Emma Kate Does Disney: Part 3

I left off part 2 with us going to bed Thursday night. Friday morning, my dad and I drove to Tampa to look at homes with the realtor while my mom stayed behind with Emma Kate. They went to Disney Springs for the morning while we were gone, and then the playground after nap.

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Dad and I also looked at a couple daycares and found one I loved. I found a house that we ended up putting in an offer on that evening, and after stopping at the grocery store in Celebration and then picking up pizza, we headed to the pool and met up with my mom and EK.. Eating pizza at the splash pad area while EK played was a nice relaxing time, especially after a crazy day house hunting. (there may have been wine involved, too. Ssshhh)

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On Saturday we got up early and headed to Animal Kingdom. EK loves animals, so I was excited to take her on the safari ride in particular. We had fastpasses and headed there first thing. It was a cool morning so the animals were all out and about and active. We even got to hear the male lion roar which I had never heard before.

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After that we walked through some of the zoo like areas, and then headed to the boneyard playground where we stayed for over an hour. I loved that it was closed in so I didn’t have to worry about Emma Kate running off.

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Girlfriend must have gone down the slides 100 times.

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We waited for lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and ate down by the water. We also rode triceratop spin and I really can’t remember what else.

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Emma Kate was getting super tired and so we decided to head back to the resort after lunch so she could get in a good nap.

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During nap my dad and I walked around the resort and even went to the hot tub for a little while.

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We had chef Mickey’s brunch reservations at 2:30, so we loaded up and headed to the contemporary for a late lunch/early dinner. I was so curious to see how Emma Kate would do with the fab five after doing just so-so with the Winnie the Pooh characters.

Stay tuned for next time to see how brunch went with Mickey and the gang!

QOTD: Favorite thing to do at Animal Kingdom?

Imaginative Play with LEGO® DUPLO ®

I am really loving the age that Emma Kate is at right now. Just in the past month, her language has exploded, her motor skills have gotten a lot better, and she has gotten way more imaginative with playtime, which is also really fun for me! One of her new favorite things to do is to play with LEGO® DUPLO® bricks.

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These preschool building toys are specially designed for little hands (ages 1½ – 5 years old). They are much larger than regular LEGO® bricks (twice the size!) Making them safer for toddlers and preschoolers and easier for them to handle.

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I have to admit, playing with these toys brought back so many childhood memories for me, I love how LEGO® bricks have stood the test of time, and more than 25 years after I played with them in my living room, now my daughter is playing with them in our living room!

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As soon as Emma Kate opened the box, I was down on the floor next to her, helping her set up the “choo choo train” and building tall towers that are “so high” (her favorite). I think it’s so important to not only let a child’s imagination grow, but as parents, we should be partnering with our kids in playtime, showing them the ropes and encouraging them to learn new things. Kids learn by playing, touching, and experiencing new things. It is my job to guide Emma Kate on this learning journey, and LEGO® DUPLO® just makes it a lot of FUN! The nice of the legos is that you can build anything you want, there are few toys like that, for example a spinning toy that you can learn how to build your own.

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LEGO® DUPLO® offers so much flexibility and open-ended play for each stage of your young one’s development. You can do things from build towers, to trains, to buildings and more. There are even figurines like cute dogs and little people to put in the structures.

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Ready to be inspired for playtime with your little ones? Head over to LEGO.com/Family and see what you can do to help nurture your child’s imagination.

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QOTD: What is your family way to play with your kids and help their imaginations grow?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Unpacking in Tampa

Hello from Tampa! We finally have internet and my laptop is up and running. I may be surrounded by boxes, but I have a Christmas candle burning, music playing, and my tree is up. However, it has been quite the experience to get to this point. Let me backtrack.

Me, Bobby and Emma Kate left my parent’s house in Louisiana on Sunday and drove to Tallahassee. Then Monday we drove to Tampa and it was warm enough to swim at the hotel pool!

