The Gym I Actually Look Forward To

The Gym I Actually Look Forward To | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Ever since Greyson could begin pulling himself up onto our sofa or coffee table we knew our days were numbered. We told ourselves that he would eventually grasp this newfound ability of mobility and that’s exactly what happened. He was off. Suddenly my baby, who at one point could only barely crawl, was now this young boy who, what felt like in an instant, discovered that he could move even quicker. My Greyson is now walking. Walking!

In the wake of achieving this most coveted milestone, he took it upon himself that no matter how many times he fell, bumped his head, or toppled over something, he would pull himself back up. He didn’t much care for my assistance and better yet, he never got discouraged. Walking is a major milestone for any child (and parent!) and it’s pleasing to see that Greyson has this intrinsic motivation to figure it out for himself. Since discovering what his legs and feet were capable of, within a few weeks he became more and more confident.

Baby Proofing

However with this, he became more and more hazardous. I do say this with a bit of sarcasm, but also truth. We have baby-proofed our home, but only minimally, since he became mobile. For example, we have our sockets covered and purchased a foldable baby gate to keep him confined to our living room space. Although those steps were necessary safety-wise, moreover we want to teach Greyson boundaries and be more hands-on with our approach to discipline. Instead of over-protecting and eliminating all dangers that he may come across, we want him to fall or realize he isn’t entitled to everything he puts his hands on. We simply want to provide (supervised, of course) opportunities for Greyson to recognize and learn what he can and cannot do whether it be at home or especially in public. Since beginning this approach he’s come to understand “no” and not flip out every time he hears it. We simple redirect him to an activity or action we’d like or that is safe.

Along with this whole walking thing, and turning one, Greyson has also adopted stronger preferences and is very willing to express to us his displeasure about something.  He is quick to go limp and throw a mini fit when I tell him he can’t walk somewhere or try to redirect him. He sometimes throws things or knocks things out of my hands when trying to distract him from something dangerous he wants to explore further.

This is a new chapter for us in regards to his independence so, how do we as parents foster his development while teaching boundaries in a way a toddler can understand?

Apologies for the iPhone photos below 😉

My Gym!

The Gym I Actually Look Forward To | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Practicing climbing with his daddy!

The Gym I Actually Look Forward To | theprimarilyinspired.com |

My Gym Discovered

I stumbled upon My Gym as we passed it every week on our way to Trader Joe’s for our weekly grocery trips. I had heard of them before, and similar baby gyms, but never put much thought into it considering how young Greyson was. About a month or so later I figured that since Grey was now becoming more confident in his crawling, pulling himself up, and beginning to walk we should begin to consider a class that fosters these new abilities.

Free First Class!

I was happy to see that My Gym offers new families a complimentary class of their choosing. This was a great ‘toe in the water’ for us as it was a chance to see if Greyson would even like the class and if it would be worthwhile in terms of his development. We opted for the Tiny Tykes class which is developmentally structured for babies 7-13 months old. Our instructor lead us through stretches, dances, movement, and activities that are designed specifically for his age group. Greyson loved watching the other babies and exploring all of the activities they had laid out for him and his class. I really enjoyed that they encourage parent-child bonding throughout the whole class, but also offered opportunities for the kids to play and explore independently.

On the first day he was quite stimulated and seemed to really enjoy each of the activities. When we got home he literally went down for about 3+ hour nap, which was a gift from the heavens for us! My husband and I discussed whether or not it was a worthwhile membership and here’s what all we had to consider:

  • membership is $75/month and includes 1 instructed class and offers unlimited free-play sessions each week.
    • We scheduled Greyson for the 9am Saturday class and take him 1-2x a week to a free-play session to make this membership most cost-effective.
    • We can also change up his class whenever we’d like. Since Grey is a confident walker he’s almost ready for the Waddlers class.
  • scheduling and rescheduling make-ups for days we may miss are easy-peasy.
    • My Gym requires that within a billing period your child must make 4 of the instructed classes a month (1 weekly class for a month). There are times when we travel, like this weekend, where we will miss his class, but they have multiple sessions of the same class throughout the week so we just plop him into one of those upon our return home. So easy!
    • Also, when traveling you’re allowed to join a local class (worldwide locations available!) as a part of your membership. So when traveling check your local My Gym in that area and never miss a class.
  • they move and change up the activity layout each week.
    • Every time we’ve went there’s a new layout of activities to keep the kiddos engaged and moving.
  • each weekly class is aimed to practice and explore new stretches, play, dances, and movement which are geared towards the development of the children in that particular class.
    • For example, the Tykes class Greyson is in focuses on their developing hand, arm, and trunk control as well as balance, agility, and introductory tumbling. A lot, right?!
  • classes also focus on social and behavioral development as well. Children are encouraged to share, take turns, and have spacial awareness while playing and exploring.
    • We love that Greyson has a chance to socialize with other children throughout the week!

