Everything isn’t What it Seems

I want to highlight a few things.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, things on social media can look grande and be filled with so much smoke screen.  Yes that is how life rolls.  However keep in mind that everyone tries to put their best foot forward.  This is why the age of filters is so amazing. You get to hide behind real life scars and traumas.

The pic used in this blog if I uncovered it was great.  We were having the best ice-cream at one of my favorite spots.  Everyone is all smiling and seemingly happy.  We look like the model family. If I told you that I could still feel the pain of that day, would you believe me?  That was a hard day.  It was a few years ago and we were set to go to the African-American museum.  We were ready to go and our plans got diverted.  Why they got diverted I won’t speak on but I will speak to the nuggets that can be learned from that picture.

In it you see my husband all smiles.  He was under extreme amounts of stress trying to do the best he can.  I was depressed and I believe if I had gone back to work it was short-lived due to the fact that my youngest was nursing and wouldn’t take to a bottle and I had to take her to work with me.  That worked for a while until it was time to put her in daycare and then I had to stop working again because again she wouldn’t take to anyone but me and still no bottle, no cup, just me.

Here is what I know now AFTER that storm of life and what I wish someone had told me:

Dear Toi,

You are stressed out but a lot of your stress is coming from within.  You haven’t quite found your space, your voice, or what you want.  Maybe its the feelings of not quite making your mark in this world. Maybe its the time that you had to take off due to taking care of your kids and the guilt that you feel losing the independence of a working woman. You are fighting those around you but reality is the fight is in you. Use that negative energy not to worry about what others will think, but to know what you want.  Should you leave your husband because it was so rocky?  No! Leaving isn’t the answer. The answer isn’t in your husband. He will never make you happy.  Happy wife, happy life is a bunch of bologna.  You have to be a happy person, and work from that happiness.  You will have many more moments when you are ready to throw the towel in. Don’t stay for the sake of the kids.  They can’t heal you.  How about you deal with some of the let downs you face.  Get out and get a hobby.  Get out and get some fresh air.  Know that as a mom you are at your best when you take some time to practice self-care.  The kids will thrive better with you even if you had to walk alone.  Take a mental time out. Take a deep breath.  Do your hair, get dressed, put on a little make up because its going to be okay.  You don’t have to look a mess while you figure out your messed up life.  Your life is blessed you just have to use this time to rebuild.  Don’t worry down the line you figure it out. Down the line you don’t have to wait for your husband to go with you all the time.  If you like it go do it on your own. It doesn’t make you less married to do a few things on your own.  He isn’t and never was your source for everything stop giving him that power.  He didn’t ask for it. He was attracted to your hustle and your ability to keep it moving.  He saw that hunger in you, you got this!

Sincerely a stronger Toi

Lesson one: Happiness is YOUR job.  Not of your spouse or anything that you own.  Happy people don’t have it all they just know how to keep moving and make the best of their situations.

Lesson two: self-care is a daily thing. It is not okay to have meltdowns if you’re not going to use the meltdowns to get better. What have you done today that made you feel amazing? You should be doing all you can to make it feel like its your birthday everyday.  No one will celebrate you like you.

Lesson three: Marriage is beautiful when you put in work and your spouse does the same.  When that stops the marriage will have a pit stop.  You aren’t responsible for him/her you can only do what you want him/her to do.  Don’t say that because you have done one thing, this is in ALL areas.  No one can receive as much love and listening as you claim you give and treat that person badly.  Remember they need from you what THEY need not what you THINK THEY NEED!

Lesson four: dress up everyday. I don’t mean you have to be in heels, but if you want to knock the sloppy look, you have to get up and get dress and be present. Every time you zone out and don’t care you look it.  Don’t be mad at another woman who shows up and shows out. You both were supposed to.  Don’t say you don’t have the time or money. Admit you didn’t take the time! You can look fierce on any budget.  You can look fierce in pajamas if you want to.

Lesson five: get the hell out.  You can not live your best life cooped up in the house.  Get you a few dollars and go to a bookstore and have a ball, find some Groupons and live! Do more action than talking.  No one cares that you talk about a dream, the doers are finding ways to make the dreams a reality.

