Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium New Rules

Wow, wow, wow, wow! ODU has totally upped their game. Last night was the first game of the 2019 home season, and it was a totally different experience. A $71 million dollar renovation will do that. In previous years, I've always had a baby on my lap. It was uncomfortable sitting in bleachers with zero leg room. But now there are backs on the seats and more space, which makes a world of difference. They also redid the bathrooms and added family changing rooms. Be aware - new this year is their clear bag policy which makes you unable to bring in a diaper bag. You CAN carry in a bottle of water as long as it is unopened. Bring one, because water, soda, and popcorn are all $5.00 each. Strollers are still allowed, but they need to be checked.
My aunt bought us cheap ones at Walmart so we had them ahead of time and stuffed our stuff into them, but imagine not knowing and trying to carry diapers, wipes, bottles, pacis, the works. (At previous events where we needed a clear bag and didn't have one we just used a ziplock, which works too!) Also be forewarned, there are no bathrooms on the second level. I had Ronnie in the wrap and was holding RT's hand. He had to potty and I told him we would go when we got upstairs... walked up, and the signs all pointed down. Great. No worries, now we know. Big Blue's Kids Club is back this year also. 

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.

KinderSTEM

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!

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