A Place to Monkey Around This Summer

Monkey Bizness

According to the UV Index, the sun’s ultraviolet radiation peak occurs at 1:00 p.m.  It’s recommended that outdoor play be avoided during this time to avoid over-exposure to the sun.  So what can we do with our children in the middle of the long, dog days of summer? Well, I have a fantastic solution for you! Your kiddos won’t be whining about boredom after oversized blowup bounce and slide fun at Monkey Bizness – located in Centennial, CO.  The best thing about this place: parents can get in on the fun too!

Good, Clean Fun
I don’t know about other moms, but I have a hard time resisting the urge to join in…at the park, school, and sometimes I’m even tempted by restaurant play places if they don’t have french fry grime in the corners.  That’s another favorite thing, Monkey Bizness is clean and sanitized.  There are several, large play rooms which are rotated so that while some are being disinfected, others are open for play.  Everything is very well managed and hand sanitizer is abundant.

Healthy Bodies
With today’s concern about childhood obesity, it’s important that we teach our kids active play.  Monkey Bizness is filled with challenging equipment for all ages, guaranteed to get your heart rate up, and parents are welcome to play too, so with all the bouncing, swinging, climbing, and sliding you won’t have to worry about squeezing in that evening workout!

 A Parent’s Escape
If you’re in need of downtime more than play time, Monkey Bizness is a great place to set your kids free and just relax with your favorite book.  The play is all in one, giant room, so you can grab a bench and know that your kids are in a safe place.

Service Values
Monkey Bizness values cleanliness and good, old-fashioned customer service and it shows.  This is a place your kids will want to visit again and again – it’s also a great place to host a birthday party!  Check out the website for complete details: http://www.monkeybizness.com/01denver.html.

Training the Heart

In my best efforts to get this parenting thing right the first time around (and I’m still in need of much grace), I’m taking part in a summer study on Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp.  I’ve found the overall message of this study to be very thought-provoking, and not in a deep intellectual way, but a more obvious, “I’ve really missed the boat”,  sort of way.  The message is one that I think we, as busy parents, often forget – we’re not here to simply correct our children’s bad behavior – we’re here to speak to their hearts, and let the convictions of their hearts guide their good behavior.

Proverbs 22:6 explains, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Luke 6:45 says, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

As we continue in this study, I will pass along good suggestions.  For now, I’m finding that the consciousness of truly teaching my children why we want to behave well rather than simply correcting their bad behavior for social acceptance – or mommy sanity – is giving me the insight I have needed for several of my parenting struggles.

Choosing Abounding Love

A big part of parenthood, and life in general, is the continual process of making choices – some more consciously than others.  With each choice, we face opportunity cost – something that we give up in order to accept the one, single decision we go with.  Having to make a choice inevitably results in an overall gain or loss for that particular situation.  The tricky part of all this decision-making is that the measurable outcome is often unclear when dealing with intangible concepts, so we can’t actually prove that we’ve made the best choice available to us.  So, how do we begin to sort through the many dilemmas we face in our daily adventures?

Whether you first consult the facts or look to your feelings on the situation, I believe in the divine power of consciousness/wisdom – the innate knowledge of right and wrong that speaks to us and guides our paths in the way in which we should go.  It is my belief that we must search our hearts to find the answer that speaks to us in a language of abounding love – mature, enduring, and kind. 

With the powerful tool of love, even the most difficult decisions can be conquered with grace.  So, when struggling with a difficult decision, consider the opportunity cost with a measure of abounding love…and always choose love.

Denver Museum BODY WORLDS

You can still catch the temporary exhibit “BODY WORLDS & The Story of The Heart” in its final weeks at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science – if you’ve never been to one of these, it’s a must see!

A brief description from the website:

BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart, an all-new exhibition, reveals — through the lenses of anatomy, cardiology, psychology and culture — how the heart nourishes, regulates and sustains life. The exhibition gives Museum visitors profound insight into the human body, health and disease, and the intricate world of the cardiovascular system. The exhibition awes visitors with more than 200 human specimens, including whole-body plastinates, organs and translucent body slices.

