Easy Breezy Summer Play Dates

We are so far into summer and it is so hot there aren’t enough popsicles in the world to keep us chill. Even though I am working part-time now, we are still doing our best to keep Luna busy (and exhausted) this summer. Our days at home are spent trying to find and do creative, outdoorsy, social, crafty, not expensive toddler-friendly activities. We’ve managed to keep busy at the house, but lately all I want is to be OUT. The past couple of weeks I’ve compiled some ideas of not only fun away-from-the-home activities, but also FREE away-from-the-home activities!

  1. The pool!

Okay, this first one is debatable…some pools are free. We are lucky enough to have friends and family with pools and a pass to the local rec center that was gifted to us from Grandma. If you know people with pools or have a neighborhood pool, use it! Jumping in a pool of water is just about the only relief you can get in August. Also, invest in a puddle jumper for your littles. We love ours!

little fish
little fish

2. Splash Pads!

There are two splash pads around Nashville. (The second best form of relief in the August heat.) The one in Spring Hill has dozens of interactive sprayers, squirt cannons, fountains and showers. It’s a kid’s summer wonderland. Plus, there is the coolest and newest playground right next to the splash pad – complete with artificial turf and a crazy climbing tower.

The splash pad in Spring Hill, TN
The splash pad in Spring Hill, TN

The second splash pad is actually in Nashville. It’s new, it’s on the Cumberland River right under the Pedestrian Bridge and it’s awesome. There are interactive features, rain curtains, a sand play area, a playground with a rock-climbing wall and more. We can’t wait to go back!

The Nashville spray park
The Nashville spray park

3. Playgrounds!

Luna loves playgrounds, but she is OBSESSED with slides! Or, “shlides” as she calls them. We hit up playgrounds all over the city, but you can find us in Brentwood most often. My child will be the one hogging the slide and piling mulch on the steps.

Luna's favorite piece of playground equipment, "shlide".
Luna’s favorite piece of playground equipment, “shlide”.

4. The public libraries!

The libraries in Williamson Country freakin’ rock. We have story times, craft times, preschool hours, oh and let’s not forget the free books and DVD’s. It’s heaven for both me and Luna. I hope her love of books stays with her for life.

The Brentwood Library
The Brentwood Library

5. Whole Foods! (And other free classes for toddlers.)

Our local Whole Foods has a free kids’ hour every Wednesday at 9:30. It’s a really good hour with local performers, music and dancing. Unfortunately, I’ve started working on Wednesdays so we’ve had to miss our kid’s hour. Whole Foods isn’t the only local place hosting free activities, especially in the summer. For all my local readers, check out Nashville Parent for LOTS of free activities for all ages. And, for my non-locals, check out the local libraries, parks, rec centers, gyms, museums and mom groups. I promise there’s more going on than you think!

What are you doing to keep busy this summer?

Cheers!

Advertisements

Running for Diversity

It’s been a couple of months since our last race, but it was so much fun that I’m still going to share our experience. Better late than never! On June 20th, we ran the Gay 5k in Nashville.  The Gay run is for celebrating diversity, promoting a healthy community while also raising funds for OutCentral. OutCentral is an LGBT community center that educates, empowers and builds a positive space for the diverse LGBT community. So, basically we ran for an organization who is teaching love and acceptance for ALL, that’s my kinda cause.

There were two questions that were frequently asked when we did this race:

1) Do you have to be gay to run?

Uh, no! Or course not, anyone can celebrate and support diversity!

2) What are you going to wear? (Because people know us so well.)

Rainbow, duh! And BTW, we received a spirit award for being our adorable selves. However, our team was a little disappointing. We were supposed to have a much bigger group, but the rain kept some away, including Husband and Luna.

We are totes adorbs
We are totes adorbs

My favorite part of our “costume” was my eyelids. I regret not having more time to glitz them up, but aren’t they kind of amazing?

If I was willing to get up 20 minutes earlier, I might wear my eye makeup like this everyday.
If I was willing to get up 20 minutes earlier, I might wear my eye makeup like this everyday.

The race was smaller than normal, thanks rain, but I was still VERY thrilled to get first place in my age group! I’m finally feeling like a real runner! Although, there was a little boy (maybe 8 years old?) who beat us! He was a beast!

Yay me!
Yay me!

After all of the race shenanigans, we kept our tradition and had a delicious breakfast (at the newly opened Love Coffee) and coffee at Starbucks, of course. Husband and Luna joined us for the celebration.

Breakfast celebration with Luna.
Breakfast celebration with Luna.

We skipped a July run because they all interfered with our half-marathon training, but no fears, we have another race this coming weekend!

Cheers

A Time to be Sad

Today is International Cat Day, it’s also exactly 4 weeks since Duckie escaped the pet sitter’s house while we were at the beach. It’s been a rough four weeks here. Mostly because I get sad, but then convince myself that she well come back, or we will find her, or someone will recognize her from the flyers or she’ll “homeward bound” her way back to our house. It’s a lot of back and forth and wishful thinking. Duckie is a part of our family and the house just hasn’t been the same without here begging for more food, sleeping on our faces and teasing Belle. However, after four weeks I have to come to terms. I think it’s time I let myself be sad and start to say good-bye to the best cat that there has ever been.

