Well we have dedicated most blog posts in the series so far to one bucket list experience per post, but this time we are going to include 3!
I am sure most of you who live in Oklahoma have spent a day at the OKC Zoo & Botanical Gardens. We all know after being at least once what to expect. You can expect a relatively cheap entry price at the gate for $8 per person, a humid reptile room, and some smelly rhinceros’ as you walk the semi shaded hilly pathways. You can also expect to spend a lot of money on all the extra’s if you aren’t prepared! I packed up Elijah and Landen for the day and we took off to go experience all the zoo has to offer. We packed our lunches so we saved money on that and we even got to see the King of the Jungle! He is rarely sited, at least from my experience. We didn’t play in the splash pad area or the playgrounds because by the time we had walked the ENTIRE zoo, I was completely zonked. We usually skip walking all the way back to the giraffes because there is not much to see on the way out there, its not a shaded walk, and it’s uphill. No thank you! But this time, we made the trek. You could say I was a warrior on this day because I was still in my first trimester of pregnancy!
_MOM TIP #1
If you want to experience the WHOLE zoo and everything they have to offer, they have passes that accomodate extra activities which will make it cheaper than getting inside and buying it all separate!
Another fun thing Elijah and I did this summer was we went out to the Martin Nature Park in Edmond.
This was of course after we grabbed burgers at a new place in Chisholm Creek called Hopdoddy Burger Bar! I ordered the Goodnight/Good Cause burger which has angus beef, Tillamook cheddar, caramelized onions, jalapeños, caffeinated BBQ, their special sassy sauce, Lettuce, and Tomato. Let me tell you! It was delicious!! If you haven’t eaten there yet, you must! So after our bellies were full we headed down memorial a few miles and went into Martin Nature Park! This was such a neat little park with a small play area, ponds with lots of turtles, and a few exhibits inside. One of the best parts we enjoyed were the walking trails that go all through the park. We hunted for some bugs and enjoyed a nice shaded walk. Overall, fun afternoon and the Martin Nature Park is totally free!
_MOM TIP #2
I suggest bringing a friend or a few here because Elijah probably would have enjoyed the park area more if we had! First trimester moms aren’t too much fun to play with on the playground!
On our way home from Martin Nature Park, we stopped at Hobby Lobby.
Elijah had been complaining so much about all of the flies in the house and who am I kidding, I was sick of them to! So his idea was to get one of those Venus fly trap plants! At Hobby Lobby we found one that he could plant with everything included for $14.99. It came with a glass jar, little rocks, and the “soil” type thing we put the seeds in. A couple things that were frustrating were the fact that we had to go buy distilled water at Walgreens after reading the instructions. That’s the kind of water you have to use to water it, so we had a bit of a delay on getting to plant it! But once we got back from Walgreens with our water, assembling the plant and planting the seeds was relatively easy besides the fact that they are TINY! We finished planting them all and thats when Elijah realized it would take 1-3 months for any seeds to sprout. That’s one of the problems with living in a society where you can get everything pretty much whenever you want it! PS: we still have yet to see any seeds sprouting! Eek.
_MOM TIP #3
Anytime you go to Hobby Lobby, always pull up their 40% off any item coupon on your phone! As long as what you are purchasing isn’t already on sale, it’s a quick way to save almost 1/2 off what you planned on purchasing!
I hope this gave you a few new ideas that you can incorporate into the last couple of weeks of Summer!
And if we can’t fit them all in, maybe they can be fun weekend ideas after the school year begins! As always, thank you for reading & please subscribe to follow along with the Dumbleton’s!
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I’ve written several blogs about my son and our journey as parents in dealing with the trauma he has dealt with in his sweet little 8 years of life.
It isn’t easy on any of us. A couple weeks ago we celebrated my brother in law’s birthday, but also visited my mother in law’s gravesite. It was the one year anniversary of her passing from cancer. This is a pretty accurate picture of the sort of emotional rollercoaster ride my son has been on his entire life.
In one of my previous blogs I told you guys about his “big sad” and how he is just now starting to process the loss of the relationship with his biological dad. It’s been tough for sure but I am thankful to God, because He has not left us through this difficult journey. He is guiding us as parents and He has his steady hand on Elijah without a doubt. I know this because of how the conversation went on our way home from the birthday celebration and gravesite visit.