Lesson six: for my moms, there is no such thing as a perfect mom.  You don’t have to mirror everything you were taught.  You are in control of what you want motherhood to be.  Even if you grew up in the worst conditions, the dreams you wanted your childhood to be can be made with your own kids.  Be solid for yourself and them not perfect. Dance around the kitchen while making dinner. Make folding into a game.  Be there for your kids and most importantly be there for yourself! They are watching you!

Lesson seven: be okay to lose.  Take a chance on life and yourself. If you fail it won’t be in not making the mark, it will be in not taking the chance to make the mark.

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Traditions Anyone?!

So before we throw ourselves into Christmas we have to enjoy Thanksgiving.  So what are some of the traditions or favorites that you and your family enjoy? I know I am turning into the graphic t-shirt aka fun shirt family.  I love, love anything that is unique with great sayings etc.  I just love them. I think it allows you to have a little fun and during the holidays, that’s the best part. So you know that means I am an Etsy fanatic.  Etsy is my go to for artist who can carry out my t-shirt design and so far I haven’t been let down.  Shout out to all of the independent artist.  Also if you have some great pieces especially if they are holiday related, shot me an email at toitimeblog@gmail.com I may just rock one of your pieces!

So outside of being the t-shirt gang, as I do coordinate our stuff too.  I have two options this year, so you will have to wait for my Thanksgiving Day update to find how I find ways to wear them both.  We just take it easy.  I know that some folks wear super fancy outfits and the kids look all spruced up, but for us being comfortable, relaxed, and clean is our goal.  We are here for the food and drinks.  We take in the day with allowing the kids to bake with me the day before. They love it. This year we are doing a peach bundt cake with cinnamon swirl from scratch.  I don’t always advertise but I am a little mini Betty Crocker.  I don’t sell my stuff but I really love to bake for therapeutic reasons.  It makes me feel so super calm. I get in my zone. We let the mini bakers in the kitchen with music on and we have a blast.

Charlie Brown anyone?

We ALWAYS watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special.  I do not care what else is on television it doesn’t matter what is going on, in our home Charlie Brown is king. This year it will air on November 22 at 8pm EST.  I will be glued to the television as if I have never seen it before.  We get into our coziest pjs and by that time whatever I have cooking I plan around so I can leave it doing its thing so I can sit with the kids and soak it in.  In case you just can’t wait or can’t catch it.  Here is your chance, Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Wine and Things

I am who Google was made for. I am the queen of research and between that and Pintrest I am always on the search for any great Fall or Thanksgiving drinks both non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.  I like to make something that is mocktail appropriate for my kids. No I am not pushing the kids to drink, but let’s face it kids are visual.  Having a special drink that looks cool scores big mom points. And you do realize that for me at least, it makes the day that more fun.  They are little, they won’t always be this little.  Anything where I can do fun stuff and enjoy them I do and will continue to do.

I am a wine lover.  I like wine and I am not ashamed so if nothing else one of this year’s t-shirt is super valid.  Yes that is one of my looks I got from Etsy and wine is life.  Don’t fool yourself to think you won’t catch me with a great white wine.  To get this great shirt maybe even for next year, you can catch it here, Tday shirt

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Pick up the phone

This year I am going to push for phone contact.  I mean the old school, pick up the phone and call folks.  So to my friends and family, be on the lookout. Even if folks don’t answer, I will be leaving my voice on voice mails. I love text messages, as they allow you to send messages and communicate with others but I love to hear how folks are doing. I have a situation happen where someone I loved recently texted and said they were fine, but in their voice they wasn’t.  Not that this is fool-proof but talking always you to gauge others better than just a simple text can ever do.

Decorating Time

My husband grew up where the tree was put up the day before Christmas.  I grew up where we did it before. I love the tradition of putting it up. To compromise we had it up but delayed it severely to accommodate both of us.  Since the holidays, we now put it up the weekend after Thanksgiving mostly because we needed to add a little happiness and joy in our home since the passing of my mother in law.  We will be doing the same as this is the second one we haven’t had her. It helps with the mood. the kids get super excited, and it allows me to be the biggest cornball ever as my mom calls it. I put on Christmas music, bake cookies that I have already made batches for, and we just dance, sing, and let the kids decorate their tree the way they want to. I try not to disturb their artistic ability.  Again I will have my own tree later, this is their tree.

