The Third Edition of Annual Friend Photos

Welp, another year has come and gone, meaning another year of “annual friend photos” has taken place. Remember those stunning photos my BFF’s and I took last year? And the year before? We take a group photo each year to 1) make sure we always get together at least once a year, 2) commemorate our time together, and 3) watch our families grow, and grow and grow. We actually took this year’s photos over Thanksgiving break, but because I am SO behind in life, I’m just getting around to sharing them.

That's one BIG group
That’s one BIG group

The amazing, talented, sweet, loving and life-saving Simone from ST Photography took our photos again this year. To be honest, we originally scheduled with another photographer (simply because we planned to get a new photographer each year, just as part of the tradition). However, at the last minute lots of things went wrong (no one’s fault) and our session with our new photographer got canceled. I had very limited time left in Texas, and we were all certain the annual photos were not going to happen. Enter Simone. She literally rearranged her schedule to fit us in, never rushed us, was incredibly patient and somehow managed to get 5 sessions squeezed into one hour before the sunset. ALL with 6 very active kids! It was nothing short of miraculous. Maybe we should call her Saint Simone?

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BFF's
BFF’s

God, my friends are beautiful, inside and out.

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Annddd then, there are the family photos.

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It’s magical. Photographers are magicians. Thank you, Simone for giving us these bits of magic to cherish forever and ever.

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Cheers!

Luna’s First Musical and a Review of Rudolph

Last night, I was able to take Luna to her very first musical. For the first time, Luna was invited to review a show with me at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. We dressed up (coordinating, obviously), packed many baby emergencies in the diaper bag and even watched a TV version of the musical we would be watching. What show did we attend you ask? Why, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, of course!

It's almost impossible to keep her still for a photo lately. This was the best I could get of our festive outfits.
It’s almost impossible to keep her still for a photo lately. This was the best I could get of our festive outfits.

Even though I was super pumped to introduce her to one of my most favorite forms of art, I went in assuming I would only see half the show. It is an almost two hour show after all. I packed some snacks, water and a quiet toy to keep her busy, and sat at the end of the aisle so I’d be prepared to run out with a crying baby. Much to my surprise and delight, Luna was the best freakin’ baby ever! We NEVER had to get up and she seemed to really enjoy the show! She danced, bounced to the music, clapped and really watched the characters as they moved all over the stage. Even if the show was awful, it gets a good review simply for keeping a 10 months entertained.

so excited for the show to start!
so excited for the show to start!

The good news is, it wasn’t awful. As the little girl announced behind me as we exited the theater, “that show was adorable!” And, it was. The characters all looked and even sounded exactly like the characters from the classic cartoon that we will all forever remember fondly from our childhood. Can you believe it’s 50 years old??? Rudolph’s nose shines brightly, the reindeer really do fly, the abominable snowman is BIG and scary and the narrator, Sam the Snowman, remains the best character. It was nostalgic for us grown-ups and apparently good as new for all the little people. The theater was full of kids and I only saw one that had to leave in the middle of the show. The set was very impressive and the puppets were so cool! They reminded me of the puppets used in the Finding Nemo musical at Disney World.

This chic does not dig Santa....
This chic does not dig Santa….

The bad news is, the story is just as strange as it always was. As a child, I remember the story of Rudolph fondly. Poor Rudolph is teased for being different, which is a storyline we can all relate to one way or another. He finds his own group of misfit friends, learns to like himself, use his difference as a strength and grows up to be a happy successful reindeer. Yay, Rudolph! As an adult, Rudolph is a much sadder story. He Dad is so ashamed of his son for looking different. Santa has no faith in him. The other reindeer kids are bullies and even the coach treats him like an outcast. It’s kind of shocking. At one point Rudolph returns to his home to reunite with his family after being gone for months and months and Santa is all like “tough luck kid, they’ve been gone looking for you and now I might not have your Dad to pull my sleigh, thanks a lot.” Hardly anyone cares at all about Rudolph until they find out he can do something for them. In a way, I guess it’s a reflection of real life. Few friends are hard to come by.

The one theme that still rings true is that the character trait that makes you feel like an outcast is what makes you unique. Being different isn’t bad. You just have to learn to use your gift to add some brightness to the world, like Rudolph.

