A Father’s Day Tribute

Dear Dad,

Since you are not on social media I am not sure when you will see this. I am fairly confident Mom will fill you in about this post as soon as she reads it. And my guess would be that this will happen sometime in the next 24 hours.

The purpose of this tribute is to give you the honor you deserve and to display my appreciation to God for the Dad that he gave me. With Father’s Day coming up this weekend I wanted to share and express these thoughts publicly.

Is it crazy that you have a 33 year old daughter? Caden just turned 5 and it is crazy to me that I have a 5 year old now. So I am assuming that this is how you feel about Evan and I.

Time sure goes fast.

This is why I wanted to be sure to take a moment and let you know how much I love you. Thank you for being there for me and for supplying so many fun and meaningful memories that I cherish to this day.

Do you remember playing street hockey with Evan and I along with all the neighborhood kids on rollerblades? You were the only Dad out there playing with us and we loved it! Or what about the time you dressed up in high waisted shorts with socks and sandals as a joke to go to my high school orientation? It was funny but I am glad that you changed your outfit before leaving the house. I debated sharing that photo but decided that some memories are better kept in the family photo album instead of being displayed on the internet.

Over the summer after my fifth grade year you took me out to lunch. This was unusual because we didn’t really go out to eat unless it was as a family. We went to Wendy’s – which isn’t even a Wendy’s anymore, it is a Starbucks, and is totally fitting seeing as how much you love Starbucks – and you had a talk with me about entering middle school and how I was growing up. It was the first of many casual conversations about boys and valuing myself and knowing that you thought I was beautiful. I am not sure if that is what you were meaning to get across in that moment but that is what I took away from it.

Due to moments like this I have never doubted that you loved me and I know that is a huge reason that I didn’t pursue or seek out relationships with the opposite sex that would have caused me heartbreak later.

My love for being active and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation came from you. You gave such an active example of taking care of yourself and your love for the great outdoors is something that I really appreciated and adopted into my own life.

I have loved our father daughter trips over the years hiking and backpacking throughout California and Arizona. Half Dome and Humphrey’s Peak were pretty epic. As was the gas station at Ebbets Pass ;).

Also let me take a moment to say that cameras have come a long way since 1995.

Thank you for these memories, for the adventures, for your time, for making yourself available, for loving me enough to set limits, and for supporting my interests.

I am not sure if Josh will take Maisie to Wendy’s or to Half Dome but I know that he is planning on daddy daughter dates. He knows how much these moments with you have meant to me and he wants to establish those same types of memories with her.

I love you and I appreciate all you have done and continue to do for me and now also my own family.

Your daughter, Tam

PS…I think it might be time to #bringbackthestache.

I am linking back to Tim Challies for the great idea! Check out his series The Commandment We Forgot  that looks at the fifth commandment (“honor your father and mother”) and explores the idea of how to obey this command once we are adults. 

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The East Valley 2017 Summer Guide for Preschoolers

This post is for all you local blog readers! I spent my youth (and college years) growing up in Tempe, whatup 85284! We currently live in Chandler but 3 years ago rented a house in Gilbert for a year, so we are also familiar with that area.  And for the last 12 years Josh has worked for the City of Mesa.

Having lived in the east valley for 26 out of my 33 years I feel I have a pretty good idea of the local spots that are fun, free/inexpensive, or air conditioned to hit up during the summer months.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but this is a list of things that our kids enjoy or we think they will enjoy this summer, we enjoy doing with them, and also do not cost much money. Our kids are 4 years, 2 years, and 6 months old for reference.

EAST VALLEY SPLASH PARKS

Our community has so many splash parks! Many master planned neighborhoods are featuring these in the parks surrounding new homes. I know there are probably many more that I could have included in this list.

CHANDLER

Spray pads operated by the city run 9am-7pm May through August and 10am-6pm September through October. In case you haven’t been to Desert Breeze in awhile be sure to stop by this summer to visit the newly remodeled spray pad! It is so nice!

  • Chuparosa Park spray pad has a ground spray, spray rings and a candy cane-shaped shower. 2400 S. Dobson Road. (480) 782-2750.
  • Desert Breeze Park spray pad 1 Buttercup, 1 misty mountain, 1 ground spray, 3 ants, 1 corn poppy, 1 flutter, 1 morning cross and 3 surf stones.. 660 N. Desert Breeze Blvd. (480) 893-6652.
  • Espee Park spray pad has a water tower, candy-cane-shaped showers, spray rings and ground sprays. 450 E. Knox Road. (480) 782-272.

Chandler Mall also has a splash pad that is located in the outdoor Village. It is open daily April thru September from 9am-4pm. 3111 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler. (480) 812-8488

GILBERT

Water Tower Park’s splash pad is among other water features, including a floating granite kugel ball and a water wall. 6am-10pm daily, year round. 45 W. Page Ave. (480) 503-6200

With the plethora of restaurants in downtown Gilbert you won’t have a problem finding a place to eat after you splash around in the water. Grubstak offers kids eat free on Tuesdays!

