4 Tips for Stroller Running in the Heat

Now that it’s summer and all sense of a regular schedule has gone out the window, I have had to rethink some of my workout times and methods. I want to spend time with Emma Kate without neglecting my health, so it just makes sense for us to do some working out together. Thankfully she will still sit in the stroller while I run for three miles or less, so we are trying to do more of that lately. However, it. is. hot. Not only do I have to worry about being safe for myself, but also for my daughter, so here are my best tips for stroller running:

stroller running

1.) Sunscreen for everyone: I know it may be tempting to think that because they are in a shaded stroller or covered by a canopy that your child is safe from the sun, but they most definitely still need sunscreen! Also if you are a heavy sweater don’t forget to reapply. I use kids spray sunscreen on her body, and sensitive skin just for face on Emma Kate’s face. I use whatever is in the closet for myself. ha.

stroller running

2.) Dress appropriately: Cool, light sweat wicking clothing is best for everyone. I got Emma Kate some super cheap athletic gear at our local consignment shop. We obviously don’t need blankets in the summer! Don’t drape your stroller with a blanket because it traps heat inside and you need air to circulate as much as possible.

3.) Hydrate: Fill up a bottle of water for yourself, and for your wee one. A lot of strollers have a handy basket underneath where you can bring sunscreen, water, a towel, etc. along with you. I also purchased an accessory for my stroller that has two cupholders up top, and a flip down cup holder and tray for Emma Kate in front of her. It’s great for keeping her entertained with snacks, too.

4.) Time your run and route wisely: Try to run early in the morning or late in the evening when you aren’t in the worst of the sun, which is between 10-2. Not only will it be cooler, but there will also be more shade and everyone will be happier. I personally prefer running in the morning and getting it out of the way. Emma Kate is awake at 6:00 most days so it gives us something to do before the world is awake.

5.) Pick a good jogging stroller: I am currently loving the BOB Rambler! It is cheaper than other models, but still packs a powerful punch. It has 12 inch high impact tires for those bumpy roads, a swivel locking front wheel, and a 75 pound weight capacity. I also love the one hand recline adjustment, two step fold, and foot activated parking break. If some of the other BOB strollers are too expensive for your taste, know that the Rambler has the best features at a lower price point. 

You can check out the Rambler’s other features here and also find out where to purchase your own. Happy running!

RELATED: 10 tips for running in the heat

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of BOB, however all opinions are my own.

Emma Kate: 3.5 Years

Well we now have a child halfway to four years old, which blows my mind! on March 24th, Emma Kate turned three and a half and we baked a cake to celebrate and she LOVED it. I just wanted to take a moment to catch you up on our little girl.

Eating: Girlfriend LOVES to eat. She can still be pretty picky, but she loves large quantities of food, and I have grown to hate the word “snack”. She loves fruit like peaches and blueberries and strawberries, and also is a big yogurt fan. She even likes broccoli which is shocking to me. She eats a lot of turkey and chicken, and tries to get us to let her have candy whenever she can (all these holidays are killing me.) She still drinks a lot of water, and isn’t a huge fan of ice cream/cold stuff, but LOVES cupcakes!

Sleeping: We moved her to her “big girl bed” a couple weeks ago and she has been doing great and she loves it. She sleeps great and hasn’t fallen out (yet) and stays in her bed until we come get her in the mornings. Nap is hit or miss, if I let her sleep too long in the morning she won’t nap at school, but I would venture to say she sleeps for an hour 3-4 days a week at school and 85% of the time on the weekends. She goes to bed at 7:45 and usually lays there until about 8:00, and is up anywhere between 6-7 in the morning, but on school days I make sure she’s up at 6:30 so she will nap!

Clothing: She wears 4T and 5T now exclusively, and is quickly outgrowing several 4T things, which makes me so sad. She’s in a size 9 shoe but I feel that will be changing very soon as well.

Potty: She hasn’t had an accident in FOREVER, and has been dry for a week straight at night, and is always dry after nap. I think we are super close to not needing a pull up at night. She is doing awesome in this category!