We had a great night out and I am so happy that Luna loved the show! If you are interested in seeing Rudolph at TPAC, which plays from December 16th through December 21st, checkout the ticket options here. If you want to see the tour dates of this traveling musical take a look at their schedule here.

Enjoy the show!

Cheers!

My Volunteering Experience

After having Luna I knew I wanted to begin volunteering. There are lots of reasons why volunteering topped my to-do list. One, is an obvious, to be a good example to Luna and to introduce her to a helpful and positive environment. I also always wanted to volunteer when I had a full-time job, but rarely had the time, or flexibility in my schedule. Mostly, though, I want to volunteer because I want to give back. I want to help people. I want to do what I can, even if it’s small, to make this world a little brighter.

When I was in the hospital with Luna, I was so depressed and scared, but so many people continued to show up. Friends, family and strangers did not give up on me. They showed up, they brought me food, they made me laugh, they messaged me, believed in me and eventually made me believe in myself again. When I was finally able to come home with Luna I knew I wanted to “show up” for others. I wanted to help someone feel a little stronger, happier and braver. I spent hours trying to find the right volunteering fit for me. There’s actually a website (volunteermatch.org) that uses your likes and skills to match you up with a volunteering job in your location. In fact, I found something that seems to be a good fit, but it’s been a VERY long process. Every single volunteering gig seems to require a background check, a medical release, a personal record, a fingerprint, a signature in blood and your firstborn child. I’ve been patiently waiting for all my appointments, paperwork and documentation to go through and get filed so I can get started, but geez it’s a bit ridiculous.

Then, right when I was feeling disheartened, I was asked by a friend of a friend to visit a little girl in the children’s hospital. No paperwork required, just me. The little girl they spoke of, spends a lot of time alone in the hospital and the thought maybe I’d be interested in spending time with her. I was absolutely interested and immediately began making plans. I broke out my box of teacher Christmas activities, grabbed my favorite children’s books, packed some art supplies and headed to the hospital full of nerves and excitement. I was finally going to make a difference! BUT, it require me being in a hospital…my biggest fear.

The Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville is basically Disneyland. It’s gorgeous. It’s so full of colors, animated animals, activities, treats, toys and events. I was beyond impressed, but quickly depressed. It’s so wonderful that these children and families have a safe and beautiful place to take their children, but it’s also hard to know that it’s there because there are so many kids who need it. As I roamed the halls, passed the food court and watched some local performers single Christmas carols my heart felt like it was breaking with each step I took. Before I even made it to the little girl’s room I began questioning whether or not I was capable of taking on this particular volunteering opportunity. Maybe, this isn’t the right fit for me.

My first day began with the children’s musician who goes from room to room singing and playing instruments with the kids. Before she left the room, she had me, the Dad, a friend, a volunteer, a nurse and Luna playing instruments and singing Feliz Navidad. It was a beautiful moment. Thirty minutes later it was just me and my new friend (Oh, and Luna!). The sweet little girl is painfully shy. I was told she wouldn’t talk, but would communicate with me by pointing and nodding. I decided to just talk and talk in hopes of breaking the ice. I danced around, showed her how to make ornaments, read How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which she had never heard), wrote a letter to Santa and asked her every question I could think of that would require more than a nod. Ten minutes in I got her to whisper, and by the end of our time together I couldn’t get her to stop talking! We had a blast! I was a big ball of anxiety half of the time, but when she hugged me as I packed my stuff to leave, I knew it was worth it.

Luna playing along with the music.
Luna playing along with the music.

She called me a couple of days later to invite me back, and I’ll be back a third time on Thursday. She hugs me, laughs at me and seems to enjoy just talking to me, but I think she likes Luna most of all! I don’t think Luna has ever had someone play with her and love on her as much as this sweet girl. I get hugs when I show up and when I leave, but Luna gets hugs and kisses. I got to know one of the nurses who was giving a breathing treatment during my last visit. She found out that I used to teach and she went on and on about how much respect she has for teachers and how she could never do such a hard job. I think my jaw was on the floor. “You can’t be serious?? Yes, teaching is hard, but ummmm, you’re a nurse. I have no idea how you do your job everyday.” Nurses are very very special people and are probably some for of superhero.

