Summer Bucket List

Summer is a few weeks away and that means the kids are done with Mother’s Day Out and you need to find things to entertain them. The weather can be brutal in Dallas, you need indoor activities and all the ideas you can get. Here are a list of links to my favorite Uptown Mom posts to plan for a fun summer in Dallas!

Toddler time at the movies

Story time at the Farmers Branch frog pond

Family Friendly Feasting

It’s a party in the G.Y.M.

Story Time at Whole Foods Park Ln

NorthPark Mall: daily activities and story times

Summer Gymnastics at ASI

Splash Pads and Fountains and Slides, oh my!

The Perot Museum

The Dallas Museum of Art… for toddlers

Dallas’ Best Kept Splash Pad!

A dance club for the whole family!

Safari Run, an indoor Jungle Gym

Our Favorite Dallas Parks

Our Favorite Trampoline Parks

SEA LIFE AQUARIUM+ Toddler Tuesday

The Playdate Co. indoor play space

Aquariums and Gardens Made Perfect for Toddlers

Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park

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Saving lives one little swimmer at a time

 

WATER SAFETY at EMLER SWIM SCHOOL

Drowning is the #1 cause of death for children under the age of 5, nearly 700 children die every year. 69% of fatal drowning swimming pool incidents occur under one or two responsible parent supervision. 3 out 4 of those children had been seen no more than 5 minutes prior to being found in the pool. Drowning happens quickly and quietly. The best way we can protect our children is to teach them water safety skills.

Of all the things we have to be scared of as a parents why not ease your anxiety by having one less thing to worry about. The importance of having your child in Swim School can make the difference in a life or death situation. Choosing the right swim school for your child is crucial to their swimming development and water safety. The award winning Emler Swim School  has developed a learn-to-swim program focused on love and safety. Children at Emler are never immersed aggressively or traumatically, they are taught with love and patience.

Their parent-involved class also gives you the confidence and guidance to apply the techniques on your own. Some of the water safety skills Dex (19months) is currently perfecting are breath control, we are now up to 8 second submersion. We are learning to turn around and grab the wall, walk our hands to the edge and climb out. We are always working on kicking our legs, rolling over to our backs and floating face up. These are all important survival skills that can save your child’s life if God forbid something were to ever happen.

Summer is just a few months away, now is the time to get your kids enrolled and ready for pool season. Aside from having the peace of mind knowing that your  child is aquatically prepared you can be on your way to even more relaxation. The sooner your child can fully swim on their own the sooner you can just lay by the pool and work on that tan!

REMEMBER:

  • Use code: UPTOWN MOM to get your FREE high quality, reusable swim pants
  • Babies 2mo – 5mo are FREE in the Bathtime Babies class (see previous post HERE)
  • Enroll your child HERE
  • Learn more about water safety tips HERE

 

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A New Snap on Family Photos

MY EXPERIENCE WITH LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY with Alexis Marie Photography

“Can I follow you around and take pictures of you?”  (Was an email I received from a photographer)

Me: Absolutely!!!!  (If you know me, this is right up my alley)

As I continued reading the email from Alexis Vazquez an up and coming lifestyle photographer, I fell in love with her story and her new found approach on photoshoots opposed to the traditional family photo set up. Among her experience and many ideas the statement that grabbed me was this:

“As a photographer, I have often felt defeated and guilty when clients have stressful experiences during photo shoots. Mom feels like she can’t keep control of her hair or her kids. Dad is dying to go home and watch the game.Kids are impatient and ice cream bribes fail 20 minutes in. I don’t want my clients to feel that way after I capture them. I want them to be confident that someone just captured their life story and 50 years from now.”

I’m in!

We set up a fun day for her to join us and capture our experience. Some moments were great and some not so great, but the important thing in my opinion was that each one was genuine.

I also found so much value in being able to be completely present in the experience instead of half focusing on trying to get the perfect photo.