Emma Kate says the funniest things and cracks us up on a daily basis. She loves to sing and dance, and has been watching movies like Aladdin, Trolls, Moana, The Incredibles, and Monsters Inc. She still loves big bows and lets me pick out her clothes most of the time (thankfully!)

She has been doing this thing where she doesn’t like when Bobby and I talk to each other so she will interrupt us and then she has nothing to say. it’s pretty annoying, any tips for breaking this habit?

She loves to have us sing with her at night int he rocking chair and she says her own little prayers which is so cute.

I don’t have an official height and weight but I’m thinking close to 40 pounds and 39 inches tall? I will have to measure her later!

We had our first trip to the ER on Easter Sunday, she jumped off the bed at Grammy and Papa’s house and hit her head on the rocking chair corner and there was blood everywhere and she had a deep gash, so she ended up with three staples. I nearly had a heart attack. She is fearless and independent and brave.

We switched schools at the end of 2017 and she is doing SO well at the new school because they have a pretty strict curriculum and I feel like she is learning so much. She recognizes most letters, counts to 20 something, and is writing with her little left hand.

She loves her “sister” Bella, wrestling with daddy, and putting together puzzles (shes REALLY good at puzzles!) We love you sweet bug and this has been such a fun half year!

Emma Kate: Three Years Old

As I sat down to write this post, I just stared at the screen for a little while, because I honestly had no idea where to start. Trying to sum up six months into one post is difficult, especially since a lot has happened in those six months, but I will do my best.

(ppsssttt, you can find Emma Kate’s other recaps here.)

Here are her official stats: 39 inches tall (86%) and she weighs 35 pounds (83%)She’s really tall and really heavy (either that or I am getting weaker by the day!) I will say that she is in size 4T and 5T clothes, but can still wear 3T in some dresses and some shorts. She is in between an 8 and a 9 shoe.

First haircut April 2017

The biggest news I would say in the past few months is that Emma Kate is officially potty trained! *Insert spastic happy dance here.* I was so dreading this part, but once she got it, it happened fast. Where we stalled was with the pull ups. We started using them and she would tell me *after* she pottied that she had just gone. This led to LOTS of frustration. Finally one day after the prompting of a friend, we just sent her to school in big girl underwear (with lots of changes of clothes). She had 3 accidents, but we kept at it, and by the end of the week she was only needing a diaper for nap and only had an occasional accident (maybe once or twice a week after that first week). I was pumped! She still refused to poop on the potty so we bribed her with cookies, and that did the trick! She hasn’t had an accident since the very beginning of July, and doesn’t even wear diapers for nap anymore, just bedtime (and 3-4 times a week those are dry, too!) As a parent this was a huge hurdle and sigh of relief. For awhile there I was convinced she was going to go to Kindergarten in diapers.

First kids race WDW April 2017

Emma Kate talks non stop, and she mispronounces several words, but I would never correct her because it’s so adorable. A few of my favorites:

White = “wipe”

Panties = “candies”

Backpack = “pack pack”

Cheers = “deers”

She cracks me up especially when she repeats phrases that I say all the time, it makes you realize how often you say certain things! If I say “stupid” she tells me that’s bad and I need to go to time out. Quite the tattle tail.

She is super independent and wants to do everything herself. She can put on her socks and shoes by herself, get in her car seat, open the door and garage door, walk the dog, feed the dog, and the list goes on. It’s great, but sometimes annoying because let’s say I turn the light on and SHE wanted to do it, she will turn it off then back on again. The only time I can get her to hold my hand is to cross the street, and she likes her bows to match her clothes (I wonder where she gets that from? haha).

Emma Kate moved up to the 3 year old room a couple months ago because she was getting bored in the 2 year old room. She had a little bit of an issue transitioning (not wanting to nap, not listening) but is doing much better. Speaking of nap, she is still not great at them, and only naps for an hour, and some days not at all. We have to REALLY wear her out on the weekend to get her to nap so we go to the pool or playground in the mornings. We still put her to bed at 7:45 at night, but she usually doesn’t fall asleep until 8 or 8:15, and wakes up anywhere from 6:15-7:00, depending. She still tells us “I took a good nap/I had good dreams!” when she wakes up in the morning.

