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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mile Strong Kids

Last month Abby came home from school with a flyer just like many other days. This time around it was a flyer for a series of three 1 mile runs put on by Mile Strong Kids. She was very insistant that she wanted to go run the mile race. I didn't think she'd actually want to get out of bed early and go run but sure enough she hopped out of the bed the Saturday morning of the race and she and Beau headed out to go run.

I was never a runner - I was a fish from the beginning and dreaded off season from swim team when we'd have to run. While I do love our walks with our puppies, running still isn't anything I hop out of bed on a Saturday morning excited to do.  My dad on the other hand ran track and Beau ran cross-country. So it's not out of not a huge surprise I guess that Abby enjoys running a little bit. (Her first love is still gymnastics though) Still I think I've been talked into joining them and doing the mile as a family this weekend.

San Antonio has appeared on several fattest cities/highest obesity lists in the past years and Mile Strong wants to change that. The Mile Strong Organization's mission is to take a stand against obesity and health issues that can follow. With parents and kids out exercising together everyone becomes stronger with every mile.

The last of the three run series is the Saturday at Nani Falcone Park we missed the one two weeks ago with an out of town gymnastics meet so Abby is looking forward to doing this race again. I'm just hoping it isn't rained out! 

The Mile Strong Event is open to anyone - from the results, I see littles as young as 2 that took on the challenge! Everyone who finishes gets a necklace to hold your charms, charm and a ribbon. You can pre-register online (click the link above) or arrive at 8am and register there. The run kicks off at 8:30. 

Stretches and a warm up were lead by a few Air Force volunteers and then they were off to run their mile. 

image from Mile Strong

image from Mile Strong
As you can see she might have ran a mile but she's still my little gymnast! 

So who wants to come do a mile with us this weekend? 

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Let's Rodeo: What not to miss at the Stock Show and Carnival

Back in high school,  I loved to pick out which performer we wanted to go see at the rodeo and it would be a fun girls night with friends to go and see the concert.  Now with my own little ones - it's isn't so much about the concert or even the rodeo yet. For my animal loving littles - it's all about the stock show.

We also go on either a Friday (this year February 13, 20, 27) or Presidents' Day (the 16th) because Dollar Day! Grounds admission is only $1 until 6 pm plus the carnival rides are also only $1 each as well as certain food items being only $1 in the carnival area as well (hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and drinks from what I recall)  This means I can let the kids ride more than one ride in the carnival area without breaking the bank and can be the fun mom that says "yes let's go ride some rides!"

Once we walk through the gates of the rodeo grounds we pass by the stock show. My kids area always excited to see the animals no matter how smelly they might be.  In this area, was also an arena where we caught some of the sheep herding last year which the kids loved -  because well they love dogs! 

Animals Adventures
This was a great place to teach the kids about the various animals they were seeing as each had signage with names and information. You could also reach and pet these animals if they wandered close enough to the fences.
This is almost always Abby's favorite. Here you can see various types of horses from miniature horses to the giant Percherons (one of my favorites - it's hard to get an idea of exactly how big they are until you are standing right next to one!) and there are various presentations to learn about horses. I always come away dreaming about a what-if I had a place and could get a horse… and what kind would I want. 
Petting Zoo 
If touching over the fence wasn't enough animal interaction for your little ones. The petting zoo is great. It's free to get in but you can choose to buy food it you want. It's not necessary to buy food to get up and close with the animals. There are your typical petting zoo animals - goats, pigs, ect. but also there are deer, wallabys and other animals you wouldn't expect to find at a petting zoo.

 Little Buckeroo Kids Farm
This has always been a favorite of my littles. It's totally geared for them to explore and learn. The past years they've had a scavenger hunt of sorts to collect various types of produce in their baskets which they get to turn in at the exit in exchange for a healthy snack (celery sticks on year, drinkable yogurt last year - thank you H-E-B!)
Last year they also had a (fake) cow the kids could milk while they learned about where milk comes from and it's importance for their bodies. 

 The Carnival 
Of course what kid doesn't see the shiny lights and want to go ride the rides? This is why we go on dollar day!  The kids have a blast and since all rides are one ticket on dollar day that makes it easy to set a limit on number of rides. Otherwise a one (tired by this point) kid could easily get upset a sibling got more rides than them if he choose rides that cost more tickets and therefore rode fewer rides - without having to buy the more expensive all you can ride wristband.
What's a carnival without cotton candy? 

Other fun attractions we like are:

Swifty the Pig
Seeing cute little piggies run around the track for an oreo treat and even a swimming piggy. We love this! Get there early before the show to find a seat you'll be able to see from and be prepared to say no your kids if you aren't interested in buying piggy nose souvenirs.

Wild World of Animals Show 
Another fun show all about animals - includes monkeys and my kids favorite - an alligator!

Texas Wildlife Expo 
Lots of fun to learn about all the various types of animals living in your own backyard. Often around this area is a reptile tent/building with maps that show where they are found and it's fun for my kids who love snakes, not so fun for mom to see how many live right in our county.

We generally play it by ear for the most part when we go and if we see a show we'll stay if it's one we want to see. However if you are a more type A personality and you want to play out the day, all the links are clickable and will tell you the times of the shows and give you a map of where they are located on the grounds so you can plan how you want your day to go.