I don’t want to be anymore depressing than that, so we’ll just leave it with some of my favorite pics of Duckie for us all to enjoy. After all, it is National Cat Day.

The Best of Duckie

duckie
Me and Ducks when I was about 8 months pregnant.
cat tongue
Duckie’s favorite spot in the house.
Belle pretending she doesn't see a cat in the bad.
Belle pretending she doesn’t see a cat in the bed a couple of days after we rescued Duckie and brought her home.
meet duckie
One of the first photos taken of Ducks.
1st home
When Luna and I came home from the hospital and took a nap. Duckie just had to be the one closest to me.
IMG_20140208_184659
And, when we first got home from our 10 day hospital stay…we had the sweetest welcome home crew!
allthepets
Duckie’s first Christmas

duckie duckie sleepy kitty

IMG_20131001_140622 IMG_20131027_092942

In case you missed the story of how we found and rescued Duckie almost two years ago, you can read it here.

We love you Duckie.

Cheers

Closer to 2 Than 1

My daughter is 18 months and a few days, or “closer to two than one” as a friend of mine pointed out the other day. We had her 18-month well-visit, which was a total sh*t show BTW (Note to self: never EVER schedule a doctor appointment in the middle of nap time.) As we left the check-up her doctor reminded me that he wouldn’t need to see her again until her second birthday. HOW is that possible??? This child is growing at lightning speed and while I hate it and so often just beg time to slow down, I also kind of love it. Luna is the coolest toddler I know and watching her learn new stuff everyday is the best. It makes the whole getting older thing not so terrible.

Aww, sweet thang
Aww, sweet thang

At 18 months she is doing forward rolls, playing with dolls, learning how to listen and kind of sort of follow some directions. While she is still a good eater, she has become pickier. She has started refusing certain foods (like green goldfish, what the heck?) and requesting her favorites…cheese. She LOVES putting things in and out of baskets and purses and then carrying them all around the house. She’s also a huge fan of accessories. Hats, bracelets, necklaces and shoes are all the rage. She has peed in her potty twice (woo!).

ALL the time
ALL the time

stair climber

Her hair is growing, so I can actually put in a bow, which lasts about 7 seconds. I’ve attempted pigtails a couple of times, but I think we both need a dose of Valium to make that a successful endeavor. The girl is obsessed with books and either “reading” them to herself or begging us to read the same ones over and over and over and over. YES. T. Swift is still her fav music and YES “Shake it off” is still our go-to anytime we have an uncontrollable meltdown. She loves being in the water is actually learning to get around in it pretty well.

puddlejumper
Swimming at the beach in Hilton Head.

This summer she has been to the zoo, the aquarium, the beach, Hilton Head Island, Texas, a couple of splash pads, the pool, lots of parks, the library, a few parties and had many trips to Starbucks. It’s always one adventure after another.

water play

JUMP!
JUMP!

She’s still hasn’t mastered the art of naptime or even sleeping through the night, but hey who needs sleep? Can I get an amen Moms? #teamnosleep

"Wait for me Dad!"
“Wait for me Dad!”
Picking fresh berries at Wagner Berry Farm.
Picking fresh berries at Wagner Berry Farm.

AND did I mention my super-advanced little genius has her first joke? Get this, We say “Hey Luna, say “fish””, and Luna says “shoe”. She then immediately cracks up at her own joke. That’s pretty hilarious material, right? I think I’ve got the next Amy Schumer on my hands (Dear God, please no).

On second thought, maybe I just need some sleep.

Me and my girl on the 4th of July
Me and my girl on the 4th of July

Cheers

Finally, a Unique Family Beach Photo

Another year, another big Hilton Head family vacation. It’s our favorite week of the year and while I was nervous about having a wild toddler around a pool and an ocean every second of every day, I still had the best week of the year at our favorite beach house. Seeing Luna enjoy the beach as much as her parents makes us as happy as clams…as does the many various family members who beg to watch her every waking second. #yay #freetime

I’m positive that every single family who takes a beach vacation, spends at least one evening taking advantage of “magic hour” to capture the classic family-in-the-sand photograph. We do it every year and as often as we try to mix it up and get a bit creative, but every year they look likes this…

2013 vs 2014 (and one person is missing!)
Top is from 2013, bottom from 2014.

Of course, nothing is wrong with these photos. They’re adorable, traditional and bring back great memories. However, they aren’t exactly unique or exciting. So, this year we FINALLY mixed it up a bit. It took a few of us to put our heads together, and what we came up with is now my favorite group Hilton Head photo.

Soooooo…..here we are!

Hilton Head Island 2015 family photo
Hilton Head 2015

I mean, how could we not take a photo in the most enormous shower? AND, how could we not wear towels in the shower?

Happy Summer yall!

Cheers!

P.S. I must apologize for my very looonnnngggg blogging vacation. I did not want to be gone this long. It’s just a lot harder than I expected to start a part-time job, be a mostly-stay-at-home Mom, write and keep up our adventures. To be honest, I usually write at night when everyone goes to bed, but lately I have just gone to bed! (Or maybe watched some OITNB, which is kinda disappointing this season, right?) I’ve missed you! I’ve missed my Internet life and I’ve missed this creative outlet!!! I WILL find my way back. Pinky Promise!

