Who Am I?

 Who Am I?

Wife to Little Matt. Mother to Mini Matt.

Mom boss. Female business owner. Family business partner. Wedding and event planner. Venue owner. Blogger.

Always strong. Overly independent. Shamelessly honest. Endlessly stubborn. Striving to be kind. Usually calm. Mostly collected. Jack of all trades, master of none.

Disney addict. Book lover. Dreaming of travel. Love to dance. Living for the outdoors.

Daytay.

Woes of a Wedding Planner: Welcome to Reality.

Woes of a Wedding Planner: Welcome to Reality.

Have you ever seen that show ‘Bridezillas’ on tv? Have you ever sat there watching it and said to yourself “There’s no way this is real. It has to be staged.” Well. While I can’t speak for the reality aspect of that particular show, I can, as a wedding planner, assure you Bridezillas are very real. There are also momzillas, groomzillas, bridesmaidzillas, flower-girlzillas (aren’t they just called toddlers, though?), dj-zillas… You get the point. As it turns out, when you take a bunch of emotional people, stuff them in a room, and tell them to have THE BEST MOST PERFECT DAY EVER things are bound to go wrong and people are bound to go crazy. As a result, and as a public service, I introduce to my blog: Woes of a Wedding Planner. (Let’s call it WOW… you’ll see why.)

Join me as I rehash stories from my own crazy wedding experiences as well as some from other members of our team. Won’t this be fun? 😉

WOW List:

#1. COMING SOON

Review – Ballocity at The Works in Wyomissing

Review – Ballocity at The Works in Wyomissing

The Works is a large indoor entertainment complex in Wyomissing, PA. The building contains a restaurant and bar, massive arcade, an indoor go-kart track, snack bar, trampoline park, and the focus of this review: Ballocity.

Ballocity is a massive indoor play structure. Think McDonald’s play place on some serious steriods. We found Ballocity after a reccomendation to visit The Works for the toddler time at their trampoline park. Read on for my thoughts and opinions on this mega playland.

(I’ll note here that I’m in no way affiliated with or sponsored by The Works. All opinions are my own and my usual honesty.)

Travel Group: Me (mid20’s-F) and Mini (10 months at first visit, crawling and climbing-M)

Location: The Works building is located on the borders of Wyomissing and West Reading. It’s not an unsafe area but it is in the city. However, it is located in a closed off complex so no walking down city streets or anything like that.

Parking: There is a very large parking lot right out the building doors. No cost, no difficulties. 👌 When we go during the day it’s nearly empty but evening and weekend hours do bring larger crowds and a full lot.

Timing: Nearly everything in the building opens at 11:30 am and stays open until late evening. Each time we have visited has been on a Friday from about 11:30 to 1 or 2. Having a small child, I won’t stay when crowds and older kids start rolling in. More on that later…

(You can find full information on hours here: http://workswyomissing.com/about-us/directions-hours/)

Cost: In my opinion, the cost is very fair. It costs $6.95 per child Monday through Thursday and $8.95 Friday through Sunday. Adults entering the structure are $4.95 and children under 2 are free (but must be accompanied by a paying adult at all times). Mondays are half price and the price includes unlimited time for that day. Not bad for a day of entertainment.

Activities: The structure is a giant obstacle course for kids. There are ramps, slides, balls to swing on, cones, nets, lights, tunnels, etc. As for how the structure got it’s name? In the center of it all is a 2 story room with foam balls EVERYWHERE. The balls can be used in a variety of blasters and launchers and cloth bags are even provided so you can load up and man your blaster station up on the second level.

There is also an attached but seperate area for children 2 and under. This space is a soft play area with giant squishy shapes, more foam balls, a gravity table, and little ‘maze’. Warning: To enter this space, you must squeeze between two rollers. My “not so tiny” self is not a fan of this fact. I don’t quite understand the reason for this, especially since kids under 2 require an adult companion to join them.

Appropriate Ages: I would say it’s great for kids of all ages as long as they are mobile. 6 months or 600 months, everyone can have fun. (Please note: all adults must be accompanied by a child to enter. 😉)

Those with an infant not yet mobile: There’s no reason NOT to go as long as you don’t mind paying the $5 to sit with your little one and relax. We’ve had a play date here with a not yet crawling friend when our park day got rained out and it was very nice. You can also sit out on the viewing deck area for free and let older siblings play while you hang with your baby.