She is still obsessed with the iPad and YouTube kids, but has recently taken a real liking to drawing/coloring so we have been doing a lot of that lately. We still watch a lot of movies (current favorites are Moana, Monsters Inc., and the Toy Story movies.

One of my least favorite words is now “snack”. She will eat only a few bites of dinner then immediately ask for a snack. We have started making her eat more before she gets them, but it amazes me how much she can eat! She is pretty picky and likes the standard chicken nuggets, turkey, mac and cheese, etc. But also really loves fruit like grapes, blueberries, strawberries, apples, and peaches. Lately she has also been all about popsicles and since we went to Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party, she now always wants candy (which we rarely give her). She still drinks a ton of water, but we have started limiting it in the evenings and at night due to potty training and not wanting her to wake up a ton at night needing to go to the bathroom.

She still loves Disney World and going to “the castle” and meeting characters. she isn’t shy around them at all which I love. She is really into Paw Patrol and Moana toys as well. She likes to ride her tricycle in the evenings when we go on walks, and we got her a scooter for her birthday so we will see how that goes.

Emma Kate is very strong willed and can throw a tantrum with the best of them. She easily gets frustrated when she can’t do something or we tell her no, and obviously doesn’t like time out (who does?) She is sassy which I think will serve her well later in life but it is currently taking years off my life. She says “I do it” to everything, and tries to tell me no and tells me not to talk, etc. which I’m of course not a fan of. Bobby handles her fits better than I do if I’m being honest, as he has much more patience than me.

She tells us to come “sit by me!” on the couch and still likes to be held. She gives good hugs and kisses, and loves to read in the rocking chair and say prayers before bed. Her favorite songs to sing are Let it Go, Jesus Loves me, the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Wheels on the Bus. She loves all things pink, and has to have a bow before we leave the house. She has the BEST memory, which is a blessing and a curse. She loves her mommy and daddy and “her dog” Bella.

There is so much more I could say, but I will stop there for your benefit. We love our sweet Emma Kate, and can’t wait to see how her spunky personality develops more into a little girl.

 

My Hurricane Irma Story

A lot of people have been asking me questions regarding the hurricane, our last minute decision to evacuate, and our travel there and back, so I decided to do a blog post recapping the whole ordeal, here we go!

Some of you may remember that Bobby and I were supposed to go on a Carnival cruise leaving out of Miami on Saturday, September 9th. Because of this, I had been watching the tropics extra close, and Irma was making me nervous the closer she got. At first we thought she would turn north and be long gone before our cruise, but then she started going more and more west, and I started getting bummed thinking about our cruise being cancelled.

Soon enough, my sadness turned to fear as I realized the storm was coming even MORE west, right to the east coast of Florida. We had come to terms with the fact that our vacation wasn’t going to happen, and switched gears to “OK so what the heck do we do here at the house?”

Keep in mind I grew up in a suburb of New Orleans and lived in Biloxi as an adult, so I have been through many hurricanes, sometimes we evacuated, sometimes we didn’t. At this point, we had planned to stay. They were saying at worst Irma was going to be a cat 3, and at that point she was still going to the eastern side of Florida. The storm was huge, so we knew we would still get bad wind and rain, but it would be manageable.

All day Friday I watched each new update like a crazy person. I had four newscasters I was following along with via Facebook live, and I was soaking up every bit of information I could. At this point, Bobby’s work had been cancelled as well as Emma Kate’s school, and my parents had evacuated up to our house. We were all set to stay. We had food, water, candles, and flashlights. But yet, with each new update, the storm was moving slightly further west. I could barely eat all day, I just didn’t know what we should do. We had no hurricane shutters or boards for our windows. Stay or go, stay or go….the traffic…ug. Ok we are staying.

That is until the 11:00 update on Friday night. My parents and Emma Kate were asleep, and I was in bed watching the newest model runs. They had moved the eye directly over my house, and said it would be a category four once it hit Tampa. My stomach did a back flip. Katrina was a 3 and that was awful for my hometown. I don’t know if I can do a four, especially with my two year old. At that point, my mama instincts kicked in. I went into the bonus room and told Bobby “I think we need to leave.”