The only thing I don't have a good suggestion for: carnival food. The first year we took snacks and did the popcorn, sodas and cotton candy in the carnival area and went after lunch and home for dinner. The following year we went on Presidents' Day and decided to try some of the food that smelled so delicious the year before and we totally picked wrong because the fries were yucky and overly greasy. So I need to know do you try the carnival food and if so what did you get?

Are you ready to rodeo? San Antonio Mom Blogs has some other free - and nearly free Rodeo events going on around town and a tip for how to get into the stock show for free.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Easy Peasy Valentine's backdrop

Every Tuesday for the past 7.5 years (wow!) I've worked in the nursery of our Church during the ladies Bible Studies and I love seeing the smiling faces of all our adorable toddlers that come through our nursery wing. When I was in a classroom I used to love doing crafts with my class because I know how as a mom I loved seeing the pride of my littles showing me what they made during class. I also dearly treasure all the photo crafts that came home because it showed me a little snippet (and usually) that they were smiling during class and enjoying themselves.  

Now that I'm not usually in a classroom but instead floating around making sure everything is running smoothly - I love the weeks before a 'big' holiday that we usually send a craft home for because I get to play photographer and create those memories for the moms to see.
Normally I love to take the individual pictures outside a) the natural light just makes the pictures pop compared to the lighting inside of the building b) the littles are usually happier outside - the swinging, sliding, watching cars, bird, butterflies go by - all are wonderful ways to work a smile out of even the most reserved little ones. 

Today it was dreary, cold and rainy outside so outside pictures weren't going to happen but I didn't want to let that stop us from getting some cute shots.  We are so blessed at our Church to have a wonderful resource room that I was able to pull this back drop off in about 15 minutes time.  

Colored paper  - I used 5 different colors - 56 hearts total so 7 sheets of paper
Heart die cut (or you could trace a heart to have a pattern - still super easy but a tad more time consuming) 
A wall that gets some nice natural light 

To start - I die cut lots of hearts - equal amounts of each color.  

Then I found a wall that was getting as much outside light as possible and proceeded to tape rows of hearts rotating through my 5 colors. For the size hearts I used this ended being 7 hearts tall and 8 rows wide which was perfect for my 2 and unders and even the 3 years old. For the older ones that we photographed on this backdrop it meant they needed to sit to not be outside the backdrop but that worked too. 

This was the perfect touch that the pictures needed to really pop on such a drab day outside. If you haven't had a chance to do Valentine pictures, are having really drab weather, or on a tight budget -  this is the perfect backdrop to pull off darling Valentine pictures with! 

I really love how this turn out and it shows that you don't need to order a fancy backdrop or spend a lot of time or money into a backdrop - not that those aren't fantastic options - I mean there were so many ideas that I wanted to pull off but with limited time this was perfect! 

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Monday, February 02, 2015

Micah plays Basketball

I'm not a basketball fan… the squeaky shoes, the wiping sweat off the floor - yuck - but this kind of basketball…. the kind where my kid is playing. I guess I kinda like. 

We've been at our Y for nearly 6 years now (one month away from 6 years to be exact) and so we have quite a few friends at the Y. (It's so nice to have a family at the gym - ones that miss you and text you when you aren't there - ones that make you excited to go the the gym!) One of my husbands friends at the gym also happens to be the Sports Director and so happens has a son Micah's age. So while I was perfectly content to wait and give t-ball another go in the spring. Beau was convinced to sign Micah up for basketball on the same team as his friend's kid - the one his friend is also coach. So having friends at the gym also means friends your kid can play sports with. So thus begins Micah's basketball career. 

Sadly I missed the first game as Abby's gymnastics meet conflicted but I've been to two games so far. I have to say I'm really very impressed with how well his team shares the ball. They realize when they can't make the shot for the most part and look for a teammate to pass it to. (Or in sweet Micah's case - he'll take 2-4 dribbles before the ball is more rolling than being dribbled and he'll pick it up and pass it - but hey it's our first go at basketball and he's improving each practice and game!) 
They are really working on the man defense and staying with their person which goes well about 1/2 the time…. I'd say that's better than little kid soccer games I've seen where they run around the ball all in a mass of children. Micah's so funny - he'll practically do a little side to side dance as he guards his person. 

He caught the ball off a rebound… about to dribble… dribble.
 And pass!
 The second game it was his turn to get the jump ball to start the game. Love my sweet guy… (though it drives me slightly crazy he won't leave his way-to-big-smallest-size-they-come jersey tucked in so it's not down to his knees)
 A quick team photo before the start of the second half…. due to a wallow-worm toddler I couldn't get up to get the front angle in time… so side angle it is.

Now don't get the idea that all the sudden I'm going to be watching all the Spurs games on tv… and I don't know that we've hit the nail on the head as far as what sport Micah will want to play as he grows up but I'm thrilled his coach is really teaching them the rules and how to play and Micah is learning quickly.  I'll admit though I'm patiently waiting for t-ball season to come around again because I'm still a baseball girl at heart. I think we'll also try summer swim league this summer for Micah (maybe Abby too - she wants to but not sure if we'll be able to squeeze it in without wiping her out with gymnastics as well)  Until then it's Go-Spurs-Go (as they are all the Spurs ha!) 

What are your favorite sports to watch your kid play? 

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