Tuesdays with Jacob

Jumpstarting the Summer

June 28, 2018

Whew it's been a busy summer so far! Jacob just finished up a week of Jumpstart clinics at Goldfish Swim School in Canton, MI near my parents house. Goldfish offers traditional swim lessons year round where kids go once a week, but during the summer they offer jumpstart clinics where kids can go everyday to build confidence and fast track their skills. 

This was our first experience with Goldfish (but they are opening one near us soon!!!) and we were so impressed. In the words of my brother "I didn't know swim boutiques were a thing!" And he's got a point. The pools we went to for swim lessons as children were cold and sterile, rented from the local high school. Goldfish could not be more different. Everything there is bright, warm, and inviting - 100% designed with the whole child in mind. From the friendly murals on the wall, to the fun surfboard drying stations, to the constant 90 degree temperature in the pool; everything there is just perfect for setting kids at ease and making sure they have a positive experience.

We were usually rushing in for class after dropping my mom at work, so we'd use their changing rooms (designed like cabanas - so cute!) to change and then wait in their large waiting area for them to call his class. The waiting area is huge (and air conditioned!) with big comfy chairs and floor to ceiling walls with a full view of the pool so you can see your little one and note what they are working on the whole time.

Once they called his class I'd drop Jacob off at his lane and then go sit in the waiting area while he had his lesson. Each class has four kids or less so the instructor can really focus on each child and building confidence in their abilities. Jacob has loved all of the instructors that he has had - they are super patient, attentive, well trained, and great with kids! They had Jacob jumping to them without holding on his very first day there - something he never does! My favorite part of the lessons at Goldfish is that they work on not only swimming skills, but safety skills as well. 

The last 5 minutes parents are allowed to go in and observe and the teacher will give you a run down of what they worked on and what they need to practice. This is so helpful for working with your child on your own in between lessons and not something we've experienced at other swim schools. At the end of each Jumpstart week you get a progress report (every 3 months for weekly classes) with the skills they've accomplished checked off and a cute ribbon regardless of whether or not they are moving up a level. Just look at how much progress Jacob made in one week, he is SO proud of that ribbon!

Our first stop after class was always the adjoining showers. I noticed most kids just do a rinse off, but I always took the opportunity to bring shampoo so I wouldn't have to give him a bath later. After his shower we'd hit the changing rooms again to change back into his street clothes, and then his favorite part - the drying station! He loves sitting up on the surf board and using the hair dryer to dry his hair "all by himself." I really appreciate the different settings on the hair dryers that let you control not only the intensity, but also the heat. I could let Jacob go to town with the heat set to low and not have to worry about him accidentally burning himself. I'd always bring a wet bag to throw his wet suit and towel into, but they also have a swimsuit dryer there. 

Besides a beautiful facility and a sound program in place for swim instruction, the staff at Goldfish is so welcoming and accommodating. If your schedule changes they will reschedule you for another date and if you need a makeup due to illness or travel it's no extra charge. We've had such a great experience at Goldfish, that we are now SO excited for the one near us to open up! If you'd like to learn more about Goldfish click HERE to check out all their offerings and find a facility near you. 

*Goldfish provided Jacob with free lessons in order to facilitate this review. As always all opinions are my own and we only promote brands we love. 

Jacob's 4th Birthday Pizza Party

June 20, 2018

We celebrated Jacob on his birthday with the pizza party of his dreams. He knew exactly what he wanted - chocolate cake, pizza on a plate, and all his friends. We booked a party slot at his favorite Pizza arcade - Peter Piper Pizza and invited all his friends. We picked a dinnertime slot (5-7 pm) because we've heard it can get hectic on weekend days with up to four parties at a time. It ended up being the perfect time - not crowded and everyone was hungry for pizza and cake since it was dinner time. This was the first year Jacob had an opinion on what he wanted at his party and it was so fun to help bring that dream to life. 

I kept to colors inspired by his invitations and classic pizza parlors - silver, red, yellow, green, lilac and white. I knew the kids wouldn't want to do much more than eat and play games so I kept things simple with a party hat craft and then let the arcade provide the entertainment. Besides the pizza hats I also made the token cups and the mini pizza boxes for the cookies. My mom made the favors - pizza chef aprons, and I sewed on pizza patches my friend Jennifer made, then rolled them up with mini rolling pins. The cake was from Publix, and I topped it with a pizza squishy and candles from Amazon. Peter Piper Pizza provides a party assistant who keeps everything running smoothly and she was a God send. She helped us with everything from blowing up all the balloons to ordering the right amount of pizzas for the adults.









Can't wait to see what we dream up for next year's party! Happy birthday sweet boy! You have every "pizza" our hearts! 


June 10, 2018

Today you are creative and imaginative, always using pillows to build yourself castles and lairs to play superheroes or villains with your two pretend friends, Wall-e and Eva. If the house is a little too quiet, we're sure to find you whipping up delicacies in your play kitchen, or building elaborate train track configurations. 

Today you are a stage 5 clinger who follows us everywhere and is always underfoot. You prefer sticking to the comfort of what you know, and are wary of trying anything new. Sleeping in Mom and Dads bed is your favorite treat and you love to cuddle in close. 