We have tried talking about our “big sad” earlier on in the day to try and prevent nighttime sadness before bed. We got in the car and quite frankly he just started crying and said, “I’m sad about my daddy and I want to talk about him.” So, we did.
E- “Can you tell me some good things about my daddy again? Like, what do you think he’s doing tonight? Right now?”
Me- “I am not sure buddy, what did your dad do at night when you were with him?”
E- “Usually watch tv, or be on his phone in his room. I usually played by myself in my room.”
Me- “Well, didn’t your dad make music a lot on his computer? I bet that’s what he’s doing. You enjoyed listening to the music he made didn’t you? So that’s a good thing you can think about.”
E- “Yeah, he did make music a lot. But I always got in trouble if I got around his computer… like that one time when I accidentally touched it and he hit me in the head.”
My heart began to break as I could hear his voice begin to shake and see the tears roll down his face…
E- “I also don’t really think my daddy misses me. I wish he would miss me. He probably doesn’t though because he didn’t really spend time with me when I went to his house…”
Me- “Well honey, your daddy didn’t have a very good example of how to be a good daddy…”
I could hear his tears begin to flow stronger and the pain in his crying…
Me- “He actually had a very good example of how to be a very bad daddy. Your dad now has a great dad. He had David to show him how to be a dad right?
Me- “And I had mimi to show me how to be a good mom. But your daddy, his daddy was very very mean to him when he was growing up. He didn’t have a good daddy and really, he never knew what it was like to really live as a family either.”
Now it was shattering…
I proceeded to share some stories with him
(age appropriate) about his biological dad’s childhood and his history in the foster care system and how broken and sad his entire childhood was. I told him how a lot of times in life we don’t understand why people decide to do things or choose the path they choose. I told him I don’t understand why his dad is the way that he is or has done the things that he has done, but I do know that he has a broken past and has dealt with some “big sad’s” in his life too. I told him that I understand how sad this is for him and that I hated that he was dealing with this.
But I knew I had to turn it around. I had to be the one to show him the gospel in this tragedy in his life.
Me- “Buddy, we have to realize one thing during the midst of all this sadness. We have to know that no matter how many sad memories we have in life or how many bad things happen to us, God has given us even more blessings. Your daddy didn’t have very many good memories as a child. He has a childhood mainly filled with all sad things. But you have God. Has God given you another daddy? One who does all of the things you wish your other daddy would do?”
Me- “And I know that you wish your other daddy would do those things. I am not saying Zach replaced him or that you shouldn’t still want your other daddy to do them to. I am not saying that at all. I am saying we have to choose to look at our blessings because we have SO many of them. You have so many good memories too and so many good things happening in your life and all of those are also from God. You have a family that loves you and spends time with you and you also have some blessings from your dad.
E- “Like what?”
Me- “Your love for the military. You got interested in that because of your dad being in the army. Without him, you probably wouldn’t care about it at all. But that’s a blessing from him. You found something that you are really interested in and enjoy learning about!”
E- “Yeah, that’s true.”
The next statement he made completely blew me away.
E- “Mom, you know I really miss my daddy. I really wish he would have had a good daddy because I think he would have been a really good one. And sometimes I wish he was my daddy. But even more than I miss him, I wish he would find God. I really wish he would find God.”
Now, I was wrecked.
My 8 year old son desires for his dad to find God because he knows that God is the only one who can change him.
He is so selfless and I really wish I was more like him in that way. I do believe 100% that he meant what he said. The strength in his voice came back when he said it and he meant it with all of his heart. Even more than he wants to see him, he would rather him find God. Wow.
We finished up the conversation with some heart-filled prayer for God to find his dad and bring him to Him. We always pray for him in this matter. We pray over his life and his choices and his finances, but we mainly pray that God would change his heart. I truly do desire this would happen. I desire to see my son get to have the same kind of relationship with his biological dad that he has been blessed with in Zach. I desire to see the healing in my sons heart, and in the heart of his father. I sincerely pray that God would come and redeem all of the horrible stuff my son has had to deal with in his short sweet 8 years of life thus far.
But the truth of the matter is God does all things for His glory. His redemption is for His glory, and His judgement is for His glory. He promises to work all things together for the GOOD of those who love Him, but His idea of good for us isn’t always the same as what our idea of good is for us. We trust God because He is God, and we are not.
We hope for redemption. We trust in his justice. And we work every day to surrender our ideas of good to the one who gave His life for us. He knows what his dad needs, and He knows what Elijah needs. I have to trust Him.