So as you can we don’t do much.  We try to see as many family as we can. Other than we enjoy the time off, we enjoy each other, and we enjoy great food.  It is the holiday to remember how grateful you are for everything good and bad.  The bad helps you to be better so don’t despise the down times.  We all need a little water to grow!  I am grateful for my family, friends, my job, my life, and my followers!  So now is the time to make the holidays what you want them to be. I try not to make mine what others make theirs.  You can have a great time even if you spend it with a small group of folks or a large group.  Also remember especially if you are just forming your own family, the things you bring in along with who you share your life with don’t have to match.  Find ways to incorporate both sides.  It will make for a richer holiday season! You make it what you want it to be!

Save the Drama for your Momma

You ever hear that when you were a kid?  Absolutely you have.  That was the cry when you wanted someone know from the gate you wasn’t here for their crap.  This was before it became popular to say “you tried it” or “boy bye.” A few years ago I got caught in some drama with some family members and decided they or anyone else would never get the chance again to try me.

Now I can admit that my mouth is pretty blunt. I pull no punches. I don’t say to someone  behind their back what I won’t say to their face.  If I said it, I own it.  My mom has raised me on that premise.  As much as folks can say what they want about her, they know what you see is what you get.  So when you’re a young girl you have to walk real close and not say what you want.  However when you become a woman and a real adult, you speak and say what has to be said period.  Do you know how many times I was super respectful in school but I would be the one to school a teacher and have my parents back me?  I had learned to reserve that go off when it was appropriate.  My parents definitely taught me to hold my tongue when I had to but when it was warranted, don’t have them looking crazy but make it a good one.

Well today before someone could even try to drag me I had to hit them with the save the drama for your momma pose.  I am not here for it.  I am not the one. I do not want to hear no issues because I have learned that people love to dice up a story and add stuff that ain;t happen and for me, if you gon quote me, quote me right.  I had to shut down the young lady and let her know from the gate, that I do not subscribe to banter so if that is what she came for keep it moving. She was mad trying to justify why I should listen but mid sentence I walked away. Just like that no questions asked, no let me go, just simply walked away.

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In my mind, I don’t care what you wanted to add, it becomes a choice if I sit there and listen and I definitely knew better.  A few years ago I allowed another person to make me mad enough that the anger was so super explosive I had to retreat for an entire day.  I had to count up the cost if that foolery was even worth it. It wasn’t.  So from that point on I make it my business to live in peace with the 4 other folks aka my immediate family ie, my husband and kids and live our lives without drama.  No drama in the home, so none to go out.  This has caused a rift with others but it works for me and my household.  Outside of getting blamed recently out of association since I had to be explained as to why I was in the last drama fest, I live quite a quiet life.

People are funny that way.  They can’t get to you in another way so they tag you with who you associate with. Let’s keep it real, they don’t like the person and it is what it is.  They didn’t hear me say, they didn’t see me do anything, but they have to add me in.  It’s quite laughable. But I laughed at the little mini altercation this morning as the person was just trying everything to get me upset. My are you done yet face still in tact as she reminded me of a tantrum that a child throws.  It was cute but not cute enough for me to attach any emotions to it and give her what she wanted which was attention.

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If you ever want to make someone mad, don’t pay them any attention.  Don’t subscribe to anything they dish.  Do not talk, don’t break bread, do not entertain that. That doesn’t mean from a far you can’t show love but until some things are worked out on both parties it’s a no for me sis.  As I watched this tantrum from this wayward adult unfold, I thought bless your heart, you just need some friends, some D, a nap, a drink, a vacation, anything but what you won’t get is a high-five on your mess.  She couldn’t do anything but stop talking to herself.  I was a mere distance from her, and her hollering had to stop at some point right?  Right.  Kill folks with a look, ignore them, walk away, but protect your spirit at all cost.  Every time something jumps off I remind myself of that promise I made a few years back, folks ain’t worth my time, energy, my bail money, or my life.  Focus on what matters, and keep it pushing folks, keep it pushing.

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Never Forgotten; Year One….