Staff: I can’t speak for evening staffing but everyone I’ve come across (hostess stand greeter, ticket counter, ballocity entrance “bouncer”) during our afternoon trips seems to be a college-age young adult. We’ve never been treated with anything besides politeness and respect. My only complaint (and biggest complaint) is that I’ve never seen the 2 and under rule enforced in the 2 and under section. As the mother of a small child, I don’t appreciate the staff sitting back and watching as a group of rambunctious 8 year old boys comes ripping through the small “safe” space for tiny tots.

Atmosphere: It’s an entertainment complex inside an old warehouse. Dimly but safely lit. Loud but not so much that it makes you crazy. Always very clean in my experience. Definitely a place full of energy and things to see and explore. Of course, nights and weekends are busier, louder, and more chaotic. We stick to weekday afternoons for that reason right now until Mini can hold his own with older kids.

I feel it’s also important to note that anyone taller than 3 to 4 feet will have to duck/crawl/scoot through most of the structure beyond the big main “room.” There are some areas with even tighter quarters and smaller openings. At 5’3 (and a little “curvy”) I don’t find it a problem but I’m in my 20’s with no mobility restrictions or health issues.

Safety: The biggest threat to safety here is other kids. There are rules saying no rough housing or horse play, etc but the place is full of excited (and sometimes clumsy) kids of all ages. Things happen. Otherwise, pretty well every surface is covered in a mat-like padding and the structure is extremely solid with even the blasters made of metal so there is no chance of breaking and leaving sharp edges. They also maintain a ‘No shoes. Socks mandatory.’ policy inside the Ballocity structure so no dirt, rocks, etc get inside.

Fellow Guests: It’s a true mixed bag. I’ve met some really sweet parents who are there for a fun day with their kiddos and will chat and encourage manners, sharing, and play time with us. I’ve also come across parents who drop their kids off and don’t look up from their phone on the viewing deck except to glare at you as you walk past and couldn’t care less if their 8 year old shoves your 2 year old into a net wall. 🤷

Navigation: Once inside the building, it can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know your way around. The main entrance opens into the restaurant. There’s always a hostess on hand if you need help or want to order food. Otherwise, keep walking srraight ahead. You’ll pass the restaurant seating on the left, coat racks on the right, and then restrooms on the left. When you enter the game room straight ahead you’ll see a staircase on the left- up those steps is the Ballocity entrance- but keep going forward to get to the arcade ticket counter and purchase your admission first!

Amenities: Wifi: Free WiFi is available for those hanging out on the viewing deck area. I’d imagine that’s a handy bonus for moms and dads who can work from anywhere and need to do a bit of business. Cameras: If you aren’t up to going inside the structure or have older kids who arent interested in having you join them, there are cameras placed throughout the structure and tv screens showing the live feed in the viewing deck area. TV: Mixed in with the camera feed tv’s are regular tv’s. I’ve never seen anything on them besides cartoons but something is better than nothing, right? Restrooms: There is a large restroom on the way in and another smaller one up in the Ballocity area. Both have changing tables. Refreshments: You can order a meal any time from the restaurant at the hostess stand and they will pack it up “to go” so you can bring it up to the Ballocity area tables. I always place our order on the way in and they give you a buzzer so you know when it’s done and can run down to pick it up. I’m not the biggest fan of the food but I’m a vegetarian and have limited options (all of which come across as trying too hard to be fancy, in my opinion). During evenings and weekends, there’s also a snack bar open in the go-kart area for lighter fare. Drinks are available at either location, as well as in a vending machine by the staircase in the arcade.

Breastfeeding friendly: Neutral. I’ve never had any trouble but I sit in a corner to avoid conflict with naysayers. I don’t feel those ‘college kid’ staffers would have my back in case of an incident.

Pack:

– Clean socks for everyone entering the structure.

– Something to do if you aren’t joining the kiddos inside.

– Hand sanitizer. (Lol.)

