Doing Dayton

One thing I’ve always loved is exploring & experiencing a new place. My husband and I are the same way – we adapt to wherever we live or visit. After 4 years though, we’ve slowed down on exploring the near by city of Dayton. We’ve stumbled into revisiting our favorites.

So when my brother, James, came to visit I got to dive back into being a tourist to show him around. We had 1.5 days to explore, so this is how we crashed into the Gem City in the short time we had.

Wednesday

I picked James up in Columbus at the airport around 1:30pm. After a quick stop at the house, we headed down to the Oregon District. I wanted to show him the heart of it all.

After a driving tour of historic buildings and landmarks, we parked at the Oregon District where we checked out places like Beck & Call, Bonnett’s Book Store, Omega Music, & Spice Paradise. We finished off our evening with the Gem City staple, the Dublin Pub.

What I love about the Oregon district is that you can find almost anything you are looking for, but also just park and explore. There are cute little niche stores, bars, restaurants, tattoo shops, and businesses. A good morning full of new things to find.

Thursday

We started this day out early! I wanted to treat him to one of my new favorites – St. Anne the Tart. We loaded up with a sweet tart, a cookie, a salted brownie and two delicious Mocha Lattes before taking a drive around the historic homes of St. Anne’s Hill. James loved all of the brick homes.

The Air Force Museum was what we conquered next. This museum is free and a great place for aircraft, military, & war related history. It will take 2-4 hours just to walk through, even longer to read every plate & sign. It’s an amazing place to visit.

We checked out Zombie Dogs and my brother was a HUGE fan of it. Since we were close, I took him for a drive around Woodland Cemetery for a view of the city. James is also a lover of anything game and comic related, so we checked out DK Effect – free games if you get a drink!

Lastly, we ended up in downtown Fairborn at the comic and toy stores. My brother is one of those people who can casually converse with anyone, so his trip into Time Warp Toys & Collectibles was exactly that! He spent at least forty minutes exploring and chatting with the owner while CJ and I hopped over to Lefty’s Eats & Espresso for an iced mocha & bagel.

It was totally refreshing to act as part tourist, part tourist-guide in a place I’ve lived for almost four years. It reignited my love for all of the tiny gems (pun-intended) nestled within Dayton.

If you’ve become comfortable in your hometown or wherever you live, I definitely recommend finding a few new places you haven’t been and working them into your favorites list. It just might reopen your eyes to your own surroundings.

What are your favorite places where you live?

It’s done. She’s two!

I’m sitting here on the couch with a heating pad shoved down my shirt because it is 16° degrees outside and with my daughter curled up on my lap under a blanket. All is right in the world. Why does this moment matter so much? Because she’s finally two and we conquered her birthday party on Sunday!

I’ve been planning her Bunny themed party since mid-January and my anxiety did not take a break. But alas, friends, it is done. She is two!

Some Bunny is Two was her theme! We had a garden of veggies, fruit salad, bunny t(r)ail mix, punch, and pizza. Oh, and those super cute cupcakes up above!

We had Peter Rabbit playing on the tv and coloring pages of bunnies and flowers out for the kids to color. I made a bunny bowling box will tissue paper. She and her little friends had a total blast running around. Her party was a success!

But I stressed about it hard. There were lots of 3am Pinterest searches because I couldn’t sleep. A lot of buying, returning, crafting, and creating games & decor that honestly…. two year olds don’t notice nor care about.

Moms, if you are like me when it comes to birthday parties, please stop, drop, and relax. It’s okay to want perfect and fun. It’s okay to do a little or a lot. Your kids will have a blast with their friends whether you nailed down those details or not.

Everything fell into place when her guests arrived. I immediately stopped worrying and joined in on the fun. I encourage you all to do the same! The moments that you are present for are all that matters.

Now does this mean I learned my lesson and won’t stress about future parties? Nope, not a chance. I do think I’ll be able to relax a little more though and make sure I’m present for the important stuff rather than stressing out.

Just remember to breathe and relax!

