Bay Oaks Park

For my first ever solo park trip with two kids we headed to the new Bay Oaks Park in Norfolk. This park has been a long time coming, with arguments between the city and the Bay Oaks Parks committee. The 11 acre park sits on Ocean View Ave adjacent to the new Bay Oaks neighborhood.
The park has two small parking lots, neither of which were full. The play structures are themed with a woodsy feel, with frogs, turtles, bears, squirrels, and raccoons. There are three main areas, a smaller structure for younger kids, a larger structure for bigger kids, and a swings section. There are baby swings, big kid swings, and even handicapped accessible swings. Around the perimeter of the park are several covered picnic shelters. Large trees give good amounts of shade, and new trees have been planted to give more in later years. Around the outside of the park is a walking trail with some exercise stations. My only complaint about the park is that benches for parents to sit on were few and far between. Everything was clean and in pristine condition. We love trying out different local parks and getting a ton of energy out. It makes for an excellent nap time for RT, which means a break for this mama!

YMCA Splash Pads

This month's Virginia Zoo swap is with the YMCA. Locally the YMCA has 22 locations and 3 camps. Each location is a little different, but your membership can get you into any of them. Here's the ones best for kids based on readers' reviews!
Taylor Bend YMCA: Indoor and outdoor pools with an outdoor splash park.

Mount Trashmore: This location has both indoor and outdoor pools, an outdoor splash park, an infant wading pool, and a sauna. There is a playground too.

Suffolk Family YMCA: Both indoor and outdoor pools, an outdoor splash park, and a sauna.

Princess Anne: An indoor pool plus an outdoor 50 meter lap pool. Indoor water track and a splash park. The indoor pool also has two slides.

Great Bridge/Hickory: Indoor pool with a slide. Outdoor pool with an infant wading pool, splash park, and slides.

Greenbrier: Indoor pool, outdoor pool with infant wading pool and splash park.

The following YMCA's have pools:
  • Albemarle
  • Blocker 
  • Currituck
  • Eastern Shore
  • Effingham (outdoor only)
  • Great Bridge
  • Greenbrier
  • Hilltop
  • Indian River
  • James L Camp
  • Mt. Trashmore
  • Outer Banks
  • Princess Anne
  • Suffolk
  • Taylor Bend
  • The Y on Granby (outdoor only) 

We were members of the YMCA when I was younger and I loved going with my dad every Sunday. I would hang in the Stay n Play while he worked out and once I got old enough, I would bring a friend and we would head to the pool. I like having the extra eyes of a lifeguard and the splash pads and wading pools that are springing up are great for little kids. We plan to use this swap to get in several more pool days before summer ends.

Hospital Bag Check List

I have seen lots of posts about what to bring to the hospital, but it seems like some people are packing to move into the hospital. With RT we spent two nights in the hospital once he was born, and with little R we only spent one. The less you pack, the less you'll have to bring home. The hospital is going to send you home with a ton of stuff, so you really don't need much. The first time I took way too much stuff, so this time I cut out a lot. Here's what I brought. (Another tip: keep the stuff in the car until you've actually been admitted. We had to carry everything in and then back out with RT.)
  • A robe/beach cover up - I did a LOT of walking to try and dilate faster with both boys. I have one that zips up the front so it's perfect for both before and after baby. 
  • Chapstick- because all that panting dries out your lips.
  • Snacks for when you're up at 3 am and don't want to leave the room. Throw a granola bar or two in your bag. 
  • Breast pump- So with RT I didn't bring my pump with me and the lactation consultant asked me for it so she could show me how to use it. I brought it with me this time, but we never used it. 
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  • Toiletries - Nothing in the world feels better than a shower when you're gross. Some people bring their own soap and shampoo, but the hospital will provide it.  If you're picky- bring yours. Do bring your own toothpaste. I include flip flops in this to shower with and some good hair ties.
  • Big clothes - I think that people think that once you pop out that baby your body goes back to normal. Unfortunately, you'll still have a belly when you head out from the hospital. Packing maternity or bigger clothes will help make sure that you are comfortable heading home. Plus for me, that's all I've got that isn't in storage! 
  • Picture ID, money, cash for vending machine if you need it (our hospital had a snack room with some items and sodas), and an extra bag to carry home all the things the hospital gives you. 
  • Phone charger, phone charger, phone charger. The longest one you've got. 
For baby: 
  • Four onesies, including one for going home. He only wore the going home one. We should have left more at home. 
  • Small mittens to keep from him from scratching. 
Things to leave at home: 
  • Diapers, wipes, pacifiers, formula - the hospital will provide what you need. 
  • I have seen so many lists that include things like candles, massage oil, and bath items. I know that for some, this helps them, but I know I didn't have the time to use anything like this. Plus, I would think that unless you are in a birthing center, your doctor is going to want the lights all the way on so that they can see what's going on. 
  • Hats and blankets,;the hospital gave us both. 
  • Anything valuable. You never know y'all.

We left the hospital with diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets, a paci, a hat, sanitizing wipes, belly binding wrap, pads for me, squirt bottle, tucks pads, extra cold packs, and mesh underwear, the nose snot sucker bulb(has a better name but I can't remember it) and probably more. Remember that if it is your room, you're pretty much getting charged for it- so take it with you!  

Wegmens Food Market in the Children's Museum

With the opening of the new Virginia Beach Wegmens store comes the opening of the new Wegmens Market inside the Virginia Children's Museum. Wegmens came in to revamp the supermarket that was already in place.

The market mirrors an actual Wegmens. It has a juice bar, working checkout lanes, and coffee stations. There were lots of veggies to sort and name, a bakery to pick up a pie or two, and a little cafe table to eat it all up. Our favorite thing about this new set up was that it included meat free alternatives!
For tips on coming to The Children's Museum, check out our post here.

Healthyville: The Children's Museum

The latest traveling exhibit to come to the Virginia Children's Museum is Healthyville, a bilingual (Spanish/English) exhibit that teaches children and adults how to take care of their bodies. This exhibit, here until September 2nd, focuses on what to put in your body, how to keep it clean, and what exercising does to help it. It also highlights the different doctors that we should be going to regularly to help take care of our bodies.
The focus is for ages 5-12, but there is a good amount of sorting and physical play that kids of younger ages will enjoy. If you're looking for a good summertime reminder of why we should all add a few veggies to our plate, stop by and check it out. For tips on coming to the Children's Museum, check out our post here.
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