Well as many of my readers and followers know a year ago today, my mother in law transitioned from Earth.  It was such an experience.  This blog is dedicated to the memory of Deborah Ann Wilson-Storr.  We have lost a piece of her and we are trying our best to hold it together. This year has had so many ups and downs.  These are the things that I have personally noticed:

  1. Time right now hasn’t healed our hearts. My kids are still visibly moved by my mother in law’s passing.  My oldest will go to the gravesite but will not get close.  My son is still missing her and asking for her, but then will remember that she’s not here. My youngest was only 2 when she passed away but will say things like momma said….. Trust me it’s really spooky and the things that she says really sounded of things she would have said.  We were super worried that she was the one who didn’t have a close relationship because she was so young.
  2. Holidays and birthdays aren’t the same.  I try to still keep in line with what we would have done if she was here, but you can feel it.  I can’t think of a holiday where we as a family haven’t talked about her and what her presence not being here has meant.  She died right around Halloween and before Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It’s been hard.
  3. I notice that I didn’t cry as much as I did when she first passed but now I do more and its overwhelming.  I never thought what life would be like without her here. I always thought she would be a part of whatever we were doing and not having her here has been unbearable at moments.
  4. I include her memory in everything. I do not want my kids to loss her memory.
  5. My youngest still inter changes my mom and my mother in law’s name.  They call my mom Hanmom and her Mom-Mom and she will ask to go to mom-mom’s house but she really means my mom.  It’s not just a little slip up, we correct her and she is convinced. She has been asking to go to my mom’s house more lately.  It’s hard to know what a 3rd year old means all the time.
  6. Her passing has made me think of my own parents, and the relationship with my kids.  They are now the main grandparent here on Earth. I want them to be closer. However on grandparents day because of distance we had were honored to ask my mother in law’s best friend to stand in but I remember my son being upset and stating how unfair it was his grandparents weren’t there.
  7. As a mother I want to be sure that my words towards my kids are better.  I do not want any words between me and them to be in left field that when I am no longer here, they don’t have to heal from anything negative.  Her death makes me want to be as honest, right, and more loving to my own children.
  8. Lastly anger.  It has been weird and I try not to bother my husband about it, but I have felt angry at times. Like why there wasn’t more that could be done to keep her here with us a little longer.
  9. Not to take life for granted. I remember my mother in law had this list of these great things she wanted to do like take a trip to the Bahamas, buy a new car, or take her grandkids to Disney and sadly those things never happened. I remember when she was in the hospital and telling me what she was going to do, I told her that I would hold her to it.  Now she can’t and I will forever use that energy to do all of the things I possibly can. I don’t want to wait until later, etc.  I want to be sure that I live my best life daily.  So now I move differently in how I honor myself.  In this, will honor her and be a great testament to my kids at the same time.

Like I have said our interactions between my mother in law had intense moments like any other daughter in law and mother in law could have.  However it was always my desire to be closer to her.  What I enjoyed about her was her ability to handle her money and save.  She has taught me that. I know for a fact that I am a better shopper, a better woman of my finances as well as better at ruling my home because of her.

She taught me how to love my husband. My husband is an only child.  You can imagine above all else of what I have learned, how I may be mending, or how our children are doing is his emptiness.  She showed me how to love unconditionally. I always thought that was something that was so natural but it’s not.  She showed me how to handle people mistreating you, talking about you and still being yourself.  EVERYONE knows how it is to be in “Debbie’s world.”  She never wavered in who she was, how she felt, who she like, or who she didn’t like.  She was her, and she didn’t try to change.  She showed me how to love through people.

Whenever I hear my youngest talk, I say okay little Debbie.  She looks like her too.  My 3-year-old is the most sassy but not disrespectful child I have ever encountered.  She reminds me of my mother in law and I just look at her with a side eye at times just like I would my mother in law if she was here.

