Saturday, July 30, 2011

swimming lessons . . . just keep swimming, just keep swimming

I'm sure most of you have seen Finding Nemo at some point in your life. If not, it's a cute story of a little fish who has to prove how brave he is and ends up getting captured but then has a great escape moment. My little man is similar - he likes to think of himself as an adventurous spirit and once he sets his mind to something, it's really tricky distracting him away from his goals.

For mother's day, my mom got me a gift of swim lessons with Judah. They have a pool at their house, and it's a great way to get him used to the water, teach us some tricks on how to make it fun and also learn some safety tips. We got a deal on Living Social at the Swimstitute which has worked out well since it's pretty close to our house. We are in the class for 6 month-24 month olds. Judah is the oldest in the class and also probably the loudest. I wish the 6 month olds new how to say the word "NO" as well as he does.

As with any class, there are parts he likes and parts he doesn't like. He loves singing the songs, climbing in and out of the pool and playing with the toys (balls, floating sticks, and his new favorite "turtles"). He's not a huge fan of getting dunked, having to trade off to the instructor holding him, and sometimes once he climbs out he thinks he should stay out of the water (the instructor today chased him around the pool for me - I think she felt sorry for me cause I was struggling climbing out w/ the prego belly...)

Regardless of what we learn (or if we walk away a swimmer), it's been a fun bonding time for us and it wipes him out too. I also invested in a washable swim diaper (like $7- which you can find at Target, Walmart, etc) and it's saving us some money (they don't allow disposable diapers in this pool). We've only got 2 more classes left and it's been a fun journey. However, I'm thinking next summer is really going to be the fun one for him.

I wish I had on camera the moments of tears and his loud echoing "no's" but I try to capture the happy moments. Here is a quick glance of blowing bubbles:

It's nothing really too significant today, just the summer Saturday morning routine.

Enjoy your weekend!

Oh to be more like "momo" aka Grandma . . .

I'm not sure if it's just because he's my child and I have to get things done around the house, work, grow another child inside or me, etc...but there is something so unique and creative about the way my mother interacts with Judah vs. how I operate.

Growing up, I always wanted to be like my mom - I guess things never change. I truly had a great and spoiled childhood. I remember various arts and crafts and adventures for treasure that my mom would take us on. Our home was never boring. I don't remember my mother ever laying on the couch watching TV while we played quietly by ourselves. It was quite the opposite. It was full-tilt, full-energy all the time. I'm sure she's probably thinking, "Glad that's all she remembers!" But it's true or it's what stuck with me. I want those same kind of memories to be part of my kids history. I still have that desire to develop into the mom that God wants me to be (which I know is a work in progress). I know He is the supplier of all things creative, energy, life, fun, etc- maybe I just need to tap in a little more.

We dropped Judah off for a night with "Momo & Popo" and he runs instantaneously into their arms with abandon. He knows that he's going to have the time of his life with them. They have the ability and time as grandparents to give him their undivided attention and say "YES" to everything he wants to do. It's amazing too - because he just goes through a routine of his quirks with them:

1. Do laundry
2. Play "hoop" with the ball (basketball in other words- he stands on a stool and they cheer wildly- I need to get the video from them to show you what i'm referring to here)
3. Play with the "turtle" slide (a little activity toy)
4. Play the "trump" with Popo (my dad learned how to play Hammer Noah and If You're Happy and You Know It on the trumpet)
5. Take a nice little stroll in the backyard
6. Pick some blackberries (I new found favorite)
7. Eat lots of treats
8. Play the Piano
I know there are lots more- but I'm drawing a blank right now...

You get the picture though. The best is just the dialogue that occurs. My mom could probably talk to a wall if it was socially acceptable, but she's just super talented at carrying on conversations with an almost 2 year old (or any aged child for that matter). She creates super interesting stories that captivate his attention and keep him wanting more.

For instance, when we were dropping Judah off - she got out the Noah's ark boat and animals and had them all talking to Judah as characters. I probably would have given Judah the ark and said, "Wow, isn't that cool- an elephant, giraffe, bear, etc - have fun playing with it" how entertaining is that? Don't get me wrong though- I do have some good days where my mind starts rushing with stories (or I copy a story I've heard my mom do with him)...

