FREE Kids Activity: Plan your Best Trip Ever using the Five Senses

Extended breaks mean more activities to entertain the kids. Here’s a free video where I read one of my children’s books in its entirety + a fun activity to pass the time

Sometimes you just need something to entertain the kids for a few minutes while you prep dinner or send an email.

Other times you have entire days you need to fill: summer vacation, spring break, illness, weekends, quarantines…you feel me.

So…

I’m sharing a video where I read one of my children’s books in its entirety: Best Trip Ever!

Additionally I’m sharing a free resource to help extend this activity. It’s educational and fun!

After Watching the Video, follow along with the activity below.

I’ve included modifications for different age and learning preferences.

FREE Kids Activity:

Plan your Best Trip Ever using the Five Senses

 

 

Opening: You’ve just listened to the story “Best Trip Ever” now let’s plan our own exciting trip! We can do this by thinking about the things we would see, smell, taste, touch, and hear on our adventure. This is called using our five senses.

First let’s brainstorm where we would like to go if you were planning your own Best Trip Ever.

(Jot down a few ideas and pick one)

*For older kids encourage them to choose somewhere they have never been, younger kids will need a point of reference, possibly use somewhere they have been a few times*

Once you know where you would plan a trip, think about what you would see, smell, taste, touch, and hear while there.

Options (pick one – think of your child and how they like to engage):

  • Ask your child to find an object around the house, or in the yard, that represents what they would see, smell, taste, touch, and hear on their trip – for younger children, walk around with them and focus on one sense at a time
  • Write the five sense down and make a list under each of the things on your trip
  • Write out a story of where you would travel and what you would see, smell, taste, touch, and hear while there
  • Do the same as above, but leave out where you are traveling to and see if a parent or sibling can guess the location based on your sensory description

For more books and activities to help keep everyone happy and sane during extended breaks, follow my Facebook or Instagram @StoriesbyJKCoy

May the days be filled with making memories

and may the kids *pretty please* sleep in!

Cheers fellow parents.

 

New Release coming this Spring:

Princess Winnabelle and the Missing Jewels

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A Happy Halloween in the Making

I love Halloween like a seven year old loves Halloween, but I do not have the mental bandwidth to stress about my daughters costumes this year.

I love Halloween like a seven year old loves Halloween, but I do not have the mental bandwidth to stress about my daughters costumes this year.

Here’s how this year’s costumes came together:

I had a lady bug costume shoved in the back of the closet that I bought at a garage sale for $2 long before it would fit my oldest daughter, in anticipation of her trick or treating days.

Then a couple weeks ago I saw an infant size lady bug costume hanging at a kids resale store for $2.

Perfection.

My two little love bugs would be lady bugs! Done. Settled. One decision out of my jam-packed brain.

Sometimes as parents we resist doing things the simple way because we don’t want our children to think we don’t care about them.

But simplicity is not the same as indifference.

As a young child you can probably think of instances of both. Sometimes simple things actually made you feel incredibly happy (making a homemade dice costume from a box), while indifference, or lack of planning, made you feel unimportant or forgotten (stopping at the grocery store on Halloween and picking from the leftover plastic masks).

Doing things more simple this year doesn’t mean that I don’t care, and it is important to me that my girls know that. Simple means that I am deciding how much of my precious time and attention can be put in to certain things, so that I have time and energy to actually invest in being present with them.

Simple doesn’t mean you don’t care, or didn’t plan. It can actually be a sign that you planned well.

Remember that as you enter the crazy holiday season ahead.

And…

Happy Halloween (month)!

From,

The Oldest Trick or Treater on the Block

PS My oldest is two and a half and already pretty obsessed with Halloween. My job is done here:)

Pieces of Me Died When I had Kids, and I’m Glad They Did

Not everything you did before kids was that awesome.  You had freedom, but I’m sure it wasn’t always used wisely.

If we’re being honest, little pieces of you die when you start having kids.

Hold up.  This is not some marter-fest where we sit around and talk about how our best days are gone now that we had kids.  I’ve actually come to see this as a good thing. Stick with me.

Not everything you did before kids was that awesome.  You had freedom, but I’m sure it wasn’t always used wisely.  You could have traveled the world.  You could have spent time volunteering at a children’s hospital.  You could have read more books.  I actually really hope you did!

