Tuesdays for Tots!

Yesterday was a looonnngggg day. It was mostly good, but it could have been great had it not been for a touch of mastitis (yup, again), a sick Luna and a night of zero sleep. Yesterday, I babysat for a friend of mine. You may remember mentioning an adorable 4-year-old boy who goes by Parker. Parker spent all day with me and Luna and he taught us many things: differences between boys and girls, the best Superheroes, how to quickly make new friends and of course, how exhausting life would be with two kids. Also, how fun life would be to watch two kids grow and play together. Thankfully, Nashville has many activities around town to keep little ones busy…Cheekwood was our activity of choice.

Every Tuesday, Cheekwood offers adventures in art for toddlers (Tuesdays for Tots). After my experience I’d say it’s appropriate for about 1-5 year olds. They have a studio in the Learning Center where a new craft is setup each week. We were lucky enough to show up for Van Gogh week. They displayed pictures of Starry Night, laid out materials, handed out canvas and encouraged kids to create their own version of The Starry Night. I think Parker was more inspired by Spider Man than Van Gogh, but once I started mimicking the painting, he quickly did too.

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After a while in the Learning Center, we brought our paintings out to dry and before I could finish setting them on top of the car to dry, Parker had already made friends at the train table. Outside of the Learning Center are lots of different toys and activities set up for kids. We played with trains, dug in the dirt, practiced sharing and used a dumpster. He was pretty entranced until he heard that there was an even bigger cooler train that actually moved just down the hill. It’s a miracle I got him to wait for me and Luna before he sprinted across the roadway to the trains.

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Every kid loves trains. The train set at Cheekwood is so nice! There are two trains that move through tunnels, under bridges, over hills and past towns. Plus, one train is led by none other than Thomas the Train. Parker was entranced for a good 15 minutes. He just could not believe that Thomas was there. The next activity on his list was “something to climb”.

watching the trains together
watching the trains together

We walked the trails until we came to the playhouse that luckily has stairs that lead up to a tree house. We were so busy at this house that I didn’t even have a moment to snap any photos. There are tons of kids on Tuesdays for Tots and Parker very quickly made friends with everyone who climbed into the tree house. They pretended to be superheroes and protected me and Luna from bad guys, we “locked” all the doors and windows to keep us safe from tornadoes and we almost played Ninja Turtles, but then decided that super heroes are like way better.

He just HAD to push the stroller
He just HAD to push the stroller

After myself and another Mother pried the boys away from each other, we said goodbye to our new friends and went our separate ways to have lunch. I packed a picnic and I let Parker pick the perfect spot in the grass for us to sit and enjoy our food. After hiking down the hill with two large bags, a baby and a stroller, and unloading, he then announced he had to pee. After explaining to him why could not pee outside at Cheekwood (while other families picnicked around us), we re-packed, hiked back up the hill and found a toilet. After, repeating everything once more, we finally sat down for lunch. We have had extremely abnormal weather the last week and so it was actually warm and sunny enough to sit outside and eat. It didn’t take Parker long to finish his food and take off again. Thankfully, there was plenty for him to do right around us. He ran around a pond, climbed a mini rock wall, played under a larger tree and ran down the hills as fast as he could. Luna and I enjoyed eating ALL the food he left behind and watching him run wild.

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We spent a good 3 hours enjoying Cheekwood. It was the perfect place to spend a sunny day with a 4-year-old and a baby. Luna may have been sickly, but she did enjoy watching Parker play and even walking around a little after our picnic. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing at a playground, eating ice cream, watching a terribly boring Spider Man cartoon movie and playing with Lego’s. And, when the day was over, this Mommy with a sore boob was ready for a nap! (Oh and BTW, I totally drove off with the two Van Gogh paintings on the roof of my car. Woops.)

Thanks Cheekwood, for letting us come play. We had blast and we will be back!

Cheers!

Cherry Blossoms and Trouble Making

No matter where Husband and I go, we always find a way to get into trouble. By “we” I obviously mean “Husband”. He is always climbing something, jumping to and from things, rummaging random cabinets and trying every closed-door. Getting reprimanded by an authority figure comes as no surprise when on an outing with Husband. The problem is that Husband’s trouble-making ways have rubbed off on me a bit, and I often fail to even recognize when I’m breaking a rule.

