My 2018 Holiday Bucket List

My 2018 Holiday Bucket List

Can you believe it? Thanksgiving has past and December is here in just a few days. We’re already starting to get into the Christmas spirit. The music has definitely started and will continue until Christmas day! Even though I’m super pregnant right now and excepting a baby any day, I still want to do all things Christmas, so I decided to put together a Holiday Bucket list. Do you want to join me in making one? Then I thought this PDF from Rochester MN Moms Blog was a cute template to make the bucket list festive and printable.

Here’s my Holiday Bucket List…

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Visiting Kauai with a Toddler

Visiting Kauai with a Toddler

Honestly, I had planned to write to you guys while I was on vacation. But then it just didn’t happen. Then we got home and all had to get our first colds of the season. Please forgive my absence. I’m here for you now and ready to share some fun things about Kauai.

We tend to think of Kauai as our place. Yup, just for us. I know that’s not true, but it’s been a perfect vacation destination for us over the years.

  • First Trip: My first time there was way back in 2006 and I went with my back-then-boyfriend-now-husband. We were with my boyfriend’s parents who happened to have a house there. It was also on this trip, that my boyfriend decided he wanted to marry me (by the by, the proposal didn’t happen until 2008 - sheesh, what took so long?).

  • Second Trip: We went for our honeymoon in 2011. It was perfection. (ah, no in-laws on this trip)

  • Third Trip: We took Caleb in 2017 and stayed with my in-laws (they had since sold the house, sad) who were renting a condo there for the month.

  • Fourth Trip: This was our latest trip, so 2018. Again, we stayed with my in-laws who are living there for a year. This time I was pregnant with baby boy #2.

As you can see, it’s a special place for the Brown family! Given, I’ve gone so much, I want to share some of our joyful places from the island with you. I’m going to keep it kid-centric since that’s what I’m all about on this blog. Talk to me if you want no kid recommendations.

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Indoor Fun: Pump It Up

Indoor Fun: Pump It Up

I feel like the closer I get to my due date with baby #2, the harder it is to get posts written. Life has been busy to say the least especially with an active two and a half year old son. During the daytime, I’m busy keeping him entertained. During nap time and evenings, I’m busy keeping things running at home and preparing for the baby…oh yeah, and some relaxing and sleeping.

That said, here I am! And I today is about a new indoor play space. I’ve been meaning to check out Pump It Up for a long time and I finally got there on Wednesday. Sometimes I get stuck into my routine or set places, and I also get a bit of anxiety when I don’t know anyone that’s gone or know what it’s like. But I gathered up my mama courage and headed over there in hopes of getting some Caleb wiggles out. And my hopes came true: wiggles were definitely gotten out. Caleb LOVED it. I thought he might be more timid, but he dived right into the fun (quite literally).

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End of Summer Festivals, Fairs, and Fun Events

End of Summer Festivals, Fairs, and Fun Events

I love going out and doing things, especially on the weekends with my family. The "events" on FaceBook are both wonderful and terrible for me because I want to do all the things. Prior to having my son, my hubby and I used to do a lot more outings. Now, we have to work outings around nap time, crankiness, potty training, meal time, and every other baby/toddler thing. Additionally, we have to consider if it's kid-friendly and whether it'll be easy to keep him out of trouble. Sometimes something might be more effort than it's worth, so we have to pick our outings wisely. For instance, we don't do the outdoor concerts. It sounds idyllic: sit on a picnic blanket with some snacks and listen to the band while your toddler dances next to you. However, the reality is I would be running around all the other picnickers chasing my son whom once caught will scream and kick. I'm sure you can picture it, or maybe even experienced it. Power to you if your child isn't a "runner" - enjoy it. I get my daily exercise just chasing him. 

Anyway, overall I do love the events on FaceBook. I have my FaceBook doubts and dislikes, but the events are great. It's fun to see what my friends are interested in (maybe we can go together?!) and I find out about events that I normally would never have known about. It's hard to keep up with things when you have a toddler. 

Where are this magical events on FaceBook? On the main FaceBook page, look to the left navigation. Under "Explore" you should see the "Events" link. Cool, right?

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Screaming for Ice Cream: Tacoma Ice Cream & Froyo

Screaming for Ice Cream: Tacoma Ice Cream & Froyo

Hey Summer! Welcome to Tacoma! We're happy you're here. Although I have to admit, even if it's not summer, I still eat my ice cream and frozen yogurt (aka froyo). I just eat more of it! It's no joke that I have been nicknamed, "the Froyo Queen" by friends. I can't help it, I love the stuff. 

Whether for good or bad, Caleb has also picked up on my love for frozen goodness. A fine example is how he ate just the strip of ice cream out of the ice cream birthday cake at a friend's birthday the other weekend. While the sugar high aftermath can be crazy, I do enjoy sharing a treat with my little guy. 

