Category Archives: children

My Reality*

*Note:  This post is published today at Mile High Mamas for their feature story on motherhood and the choices we make.  Thanks to Mile High Mamas for allowing me to share this and reproduce here, and thanks to my friend Eileen who helped me edit this.  Who knew getting it down from 2000 words to 600 something could be so hard?

“Women’s libbers say we can have it all. I do not believe that we can have it all at the same time. Life is give and take. For me, I cannot immerse myself in my career without falling short in other areas. This is not a pessimistic approach or a judgment against those who chose their careers over staying at home. This is my reality and I would not change it for the world.”  Amber Johnson, Mile High Mamas

She’s not wrong, but my reality is a bit different and I wouldn’t change it for the world, either. Being a parent is a tough balancing act that takes a lot of work, and this women’s libber believes you can have it all, if that’s what you want.

I am an “older” mommy.  I had a professional career when I chose to get married, and even later still, when I chose to have children.  Actually, I have two careers; I am an attorney and a JAG for the Reserves. Working now for 17 years in both careers, I have seniority, have moved up the ranks and earned promotions, and I am successful as both a professional and a mother. I am doing what I love and have amazing kids to boot!  I have great employers that are flexible, and understand that my family comes first.  I can achieve balance.  That’s why I didn’t take a break.  I did not want to lose the employers I had, and frankly, it’s not easy to jump back into a career like mine.

Another great thing I have is the perfect husband – well, perfect for us, that is.  There is no division of labor.  We both do it all! Our mutual respect makes our reality work.  Our house may not be clean when you surprise us, but we are raising two great kids.  They are smart, funny, and support their parents’ choices to work (my husband also had a20150320_112821 career when we married and then had children).  They see the independence in me, the can-do attitude, and they emulate that.  Which is why I often wonder why I am asked to justify why I chose a career after I chose to have kids. My husband is never asked that.  For me, I don’t choose either/or.  I choose to have it all as long as I am able.

I acknowledge that I can do this because of him. He does way more than his fair share of household chores and shuttling the children around.  I am lucky to have an employer who allows flexibility for all its employees in the year 2015- what a concept! We are also lucky that we picked a school that has an excellent schedule for our dual working household.  My children have never gone without.  I had a longer maternity leave and was able to nurse both kids upwards of a year, and they get to go on some pretty amazing trips at an early age because of my work.  I haven’t missed a single field trip, play or gymnastics meet.  With 17 years seniority, I have plenty of leave and I take time off when I need.  When my parents needed me in 2012, I was able to fly out each time and help them as well!

I hold no judgment against your choice to have a single income family, and we ask for the same in return.  I want my kids to succeed in all they do, but I also want that next promotion, and I am not ashamed to admit it.  So that’s why I choose it all, not because I want to escape my family (because I don’t), but because I am driven and I love serving my country too! I hope my girls one day say what a great role model they had in me.  But mostly, I hope my girls will grow up in an America where no one will ask them, “why do you choose to work,” or “why do you stay at home.” That would be a great reality, indeed.

Share

Santa HQ is at FlatIron Crossing Mall #SantaHQ #loveHGTV

SantaHQA magical journey awaits you and your little ones at FlatIrons Crossing Mall, now through Christmas Eve.  Don’t miss it!  HGTV has set up a Santa Headquarters at Flatiron Crossing Mall.  The journey starts as you are all transported to the North Pole.  When you enter, your children and even you (if you want) are scanned by the digital “Naughty or Nice O’Meter.”  It’s quite fun to see the kids’ faces as they get tagged one or the other.  You can sense how nervous they are as the scan meter lights up. wpid-20151114_121608.jpg wpid-20151114_121635.jpgwpid-20151114_121649.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, you get a glimpse of Santa’s Command and Control Center, and Elf-Ray Vision in a 3D environment. You can see everything in this room in 3D!  Santa’s elves help guide you through this magical area, and the anticipation builds.wpid-20151114_121749.jpg

wpid-20151114_121932.jpg

wpid-20151114_122724.jpgBut, the journey doesn’t end there, you then take a picture with your entire group, before meeting the big man in red!  Get dressed up or go casual, but get ready to have fun with Santa, his elves, and all his cool equipment wpid-20151114_122816.jpgtransported temporarily from the North Pole to Flatirons Crossing Mall in Broomfield, Colorado.  Some things to note: Strollers can go through Santa HQ, little ones (under 2) may not enjoy the control center as much as older kids.  But hopefully you can save your energy and get them to smile for the most important part- SANTA!  There is waiting as you go through, so best to make a reservation so there is less waiting.  Also, the photo package is very reasonable and for $29.99 (with some deals online if you book in advance), you can get several different poses, and sizes in a package with some bonuses thrown in.  There are other great things to buy if you are interested to make great stocking stuffers and presents for the grandparents.  I thought it was great fun for my kiddos but they are older, and more aware of what is going on.   Check out this website and see if there is a Santa HQ near you.  Besides Colorado, there are other Santa HQ locations too!