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We battled several issues back and forth with our lender and the title company all day Monday, and weren’t sure we were going to be able to close on Tuesday. Tuesday morning came and after more back and forth, we FINALLY got the final numbers literally fifteen minutes before closing. We were able to do the walk through and get to closing, but we had to hurry because the movers were set to come at 1:00 (closing was 11:30).hO8QiqcuZBC3zm3EWY5562phR9lOZRrSEcbQ2hOpEr0pX92IBO6s2USUwoHpCAxxuZIAzaQBtnhdUkEcHBkrSoXvbrkUpX92IB

We get to the closing and the lenders had sent over the wrong packet for signing!!! So they had to send over the right one and reprint everything. If you have ever bought a home you know how much paperwork this is. Finally after 12:30 we started signing. As we are signing, the electricity goes out. Yall, I can’t make this stuff up! We finally got into the house and the poor movers were here until after 7:00.

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I have never seen so much packing paper in all my life. They pack stuff up super tight and well, but I felt it was a bit excessive and did feel guilty/wasteful.P_3IkSM_TnE4rMP1RDMeup3ptk2pLy2GQ62WowzoJWEpX92IB

Things are slowly coming together, but there are still boxes everywhere. We haven’t even touched the stacks in the garage and I have been wearing the same three outfits and and over for days. TWWIEejvrU4y-v1T2U_joQUqrEiFR2-PfPW09X6zN1opX92IB4pJ80TMBUvsZ-jG1w5L-gps5id0npgBY91p6D76k4CMpX92IB

However, Emma Kate LOVES the packing paper. I’m thinking I should just save some to give to her for Christmas instead of spending money on toys!IHb7dKfaWDG2vYYpew1j5Aclz-H0AsILu89f2njxzuMpX92IB

This girl is already loving her new daycare, too! She goes three days a week and did awesome on her first day.VHj93u5FE3m2UO80SFPYP25_fgKKHWVjWGy8V3s_sWgpX92IB

I was sure to get our patio set up first thing, and we love our view!xP3NS9by3RTQ7rMmXs_wH9wU61-9_wNse5NBxxldjckpX92IB

More to come, I still have to do a gift guide and recap the rest of our Disney trip. It’s all coming up I promise!

QOTD: When you have moved, did you pack yourself or have movers pack you? What was your best strategy for unpacking?

Back from Disney World

Hey friends! I am back from Florida. It has been a whirlwind week and a half, and it is so good to be home! If you will recall when we left for Disney Emma Kate was sick, and let’s just say we have had better Disney trips. She was super cranky and fussy (rightfully so) and keeping it real, it really stressed us all out. Her fever broke the day we got to Disney but that didn’t stop her craziness. I’m not sure if she was just super tired, or overwhelmed or what, but I have never seen her act the way she did in Disney…she was a hot mess! I think not knowing what to expect was difficult on us, and let’s just say I need a vacation from my vacation. We for sure still had fun and happy moments, and I can’t wait to share them with you over the next couple of weeks. You will get the good, the bad and the ugly of taking a very strong willed two year old to Disney. Smile I loved seeing her meet the princesses, ride the rides, and experience my happy place. Of course there is still so much more I want to show her, but we got a good start on getting her obsessed with Disney just like the rest of the family. She said cute things like “BIG CASTLE!” and “Pluto has a big tongue” and “Emma Kate and Minnie Mouse!”

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My parents recently bought into the Disney vacation club and generously used their points for our trip, and getting a two bedroom villa was for sure the way to go. We could put Emma Kate to bed at night and still hang out in the living room without having to be quiet. We were on the first floor of Saratoga Springs and it was great to let her just walk out of the patio and out to the grass or playground. Having a full kitchen and washer and dryer was a plus, too!

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Our room was on the bottom right behind the bench in the back of the photo.

Also having our car was the way to go because we didn’t have to wait in long bus lines with a toddler having a meltdown. We still were able to ride the ferry and the monorail which Emma Kate liked.

My dad and I went to the grocery store the first day to get groceries so we cold eat snacks and breakfast in the room each day to save money. We also grilled outside by the playground the last night which was a lot of fun. Emma Kate loved the pool/kids water play area and we went there three or four times in the afternoon after nap.

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I feel like my thoughts are so scattered right now and I will get more specific when I give you my daily recaps, but I did want to check in and let yall know I am still alive and that you will hear more about the trip. I hope everyone had a great week!