I know the “getting the perfect photo” part may sound trivial but the truth is you are making memories and your kids are only small once and I want to capture every ounce of it I can.

I often enjoy looking back on past times and reminiscing… But maybe that’s just me.

I really enjoyed this concept of photography. You get much more out of your time this way, you get to do a fun activity spending time with your family,  while capturing all the pure joy and genuine smiles without all the cranky hassle.

Here are a few of the photos from our day.

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If you are looking for a new way to preserve your family in a new light, give lifestyle photography a “shot”… Get it. Contact alexismariephoto@yahoo.com

More about her concept:

As a visual storyteller, I do my best to make my photo sessions an experience and not just something you add to your check list every year at Christmas. I love capturing real, raw moments of people more than anything because you tend to see a soul when that happens and not just a person. Over the years, I believe photography became more about the camera and less about who the camera was capturing. You’re important. You have a story. You’re my muse. Not just a client or subject. Therefore, my approach is a little more organic and interactive then me just telling you to sit in front of my camera and smile.  Whether we’re shooting in your home or at a park when the sun is about to set, my photos are often described by others as bright, raw and dreamy. As world renowned photographer, Annie Leibovitz said, “When I say I want to photograph someone, I mean: I want to know them.” That’s my heart- to know you and tell your story in light.  -Alexis

Emler Swim School Progress Update

We began our Emler journey when Dexter was just 2 months old in the FREE Bathtime Babies class, which you can check out HERE .

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We took a break around the holidays and never got around to going back, which is a big regret. We started the Water Babies class about a month ago after we got back from our family vacation. When we were in Florida my eyes were opened to the importance of water safety and knowing how to swim.

In the past four weeks I have seen a huge change and major improvement in Dexter’s comfort level with the pool.

We have gone from screaming throughout the entirety of the class to eagerly jumping in swimming under water.

A tip from my own experience: Timing is key. When we started this session we were going to a 10:30 am class in which I was spending the whole time trying to keep my swimsuit from being pulled down by the inconsolable, stage 5 clinger. Our instructor recommend we try an earlier class and voilà… different kid! He is now holding his breath, kicking under water and loving every minute.

That is the beauty of Emler Swim School, they offer several dates, times, and locations to accommodate any schedule.

Not only is Dexter learning to trust his teachers, follow a class curriculum, and participate in a peer driven environment, we are spending quality uninterrupted time together.

Now is the perfect time to get started on swim lessons for a confident and prepared toddler this summer!

Remember when you register for class HERE and use the code: UPTOWN MOM you will get FREE pair of swim pants!

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Aqua Therapy

BATH TIME BABIES with EMLER SWIM SCHOOL

I have said it before and I’ll say it again; if you have a baby, get out of the house! As I strongly pushed the importance of staying active with your baby in my previous post  Baby get your zen on I am adding another “must do” to the list… Baby swim lessons!

Did you know Emler Swim School offers swim lessons to babies from 2months old?! And guess what… swimmers up to 5 months old are free… FREE!!!!

The class is called Bath Time Babies and it’s amazing! I started taking Dex as soon as he was old enough at 2 months. I really enjoyed this class and looked forward to my weekly uninterrupted bonding time in the pool.

Reasons we love this class:

1) IT’S FREE and as you know daily activities can add up.

2) IT’S INDOOR- This is important because although swimming is fun, it can be a hassle putting on sunscreen and worrying about getting too much sun. Another reason this is a plus, you can take class all year long, rain or shine, night or day.

3) IT’S FUN – This is a great great bonding activity because you are learning together, holding your baby, and constantly communicating.

4) MOMMY NETWORKING- If you are new to the mom game you may not yet have friends with babies the same age as yours. This is another opportunity to meet Moms with babies in the same stage as you. It’s very helpful in navigating your way through parenthood when you can bounce thoughts and experiences off one another.

5) IT’S SAFE- You can never be too careful when it comes to water safety. This class allows little ones to get comfortable with being in the water and prepping them to learn safety skills.