The Real Benefits

As you can tell it wasn’t difficult for us to sign on the dotted line after our first class. It was also nice to see that they were offering veteran families a waiver on their enrollment fee, which helps us out a great deal.

The Gym I Actually Look Forward To | theprimarilyinspired.com |

After spending a month attending My Gym we both have noticed a considerable difference not only in Greyson’s abilities, but his overall attitude towards trying something new. He’s eager to attempt new things like climbing ramps or stairs (his new favorite thing to do) and it teaches us parents not to hover, which can be difficult to do sometimes. I love that their equipment is designed just for these little guys and gals, which puts me at ease and allows him to freely run around without me worrying of him bumping into a sharp coffee table corner (which, of course, has happened at home).

In a few weeks time he’s pretty much mastered walking, go from a sitting position to standing without assistance, attempts going up stairs by holding the railings and extending his feet for each step, and has learned to turn on his belly and crawl backwards slowly (think of a reverse crawl) to get down from a heightened surface. We have also noticed more of a willingness to engage other children, which I’m happy to see. All in all, we’re so happy with our decision to enroll Greyson.

The Gym I Actually Look Forward To | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Learning to climb up a ramp.

Greyson loved getting to play and explore all of the different activities they had set up each class. I love his new sense of independence and learning to socialize with the other kids is priceless. I personally couldn’t recommend My Gym more for any parents out there looking for a meaningful experience for their child/children. Be sure to check out your local location!

BTW, I am not being compensated for featuring My Gym. I just love sharing companies and businesses that I personally love!

Have you tried My Gym before? What interests you about this experience for your child/children?

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Scenes From Our Weekend: A Luau First Birthday

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Celebrating Greyson’s first birthday was an amazing experience even though the prep took all day and I was only slightly stressed at the last minute. However once I saw everyone arrive and enjoy themselves with food, drinks, and conversation I knew everything was going to work out perfectly. Since it’s Grey’s first birthday, and my first time organizing one, I wanted everything to be perfect and my luau theme to come together.

We picked a luau theme pretty early on in the planning process a few months ago. It’s a little homage to when we took our first wedding anniversary to Kauai (and where we believe he was conceived). It’s also a reflection of the beach life we live here in Ventura and since our apartment complex is like family, we wanted his birthday to be celebrated as a big gathering of friends. These people have been so supportive of us ever since we moved in, throughout my pregnancy, and especially during Greyson’s life. They’ve been witness to every stage and it’s truly special and meaningful that many of our fellow residents could make it to his party.

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Our one family photo and there’s a sunspot right on my face! Nonetheless, it’s a good picture 😉

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Greyson also sported Philip’s outfit from his first birthday in 1982! How adorable is that?!

It’s a LUAU!

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

No luau is complete until there’s a tiki bar! I made the sign using a banner from Target and a Sharpie. I also got the black tablecloths from Target and the skirts from Amazon. Because we were traveling to D.C. I ordered all of my Hawaiian decorations ahead of time that way all I had to do was set it up the day of the party. I did get last minute things the day before, but was really happy with how well everything seemed to come together!

Some might wonder why the tiki bar at a child’s first birthday party and I would answer, that no child birthday party should be without a little booze for the adults. The first birthday is moreso a party for the adults anyways considering Grey’s too young to even remember this party. So why not make it fun and enjoyable for everyone? I also got fun drink umbrellas and offered everyone lei’s as party favors (it’s in the details!).

