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.

One Month

This past month has been a whirlwind. I thought that becoming a mom of two would be double the work, but it's more like quadruple the work. It seems like everyone always needs to eat or poop at the same time. RT is smack in the middle of swim lessons and soccer and being shuffled here and there, which has become infinitely harder with a newborn. Ex: on Tuesday rain was falling from the sky in ways that I can only imagine angry giants dumping buckets of water down below. Cue me trying to wrangle a toddler out of the car while holding a diaper bag, soccer stuff, and the baby in the carrier. Thank God another mama saw me struggling and came to save me with an umbrella, because there are just not enough hands!
Even with the struggle, watching RT become a big brother has been amazing. He tells me almost every hour how much he loves his brother. He shows him off to other people and asks to hold him constantly. When I feed Baby Ronnie, Raleigh wants to hold the bottle. When I change him, he climbs up on the table and watches. (He doesn't volunteer to help with that one.) We read books together and snuggle together and laugh together. It's been awesome watching him.
I've already talked about our living situation here, and we are currently still in the thick of it. We did get out of the contract with the first house and have closed on a different house. However, the house needs a good amount of work, including gutting a kitchen and two bathrooms so we are still living at Bubbie's house. In the end, I'm thanking the universe though because my mom has been an invaluable help with the baby. Neil and I have been painting and working on the house to get the things done that we can do. We have started moving over a few things little by little and hope we can in to the rooms as we finish them.
It's hard to believe I've been a mom of two for a whole month. Summer always has a way of making time stand still and feel easy breezy, but I'm watching the dates fly by and worrying about heading back to school. I remember going back to school after having RT. I was nervous and sad but I had thirteen weeks because of the way maternity leave and summer break fell. I missed my baby, but was happy to be around some adults. This time I don't get a true maternity leave. The six weeks I would have are taken up by the summer. I go back to work in just a few short weeks and little Ronnie seems so small and our time seems so short. I'm just trying to soak in the snuggles and the sun while I still can.

Bug Bite Thing: Review

Product c/o Bug Bite Thing
Summer means no school, pool parties, cookouts, and.... mosquitoes. My childhood can be measured in summers with legs and arms covered in their red, itchy bites. I've got the spray. I've got the candles. I've got the oils. You know what else I've still got? The bites. I seemed to have passed this genetic trait on to RT, lucky for him.

So when I stumbled upon this Bug Bite Thing, I decided it was obviously a bunch of nonsense. The idea is that the tube sucks up insect venom and saliva which is what causes your skin to itch. Unlike other products it does NOT stop you from getting bit, but it does get rid of the itch once you have been bit. Because of this it is reusable forever and claims to work on mosquitoes, bees, wasps, flies, chiggers, sea lice, no-see-ums, and any other insect whose bit makes you itch.
Okay, Okay.... I decided I would... bite. (heh heh heh). The company offers a 100% guarantee, so there really isn't much to lose. The idea is that when you get a bite you put the suction tube on and suck it out. It's super easy... but it does leave what looks like a hickey! After trying it, I'll say that it does reduce the itching enough that I don't want to scratch my skin off my body. Because the bite is still there it still does scab over, and depending on how long the bite has been under your skin you may need to use it multiple times. People online claim that it works better on stings that bites and that you can see the venom coming out, but luckily I haven't had to test that out. RT isn't afraid of it, and doesn't mind me doing it on him. He even laughs because he likes the sound it makes. Like I said, it doesn't prevent the bite from happening, but it does seem to reduce the itching some. If I was a camping mama, I'd be sure to keep one of these in my bags. I love finding stuff that other mamas can use, so I'm passing this info along! Check it out if like us you can't seem to fight off the bugs!

Tunes for Tots

Every day is a good day to be at Botanical Gardens, but they have added another reason to be there on Tuesdays with their Tunes of Tots sessions. From 10-12 you can now join in a jam session in the WOW Children's Garden. Once you're in the garden, head behind the bathrooms and toward the hill. You'll come across a little shaded area where musical instruments have been set out. This isn't a formal class; come and go as you please, but be aware that it does start with a musical parade through the garden.
One of the things that we love about Botanical Gardens is that there is so much to do, and this addition just adds one more thing. If you need more ideas, check out our post on the Sand Pit, the Little Houses, the Butterfly House, the airplane overlook,  and of course, explore the WOW Garden. Of course, sometimes a good roll down the hill (or 30) makes all the difference too!

Michaels: Camp Creativity

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays kids ages 3 and up can now participate in Camp Creativity at Michaels stores across Tidewater. Each thirty minute session is only three dollars and follows a theme with a different craft each day.
Check them out before summer ends:

  • July 15, 17, 19- Word Explorers
  • July 22, 24, 26- Sea Treasures 
Although they say to pre-register online, we had no problems getting in. The sessions technically run from 10-12 but ours was a "come and go" type thing. If your child is independent enough, you can drop them off to do a craft while you walk around the store or you can stay and work with them. Good to know for mamas with little ones- Michaels does have a changing table located inside of the women's bathroom in the handicapped stall. Now if someone could just answer for me, why it seems like everyone always has to go at once?!