I have loved the little bit of time I’ve gotten to spend with my new young friend, and look forward to more, but it doesn’t make that walk through the hospital any easier. I cry the second I get in my car, thank God for my healthy baby. I think “I just can’t…I just can’t understand any of this. How is life so hard and so unfair for these kids?” I am in such awe of every family I pass. I have so much respect for everyone working and volunteering at the hospital each and every day. While I think “I just can’t”, they just have to. They have no choice. I do though, I can choose to show up, and while it may be hard, it’s not near as hard as if that little girl was sitting in that hospital room with no visitors.  Seeing that little girl’s smile and her whole face light up when I walk in the room is worth any bit of uncomfortableness I may feel. Yeah, visiting a children’s hospital isn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows, but you may be their only sunshine.

If you’re fortunate enough to have some time to volunteer this year, please consider it. I know it’s not easy to sign up with an organization. It takes time and often a big commitment, but there are many simple ways to help out. Visit an elderly neighbor, bring food to a local shelter, walk your sick neighbor’s dog, babysit someone’s kids who needs a break, wash your Grandparent’s car or call someone you know is lonely this Holiday season. Sometimes, we think we aren’t strong enough to help or make a difference, but we are. We are enough. So show up as you are and I promise you won’t regret it.

Cheers!

The Truth Is…

This time of year is hard. It’s great, it’s merry, it’s jam packed full of fun family festivities, but it’s often So SO BUSY. You may have noticed my posts have been few and far between lately. Well, between my inability to say “no” to anyone, Luna, regular life duties, holiday festivities, to-do lists, workouts, traveling, shopping, decorating and what not I have just lost track of how to get everything done. For years, I believed that I could do it all. In fact, I often did “it all”… I taught full time, got my Master’s full time, ran 2 extra-curricular activities and still managed to have a very busy social life. Students called me Super Woman, and to be honest, I felt like it. So, when I decided to be a “stay-at-home” Mom, I thought “piece of cake”. I clearly had no clue what I was signing up for when I quit working to work at home.

I imagined waking up early with my happy cooing baby, making breakfast for everyone, sipping my coffee while playing with something educational on the floor with Luna. Our day would consist of Pinterest projects, playdates, baby classes, nursery rhymes, story time, walks in the park and dancing in the living room. I’d cook, clean, blog and complete various DIY projects during naptime. During my free time, (ha. ha. ha.) I’d learn to garden and sew. I’d cloth diaper, breastfeed, make all my own baby food, cook organic healthy meals every day, volunteer, teach Luna sign language and have plenty of time to make my blog and social media improve ten-fold. I’d get so much during the day that I’d get to spend the evening enjoying Husband’s company. We’d have time to snuggle up, enjoy the delicious meal I made and watch our favorite TV shows after Luna’s bedtime.

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until the doorbell rings…

 

You’d think after a degree in childhood development and 6 years of working with children I wouldn’t be so delusional. It’s not like I don’t know other Moms. Most of my friends have kids and I know they are often overwhelmed, but I’m different, or so I thought. I’m superwoman. I know how to manage my time. I know how to get shit done and get it done well. How can I not “stay home” and get EVERYTHING done? Here’s how: a baby.

Babies consume every single second of every single day. I’m not complaining (well, maybe a little). But, mostly I want to inform. Why? Because all of you old parents, new parents, future parents, and never-gonna-be-parents are being lied to every single day on social media. ALL of those Moms (myself included) who make it appear as if they have it altogether all the time are big fat liars. (Or at least they better be.) There is no way, NO WAY, those Moms are cooking meals from the garden she grew, homeschooling her genius children, sewing clothes from cotton she sheared, living in her Pottery Barn perfect home, showing off her ripped abs, making cookies for her elderly neighbors, writing her “how to do-it-all” tell-all, all while wearing designer heels and perfect hair with no-roots.OR, doing all of this plus holding a full-time job. No way. It’s a sham!

You want the truth? Something is missing. Some things are getting put on the back burner, brushed under the couch, locked behind messy closet doors, cropped out of of photos, fixed in photoshop, forgotten and flat-out ignored. The truth is that if you see me post a picture of Luna and I dressed in cute matching outfits with fixed hair, make-up and shoes, then chances are, we ate pb and j out of the jar for lunch, left the clothes in the washer (again) and forgot to feed the pets. If you come over and my house is perfectly cleaned and organized then I guarantee you I have not showered, bathed Luna, or updated my blog in 2 days. If my blog is bumpin’, my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are updated then I either got to sit by myself while Husband watched Luna for a couple of hours, she napped for 3 hours, or my house looks like a bomb just went off.

