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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EverlyWell Breast Milk DHA Test Review

I recently had the opportunity to check the levels of DHA in my breast milk from the comfort of my own home. I am sharing my experience using the EverlyWell Breast Milk DHA test kit. Technology is seriously amazing and I think it is great that there are health and wellness tests like this available.

This post was sponsored by EverlyWell through my partnership with Fit Approach. With that said, all opinions and test results are my own. #BeEverlyWell #WhyIBreastFeed

WHAT IS DHA?

You might be wondering why anyone would care to check the levels of DHA in their breast milk in the first place. DHA is an omega fatty acid that aids in the brain and nervous system development of children and is crucial in the first years of your child’s life. It is estimated that 75% of Americans are deficient in DHA. 

DHA is not only crucial for your baby but it is also important for you! DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid and is commonly referred to as omega-3. DHA along with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) promote a healthy immune response that are behind the relief of many chronic conditions but is too often inhibited by poor nutrition.

THE BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3S

  • Supports heart function
  • Promotes positive mood and well being
  • Maintains fluid and flexible eye cells and tissue
  • Promotes joint mobility and flexibility
  • Nourishes skin, hair, and nails
  • Protects against free radicals
  • Supports the immune system

Despite the great health benefits of omegas, individuals around the world suffer from omega–3 deficiency and one that is counted as the 8th leading cause of preventable death in the US, among dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors.1 Americans have the lowest intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids of any developed country.

RISKS OF CONSUMING TOO LITTLE OMEGA-3S

  • Inflammation (sometimes severe)
  • Higher risk for heart disease and high cholesterol
  • Digestive disorders
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Mental disorders like depression
  • Poor brain development
  • Cognitive decline

TAKING THE EVERLYWELL BREAST MILK DHA TEST

This test is simple and can be done at home! The results are emailed to you and you can share them with your doctor. The kit arrived in my mailbox within three days of ordering it online and the directions were very easy to follow.

The breast milk sample needed to be taken in the morning and before any supplementation of DHA was consumed. I am currently taking this Ultimate Omega from Nordic Natural daily and made sure to wait to take my supplements until after I collected the sample.

Sample collection was very easy and required only a drop or two of breast milk on the test paper. I was then able to package everything back inside the box that was shipped to me and easily applied the included shipping label on the package. Super easy.

Once it was mailed back I received an email that let me know my sample had been received and I could expect my results in 5 days.

THE RESULTS

5 days later I had an email waiting for me in my inbox letting me know that my results were ready. It really doesn’t get any easier.

The website is easy to navigate and the results were presented in a clear and concise way. I appreciated how I could track the entire status of my order from when it shipped to when my results were ready.

I learned that my DHA levels are above average and in the optimal range. This means that what I am doing I need to keep doing. In addition to supplementing with omega-3s here are 3 things I consume weekly with high amounts of DHA:

  • Chia Seeds: 2,457 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (61 percent DV)
  • Flaxseeds (ground): 1,597 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (39 percent DV)
  • Sardines: 1,363 milligrams in 1 can/3.75 ounces (34 percent DV)

I am thankful to have had the ability to breastfed all three of my babies. It was a pleasure to write this review and I am thankful for the opportunity. It is nice knowing that what I am feeding myself is also nourishing my six month old. Recommended Reading: My Breastfeeding Story (Caden), Pumping, Dumping, Freezing Breast Milk and Bottle Feeding, and Jesse’s Birth Story.

I am seriously amazed at how God made our bodies! Being able to breastfeed my babies has been such a gift. And just for fun here are some interesting facts about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding helps mama heal faster in the postpartum. The hormones released when you breastfeed make your uterus contract back to its pre-pregnancy size. Also, in case you were curious, the more babies you have had the stronger your uterus will contract during those first few days of breastfeeding your newborn. You’re probably a righty. The majority of moms (75%) produce more milk in their right breast, whether they are right or left handed.

EverlyWell is the exclusive provider of this test directly to consumers in the United States. Visit EverlyWell to get your own kit and use code: WOM15 for 15% off your order. (Code only good for Breast Milk DHA Kit)

PS…EverlyWell offers a wide range of home health tests ranging from food sensitivity, male and female hormone, metabolism, fertility, vitamin d, and more!

1Danaei G, et al. The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors. PLoS Med 2009;6(4)

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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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