He is the only Father that is not broken.
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It is such a happy time in our family right now with a new baby on the way!
We are almost to the halfway mark! Elijah is excited as well, but I know that with a new baby means big changes for him in his life again. Over the last week or so we’ve been starting to see how our happy little boy is actually feeling some really big sad’s.
We have a bedtime routine with Elijah and it’s been in place since before Zach and I got married. It carried on into our marriage and Zach is just now apart of it. We always spend the last hour of the day together typically watching some corny cartoon Elijah likes on netflix and have a snack. Then we do the usual brush your teeth, feed the fish, get in bed. We have memorized a few verses that we always repeat and then pray.
This has been no issue up until the last week. We do all of the usual things but a few minutes after leaving his room he comes into ours crying.
“I miss my daddy, and I’m sad.”
“Every night when I go to bed I start thinking about him and I get sad.”
“I prayed to God to make me not sad, but I still am… why?”
So many questions began to fill my head and most of them are still unanswered.
Like, why now? Why all of the sudden is this bothering him so deeply, causing him anxiety and to not be able to go to sleep? Why is it only at night time? I started to think maybe it has something to do with the new baby coming, another huge life change.
In the last year and a half he lost relationship with his biological dad, gained a new dad in the household, and experienced gaining a grandma and then losing her to cancer in only a matter of 3 days. Then trying to sort through all of the emotions this brings on while starting a new school year, not to mention the background of abuse he has had. My mommy heart breaks for my son when I think about everything he has had to adjust to. I knew all of these things would always play a part in his life but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to watch your child have to walk through them.
After discussing each night and everyday we did find out a little more about his heart.
He is concerned that with the new baby he won’t get as much love. Bingo. It really does relate back to his dad and a lot of the loss he has experienced. The joy of a new baby is so exciting and fun but he is still learning to process how to grieve. In the back of his mind he thinks he is going to lose us in a sense when the baby gets here just like he lost his dad and his grandma and the security of the routine he had always known.
The hardest question to answer was , “I prayed to God and I’m still sad, why?” I explained to him the difference between “big sad” and “little sad”. We have these momentary sadnesses that can pop up at any moment like when we thought a friend was coming over and then we find out they can’t. We are sad, disappointed, let down… but it isn’t that big of a deal. Losing a parent is a big deal, I would consider it a “big sad”. The “big sad’s” in our lives take more time to heal. They take more prayer and more trust that God knows what is best for us. A big sad may never be completely healed, but our God never leaves us no matter how big the sad is.
So as a mom, what do I do?
We stand on who GOD is. The perfect Father. I reassure my son that he never did a thing to earn my love, just like we do nothing to earn God’s. He can never do anything to lose His love, nor mine. We remember when we are sad that, “The Joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10, and we pray that at bedtime. We admit this is a “big sad” in his life and lean on God even when it feels like maybe He doesn’t hear or answer us.
I learn so much from being a mom. Being a mom has humbled me and God has used it to show me how to listen and be discerning and gracious. Let me tell you it isn’t easy when you are pregnant and exhausted to sit in your little ones bed for 30 minutes to an hour dealing with deep rooted issues knowing that when you finally do get in bed, he is going to come in crying and needing you. But we do it. I cannot leave my son to struggle alone. I have to give him the tools and grace and assurance he needs to walk through the pain in life.
God the Father is the same with us. While he doesn’t always take away our negative situations, mainly because he allowed them there to begin with, He will never leave you to struggle through them alone either.
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It has been a whole year since you left us. A year full of changes and growth. A year filled with laughter and tears. An entire year has gone by that we have not been able to share with you or ask you for advice. I barely got to know you, and I miss you. I have to admit I wish I would had so much more time with you. I wish all of us would have had more time with you.
I thought about you when I found out I would be carrying your grandchild. I knew how much joy you would have been filled with if you had been able to hold them in your arms and teach them everything you know.
I thought about you often when Elijah asked me hard questions and I wasn’t sure how to answer him in a way an 8 year old would understand. You were so good with handling his fragile heart and understanding how to communicate with children, and I miss that.
I missed getting to celebrate you in the way most people got to celebrate their mother-in-laws on mothers day. I would have loved to have written you a pretty card and brought you flowers or taken you to dinner. I wish I could have honored you on that day the way I had always planned to.