ALL moms.
ALL moms.

The truth is I am able to do a lot as a stay-at-home Mom. I do cloth diaper, make baby food, breastfeed, take baby classes, go on playdates, volunteer, cook often, blog and even do a Pinterest project every once in a while. But, do I do it all everyday? Hell no. Luna is needy and she’s pretty obsessed with me. Most of my day is spent holding, changing, feeding, bathing, playing with, reading to, teaching and keeping Luna from killing herself.  Every night I wonder where the day went? How does every day go by so fast? How do I never manage to get it all done? Then, I sit down at the computer to write to you, and the second I do, the baby monitor lights up. Luna’s crying and needs me. Then, I remember…that’s why.

And, the truth is, I love it.

So, parents, next time you check you Facebook feed and see a slew of photos of Super Moms looking stunning with their smiling babies in their freshly dusted home, remember that they are most likely burning cookies, running late and skipping their daily runs. They’re not doing it all and neither are you. So, let’s stop beating ourselves up about it. The good news is, none of that matters. So, go ahead and like their status, give them a virtual high-five for getting a third of their to-do list done, take a deep breath, look around your messy house and remember, there’s always tomorrow! Now, go love on those babies!

Cheers!

Yay for New Traditions and Discounts!

Now that December has arrived so has the start of our many holiday traditions. I have always been big on celebrating Christmas and creating new traditions while continuing old ones, but it takes on a whole new level of festiveness now that we have Luna. Two days into December and we have already pulled out the decorations, listened to holiday music all day everyday, done some serious Christmas shopping, read a Christmas book, taken family pictures, started an advent calendar, drank cocoa and of course, began watching Christmas movies… a favorite being Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

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You all remember this classic, right? The stop-motion animated movie with the squeaky voice Rudolph who learns that his unique nose that causes him to feel like an outcast is actually what makes him special? Heart-warming, right? And, somehow, after all of these years, the stop-motion, the story and the music all remains as popular as ever. It’s timeless. And, speaking of time, it’s actually the 50th anniversary of Rudolph. And, I just learned the TV series has been turned into a stage musical! AND, it’s coming to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center!!!

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I am of course going to the show (and hopefully taking Luna as well, fingers crossed she’s in a good mood!), and I’ll be writing a review as well, but I needed to write this post in advance. You know how much I love TPAC, theatre and supporting the arts. I am constantly telling you all to get off your bums and see show, visit local museums, hit up the crafts fairs and whatnot? Well, the powers that be at TPAC have informed me that they are offering a special deal for tickets for this show, leaving you with no excuse to miss it!

Use the code “BUMBLE” to get 25% off select seating for the Tuesday-Thursday performances. NOW, you seriously have no excuse to not see this show. Take your kids, dress in your cheesy Christmas sweaters, drinks some cocoa and start a new tradition! I’ll be there Tuesday night and hope to see you there! Buy your tickets here, and if you are not locals, then check out the tour schedule here.

Happy Holidays from me and TPAC, cheers!

When Texas Friends Come to Town

Meet my friend, Danica!
Meet my friend, Danica!

I have this friends, she’s awesome. She lives in Texas with her Husband, baby boy and funny corgi. She’s Mexican, speaks no Spanish but cooks a mean enchilada. She is always honest, always herself, dangerous to shop with, so much fun, snorts when she laughs, very thoughtful and ready to listen to me vent without a moments notice. Her name is Danica and she and her family just spent the last week with us.

Me and Danica with our babies at Percy Warner Parker (where we did NOT see Taylor Swift BTW)
Me and Danica with our babies at Percy Warner Parker (where we did NOT see Taylor Swift BTW)

Danica and her Husband love to travel, like Husband and myself, so they have visited us when we used to live in Tennessee, both years we lived in NY and they even went with us on our recent trip to NYC! A month later they are here in Tennessee to see our new house and spend the week with us. We had them, their baby plus their puppy. It was a party every night in this house. And, by party I mean a strict routine of baths, story-time, lullabies, crying and Netflix for adults once the babies finally fall asleep.