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Some of the last minute decorations I pulled together was this ‘Chasin’ Greyson’ poster. I wanted to display photos of Greyson from birth up until his first year and browsed Pinterest for ideas. I found this one then made it my own using the beach theme and my best attempts at drawing palm trees. Instead of using photos of his ‘firsts’ like in the pin, I opted for his monthly photos to show his growth since everyone who came to his party knew Philip and I while pregnant and had the opportunity to watch him grow up.

Also, I included a fun slideshow using the option in the Photos app on my iPad which pulls photos from any album and displays them in a slideshow with music. It was a fun little touch and took zero prep – just select the option at the top right of the screen and it plays all on its own.

I also asked our friends to sign his Oh, The Places You’ll Go book as a means of a guestbook. I’d love to have it out for every year up until he goes to school and collect as many messages from our family and friends as possible. Makes for a cute keepsake later on 😉

The Food

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

My mother-in-law has this amazing dip she makes every year for Christmas and when they told us they were flying out for this birthday and asked to contribute something I just had to have her make it! As expected, it was a huge hit and multiple people asked for her recipe. I simply shaped it in the form of a pineapple, arranged almonds for detail, and added the top of a fresh pineapple for a finishing touch. These chargers from Michael’s were on sale, too, so I decided to pick up a few to go along with the Hawaiian beach theme. I can’t take credit for the idea, so you can find the inspiration from Pinterest here.

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

We did a potluck style luau and our friends from our complex donated a lot of great side dishes. We catered the entrees from a local Polynesian restaurant in town and their short ribs were delicious. Originally we thought to grill, but at the last moment we decided to get food catered that way my husband and I could worry less about food and spend more time hanging out and keeping track of Greyson.

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Hanging out with Grandma! Grandpa was there too but somehow he managed to escape the camera!

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

The Sandcastle Cake

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

When throwing a birthday party one of the biggest, and most important, decisions to make is all about the cake. I went back and forth in my head as to what I wanted to do: Should I get a custom cake? Should I make it myself? Should I buy a pre-made cake from the grocery store? Again, after some time looking through Pinterest for ideas I found a lot of inspiration for a sandcastle cake!

I bought deep cake pans from Michael’s and simply used boxed cake instead of making it myself (needed something simple to pull together). I also used vanilla icing and to make the sand I used a food processor to grind up graham crackers and toasted coconut. I was so surprised to see that it looked exactly like sand! To make the sand bucket indents on the top I cut large marshmallows in half, coated them with icing and dipped into the sand mixture. I did have leftover batter and made cupcakes with sand topping which we used for the traditional cake smashing and offered them to anyone who didn’t want an actual slice.

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Greyson’s First Bite of Cake

Gift Time!

It was so sweet that our friends brought gifts for Greyson considering we put on our invitations that there were no need for gifts as their attendance to his party was gift enough. Greyson is so blessed with his grandparents in terms of toys, books, and practically everything in-between, so to see others brought him a little something was very touching.

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

He makes the cutest growling noise when he sees Cookie Monster!

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

The Little Red Car

One of the gifts from his grandparents and Philip was the classic Little Tikes coupe. My husband says he had always wanted one as a kid and never received one, so when it was time he wanted to make sure Greyson had one. It was precious seeing Greyson see the car and to know how much it meant to Philip.

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

How many of you had this car growing up? Did you pass down the tradition to your kids?

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Greyson playing in his new car with his cousin who came down from L.A.!

A Luau First Birthday | theprimarilyinspired.com |

I was so happy that my sister and her family could make it down from L.A. to spend the afternoon with us for his birthday. Greyson and his cousin Shiloh were born 9 days apart so it’s very special to have him here to celebrate with us! My sister is the only family that I have living out on the west coast in California and due to both of our busy lives it’s difficult to see each other often. So when we do I always take it in and enjoy the moments we have together. So happy to have gotten to see them!

This weekend, and party, was a whirlwind but we’re so thankful to everyone near and far who helped us ring in this monumental occasion!

What are the plans for your baby’s first birthday? Or how have you celebrated first birthdays in the past? What themes did you go with or did you do something super simple? I’d love to hear!