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One thing I would say with anyone who has a in law, to speak up for yourself and not be disrespectful.  I know that at times I came off as disrespectful and I have always admitted that there were things that I could have done like leave etc.  However I can say with 100% certainty is that I was in her full corner when it came to making sure she had the BEST care possible.  It was after I moved from her home that our relationship got back on track.  Also at the end of the day there isn’t anything that was done that I felt like I feel guilty about now that she is gone.  That comes from working things out and learning how to work it out.  I am not saying things were perfect at all, but we left things on the track it should have been on way before she passed.  Also keep in mind that regardless of what is done you can be cordial to an in law.  This is a respectful hello and good-bye especially if children are involved.    Do you know how hard it is to explain to a child while you were “being mean” to that grandparent?  Kids watch what you do regardless of what you say. However even in kidless marriages, it will still matter in how you interact.  You can put distance where it’s needed, I am for that. I did the same for a while too, but when you come back, try.  Always find a try within you.  How you handle those around you matters.  Also keep in mind, that just because you don’t like your in-law, they are the root of your significant other.  The love relationship they have regardless of how many times they complain to you is always going to be there. When that in-law transitions they will resent you if you have treated them any less.  They will not care what was done on the opposite end because the in law won’t be there to speak for themselves.  So be truly careful in how you talk, act, and handle this very delicate relationship. I am telling you it WILL matter.

Deborah, I know you are watching over us, making sure we give your grandbabies anything they ask.  I know you know we will not but you would want us to.  You would want us to give them as many kisses for you. I try daily to do just that and more.  The way you loved those 3 grandkids of yours was nothing more than I could have given and I am their mother. I pray that as we continue in this life, that your memory will burn bright everyday. I pray you are honored in how we move and live daily.  Until you can give me another side eye, I love you!!

Over 30 Years in The Making

Well last night I was able to see my Aunt Starlett.  The overall happiness that I still feel even as I type this blog, can’t even be captured. To see someone I haven’t seen in over 30 years is amazing.  I am 36 by the way if you need to put things into perspective.

Why I haven’t seen my aunt is mostly location.  She lives in California and my entire family leaves on the East Coast.  She works hard like two jobs hard to make ends meet so vacations aren’t even on the radar for her.  So this was major for her to get here.  I am super grateful for the strides that both my mom and aunt are making in their relationship.  Whatever may have happened prior to the best reunion ever doesn’t matter to me. I have done my job as a niece to keep up with my aunt and that is all that matters to me.

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I am also glad that my mom, aunt, and grandma will reunite together as well.  This is major too.  I don’t have a lot of family on my mom’s side so anytime we can get together is a big deal to me.  I am also glad that my husband and kids were able to meet her.  It helps for them to see parts of me and not just my husband’s side.

So what was going on in my mind the moments leading up to the reunion?

  1. Would see look like I remembered her?  She did and then she didn’t.  I only remember what her face looked like but our interactions growing up weren’t that strong so the memories of doing fun things with your aunt I don’t have.
  2. Would we receive each other warmly?  We absolutely did.  Hugs and kisses all around and my kids received her just as well.  That warmed my heart.
  3. Would everything go smoothly?  Absolutely.  Shout out to my mom for making her infamous lasagna.  Nothing can go wrong with momma’s cooking and a few drinks.
  4. How to pull this off-I live Philly my family doesn’t. So an hour and a half car ride during a school week for my kids, with homework in tow, grabbed some dinner because kids can be picky, and the sounds of New Edition we were on our way. This takes organization to the next level.  I dressed the kids in their pajamas, and this made it easy to get back late, transfer them to bed, and let them be rested for the next day. Super glad that we had very little tantrums during or after.
  5. I took the deepest breath and said a prayer that all would go well.  Not that anything would happen but again anxiety and this was a major event for me so I wanted to be on guard a bit until I saw her, it went away.

Shout out to my job for allowing me to leave early to get on the road so I could get the kids and my husband ready to travel.  Everyone knows I have a do nothing policy during the week when school is in session, but this was a must attend event.

I am super glad for the memories that were made.  The pictures that were taken.  The continued relationship that she and I will have.  I look forward to more reunions.  This was like Christmas and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. My night was forever made.  The kids were excited both leading to and after they met her.  That alone made me feel super good.  I couldn’t never imagined the moment but I am super glad the moment was had.