I'm not trying to go for a guilt trip here either. You don't have to pump me up with how good of a mother I am (haha)...Just saying that I think I realize sometimes where my weaknesses are- and thinking if I tapped into God a little more (as stated above) that I would find that renewed since of awe and rambling it takes to keep a 2 year old entertained.

I guess this is all just a reminder to myself (and hopefully and encouragement to you) that we all have our good and bad days. The best part is- God asks us to throw our burdens and cares and "tiredness" on Him- because He wants to carry that load. The more in tune I am with God (hopefully this isn't freaking anyone out) the more energy, joy, love and excitement I have for life - and I want to then share that enthusiasm with Judah (and Ireland to come)!

Just a wordy blog today. Heading to San Fran this weekend for a mini-family vacation with just the 3 of us before Ireland's arrival. I'll have picts and videos to come I'm sure! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Makeup Must-haves in summer heat...

For those of you who know me well, or see me on a regular basis, you have witnessed my NO-makeup face often (especially since becoming a mom). I've never really been into makeup. Even when I was little, it really wasn't an interest of mine (except to create another mess for my mom to clean up). I'm not really a girly, girl - I don't accessorize much (unless my mom puts my outfit together- and don't get me wrong, I'm 28 years old, and YES, my mom still dresses me for important occasions). Regardless, there are a few makeup must-haves that I have come across (partially from stealing these items from my mom's makeup bag...haha).

So, if you are an on-the-go mom like me...but still need to appear "awake" every once-in-a-while, check these items out!

1. Smashbox Photo Finish with SPF 15

1. Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner

3. L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara

4. CO Bigelow Lip Gloss in various flavors and tints

1. Smashbox Photo Finish link on Sephora
If you are like me at all, you forget to put on sunscreen or it's just a hassle. This is the perfect solution! It has great texture that makes your skin feel silky smooth with a little sun protection! It is pricey- but it's a splurge (especially when I'm not buying makeup every month).

2. Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner link on Sephora
My mother got me addicted to this eyeliner. I don't think it's waterproof, but it still works wonders and will stay on through sweat and tears.

3. L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara can be found at Walgreens, Target or your local drugstore...
I love this mascara and it last for a while. I've got a friend (you know who you are) that is addicted and buys a new mascara every 2 weeks. I on the otherhand...can go for a year or more with the same tube. Take it or leave it. This stuff works.

4. CO Bigelow Lip Gloss can be found at Bath & Body works or link on Amazon.
I'm not a lipstick person, but this lip gloss is the key to any summer dryness. I think it also has SPF in it as well. There are several flavors and various shades. I've got one in almost every bag I carry.

There you have it. It's short and to the point...but it works wonders for moms on the go! As my mother would just "perks" you up a little...or makes you look a little more "awake."

Enjoy the summer glow!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Splish, Splash I was . . . . playgrounds

In researching for Splash Playgrounds in the Sacramento Area...I've been finding some helpful websites...and then searching for others on my own as is a collective list of what I have found...

First, one of my favorite Sacramento Blogs with great pictures of the spray parks:
Sacramento Sidetracks includes:
1. Bridgeway Lakes Park, West Sac
2. Kunsting Park, Elk Grove
3. Lonetree Park, Rocklin
4. Morse Park, Elk Grove
5. Seely Park, Sacramento
6. Swanston Park, Sacramento
See photos of the parks and addresses on the above link...
Funny thing is, I haven't tried any of these out- but it's on my list of things to tackle this summer!

Then, I decided to put some into categories based on location . . .

We live in Orangevale, and there are absolutely NO spray parks in our region from the park and rec district (minus the community pool which has a cost) the next closest to me is:

Folsom Area:

1. Livermore Park (6004 Riley Street Folsom Ca 95630)
The fun feature here is the little mini-creek. Bring boats or anything that floats to keep the little ones entertained. It kept Judah's interest for about 5 minutes. Then there is a big bucket that dumps and is great for the big kids (or little ones if your kids love getting splashed). The water features are nice and unique, but it didn't keep Judah too enthralled. The park area is nice and spread out. They have outdoor sand volleyball courts, some slides and swings...but overall it wasn't our favorite.