Santan Village Mall has a splash pad that opened for the season on May 6th and it will close in October. It is located in the Children’s Play Area between Build-A-Bear and Gymboree. 2218 E. Williams Field Rd., Gilbert. (480) 282-9500

MESA

The Eastmark Community’s Great Park has a public splash pad operated by the city of Mesa. 7am-10pm daily, year round. 5100 S. Eastmark Parkway. (480) 644-2352

The city’s Riverview Park also has a splash pad with multiple water features. 9am-10pm daily, year round. 2100 W. Rio Salado Parkway. (480) 644-2352

TEMPE

City of Tempe has three parks with splash pads. There used to be a splash park at Tempe Town Lake but it is permanently closed. Next summer Kiwanis Park will be home to a new splash park and I am sure it will be amazing! Details on all three currently opened: (480) 350-5200

  • Jaycee Park. Open April 29-October 29. 10am-7pm daily. 817 W. Fifth St.
  • Hudson Park. Open April 29-October 29. 10am-7pm daily. 1430 S. Cedar St.
  • Esquer Park. Open April 29-October 29. 10am-7pm daily. 2407 E. McArthur Drive

KIDS CLUB @ SUPERSTITION SPRINGS MALL

Free, fun & educational games and activities for kids! The Superstition Springs Center Kids Club is a great opportunity for your child to learn in a fun, interactive setting. National Geographic Kids creates activities and games that focus on discovery through play.

Details: Kids Club is hosted by Persephone (she is a singing clown) and Dewper the Prairie Dog every Thursday from 10-11am through October 26, 2017 in JCPenney Court. 6555 E Southern Ave, Mesa. (480) 832-0212

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL

Many churches offer Vacation Bible School in the summer months! Our church included. Ages 4+ will learn where their identity is found, who God says they are, and what their mission is! Compass Christian Church is offering VBS in the evenings from June 4-June 7.

Details: Cost is $5. VBS is 6:30pm-8:30pm on June 4-June 7. Register HERE. 1825 S Alma School Rd, Chandler. (480) 963-3997

FREE SWIM @ CITY OF CHANDLER POOLS

I love public pools. I know that sounds weird but I took swim lessons at Kiwanis Wave Pool during the summer months I was in elementary school and eventually became a lifeguard at this same pool. That is how Josh and I met.

My degree is Recreation Management with an emphasis on community and urban recreation. I previously worked as a Recreation Coordinator for the City of Chandler and I absolutely love all the amazing programs Chandler offers to the community!

Every summer Chandler Aquatics has free swim hours at each of it’s pools. Here is a list of this years schedule. To my knowledge they are the only city in the east valley that offers this. Be sure to check out free swim this summer during the months of June and July.

  • Arrowhead Pool: Saturdays 11am-1pm. 1475 W. Erie St. (480) 732-1064
  • Desert Oasis Aquatic Center: Wednesdays 3-5pm. 1400 W. Summit Place. (480) 732-1062
  • Folley Pool: Fridays 3-5pm. 600 E. Fairview. (480) 732-1063
  • Hamilton Aquatic Center: Tuesdays 6-8pm. 3838 S. Arizona Ave. (480) 782-2630
  • Nozomi Aquatic Center: Sundays 4-6pm. 250 S. Kyrene Rd. (480) 783-8261
  • Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center: Fridays 6-8pm. 5901 S. Hillcrest Dr. (480) 782-2635

ARIZONA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 

Explore the history of the Southwest, from dinosaurs to explorers, at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Pan for gold, search for dinosaur bones, and much more! If you go in the morning be sure to head down to the basement level to see if the activity center is open for your little ones to color, read books, work on puzzles and play games.

This is one of the most expensive places on this list but if you purchase a year membership it is so much cheaper! Last year we visited at least twice each month and it paid for itself in two visits.

It is the perfect size museum for little kids and the new dinosaur play area with slide and tunnel makes it even more perfect for the hot summer months! We enjoy this place over the IDEA Museum which is right down the street.

Details: Cost is $12 for adults, $7 for ages 3-12, and is free for children 2 and under. 53 N. MacDonald. (480) 644-2230

SUMMER READING PROGRAMS

We love going to the library! I have since I was little. Does anyone else remember  Book It? Loved earning pizza by reading books :).

Sign your kids up for the reading program at the library this summer. They may not earn pizza but establishing the love of literature in your child is a gift that will last forever. Here are several of our favorite libraries in the east valley:

SWEETIES

Located in Chandler Sweeties is what little kids dreams are made of! Aisles and aisles of candy. So much candy! You can buy it prepackaged or make your own little bag of all your favorites. Sozo Coffee and the .99 cent store is in the same shopping center if you want to make a full morning or afternoon adventure of it!