Today you are a thrill seeker who makes us nervous on the regular. Bed jumping, couch climbing, stair sliding, and amusement park rides exhilarate you and bring the biggest smile to your face. (Not to mention boo boos to your body)

Today you are a preschool graduate who aced his assessments, loved his teacher, and showed tremendous growth in both academics and maturity over the last year. On to Pre-k this fall at "Mommas school."

Today you have your own specific sense of style. Your hair has been growing out for quite some time and you tell everyone "I don't want it cut!". You like to stay in your pajamas all day, wear Daddy's hats, and you've never met a pair of sunglasses you didn't love. 

Today you are a homebody who prefers curling up on the couch with a blanket, reading a book (especially Elephant & Piggie) or watching a movie over any outside activity except for going to the park, which you are always up for. 

Today you are a grazer who would prefer to snack all day long and never eat an actual meal. Hamburgers, chicken nuggets, pizza, donuts, broccoli, strawberries, and ravioli are some of your favorite foods. 

Today you are the sweetest friend, providing hours of giggles, the tightest hugs, sympathy beyond your years, and always, always crying when it's time to go. You ask for your friends by name and always want to play. 

Today you are a lover of dinosaurs, trucks, Star Wars, muffin (Muppet) Babies, and the iPad. You dislike band-aids, dirt, and loud noises, and are afraid of bugs and the dark. 

Today you have been wearing your glasses for 8 months now. You scared Mom and Dad with your diagnosis, but have adapted well and been responsible. You lived through Hurricane Irma this year, dropped your nap time, and moved out of your crib to a big boy bed too.

Today we'll celebrate you with everything you personally requested at your party: chocolate cake, pizza on a plate, and all your friends. 

Today we love you more than we ever thought we could. 

Today you are FOUR.

Mother's Day Weekend Camping Trip

May 14, 2018

Wow! Did we have the best weekend ever taking little man on his first camping trip! I can't think of a better Mother's Day present, we had the BEST time! We booked a cabin at the Okeechobee KOA resort, directly opposite an RV spot booked by friends of ours. The cabin was small, with just one full size bed and one set of bunk beds, BUT it had air conditioning and a porch swing! What more can you ask for? We packed up Friday morning and drove up that afternoon. If you're local to us in Palm Beach County it's only a 1-1.5 hour drive, and it goes fast! 

After unpacking and checking the place out we hit the pool before dinner. They actually have three pools - an adult pool, a family pool, and a kiddie pool that's only about a foot deep. The water was nice and warm and the kids had a blast. We grilled that night- hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta salad, chips, before going back over to the pool to watch The Greatest Showman on their big screen. They had popcorn, soda, and candy for everyone too.

After the movie we headed back to grill s'mores. I brought honey and cinnamon graham crackers, plus pizelles for the outside, and milk chocolate, cookies and cream white chocolate, and Reese's peanut butter cups to go inside with the roasted marshmallows. Sitting around the campfire is one of my favorite things to do, I LOVE the smell, and the breezy weather was just perfect for it. Smoke makes everyone smelly though so we were sure to take showers before bed. The bathrooms at the KOA are SO clean. Seriously, they even smell good. The showers are set up really well with each stall having a changing area and bench and then the actual shower in the back behind a curtain. It's always nice when your towel and clothes don't get soaked from the spray. 

Saturday morning we fueled up on strong coffee, eggs, sausage, and muffins before hitting the playground. The campground was running a Mother's Day craft station in the pavilion right next to the playground so the kids each made a keychain and a picture for Mom. The playground was a big hit with a slide, merry go round, monkey bar climber, and sand box.

Jacob threw a fit the whole way back to the campsite and it became clear that his late bedtime was catching up with him so we put him down for a nap and relaxed while everyone else went fishing. After lunch we hit the pool again before cleaning up for dinner. We went into town and had dinner at Pueblo Viejo. Everything there was really good - the kids menu was super friendly with tacos and quesadillas as well as chicken fingers, burgers, etc. It reminded us of our favorite Mexican restaurant back home! 

After dinner we went over to the North shore pier of Lake Okeechobee, which was our first time ever seeing the Lake! It's pretty big and we even saw an alligator and a rabbit. The pier is nice for walking and nature watching, and there's a nice breeze that comes off the lake. Back at the campground we lit another bonfire to use up the rest of our S'more stuff and then headed exhausted to bed. Jacob was so tired he fell asleep before we even turned off the lights! 

Sunday morning the dads left early for work back home while the moms and kids hit up the Mother's Day breakfast at the adult pool. It is super reasonable - nothing over $5 and they give you tons of yummy food. The plates were FULL! We had waffle and pancake platters, biscuits and gravy, eggs and sausage, everything was delicious! And since it was Mother's Day, Mommas ate free!

After packing up we began our drive home late Sunday morning. Jacob doesn't normally have other kids at home to run around with, (only child problems) and he was in heaven having kids to play with all day! They had so much fun together. 

It was such a fun trip, and we're definitely planning on camping more in the future!