudonville area) Thank you Christa for the photo of a place we haven't been before

Wednesday: German Village

Thursday: Yellow Springs

Friday: Canal Winchester 

(thanks Columbus Culinary Connection for sharing the best of your hometown!)

Other great day trips could include the Aha! Museum in Lancaster, The Works museum in Newark, and the brand new Irish Fairy Door Trail in historic Dublin

  For more ideas around Columbus neighborhoods, here are all my Neighborhood Guides

St. Patrick's Day Parade

We didn't really go to parades as I was growing up, but I am making up for it now with my own kiddos because I LOVE them. Larkyn is a little more apprehensive than Rhys, who would be IN the parade if he could. Firetrucks, dogs (check out that Irish Wolfhound below!), and bubbles?! His dream come true.

We had so much fun at the Dublin Saint Patrick's Day parade this morning. We set up a shady spot with my friend from school, met up with our friends at the Dublin CVB, and enjoyed the beautiful sunny day. The performers and floats were fun, and it wasn't as noisy (for sensitive ears) as other parades we've watched. 

The extra special part was participating in the ribbon-cutting for the first Irish Fairy Doors Trail in America. Dublin CVB was kind enough to give us a door, and we can't wait to follow the trail and fill our passports. 

Check out the parade next year...hopefully the weather will be a repeat performance!

10 Books to Love in 2016

This week was Read Across America Week, and in my classroom, I always take the week to read brand new books to my kids. "Brand new" meaning they are either newly published or published recently and I haven't tried them out yet.

I sifted through lots of new books, seeing a common theme between the award-winners. Lots of social justice and acceptance, stories about tough topics and stories with hilariously dry humor.

Last time I posted a book list during the holidays, you all seemed to enjoy it and some of you bought them as Christmas gifts. I hope this list is as useful for you (and maybe you can slip one into an Easter basket this month!)


10 Books to Love in 2016

1. Red- Within the first 2 pages, I knew this was a book I wanted all of my students to hear and that I wished all of their parents could read. In fact, every human should read it. The message is clear. We are not all cut from the same cloth, and it takes a special person to see the potential that everyone else has missed.

2. Boats for Papa- Well. This book may not be for everyone, but I will have to get up the guts to buy it one day. I'll just say it involved lots of tears on my part. If you and your children have ever lost someone special, you will want this book to help with the healing and remembrance process.

3. Wolfie the Bunny- The illustrations are vibrant and sassy, and the story will make the kids laugh. I liked how the story line builds anticipation and invites kids to predict what will happen next.

4. Please Mr. Panda- Hilarious. See if your kids can guess why Mr. Panda won't share the doughnuts. You can take turns reading the pages; one of you being Mr. Panda and one being the other animal. It encourages reading with (or without) expression to convey meaning.

5. Little Tree- Oh, for the fearful child or any child going through a transition, this is such a sweet story. Little Tree is afraid to drop her leaves in the fall, and kids eventually see that this prevents Little Tree from flourishing.

6. Beekle- This artwork is so deserving of the Caldecott Medal, and kids love inspecting each page for imaginary friends. It is a magical story that invites them to dream up their own imaginary friend like Beekle.

7. Nana in the City- Another story of a nervous child who is scared to visit Nana at her new house in the big city. She helps him see that the city is full of life and that he is safe with her. The illustrations are my favorite of this list, and it would make a great gift for any Nana on Mother's Day.

8. A Fine Dessert- This one is fabulous for older readers. There is SO MUCH to take in, and I think adults will find it fascinating as well. The story spans one recipe in 400 years, under backdrops that evolve with innovation and social structures. Family and gender roles change as well, and of course the recipe is at the end. A few of my little girls loved sitting with me and listening to this one, but I don't think my preschooler could sit through it yet. (just a note: some reviewers on amazon were horrified that slavery is presented in this book with happy characters. Read at your own discretion, but I think it is the perfect way to present a tragic past in a gentle way).

9. Toys Meet Snow- This reminded me a bit of Toy Story, with the humor for adults but the magic for the kids. The toys decide to go outside for their first snowstorm, and their conversations can lead to great snow explorations with your family.

10. The Most Magnificent Thing- This is an inspiring story about a little girl who just won't give up, even when she "fails" over and over. With the attention span and perseverance of children continuing to decline, this little girl shows that sticking with a job pays off.

Not all of these stories are perfect for you and your family, but if you get the chance to browse through one or reserve them from the library, I encourage you to try.
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