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Birthday Parties and Where to Have Them

Birthday Parties and Where to Have Them

June is my birthday month and it got me thinking about birthdays. In some ways, I wish my son's birthday was in the summer since you could bring the party outdoors. His birthday is at the beginning of January and outdoors is just not an option. I spent a lot of time trying to find a place to have his 2nd birthday party. I didn't want it at the house since I just had family over for all the holidays. Having more people in the house and more cleaning just didn't sound like something I wanted to do. So I surfed the internet and racked my brain to come up with some alternatives. We ended up at the Children's Museum of Tacoma. It was great fun!

However, summer birthday friends, I got your back. June birthdays can be hit or miss with the weather. Summer really doesn't seem to hit the Pacific Northwest until July 4th. Yes, that specific. Then in the summer months, it can be uber hot and practically none of us have air conditioning. So, I hear you when you say I don't want it at the house. Or maybe, you'd just like to avoid toddlers destroying every square inch in your house. I get it. This list is also for you.

In fact, this birthday list an everyone and any time of year list of places to have a kid's birthday in and around the Tacoma area. It's indoor and outdoor places. It's places with packages or just places to go. It's for young kids and for older kids. I'm sure there is more out there. I tried to stick mostly to Tacoma although admittedly there are a few outliers (like Gig Harbor and Puyallup). Please comment if you have even more and better ideas! 

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Park Love: Puget Park in Proctor

Park Love: Puget Park in Proctor

The first day of summer is June 21st. That's not too far away! Plus, we've been lucky with some summer-like weather already. We've already started adding the playground back into our daily routine (not that it was totally out, but the terrible winter weather made it less appealing). One of my favorite parks is Puget Park in the Proctor area. Maybe it's because it's close to our home, but there are some other great reasons as well. 

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Toddler Flight Survival: Tips and Tricks

Toddler Flight Survival: Tips and Tricks

We are headed to Chicago in just a few short weeks to visit family and go to my cousin's wedding. We're really looking forward to it, except for one thing, the flight. Dun dun dun. Actually, knock on wood, but the last flight with Caleb went pretty smoothly. With more attention span, it seems there are more ways to entertain. More ways to entertain mean a better flight. Can I get an amen?! 

Growing up my mom had a severe fear of flying. In fact, she had to go to a fear of flying class just like Meg Ryan in French Kiss (my family loves this movie). A few weeks before we traveled, my mom always got nervous and weird. In a way, I have a fear of flying like my mom but for a different reason. It's a fear of flying with a toddler. I picture a manic toddler screaming the whole way and me crying. Just like my mom, I get all weird a few weeks before our flights trying to come up with some magical trick that will keep Caleb happy. 

When I get nervous, I tend to go overboard on research. I scour the internet for ideas, I ask friends, and over think as I'm trying to fall asleep. I hope I'm not the only one like this...please tell me I'm not the only one like this.

Luckily, I'm feeling much more confident this time around as I've acquired quite a few tips from all our previous flights. I figured I ought to share! 

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Toddler Hair Cuts: Wild Child Salon

Toddler Hair Cuts: Wild Child Salon

I was worried about how Caleb's first haircut would go down. He's a very active kid and doesn't like to sit still for long, so I pictured myself wrangling an almost-two-year-old for 20 minutes while a desperate haircutter tried to trim his hair. The reality was far different from this nightmarish vision I had conjured up. In fact, the complete opposite. He enjoyed the haircut and he enjoyed it so much that he didn't even want to leave. Yup, you heard me right, he didn't want to leave. Imagine that.  

Caleb was 22 months when he had his first haircut. I tried to wait until he was two, but his hair was just too crazy and wild. I was also delaying it because I was "mom sad" about his first haircut. Those baby curls are just too sweet. However, the ladies at Wild Child made it a wonderful experience for Caleb and me. 

At 28 months, Caleb just had his third haircut at Wild Child. As I was leaving with a smile, I thought I ought to share this experience. So here I am, sharing my positive experience!

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Must Go: Children's Museum of Tacoma

Must Go: Children's Museum of Tacoma

I'd be remiss if I didn't have a post about the Children's Museum of Tacoma. Seriously, what kind of Tacoma children's blog would this be without it? I'll tell you, not a very good one. This was one of the first posts I planned to write here on Raising Tacoma. I'm ashamed to say it's been over three months and I'm just getting to it now. Better late than never, right?

We go to the museum at least once a week. We love the programs and the open museum play space. It's even where we had Caleb's second birthday. I am so grateful we have the Children's Museum here; it's definitely saved my sanity more times than one. If you haven't been, then you need to drop everything and go. Okay, that's hasty, you probably have questions. I always have questions. Let's tackle some of those questions.

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Toddler Flight Survival: Apps

Toddler Flight Survival: Apps

Do you remember the days when you could go on a flight and just read a book or watch a movie? Oh, or even better, just close your eyes and fall asleep to the drumming of the plane? So dreamy. Instead, I get this knot in my belly before we go on a flight. Will my son be the next viral YouTube sensation like the "Demonic child" that threw the 8-hour tantrum (it's true, check it out)? I hope not! But, I do what I can to prepare to make a smooth, tantrum-free (or tantrum reduced) flight. 