– I also usually bring my own water for myself and Mini.

Daytay Tips:

– Be mindful of clothing choices. I think it’s smart to have knees covered with all the crawling (I bring baby leggings on warm “shorts” days) and a tee or tank to keep from sweating with all the running around.

– Set a time limit ahead of time. Otherwise, you may never get out of there.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Summary: In general, The Works is an excellent family entertainment location. While it’s not the absolute top of my list, it’s definitely a preferred place to release energy on cold or rainy days.

Summer Shopping List

Summer Shopping List

The long months of cold and snow here in PA have me dreaming of warm weather, sunshine, and all the fun trips and activities we have planned for spring and summer. So when the winter blues get me down I do what any logical woman would… I shop. 😂 Check out what’s been jumping into my cart in “perfectly planned out” preparation for the summer months. 😉

ALLTHEHATS. Mini: I have a pale, blonde child. He won’t be leaving the house without a hat until he’s 40 if I have a say in it. Don’t worry, though. I’ve been making sure he has a stylish variety- bucket hats, baseball caps, straw hats, driver caps… Me + Matt: Our child had to get his fair skin and hair from somewhere, right? Matt has his own little collection of hats so he’s covered. I have a cute Jamberry branded baseball cap that I’ll probably use for play time and keep an eye out for a fun floppy hat for going out or relaxing in the sun. Is that still a thing when you have a toddler?

Target is my go-to for my hat frenzy. I don’t see much selection online but found plenty in store for Mini. Open to fun, floppy hat suggestions for me. 😉

Swim Suits. Mini: Truth be told, I stocked up on these months ago when they were on clearance. I snagged a neutral rash guard top at Target the other day for sun safety but Carter’s has been my go-to otherwise! (Great. While going for that link I found more he clearly needs. Someone stop me.) Me + Matt: Lets not talk about this. We both probably need new ones because the old ones are too small… I know I do. 😣

Life Vest: Mini: This summer we are headed to the beach at least once. We have a float for him to chill in the pool but for hanging by the pool and venturing to the ocean, we just want to make sure he’s safe. Here’s the life vest we snagged.

Sand Toys: Every beach trip needs proper sand toys if you ask me.

Sprays and Lotions: We don’t mess around with outdoor protection in this household. Sunscreen: I carry a Babyganics travel size set in my diaper bag at all times with a sun stick and traditional lotion. For playing in the yard, I have a Babyganics classic sunscreen lotion and the spray version. For the beach and prolonged sun exposure, we’ll be lathering up both him and his daddy in a good water resistant lotion for sensitive skin. Personally, I use the good stuff for sensitive areas like shoulders and face but tend to use a tanning spray for the rest. 😡 Bug spray: There’s a small bottle in my Babyganics travel set (along with an alcohol-free hand sanitizer fyi) but in general, we go with the heavy duty Off! with DEET. We live in the mountains of PA so any big outdoor adventures call for solid precautions. Chafe protection: Yup. I’m going there. I don’t have time for painful inner thighs while chasing a toddler. I’m a huge fan of Body Glide products. They work and they’re easy to apply.

*Note: Always follow health and safety reccomendations with these products. Sunscreen is not recommended under 6 months of age, Off with DEET is to be applied to clothes prior to wearing, sunscreen must be applied at regular intervals, etc. Know your products.*

Sunglasses: Mini: We received a few pairs at the baby shower (some toddler aviators) and I picked up a pair or two with a strap to try. He doesn’t seem fond of either type. Update to come. Me + Matt: Matt has his Oakleys since he drives for a living. I’ve got a bunch of random $20 pairs in my stash I’ll be using if I ever put my contacts back in… I’m also on a mission to earn the rose gold Tiffany’s sunglasses Jamberry is giving as an incentive this year. *Swoon*

Bubbles: Because why not? Cheap entertainment. Add it to the list along with balls, hula hoops, and sidewalk chalk.

Beach Chair: Mini: At BRU last week I found an adorable miniature sized Lion Guard camp chair. I’m thinking it’ll be great not only on vacation on the beach and pool deck, but also in the backyard or at the local park. Me + Matt: Uhhhh. I should probably look into this…

Stroller Fan: I’m not sure yet whether we’ll be babywearing or strollering more this summer but Matt and I saw a fan similar to this one and thought ‘Eh, why not?’