I adamantly encourage all my new”bee” moms to try this class, EMLER has multiple locations all over the Dallas area. They also offer a wide range of times so all you stay-at-home moms and working moms or dads can participate. All you need is 2 swim diapers. Good news: if you mention UPTOWN MOM when signing up, you get a FREE swim diaper!!!! Yay! More free stuff!!!!

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Park Treasures

It’s October, pumpkin spice is in air and the weather is perfect which means get your butt outside and enjoy it. We have been soaking it all in around town while hitting up some of our favorite secret play spots! Check out our top 3 park picks you may not even know exsist;

3) Reverchon Park

3505 Maple Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

This park is near and dear to me, I have been an avid Reverchon Park goer even before I had a baby…. well I took my fur baby. This park has everything (said in my SNL Stefon voice), it’s in a perfect secluded location right off of Dallas’ famous Katy Trail. The trees, plants, ponds and greenery are unbeatable for an uptown city park. There are several grassy, spacious areas for babies, both human and four-legged. Being attached to the Katy Trail allows a workout with a view for mom before or after playtime. Reverchon Park was built to accommodate handicap children which also lends itself well to crawlers. I took Dexter here all the time before he could walk because all the ramps and low lying playground equipment made it easy for him to enjoy the park. This park also has a permanent shade structure shielding little ones from UV rays and exhausting heat.

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2) Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

Unless you are new to Dallas or have been living under a rock you probably have seen the magnificent white arch that stretches across the Trinity River, also known as the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Did you know that it is also a fabulous pedestrian walkway containing play areas, games and spray grounds?!!!! Not to mention the absolute, hands down best view of the city.  It’s beautiful in the daytime or evening. At night you can grab a snow cone from the ice truck at the front to cool down and for bite to eat just stroll on over to the adjacent Trinity Groves center. If you are looking for something different than your average park,  plan a playdate at the bridge!

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1) ALLAN SHIVERS PARK at Scottish Rite Hospital 

2222 Welborn St, Dallas, TX 75219

You have most likely driven past the Scottish Rite Dallas hospital, saw the crayon sculptures and thought “that’s cute” and went on your way. I did anyway. We recently discovered that those giant crayons are the entry way to the best park in Dallas we’ve ever been to, the Allan Shivers Park! We immediately fell in love with how beautiful and well kept it was. There were pretty flowers all around the perimeter and the soft foam covered ground was immaculate. I saw not one paint scratch or rusty bar. Safety and security are top notch here, the park is enclosed with a gate and serviced by friendly security guards. The playground equipment got an A+ in innovative, interactive and unique pieces. We played with musical stations, a scavenger hunt, electronics and make-believe! It’s shady, tranquil and relaxing. This park is number 1 on our list for a reason, if you’re in the area go see why for yourself!

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Dallas’ Best Kept Splash Pad!

THE CHILDREN’S PARK at KLYDE WARREN PARK

I have been around Dallas a time or two, have many local mommy friends and am always shocked when some of them still don’t know about the Children’s Park at Klyde Warren Park. I’m not talking about the east side with games and activities or the fountains that you see from the street when driving past, I am talking about the amazing gated park just for children which is tucked away in the west side corner. If you have been to KWP (as we call it) and never noticed it, that because it is secluded beneath peaceful tall trees and bushes. Within the gates of this hidden gem you will find one of the best splash parks in Dallas, here’s why;

  1. IT’S FREE!
  2. IT’S SHADED- Most public splash pads in Dallas are the same, some water features and foam ground, most have little to no shade. This park is surrounded by trees and beautiful shade structures so your little ones will be safe from the Texas summer sun.
  3. IT’S CLEAN- This park is equipped with super soft astro turf hills and patches so you get to enjoy the greenery without itchy, messy grass ruining your fun. In addition to the soft green sitting areas, this park has attendants that regularly come by to make sure the area is neat, trash is emptied and bathrooms are tidy…. yes, it has  clean restrooms!
  4. IT’S FUN- This splash pad has interactive fountains which are constantly changing and moving keeping the kids on their toes! It also has uniquely constructed play ground equipment incorporating the creative vibes of the Dallas Museum of Art which is ross the street.
  5. IT’S SAFE- The park is usually supervised by a city staff member who watches the gate giving extra peace of mind that your little wanderer will not roam too far.