But you all also spent a decent amount of that time picking the right filter for your rose’ picture by the pool, binge watching shows on netflix, and spending long hours sitting in front of your computer at the office.

And there is nothing wrong with any of that.

Except that kids are vacuums.  They suck up most of the hours you once had.

Because of that, pieces of you will have to die.  The great part is, you are an adult with a tiny semblance of control.  You get to pick which pieces you keep and which to let go, but you will be forced to be selective.

mom life, kids are awake, mommy brain
@mommyconvos

Read the book or watch the show?

Do your make-up or snuggle with the kids?

Take the pictures or live the moment?

Run the extra miles or write the next book chapter?

Take on the extra work project or make dinner from scratch?

This is not a test, there is no wrong answer.  But you still need to chose wisely.  Not because one is bad and the other is good.  Chose wisely because there is less time that you have to work with.  If you don’t intentionally chose, you will feel like there is never any time, and feel resentful that all the former pieces of you were forced to die.   Thanks kiddos.

Your goals will naturally need to be fewer in number, incredibly focused, and likely with a grace-filled (ie longer than you would like) timeline.  Coincidently, that is actually a great formula for successfully accomplishing your goals with or without kids.

Before kids, it’s just easier to assume you will act later because you own all the hours.  But when kids are present, you don’t know which hours will be yours.  You have to be intentional.  You need the day’s game plan in your head so that when the minutes and hours appear, you can seize them.

Do you see how kids can actually be a highly effective tool at helping you decide what the best pieces of you are?  Go tell that sweet baby thank you.  Unless they are sleeping.  In that case DO NOT WAKE THEM!

My current goal is getting my third book finished up.  I literally have one step for it, each day, that I plan to complete.  Beyond that I don’t even try because with young kids I wouldn’t be setting myself up for success or happiness.  After I finish that one goal, I let my kids guide most of the day.  My goals are few and focused, and accomplishing them takes much longer than I’d like.  But I get to enjoy my kids in between.   It makes me happy knowing that there is a small, but very important, piece of me still thriving amongst that chaos.

Amazon Rank, My Mom is the Worst #1 Motherhood
My Mom is the Worst Children’s Book, Available on Amazon Here

Which pieces of you have you intentionally chosen to focus on once having kids?

Two Years Later; My Writing Anniversary

I can now say the last two years have been worth it all.  I get to share Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster with literally thousands of parents; Parents that just need a good laugh and a big hug after a long day.

For a parent whose memory has gone to mush, I really heart the Facebook Memories feature.  Most of the time I can’t believe things happened so long ago.

Seriously?! That concert was eight years ago!

It’s been that long since I’ve been to Europe?!

Wait.  What.  I used to go out on Thursday nights.

But then again, sometimes we are glad to no longer be in that season of life that we were reminded of.  The reality is that it may not have been our best season.

On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% … and that’s pretty good. – unknown

Let that sink in.

***

Reflection can be difficult, but it can also be empowering.  Anniversaries are the perfect time to think about where you’ve been and where you’re going.

A few days ago this photo popped up on facebook and it reminded me it had been two years since I wrote Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster.

BM

Adorable right?!  But those days of adjusting to motherhood were tough.  Here is the post where I shared my own reflections from the last two years:

“This huge smile takes me back to a really tough time in my life. It was taken shortly after I wrote the first draft of what became the loving children’s book: Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster.

I can picture myself sitting in the car, two months postpartum, tears in my eyes. I was trying to figure out the new roller-coaster I had stepped on to. I constantly flowed back and forth between immense love (Did you see that smile?) and silly frustrations (feeling like I was failing at everything).

Reflecting on the last two years, I am so grateful that this Beautiful Monster broke me.

Our highs are insanely high.
We like to get it all out there by silly dancing in the kitchen to Eminem and the Beatles.

Our lows are embarrassingly low. I tell her to go watch Elmo so no one loses their shi….. , even though I hate when she sits there like a zombie.

All in all, we get to practice a lot of love and laughter in our house.

Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster”

I can now say the last two years have been worth it all.  I get to share Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster with literally thousands of parents; Parents that just need a good laugh and a big hug after a long day.

