6 Flags Amusement park offered a free ticket to any K-6 grade student that registered for their Read to Succeed program and completed 6 hrs of non school required reading.  As a bonus, the teacher who enrolled the student also got a free ticket.  So, that meant this home schooling momma got a ticket for herself and her son to 6 Flags.

I kept track of his reading in the spring and when he completed 6 hrs of recreational reading, unannounced to him, I registered him for the free ticket.  The tickets arrived at the beginning of the summer.  I then offered him the ticket if he read 10 books this summer.  Sneaky, I know!

He worked hard and achieved the goal though.  And thanks to a dear friend who watched my other 3 children, we were off for a day together at 6 Flags as his reward!

He was particularly looking forward to riding his first real, roller coaster.  When we first arrived the 2 wooden coasters that he was tall enough for, were not running though.  So, we enjoyed the kiddie coaster as well as a few other rides.


When we saw the roller coaster was open, we set off to find the entrance and wait in line. 

I gotta tell you, I don’t like roller coasters.  But, he was so excited and I didn’t want to ruin his fun.  So, we waited in line.  The whole time he’s bouncing up and down.  “Wow… it goes 60 mph… that’s awesome… wow… look how long it is Mom!  Are you so excited?    I was not so excited, but figured at least it didn’t go upside down, surely we could get through this. 

We sit in the seat.  It’s going up the hill… he’s raising his arms, he’s so excited…

And then we head down…

He’s white as a ghost and says, “Mom, I don’t like this.”

Poor guy…

I put my arm around him and as it twisted and turned and careened down the hill, I just kept repeating, “We’re ok bud… we’re going to get through this… we’re ok bud.” 

The ride ended and we got off. 

He says, “Wow Mom, that was a lot of force on my body.”

As we set off for a snack he asks if I liked it.  I tell him how typically with rides like that I really dread going on them but once I am on them, they aren’t really as bad as I thought. 

He laughs and says, “It was the exact opposite for me!  I was so excited before and once I was on it, I really didn’t like it.”


Funnel cake and soda… perfect food for our “post roller coaster” tummies!

We then set out for the Lazy River… He LOVED the lazy river.. granted he wasn’t all that lazy as he jumped in and out of the inner tube the whole time… but he did pause a few times and say, “So Mom, what do you wanna talk about?” 

We really enjoyed our day at the park.  The lines weren’t long, the weather was perfect, and I cherished that rare one on one time with my oldest. I will confess that I was kinda grateful he didn’t LOVE the roller coaster as it meant we were done with coasters for the afternoon.  I think when my daughters reach 48 inches tall, I’m sending Scott!

My favorite memories of the day are probably the smile on his face when he scored the black tea cup on the tea cup ride… the way he always gave me the first inner tube when we were getting into the lazy river…and driving with him in the old fashioned car…

Scott and I have a few sayings  that we use often with the kids.

Life is not Fair

Life isn’t Always About You

You Can’t Cry to Get What You Want


Never Trust a Bad Guy

1 -3 are pretty self explanatory… in a family of 6, you learn quickly that your not going to get what you want when you want it, you gotta wait, and that’s just the way it goes.   I try hard to remember who had the blue plate yesterday and who got to use the dog towel last after the bath, but you know… I can’t always keep track of it.  And while we do our best to keep things balanced, it’s just going to happen that someone is going to spend the night at a friends house and your not necessarily going to get to that same night.  It’s a hard pill to swallow and it often stinks… but you know, it is life.  And I’ll confess quite often, I need to remind myself of these same things… b/c sometimes I too want it to be all about me… sometimes I too get irritated when life doesn’t seem fair, and sometimes I too just want to sit and cry when things don’t go my way. 

So, we find ourselves repeating these truths… often.

I had to laugh when the girls were watching a DVD one day on the portable DVD player… some sort of “discussion” was taking place over the fact that one of them was holding it and not the other… I listened in to see if I was going to need to step in soon…

“It’s not fair that you get to hold it and I don’t!”  the younger complained…

“Well, remember, life’s not fair!” the older responded…

Yea… Mom had to step in and keep the peace during that little discussion…though I did inwardly chuckle and that application of a truth she’s obviously heard often…

A few weeks later the older 3 were arguing at the table and again one of them tried to pull the ol “life isn’t fair” card… this time the 5 yr old complained, “ I hate that they always say that to me… except for my sister she always says, “Remember what Dad always says, Never Trust a Bad Guy!”

This made me laugh out loud. 

When watching movies Scott often points out how untrustworthy bad guys are… when one bad guy will trust another bad guy, he’ll always say, “Remember never trust a bad guy.”   And inevitably later in that episode or movie that bad guy will have been double crossed and he’ll point out how it wasn’t a good idea to trust a bad guy.” 

I just love that my 4 yr old goes around saying that completely out of context… totally made me laugh… picture it…

“That’s not fair, it’s my turn for that seat.”

