Guest Post by ANGELA: A Mission to Explore

Hi! I am Angela.

Born + Raised

I was born in Dayton, OH and went to school in the surrounding suburbs. I stayed in that area through college, and then moved to Cincinnati, OH in my early 20s to be closer to work.

University + Career

I could never see myself going to a 4 year school, so I went to community college. I got an associate’s degree in business management – network management from Sinclair Community College. While there, I worked a full time internship as a network administrator and fell in love with email systems. Yep, I’m super cool. I took a consulting position for a company in Cincinnati, OH. When I moved to Illinois, I worked from home, and then we bought a house out in the country. I quit my job. We had big dreams of living a more homestead lifestyle and seeking out new adventures on the weekends. Our expectations of what one person can accomplish proved to be a little unrealistic, but I’m still here… hustling to do what I can the hard way and trying to teach a couple littles how to be decent humans.

Passions

I love all things food. I am an aesthetic enthusiast. I am passionate about giving new life to things others have discarded. I love to create things. When you put all those things together, I become a pretty rockin party planner.

Meeting hubby + settling here

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wo nemo toss a lasso to me now

Say what? That palindrome was the beginning of what my life looks like these days. In my mid 20s I joined a dating site even though I had no interest in a relationship. Some random guy that lived in Peoria, IL sent me a quirky email that started a 2 month long conversation. I decided it was obviously a good idea to invite him to stay with me for a long weekend and at the end of that weekend, Jamie and I had already settled into an old married couple dynamic. After doing the long distance thing for a while, I moved to Peoria, we bought a house on a little piece of land outside of Mackinaw, and here we plan to stay.

Children

We have two little adventurers in our family. Finch is 3… soon to be 4 and Wren is 2.5. They love nothing more than when they get to help set up our tent or have the opportunity to get real dirty in a creek.

Best part of being their mom?

So much of my time as a parent is spent trying to channel the patient person I thought I was before small humans entered my life. I had this idealistic expectation of what an awesome mom I was going to be, and I am… but it isn’t all rainbows and sunshine over here. I am used to excelling at the things I undertake… being able to step back at the end of a project and feel proud of the work I have done. For me, parenting is nothing like that. Sure there are days where I feel like I am crushing this mom thing, but more often than not I am just trying to keep my head above water. By becoming their mom, my kids have forced me to realize that I have to let some things go, lower my own expectations of what I “should” be able to do, and how important it is to take the time to just get lost in all the wonder that is around us. Without them, I don’t think I would have pushed myself to slow down… but now that I have I am forever thankful.

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Helpful Activities to keep your little ones active, to pass along to other local families?

This year we have been on a mission to explore a lot of different parks in the area. I have been focusing on one area at a time and then trying to make time to visit all the different places listed on the community’s parks and recreation page. Not growing up in the area, I have no idea what the “good” places to go are, so it has been nice to spend time finding what works best for our family. There are so many places around and many of them are underutilized. I prefer parks a little off the beaten path that don’t get a lot of foot traffic. That way, I can be more of an observer while the kids explore more independently.

As the weather gets colder, we will likely rely on some trusty favorites to run the crazies out. Last year, we really enjoyed the toddler time at the Morton Indoor Soccer Complex and our membership at the Peoria Playhouse.

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Favorite fall adventures for your family?

The highlight of our fall is a big campout we host at our property. Since both my husband and I are imports to the area, it started as a way to see folks we otherwise don’t get the opportunity to visit every year and as we make new friends locally, the guest list grows. When we first started doing it, nobody had kids, but these days the majority of people who make it have littles. For a lot of them, it is the first place that they experience camping out as a family. Planning a camping trip with babies and toddlers can be an overwhelming step to take, but here there is a backup plan if it is just not working. For many of the kids, this will be their 4th year coming to the campout, and as they get older it is so fun to watch them truly excited to spend the entire weekend outside… becoming experts at “roughing it” in the great outdoors.