By the way, did you know that Michaels does birthday parties for kids 4 and up? They are $120 (ten more for each addition guest) and includes invitations, thank you notes, craft supplies, a drawstring bag for the birthday kid, and the use of their classroom and one team member. They have different themes including unicorns, llamas, emojis, slime, under the sea, robots, monsters, and more. 

Babywearing of Hampton Roads

If you've been following this blog for a while, it's likely that you've seen pictures of this lovely mama Cayte and her two sons who are part of our tribe. (coincidentally she was featured in the most recent She Works Hard for the Mommy!
She and I have known each other since I was two. We had our first babies at the same time, and her second son is 9 months older than mine. She and I have been able pass things back and forth and have gone through all of the mom stuff together. It's indirectly thanks to her that I found myself at a babywearing meeting this past weekend. With RT I had a carrier, but didn't love it for the infant stage. Cayte came over and gave me her wrap which lead to a series of "what the heck. Do it again?!" texts while standing in the Tides stadium later that night. Honestly... these wraps can be confusing as hell. There are a million different kinds of wraps and carriers and they are all different. 

The mission of Babywearing of Hampton Roads is to promote babywearing as a universally accepted practice, with benefits for both child and caregiver, through education and support. They host monthly meetings and meet ups where they teach any attendees how to use the different kinds of wraps and have a lending program for members. Membership is $30.00 a year and you can use a different carrier each month. I love that this is a resource in our area for moms. If you're looking for some help or education, this group could be for you. They could also be for you if you're looking for some babywearing mom friends in the area. The meetings are free, and you can find their schedule on their facebook here. They move around to different locations around Hampton Roads.
I know that babywearing is seen as a "crunchy mom" thing. I went to the meeting not for the bonding or the benefits but the practicality. Having a toddler and a newborn makes things a little more complicated. I need to be able to have my hands free to chase RT, pick up toys, or hold dripping ice cream cones. But I would be lying if I didn't admit that having a little newborn snuggled up on me makes me feel great too.

She Works Hard for the Mommy V. 8

Hi everyone! My name is Cayte and you may have seen me around this space a time or two. I’m the queen of my all boy household – mom to Harrison (3), William (10mo) and Stryker, our yellow lab (6.5).  My husband, DJ, is a retired baseball player turned Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Deputy that is currently going through the academy.  If you are a long-time follower of TAT, you may know that Allena and I grew up on the same court our entire life! It has been nothing short of amazing raising our boys together in the exact same neighborhood. 
Other than being a full time mom, I am also a full time employee at Norfolk Collegiate.  As the Alumni and Community Relations Manager, it is my responsibility to continue the outreach to our alumni through events as well as engage our community at gatherings throughout the year.  There is that little piece about asking for money, but that comes naturally if you engage the people in a way that makes the WANT to give! 
After graduating from Norfolk Collegiate, I went on to college at James Madison University and after working another job for one contracted year, I fell into my job at Norfolk Collegiate.  I’m getting ready to start my 7th school year and couldn’t be more excited to get going.  Some may think that the summer time is boring and slow at a school, and yes, that sometimes can be true.  However this is the time when everything gets planned for the upcoming year.  After having been out for the beginning of the year last year on maternity leave, I am so excited to get things planned for the fall semester at the school. What I love most about working at Collegiate is the fact that they are very family-focused.  Not just making family a priority for employees, but that we pride ourselves on providing that “family” feeling to all of our parents, students and alumni.
Let me be 100% honest with you right now.  Sometimes, when I go into work after dropping the kids off wherever they are going for the day, it’s a nice time for me to relax and focus on something other than taking care of the kids. Having kids is HARD! As parents, we are their SOLE providers.  And let's be real, I swear the word “daddy” is not in my child’s vocabulary when it comes to something he wants.  Having a full time job means weekends are that much sweeter, evenings are that much longer and middle of the night wake ups are that much more tiring!

Thanks Cayte! Want to write a She Works Hard for the Mommy? Send me an email! 

