Friday, April 28, 2017

Spoiling your fur baby

My son has a magical life.

He knows this because I have repeated that to him many (many) times to help him understand that he is a very lucky boy in regards to freedoms, choices, educational opportunities and his birth circumstances.

But, I need to be honest here: If we were to get another cat, that cat would have a magical life, too.

I know myself, and I know that I would end up finding ways to spoil a family pet. It helps to hear that I am not alone with this, as most people (regardless of income, age and other demographics) spoil their furry friends.

Granted, some of us spoil our pets more than others (fancy collars, playdates and pet birthday cakes), but reading how much we love our pets gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. It also reminds me that if a lot of people treated others as nicely as we treated our pets, the world would be a much better place.

Do you spoil your family pet? Tell me how in the comments.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The best place to stay

I recently had a very unique situation in my life: My husband and son were gone for the weekend (a camping trip for cub scouts), and I would be alone. This situation - as most Moms will attest - is rare. It is very rare to have the house to yourself for an entire weekend.
Pictured: Not my parents' spare bedroom.

Normally, I would consider spending the weekend getting lots of stuff done around the house and working on some special projects I want to devote time to, but I had a rough week at work and I really, really just wanted someone to take care of me.


So, I went home for the weekend.

I am lucky enough to live close to my wonderful Mother and StepDad, and they welcomed my request to come home for the weekend with open arms and no expectations. And it was lovely: We chatted, we watched a movie together, we chatted some more, we pretended we know how to play mahjong and we were lazy on Sunday morning together.

It was exactly what I needed to face the next week. So, yeah, when I read that more American adults live with their parents than a spouse, I get it. Going home for me was comforting, a special treat and a way to take a break from being an adult for a few days. At least I get it for a little while - and then I would want to go home to my men.

So, a huge hug of thanks to my fantastic Mom and StepDad for keeping a room available for whenever I need to feel like a beloved daughter for a little while.

How do you feel when you visit your parents' home? Tell me in the comments.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Is it "Pokemon Go" or "Pokemon No?"

My son, like most boys in his class, is really into Pokemon right now. They don't play the card game (they don't know how), but they enjoy collecting and trading the cards and memorizing lots (LOTS) of information about each character. Side note: Later on in life when he is complaining about having to memorize information to pass a history test, I will remind him about all the memorizing he has done for Pokemon - for fun.

I don't want or have much knowledge about Pokemon, but I have found it to be a useful distraction: For example, when he had a bloody nose, I asked him a series of questions of who would win between two characters to prevent him from fixating on the issue at hand. He instantly calmed down to consider who would win in a battle against Squirtle.

So, we don't play Pokemon Go, as it goes against both my principles of increased screentime and time that I would spend having to know about the Pokemon realm.

But, I have to admit that families who do engage in that game see the benefits of additional time spent together as well as much-needed exercise. I like both of those things.

So now, I am torn.

Maybe someone needs to come up with an augmented screen game that gets us outside and doesn't involve characters I can't stand. Or, maybe, we should just put down our phones and go on a hike and scavenger hunt.

Do you play Pokemon Go? Why do you like it? Tell me just a little bit about it in the comments.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Where to save money on your vacation

I had an amazing time with my family on vacation last week: We had periods of adventurous fun and some downtime to just read and relax. It was a mix of everything to appeal to everyone. Some of our time was spent on paid excursions, and I didn't wonder at any point if they were worth the money: They were all super fun and I loved doing them.

But, then I got home and read this study in which scientists attached brain wave monitors to a family on vacation and found that they had just as much fun doing the free activities (walking in a park or exploring a market) as the ones they paid for.

I have so many questions.

First of all, they just covered one family. And we all know that some families are more easily entertained than others. I am not sure that all families would be entertained by the same things.

Also: Would you sign up to go on vacation with a brain wave monitor on your head? I am not sure I would.

I have reached a baseline with most of the vacations that I take these days: I expect to have some fun and some relaxation. And that's it. I don't try to build them up or look forward too much or dissect them afterward, as I find that if the baseline expectations I have are met, then everything on top of that brings me extra joy.

Do you prefer adventure-based or low-key vacations? Tell me in the comments.