Toddler Tuesday Tech Edition V. 2

Once kids understand using the mouse and the keyboard, they learn everything else on a computer super fast. Happyclicks is a website that teaches kids to use these. Basically kids can start out by playing little games that just require them to click or touch the mouse. Each game will react with a motion or sound. The next step of games is for kids to play swipe games before moving on to a section of drag and drop. You'd think that clicking and moving at the same would be simple, but for kids who are still learning how to use their fingers- it's hard! Kids can advance from there to mazes and memory games to puzzles and coloring games.

Let me be clear. This site is not a pretty, state of the art, song and dance type site. It is bare bones. But I like it because of that. Not many sites are directly specifically to young toddlers, but this one is. RT still struggles with the difference between a computer and an iPad, so he sometimes tries to use the monitor as a touch screen. They do have an app called Maui Mini, but I like that RT is learning some computer skills by playing on the computer. It's nice to have a supply of mom tools in your toolbox for times when we need a distraction, have a rainy day, or just need some down time.

She Works Hard for the Mommy v. 6

I’m Caitlin; wife to Matt (a helicopter pilot in the Navy), mom to Grace (9), Anderson (7) and Lucy (4), and owner and instructor at FIT4MOM Norfolk.
Shortly after we moved to Norfolk 10 years ago, I had our daughter, Grace.  We had moved to a town where I knew a few friends, but we were starting in a new city in a new neighborhood with a new baby girl while I worked remotely from home.  So, when a friend asked if I wanted to try Stroller Strides, I thought it would be a good way to meet other moms in the area.  Looking back, it’s easy to see that it was one of the best decisions I made as a mom.  Not only was it a great workout (I was a distance runner until this point and never did any sort of strength training), but I quickly met some of my closest friends to this day and it has set a wonderful example of the importance of fitness (and friendship) for our kids.
Fast forward to a year and a half later and we had our second baby, Andy.  The Stroller Strides community was amazing!  They delivered meals and we were fed for months (literally!) and the support I felt was incredible.  I began teaching Stroller Strides classes when Andy was 4 months old and was empowered and strengthened by the other moms in the group.  I would leave each class feeling energized and happy (which is saying a lot when you have two kids under two with you!).

Then we moved to San Diego where we had our little Lucy, then to Maryland, and back to Norfolk.  When we moved back, I was ecstatic!  We were moving back to a city where I still had close friends and FIT4MOM was there to welcome me once again.  A friend planted a seed about the opportunity to lead this group of mamas and after some thought, I quickly decided to go for it.  That was 10 months ago and what a blast it’s been!

I honestly wake up every morning excited about the FIT4MOM village.  I LOVE my job!  I love that it’s a way I can combine my love for my family, friends, and fitness.  I love seeing other moms benefit from our classes the same way I have for the past 9 years.  I love being a part of the local community in this capacity.  I love that the kids create their own Stroller Strides and Body Back workouts at home and that they themselves love fitness too.
How do I balance being a mom and working?  It helps that I can teach with Lucy in the stroller or bring Andy to the park to play with friends while we have class over the summer or have Grace participate in Run Club.  I find myself doing the majority of the organizational work while Lucy’s napping and late at night when the kids are in bed.  It’s a lot of early mornings and late nights, but I truly feel rewarded and honored to be a part of this village when I see the sense of community it gives our moms.

My biggest challenge is balancing family time and FIT4MOM time.  I want to be present with my kids during the time I have with them.  I truly feel like I blinked and now have a 9 year old.  I don’t want to miss any of the time I have with these sweet (well, most of the time they’re sweet) kiddos.  I love what I do so I find it easy to pour myself into emails and teaching and organizing.  My goal is always to find time for a few date nights a month with Matt, one on one time (and family time) with the kids, and time where I can just focus on FIT4MOM.
My absolute favorite thing about this job is watching two moms connect in class and smiling to myself, hoping they are finding some of their greatest and most meaningful relationships in that moment.  I hope my kids find the same friendship and happiness I have through FIT4MOM and reap the rewards of physical activity – the same rewards I’ve enjoyed over the past 9 years!

Thanks Caitlin! Check out my posts on Fit4Baby, Stroller Strides, and Body Back 8 week transformation.  The first class is always free, let me know if you're interested in trying one!

If you're interested in being featured in She Works Hard for the Mommy, contact me! :) 

Toddler Tuesday Tech Edition v.1

It's March. It's cold. It's rainy. It's hard sometimes to get outside. So this month, every Tuesday I'll be sharing a website or app for Tech Tuesday that you can use with your toddler. I'm really excited for today's  post. This is a website that I use regularly in my classroom and it's awesome for home use too. It is totally FREE and awesome! So while this one isn't a fully educational website, it does have counting and songs to promote literacy. They also have science and social studies, health, and even a Spanish section. There are videos on enhancing focus, managing stress, and even building compassion. Most of the site though, just encourages to get up and MOVE. 
Kids or parents can pick either by the type of movement- balance, locomotor skills, coordination, fine motor, gross motor, cross lateral, and so on, or by the type of video. The videos include guided dance, yoga, stretches, workouts, brainercise and more. There is also a section called "indoor recess" that is a mega mix of it all! 
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If you head over to the channels section, you'll see Zumba Kids, KooKoo Kangaroo, Kids Bop, and MooseTube which are the favorites for us. In the video above the guys dancing singing Popsico is KooKoo Kangaroo, and this song will forever be a reminder of three (former) third grade boys who I love. I can see them doing the dance in my head whenever I hear it! This is great for little guys, even if they are at home in their living room and not in a classroom. Get ready, to get sweaty! 

Silver and Gold

If you're a girl scout, you've likely heard the saying "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, the other is gold",  and while I have made some amazing and awesome life long friends since college, there is something special about knowing someone for your whole life. They have seen all of the awkward and embarrassing parts of growing up. They know the boys you crushed on, you've shared your fears and dreams, and in my case, got into some trouble. My friend Jessica and I have been friends since we were six months old. We went to the same babysitter, and then the same preschool. My family moved and we went to different elementary schools, but stayed friends and went to the same summer camps. (We won't talk about the time her mom locked the keys out of the car with it running in one of the camp parking lots when it was hot as hell outside!) I even had my first sleepover at her house at three and cried in the middle of the night causing my mom to come get me.  Lucky for us, we were back together for middle and high school, attending our first Warped Tour together, so many sleepovers, random trips to the mall and Busch Gardens, and having my dad pretend to be her legal guardian when he got a call from us and a police officer, which we will blame on THIS boy below- who happens to be a regular blog reader!

We were lucky enough to see each other get married, and she has been part of RT's life since the very beginning. Now, we are lucky enough to be pregnant together, and I'm getting to see her become a mama. RT and I spent the weekend in Raleigh, at Jessica's baby shower surrounded by friends who are near and dear to my heart- even if we don't see each other often. (If you missed our posts on Raleigh, check out our reviews of their awesome children's museum, Pullen Park, and their science museum. We repeated most of these stops this trip because we loved them so much!)

There is something so special about getting to see one of your forever friends grow into a mama. I've gotten to do this twice now, once for each pregnancy. My friend Cayte I've known since I was two, and her son and RT are buddies now. Having so many awesome mamas friends, new and old, has made my journey so much easier and so much fun. These are girls who know my family, my soul, my hopes and dreams, and to see us all project that into motherhood is something really special. 

My new friends are ones that I love dearly too. I'm so glad to have both the silver AND the gold. In my world, the best is when my village mixes all together. 

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