Details: 1986 North Alma School Road. (480) 899-4245

BRUNSWICK BOWLING (FOR FREE)

Kids 15 and under can score 3 FREE games of bowling this summer at Brunswick through September.  Shoe rental is not included. Simply register HERE and coupons will arrive via email.

BASS PRO

The Mesa Bass Pro Shops has fun things planned for kids on Tuesdays!  Every Tuesday participate in their Kids Night event where they will have crafts, games, archery, and food for everyone! Events run from 5-8 p.m. (602) 606-5600

WIGGLE WORM ADVENTURES, GILBERT

Located at the McQueen Park Activity Center, take your kids 5 and under (max of 4) for play. Come play indoors with mats, hoops, balls, tunnels, ride on toys, music, and more!

Details: Cost is $1.50 for Gilbert Residents and $2 for Non-Gilbert Residents. Adults are FREE! Drop in between 9-11am on M,W,F from May 1 – August 11, 2017. 510 N. Horne St., Gilbert. (480) 503-6294

TUMBLEWEED TOTS, CHANDLER

Much like Wiggle Worm Adventures this is also a community sponsored preschool playtime held at Tumbleweed Recreation Center. Drop in and play in the air-conditioned gymnasium. This is a fun, safe, and clean area with plenty of toys and equipment to keep the kids entertained.

Details: Cost is $2 for Chandler Residents and $3 for Non-Chandler Residents. Drop in between 12:30pm-2:30pm on M,W,F. 745 E. Germann Rd.,
Chandler. (480) 782-2900

TEMPE HISTORY MUSEUM

If you are heading to Tempe Public Library at all this summer you might want to make a stop here as well. The museum is within walking distance of the library and while it isn’t geared towards children specifically it does have an area called Kids’ Place where children can play in a miniature Sun Devil Stadium, climb on a police motorcycle and hear music from bygone eras. Josh and Caden spent an hour there recently and enjoyed it. There is no cost to enter.

Details: Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays. 809 E. Southern Avenue. Free admission, donations accepted. (480) 350-5100, tempe.gov/museum.

There you have it! I hope you are able to create lasting memories with your family this summer! Remember that your kids want to spend time with you. Don’t think that you need to spend money or go on vacation this summer to have fun with your family. There are so many fun things to do right in our own community!

Is there something I didn’t put on this list that I should add? Let me know! I would love to hear from you!

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A Mother’s Day Tribute

With Mother’s Day approaching this weekend I wanted to share a public tribute to my Mom. The purpose of this tribute is to give her the honor she deserves and to display my appreciation to God for the mom he gave me. I am linking back to Tim Challies for the great idea! Check out his series The Commandment We Forgot  that looks at the fifth commandment (“honor your father and mother”) and explores the idea of how to obey this command once we are adults. #dearmom17

Dear Mom,

I know I don’t always take the time to say thank you for all the amazing ways you have shown and continue to show your love to our family so I am taking time today to rectify that.

First off, you are beautiful. You may not hear those words enough from your family, myself included. You have shown me over the course of my life that true beauty comes from within and most importantly when Christ shines out of us. Thank you for teaching me that it is the small moments in the day that develop our character for the great moments in life.

When I now look at the picture above from when I was pregnant with Caden, I understand how excited you must have been for me to become a mother. Children are a blessing from the Lord and my own little ones have made me appreciate you even more.

Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made for me. Thank you for the sleepless nights you gave up, for the meals you had to reheat for yourself, and for the huge amount of bodily fluids I must have placed on you during my lifetime. Having children now at the current ages of 4 years, 2 years, and 5 months I know that you had your share of these things with myself and Evan.

I can never imagine Caden, Maisie, or Jesse being as sick as I was several years ago.  My stomach knots together just thinking about these little ones of mine being ill. I know it was hard to see me like that. Thank you for your love and support during those two years.

Now with a daughter of my own I hope to one day have the type of relationship with her that I have with you. Do you remember the time you let me put glitter eyeshadow on you for church? <— Click the link to read about this story from my Mom’s perspective. You were so trusting and left the house without looking in the mirror. Personally, I thought it looked fabulous but had absolutely no idea what I was doing with those makeup brushes.

Out of all the memories we have made together this far, and we have made many, my favorites have been when you have seen your grandchildren enter this world.

Thank you for being in the room for the biggest moments of my life. For being present and for being available.

Thank you for being a mom who was easy to talk to even when I didn’t want to talk, for listening, for speaking the truth in love, and most importantly thank you for introducing me to Jesus.

One day, when we have to say goodbye for a little while, I will be even more grateful for having a mother who shared her faith. However many years the Lord blesses us with together I will be thankful for each one. Thank you for showing me how to mother and to share my own faith with my children.

Love, your daughter, Tamara Marie

PS…If you come over early before church I can do your makeup this weekend. I promise no glitter.

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