QOTD: Were your expectations too high the first time you brought your child on vacation?

Finally Fall

Fall finally decided to show up in Mississippi this weekend. It was gorgeous and sunny Saturday and Sunday with lows in the low 50’s and highs in the 70’s. For our third year and a row, my dad took Emma Kate to the classic car show in our city and out to lunch at McAlisters. This year was the most challenging because last year she was just learning to walk and the year before she was only a month old!

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How cute is this display?

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It’s fun to walk around a free event checking out all the cars. It helps when the weather is beautiful! We are all about free things to do.

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There were rows and rows of classic cars of all different colors.

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We walked over to McAlisters and sat outside for lunch before walking over to our yogurt shop for dessert.

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Saturday night we had a fall get together with our life group from church. It was at my friends house who lives down the street, so we just walked over. We had chips and dip, chili, soup, and caramel apples. Emma Kate had a blast playing with all the other kids. I didn’t take any photos, but if you saw my Instagram story then you saw Emma Kate wipe out on some playground equipment (she was fine).

Then some friends came over and watched part of the LSU/Ole Miss game. I went to bed at 11:00 because the game didn’t start until 8:15, so it was way past my bedtime.

Sunday we went to church and then had the annual fun fest at our church. It’s a free community wide event with games, candy, and lots of fun!

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How adorable is she?!?

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We went in the bouncy house about five times, watched the puppet show, and helped with the photo booth. She slept like a rock that night!

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It was our third year at fun fest and it is something I will definitely miss when we move.

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QOTD: Do you go to any community or church fall events?

Swim Readiness: Then and Now

This post was sponsored by Speedo. Thanks for the products you sent to me and Emma Kate!

Before I had a baby, getting dressed and ready to swim was a fairly simple task. I only had to think about what I needed to do for myself, and myself alone. Oh how I took for granted those simpler times, because getting a child ready to swim is a whole different ball game! I wanted to take you through my step by step process of what it’s like now to get ready to go to the pool/water with a toddler.

The dance of the swimsuit:

First I have to actually convince my toddler to get into her swimsuit. This may or may not involve chasing, begging, wrestling, and crying (me, not her). Ok, so maybe I’m kidding a little, but once Emma Kate saw her adorable new sun shirt from Speedo, she asked me to immediately help her get it on. This sun shirt is quick drying. It also is UV50+ and provides protection from harmful sun rays. To learn more about this product, go to this page. Emma Kate was obsessed with the butterflies on it!

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The “slather”:

Putting sunscreen on a child is very, very important, but also extremely difficult. As a teenager, I worked at a local summer camp, and distinctly remember how hard it was to get squirmy four year olds to stay still long enough to coat them in the protective stuff. Inevitably, one would turn their head and sunscreen would get in their eyes, hair, etc. Thankfully, Emma Kate understands the importance of sun protection, and knows she will not get to go near the water without it, so she generally complies without too much fuss when I slather it on her.

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Swim Shoe shuffle:

We have a water table and kiddie splash pad we like to set up in the backyard. However, we quickly realized that when the concrete gets wet, it’s quite slippery. I immediately got Emma Kate some swim shoes from Speedo, and now she is much safer. They are also great for the pool or pool deck so their little feet don’t get blisters! We love the awesome colors too, and how easy it is to get them on and off with their four way stretch.

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Rules were made to be broken—er… followed:

I know Emma Kate is only two, but she had a pretty firm grasp on what is expected of her when we are near water. No running, no getting in the water without me, and always wear your swim vest/life jacket. We obey other adults and life guards and stay in the shallow water. Even at her age I feel it’s important to be consistently repetitive so she knows what is expected of her ahead of time.

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The rinse:

I always think it is wise to rinse off in the shower (most pools have an outdoor one nearby) before getting in the water. I mean, we are dealing with toddlers here, and at any given time there are five different kinds of food stuck to her face and in her hair, and we don’t want to get that in the pool.

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So on top of getting mommy in her cute Speedo swimsuit and cover up, (My new swimsuit has great adjustable straps on the top, and is stretchy and flexible. My cover up is super comfy and has a lightweight, cute racerback design) and getting sunscreen applied, there are a lot of other things to consider these days. I have to plan ahead, and make sure I have allowed enough time to get together everything we need for a fun and successful day in the water.