passed OUT
passed OUT

Last time they came to Tennessee, we went hiking, repelling, caving, watched fireworks and went downtown. This time was our plans were much more relaxed and completely kid-friendly. We went to parks and playgrounds, the zoo, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the Opry Hotel, the Escape Game and even managed to fit in some hiking. It’s really nice that we both have babies and need to stick to a somewhat regular schedule. We had a blast and it was awesome to see our two little ones bond and spend so much time together.

watching the trains together at Cheekwood
watching the trains together at Cheekwood
They were clearly thrilled to meet Mrs. Claus at Santa's PJ party...
They were clearly thrilled to meet Mrs. Claus at Santa’s PJ party…
just chillin' with the kangaroos
just chillin’ with the kangaroos

Almost every outing turned into a photo session for the babies. We had some beautiful fall weather and could not help but set the babies in the bright colorful leaves and start snapping away. At one point one of us was lying on the ground with the camera, one was tossing leaves in the air and the other was jumping around making noises like a monkey to get smiles. They were the best little models. We got very little attitude and we could pay them in Cheerios. They even formed their signature poses. Luna loves to throw her hands in the air in excitement and Orion prefers the calm and cool look.
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We went out to eat way too much, as we do anytime guests come to visit, but we did cook at home a few times too. The great thing about having friends stay with you is that you can be totally comfortable and have a great time no matter what the setting. It really didn’t matter if we were in East Nashville at a trendy hotspot or sitting on the living room floor snacking on chips and guacamole, either way we were doubled over with laughter and making some unforgettable memories.

did a mention we had some amazing fall weather?
did a mention we had some amazing fall weather?

I have got to tell you that if you have been putting off visiting an out of town friend or having a friend come to stay with you, stop and just do it. I know it is hard to plan, pack, arrange schedules, travel and deal with kids, but it is so worth it. Staying with a friend is truly the best way to travel. You get to see a new place through the eyes of a local, eat the best foods, meet new friends and stay somewhere for free. (Assuming your friends don’t run a brothel or something.)  It’s also a really special way to bond with your friends you rarely see and create even more ridiculous inside jokes.

looks like someone is trying to sneak a kiss!
looks like someone is trying to sneak a kiss!

Personally, I love when we have guests. I love getting to spend more time with them, get to know their families better and it gives us a really really good reason to clean and get some much needed stuff done around the house. Soooo who’s our next guests???

come back soon best buddy!
come back soon best buddy!

Cheers!

 

Trick-or-Treating Zoo Animals!

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After the Boo Bash Dash last weekend we drove straight to the Nashville Zoo to watch the animals go trick-or-treating. Luna didn’t get to see any animals during the Ghouls of Grassmere event, and this seemed like a fun opportunity to actually watch the animals be active. More fun for me than her, but still…fun. We like to be festive, so we all stayed dressed up in our Halloween running attire. We are also just too lazy to drive home, shower and change.

looking

The zoo was way more crowded than the Ghouls of Grassmere night, but not unbearably crowded. We didn’t arrive until lunchtime, so we had already missed half of the animals getting their treats (cricket-filled pumpkins). The plans was to run to the camels in time to see them eat, but we ran into the new kangaroo exhibit first and could not resist checking it out.

I swear this kangaroo is not dead...just sleeping.
I swear this kangaroo is not dead…just sleeping.

OMG. The “Kangaroo Kickabout” is fantastic! You can literally walk in the exhibit where they kangaroos live and walk around. You aren’t allowed off the paved path, but you are allowed to pet and love on the kangaroos if they come to you!!! We weren’t there at the best time (mid-day). The roos’ were all sleeping, sunbathing and not all interested in my affections, but that didn’t stop me from ooohing and awwwing over them. There was a Mommy kangaroo on her back and you could actually see the baby in her pouch moving around and peeking out! It was probably the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen, with the exception of Luna playing with a kitten.

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We did finally make it to the other animals. We saw the elephants, giraffes, meerkats, goats, antelope, camels, lions and lots of other animals “trick-or-treating”.  And by “trick-or-treating”, I mean looking at carved pumpkins suspiciously. Most of the animals were not interested in eating them while we all stared on expectantly. The goats and meerkats were the most enthusiastic. Either way, the animals were out and about being cute and meandering around.

look at those adorable meerkats!
look at those adorable meerkats!