“Well, remember what dad always says, never trust a bad guy!”

So, I guess you have it… our family sayings… I had to chuckle when thinking about those cute little personalized subway art signs with family sayings that you see all over the blogosphere these days… don’t think ours would make for a very cute DIY project.    But, then again, I’m not that crafty anyways!

My lil man reached a major milestone today as he played in the sand. 

We’ve been going to the beach, splashing in the water and playing in the sand all summer long.  And all summer long he has wanted to put fist full upon fist full of sand into his mouth.  You’d think eventually cause and effect would come in to play, but he never seemed to mind the mouth full of grit.  Even when all I had to wash it out with was a mouth full of salty bay water.  It was the single most frustrating aspect of our afternoons at the bay.  I can’t just hold him the entire time and yet if I set him down he’s eating dirt.  IMG_1385

Well, today I held him till he grew wiggly and set him down.  Fully expecting him to begin his typical sandy snack.  But, he didn’t… IMG_1414

He sat and dug and picked up sand and dug and then splashed water in his bucket for a good 45 minutes… he crawled around in the hot sand, happily playing, and not ONCE putting any sand in his mouth!  I couldn’t believe it.  I kept gushing and then had to take pictures.  This is a huge milestone!  This makes beach time truly fun FOR ALL in the circus clan!  Oh happy day! 


After almost an hour of fun in the sun, I suggested we not push our luck any further, so we went up to the shade for some lunch.

Now doesn’t he look waaaay too grown up sitting at the table eating his own peanut butter sandwich?


Clearly, he is the baby of the family, because I could not stop gushing at the site of him sitting at the table and eating his own sandwich…


Can you blame me though?


I just love the mouth full of peanut butter..


As the big kids went back to the beach, I was really starting to melt after all that gushing over my baby growing up so much. 

And so, just to make his momma’s heart swell a lil more, he took his pacifier, laid his head down on my chest and fell into a deep hard sleep in my arms while I watched his sisters and brother play with their friends.  Proving that while he may be growing up, he’s still my baby!

My daughter is a fierce competitor.  Everything, and I mean everything can be turned to a competition with her.  Last weekend when we were driving back to the camp site from training camp, Scott and I drove my parents van and let my parents follow us with the kids in our van. We pulled in to Dairy Queen as a fun surprise and she says to my dad, “Now’s your chance to beat them… keep driving Papa!”

Not only does she thrive on competition, but the girl cares a lot and I mean A LOT about winning.  This of course means that she also hates to lose.  At anything… getting to the van, tic tac toe, Uno….  We’ve worked a lot this past year on her temper and I have seen her  mature and grow a lot. 

Lately, her way to ensure that she always wins, is by refusing to play any game that is as she calls it “a winner/loser game.”  If there is a chance she can lose, she doesn’t want to play… Tic-tac-toe, Wii, Uno, Hi Ho Cherrio, you name it… her response is always, “I’ll just watch I don’t like winning/losing games.” 

I applaud the fact that she recognizes the fact that she doesn’t like losing and thus since she can’t guarantee a win, she’s removing the obstacle at hand.   In a way, it shows a self awareness and even an element of self control. 

But, she has to learn to lose graciously.  She can’t always win.  In fact it’s one reason why I love my kids playing sports.  I love that they learn to work on a team and they learn to win and lose.    But, at her age, they don’t keep score in soccer, so she hasn’t really had to learn to lose. 

I don’t know how to teach her.  I don’t want her to just not play.   Her older brother has graciously offered to promise to lose when they play games just because he’s desperate for a playmate and it’s the only way she’ll agree.    But not only is that not fair to her, it isn’t teaching her anything either.  She can’t go out in the world and expect other kids to agree to lose for her.   So, do I force her to play these “winner/loser games” that she doesn’t want to play so that she’ll get experience losing?  (hmmm sounds like 2 battles waiting for me) 

Any of you out there have experience with this that you can pass along?  The easy thing to do would be just let her not play, but I don’t think that is what she needs.

Of the 32 years I’ve been a Steelers fan, I only had the joy of being a hometown fan for only 8 of those years (5 of which I was 5 and under so it doesn’t really count in my book).  My sophomore year of college, I moved to PA for 3 years.  I was thrilled to get to watch the Steelers on a weekly basis.  Unfortunately, this was during the Kordell Stewart, Tommy Maddox era, which wasn’t exactly the Steelers golden era of football.  I truly enjoyed watching The Bus in action each and every week.  Those were his glory days for sure!

Now, thanks to Direct TV’s NFL season ticket we get to watch our boys in black and gold every.single. week!! But, we still don’t really get that hometown feel.. especially living in the Baltimore area …When I step onto my back deck I am greeted with the icky colors of purple and black ALL OVER my neighbors yard.  