See how I threw a simple Luau First Birthday for my son! Simple ideas and prep to ensure the best party on a budget! | theprimarilyinspired.com |

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Greyson Turns ONE! | 12 Month Update

Greyson Turns ONE! | 12 Month Update | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Anticipating this moment when I acknowledge that my little guy turns one years old has been a constant feeling these last few weeks. I knew one day we’d be here, but as much as time seems to just fly right on by, I am always wondering just how fast a year really does go. So, to all other fellow mamas out there…it, indeed, goes by quickly so savor those little moments for in time you’ll be sitting here much like me wondering how in the hell we got here.

But nonetheless Greyson, as of March 10th, has officially became a one year old and here’s what he’s been up to this past month!

Date: March 10, 2016 – ONE YEARS OLD!
Weight: coming soon

Celebrated: my first birthday both in D.C. and back home in Ventura, Ca.! I also flew to Washington, D.C. while Daddy was on a work trip and visited the Natural History Museum and took a nap while Mommy toured the Holocaust Museum. I also got to see the Washington Monument!

Enjoys: I really love walking and beginning to run (more like a fast walking), playing hide-and-go-seek, and playing under blankets or making forts. I also continue to love reading and really enjoy all the new books I received for my birthday. Curious George is my newest, and most favorite, movie right now – I love watching George do silly things.

Dislikes: I am in the thick of stranger danger right now and do not like it when Mommy or Daddy leave my sight. When around new people, only Mom or Dad can hold me otherwise I throw a big fit.

Milestones: I am beginning to mimic sounds I hear most often, I can make the first sounds of the alphabet (A, B, and working on C), and repeat actions when playing with Mommy or Daddy. I continue to make lots of different sounds and babble all the time; often with great expression with raised arms! Oh, and I can make the sounds of a few animals when I see them like in my Dada book – Mom and Dad think it’s pretty adorable.

Learning: more and more about the world around me through taking blocks apart, dumping and throwing my toys from inside their bags or boxes, and learning to put them inside. I love fiddling with zippers, latches, or wheels. Stacking toys are fun for me and I love making noise by hitting everything I can find. I’m very curious about absolutely everything!

Greyson Turns ONE! | 12 Month Update | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Greyson Turns ONE! | 12 Month Update | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Greyson Turns ONE! | 12 Month Update | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Greyson Turns ONE! | 12 Month Update | theprimarilyinspired.com |

We had so much fun putting together and celebrating Greyson’s first birthday! We went with a luau theme and I have to say I’m so happy with how well it came together. More photos and a blog post sharing our day is coming soon! A huge thank you to all of you here who have followed me along in this journey of parenthood; from throughout my pregnancy, to giving birth, to now celebrating Greyson’s first birthday. Thank you for being a continuous supportive and encouraging group of women (and men if you’re out there, haha)…there’s no way I could have survived this first year without you all!

Here’s to many more adventures!

Greyson James: 11 Month Update
Greyson James: 10 Month Update
Greyson James: 9 Month Update
Greyson James: 8 Month Update
Greyson James: 7 Month Update
Greyson James: 6 Month Update
Greyson James: 5 Month Update
Greyson James: 4 Month Update
Greyson James: 3 Month Update
Greyson James: 2 Month Update
Greyson James: 1 Month Update
Birth Story

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A Simple DIY Baby Binder

Sometimes it can be overwhelming the amount of paperwork and copies of documents new parents receive both from the hospital after delivery and again once you find a pediatrician. I felt like I would lose something if I didn’t have a convenient and safe place to keep these things. Thus I created this baby binder, which has been the perfect thing to ease my mind and keep all of Greyson’s medical information all in one spot. Let’s take a peek...

Being organized is one of my stronger qualities and I only need a simple excuse to create a binder. When Greyson came along I knew I wanted to have something in place where all of his important documents could be kept safely. It can be overwhelming, the amount of paperwork and copies of documents new parents receive both from the hospital after delivery and again once you find a pediatrician. When Greyson first started going to the doctor I felt like I would lose something if I didn’t have a convenient and safe place to keep these things. And since we travel, it’s nice to have an easy way to take his medical information with us in case of an emergency while out of town.