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One suggestion I would make is to try your best to make good relationships with family.  As I type this I will keep it all the way real. Even though I am all about family, I must say that there are several family members that I don’t have a relationship with anymore for various reasons.  So I will not write this and act like I just have the best relations with all of my family because that would be a lie.  If and when the time is right I am more than willing to make things right as they need to be in their proper place.  My reunion with my aunt lets me know that healing can still happen.  No matter what is said and done there is a slight chance if you’re open to it to make things better.  So I will encourage others as well as myself to try to make things better.

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I love my Aunt Star and I am glad that I was able to spend time with her.  God bless her in all that she does.

Wait Your Turn

I have been in this mindset of making people wait.  Everyone knows what I mean by that.  The person or persons in your life that need what they need right this second and think that the sun rises and sets on them.  Or a coworker that as soon as you enter the door has to be on extra and won’t give you the courtesy of at least taking off your coat.  These are the emotional blood suckers that zap your energy and life because at the end of the day they have no life of their own.

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If you allow people to not wait when they don’t have a priority in your life, you will be the one frustrated. I had to put this nugget to use in my own life first.  These last few weeks my life has been super busy.  I have been going to more events this year than ever before.  With that in mind, I am super organized.  My kids don’t miss a beat. My husband and I don’t miss it either.  In order to get things done, I plan ahead.  A large greatness to planning ahead is being prepared and knowing when I can take on more, when to say no, and when to make people wait.  A lot of times people live in this McDonald’s now mentality.  Everything can’t be instant.  Sometimes they want your attention because they are lacking in other places.  Sometimes they want your money and ain’t worked for it, or will go above and beyond to get it as hard as they in your face grabbing it from you. Sometimes they feel like “it’s always” been a certain way and when you detach you are the one that is wrong.

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Making people wait allows you to think.  It cuts you from making rush decisions which happens if you don’t first get in control of your own emotions when dealing with others. If you allow others to tell you how to run your own life, next thing you know, you are the one full of anger and resentment for allowing others power over you.  Waiting also allows you to determine what is beneficial and what needs to prioritized or not. So take your time on a few things.  It can wait.  People can wait. If someone wants to use your resources, they too can wait.  You don’t have to stop the world and get it for them at a drop of a dime.  Consider, if you were in the same position would the same courtesy be shown?  It’s not about tit for tat its about principle of allowing the same people to be takers and you are the one that has to allot for their lives.  This isn’t just about money but about emotional, mental, and spiritual robbers that come in and out of your life.  Be careful.  Learn how to weed them out.  Find them and make every effort to put stops and checks in place to guard from this type of behavior.

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I use a step in making decisions if I should rush into things or not:

  1. Is it necessary for basic survival?  Ie. living expenses such as utility bills not including cable or phones.  Those are nice but fully necessary.  If someone wants to borrow money or resources that’s not about keeping basic needs met, the answer is no or make them wait
  2. Is what the person or person want about fulfilling some long-term emotional baggage?  They can wait.  The girlfriend who doesn’t have a man so she wants to monopolize your time can wait.  You just hung out with her last week, but because she can’t get other friends to bend she needs you to stop what you’re doing. She guilt trips you and you cave, no make her wait.  You have other areas of your life to attend to and her need to find fulfillment in you needs to wait or be channelled.
  3. Are you the only source? Some will come to you because you make it too easy. Like a yes man, you give them what they need and you never check or ask anyone or have anyone else.  There’s a reason.  It’s not just because they love you so much either.  It has more to do with you being the source, them not handling their business correctly, and burning bridges with others.

Be careful.  Anything no matter what its is for that makes you mad that you helped, makes you upset to the point where you lose faith in yourself or humanity, is it really worth it?  Most likely not. You are in control make others respect you, and if they can’t sometimes a time out is necessary.  Do not feel cornered to do for others what they won’t do for themselves.

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Fall is for Linvilla Orchards

So I love Fall.  I love going to Linvilla Orchards.  We do this yearly.  I have a blast and so does the kids.  So this year was no different.  If you aren’t familiar with Linvilla check it out here.

We had a blast from the food to the apple slinging, it gets better yearly.  What I am most excited about was watching me and the kids’ growth over the years.  For instance when we first went my oldest was about 2 and my son wasn’t even walking.  Now they can participate in all of the events.  My youngest who is the pro at apple slinging was in my belly a few years ago and loves to run around playing. Linvilla has something for everyone.  If you love country fall foods, they have it.  If you like hay rides, they have it.  It is an all year round treat for the entire family.