We discussed the logistics for a few minutes, and then he agreed with me. If we lost power it would be miserably hot in the house, and EK would never sleep. Also, we only have one interior hallway downstairs and one bedroom downstairs and the storm was hitting us at night. Trying to explain to Emma Kate why we had to be still in a hall for several hours would be difficult and she would be terrified. We had lived in Atlanta for a few years when I was a child so we had plenty of friends to stay with that had already invited us into their home so that wasn’t a problem. Now it came down to getting all our patio furniture inside, securing the house, and loading up two cars, five people, and a dog as quickly as possible. We thought about leaving the next day but figured traffic would be slowest in the middle of the night.

I went downstairs and woke up my parents telling them the latest news. They jumped out of bed and we all sprang into action. Throwing things into suitcases, dragging in furniture from outside, loading up food, water, and dog food, trying to remember all the things we needed to do and bring. At the end of it all my kitchen table was against the front door and our grill was in my dining room.

We waited to wake up Emma Kate until right before we left, then I had to

pack up all the stuff in her room. It is really a very surreal feeling looking around your house, trying to figure out what to take with you that will fit in your car, knowing this may be the last time you step foot in your house. It really truly put things into perspective in terms of what we “need” in our house. Most of it is just stuff, and I didn’t feel compelled to try and pack it. My brain was going a mile a minute and I didn’t even think to bring photo albums or baby books or things of that nature.

By 12:30, the house was secure and we were rolling out o

 

f the neighborhood loaded down in two cars. I took the lead, and it was smooth sailing…until we got to the interstate. It was pretty bumper to bumper which was crazy to be because it was almost 1:00! We had downloaded the gas buddy app and it was such a life saver. We stopped in Gainesville for gas, and thankfully they had a good operation going where they were directing traffic and putting you in lines depending on what side of your car your gas tank was on. We only had to wait about 10 minutes, and Emma Kate and I went next door to Walgreens to use the bathroom. Bobby sent me over with a night stick of course. It was a bit of a sketchy area but he had to stay in line with the car so off we went.

By 5:00, we were getting pretty hungry, so we stopped at

a McDonalds (the only thing open) somewhere in Georgia…along with all the other evacuees. I grabbed a coffee since I was doing most of the driving (Bobby’s driving terrifies me) and we were on the road again. The last 3 hours felt like FOREVER getting up to Atlanta. We got stuck in several dead stand still traffic areas due to wrecks and slowdowns.

Emma Kate was watching YouTube Kids on my phone, and said her belly hurt. I didn’t think much of it because she says that sometimes and it’s usually nothing, but then it happened….she threw up all over herself and her car seat. In the middle of a traffic jam. She got super upset and wanted to change but there was nowhere for us to go, we were gridlocked. I tried to clean her up and calm her down the best I could until we could get off the interstate at this little country gas station that actually had super clean bathrooms! We changed her clothes, all took a little breather, and got back on the road.

We were actually staying north east of Atlanta, so it took us awhile to get around to where we needed to go. We arrived around 11:00 after 10.5 hours of driving, and were all exhausted. One thing we had not thought about was the weather, IT WAS COLD! We were all in shorts and t-shirts. We unloaded the cars, and at that point I have no idea how I was still standing. I had been awake for 29 hours and drove most of the way. Since my parents had slept about two hours before I woke them up to leave the night before, they graciously agreed to watch EK so we could nap. I was only weirdly able to sleep about 50 minutes, but Bobby got in a solid 3-4 hours which was good.

Our friends were amazing hosts, and fed us so well. We hung out in the backyard, took Emma Kate on the gator over to the playground at the preschool I attended as a child (the people we were staying with own it) ate dinner outside and just enjoyed being safe, and also enjoyed the wonderful weather. (We cannot sit outside and eat in Tampa, we would melt!) Emma Kate slept on the floor of my parents room on a cot and Bobby and I had the sofas in the living room. I think at that point I could have slept on a rock and not moved all night.

Of course the next day (Sunday) we closely watched the weather, but also knew we had to get out of the house. After an amazing breakfast, we took her to a local park, and it was so cold! Bobby and I walked around a beautiful trail and Emma Kate and my parents played on the playground.

