Now that school is out for summer everyone is ready to have some fun in the sun here in the Twin Cities! I know it can be daunting for moms now that they have the kids home full time. Trying to plan all the fun can be overwhelming when you don't know where the best and FREE places are! Today I wanted to give you a little assistance.
Here are some of our favorite places for fun and sun in the southwest metro area!
1.Chanhassen-Lake Ann- This is a fun place for all ages. It has two parks. One smaller one suited for younger kids and another big playground away from the lake. There is a free beach that we have found to be clean and shallow for the little ones. There are even lifeguards, rentals of paddle boards and such, concession for food, and clean bathrooms. This is a favorite of our family.
2. Eden Prairie- Miller Park- This park is accessible for all. Wheelchairs can maneuver easily. There is a sand and and water area, two playgrounds, and a interactive splash pad.
3. Eden Prairie- Round Lake Park- This is also a family favorite. It's a three in one- beach, playground, and splash pad. Add in walking trails as well and it's a really fun place for the while family! And free is even better!
4. Cologne- Splash Pad- This is a free splash pad that is gated. The rules are posted. A great place to bring your kids if you have a toddler who is a runner. They are kept safe!
5. Chaska-Fireman's Park- This has just been redone. It is BEAUTIFUL. Walking trails, splash pad, beach, park, and more. There is a restaurant walking distance away as well as the rest of downtown Chaska. They also have activities for the kids planned this summer. Check them out. So much free fun!
6. Minnetonka Regional Park- This park is PHENOMENAL! But be prepared to walk a lot. The park is large and if you have multiple young children it can be overwhelming to keep track of them. There is also the Swimming beach. It does have a fee, but there are nice bathrooms and concessions. It is buoyed off for different heights. A safe fun place for kids with lifeguards on duty.
7. Shakopee-Sandventures Aquatic Park- This place looks like a blast. We have not been there yet, but it has a man-made beach, sand bottom, 3 water slides, a diving board, concessions, and changing rooms. It looks like SO much fun!
8. Bloomington-Bush Lake Beach- there is a fee at this beach for parking. This is a fun beach to go to. They have live music events and great swimming for all!
9. Chaska-Community Center Splash Pad: This is another great place for those running toddlers. There is a fence, changing rooms, bathrooms, vending machines, a great splash pad with a zero depth entry. Its very shallow and great for peace of mind if you have multiple children. This is also one of our favorites!
So with all these options, where are you going first? Do you have other places that you like to go in the summer? Please share below. We are always looking for new adventures to keep cool!
Do you desire to have knowledge at your finger tips? An expert at your beck and call? Do you desire to truly be heard unlike the millions of opinions you are hearing daily? Do you desire consistency of care during pregnancy, birth and early postpartum? do you desire to have someone to walk the road of parenthood with you? A friend to encourage you in your decisions? Continuous physical support during your birthing time?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you simply must have a Village Birth Services Doula! Doulas provide support unlike anyone else can. Now I know, there may already be oppositions coming into your mind about why you don't want a doula! I would like to share some of the most common objections I have heard.
My partner/mom/sister/friend will be there to support me!
That is GREAT! I am so glad that you have someone there who will support you. I want you to think hard though, has there been a moment where that person has not agreed with your decisions? Where that person didn't have the answer to your pregnancy questions? Or their information was maybe a bit outdated? In steps a doula. A doula will never take the position of your friend/family member, but rather a doula can come along side and teach them how to support you well during this beautiful moment in your life. They can also give your support team a break when needed, and an extra set of hands! (I have been at many births where an extra set of hands for physical support is very welcomed!). Doula's will also never question you and your parenting decisions. They will support you and encourage you on your journey. No rude comments, no unsolicited advice. Just a comforting hand to hold along the way!
My midwife/OB/nurse will be there to support me
Midwives and nurses are fantastic at their jobs. They want to support you mentally and physically through your pregnancy, birth and postpartum time. It's one of their favorite things to do, but their first job is to keep you safe first and formost. They must wear their medical hat- keeping track of your heart rate, babies heart rate, contractions, fluid intake, and everything else that they do so well! This means that they may not be able to provide you the support you need physically and emotionally. They care so much, but need to focus on your health and your baby's wellbeing. A doula on the other hand is hired to support you physically and emotionally. That is their main priority. Together with your care provider and nurse we make a phenomenal team! We all wear the hats we need to wear, and you are not neglected in any way, shape or form. I so enjoy partnering with your care team to provide you with superb support!
