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!

Toddler Tips at Disney

We love taking Luna everywhere, but we were definitely most excited about taking her to Disney World..the place where we met, dated, fell in love, got engaged and got married… it’s a second home to us. Clearly, visiting Disney (any Disney park) never gets old to us. Every trip is a great trip, but going with a baby is definitely a different kind of trip…in a very good way.

Everyone told us to wait to take Luna. They told us she wouldn’t like it, she won’t remember it (so?), it will be too stressful and so on and so on. Being us, we didn’t listen and took her anyways, and I’m so glad we did. Not only did she love it, but we enjoyed every bit of it too. Sure, we didn’t get to ride every single ride we wanted, but who cares. We’ve ridden them all a hundred times anyways. It was worth missing any ride to watch Luna hug Minnie, dance to classic Disney hits, play on every single slide and her eyes light up as she watched Disney Jr. Live. It was magical, as they say.

If you love Disney and want to take your toddler to Disney, do it. Luna was so entertained that she never once had a meltdown, that says a lot. Just take it slowly, make a plan, but don’t freak out if everything doesn’t go accordingly and most importantly, follow these tips:

1. Pack accordingly. Bring a stroller and pack it with snacks, water, toys, bubbles, regular diaper back stuff, a camera, sunscreen and you’ll still have room for souvenirs. Luna napped in her stroller everyday and was soooo nice to have something to carry all of our stuff as well!

*I recommend a stroller fan too!

stroller

2. Let the kids make friends. Disney is packed full of babies, toddlers and kids. Luna is not shy so she was thrilled to run up to other children and see what was happening. It was pretty darn cute to watch the toddlers interact, and kept them entertained if we were waiting in line. While waiting for Disney Jr. Live one adorable little boy gave one of his brand new Mickey suckers to Luna and they were instantly bff’s.

sucker

3. Let them be free. When riding the bigger rides we used Disney’s “rider switch” option, which allowed 2 of us to go on the ride, while one waited with Luna. Then the one who waited go to go through fastpass, and bring one of the previous riders with them. While the one person waited with Luna we just let her run free. It’s her favorite thing to do at the moment. She LOVED running around the parks, looking through the shops, exploring, watching the water fountains and climbing every single obstacle she came across.

running

4. Let nap time happen anywhere.

nap

5. Visit all the kiddy shows and rides that you use to skip. Disney Jr. Live is probably the one show we have never seen at Disney World. I have to admit, it’s pretty cute. I wouldn’t see it on my own, but I loved how much Luna loved it. She was dancing, clapping and totally into the characters on stage. Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog…

clubhouse

6. Take them on rides! There are A LOT of rides that are appropriate for babies! There’s Dumbo, Small World, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, the TTA, the flying carpets and that’s just to name a few! Luna seemed to enjoy the rides too. She was getting fussy right before Dumbo, but the second we started flying she was happy as can be.

flying dumbo

7. Seek shade! Florida is hot. We were worried about Luna (and ourselves) getting sunburned and overheated. Luckily, there are MANY shaded areas to hangout and cool off. One of my favorite spots is “The Seas” at EPCOT. After riding the Nemo ride, we hung out around the aquariums for a while. Luna clearly found it very peaceful.

manatee

8. Use your hotel pool. We never ever spent time at our hotel pre-Luna, but this time around I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and swim. We stayed at Coronado and they have a great pool, baby pool, playground and sandbox area. Luna had a blast!!! I’m pretty sure she still thought she was at Magic Kingdom.

pool

9. Take lots and lots and lots of photos! Your kids will only be this age at Disney once and you are going to want to remember all of those magical moments. We took a good combination of posed and candid photos. I love this moment that Bella caught on camera s we rode the TTA.

tta

10. Be cheesy and pack those Disney outfits. I’m always cheesy, so it’s no surprise that Luna, me and Bella had Disney outfits for each and every day.