When we got back to the house, my mom and I went to Kohl’s and got Emma Kate some pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a jacket. We also learned Sunday afternoon that they were not expecting the hurricane to be a 4 when it reached Tampa, thank the Lord!

Our next door neighbor staying behind and gave us updates Sunday night and we were happy to hear Monday morning that the house was fine, and also that we still had power! There had been a small issue with some looters in the area which was my next concern but thankfully all was OK. It rained all day Monday and the wind got pretty bad. We were staying in a more county town with lots of pine trees, so believe it or not, we lost power Monday afternoon!

Thankfully they had a generator so we were able to have light, watch TV, and keep the food cold. We grilled hot dogs in the storm, and since it was so cool outside, it wasn’t miserable at all to sleep in.

We decided to leave Tuesday, and looking back that was a BAD idea. I really had no idea just how bad traffic would be. I relied on Google Maps, and it had us taking back roads for the first couple hours before putting us back on the interstate. It was pure misery–bumper to bumper stop and go literally the the whole drive home. My biggest fear was finding gas. Thankfully my dad has bought two 5 gallon containers and filled them up the day before, but even still that wouldn’t be enough to get us home.

We were able to wait in line in Tifton and find gas, but it was a pretty stressful situation. We were all tired, Emma Kate was bored, tempers were flaring, and we were all ready to get out of the car. At one point we stopped at a rest stop and all they had available were port-o-potties and there were people everywhere. The whole thing was just a huge mess. It ended up taking us 14.5 hours to get home. We left Atlanta around 9:00 AM and got home at almost midnight. The drive would normally take about 6.5 hours I think.

We were SO blessed and thankful to have no damage, water, etc. I know some were not that lucky. But I will say, it’s going to take a LOT to make me evacuate again after the mess we had to go through to get there and back. Please continue to pray as some still don’t have power, and have lost everything. Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers as we were going through all of this. It means a lot!

 

A Fun Filled Fall

Hey guys! I feel like it’s been awhile since I’m done a post just kind of updating things going on in my world, and what i have coming up. I know I share bits and pieces on social media and especially on Instagram Stories, but I haven’t written out what’s going on in awhile so here goes!

We have quite the busy fall planned, and I realized the other day we aren’t going to be home on the weekend from Labor Day through Columbus Day! So what will we be up to?

Labor Day weekend: Disney invited me and my family to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on Friday night. We decided to make a weekend out of it and are staying two night at Saratoga Springs with my parents for a fun little getaway. Emma Kate and my dad have never been to the party, so I can’t wait to show them everything.

fall

The two weekends after that: Bobby and I leave for our cruise with Carnival on September 9th. I am stoked to have this opportunity and can’t wait to visit some new to me ports and explore the beautiful Carnival Vista.

The weekend of the 23/24th of September is Emma Kate’s third birthday (CRAZY TALK!) and we are spending one night in Disney to celebrate as a family. We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside and have a character dinner. I’m not ashamed to say we are taking advantage of her being free one last time!

The last weekend in September I will be traveling to Rhode Island to run the Ocean Road 10k as part of the Cabot Fit Team. I’m so honored and pumped to be in some cooler weather for the weekend and run a 10k. It’s been awhile on both accounts!

Then Columbus Day weekend Bobby and I will be guests of both Medieval Times and the Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs. We can’t wait to dive into Disney’s Food and Wine Festival which Bobby hasn’t been to in four years. (We may or may not have a three year old tag along, we aren’t sure yet.)

WHEW!

Not to mention, my e-course, Social Side Hustle, will launch right after we get back from the cruise.

It will be hectic, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I absolutely love to travel, and now that Emma Kate is getting a little older I am hoping to do it even more. I love that I live in an area where we can take weekend trips to fun places and not go far (although I love the far away places, too!) I am so grateful for the opportunities I have gotten and can’t wait to bring you along for the ride. be sure you are following me on Instagram, because that is where I will post the most and also on Instagram Stories. Here we go!

QOTD: Are you traveling anywhere this fall? Any races or vacations? 

Tea Parties and Disney Junior

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This post is sponsored by Disney Junior, however all opinions are my own.