Friday Nights in Ocean View

Norfolk's Ocean View hosts weekly free events every Friday night during the summer. They range from live music, fireworks, themed parties, to movie nights. As a kid my family used to go down to the beach from time to time to enjoy the music, and we took RT for the first time for the fourth of July celebration. There's food and drinks for sale, people walking around, booths with some local vendors, and a cool ocean breeze in the air. Events run from 6:00-9:30. Ocean View Beach park is 6.4 acre beach park with a grassy area and a stage. Parking is available across the street and around the neighborhood.
Check out the list of events:

  • Friday, July 12th Beach Party: seafood, craft beer, children's activities and live beach music
  • Friday, July 19th Taste of VA: craft beer, wine, spirits, food samplings and performer Jesse Chong
  • Friday, July 26th Family Fun Movie Night: Kids' games, art, activities, and showing of the Little Mermaid in celebration with its 20th anniversary 
  • Friday, August 2nd, Backyard BBQ: Country and Rock music by River Boyz with BBQ, craft beer, and children's activities. 
  • Friday, August 9th Salsa Dance Party: Latin Music by Tumbao Salsero Orchestra, Latin inspired food, beer, and children's activities. 
  • Friday August 16th, Family Fun Movie Night: Movie TBD, kids' games, art,  and activities
  • Friday, August 23rd, Beach Party: Live music from Bill Deal's Original Rhondels, seafood, craft beer, and children's activities
If this isn't enough music on the beach for you, check out Big Bands on the Bay on Sundays in OV. 

Jurassic Journey: Town Center

Virginia Beach's Town Center has been invaded by dinosaurs! The two-week prehistoric visitors are located all around the outside for a self-guided tour. Similar to the Lego Roadshow, start by grabbing a map at the Dig Tent located at the plaza fountain. While there, dig for fossils, color, or make a dinosaur rubbing. Hit all of the dinosaurs and be sure to read the facts. You'll use these to answer questions on your map. Once you have these filled out, you can trade them in for a "dino-mite deal" at these town center locations.

  • Bravo!-Free kids coloring page and dinosaur figure with a kids meal, plus dino drink specials. 
  • Keagan's- Free dino treat bag
  • YMCA- No joining fee
  • Lamia's Crepes- 10% off 
  • The Royal Chocolate- 10% off and a FREE truffle with a $10.00 purchase 
  • Tupelo Honey- free dino kids meal with purchase of adult meal
  • Cold Stone- free kids cone with purchase of "love it" or "gotta have it" 

Check out these dino events:

  • Nightly Entertainment: at the fountain 5:30-9 
  • Live! TC-Rex Encounter: Friday-Sunday 1-4 
  • Dino Dancers: Friday-Sunday 3-6
  • Dinosaur Movie (Disney's Dinosaur) in the Plaza: July 6th 8:30 pm, free popcorn will be served but bring chairs!
  • Jurassic Dance Party: July 12th 6-9
  • Jurassic Journey Movie & Music: July 13th 8:30 
Baby bro... not so impressed lol. 

Build A Bear: Tips & Tricks

You might remember the craziness last summer when Build A Bear did a Pay Your Age day and the lines across the country stretched out and around malls. Thousands of parents with screaming toddlers waited for hours to stuff their bear. Let's face it- these bears are insanely expensive once you add in the clothes, shoes, heart beats, and even now scents. But, kids seem to love the bears and lots of adults collect them, so there the parents dutifully stood waiting with their kids in tow.
Build A Bear got smarter this year, and offered parents the chance to sign up for a voucher for a day to come in and take advantage of the pay your age day. Originally we planned to go in and build a bear for baby brother, but walking in and seeing that they had a Thomas the Train bear changed all of that.  (I was literally having contractions in the store, we cut it close!)
In Tidewater, our locations are Lynnhaven Mall, Williamsburg Outlets, and soon to be in Hampton Walmart Supercenter.

Tips to save a little money:

  • Sign up for an account before you go. You'll start to get emails with sales and coupons. This is also how I knew to sign up for the voucher that I used. 
  • Don't buy all of the accessories. Backpacks, sunglasses, hats, wigs, bags, you name it- they have it. Usually these types of things can be found at other stores for cheaper. 
  • Say no. Once you have your bear and your outfit you'll move to the stuffing station. Here you can pick sounds to stuff your bear with. Then you can pick a scent (skip these seriously- you can't even smell them once everything is done!), and a beating heart. 
  • Grab freebies. Sometimes walking in they have free bear hats. The felt heart that you make a wish on is free where the beating heart isn't. Be sure to grab a bear birth certificate for no charge. The fancy gift box costs money, but the cardboard box which kids can color later is free too.
A few little things:

  • Build A Bear has its own free streaming radio on their website. So if your kid likes their music, which is all original, there is a way to listen from home. 
  • If you have an old Build A Bear animal that needs to be refluffed, you can take it back to the store and they will restuff it. 
  • Build A Bear has several free online games for kids which launch from their website.
  • Build A Bear does offer birthday parties for 5 or more guests. The cheapest package is $18 per kid and includes a bear and a t shirt all the way to the most expensive at $45 per guest to include a more expensive bear, a clothing item, shoes, a sound, and a backpack. There isn't any cake involved, but I know that at the Lynnhaven the store is directly across from the food court, so you could potentially have cake and lunch before or after. A heads up, at that store there is no bathroom in the store, so go before you go in the store.