 

The book is a chance  to snuggle up to your Beautiful little Monster and relax knowing that you are doing this parenting thing just fine.  Your track record is 100%.

love_you_to_pieces_B_Cover_for_Kindle
Read it Here

 

 

 

 

 

My Mom is Crazy (About Me)

I hope no one confuses my moments of frustration with my true feelings about my children and motherhood

My baby will be twelve weeks old tomorrow.

Some days are better than others.  Realistically some minutes are better than others.

Parenthood is a roller coaster ride.  I found that out the hard way when my first little love was born.

One minute I find myself ogling at every little thing my baby does, talking baby talk with the best of them, and the next minute I am incredibly frustrated because my kids are screaming while I brush my teeth for the first time that day (at 2pm – hello coffee breath).  I swear, I often feel like I am the emotional little monster in the house.

But I hope no one confuses my moments of frustration with my true feelings about my children and motherhood, and the joy I get from those precious moments of total sweetness in between the chaos.  My babies absolutely know I’m crazy;  they also know I am absolutely crazy about them.

Have you been on that roller coaster today?

If so, below is one recent example you’ll relate to, compliments of social media.

Don’t forget to follow both so you don’t miss the fun: Facebook (@StoriesbyJKCoy) and Instagram (@FinishtheBook):

Part 1part 2part 3

“Then all of a sudden you stop.  You look in my eyes and grin from ear to ear.

And it’s my turn to tear up.

I freakn’ love you to pieces, Beautiful Monster.”  – Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster

I know as a parent you get it.

Get Your Own Copy Here
Get Your Own Copy Here

Parents Talking Dirty

There comes a time in every parent’s life where bowel movements are as common a conversation topic as discussing the weather. 

After almost ten years of marriage and two young kids, think you can guess the hottest topic is in our household?

If you guessed POOP, you are correct!   And if you are disgusted that I would even type that word, you clearly do not have a young child.

Honestly, I don’t know when the turning point came.  The point where I lost all modesty on the subject.

Was it…

  • When the midwife was wiping my *ss during the birth of our beautiful daughter?
  • During the newborn stage when we were sleep deprived and changing 10+ diapers a day?
  • When our first daughter went through a phase where she would reach into her diaper and smear poop on her sheets?
  • When we potty trained our twenty month old and lost all dignity by referring to ourselves as “Poop Coaches” and offering “Poop Treats?”  FYI Candy canes and popsicles are our aresinel of choice.
  • The first time we sent a text message that included a picture of our child’s “achievement”?  I’m embarrassed to add that these texts have gone to family and friends at times.
  • At a recent dinner party where we conspired with friends to hide Miralax in our children’s sippy cups?

There have been so many defining poop moments, I really can’t say.

baby poop monster kids book
“In the middle of the night you woke me, to let me know you pooped your pants.  I love you to pieces, Beautiful Monster.”  Get your own copy of this honest children’s book!

But the point is, there comes a time in every parent’s life where bowel movements are as common a conversation topic as discussing the weather.

And unfortunately the talk isn’t limited to the four walls of our house anymore.  It’s at daycare, work parties, over a nice glass of wine…not to mention living forever on this blog.

And even for me, someone that lost all discretion awhile ago, a new low was recently achieved.  Yesterday an acquaintance at church casually asked how I was doing.

Without thinking I responded, “Pretty good, but my daughter just had an explosive diaper on my lap.”

I sent that sentence out like it was a  casual text update.  After the words left my mouth, I was instantly remorseful.  I crossed the line.  I dumped my poop talk on someone that was not in the same life stage.  That is how normal poop conversations have become.  I can no longer see the social line until I’ve crossed it.

Forgive me for having limited social graces these days, but parenting young kids has a way of making you feel like a human Kleenex.  I had a shower yesterday morning, but two hours later it felt like it had been a week.  In just a few hours I had been spit up on multiple times, wiped boogers with my sleeve, cleaned out our toddler potty five times, changed a few diapers and a blowout onsie, cleaned up all the dog poop in the yard, and had my two year old’s naked butt sitting on me while I tried to get a home workout in.  None of which was out of the norm.  It was all a typical Sunday.

parenthood is messy

 

I don’t know if there is a point to all this, other than I felt like sharing what was on my mind.  And these days, my mind has gone to mush.  Brown, stinky mush.