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites, so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

Affiliate links are not associated with Speedo.

Emma Kate: Two Years Old

I can’t believe I am typing these words out. My little baby turned two years old on Saturday. It’s a bittersweet time for me, knowing that she is no longer a baby, but also very glad she is more independent (ha is she ever) and can do some things on her own. There is so much to say that I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s start with the stats.

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EK had her two year old check up yesterday, and weighs 31 pounds and nine ounces (96%) and is 36.5 inches tall (97%). Head circumference is 87%. She is in size 5 diapers, and clothing is a really wide range. She is mostly in 3T, but in some things can wear a 2T or a 4T. Footed PJ’s are a 3T. She is about to bust out of her size 6 shoes, I’m hoping we can get another couple weeks out of her sandals while we still have warm weather.

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Emma Kate loves to try to put on clothes and shoes, and always reminds me to put a bow in her hair. Poor child has been brainwashed by her southern mama to think she has to have one every day. Bless it.

We hit the terrible twos a long time ago, and girlfriend has quite the sassy attitude and loves to push the limits. We have been using time out, and she (usually) responds well to that. She likes to do things herself, and won’t let me help with her food, utensils, or when she can’t get a toy just right. She gets easily frustrated and likes to throw things down she she gets mad.

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Emma Kate has had an obsession with Finding Nemo for a couple months now, and we legit watch it every single day. She can say a lot of the lines, and is mesmerized by the fish. Never did I think my super hyperactive child would sit still and watch a movie, but she will sit and watch Nemo for 20-30 minutes. She still likes Mickey/Minnie mouse and Elsa, but as far as TV prefers to watch Nemo. She also has an obsession with YouTube Kids on my iPad and will ask to watch it all. the. time. (Gasp. I know, go ahead. Judge all you want, but sometimes mama needs 30 minutes and the iPad does the trick). She still loves dogs, and really all animals and making animal sounds. Lately, she has been singing a lot. Her favorites are the ABC song, and the happy birthday song. She still loves puzzles, and also likes to do anything I am doing around the house like sweeping, helping with the laundry, etc.  It’s funny how quickly things change, because I know in a couple months she may have totally different things she loves!

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As far as speech, Emma Kate is always talking, but I don’t always know what she’s saying, although I have gotten better at using contextual clues to decipher. She’s speaking in a lot more over two word sentences lately, and says the funniest things. If she bangs her head on the door, she will wag her finger at it and say “no no, bad door!” and she is always saying “hush Bella, get down!” to the dog. She loves going outside “outside mama outside!” and eating.

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Speaking of eating, she went straight from her highchair to a “big girl” chair several months ago, without a booster seat. Oh well. Saves me some money I guess! She loves to eat cheese, apples, strawberries, yogurt, lasagna, beans, and chicken. I kept sweets from her as long as I could, but now she asks for cookies. Whoops!

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Sleep is still going great at night. She is still in her crib, and goes to bed at 7:15, and waked up between 6:00-6:15 usually. Naptime still isn’t going great. I had hoped after she turned one and dropped that second nap that her one nap would get longer, but it unfortunately didn’t. An “average” nap is 45 minutes to an hour, and anything over that is considered “long” for her. I so envy my friends who have kids that nap 2.5-3 hours a day, but i’m also grateful to have a great nighttime sleeper.

The best is when she gives us kisses at night and says “I love you too” when we say prayers and put her to bed. I know I will blink and she will be 12, then again and she will be 22, so as much as I want her to get a little bit older so we can do more fun things together, I don’t want it to happen TOO quickly. We love you bug! Happy birthday!

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QOTD: What is something funny you did as a kid or something your kids do that your parents/you still talk about?

 

**The WINNER of the Keep it Chill gaitor is Lisa Schneider! I will shoot you an email.

5 Things Friday XXIII

Hola and happy Friday! It’s going to be another hot one here, hence why I bought tank tops and shorts at Target yesterday. They are having a huge sale through tomorrow! Anyway, here are 5 things for Friday (I guess technically 6 if you count the Target tip. Bonus.)