So,  we’ve begun making the trek to Latrobe, PA in August to watch the Steelers training camp at St Vincent’s College.  It’s our little taste of life as a hometown fan.  Since it is part way between my parents house and our place, we ended up finding a campground truly in the middle, making a weekend out of it and spending Saturday in Latrobe watching practice.   I always feel like Adam Sandler in “Fever Pitch” as we pack up to go and “check out the team.”  As if they needed us to scope out the new players.    This year Scott was especially excited to check out Baron Batch… a rookie RB he had read about that week who was apparently getting noticed on the practice field. 


Scott and I have now been 4 times… we’ve taken the kids 3 times… and even still, I get this rush of excitement as I look out and see the players in person.  It’s so different than on TV, they are so much bigger and it’s fun to watch them interact with each other.  IMG_5105

IMG_5080This year was especially fun b/c my oldest daughter was SO EXCITED about going.  She’s been asking all summer if we were going to go.. and since there was so much up in the air with the lock out, we honestly didn’t know if there’d even be a training camp to go to.  When we told her we were going, she packed her bag literally a week ahead of time.  She had her camera, Steelers pants, tee shirt, sweatshirt, hat, jersey, and her sign to hold up for the players, all packed into her Steelers drawstring bag.  I had to remind her to throw in a few pairs of underwear and socks too.  She couldn’t wait to see “the real Steelers players” play a game.  Smile  Yes, it warmed this Steelers lovin’ Momma’s heart


IMG_5272As we were walking back to our car I spotted Heath Miller sitting in a cart while Mike Wallace was signing autographs.  My parents had just given the youngest circus member his official Steelers jersey that morning… it was none other than 83 Heath Miller… so in true paparazzi style, I grabbed my baby and ran over to the now growing group of people surrounding his golf cart.  And then I froze.  He was literally right in front of me (just a few teenage boys begging for autographs between Heath and I) and instead of saying, “Hey Heath can you pose for a picture with my baby, he’s wearing your jersey!”  Instead, I said absolutely nothing.  As if I was waiting for Mr. Miller to look over and say, “Look, he’s wearing my jersey, want to pose for a picture?”    And so instead of getting a nice posed picture with this starting TE (who by the way is SUPER TALL in real life)… instead I stood there until the driver started the cart and then I rushed over and stuck my baby by his side while Scott snapped a picture.  Classy, huh?  I then kicked myself the whole way back for not opening my mouth and at least asking. 

Oh well… we got to see the Steelers play, we got to see 2 of them up close, and we all had a good time!!  The circus house is abuzz with talks of football season.  The first preseason game is tomorrow night against the Redskins!


Time and time again our fourth child has blown us away with his easy going, flexible, happy-go-lucky approach to life.  It has made the transition to a family of 6, for this family on-the-go, SO MUCH easier—a fact I am truly, truly grateful for.

This weekend, he really went above and beyond our expectations though.

Not only did he fall asleep in the tent both nights, while the rest of us were out at the camp fire, but he even napped in the tent Saturday morning.  And as if that wasn’t wonderful enough… today we put his pack and play up behind the tent, on the off chance that he’d fall asleep and Scott could tear down the tent and pack up our gear while the rest of us went swimming… fat chance of that actually working we thought, but we figured it was worth a try…IMG_5318

He laid down, outside, in the daylight, and took a 2 hr nap while Scott tore down the tent and packed up the van. 


He truly spoils us!

Years ago my Mom and I attended a Women of Faith Conference…I believe our first was when I was in college.  We drove to Cleveland, OH to attend the conference.  We left refreshed and inspired and vowing to make it a tradition to attend some sort of spiritual conference together as often as we could.   Since then, we’ve attend Women of Faith, Beth Moore, and a few women’s retreats together.  I appreciate the opportunity to worship, and grow alongside my mom.   Our faith and our ability to encourage each other in our spiritual walks, is one of my favorite aspects of my relationship with my mom.  It is something I have treasured since middle school when we first did a mother/daughter Bible study together. 

When BookSneeze offered the opportunity to attend a local Women of Faith conference and blog about it, I jumped at the opportunity.  When they offered me 2 tickets to the conference in DC, I knew instantly who I wanted to go with. 

I am very excited about attending the Women of Faith conference later this month.  I have to confess I have been negligent lately in my personal quiet time and I am looking to get back on track.  I am eager for some encouragement and inspiration in my personal walk with the Lord.    But from past experience, my favorite part of the conference is typically the worship.  There is something quite powerful about worshipping in an arena full of other women.   I am also so happy that my mom is able to get off of work and come down to attend with me.  I look forward to the quality one on one time with her (something that I just don’t get enough of anymore… especially now that I am a mother myself) as we travel to and from the conference each day. 


For more information on WOF and to find out if they are visiting a city near you, click here.

I received two tickets for free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the ">">">Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”