minnie baby

11. As I’ve said before, plans do not always go accordingly, and that’s fine! I was really excited about having a character lunch with Luna at Crystal Palace, but Luna fell asleep before we got there and woke up after we left. No biggie, we just got all the characters to pose with the sleeping baby. Plus, I actually got to eat my entire lunch in peace!

pooh

12. Meet some characters.. Let’s be real, Luna does not actually care about them (minus Minnie), so I was not going to wait for hours and hours to meet someone like Elsa. However, it was worth getting a fastpass and waiting 5 minutes to meet Mickey, Goofy and Minnie on our last day. She wasn’t scared and seemed to like them.

goofey

13. Find the play places. There are quite a few “playground” type areas. The best was at Dumbo. Instead of waiting in line you actually go to an air conditioned indoor playground. They give you a buzzer and it buzzes when it’s your turn to get on the ride. BEST. IDEA. EVER.
dumbo

Hope this helps! Let me know your own tips for going  to Disney with a toddler!

Cheers!

Berry Pickin’

Luna and I are so lucky. We have the best group of friends here in Tennessee. We have been on so many play dates over the last several months, and while they began as more of a social gathering for the Moms, the babes are finally starting to be social themselves. It’s the best. This week we took our little ones to Wagner Berry Farm.

Aren't they the cutest group of girlfriends?
Aren’t they the cutest group of girlfriends?

The farm was supposed to be closed due to an abundance of pickers over the weekend, but lucky for us, the farmer couldn’t turn down 5 moms with 5 toddlers! He welcomed us and let us have the whole farm to ourselves as he walked with us and told us all about the different berries.

wagner

We spent the morning roaming up and down the garden rows, taste testing the 7 different types of strawberries and filling our baskets.

Luna may have taken advantage...
Luna may have taken advantage…

Luna stuffed her face with whole berries (leaves included) and possibly a couple of green berries too!

strawberry

Luna and I picked about 8 pounds of warm fresh berries and they are almost gone already! We will definitely be back for more!

picking

What fun stuff do you like to do with your toddlers this time of year?

big girls

Cheers!

15 Month Luna Update

It’s been a while since I had a Luna blog, and since she is 15 months old today I figure it’s a great day to write all about her! Luna is just growing and changing at such a fast pace I can barely keep up with her. Like, literally, I can barely keep up with her. The girl is fast! She’s got this hilarious rambunctious personality. She’s into absolutely everything, eats everything, climbs everything and then manages to destroy everything. She’s wild, but she’s our little ball of sunshine and we love her more than we ever thought possible!

coffee date

At 15 months, she is jumping (cutest thing ever BTW), blowing kisses, doing itsy bitsy and wheels on the bus, learning new words and body parts and is still a dancing machine! Her favorite song is by far still “Shake it Off, but she loves the “itsy bitsy spider” and “twinkle twinkle” too. Seeing her face light up and her body start moving when music is on is the best. I love that she’s into music and dancing. We have dance parties everyday.

leggings

Luna is also into books. Her favorite game is to pull every single book off the shelves, sit on top of the pile, pick one up and “read” it aloud. It’s precious. She has favorite books now that she picks and brings to me to read. At the moment her favorite book is Potty by Leslie Patricelli. (Which BTW is $3.81 on Amazon Prime right now!) She is OBSESSED with this book, and I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty cute. I sent one to my nephew and he also loves it. This, and the Llama Llama Red Pajama, series and is her fav at the moment.

mickey

Luna is so crazy and fearless. It is terrifying. She can climb ladders, go up and down stairs, throws balls, climb in and out of just about anything, she runs and looovvesss running up to any and every animal. If I take my eyes off of her for 2 seconds she is in the fire place, eating cat food, on top of the entertainment center or sorting through my cash that was in my wallet in the diaper bag on a chair. She’s a mischievous little ninja.

nikes

Luna is also talking. She’s says lots of little words, but right now her favorite is “bye”. She says it over and over, then attempts “buh-bye”, but it always comes out as “bobby”. So when we leave anywhere it sounds as if she is screaming “bye Bobby!” all the way out, into the car and even as I buckle her in her car seat. Either that, or she’s made a friend named Bobby who I’ve yet to meet.

shoes

Since turning one she has  been back to NYC, traveled to England and Scotland, “ran” three more races, finished weaning and had her first stomach virus. AND, tomorrow we leave for her first trip to Disney World! Can’t wait to tell you all about our magical adventures.

stars

Now can someone tell me how to slow time down? I

Cheers!