I can't afford it
Pregnancy and birth can seem like a costly endeavor. All the baby supplies, care for yourself, daycare fees and more can seem like an overwhelming mountain. Add doula services and I know you find yourself wondering if its truly worth it. Remember my questions at the beginning? Do you want an expert in the field at your finger tips the moment you hire them? Do you want unconditional support? Do you want your partner supported and guided? Do you want someone that is solely focused on you during your special time? Then the money is worth it! I promise. A doula is worth their weight in gold. They can be budgeted in. Village Birth Services offers payment plans as well. I have know many people to ask for money towards their doula at their baby shower! If you want a Village Birth Services doula to support you there are many ways to make it happen.
I want there to be as few people as possible attending my birth
I completely understand this desire. Many women feel like this is such a vulnerable time in their life and they want as few people in attendance as possible. I love to think of doulas as chameleons. They truly blend into the background. They help you to feel supported, uninterrupted, and help to make the environment a peaceful and comfortable place for you. A doula's job is to be a gentle presence. Doula support is not invasive, but rather a calm asset to your village.
These are just a few of the most common objections I have heard!
I would love to hear what objections did/do you have to having a doula? Comment below and share your experience!
Are you ready to chat about adding a doula's expertise to your village?
,What is your name?
What does your family look like?
My handsome, hardworking husband and I have been married for almost 6 years. In those six years we have welcomed three babies into our life. Two earthside. Izzy is 4, Caleb we lost due to miscarriage, and Zechariah is 1. They are my life and my joy <3
Where do you live/where are you from?
I am from a small town in MN and currently reside in the Twin Cities area, Bloomington be exact!
What lead you to choose doula work?
After the birth of my daughter I found myself completely fascinated with the birthing process. I had a doula myself and it motivated me to want to help support families in the same way I watched her support us. Thus, a doula was born!
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to read, explore outdoors with my family, rollerblade, spend time with friends and family, sing, sew, cook/bake, and research- I LOVE to learn!
Whats your favorite food?
I like food.... it's very hard to pick one. I love Indian, Chinese, and Pizza. I also love raspberries, grapefruit, and chocolate.
What is your favorite beverage?
water or coffee would be my favorite
What is your favorite place you have been?
Uganda, Africa-where I met my husband
What do you dream of?
I dream of having our own home with chickens and maybe a cow ;) I also dream of being a midwife is East Africa someday with my family.
What is one fear you have?
If you could travel anywhere where would you go?
I have always wanted to go to Greece! Ever since seeing sisterhood of the traveling pants!
What is one thing you desire your clients to know about you?
That my heart is big and my ears are always open. I love to listen and provide a safe place for families to be real. Nothing surprises me as a doula. I will never judge or minimize your feelings. I am here to provide you with the best emotional and physical support that I am capable of. I am SO excited to serve you as your doula.
I don't know about you, but by the end of the week I am so over making dinner. I love to cook, but with two little kiddos under my feet I need something simple and filling. This egg bake is my go to.
It is a nice recipe because it can be modified for your families desires and tastes. It can be made paleo by omitting the cheese!
It's kid approved and healthy!
Scrumptious Egg Bake
-1 pound of your choice of sausage. Sometimes we use breakfast sausage, other times spicy italian sausage. The options are endless
-12 large eggs
-one bag of sweet potatoes peeled and diced
-seasonings of your choice- we like to use 21 salute seasoning from Trader Joes as well as salt and pepper.
-shredded Mexican cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Place them in a bowl and coat with a bit of olive oil. lay on a pan in a single layer, sprinkle on seasoning and bake until soft and browned. About 20 minutes or so. (I'm terrible with keeping track of time, but keep an eye on them. Depending on the size you cut them they may take more or less time.?)
While the potatoes bake brown your sausage in a frying pan.