1.) Race season: I am running my first 5k of the “fall” season tomorrow, which is actually funny because the high today is 96. I’m sure my time will be slow, but it’s being held at my church and I wanted to take part.

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2.) Sick kid: Emma Kate was home sick from daycare on Wednesday and it was rough on everybody. She’s fine now, just some sinus gunk, but wow I think that day was harder on me than it was on her. Bless it. Any tips for sick kid days when it’s way too hot to go outside and your kid is running around crazy because they don’t’ “feel” sick?

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PS when did my kid turn blonde?!?

3.) iPhone update: Is the new update throwing anyone else off? I don’t like change and I keep forgetting to push the home button to open my phone and it’s driving me bonkers. Although, I was super excited to get rid of the “stocks” app!

4.) Get a check up: On Thursday I went to the dermatologist for a check up/skin check. I haven’t been since I was pregnant (I know I know), but know how important it is. My uncle was recently diagnosed with melanoma, so that was enough to scare me into going. Especially as runners who are outside more than most, it’s super important!

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5.) Snapchat: Did you know I am on Snapchat? I am @HeathersLG. Check it out! I love the filters. If Instagram Stories comes out with filters, I think I will ditch Snapchat though.

QOTD: Do you have Snapchat? Have you been to the Dermatologist lately?

Running With Kids

Jeff Galloway is back sharing his running wisdom, and I am passing it on to you today. I was excited to read this article since I now have a toddler to LOVES to run (in particular… away from me.) She is even entered to run in her very first runDisney kids race next April, and currently loves when we go for walks around the block—she runs a lot of the way! Check out this research Jeff shares about kids and running, and his tips for making it an enjoyable experience for everyone.

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Kids think and learn better when they exercise regularly, according to research.  Whether you run with your child, a  niece/nephew/grandchild, or a neighborhood kid, you can make a positive impact  on a young life.
Why  is running with kids such a great thing to do? Most kids like to do things with an adult.  By running comfortably with a child you can positively imprint exercise as a natural and expected part of the daily routine, that is fun.
What does  running do for kids–better than other sports? Kids who run tend to have better self esteem, better grades, and are happier.  Unlike other sports, that require specific skills, any kid can run and walk.  When running, you have one of the best opportunity for quality time.  The most powerful reward for most kids is the special attention an adult gives to a child during and after a run.

How do I know  when a child is ready to run?  Running is a natural activity.  Unfortunately, many kids have have had bad experiences because they have run until they were exhaused.  Tell the child that you really want to go on a walk/run with him or her.  Offer a simple reward (a special snack such as juice, a toy).  Insert walk breaks every minute, before the child huffs and puffs, and stop before the child is tired.

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For kids ages 6 and under:
How long should I let a  kid this age run? Usually between 10 and 20 seconds at first.
How much of our ‘run’ should be spent  walking? Walk for a minute or two between run segments.
What should I be careful of?  Most kids can run farther and faster than they should at this age.  Make sure the segments are short so that there is no huffing and puffing.  Make each session playful and stop before the child is really tired.
Ages 7 to 9:
How long should I  let a kid run?  Start with about a quarter of a mile(one lap around a track).  Increase by 1-2 tenths of a mile each run until you reach one mile.  For kids that really enjoy running, you could gradually increase the distance to 3.5 miles (one day a week) and enter a 5K.  Be sure to keep the pace slow during the first mile of the first race, with walk breaks every 1-2 minutes.
What is a good run/walk ratio for a kid this  age? Jog for 10-20 seconds/walk for 40-50 seconds.  After two weeks, if this seems “too easy”, increase the amount of running each week by 5 seconds and decrease the walking by 5 seconds until you are using 30 seconds/30 seconds.  For the kids that want more, gradually increase to one min/one min, then 2 min run while inserting 1 min walk.  As kids want to run more, you can increase the running but walk when the child starts to huff and puff.
What should I be careful of (are they prone to going to hard and  crashing and burning?) If you sense that the kid is struggling, walk more.  This usually improves attitude and conserves energy for a strong finish.  It’s OK to run a little faster at the end but don’t run all-out.  It is OK to let the child “win” each run.
Ages 10 to 12:
How long? Beginner kids that are out of shape should follow the suggestion for ages 7-9 at first.  For moderately active 10-12 year olds (soccer players, etc.) start with about half a mile.  Increase by about a quarter of a mile on each run until you reach 1.5 to 2 miles—or whatever distance seems to feel comfortable but satisfying.
What’s a good run/walk ratio for this age  group?  Kids that are just starting, should follow the suggestion for  ages 7-9.  Kids that have been running (soccer, etc) can jog for 10-20 seconds each minute during a 10 minute warmup and find the ratio that avoids huffing and puffing: 1-1, 2 min  run/1min walk, then 3-1, and only 4-1 if a kid has no problem with this.
What should I be aware of (are they actually likely to kick my  butt?)  Many 10 to 12 year olds can run very fast at the beginning, and burn out later.  Keep the pace slow for the first third of the run.
Is this age child old enough to run a 10-K?  Most kids who gradually build mileage to 6.5 miles, once a week, will have no problem with a 10K if you help them start slowly, with walk breaks every2- 3 minutes or so.
How is  it possible to get a real workout in when running with a  kid? Don’t worry about your workout, try to make the child’s experience a good one.  Many adult mentors run their workouts before or after running with the child athlete.
What’s the best way to  bring a child along on my runs—even if she can’t keep up on her own  two feet?  Slow down and walk more.  Playing games allows for the distance to go by quickly.  If the child is laughing and running you have been a successful coach.

