Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy Summer!

Wednesday was Summer Solstice and the first official day of summer, though for us we've been in summer mode for awhile now :) Today I'm sharing our favorite things to do this time of year. Welcome to Summer in The South!

1. The Pool!

When we lived in Scottsdale, it was almost impossible to find a house that didn't have a pool in the backyard. Here in Alabama, it's the opposite. Very, very few homes have pools. The thing to do here? Belong to a neighborhood pool! This is our third summer as members at our neighborhood pool, and while I do miss having one in our own backyard, I love the community aspect for the weekdays when Sweet P and I are on our own. I never took him in our backyard pool alone (for safety reasons), but our neighborhood pool comes with lifeguards, so we hit it up all the time just us two. It's also social time for both of us (Parker can play with friends and I get to talk to the other mommies). It's fun to do playdates and invite friends from other pools, or visit the different ones around town where we know members. Also, lunch at the pool = no kitchen clean up! #andallthemamassaidamen

Sweet P did swim lessons all last week at our neighborhood pool. He had the same instructor (from the pool's swim team) as he did last year, but he still started off the week a bit apprehensive about the water.

Little Man worked hard and was putting his head in and gliding by the end of the week. Go, P!

Also, this is how we (literally) roll to the pool:

Parker likes that he gets to ride in the wagon, and Mama likes that she gets in her steps ;)

2. Downtown

We've been enjoying some gorgeous weather here in Huntsville, and on the cool days, walks to downtown are a must for  Parker and me!

The heart of downtown (the town square) is a good 20 minute walk from our house, so it's great exercise and even better scenery. Parker loves to ride in the stroller and hop out to push the crosswalk buttons (he's especially enamored with the "talking" ones). 

Plus we usually pick up a treat or two ;) Our current downtown fave is the new Honest Coffee Roasters on Clinton Row. 

I never say no to a cappuccino, and Parker and I are both fans of the Acai Bowls!

There's always something going on downtown - right now, there are artsy pianos stationed about. A certain four year old walked right up to this one and started playing Beethoven :)

Also, for the next few weeks you'll find The Downtown Open (putt putt mini golf stations scattered around the square). Stay quirky, Huntsville!

3. Bowling

Our local AMF bowling alley offers a summer special where, for a very discounted flat fee, you get three games every single day during the summer. We signed up for the summer package last year and had a blast. I even own my own shoes and bowling ball, now! The deal pays for itself after the first few visits, so it was an awesome "free" activity after that. We've only made it once so far this summer, but our passes are just begging to be used more! Bowling is also the perfect answer to a stormy summer day ;)

 4. Tee Ball

This is our second year doing summer league tee ball. There is a spring season as well, but I really prefer the summer games and practices as an activity for when school is out. It provides a bit of consistency in the openness of summer. Spring is just a bit busy and rushed, and I feel in the summer we can really relax and enjoy it.

We have a little Marlin this year!

5. Music in the Park

Possibly my favorite summer activity - every Monday evening we walk over to Big Spring Park, hit up the food trucks and enjoy that night's Concert in the Park. Parker dances his heart out, and I get a break from making dinner. Score.

How do you summer in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sister Graduates!

My youngest sister, Michelle, is a college graduate!!

Our little family flew out to California Memorial Day weekend so we could catch Michelle's San Jose State University graduation ceremony. Parker loves graduations - the robes, the calling out of the names, everything! He always points out the regalia and proclaims that he'll get the puffy hat one day when he's a Ph.D. :) 

We had the perfect seats to view our graduate, and she spotted us as she walked in, too! The ceremony was held at SJSU's outdoor stadium. True to the Bay Area weather, we were shivering when we arrived and sweaty and sunburned when we left (but really, Silicon Valley, I heart you forever).

There was a beach ball on the field at one point during the ceremony, and Parker (being the lover of all things sports and balls) had many questions about it. How did it get there? What were they doing with it? We tried to explain that the graduates are all very happy and excited, and they sneak in the deflated beach balls because they are small, then blow them up and toss them around to cause some shenanigans. Ten minutes later, he asked When we get back home, can you call my name like I'm graduating and I'm going to sneak in a beach ball to cause some shenanigans? He's already planning ahead ;) 

Sister graduated with a B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development, which is very fitting because she and her husband have a baby on the way! 

Michelle and her cheering section:

Mother of the Graduate:

Her Alabama fans:

We followed up the ceremony with a fun celebratory BBQ with family.

We just love our graduate!


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ten on Tuesday

Summer has officially started here in Alabama! Our neighborhood pool opened last week, and Parker had his last day of preschool!

Nine months ago, Parker had never been in any sort of program or activity without me. Here's our brave little then three-year-old last August:

And now, he's writing his name (and the rest of the alphabet), counting well into the several hundreds (and also by 2's, 5's and 10's), reading short books, speaking un poquito EspaƱol, and playing with others! Most importantly, he loved his outdoor school (especially the creek and garden, and feeding the goats). We are so proud of Parker's hard work this year. Look how much our four-year-old has grown!

With teacher's assistants, specials (Spanish, Art, etc.), and Piano, we had ten teacher gifts to hand out as end-of-year thank-yous. I wanted something thoughtful and special, but also cost-friendly since we had so many to do. I ended up purchasing cute wooden spoons from Hobby Lobby and having husby laser engrave names on the handles. Personalized and precious!

I just added boxed baking mixes, sweet tags, and gift cards in varying amounts. Parker loved handing them out!

He also completed an "All About My Teacher" form like this one for his main preschool teacher. Usually these are done for parents, but Parker's teacher got a kick out of it!

 These sandals have been my jam in this feels like summer weather. Colorful tassels for the win!

And I've been alternating with these slip-ons.

My library hold came up for this book and I raced there to check it out as soon as I found out! Is anyone else reading it? I enjoyed Girl on the Train, so I have high hopes for this recent release from Paula Hawkins.

Kevin Kwan's latest also just came out!! I reviewed his first book, Crazy Rich Asians, here. I said it was "US Weekly meets the Shopaholic books, meets Vogue magazine - all set in Singapore, with a touch of Silicon Valley thrown in (which of course makes my heart smile)." I'm way excited for Rich People Problems!

I'm still obsessed with this show:

And all sorts of stoked that it's returning in 2018 for Season 2!

Cheesecake Filled Banana Bread. I mean, do I have to say more? 

It's a Tasty brand recipe (found here). Parker loves watching the time-lapse videos that accompany the recipes :) If you're looking for something new and fun to make, give it a whirl! Parker and I are happy we did!

Peony season is ending. Insert all the frowns.

We enjoyed them while they lasted, though!

Happy Tuesday!

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