Beach Towels: Mini: Honestly, I still need to actually purchase it but my eye is on this Puppy Dog Pals towel for the little dude. Maybe I’ll go order that now… (Guys, it’s on sale! Woop woop!) Me + Matt: Ask and you shall receive. I was gifted beach towels for my birthday from both my momma and sister so I’m set. Will have to hunt down something basic for the hubby while I’m out buying those beach chairs. 😉 Target here I come!!!!!

What have YOU been grabbing to prepare for summer time?

5 Baby Items We Shouldn’t Have Purchased

5 Baby Items We Shouldn’t Have Purchased

Different things work for different people. The 5 items below did NOT work for us…

Receiving blankets

I’m sure these have a purpose. I just have no idea what it is. Too small for swaddling. Too thin for warmth. The soft cotton ones became cloth diapers in our house. The other ones sat in the closet until they got packed up and put in the attic. Sorry, receiving blankets.

Boppy Pillow

I have to be up front here and admit I DID use my boppy pillow…. like 5 times. I bought this “must have” item with breastfeeding in mind. Not once did I successfully use the boppy for breastfeeding my son. (See what did work in my upcoming ‘5 Items That Saved Me While Breastfeeding’) We did use the Boppy when Mini was learning to sit up buuuut more often than not, he slid out of it right to the floor. Although I know they work for some ladies, Boppy pillow was all hype, no help for us.

Night-time Aquarium Toy

During a time of sleepless desperation, I went on a hunt for the perfect night time crib toy to lull my baby back to sleep. After a ridiculous amount of research I settled on the Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother: Its got lights! It’s got music! The sea creatures slowly and hypnotically move around! Baby can turn it on by pressing a cute starfish button AND it has a remote I can use to turn it on and off! Turns out our child thinks the lights are too bright, the music is too loud, and the moving sea creatures are best carefully inspected. He also finds it highly entertaining to use that cute little starfish to turn it on- and off- and on- and off- and on- and off… and the snazzy parent remote never even got batteries.

Tummy Time Mat

Not to be confused with our very useful play gym mat, the tummy time mat is a soft (in our case, bear shaped) mat for baby to lay on. The thing is, we have a carpet that’s also soft and an abundance of blankets that could be tossed down so….

Nursing Cover

Although I highly reccomend the Boppy infinity nursing scarf for those looking for a cover, it just didn’t work for us. I make it no secret that my son and I suck at breastfeeding. Our lack of skill leads to him needing help latching (and relatching, and relatching, and STOP BITING ME, CHILD!) so I need to be able to see what’s going on down there. I thought the little mesh window would be helpful, and it was, but it just wasn’t enough.

So tell me, mommies and daddies of the world: What are some of YOUR waste of money baby purchases?

Our Kindermusik Free Trial

Our Kindermusik Free Trial

I first learned about our local Kindermusik class through a post in a mom’s group on Facebook. I’ve been searching for things to keep us both entertained lately and am a music education fan so after checking out the website and contacting the teacher, I was pretty excited for our free trial class!

(I’ll note here that I’m in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Kindermusik. Everyone is welcome to a free trial class, according to their website. Also, I can speak only for the local class that I personally attended. It seems the classes and materials are streamlined through the company but, of course, different instructors and locations will shape different experiences.)

Travel Group: Me (mid20’s-F) and Mini (8 months-M)

Location: My class was located in a church preschool. Very welcoming and safe location with locked doors on a back road off a major highway. No complaints here.

Parking: Locations will obviously vary. Ours had a nice spacious parking lot. Thank goodness. Don’t ask me to parallel park.

Timing: The location closest to me has infant class in the late morning on a weekday. This is perfect for us. If it’s too early there’s no way I’m making it on time and too late runs into lunch and afternoon nap time crankiness. Late morning: perfect. The weekday timing is great for us, too. I’m a work from home mom and having something to do to get out of the house is wonderful. On the other hand, I can see how this could be a downside for mamas who work outside the home. The length of class is about 45 minutes. This worked well for us too as a happy medium between too short and too long!