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Hurry up and SAVE! Jeff Galloway 13.1 race registration price increases on September 2nd! Join the 3rd Annual Jeff Galloway 13.1 Race Weekend! December 9-11, 2016
Register now –www.jeffgalloway131.com

QOTD: Do your kids like to run? have they ever done a race before?

Disney Trip Itinerary

As I have mentioned here before, we are taking a family trip to WDW at the end of October. My parents recently bought DVC, and the contract finally went through in the spring, so we planned our first trip for when the weather cools off just a touch. Having never been to Disney with a toddler, I am very aware that my “plans” may not end up happening, but I still wanted to (loosely) plan things so we at least have some sort of structure. As far as rides etc. at the parks, there is nothing that I just HAVE to do, except for the new Frozen ride and Soarin. This trip is about Emma Kate and what she wants to do. With that being said, here are our tentative plans.

Tuesday Oct. 25:

Depart Louisiana at nap time/after lunch/ Drive halfway, stop for the night in Tallahassee.

Wednesday Oct 26:

Drive the other four or so hours to Disney, arrive at Saratoga Springs around lunch. Check into 2 bedroom villa. Either go to the pool or Disney Springs after nap. Dinner at Rainforest Café at Disney Springs.

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Thursday Oct 27:

Magic Kingdom in the morning. Back to Saratoga for lunch and nap. Back to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon for early Crystal Palace dinner (3:30 was the only reservation open). We will stay until around 6:30, then back to the resort for bedtime.

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Friday Oct 28:

Hollywood Studios in the morning. Animal Kingdom in the afternoon after nap. Mom and dad go to dinner alone at Narcoossees, Bobby and I watch Emma Kate. Not sure yet what we are going to do. Maybe Disney Springs to play in the water fountains and eat at Earl of Sandwich.

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Saturday Oct 29:

Magic Kingdom in the morning. After nap, come back to that area for Chef Mickey’s brunch, then more Magic Kingdom in the afternoon if Emma Kate is hanging in there. Bobby and I go to dinner alone that night, and my mom and dad watch Emma Kate. We will probably just go to EPCOT and eat around the Food and Wine festival.

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Sunday Oct 30:

EPCOT in the morning, nap at the resort then pool/grill/playground in the afternoon. We have some local friends coming over to BBQ. Disney Springs in the evening for ice cream.

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Monday Oct 31:

Get up and drive back to Louisiana. womp womp.

Thoughts on my plan? A lot of the afternoons are kind of open planning. We may end up back at parks certain days, and others we may not. We will just have to see what EK ends up enjoying the most. I am getting excited! We can make out fastpass+ reservations at the end of he month!

QOTD: Thoughts on my plan? What am I leaving out?