During our recent visit to the New York Botanical Garden, I was extra careful and made sure that Husband was on his best behavior. I love this Garden and there is no way I’m going to get a bad rep here, which is why I didn’t budge when I heard an older angry woman screaming “No!” during part of our visit….

There are a few giant rocks in the new Native Plant Garden that I had used in the morning to relax and warm-up. After lunch, I returned to the rocks to take a few photos. I was at the top of the rocks when I heard the scary employee shouting at someone who was obviously breaking a rule. I looked around to spot the perpetrator, but found a furious employee glaring at me instead. I quickly ran down the rock, shocked to have been scolded, and found Husband laughing at the whole scene. As we walked past the strict elder staff member, she loudly told the guests in her tour group how “necessary it is to stay on the obvious path” and how “inconsiderate it is to veer off”. I get it lady, you’ve made your point.

As we left the native plants, I made a point to steer clear of any funny business…Husband made no such decision.

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We walked a couple trails that were new to us, found a beautiful waterfall and ended up in a field of cherry blossoms! My spring coat matched the blooms perfectly, so we took the time for a much-needed photo shoot.

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As we left the cherry blossoms, Husband had a very mischievous idea…He had me walk ahead of him and our friend Dan. As they walked behind me, Dan had the camera and Husband jumped up to shake a branch on the tree. He thought a few falling petals would make a beautiful photo. He got a lot more petals than he bargained for, but the photo did turn out beautifully!

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I couldn’t believe the rainfall of pink petals and turned around with excitement to find Husband under the tree surround by a ridiculous amount of fallen petals/evidence. Just as I was about to announce that we should skiddaddle, an adorable family came running over. They thought the petal idea was the cutest thing they have ever seen and just had to take a similar photo with their daughter.

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NOW, it was definitely time to make ourselves scarce, before Miss Garden-Party-Pooper showed up. So, we headed to the most innocent section of the Gardens, the Family Garden.

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We managed to spend the rest of the day out of trouble and escaped without getting arrested for tree de-petaling. It was a lovely day, and the perfect last visit to the Gardens before moving….especially since I may never be allowed to return after this post. Sorry about that.

Cheers!

Must. Have. Coffee

Last night I did not sleep. Like, at all. I put on Sabrina assuming I’d drift off to Audrey’s pleasant voice and dream of attending culinary school in Paris. I did not. Next, I put on season 4 of Boy Meets World…which played until my alarm went off. At one point, I started to drift off, but dreamed that our apartment was infested with rats (the big kind that live in the train stations). I woke up terrified and positive that rats were crawling across the floor. Needless to say, I made my coffee extra strong this morning.

No day is easy on little to no sleep, but working with children is excruciating. How is it that every child has unlimited amounts of energy!? My job is more or less to exhaust them. It never works. The only person panting and running for the water fountain at the end of an hour-long intense cardio-type class is me. My zombie state today mostly consisted of me pretending to be excited and full of energy. At one point I started singing “Good Time” in order to hold my eyes open and thankfully my class of 5 year olds quickly joined in and sang along.

The sleepless night left me with a migraine and a twitching left eye as well. I wear many hats in my job which means I run from place to place all day long on a strict schedule. I was so delirious today that I showed up late to 3 classes and went to the wrong class twice. Thankfully, everyone at my job is either understanding or oblivious.

I keep saying I am going to cut back to one cup of a coffee a day, but today I didn’t even feel guilty when I ran across the street to Starbucks for a midday iced coffee. As I ordered coffee with a friend from work we decided to eat lunch and drink our coffee outside because it was 80 degrees outside. 80 DEGREES. We took our shoes off, rolled up our yoga pants and within minutes a few more co-workers joined us and we sun-bathed through our entire lunch break.

Wow. What a difference some vitamin D makes. After lunch, every one of us returned happier, warmer and energized. I think I forgot what warmth felt like; this has been the longest winter ever!

So, the cure to a sleepless night: iced coffee and sunbathing. It does a body good.

Tonight, I am going to bed with the windows open, some sleepy-time tea and a good book. Let’s see if this works!

Cheers!

*If you read the post before I updated it, then you probably noticed that I’m so sleepy I couldn’t even insert the link to the video correctly. I give up. Good night!