At Christmas I did my best to bring memories of you to our family. I asked your son what items you made during the holidays that he would miss, and I did my best to execute making them. I am sure they missed the special flavor of a mothers love, but I tried.
It’s hard going to your house and you aren’t there.
You aren’t around to help me in understanding how to love your son well and be a good wife to him. I wish so badly I could still call you and ask you how in the world you managed to raise this difficult man, whom I love so dearly.
I think of you when I see Josh play the piano. I think of you when I hear David sing your praises. I think of you when I see the tender heart of Daniel. I think of you when I see Zach and his love for Jesus and children. I think of you when I see your sisters and hear them talk about memories with you. You touched every single person you came in contact with, so I see you all around.
There is so much I didn’t get to ask you.
There is so much wisdom you didn’t get to share with me. So many memories we missed out on making together. I am truly so sad that you aren’t here, but I have to rejoice.
_You showed me how to have strength in God’s love, even in the middle of fighting cancer.
_You showed me how to have grace and mercy to your children and husband.
_You warned me about the Dumbleton men and how much I was getting myself into coming into your family.
_You shared recipes with me.
_You adored each of your children equally, but uniquely.
_You took Elijah in immediately as your own grandson.
I have to rejoice in the time and moments we did share together. In the years of life you spent raising the man I married, you gave me a piece of you I will have forever. I have to rejoice because I know that no matter how much I miss you, you are with your heavenly Father. You are in the midst of perfection and you are not sad or missing us at all.
I will rejoice, because I know your lips are rejoicing for all eternity.
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I really hope you guys have enjoyed the summertime bucket list blogs so far!
Today is another totally free post! I have made a point time and time again to advise you to make. Your bucket list according to what your kids are interested in! It makes it so much more for them and for you as well! So let’s get started.
_MOM TIP #1 Get a library card
Most of you with school aged kids have seen the papers that come home where you are able to log your reading time each day. In our house we aim to read at least 20 minutes a day. Getting a library card has been one of the best things I have done! It has saved us so much money because of how many books we go through. Whether it be Elijah reading books to me or the other way around. We read simple stories we get from the library, we read chapter books, and we read the bible. It really doesn’t matter to me what we read as long as we are spending some time with each other each day! It is a way for us to connect and have fun! During the school year Elijah earned SO many rewards for all of his reading and most of them came in the form of food. Whataburger coupons, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy’s, and Braum’s to name a few! We collected them up and use them when the budget was tight! So on this day we used the free ice cream from Braum’s coupons to get a little sweet treat!
_MOM TIP #2 Find free museums
Elijah has always loved anything to do with the military. Ever since he was a toddler he has been infatuated with the little plastic army men and setting them up for battles. I truly think it began because his biological dad was in the National Guard Reserves, so naturally he thought it was really cool. I have never discouraged his interest in this but more so encouraged it.
To serve in the military is a huge responsibility and a great honor. If you have served, or are serving currently, thank you.
He still finds great joy in all things military so I thought what better place to take him to than to The 45th Infantry Museum.
Museums are a fabulous way to spend your day, which is why I said to choose things that interest your child. If your kid doesn’t enjoy things about the military I wouldn’t take them to a museum that offers nothing but military artifacts! You will get worn out and frustrated super fast and the point is to have fun not to do something just to say you did it.
We walked in and signed our names in the book and asked the man at the front which way we should start. We walked through and I have to say for someone who has grown up interested in history it was very neat. I am the kind of person who gets distracted easily but the information and all of the artillery and guns were fascinating to look at.
It was interesting to read about the different wars.
To know that the things we were looking at were legitimately used by men who served was very cool. We took our time and Elijah had fun telling me what guns were AK-47’s and which ones were used for certain battles. His knowledge about these things blew me away! He has my dad to thank for that.
_MOM TIP #3 Avoid unnecessary expenses
We finished up inside in the gift store which is the only place we spent money. I bought Elijah another collection of plastic army men for $10 which isn’t a bad price at all. This was an optional expense so you could easily avoid the gift shop if you need to! Outside they have big tanks and various forms of transportation. By the time we got out there we had just enough time to walk around and look at them before it started to rain on us! Overall it was a short afternoon and we both really enjoyed our time here!
Make sure and subscribe below to keep receiving the best mom tips and summer bucket list ideas! Please leave comments and share any of your own summer bucket list adventures as well! Maybe I will feature you and your kids!
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