Cost: Free trial is obviously free. The proper full 8 week session is $100. That includes the 8 classes as well as some take-home supplies like a book, cd, and age-appropriate instrument so you can continue the fun at home. It breaks down to approximately $13/class. If you find music education valuable, it’s worth it. We will likely try to enroll any time I know we will be available for all classes in the session, skipping times when I know we’ll be away for vacation or holidays.

Activities: All activities are simple, teacher-led fun that is made for mommy (or other adult)/baby interaction as well as some baby to baby interaction. We started with a hello song that called out each baby individually and ended with a goodbye song that did the same. We played with shakers, scarves, instruments, and other supplies. Music was provided through both a CD and the group singing (No worries. Voices blend- you don’t need to be a pro vocalist to fit in here). We did some activities standing and others sitting. We did active sections with bouncing, clapping, dancing, and lifting and also calm sections where we sat and read with our little ones, rocked them, practiced infant massage, and even paired up to create towel hammocks for the babies to test out. I felt the pace and blend of activities was fantastic for the age of our little music students.

Appropriate Ages: Kindermusik splits their sessions by age. Mini and I are in the 0-18 month group. Our class included a range from a 1 month old to a 16 month old and all seemed to enjoy and get along in harmony and happiness. Both the teacher and other mamas seemed understanding and encouraging when there was any fussing or rogue wandering in the group.

Staff: The teacher is fabulous. She’s a woman with 2 grown children of her own who clearly really enjoys these classes and cares about the children. There were many of us there for the free trial along with the regular students and with one quick check she remembered every child’s name for the hello and good bye songs and everything in between. (I’ve been going to a breastfeeding group for months and can only remember like two names so this is top level impressive in my mind. Ha.) She was energetic and sweet with that genuine mothering warmth. It’s clear she really believes in what she was sharing with us mommies and babies and did a wonderful job of educating and having fun while balancing the class and still giving moments of individual attention.

Atmosphere: Physically it was a very clean and soft atmosphere. We took off our shoes, sat in a circle on a big gym mat, neutral walls, sunshine coming in the windows… typical daycare playroom. Posters were hung on the walls with song lyrics and activity instructions. (Psst, same posters also point out all the neat benefits each activity has like musical, social, physical, etc) As cheesy as it sounds, it was an overall quiet and safe space for little ones to play and learn. No harsh lights, loud sounds, crazy ruckus (well, except when the shakers came out), or otherwise undesirable elements.

Fellow Guests: All the other mommas seem lovely. I would imagine that an infant music class brings in a particular type of person so we are all bound to get along. In general, I got a warm and welcome feeling for both Mini and myself.

Navigation: Class was in a daycare, not a labyrinth. First door on the right kind of situation here. 😉 However, I did take a wrong turn getting there. Nothing new for me. Rite-Aid was not, indeed, the place hosting Kindermusik.

Breastfeeding friendly: That’d be a big yes. I asked to stay to feed my little man after class and was warmly welcomed to take all the time I need. Turns out the teacher nursed her two sons until they were almost 3! I chose to stay after and not interrupt our class but I would imagine we also could have easily stepped to the side during class as well with no problems. I just didn’t want to miss out on the fun.

Pack: Nothing more than you would bring on any regular trip out. All class supplies are provided.

DayTay Tips: Give it a try. Come ready to participate and enjoy. Be silly, sing, and laugh. Also- wear comfortable clothes you can move in and clean socks with no holes. 😂

Overall rating: 5/5

Summary: We had a blast. Will be signing up for class and going again!

Check out the Kindermusik site and find a class near you HERE.

*Live in Easten PA and interested in learning which class we tried? Send me a quick message and I’ll let you know!

Aside

Side Note

Earlier this week I took my son to music class, visited both sets of grandparents, took him out with his aunt, gave him time to play and explore with his cousin, and brought him to a local tot time for socialization and gross motor play in a big space with new toys.

Yesterday I wrapped my baby’s bottom in a grocery bag because I forgot to pack an extra diaper cover and today I gave him a cat toy to play with in the car.

Some days you’re a rockstar and some days you’re just a rock…