So of courses let me give you our highlights.  I love corn. But nothing is better than corn than corn on the cob hot with piping hot butter drizzled on it.  They have corn down to a science and literally is the first stop on the trip.  Oh and the seasoning station, has everything you can think of for a messy good time.

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The kids didn’t want any parts of corn.  So they opted for funnel cake instead and cotton candy, duh!

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Nothing to do but to sit for a bit than let them run all of that energy out.  We let them play on everything.  You pay a dollar a ticket but the adults are free.  PSA, if you have more than one parent or a friend, designate one person to take a few pictures at the beginning and then focus back on the kids.  I see too many parents either taking pictures or just on their phone.  Your kids can still be injured or lost because you’re taking a parent time out. Linvilla has the kids within a fence but its super easy for kids to wander out if you’re not looking.  So keep an eye out and be vigilant.  The kids took advantage of us not saying no.  Kids need room to run so for me I enjoyed letting them be free.  Super grateful for having my husband come because the age ranges allowed the kids to play with their age of kids without worry that a bigger kid will over power my 3-year-old.  It allowed us to conquer and divide.  I definitely think having a group of parents and kids will allow a better time.  Not to mention not everyone wants to do the same things at the same time.  You can have some do face painting, while others are playing, etc.

They also have pony and train rides for a fee too as well as a petting zoo station.

The kids enjoy asking for things and getting them.  Always try to have cash to spend.  They do have ATMs but they are usually a bank no one has and I am on team save money.  You don’t have to pay to get in or for parking but the amount of money you will spend inside quickly covers it.  So be prepared.  We always get a pumpkin so we can either carve or paint them later at the pumpkin patch.  Linvilla has pumpkins of all sizes and even some black and white pumpkins too.

The highlight of the kids day outside of the hay ride, is apple slinging.  They also have corn and straw mazes, and a pumpkin toss.  The kids being able for $5.00 a barrel sling apples onto targets is always a great time.  The recommended age is over 5 but with our 3-year-old we just had to assist her.  If you don’t want to assist your little ones, avoid this area as they aren’t going to be content watching others sling them.

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I love being in Linvilla.  It is very crowded.  Everyone pushing up against one another but not in a bad way.  I have never seen an incident take place there because of the crowds and I have been going there since 2012.  It is a true family oriented spot with everyone just enjoying themselves. I love the apple cider.  They make it themselves so if you are an apple cider connoisseur you will love it.  Also never leave without trying an apple cider donut.  These things are super addictive.  I made sure I ONLY bought one to eat because if you buy any more than that, it’s not going to make it home and that’s a promise.  And of course a candy or a caramel covered apple too.  My kids snuck theirs and almos them done before we got home.  You can imagine our home being an immediate candy fest.  I was never so happy for bedtime.

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So if you like fun, family, and a little outdoors mixed in with Fall activities then Linvilla is your spot.  I hope you enjoyed my little glimpse into our yearly indulgence.  If you can make it out, make it a priority. They even have a friendly hayride to the witches house for apple cider and a marshmallow roast.

Extra Hints to get through with kids

  1. Wear pants-the hay can be itchy so if you’re allergic to hay obviously avoid it.  We also bring blankets to lay down
  2. For asthma adults/kids, bring your inhaler, the air is different because it’s not city air.  We always have to use the inhaler before and after,
  3. Bring a first aid kit that can fit in a bag. Kids seem to graviate to scrapes and to avoid having to find a station, bring your own.
  4. Have enough money and space your time out-kids will ask for everything to do at the same time.
  5. Plan to be there for at least 2 hours and even then you may not get through it all
  6. Be patient as some lines are longer than others
  7. They have a market to purchase frest fruit, etc
  8. You can pick your own apples at this time too
  9. If your little one can walk but may get tired, bring a fold up stroller.  Also keep in mind you can’t take a stroller on the hay ride, but you can park it in a designated area but never leave valuables in it, it’s family oriented but like my momma would say, everybody ain’t saved.
  10. Have fun!