Then grease a 9X13 baking dish. Remove cooked potatoes from oven and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Place cooked potatoes in the bottom of the 9X13 pan, cover with the browned sausage, beat the eggs in a bowl and pour those on top of the potato/sausage mixture. Sprinkle as much cheese as you would like on top. Chop the green onions and place those on top as well.
Pl;ace in oven and cook for 1 hour. You will know it is done when the top is firm all through out.
We enjoy ours with some hot sauce.
ENJOY! It tastes like you slaved away in the kitchen...but in reality it was simplicity at its finest.
*I love this recipe because you could prepare this dish in the AM and keep it in the fridge. At dinner time it can be thrown in the oven.(If you do this it may need to cook a bit longer because it is cold.)
I never knew that I would have so many emotions surrounding the birth of my second child. They were big. They were many times ugly. And oh let me tell you they were overwhelming. What I am coming to realize is that I have to allow myself to feel all the feels, embrace the season we are in, and know that this too shall pass.
These are just some of the feelings you may feel when you are expecting your second!
1. Fear: I feared him being born. What our world would be like with two. I feared that I couldn’t love another as much as I loved my first. The fear was huge. I many times wished he would stay inside forever. Not because I loved pregnancy, but because the fear was so real. What if I couldn’t love them both?
2. Resentment: at times towards Baby Z who I loved so much and other times towards my toddler who I loved just as fiercely. I at times resent Baby Z because he is taking away from my time with my Big B, and then I resent my Big B because she loves too rough and accidentally hurts her brother.
3. Joy: The joy I feel in watching my Big B embrace Baby Z into her world. She does it so selflessly. She cares for him as a mother would. She loves so deeply. This brings so much joy to my heart to see her accept him.
4. Heartbreak: Watching my Big B grow up. Watching her embrace independence, conquering her fears, and allowing Baby B to take so much of my time. It breaks my heart that she is growing up and doesn’t “need” me like she used to.
5. Love: I wondered and wondered how I was going to love two. How my heart could be big enough for two. How I could come up with enough time and energy to love them both well. After Baby Z was born it all made sense. My heart just grew. Is it hard to find time for both? Yes. Do I feel stretched thin many days? Yes. But it’s doable. Your love doubles, its not divided at all.
Give yourself the freedom to feel these emotions and process them. Having a second baby is a big change. Allow yourself the time to transition, and know that you are not alone!
Are you in the midst of this season of life where you are expecting or just had your second born child? What emotions do you feel? How are cope with them?
Today I have a special post for you. My mom is sharing her birth story with you for Prematurity Awareness Day (yesterday). I was born prematurely and my mother is kind enough to share her story with us.
What was your due date?
My due date was March 6th.
What day did everything begin?
My water broke on Dec.19th.
What was the hardest part of having a premature baby?
The hardest parts of having a premature baby was keeping her body temperature up, Also keeping visitors away to keep you well. And waking every 2 hours to feed. Also the fear that you would stop breathing.
What was your birth story?
Your dad got into a bad car accident. They sent him home to me when he couldn't even walk alone. I had to help him to the bathroom, bathe him, let alone the stress of the accident. I was cleaning on the morning of the 19th of December and while vacuuming my water broke. I ended up going to the hospital. It was a horrible time.. Christmas was around the corner, Your dad was still healing and it was freezing outside.
I remember calling your dad and telling him you were going to be born sometime Christmas day. I was going to deliver vaginally if possible. They had already given me steroids to develop your lungs faster. Grandma brought dad down. They kept losing your heart rate when I was on my back and then the right side and then they started losing it on the left side as well. You were brought in for an emergency c'section. Luckily you could breath on your own. You were given antibiotics because you got an infection from my water. You couldn't eat on your own.
I was hemorrhaging and having a real hard time. I didnt get to see you for two days. I was totally depressed and they gave me one horrible picture of you all hooked up to a million wires.
I was honestly afraid to go see you. But was glad I did.
You were so tiny, but so perfect. I never wanted to leave your side! I stayed a week after you were born. Everyday I was with you.
