Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live

This weekend for the first time, I attended an event with monster trucks. I guess this was just one of those things in the world for me that I never felt like I needed to see and didn't understand the appeal, but after watching RT's face while a fire breathing metal T-Rex ate and ripped apart a car, okay... it's kinda cool!

So monster trucks are loud.... like, really loud. Like, feel it in your seat when they are right in front of you loud, but the kids around us were all wearing the noise canceling headphones, and most of the adults had ear plugs. I just wore the regular "my husband is snoring I can't sleep" ear plugs and I was fine. Also, I didn't see any kids around us that seemed to be scared or crying because of the noise. 
The show that we went to started at 7:30, a little bit late for a toddler, but actually RT wasn't phased by the time at all. Scope has apparently redone their seats where we were sitting, which was a welcome change. The MC did a good job of walking around the crowd and having people participate, and I thought that the tickets were reasonably priced. They said "see you next year", so I'd imagine the tour comes around annually. We would go again!

Lava MiniFest

Sometimes kids are welcome at non-kid places, which was the case Saturday night at Lava MiniFest. An outdoor music mini festival held at Toast, bands played on alternating stages while kids ran around, danced, and jumped about. A big highlight for RT... you can see the train tracks from Toast, which meant that every time one came by he could run over to watch it.
From a parent perspective, the music wasn't too loud; there were nachos, which my kid would eat; and the atmosphere was super laid back. I'll admit, though, we didn't stay for the whole night, and it seemed like most of the parents were packing up to head home around bedtime. (Seriously, this is fine. I'm exhausted by 9:00!) There was an indoor craft market to browse and moon shine drinks from Belle Isle Moonshine.
All kids under 12 are free, and adult tickets can be bought in mega advance for only $5.00. As the event gets closer, they go up to $10.00, then $15.00 the day of. We love supporting local and close by acts, like our friend Landon, whose band Landon Elliott and the Goods played. We also love supporting our friend Josh who actually created Lava and has done an awesome job with it! Check out Landon's music below and check out some upcoming shows. I'd recommend checking out one at Toast where you can bring the kids, sit outside, and enjoy this weather, good food, and live music.

Katie's Kickers

I have been swimming for as long as I can remember. Besides growing up with a pool in my backyard, I was on swim teams, and then I lifeguarded through high school and college. Water safety is no joke, and according to the latest statistics, in 2018 more than 148 children under the age of 15 drowned. So, as summer approaches, (teacher friends- we have about 50 school days left, not that anyone is counting!), I knew I wanted to get RT into some swim lessons. I turned to the most powerful mom tool I have - my friends, to find the best place to take him and was given information on Katie's Kickers.
Katie is committed to helping reduce the number of drownings each year. She has a masters degree in education and has been teaching swim lessons for 25 years, 19 of them at a year round swim school. She is certified in Red Cross Water Safety, Swim America, Australian Swim School, and Infant Safety Rescue. She has also coached USS Club and YMCA swim teams. She has several employees who work for her during the summer months, who are all certified, trained, and experienced. While it's cold, she holds classes indoors, but during the summer she hosts lessons at her outdoor, saltwater, heated pool. Katie also remembers each child by name and somehow remembers specific songs each one likes (hello wheels on the bus for the millionth time a day), and which sticker sets they will want when they finish.

Time to be honest. RT isn't always thrilled about his lessons. It's weird. When I ask him if he wants to swim, he tells me yes! But then when we get there, he is scared and doesn't want to go in. He cries, but does everything that Katie asks him to do. Katie is good at reassuring him, but still telling him that he has to do what is being asked. He says he wants to get out, but once we get home, he tells us how much fun he had. I hope he likes it, but I know he sleeps great that night, and he is progressing. It's awesome to see all of his progress.
If you want to get information on the lessons, Katie's email is I've been amazed to see reviews and testimonials from friends, and it seems like every time I am going or coming to the pool, there are more mamas that I know. If you're interested, I would jump on it before the summer. For some reason, people have this lax attitude about water safety. They complain about the cost and time associated with swim lessons. But, as harsh as it sounds, they cost less than a funeral, and the time spent is so worth it. I'm really glad that we started the lessons and I can't wait to see him use what he has learned in action this summer!
One good thing about swim lessons at the indoor pool is if you have them later at night, just shower them and get them ready for bed there! We honestly didn't plan this, but how cute are these bubbas in their matching pjs?! 

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! 
Image result for go noodle
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.