We’re Not Marching

Every once in a while I hear or see something that strikes a chord and lies heavy on my heart. Sometimes it’s a song or TV show, other times it’s a dream or a conversation with a friend. This time, it’s a story I read online and I just can’t shake it.

Glennon from Momastery shared this story on her Facebook wall yesterday…

Monday night, my daughters and I were talking about Bubba and Tisha’s experience and what was happening in Charleston and the black and white responses around the country. We ended up looking at pictures of some old civil rights marches. The girls were quiet. My youngest daughter pointed at some of the marchers and said, “We would have marched with those people, right mama?” I almost said Yes. I almost said: Of course, yes, baby. Yes. But then my older daughter said, “I don’t know. I mean, we’re not marching now.”

We’re not marching now.

I’m not marching now.

That line hit me hard, like a rock to the chest. I can talk the talk. I can say I’m not racist, I can look at the news and say “How terrible! How wrong! How sad!” I can share meaningful well-written articles on Facebook that share my views. I can say I’m standing on the right side of this battle, but I am not marching. I am not really doing anything. I am watching the oppressed from the sidelines. I’m quietly waving a little “go team” flag when what they need is for me to jump in and play the game.

opressed

In fifty years I won’t be able to look back and say I did the right thing, I stood up for those who were hurting or fought for equal rights. I want to love my neighbors (neighbors = EVERYONE) as I love myself, but I am not doing that. I “say” a lot, but the truth is that actions speak much louder than words. It’s time I take action and truly help my neighbors.

The problem is I’m not sure how. I’m not even sure for whom I should be “marching”. Blacks. Women, Gays. Abused children. Orphans. The Homeless. I know the answer is everyone. Everyone is in, and each and every one of us deserves a life of love and happiness. So where do I begin?

Today, I decided the first step was to speak to someone with some insight. Opening up a conversation is the first step to growing and learning. I called one of my only close black friends (which is a very sad fact) and asked for her help. I asked her about racism, the Confederate flag, the current headlines and how each of those affect her. I teared up when I told her about the quote, “not marching” and how I want to be on the right side. I’m embarrassed I never discussed any of this with her sooner.

She listened and she told me her story, how racism is very much alive, abundant and affects her daily. She gets that it’s easy to brush it under the rug when it doesn’t directly affect you, but it’s time we start lifting that rug and pulling out all of those hidden and hard issues. Most importantly she said that this is lying heavy on my heart for a reason. It’s my conscience begging me to listen. She suggested praying about it and then acting on it. It’s ultimately up to me to take action.

free

I’m still unsure of how I’ll start my “march”, but I’m ready and willing to learn the true meaning of how to love my neighbor.

Cheers

Climbing

Over the last couple of weeks I have taken a big break from the blog to try and prioritize my life, get organized and even relax a little. This summer I have started a part-time job, a few home projects, traveled, planned more trips and began training for a half-marathon. (Insert shocked emoticon here). Plus, it’s summer and I can’t help but want time to swim, go to the park, drink iced coffee and spend as much time outdoors with Luna as possible. It’s been a great summer, no complaints here, it’s just been a challenge to do it ALL. I just read an article about happiness and how happiness isn’t any achievement we reach, but working towards those achievements. It’s apparently more important to set goals, work hard and dream…or as Miley once said “It ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb”. (Too cheesy? Anyone gag?)

So, I’m climbing. Some days I feel as if the peak is in reach and the next day I feel as if the mountain grew another 500 feet. It’s challenging and I learn a bit more about climbing as each day passes, but the best part is when I pause for a second and look away from the mountain. It’s when I look out and around me. I get glimpses of not only what I have accomplished, but of the people around me, supporting me and making memories with me. It’s quite a sight. I’ve done a lot of pausing over the last couple of weeks.

Here’s a few pics of my journey that you may have missed lately.

I got to pet a baby deer by our house!
I got to pet a baby deer by our house!
Our third wedding anniversary night out. We clean up nice.
Our third wedding anniversary night out. We clean up nice.
Husband and I went through a VERY old box of photos one night and uncovered this gem from our first international trip to the Dominican Republic. #thathair
Husband and I went through a VERY old box of photos one night and uncovered this gem from our first international trip to the Dominican Republic. #thathair #circa2007
Luna's favorite zoo animal.
Luna’s favorite zoo animal.
Baby's first canoe trip.
Baby’s first canoe trip.
Her new fav pastime...walking around in Mommy and Daddy's shoes.
Her new fav pastime…walking around in Mommy and Daddy’s shoes.
The library, Luna's idea of heaven.
The library, Luna’s idea of heaven.
This little diva refused to drink her milk unless served in a Starbucks cup.
This little diva refused to drink her milk unless served in a Starbucks cup.

IMG_20150619_102739357

Playing at the splash park with friends.
Playing at the splash park with friends.

Take a look around and enjoy your view too. Keep climbing! I swear I figure out this whole juggling act out someday.

Cheers!