There were also a few “zoo talks” happening. I really enjoyed listening to the girl in the giraffe land. She told us about the baby giraffe that is soon going to be shipped to Animal Kingdom so that her Dad doesn’t try to mate with her. I’ll have to remember to look for her next time we go to Disney.

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Our favorite section of the zoo was by far the jungle gym. Their play area is ENORMOUS. We had a blast getting lost in “the largest community built playground in the United States”. It’s 66,000 square feet! I seriously cannot wait until Luna is big enough to play in the playground. The best part is the toddler area. They have an enormous covered area that is basically a giant room covered in 6 inches of foam and it is the greatest idea. Big kids aren’t allowed to play in this area and no on is allowed to wear shoes, so it’s virtually clean. Us, along with several other parents, relaxed in the shade while our babies crawled all over each other.

little flirts
little flirts

Luna enjoyed her second zoo trip, as did we. The Nashville Zoo has many many other events happening, including storytime every Saturday in November at 10:30. To checkout more of their attractions, go here!

my favorite animals!
my favorite animals!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Luna is 9 Months Old!

9 months

9 months. Where is time going? How is to going so fast?? This child brings so much joy, adventure, challenges and love to our lives everyday. I am constantly surprised by her and I swear I fall more in love with her all the time. I could stare at her all day and I love watching her learn more and more as each week passes, but I also just want to press pause for a moment. There are certainly times I get exhausted and frustrated (diaper changes with a wiggle worm and night time with a Mama’s girl), but then she smiles or laughs or sleeps in my arms or learns how to stand, and I just want to remember that moment forever and ever.

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This month has been a busy one. Luna went to her first art museum, where she learned to paint for the first time. We all went to Gentry Farm to pick out Luna’s first pumpkins. Then, there was our big trip to NYC, where Luna had MANY firsts. She’s also been to the zoo for the first time (and second time), ran the Boo Bash Dash, had a few playdates, visited Cheekwood, and actually slept through the night one night! (That last one is possibly the biggest accomplishment of all.)

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I swear this child has done more in 9 months than I did the first 20 years of my life. Lucky duck.

so big

She is a speed crawler and a cruiser these days. She is FAST and gets into everything…including, but not limited to, dog food, cat food, chocolate, muffins, my underwear drawer, anything that’s plugged in and pretty much anything she shouldn’t touch. She is eating more solids foods, like cheerios (and pet food, unfortunately), and has even had some Mexican food. I am 99% sure she has said “Mama” to me on more than one occasion, and she is definitely understanding words like, “mama”, “more”, “no” and “Luna”. She even understands some sign language, but has yet to sign to me.

I can’t believe it’s already time for the holidays, and will be Luna’s first birthday soon after! So many things to look forward to!

Cheers!

Little Monsters at the Zoo

ghouls

I am falling more in love Nashville everyday. We have been super busy with all the fall festivities in and around Nashville. Everyone told us that having Luna would slow us down, but the truth is, she keeps us motivated to do more. Thanks to Nashville Parent and the various flyers hanging up at Starbucks, I am constantly finding new family-friendly stuff to do in middle Tennessee. Last weekend kicked off the Ghouls at Grassmere annual event at the Nashville Zoo, and we decided it was a perfect time to take Luna on her very first zoo trip.

zoo

The Ghouls at Grassmere event is geared towards kids and is a really unique Halloween experience! The kids get to dress-up, trick-or-treat on the trails, see the zoo at night and participate in many other activities. They have a haunted hayride, a spooky house tour, a “scary-go-round”, carnival games, a dance party and more. Luna was a little young for most of the activities, but that little detail did not keep us from enjoying ourselves, or from trick-or-treating.

trick or treat!
trick or treat!

I have never been to the zoo at night, but OMG, it is SO much better! It’s not too hot, you can’t get sunburned, it’s waaayyy less crowded and kind of cool to see what the place looks like a night… also, a little creepy. It’s a really cool atmosphere for a Halloween event. There were lots of lights, light designs, Halloween decorations and really good music. It was full of activities, yet very relaxed. We took our time walking around, ate dinner and just enjoyed ourselves.

Foam party for kids!
Foam party for kids!
They had tons of popular characters for kids to take photos with
They had tons of popular characters for kids to take photos with
a scary spinny tunnel!
a scary spinny tunnel!

