Aside from that little hiccup of falling snow this past Tuesday, according to the calendar and in general, all signs point to spring diligently working to show its bright and shining face. The birds are singing, baseball teams have begun practicing, and barbecues are begging to be fired up all around. 

For this week's Fun Friday offering, I explored my Top 5 reasons we're thankful for spring, but within that list, I didn't get to fully dive into why I'm beyond ready for spring to hit the air already. So please, check out the fully familial version of why I'm thankful spring is battling its way into our midst, but following is just a bit more...

1. Easter will soon be upon us. I could just say I can't wait for Lent to be over so I can have myself that soda (or five) that I've been craving, but that wouldn't be 100 percent true. (I'd be lying if I didn't say that wasn't part it). But truly I love Easter, especially as I've gotten older and particularly after I became a mom. It's a beautiful time of year and to have the sacrifice that Jesus made for us at the forefront of our thoughts...It's just incredible and overwhelming. 

2. Our yard is a complete and utter disaster and I am genuinely looking forward to not having to look at the ugliness anymore. I know it's gonna be a real back breaker getting it looking decent, and in truth I wish I could just spray it with 'ugly-be-gone,' but I'm pretty sure that's not an option...So I'll take the hard work for the prettier view. 

3. Flip flops and Capris. Need I say more? 

4. I am crazy excited to unleash my daughter on our driveway. She's got her Dora bike with training wheels and her scooter from Christmas...I am so ready to see her out there enjoying the outdoors in a whole new way. 

5. Barbecue!!! We attempted barbecuing in the screen porch this winter...It wasn't so pretty. Definitely be glad to have that baby back out on the porch where it belongs, enjoying food in this delectably fantastic manner. 

6. Abby told me she's so ready for spring because it means setting up her pool...And ideally putting water in it. Daddy got her some "gobbles" (goggles) and she is beyond ready. 

7. My youngest niece starts tee ball this year. I cannot wait to watch her out there in all of her sassy glory. It will be magnificent. 

8. Basketball. I am surrounded by family and I'm really hoping this will be the year for "community basketball" on the home front. The memories of endless hours of H-O-R-S-E, Around the World, and 1-on-1; I can't wait to make new memories with all the nieces and nephews. 

9. Speaking of the nieces and nephews, the two 7-year-olds have concocted a plan for baseball, soccer, and volleyball camps to be held on our little "compound." (Not really, but that's what it's affectionately known as). They are hoping I'll "run" their volleyball camp - what's better than that?

10. Spring leads to summer, which leads to the Fourth of July, and in our family there's little else that can compete with the good times we have on that day. 

So there you have it - the unfiltered version of my I'm-so-happy-it's-spring list. What's on your list?

Seriously, where are Max and Ruby's parents?
In case the title gave your heart a bit of a hiccup we're talking about Nick Jr.' s children's cartoon, Max and Ruby. Everybody okay? Good, let's move on. 

Ever since I was introduced to this cartoon (one that my daughter inexplicably really enjoys) the same question has plagued me. Where the...are Max and Ruby's parents? 

It was only a matter of time before this particular question became fodder for my Fun Friday series. I'll have you know, that time is here. Here and now. While I (and we) never successfully managed to discover a concrete answer to that question, I relished coming up with possible answers. I also managed to persuade a few lovelies to contribute their theories. I invite you to do the same. 

So, with no further ado, why don't you head on over to Fun Friday: Where are Max and Ruby's parents? and see what you come up with. 

Recently I've done a series of articles that focused on potty training. It began from my collecting various tips and tricks from moms I know and wanting to provide real advice from real moms. 
It seemed to me that there are a ton of books available on the market about potty training dos and don'ts, but what a mom (at least this mom) really wants is for someone more tangible to say, "Hey, I've been there and done that, and here's what worked for my kiddo, and here's what didn't." Not some obscure expert writing a book. 