I’ll admit it – I am obsessed with Disney princesses. When I found out I was having a daughter, I couldn’t wait until she was old enough to enjoy all things girly and princess with me. Now that she is almost three, we are having a blast watching princess shows like Elena of Avalor and Sofia the First. I love sharing these experiences with my daughter, and love that she loves the same things I did as a little girl.

One thing we enjoy doing together is watching her favorite Disney Junior shows. One day recently when we were watching, a lightbulb went off and I thought of something really fun that we could do together. I decided she was now old enough for us to have a proper princess tea party, so we did just that the other day, and had a blast! She loved dressing up in her princess dress and serving me tea.

We talked about her favorite princesses, sang songs, and discussed her favorite shows. She is a big Sofia fan, so no surprise that one made the top five list! Her daddy even showed up and asked for a cup of tea as well.

Did you know that Disney Junior has all new episodes of shows like Elena of Avalor every FriYaY morning on the Disney channel? In the morning (usually 6-10am), Disney Junior shows will air on the Disney Channel first. Check out the schedule for the rest of the summer:

FRiYAY, 8/11 – All-new Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey and the Roadster Racers  and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 8/18 – All-new Sofia The First @ 9am followed by an all-new Elena of Avalor

 

I think on Friday we will have to watch her favorite shows together, while enjoying a nice hot cup of “tea”. I’ll even do the dishes afterwards.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior.

 

Back to School with Kohl’s


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I received the included Carter’s clothes as compensation.

Believe it or not, back to school time is upon us. This means new school supplies, new teachers, new memories, and new clothes. Emma Kate is currently growing like a weed, so the clothes she wore last year are getting too small (and are also getting very worn out, she plays hard!) so it was time for some back to school shopping.

Kohl’s has an amazing Carter’s collection at great prices. I couldn’t believe the amount of things I was able to get for Emma Kate for under $200,  two pair of shoes included! Not to mention, between 8/4-8/20, there is a 40-50% off sale on Carter’s playwear.

As Emma Kate has gotten older, she has also gotten more opinionated. Gone are the days of me dressing her in whatever I want, she wants some say in her outfits! With my help, we chose some fun things for back to school. I think you will see a trend here of graphic tees, tunics, and pink. I love the current styles and that I have a trendy kid. I asked her to pick out her three favorite outfits for a photoshoot to showcase the line of back to school clothes at Kohl’s, and this is what we got.

Since it’s warm most of the year in Florida, I did a lot of short sleeve tops, with just a few pants. I love how light and airy this palm tree top is, and the stretchy pink shorts are perfect for mobility in play.

Next we went with something a little more dressed up which would be an adorable first day of school outfit. I love these long tunics in more neutral colors. You can pair any color or pattern of pants or leggings with them to make even more outfits.

When it gets cool we can even put a long sleeve shirt underneath and still wear the tunic. I love versatile clothes!

This little girl loves a fun skirt or dress, so I was excited to find these pants with an attached skirt and an adorable “Daddy’s Girl” shirt that went with it. I chose these grey shoes because again, she can pair them with any color outfit!

In addition to these three outfits, I was able to get so much more. I couldn’t believe I was able to get an entire wardrobe and shoes for so little!

Don’t forget, you can shop Carter’s at Kohl’s August 4th-20th and get 40-50% off their playwear selection. Also, you can get $10 off $50 spent  – Sales Dates are: 8/4 – 8/20 (Promo code: BTS10) Happy shopping!

QOTD: Do you love or loathe back to school shopping?

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those 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 Kohl’s.

5 Things Friday XXVIII

Happy Friday! It’s very happy for me indeed because I am in Orlando at Hilton Bonnet Creek at BlogHer! (well I guess that is actually #1 on my 5 things Friday list!) I am having a blast here with SO MANY BLOGGERS. It’s a little overwhelming but also fun. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HeathersLG for updates and Instagram stories.

2.) This Thursday I will be at the Port of Tampa for a press event with Carnival Cruise Lines as they have a special bon voyage celebration to mark a special occasion: the Carnival Paradise will be sailing to Havana, Cuba! They will also be creating the largest Cuban sandwich at sea. Here is a flashback to when I was on the Carnival Liberty with the largest cheeseburger at sea!