Thus I created this baby binder, which has been the perfect thing to ease my mind and keep all of Greyson’s medical information all in one spot.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming the amount of paperwork and copies of documents new parents receive both from the hospital after delivery and again once you find a pediatrician. I felt like I would lose something if I didn’t have a convenient and safe place to keep these things. Thus I created this baby binder, which has been the perfect thing to ease my mind and keep all of Greyson’s medical information all in one spot. Let’s take a peek...

Creating Your Binder

Any organized binder begins with a, well, binder! Any width will do, but since it’s just Greyson and he’s our only child we went with the thinnest. Then it’s all about pocket protectors, dividers, and stickers for labeling. I used Keynote to create each page and added photos of Greyson for a little fun touch.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming the amount of paperwork and copies of documents new parents receive both from the hospital after delivery and again once you find a pediatrician. I felt like I would lose something if I didn’t have a convenient and safe place to keep these things. Thus I created this baby binder, which has been the perfect thing to ease my mind and keep all of Greyson’s medical information all in one spot. Let’s take a peek...

Info At-A-Glance

The first page in Greyson’s binder is his medical contact information at-a-glance. It is perfect for locating important phone numbers and addresses as well as other info like his birthday and social security number. This page is essential and is important to have on hand in case anyone needs to call 911. This binder is also a great resource for family members or babysitters who may be looking after your child and an emergency occurs.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming the amount of paperwork and copies of documents new parents receive both from the hospital after delivery and again once you find a pediatrician. I felt like I would lose something if I didn’t have a convenient and safe place to keep these things. Thus I created this baby binder, which has been the perfect thing to ease my mind and keep all of Greyson’s medical information all in one spot. Let’s take a peek...

Any binder needs cute divider tabs and these ones from Target were so cute! I love the material because it’s sturdy but also allows for easy application and removal of my Avery tab stickers. By using stickers I can interchange the dividers over time as I need to.

Growth Tracker

Sometimes it can be overwhelming the amount of paperwork and copies of documents new parents receive both from the hospital after delivery and again once you find a pediatrician. I felt like I would lose something if I didn’t have a convenient and safe place to keep these things. Thus I created this baby binder, which has been the perfect thing to ease my mind and keep all of Greyson’s medical information all in one spot. Let’s take a peek...

Another great page I created was a growth tracker for each month up until he turns one. I’ve included his weight, height (length) and percentile for each. My OCD and love for filling out forms is excited to visit our pediatrician for Grey’s wellness checkup so I can fill in his previous months! During the months in between visits I weigh him on our home scale and record it. That way I can stay on top of his weight and keep an eye on things especially as we introduce more solid foods into his diet.

Pockets Go A Long Way

Sometimes it can be overwhelming the amount of paperwork and copies of documents new parents receive both from the hospital after delivery and again once you find a pediatrician. I felt like I would lose something if I didn’t have a convenient and safe place to keep these things. Thus I created this baby binder, which has been the perfect thing to ease my mind and keep all of Greyson’s medical information all in one spot. Let’s take a peek...

Another favorite aspect of my baby binder are these plastic page protectors. I love keeping his immunization records and pediatrician printouts all in one convenient pocket so it’s easy to slip in and out.

Bills, Bills, Bills

Sometimes it can be overwhelming the amount of paperwork and copies of documents new parents receive both from the hospital after delivery and again once you find a pediatrician. I felt like I would lose something if I didn’t have a convenient and safe place to keep these things. Thus I created this baby binder, which has been the perfect thing to ease my mind and keep all of Greyson’s medical information all in one spot. Let’s take a peek...

In these page protectors I have kept important information that’s been given to us like his immunizations and circumcision F.A.Q. I have also kept handy any payment confirmations or bills that we’ve received so that we have a paper trail on all of our payments for Greyson in case of any discrepancies (which happen more often than not!). Once we paid our delivery in full we made sure to have documentation from the hospital as proof. I always recommend keeping on file your payments or bills so that you have these at your disposal when dealing with insurance companies or others trying to unnecessarily bill you. Also, some of these forms can be super helpful during tax season too!

Creating your own baby binder is such a simple answer to this organizational problem and really helped us cut down on stacks of paper around the house or having the documents we need going missing. Having just created Greyson’s I’m already at ease about where to place his important documents and each time we go to the doctor I can just slip his paperwork into the appropriate pocket and put away – done!

How do you keep your family’s documents safe?

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