From this idea came two Fun Friday pieces; one of which wasn't meant to have anything resembling a potty training or otherwise focus, but ended up touching on it within the piece. The other, came from the desire to share the sometimes humorous and honest truth about potty training. 
Next up, was a story I literally stumbled upon, but was interested on getting my reader's take on the story. Basically, a three-year-old girl found herself removed from preschool because of frequent bathroom related accidents. I was hoping to (and did within the comments) start a discussion about children who are ready in every other way for preschool, but maybe haven't left the minors and gone pro in their potty training efforts. I hope you'll join in on the discussion. 
I'll be rounding out all of our recent potty training information with an interview with a friend (and mother of five) who found great success in the pages of one of those potty training books I wasn't comfortable with. We'll basically be taking a look at the book from her perspective and how she put the advice into action. If you haven't already, but sure to subscribe to my Examiner.com column so you don't miss out on this interesting information. You can subscribe at the top or bottom of any of my articles. 

Hopefully this piece will be coming our way soon. 
Since the inception of Family Night Tuesdays and Fun Fridays, each week I know I can bank on having two articles written, without fail. This can certainly lead to some level of anxiety as I try to come up with topics that are fun, helpful, and hopefully, witty. Regardless of this self-imposed pressure, I love writing these articles. They add a lighthearted quality to my column that, thus far, have received an overwhelmingly positive response from my readers. So today, I'm going to take the opportunity to highlight some of my most recent favorites from both of these.

Last week's Family Night article was a take off of the Christmas classic, The Twelve Days of Christmas. For our purposes, however, I whittled it down to the 'Six' days of Christmas. Believe me when I tell you, you'll have more fun if you sing along as you read the article.

One of the two Fun Friday pieces I'm going to feature here is the Top 10 reasons to be thankful to be a parentThis one I did all by my little lonesome self with no feedback from other parents. Simply, it is my current top 10 list why being a mom is so stinking fabulous! I tried to intersperse the funny with the sentimental - though all come very deeply from my heart. If you didn't happen to catch it, I hope you will.

[Image]My most recent Family Night piece highlighted a family recipe. Wait, scratch that - a beloved family recipe. Each year, I wait in eager anticipation for December so the wreath making can begin. If you've never had a cornflake, edible Christmas wreath...Well, I'll just pause here in a moment of silence for you...And then I'm going to direct you to the link to this article, as quickly as possible.

Each December I think of the other shapes I could use, the other food colorings that would work in order to adapt these delectable delights to other holidays, yet I never do. I so love these wreaths that at my baby shower, my sister and sis-in-law made them in the shape of baby booties. The shower was in December, but they just couldn't bring themselves to serve wreaths at a baby shower. I can vividly recall sneaking into my grandmother's kitchen with my siblings and cousins in the middle of the night with only the light of the fridge to guide us as we sneaked wreaths from the fridge. Seriously, if you've never had these, it's a must add to the holiday treat list.  

For our final peak at the silly side of my column, I bring you last Friday's Fun Friday edition. This was a beautiful compilation of my own stories and stories from other parents. This article was From the mouths of babes. Amazing response on this one. People really seemed to enjoy it, but we're talking about the funnies kids say, so what's not enjoy? So many of the Friday articles would not come to fruition without these wonderful parents so willing to share pieces of their children with me - and by extension, you, so thank you all who contribute; I couldn't do it without you. 

Hope you're having a wonderful week! Thanks for coming along for the ride.

As promised here's a look at my new weekly series for my Examiner column (look at me being all not neglectful). May I introduce to you...Fun Fridays! The basic premise of Fun Fridays is to take a look at the fun, silly, light-hearted side of parenting. Given the response I got from the moms who participated in the first edition of Fun Friday, I'm hoping people will get a kick out of this series.

This week's article took the mom perspective with, You know you're a mom when...The responses I got were hilarious! I didn't even get to use them all, so definitely be looking for periodic versions of this piece sprinkled throughout our Fun Fridays. Next week I'm turning to the dads - they'll be answering the question in their form: You know you're a dad when...I'm really excited to see how their responses will differ from the moms.

So, if you've got the response(s) to either of these statements, please e-mail me and know you'll be included in an article at some time in the future. Please be sure to note if I can use your name and include where you live. Perhaps you have a topic you'd like to see covered in a Fun Friday edition? Toss those suggestions into the pot too!

I hope you'll wander over to the ol' Examiner page and let me know what you think of my first Fun Friday edition.
 Fun Friday: You know you're a mom when... *Author's Note: I'm so excited about Fun Fridays that I've added a tab up top to keep you posted on all things related. Consider that your go to place to link you to all things Fun Friday

*(Originally written on October 5, 2010)