Disclaimer: I was compensated by HGTV and Santa HQ for this post, but all opinions expressed here are honest and my own. 

Share

The Game is Afoot at the DMNS #SherlockinDenver

sherlock-224x275

*Please note: This article was written as a guest post for Mile High Mamas, and is posted here.  For Denver activities and more, check out their website.

221B  Baker Street has been transported to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science from now until January 31, 2016.  This interactive international exhibit has several parts, but starts with the history of this character and and includes a replica underground train station (circa 1895) where you can receive detective’s notebooks (available in English and Spanish), and go station to station to learn about the different techniques and aspects for solving crimes.  At each station, you stamp your detective notebook or receive a decoder (read the instructions or ask for help), because each station is different.

Gathering techniques and punches in your book
Gathering techniques and punches in your book

At the end of the station, you get a special decoded message from Sherlock Holmes that tells you what to do next. The game is definitely afoot, as you examine a crime in a Victorian-era home, stamp your book so you can take clues with you and then walk the streets of London to gather clues. At each of the final stations, you analyze all the evidence with hands-on interactive stations.  Thegameisafoot

The various stations, include a sitting room at 221B Baker Street, depicting the very room where Dr. Watson and Sherlock discussed cases.  The various stations make it fun for adults and children alike to enjoy solving a case and exploring the concept that “things are not always what they seem!”

crime scene
crime scene

Be prepared for some fun, interaction, and a whole lot of Sherlock Holmes.  If you love a mystery and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations, you will definitely enjoy this exhibit at the DMNS.  But, be careful and observe every detail, because “to a great mind, nothing is little.”

InvestigatingtheEvidence
Analyzing the evidence

 

A few things of note for this exhibit specifically:

  • You can take strollers, photos, but no flash photos, please.
  • Admission to this exhibit is extra, even for members.  But, special member discounts apply. 
  • Some of the content is not suitable for kids under age 10.  It depends on the child and what they can handle.  It’s a murder and analysis of evidence from a scene.
  • It is a complicated exhibited, so ask for help.  Plenty of amazing volunteers and staff are there to assist.
  • Attend on less busier days if you can, so you can truly enjoy this exhibit. Crowds make this exhibit tougher to enjoy/use.
  • It is open daily, except for Christmas day, December 25.

For more information, visit International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes

*Disclaimer: I wrote this piece for DMNS and Mile High Mamas as a guest blogger.  I received compensation in the form of free admission for my family.  The information and any opinions posted here are my own.

Share

Paper Planes movie review

paperplanes2We reviewed the movie, Paper Planes, and it was a treat!  This uplifting family film, starring Sam Worthington (Avatar, Wrath of the Titans) and Ed Oxenbould (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), just received the Common Sense “Great for Families” Seal of Approval for kids 10+ and called it “an inspired look at what creativity really means, and what winning ought to be about”. You can read another review for the movie here and see others’ reviews. You can read all about the movie, what it is about, and based on below (see more).

The movie is set in Australia, produced by Entertainment one, and on the review version we received, we could not turn captions on, so if you watch this movie, I highly recommend captions for the kids.  Sometimes it is hard to make out words even when it’s English – British and Australian accents are tough for kiddos to make out at times.  The recommended age for kids watching this movie is 10 and older, but I think 7 and up (based on maturity) is fine too.

paperplanesMy girls were just making paper planes and flying them today to see how high theirs would go.  Inspired by the movie, they love making creations and seeing how high and how far theirs can go. They both liked the movie, but the kids under age 7 were getting distracted easily – the movie is inspiring, but if your attention span is short, you may not stay engaged.  I would definitely recommend this for kids, ages 7 and up.  Our 5 and 6 year-old kids in attendance started running off and playing 30 minutes into the film.  We had 5 kids in attendance at our screening of differing ages.

Great movie, inspirational, and only 96 minutes long. I loved the actors, even the child antagonist. It is a good movie,with many lessons to be learned – it will make your eyes water, and it’s a unique concept – paper planes, you can get it on DVD now.

*Disclaimer: I was given a review copy of the movie for an honest review of this film.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Continue reading Paper Planes movie review

Share

Brick Fest Live is coming Aug 28-30 to the Denver Merchandise Mart

bfl-denver-120x90Do you love Lego bricks as much as we do?  Then don’t miss this!  Brick Fest Live is coming to the Denver Merchandise Mart August 28-30.  Get inspired, educated and entertained with LEGO bricks!  Play with huge attractions built to set your imagination free and witness mind-blowing creations made entirely of this timeless toy at the Brick Fest Live.  Save $2 with code:  DENFAMGUIDE, or http://www.coloradokids.com/coupon.php?id=23051018 #brickfestlive  brickfest2index

Come and build with us!

Share