Gross.

*********************

Anyone else in that marital stage where you talk as much potty talk as we do?!

Geoffrey the Giraffe’s Extinction Notice: Spring 2018

It feels like they refused to grow up, getting by on nothing more than nostalgia.  Eventually memories weren’t paying the bills, and the store is now coming to a close.

I was instantly transported back to 1988, as I walked through the sliding doors with my daughter’s hand in mine.

I don’t want to grow up, I’m a TOYS “R” US kid

Very little had changed in this mega toy store.  I’m certain over fifty percent of the toys that overloaded the shelves were the same toys I enjoyed during my childhood.

Fisher Price xylophones, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Lite Brites, Easy-Bake ovens, Power Wheels, the game Hungry Hungry Hippo, and Guess Who?  All there for the taking.

geoffrey the giraffe 2018 toys r us through the years
Image adapted from original, original source unknown

It was a fantastic trip down memory lane for my husband and I, both products of the eighties.  But not so fantastic for a dying retailer that never evolved.

They got a million toys at TOY “R” US that I can play with.

They may have gotten the million toy part correct.  The store felt chaotic and overloaded with all the toys haphazardly jammed inside.

They got the best for so much less, it’ll really flip your lid.

Except no one has actually associated them with having low prices in quite some time.  And in an Amazon world, it’s probably not the best idea to try to compete using copious amounts of in-store inventory.  The liability is too large.

They already had a lot of square footage in their stores.  They could have converted a portion of that to encourage experiences…

  • an entire magical Island of Sodor set-up for kids to indulge their Thomas the Train day dreams
  • a stage to encourage play with dress-up clothes, musical instruments, and story time
  • miniature houses with back yards to ignite the imagination using outdoor basket ball hoops, scooters, baby dolls, and play kitchens
  • a humongous Lego table featuring the best child-made creation of the day
  • or even a race track around the store for those Power Wheels that the kids still love today

Honestly, I’m excited just thinking about the possibilities!

Some will contend that kids are busy playing with iPads and computers and aren’t interested in the same kinds of toys.  But every family I know, still has a house full of bikes, train, and video games.  The toy market isn’t dead.

From bikes to train to video games, it’s the biggest toy store there is!

JK Coy
Get the latest books from J.K. Coy, Click Here

It’s just that the retail strategy has evolved and grown up since the eighties.  TOYS “R” US should have revised their in-store experience long ago.  It feels like they refused to grow up, getting by on nothing more than nostalgia.  Eventually memories weren’t paying the bills, and the store is now coming to a close.

I don’t wanna grow up, because maybe if I did, I couldn’t be a TOYS “R” US kid!

Sadly, as of Spring 2018, no one gets to be a TOY “R” US kid.

Game over.

 

 

The Missing Toys that Torture Me

How do Moms find anything? 

We search the places that someone has promised us they’ve checked.

To the missing ‘W,’

Your run is finally over.

The madness you managed to create in our house was monumental.  For months my daughter’s alphabet toy had been incomplete.  How was she supposed to finish learning her ABC’s when the W was missing?

 

No wagon, no walrus, no watermelon.

Whelp!

I searched for you, lost sleep over you, and considered offering a reward to anyone that could find you.  Many times I silently resolved to give up on you.  But then I always caved, because a good Mom doesn’t give up.

I admit, I got way too excited each time I thought of somewhere new to look.  Surely today would be the day I found you!

But it never was.  You are indeed talented at the game of hide and seek.

This morning I thought I caught a glimpse of you under the toy chest.  I moved it, already planning a victory dance in my head.  Instead, it was the wooden bunny from a puzzle.  I hadn’t even noticed that she was missing yet, since I was still fixated on the W.

So I thought about it for way too long.  At that point I was obsessed with finding you.  I pictured you in hiding with the lost red crayon and plastic egg that also keep me up at night.

I thought.  And I thought…clearly wasting too much time on the matter.

But then the clouds parted as the the following thought came to mind…

How do Moms find anything?

JK Coy Books
Check Out these Children’s Books by Author J.K. Coy Here

We search the places that someone has promised us they’ve checked.

No socks in the drawer, just check the drawer.

No toilet paper left in the cupboard, just check the cupboard.

