I started this blog to find meaning in my everyday life. Early on, I discovered there were things I did as a mother that made me feel happy, proud, and grateful all at once. That’s when I began the Runaway Mama Bucket List.

On my list so far are watching my boys splash in puddles, baking a cake from scratch, running a 5K and having my kids watch me cross the finish line, and taking Dylan to see Cars 2 in the movie theater.

This past weekend, there was a small carnival set up at a church near our house. The boys had never been to a carnival, which, of course, was a source of anxiety for me. (God forbid they missed out on such an important childhood experience. It would be heartbreaking. Devastating. They’d eventually resent me, and they’d never get into a decent college.)

The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. It was my mission to bring them to the carnival and – drum roll please – take them on their first ever Ferris wheel ride. It would be extraordinary! It would be a bonding experience for the whole family! It would change our lives forever! They boys would never forget the unbelievable feeling of being on top of the world! It would end up on my Runaway Bucket List for sure!

Editor’s note: Thank you, Mike, for indulging me. Lucky for you, there was beer for sale at the carnival.

Before we left the house, I told the boys to be good listeners because it would be busy and crowded. I also said, “If you’re saving your poops for the carnival, you’re going to be very disappointed. Go now, because if anyone has to use the bathroom at the carnival, which will surely be gross, we’re leaving.”

Editor’s note: It might be time to address my public bathroom issues with a professional.

And then we were off!

There she was…


First, we went on some rides…


This kid took the motorcycle ride very seriously.


Dylan’s first roller coaster!

Then we played some games, which robbed us of our life savings.


Worry not. It was worth every penny, because we “won” a lot of crap prizes.


In fact, Riley actually earned back everything we lost when he “won” this hundred dollar pillow.

Of course, I carried everything (#motherhoodis).


And then, it was finally time for the bucket list worthy Ferris wheel ride.

Mike and I double-checked with the boys that they weren’t afraid. You’re not nervous? You’re not scared? Both said they weren’t, so we went for it. The views were pretty cool, and the boys seemed to enjoy it. I, on the other hand, had a moment when we reached the top and the ride stopped because other people were getting on down below. We were just dangling up there. Swaying in the breeze. Hanging from a metal contraption that was probably fifty years old and taken apart and put back together hundreds of times each year, which got me thinking…

What kind of mechanical safety measures were in place at this creepy, traveling carnival? How often were the rides checked for maintenance? What if we fell to the ground? Would we survive? What was I thinking!? I heard about carnival ride accidents in the news all the time! Were the carnie workers trained to handle the equipment or an emergency? And why did they have so few teeth?

Then, as quickly as it stopped, the ride began moving again, and my Crazy slowly receded. I smiled and took some pictures…





…and when we were safely on the ground again, I breathed deep.

Then we had “lunch.” By lunch, I mean popcorn and a blue raspberry snow cone.


Carnival. Check.

Ferris wheel. Check.

Bucket list? Maybe.


Filed under bucket list, carnival, Crazy Mama

6 responses to “Carnival

  1. Totally cool – thanks for bringing back some great childhood memories – I see the rides have not changed and the prizes are cheaper! My favorite part – beer tent for dad! Rock on! and finally pictures of you happy!


  2. I totally deprive my daughter of the traveling carnival experience because, when I just SEE one, ALL of my thoughts are like the ones you had at the top of the ferris wheel!


  3. you know what’s next – DISNEYWORLD!!!


  4. OMG!!! You described me on a Ferris wheel to a T!! Thanks for making me feel so “normal”! I laughed out loud and had to read this post to my sweetie who promptly told me I may have just found my long lost sister!!! Here’s to you, sis, and your FABULOUS memory-making day with your boys!! 😉
    -Christina 😉


  5. It’s so amazing to me that as children in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, we were some gung-ho kids……with parents to match. We knew how to tell time by street lights, and who had the best tasting garden hose water on the block. And now, I’m out front in a lawn chair watching my kids play right in front of the driveway. I am terrified of my weird neighbors( maybe it’s me, but I don’t think so). What happened?


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