We took our children, 6 and 3, to see the exhibition.  I wasn’t sure if they really understood what they were looking at, and they did get bored after a while, but in the days following our trip to the museum I overheard comments that made me think that our trip was worth while.  Normally, our kindergartener finds naked bodies to be silly and a great topic for random jokes, so when he didn’t say anything about it I had to wonder if he didn’t understand what he was looking at.  So, I asked him later if he had seen any body parts at the museum and he answered me very matter-of-factly with details about what he had seen.  I was impressed with his comprehension and respect of the scientific value of the exhibit – or maybe he was just embarrassed that I had asked 🙂

Our three-year-old didn’t seem to have the same educational experience as the rest of us, but she definitely had a nice time with our family.  She was a little afraid of the skeletons and refered to them as “monsters”.  The ambiance – red walls with background music to the tune of a beating heart – led her to believe it was a creepy place.  She thought the exhibits were “looking at her” (the eyeballs were more obvious in some of the unique poses) but she did a good job of being brave as we wandered through the interestingly exhibited bodies.  I think it helped that brother was being so mature about it.

For our family, this was a great learning opportunity and a fun day together – my husband and I would have liked to have had more time to read about some of the displays, but we wanted to bring the kids so that they could experience it too.  Tickets for the tour aren’t inexpensive, though you can find reduced rates if you go on a Museum free day (check out my “Free Days” page for dates)…for a learning experience of this magnitude, I think the price is worth it!  Visit the Museum website for further details at http://exhibitions.dmns.org/.

Finding Grace in Parenthood

I had a talk today with a family member who is having some difficulty with their young child throwing fits and acting out.  A lot of it was reminiscent of things we went through with our son at that age, and some of it was similar to the things our daughter is just starting to do.  This family member was feeling something that we’ve all felt at one point or another during the adventure of parenthood – guilt. 

The truth is that none of us are perfect parents – or perfect people for that matter – and we’re all going to mess up sometimes.  All we can do is just keep trying, learning, praying, and correcting our mistakes as we go.  Because I know these particular parents well, I can tell you that they’ve done a fabulous job raising their kids, and, most importantly, they show their children unconditional love.   

I believe that its important to conquer guilt before it begins to accumulate and attack us  from the inside out.  We need to remember to apologize when we do something wrong, ask for forgiveness, and then receive that forgiveness fully – forgiving ourselves so that we can be the very best parent possible.  Our children are going to learn more from our ability to handle a tough situation gracefully than if they never had the example to learn from in the first place.

Bolder Boulder Race Results

The Bolder Boulder 10K race was held on a beautiful, Memorial Day morning in Boulder, CO.  This annual 10K draws a crowd of 50,000+ runners from all skill levels…and costumes!  It’s an absolute blast with a variety of musical entertainment, dancing, front yard parties, water hose spray downs, hand-delivered homemade goodies – all along the 6.21 mile course.  It’s an absolute blast and the distractions along the way are great for blocking out the little aches and pains of running all that way!

Even with the masses of people who come out to run each year, the Bolder Boulder is a fine-tuned machine with several waves for various speeds, time tracking and mile-markers throughout the course, and lots of great freebies – not to mention the fun race shirts!

Now I anxiously await the results.

I think that most people who know me well would say that I’m not a very competitive person – especially when it comes to sports.  I’m a strong believer in “it’s how you play the game”, and I think it’s just nice to let the other team win every now and again – I let my brother and husband win every time!  But, since it’s hard to find teammates who agree with these theories, I tend to stick with individual sports 😉  So, when my BFF asked me to do the Bolder Boulder with her, I was ready to go.  When I went to register online, I saw it was a 10K – no 5K option as I had assumed, and I had missed out on joining her wave 😦  I guess they fill up really fast.  So I was running alone and had some training to do.

My training,  mommy-style began: I had the broken jogger repaired, took the bike trailer off the bike when I had to tow both kids, and got out of bed early on the weekends for my “real” training.  After a couple months of gearing up, I was as ready as I was going to be. 

So, day before the race, my husband – who has had a knee injury in the last year – says, “Hey, I think I’ll run too”.  Now, I know I’m not competitive and I usually get a good laugh out of his joy in crossing the finish line ahead of me, but I guess all that training had gone to my head because this didn’t sound like the best idea to me – mostly because I didn’t want him to win.

This morning, we both set out bright and early – his wave was a few behind mine and I was determined to have a faster race time.  As the race went on, I was sure I was in the clear – it was one of the best races I’ve had, and definitely my best 10K – since I have only one other to compare it to 🙂  I took my time getting a snack and beverage after crossing the finish line, casually wandered over to our meeting spot, and as I peered out to the finish line, hoping to catch a glimpse of my husband in the masses of people flowing into the stadium, I heard my name from across the stands.  And there he was – waiting for me.  Yep, waiting for ME!?!

And so I anxiously anticipate the official race results.  I know it’s close, and he may have beat me – with NO training.  I’m going to take it gracefully – I think…only if I lost though – a win constitutes serious celebration, hee hee.  And so I wait 🙂