You lost a few ounces once you got your suck swallow motion down, it took so much energy for your little body to eat. But you soon gained it back. I remember when I had to leave you at the hospital I cried all the way home! We had to depend on your grandma to take us there because neither of us could drive. I would get there every other day and would stay as long as I could. The days I couldn't get there I would sit by the phone. The hospital would call and give me updates twice a day!
Usually they keep premature babies in the hospital until their due date. But we took you home January 21st.
You weighed 4 lbs 9 oz.
When I took you home it was a very happy and scary day. The uncertainty of everything was a lot to handle. Dad and I took CPR classes before we took you home. We learned quickly to care for you and before we knew it you caught up on the growth charts, you were a true Christmas miracle!
Thank you mom for sharing this journey!
Did you have a premature baby? Please tell us your story in the comments!
Just a fun Friday blog post today!
My top 5 favorite board books for little ones!
(There is no order of favorites. I LOVE BOARD BOOKS!)
Wherever You Are
my love will find you
by: Nancy Tillman
On the Night You Were Born
by: Nancy Tillman
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
by: Michael Rosen/Helen Oxenbury
Love you Forever
by: Robert Munsch
God's Love in my Heart
by: Tim Bugbird
It was February.
We had been trying to conceive for about a year.
We knew that God would bless us in His time.
Then it finally happened.
I had a feeling I was pregnant. I seem to always do. I took the test and low and behold two lines appeared.
We were SO excited.
We created a little video of our little B showing everyone where the baby was.
It was wonderful.
The early pregnancy symptoms began.
Nesting like crazy.
Weeks went by.
and then week seven hit.
It was a normal day. Hanging out with Bella Boo and going about our day.
When I went to the bathroom and knew something was wrong. There was a small bit of red.
I wasn’t fully concerned at this point, because it was so little and I knew that many women spot during pregnancy.
Josh came home from work, and I went to check again. A lot more this time.
I called my midwife who told me what was probably happening---
I gained membership to a very UNDESIRABLE club….
I was having a miscarriage.
We went to have an ultrasound to see what was happening for sure. They couldn’t tell us much, other than that our little one was measuring at 5 weeks, not 7. We left with a little hope that I was just spotting, but still arrived home and prepared to grieve.
My parents took Bella and we waited. The next morning the cramping began. The bleeding continued. By the grace of God it was not as bad as I have heard other women’s stories be.
We went and stayed with my parents for the weekend.
I missed Bella.
I passed what looked like the placenta…..and just like that my baby’s life was gone.
This club was miserable.
We were so excited.
We cried. We got mad. We questioned. We grew closer together.
We hoped. That God would still bless us with another little one.
There’s a type of fear that sets in after you have a miscarriage. So many questions swirl through your brain.
Will I be able to conceive again?
Is my body broken?
Why did my baby need to leave this earth?
Did I do something to cause this?
And then the fear after you DO conceive again.
Will I get to keep this baby?
Is everything okay?
I hope it won’t happen again.
Everyday you fear, but choose to trust.
Count the days until you are out of the first trimester.
Wait to hear the heartbeat again and again.
Can’t wait to feel those little wiggles inside.
Miscarriage is a club I never thought I would be a member of.
But now I am.
I want to speak out about it. I want to be a voice. This is hard. It should be talked about. Your baby was a living human being. You deserve to mourn and grieve. He can be counted as one of your children. Your fears are valid.
Give yourself time to heal. Know they will never leave your heart.
Know you are not alone in this club.
Written in memory of our little guy:
Caleb Enoch Strayer
*If you or a loved one have experienced a miscarriage, reach out and talk to someone. I am here as a doula to talk with you through the pain, fears, and questions.
I have some things I need to tell you.
Please slow down and enjoy life with me.
Even just today.
Jump in the puddles with me, enjoy the sunshine of the day, and watch me as I grow and learn.
Please don't miss out on my life because of busyness. Because of text messages or Facebook.
Live in the now Mama.
I'm learning. I'm growing. I'm changing.
Tomorrow will be different. I will be doing more things that I couldn't do. Don't miss them.
You will regret it.
Watch me mama.
Care for me mama.
I need you.
Wove you Mama,
Information to enhance your *village* experience.