3.) The following day, the 30th, I will be a part of the blogger caravan for social media day Tampa! I’m so excited! We will be driving around town in VW beetles before the main event that night. More on this in a post next week so stay tuned!

4.) My mom and dad finally moved down here and are in their rental house while their new home is being built. It’s so weird having them “local” (well, 45 minutes away), but it’s great having their help so I am able to do some of these events/more often. We have never had my parents local (I haven’t lived near them since high school!) so this has been nice so far!

5.) We are in the middle of potty training with Emma Kate, and she is doing great! We aren’t “there” yet as we have to remind her a lot, but it’s nice to make progress. We want to be able to take her on a Disney cruise but you can’t go in the pool with swim diapers so it has spurred me on to get things moving. If you have any great tips (especially for getting her to do #2) let me hear em!

That’s it for this week! be sure to tune in to all the BlogHer17 fun buy following along with the #BlogHer17 hashtag.

QOTD: Have you sailed with Carnival before? What is your favorite ship? Any potty training tips? 

KidsPark: Easy, Fun Childcare

When we moved to Tampa at the end of last year, I knew one of the things we were going to miss most was being close to family. Not only did we enjoy hanging out with them on a regular basis, but we really loved the option for babysitters, and never had to have a stranger watch our two year old!

Not only does Tampa offer a wide range of fun activities I wanted to attend, but as a blogger I get invited to special events and dinner etc., too. Not knowing anyone made it difficult to find a baby sitter, so when I saw an ad in a local paper for KidsPark, I knew I needed to investigate.

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The website is very informative, and I found out that KidsPark is actually a pay by the hour daycare franchise with many locations throughout the country. I was super excited as my babysitting problem was solved! Not only that, but Emma Kate would get to play in a new environment and have fun interacting with other kids all at a very low hourly rate, while mom and dad go to have fun of our own. Lucky for us, the nearest location is less than ten minutes from our house. The best part is there are NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED! You simply show up, check your child in, and leave. Some people drop their kids off for an hour or two so they can go get groceries or go to the doctor, and some leave them for a full day of fun. It’s up to you!

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When you arrive, you register and pay a small registration fee, and then are charged by the hour for your child’s time at KidsPark. At the end of the day the price per hour is WAY less than I would have to pay an in home sitter, plus my child is getting to be in a new fun place with new friends, which I prefer.

There are cubbies at the front for your child’s belongings and shoes. Children are required to take their shoes off, but must wear socks, so don’t forget them!

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Another thing that I love is there are meals and snacks at KidsPark. Meals at our location are $4.00, or you can bring your own meal from home (we have done both, it just depends on the menu and home much time I have as to what we do). Snacks are at no additional charge. Wondering about ages and activities? Kids can start going to KidsPark at age two through age eleven at our location. The “big kids” also have a special play area so they aren’t constantly on top of the little kids, so no worries there!

They even help assist with potty training. Emma Kate wears a special color sticker on her name tag so they know to remind her about the potty. Awesome! Sometimes Emma Kate comes home with a craft or picture that she drew, so it’s nice to know they are doing different activities with the kids. They also have different themed days and weeks depending on time of year, holidays, etc.

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As you can see from this happy face, Emma Kate has never been upset when we leave her! There is so much to do, and so many new friends to make! Another favorite thing about KidsPark is that it is open on a lot of holidays when regular schools are closed. There have been times when EK’s daycare was closed that we brought her to KidsPark because I needed to get work done. They are also open late into the night for those date nights for mom and dad (midnight on Friday and Saturday!)

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Another option we have not taken advantage of is that KidsPark operates as a preschool during the day. It’s a traditional preschool with a modern twist, so think music, drama, art, math and science for your little ones. You can even start a young child at one day a week and move up to five days.

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Emma Kate LOVES the little house and kitchen area!

KidsPark is even open for private parties on Sunday mornings and evenings when the center is closed to the public. You get a hostess to help with your party so you can enjoy instead of clean up, lead games, etc.