Here are a couple of cool things about my awesome toddler in celebration of her birthday:

  • She can count to 6
  • She loves to dance
  • She loves cars, trains, and planes
  • She can hear a candy wrapper 3 rooms away
  • She’s a professional tomato picker
  • She is obsessed with books.
  • Though she tried to blow out her candles, she wanted nothing to do with her cake.

It really is the little things. She is very loved by her friends and seeing the happiness on her face is something I’ll always remember – unlike the already fading memory of scrolling endless birthday themed searches.

Growing A Garden

There is nothing more heartwarming to me than watching my daughter learn and grow. I could compare her to a wildflower or maybe a prickly but sweet raspberry plant, but guys… she’s a whole dang garden. And everyone else is too.

Her second birthday is right around the corner and I’ve picked up some gardening supplies and little book about gardening for her as a gift. I am beyond excited for her to receive them and help start the upcoming season’s growth. Though almost two, she is no stranger to harvesting goodies from our garden or getting covered in dirt.

Last year, we planted a wildflower garden for her. We gave out seeds as a party favor for her first birthday (a tradition we will carry on this year) and planted any of the leftover seeds. She’d help me water them every day and patiently wait to stomp in the puddles as the water seeped from the bottom of the flower pot.

While watering her flowers last year, a beautiful white butterfly began floating around and her pure little one year old soul simply said “hi.” She wanted to strike up conversation with a butterfly. This purity with nature is the very basis of what I want to instill in her.

When our vegetables took growth, her ready little hands would help me harvest the morning picks – sometimes a little prematurely. She’s quick when it comes to tomato picking, so we had a fair share of green tomatoes sitting in the windowsill soaking up sun and trying to ripen without their vine. She loved it every bit of it. She’d even do a little happy dance as we headed outside every single day.

If you look at her bookcase, you’ll see a lot of nature, farming, and gardening books. This is no mistake. If I teach her anything it’ll be that nature is the most important thing in life and learning to grow your own vegetables is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself.

My dream is that even if she becomes a busy career woman or a stay at mom is that she’ll always have a certain respect for nature. I want Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle to be apart of her daily life. I pray that she is never the type to litter. I hope she has respect and love for all animals, plants, and trees.

Gardening, even at such an early age, is a beautiful introduction to nature. It teaches her patience and shows her that all things start small. A small seed can one day be a huge oak tree. I want her to learn that the world is ever-changing and you can grow through anything that you go through.

It’s a lesson I hope she learns young, but for those of you who are adults, it’s still a lesson you can adapt into yourselves. You don’t have to start gardening or talking to butterflies. Just start with 5 minutes a day to really stop and appreciate nature and all that it has to offer.

Grow through what you go through

Dreaming of Warmth

It has been snowing quite a bit in the last week. As someone who just spent 40 minutes shoveling the driveway, I can honestly say I’m ready for the days of rain that Spring tends to conjure up.

Our backyard after the first snow.

Don’t get me wrong. I do love how beautiful the snow is. I love crunching the ice below my boots, sledding, and snowball fights. I would just rather not have to clear my driveway in 8 degree weather. At least the sun was out.

The real terror comes when the roads are too dangerous to drive, so I find myself attempting to entertain my toddler for two days straight. I think she feels the same way because she’s actually letting my write this instead of trying to type with me.

What are some of your favorite activities with the tiny humans when you are snowed in?

We usually color, draw on a chalkboard, practice shape and color identification, snack on cookies, watch movies, play with CJ’s ever growing collection of cars & trucks, read books, snack some more, play trains, dance & sing, shoot hoops in the living room, work on problem solving activities (sliding pipe cleaners through strainers, etc), play trains, tidy up, work floor puzzles, watch the squirrels & birds outside, more snacking, more reading… We need some fresh ideas.

I’m tempted to let her paint, but I dread the mess. Plus, she’s usually more interested in organizing the paint supplies than painting. She’s definitely my kid. Maybe I could introduce her to Harry Potter… Is it too soon though? Maybe I’ll wait another year or so before I try to peak her interest in it.

So let me know, either here or in my instagram stories, what are your favorite indoor activities with the littles?