Two Months

Another month has flown by somehow. Summer seems to have this way of feeling lazy and easy, while the time seems to just slip away. For baby Ronnie this month brought smiles, play mat time, and a slew of firsts. RT is still enjoying showing his brother off to anyone who will listen and snuggling as much as possible. This month Neil started a new job and I returned back to mine. Work on the house continues, but it's really coming along. After dealing with a horrible and shady contractor, it feels so nice to have someone who we trust, who checks in with us daily, who answers his emails and texts, and who is doing an awesome job. Every time we go and look at the house we are amazed with the progress. Neil and I are doing some of the stuff ourselves, and so we often are spending late nights and nap times over there painting. HGTV has this way of making everything look so easy...

 In some ways it's hard to believe the baby has only been with us for two months. In others it feels like he already fits in and has his place in our family. I go back and forth to "I can't believe we have a second kid" to "I can't imagine not having a second kid." It's hard sometimes. I feel bad for RT when we can't go do something or we have to be quiet because his brother is sleeping. Ultimately though, he is so in love with Ronnie that I don't think he minds. Let's hope when he is ten and they are fighting that I can remind them of these moments!
School has started (for teachers!) and getting back in the swing of things is hard, but we are starting to get a routine down. Mornings are a blur of feeding the baby, getting breakfast for RT, getting everyone dressed, trying to throw on a little makeup, feeding the dogs and flying out of the door. The first day I thought I had done so well and I realized on my way to school that my lunch was still sitting on the counter. Whoops. I'll get there! Here's to another month of growth, snuggles, and fun.


In my opinion, the Norfolk Public Library is one of the true gems of our area. It's free, it's open to everyone, and their stuff is top quality. When RT was little we went to weekly Babygarten classes for ages 0-2. Then we moved on to the Toddler Time classes for ages 2-3. Now that RT is 3, we could officially check out the KinderSTEM class.
This program is for ages 3-5 and helps kids get ready for kindergarten. Concepts include letter recognition, counting, letters, colors, and sorting. Kids are in a print rich environment and practice good listening skills and following directions which they will need in school too. Our class even included several yoga poses to start and some educational toys at the end.
All classes are from 10:30-11:30.
Days are as follows:
Monday: Slover
Tuesday: Lafayette
Wednesday: Jordan-Newby Anchor Branch at Broad Creek, Park Place, Barron F. Black
Thursday: Little Creek, Janaf, Pretlow

(Just a heads up, there were more kids there, I just really try not to get their faces in the pictures!)

Back To....

It's the season for back to school, back to work, back to the normal order of things. Summer has such a laid back, easy feel, but fall is the opposite. Fall means the return of early wake ups, stricter bed times, and more structured days. Fall for me also means going back to work, something that gets harder every year. (Hello crying in the car on the way again.) I could talk about the low pay of teachers, the disrespect from students, the bullying from parents, or how little the government thinks of my job, but the hardest part for me is coming back to school to be with other people's kids all day long and not being around my own. Let me be clear- I love my job. There are lots of parents I love and coworkers I enjoy being around, but I miss my kids. The wave of jealousy for moms who get to stay home and enjoy their kids is real. Even worse, when I see parents who are joking "thank God school is coming, I get to get rid of my kids!" on social media I want to scream. I have typed the same response over and over to these moms... don't they know how lucky they are to be able to afford to stay home? Don't they get how much other moms wish they could? Sure, we could budget I suppose. We could go down to one car, which means I wouldn't have a way to take my kids places. We could never go anywhere, never go out to eat, sit at home.... but then what's the point of being off? I don't mean to sound whiny. Our jobs have given us the ability to travel, to take our boys places, to attend the shows we go to and do the things we want. But as summer winds down and fall starts every year I have a pang of the same feeling. The post baby hormones multiply the ripples of it into tsunami sized waves that come crashing down as I make plans for my sweet babies to spend the days with someone else. What if they like them more than me? What if I don't know them as well as they do? After all, I always tell my students, we spend more waking hours together in the classroom than they do outside of it. These feelings are real, powerful, and sometimes crushing.
I have to remind myself how lucky I am. Lucky to be at a school where my coworkers can laugh and joke. Lucky to have some parents who truly appreciate the sacrifices their kid's teacher makes. Lucky to have family to help watch the baby and a school I trust for RT. Lucky to be able to spend a little time with them each night and morning. Lucky to have weekends with them. And more and more, every time, lucky to have summer with them. Here's to the craziness of fall and all the changes it brings!

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.