Don’t forget KidsPark is licensed and all the teachers have early childhood backgrounds and pass background checks. They are great at making your child feel comfortable and they always remember Emma Kate’s name, even after she had only attended a couple of times (they know her as the girl with the big bows, of course!) KidsPark’s mission is simple: Happy kids, happy parents, and in our family, they have succeeded!

Click here to see if there is a KidsPark location near you!

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

runDisney Kids races: Star Wars

When I realized our family Disney World trip lined up with the runDisney Star Wars half marathon weekend, I couldn’t believe all the stars were aligning for not only Bobby and I to run the half marathon, but for Emma Kate (2 years old) to participate in her very first kids races. I was pleasantly surprised that the registration price was very reasonable ($20!) and that each child got a medal (rubber) and a t-shirt. As a lover of the “I Did it” shirts, I couldn’t wait for my little mini me to have her very own.

The kids races were held on Friday and Saturday, but since Bobby wasn’t arriving until Friday night, we opted for the Saturday morning race. It actually all worked out nicely, as we were able to get to the expo right when it opened at 10:00, get all three of our bibs, and then walk over to the track at the Wide World of Sports and attend the kids races. Keep in mind strollers are NOT allowed in the expo, but are allowed on the grounds of WWOS, so we simply parked ours in a stroller parking area to get our bibs, then brought it down to the track with us for the races.

Of course Emma Kate had to get her picture with the kids race sign, and I wore her “future runDisney runner” shirt.

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After getting our bibs (you have to sign a race waiver for the kiddos, too) and getting our t-shirts, we headed out to the track around 10:45. I will be honest and say it seemed REALLY chaotic. Having never been to one before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured out that I was supposed to match the color of Emma Kate’s race bib with the flags at the starting line area, so we all walked over that way, to be told only one adult could actually “run” the race with the child. So Bobby and my parents headed to the side of the track behind a fence so they could see her run and hopefully squeeze in to the fence once it was time for her wave.

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It was hot outside and I wanted to get done quickly, but in hindsight I should have just chilled and waited for the last wave. We were basically put in a holding area all close together which made it even more hot. I can see how it could be overwhelming for some kids that don’t like a lot of people. There were plenty of volunteers and they all did a great job don’t get me wrong, but it was still chaotic, but I guess organized chaos would be a better word?

They would line up a handful of kids on the start line then put another group behind them, then after the first group went, the one behind would step forward, and the volunteers filled in the back with another line of kids. This part seemed very organized, but there wasn’t really a line so it was more of a free for all as to which parent pushed through the area first to get their kid to the start. We ended up somewhere towards the middle. Usually EK doesn’t let me hold her but I think all the people made her nervous so she was happy to be on my hip while we waited. She made some funny faces for me, and soon we were in the holding area for the next wave.

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I texted my family to let them know we were coming, and thankfully I was wearing pink and Emma Kate had on a huge pink bow so we were hard to miss. When we were standing behind the wave about to go, I told her to watch the boys and girls run and that was what we were going to do when the man said to go. She didn’t look too sure about it and I had NO idea how she would react.

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It was our turn, and our wave began. Emma Kate started running (sort of) and looking around all at the same time. 100 meters seems a long way when you are running with a two year old! Midway through we got a shout out from announcer Carisa who spotted EK’s big bow.

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About 75 meters in, Emma Kate realized she was tired and wanted me to hold her. About that time I saw Mickey, so I grabbed her and went over to him for a quick hug. Then because I just can’t help it, I put her down and made her walk across the finish line herself. #RunnerMom.

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We all cheered, and she got her medal, but was way more concerned about her banana oddly enough. We found my family and took some photos before grabbing the stroller and heading out. Did I mention it was really warm? (heh.)

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I had a lot of fun and loved sharing something that I do with my little girl. I feel like now that I know what to expect, the next time will be way less overwhelming for all of us.

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I love how runDisney kept everyone moving and then moved on to the next race. We got some free gogo squeeze pouches too which was nice since EK loves those things (they are a sponsor). Emma Kate wore her medal to the park, and looked adorable in her I did it shirt.

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When do we sign up again?

kids race

Here are a couple of videos from the race:


Then of course the video I shot while she was running. Please excuse my shrieking voice in the background. I was a little excited.

 

QOTD: Has your child ever done a kids race?