10 Minute Workout With a Toddler

What? What? Guess who is back with more workouts???

10minute

The last few months of juggling life, Luna and the blog have been challenging. I am trying so hard to manage everything without ever having a sitter (like, ever), and it’s tough. Just last week, I went through my stats and realized that I am getting tons of hits on my “10 Minute Prenatal Workout” blogs and I am stoked! I LOVED exercising during pregnancy and love even more that I have been able to keep it up since having Luna. Thank you so much to everyone trying out the prenatal workouts!

I wish wish wish I would have written about working out with a newborn and an infant, but you know, you live and learn and now I’m back and ready to share new workouts with you! Since having Luna I have completed Shaun T’s T25, P90X3 and am almost done with the 4th month of Insanity Max 30. I have also picked up running and walking. Luna is with me during each and every workout (unless she by some miracle is napping). Having her with me has taught me a couple of things about the challenges of working out with an infant and toddler. I’ve learned a lot.

We workout in a fairly large room and basically let her have free reign. She runs around, plays with her toys, eats snacks and of course, interacts with us. She babbles, yells, pulls, points, pokes and climbs all over us. There are often occasions where I hold her and workout with her in tow. So, today’s 10 Minute Workout is going to include those exercises that her and I have found to be the most successful for Mommy-toddler workout time.

This workout uses no equipment and can be done virtually anywhere! Do each exercise move for 1 minute. I suggest doing this when you are a) Trying to squeeze in a quick workout. b) In need of a warm-up. or c) Trying to entertain your child while simultaneously energizing yourself. Of course, you could always do it three times in a row for a good 30 minute workout!

(I KNOW some of these photos are blurry. Blame it on the toddler.)

10 Minute Workout With a Toddler

1. Squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat EVERYBODY! Hold that baby and get low. Remember, sit your butt back, chest up and don’t let your knees go past your toes.

squats

2. While lunging you can hold your baby facing you, or facing out while sitting on your thigh. Do 30 seconds on each side. Keep you knee in line with your ankle. If you are feeling really strong do an extra 30 seconds of pulsing on each side!

lunges

3. Luna is a big fan of knee lifts. The faster the better. Lift each knee as high as you can, tighten your abs and tilt your hips under.

knee lift

4. In hindsight, carrying your baby on your shoulders may not be the best idea. Hold your little one however you feel safe in comfortable and lift those heels up! Don’t forget to tighten that booty!

calf raises

5. The ab twist is another favorite of Luna’s. I usually have to switch her to my other hip halfway through, but she loves being twisted from side. Remember to hold your abs in tight, keep your back straight and knees slightly bent.

ab twist

6. The pelvic lift is so good! Lie back, tighten your glutes and abs, and lift and lower down. Luna tends to run over and jump on me for a ride every single time I try this.

pelvic LIFT

7. Time to work the arms. Clearly, Luna has made herself right at home. Keep your bottom off the floor, and lift and lower you body while making sure your elbows go back, not to the sides, as you lower down.

tricep dips

8. Time for some ab work. I love V-sits but it’s near impossible to do them when Luna is crawling all of me. The trick is to use your arms. It’s not considered cheating when a 23 pound baby is jumping on your chest. Just focus on squeezing your abs and using your lower abdominals to hold up your legs.

vsit

9. For your low plank, go to your elbows, keep you body straight (no butts in the air or sagging hips). Let your babe go wild. Luna enjoys crawling over and under me.

low plank

10. Finish it off with some cardio! Run in place! When the little one starts begging for attention, grab their hands and have them run with you! Fun for the whole family.

runinplace

Good luck peeps! Let me know what you think of the new workout and any new workouts you would like to see!

Cheers!