The best part had to be watching all the kids run around in their costumes! If you know me at all, you know I love dressing up and celebrating for just about any reason. It was sooo much fun to see how the creative costumes at the zoo.

Mary Poppins AND Napoleon Dynamite...love this family
Mary Poppins AND Napoleon Dynamite…love this family
yup...definitely doing this for Luna one day
yup…definitely doing this for Luna one day

Our favorite activities for us and Luna were definitely the “scary-go-round” and the “Monster Mash”. The “scary-go-round” was the carousel with creepy music and lights that blinked on and off. Come to think of it…I guess that was Luna’s first ride! The “Moster Mash” was a huge dance party. We all danced together and taught Luna how to shake that little tush.

scary go round dance party

The only downside to being at the zoo at night is that the animals aren’t out. We got to see flamingos and camels, but that’s all. I was hoping for Luna to see more animals, but we will just have to back. (As a matter of fact, we went back today! But, that’s another blog…)

flamingos

Anyways, only 5 more days until Halloween! How is everyone celebrating this week??? Oh, and if you are planning a trip to the Nashville Zoo soon, you’ve gotta check out their calendar of events here. They’ve got some really cool activities coming up!

I was so excited to find this perfect picture spot!
I was so excited to find this perfect picture spot!

Cheers!

A Little Garden Therapy

Lately, I’ve been battling more anxiety than usual. It’s typical that my anxiety goes up and down, yet it always seems like a surprise when it comes back. I know why it’s been worse, there’s been some stressful situations as of late, but no time to sit down and write about it, which I know I need. In fact, today isn’t the day to discuss panic either… Today, I want to talk about some beautiful gardens, and how a little nature, beauty and family time can wipe the blues and nerves a way.

harvest

Saturday was Husband’s 30th birthday. We did a lot to celebrate his big day, and it all began at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. We try to visit Cheekwood at least a few times a year. Fall is one of the best times to visit because it is stunning! The leaves are changing and Chrysanthemums of every color are planted everywhere! There is also a “Cheekwood Harvest” throughout the month of October.

bridge

The Harvest includes family ‘art’-tivities, live music, storytime, garden tours, museum tours, a pumpkin patch and a lot of locally made scarecrows. My original plan was to arrive early, and hit every single activity, as well as a reserved lunch in the Pineapple room restaurant. Bbuuuttttt as my good plans go lately, it was an epic fail. Between all of us being sick, trying to get sleep, a late Birthday breakfast of bagels and everything else that comes with a baby, we didn’t get to Cheekwood until lunch time. I wasn’t feeling very calm or peaceful when we finally arrived. I felt like Husband’s Birthday plans were very quickly falling apart. And, because I was already down, it just made me feel like a failure.

luna and dad

 

Something happened when I entered the gardens. Something changed. I stepped into the sunlight and felt it warm my skin. The scent of a myriad of flowers and herbs filled the air. I couldn’t help, but dance a little to the live music wafting through the gardens. I looked at Husband, looked at Luna, looked around at the other families enjoying the beautiful Saturday and began to feel grateful. Happy and grateful. Nature does that to me sometimes. I don’t know if it’s the fresh air, the vitamin D or the walking, but with every step I took I felt more and more like myself. The more we toured the more I noticed my beautiful family and the less I noticed that nasty panic monster. Sometimes a sunny day with the people I love just washes the anxiety away. Even if it’s temporary, it’s lovely.

my outfit

We had a great day at Cheekwood. Everything we’ve previously done seems brand new now that we can experience it with Luna. We let her play on the pumpkins in the patch, which she drummed on to her hearts content.  We walked around the scarecrows and tried to guess which each one was before reading the descriptions. Most were easy (especially the 4 Olaf’s), others were a little harder to decipher.

scarecrow
Look at dat wittle baby scarecrow????
Harry Potter
Clearly, one of my favs

pumpkin patch

The day just kept getting cuter. Luna danced her little booty off to some live bluegrass in the herb garden. She also had her second art lesson. She “learned” to use tissue paper to stain paper, glue and do some more water color. Although, she was much more interested in eating her art than actually making it…

dancing luna's art

Cheekwood was a great start to Husband’s 30th Birthday celebration and a therapeutic trip for me. I think we will be back soon.

me and luna

Cheers!