No milk left in the fridge, just check the fridge.

It’s a fantastic starting place for every Mom detective.

So I held my breath, and I lowered my stomach to the floor, flash light in hand.  Low and behold, there you were, waiting quietly in the darkness beneath the couch.  The same couch I was guarenteed had been checked.

Well played W, well played.

Once I find the red crayon and plastic egg, you’re all in timeout.

Did You Ask Your Toddler if They Wanted a Sibling?

Of course no parent actually calls it a demotion.  We tell them how lucky they are to be the older siblings, the big brother or sister, our big helper.  But I’m sure in their little hearts it has got to sting a little.

I was the baby in the family.  I never had my parents full attention.

I was born in to the notion of sharing it whether I liked it or not.  And even though it was all I knew, it was still hard for me as a child.  My parents said I always wanted their attention.  Apparently I did this thing where I grabbed my mother’s face and made her look me in the eye when I wanted to talk to her.

I’d say, “Listen to me Mama.”

I felt like she was distracted by everything.  And she probably was.  She was caring for the two other tiny humans, the two brothers that came before me.  I can only imagine it must have been a bit traumatic for each of my brothers when a new sibling entered their world and they received a bit of a demotion.

Of course no parent actually calls it a demotion.  We tell them how lucky they are to be the older siblings, the big brother or sister, our big helper.  But I’m sure in their little hearts it has got to sting a little.

Our second daughter is due any day now.  Our first daughter isn’t even 23 months yet, and it’s like she can sense that her world is about to change.  She has gotten more emotional, and has become a mama’s girl in the last few weeks.  And while I think our first born is going to make a fantastic big sister, I’m sure it’s going to be confusing that she has to share her mommy and daddy for the first time.

Just like she will be adjusting to life with a sibling, I’ll be adjusting to being a mother of two.  I am trying to soak up these last nights of rocking her to sleep as my only child, my first baby, the one that taught me everything about being a Mom.

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To My First Born

Life is about to change, and it’s like you can sense it.

We lovingly refer to you as THE BEST.

But in just days you’ll be our OTHER BEST.

It’s going to be hard.  It’s going to be different.

You were happy just as things were.

“Why would Mom and Dad try to replace me?”

Of course, we never were.

But some of the things we did for you last week, you’ll now be asked to do on your own.

And some of your hugs and kisses, will be reserved for a baby not yet grown.

So before life gets crazy, I’m soaking in these last nights rocking you to sleep as my only.

You’re the one who taught me everything about being a Mom.

And that will always be our special bond.

***Love you Baby Girl.  You’re THE BEST.

Open Letter from an Honest Parent; I’m Losing My Marbles

When will they sleep?  When will they grow out of this stage?  Where did they learn that?  When will they grow up?  Where did that attitude come from?

I am a parent.  I get tired.  I get frustrated.  I complain.  Daily.  The hours can feel so long.

I mean, I write children’s books about how crazy my child makes me and blog on a website called MyMomistheWorst.com, all of which I wholeheartedly stand behind.

I wanted to create a place for parents to say “I’m struggling every day.  Anyone with me?”  But I also want to remember –

I am a parent.  I love my child.  She cracks me up.  She brings me joy every day.

My husband and I attended a parenting conference this weekend.  He absolutely loves when I sign him up for this kind of thing.

But I know we both gained some valuable insight.  One of the analogies that has stuck with me this week is the idea of bringing home a jar full of marbles (936 to be exact) with your newborn.

jar of marbles

Every week, sometimes it feels like every hour, we run in to parenting situations that make us feel like we are literally losing our marbles.

When will they sleep?  When will they grow out of this stage?  Where did they learn that?  When will they grow up?  Where did that attitude come from?

But we are literally losing our marbles.  Each marble represents a week that we get with our child before they leave home at eighteen (give or take a few marbles).  With each week we lose one more opportunity to influence, to love, and to mold our children.

The analogy reminds me that the time with my child is not infinite.  Though, the hours can certainly feel that way.   It is human and honest to admit my child is driving me crazy.   I just don’t want to let myself forget to value the chaos and memories we have together now.

Like a wise children’s book once said…

“Everyday you make me crazy.  I love you to pieces. Beautiful Monster.”