I have never had an issue finding parking at the meters on the street, but a little tip: If you valet at the restaurant Savor, you can grab a quick snack from the bar and get your valet paring for free!!!

If you have never been to this park, I suggest you check it out while its still warm enough to splash around. See you out there!

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First Tuesday at the DMA

THE DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART

Did you know the Dallas Museum of Art has free admission?! Free!!! Did you know that every first Tuesday of the month is Toddler Tuesday?! The DMA is a fascinating place to visit any given day of the week but is especially exciting on Toddler Tuesday.  Each  month features a different theme and a variety of different activities to go with that theme. You can check out this upcoming month’s activities here. 

When you enter the children’s area you will find several interactive stations which encourage creativity. There are stations for children of all ages including reading, drawing, sculpture making and problem solving.

For the tiny tots, there is a room just for them called Arturo’s Nest. This spot is perfectly equipped with toddler friendly nature themed learning toys and books. There is a studio where art classes are held and kids can make their own works of art, this is one of my favorite memories from my own childhood !

When you have had enough kiddie fun, be sure to get your cardio in and check out the rest of the museum. There is always something new to see, it’s a great place to go for a walk if the weather, is hot, rainy or cold and the DMA is nice for a change of scenery. I used to take Dex here for walks all the time when he was a new born and I just needed to get out of the house.

When the weather is nice out, the DMA has beautiful lawns and sculpture gardens, I remember often going there as a child and running around outside having so much fun, and now I get to share that with my child.

I hope you get a chance check it our and create those precious memories with your children too!

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Stay-cation or Day-cation at the Gaylord Texan Resort

Today we day-cationed at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine to check out SummerFest featuring Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! It was the perfect little day get-away! If you have not been to the Gaylord and are in need some family fun time, I suggest you go immediately if not, sooner!

The Dallas temps this August have been excruciating to a point where you truly can’t go outside…like, CPS might come for you if you even look at a park! The Gaylord resort basically brings the outside in enclosing the entire complex with glass. We enjoyed trees, beautiful caves, rivers, waterfalls, koi ponds, birds and more all in a cool 74 degree, bug and allergy-free environment. What a breath of fresh air it was!

We ate brunch on the Riverwalk Café…..on the patio, and it was so glorious! It feels like we haven’t been able to enjoy a patio in a very long time! We ate an incredible all-you-can eat brunch with bottomless mimosas and bellinis.

Once we stuffed our faces with all the waffles, shrimp and breakfast tacos we could we burned it all off in the atrium where the Alice in Wonderland exhibit was happening. We saw live characters, caricature artists, displays and several interactive ways to play.

The cutest thing I saw was the cup & canvas stop in the Mad Hatter’s tea shop. It was basically Painting with a Twist for kids. Children were all given little easels and aprons then got to choose a canvas or mug to paint in an Alice theme. This is part of their Summerfest program including several activities through September to enjoy. You can find a full schedule and descriptions HERE.

Activities on the summer agenda also include events at the Gaylord’s newest addition Paradise Springs, a fully loaded waterpark! You have to be a hotel guest to use the waterpark but if you are looking for a weekend stay-cation, this will be where you will want to spend most of your time!

The resort is huge so parking can be a bit tricky, they have a valet service at $25 a car… whoa…. no thank you, or self parking very close to the entrance for $15. That is steep for parking, but if you eat at the restaurant you get to park for FREE!!!!

Go check out this indoor oasis and enjoy being outside again, sweat-free!

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