Before my flight down to San Diego to visit my parents (Caleb's grandparents), I decided I better load up on apps. I know there are other tips and advice for keeping a toddler busy on a flight, and maybe I'll write a post on that sometime soon as well; however, I want to focus on apps. I want to focus on apps because when I did my search, I was completely overwhelmed at all the options. Almost like bringing a toddler into a toy shop and asking him to pick just one. How?!? 

So I did what any reasonable mom would do. I turned to FaceBook. I went to all my mom groups and looked for past inquiries from moms on apps. Here's the kicker: every time I saw a mom ask for app suggestions, everyone just gave other tips for flights. That's cool, but they (and I) want to know what APPs we should pick. That didn't go as I hoped, so I took another try: my friends. 

This is when I start singing, "With a Little Help From My Friends" to myself because when I asked MY FRIENDS on FaceBook, I got some real results. Thank you, friends. You rock! 

I couldn't purchase all of them, but I did download quite a few and noted the others for later (likely our next flight). I even created a folder on my phone for all the apps. Here's what it looks like (side note: there is a third page to the folder, but it's like white noise apps, etc.):

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Park Love: Tot Lot in Fircrest

Park Love: Tot Lot in Fircrest

he sun is out and spring is just around the corner. I can't wait. We all can't wait. Three cheers...

Hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray!

More sun means more park. And we love the park. The park is great for spending time outside with little ones. Don't know what to do? The park is the answer. Last spring/summer we would find ourselves at the park twice a day sometimes. Parks are a lifesaver, I tell you. And when you find a good park...now that's magical. 

One of our favorite parks is the Tot Lot. I feel like this is a lesser known park, over in Fircrest. I almost hestiate to share it because I don't want it to get crowded. But I'm here for you, friends, and so I shall share this park. 

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Fun at Foss: Visiting the Foss Waterway Seaport

Fun at Foss: Visiting the Foss Waterway Seaport

What the heck with our weather lately? First, it was all stormy rain followed by snow. Ugh! It's keeping us all indoors trying to stay dry and warm. But being indoors is so tough with a toddler, especially an active toddler that NEEDS to move. In fact, I'm pretty sure Caleb's motto is, "why walk when you can run?!" So I'm constantly trying to come up with indoor things to do that keep my active little boy busy, but also fun for mom and dad. 

We don't often drive down to the area of the waterfront that runs down by the docks and museums--you know, where Dock Street runs along Thea Foss Waterway on the other side of the 705. If we're hanging out along the waterfront, we're usually along Ruston Way by Commencement Bay. Although on those rare occasions we happen to drive down Dock Street, I see the Foss Waterway Seaport and think how we should check it out and look into whether it is toddler-friendly. Of course, I would forget and we would never actually end up checking it out.

Until now! The other day I saw a friend posted a picture of her kids at Foss Waterway Seaport and it looked like it had some things for kids. So when we found ourselves Saturday morning at Anthem Coffee getting some caffeine, watching the pouring rain, and wondering how to spend our morning, I miraculously remembered Foss Waterway Seaport and suggested we check it out. And we did! 

Have you driven by this place and wondered, too? 

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Tough and Love with Gymnastics

Tough and Love with Gymnastics

I literally have been working on this post since Monday. I had every intention of getting it published for you all by Wednesday, so you could read it before the next YMCA registration period. Which, by the way, started today at 10 am. Oh, I was also going to remind you of that on my Instagram feed. Guess what? None of that happened. It's now Friday and I am just now getting this published. I didn't get the Instagram reminder out either. Not to mention, that I registered for our YMCA classes on my iPhone as we started a class at the Children's Museum. It must have been a sight - me on my phone trying to corral my son and get him to participate. Then not remembering my username and password, of course. C'est la vie. 

I like the phrase, "better late than never." Anyway, on to the official post now.

No joke, I spend four out of five weekdays at the YMCA. Every morning Monday through Thursday we are there doing some activity or class. Honestly, it is a lifesaver; it allows Caleb get his wiggles out and then I get to interact with other moms/caretakers. Score! 

We've been in the parent-child swim classes since Caleb was 16 months old. It's been a great experience getting him comfortable in the water and learning a few skills like bubbles and kicks. Given this positive experience, I've been looking forward to having the opportunity to do some of the other classes at the YMCA.  

At our YMCA, you can begin the parent-child gymnastics when your child turns two. Caleb turned two on January 2nd, which was right before the first session sign-up for 2018. Although he had just barely turned two, we were going to go for it. What the hay, huh?!? I was super excited because we always saw the gymnastics class ending when we arrived at open toddler gym time and it looked like good fun. Plus, I have an active kid and anything that looks like it'll help him get some ya-ya's out is a good thing.

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