2. John Kemp Park (1322 Bundrick Drive Folsom, CA 95630)
Judah and I LOVED this has great shade, the perfect playground for toddlers and the water feature was just right for a 2 year old as well. The sprinklers just puddled and there wasn't anything too crazy going on. Great park benches for eating lunch too. We will go back for sure. Here is a link to the Folsom Park & Rec District for other listings. These 2 above (I believe) are the only spray parks in Folsom.

2. Folsom Aquatic Center (1200 Riley Street, Folsom)
Never been here, but I drive by it all the time. Check out a great stay-at-home-mom's blog (The SAHM Account) for more information on this one!

El Dorado Hills Area:
1. Promontory Park (2700 Alexandra Way El Dorado Hills, CA 95762)
I've been told this park is also referred to as the "Bug" park. We haven't made our way out here yet, but we are going with Capital MOMS for the Water Park Bonanza event on July 29 (if we don't get out there sooner...) Their park district does a great job with photos, click here to view more details!
2. Peter Bertelsen Park (860 Redwood Ln, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762)
Again, never been...and i've heard it's a small water feature, but when it's 100+ and you have to get out of the house with your kiddos, might be worth a shot-especially if you are close by the neighborhood. Check out photos here!

Rancho Cordova Area:
1. Stone Creek Community Park (3625 Spoto Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670)
We have now had a few MOMS group events out at this park and it seems to be a hit. It's a pretty central location for the Sacramento area with a fun water feature, cool skate park, good slides/swings and seating areas. Great for a good get-together in the hot sun.
2. The Village Green Park (3141 Bridgeway Drive)
This park is across the street from Lowes/Chilis/Subway/Starbucks- great shopping area and meet up spot. The spray park is a hit for the neighborhood and it has restrooms, ampitheatre, and sitting areas. There are no slides and swings at this particular spot, but you can take a 2 minute walk to the neighborhood park if it's a must for your kids.
Here is a link to the Rancho Cordova Park District.

Elk Grove Area:
1. Elaine & Jim Wright Park (9370 Sierra River Drive at Trolio Way Elk Grove, CA 95624)
So, I don't live out in Elk Grove, but I've got a great friend and family that does! This is my absolute favorite right now. Great shade, great play structures (they even have a work out are for parents- that I have yet to use)...and a great spray feature. The kids always love it here and we do too!

There is a list of others above from Sacramento Side Tracks in the Elk Grove Area- as well as this link below to Sacramento Moms Like Me...Check it out! They also give a list to local pools in the Sacramento area...

I really want to check out:
1. Bertha Henschel Play Pool (A St. & 45th St.)

Open June 21/closes August 22. Open 12-4pm for recreational swim Monday-Friday. Open 1-5pm for recreational swim Saturday/Sunday. This might be a fun stop this summer.

I'm sure there are several others that I'm missing. If you have a great one in your neighborhood, let me know! Judah loves to get out of the house...and so do I!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Judah's Toddler Room {Part 1}'s official. We finally sold are old guest bedroom furniture (after convincing Joe that 10 years in storage would cost about $6k and then looking at options for what we could get w/ the money from the set...he was sold).

We went out and got Joe an ipad (mainly to use for work, but he's been playing on it every since)...and then we will head to ikea to get some stuff for our playroom - i'll keep you updated on our finds there as well...

In the meantime...I wanted to post the first pictures of what his "big boy" room will look like...the start anyways. He's super excited about being able to get on and off his bed...even though we haven't put it all together yet.

Reminder: we got all this stuff that you'll see in the pictures below for only $120 off of craigslist (one of my favorite places to shop).
1. Full size bed which includes a book shelf space as the headboard
2. Two nightstands that are the perfect toddler height
3. One- 8 drawer dresser which fits perfectly under his window...
4. One- 5 drawer dresser which will fit lots of clothes.

Overall, it was probably one of my favorite buys of all times. It was old 1950's original furniture that we had to sand, prime, and paint. So lots of love has gone into this purchase as well.

Here is the before:

Here is the after:

Things still to do:
1. We have old frames of artwork that went with our guest stuff, and we are going to paint them and stick family photos or retro artwork in them to liven up the walls.
2. Get knobs for the dressers and those sheets that make the drawers smell good...
3. Get new window coverings
4. Get the full bed mattress (no boxspring for now) we are going to keep it low to the ground.
5. Clean out the closet and move his clothes over (we were using it for storage...=)

But it's a great start...more to come in {part 2} as we piece it all together!