The Happiest Night Run on Earth

the night color run

A couple of months ago we did the Foam Glow Run 5k and it was no bueno (most unorganized run ever). So, recently when my friend asked us to do the Night Color Run 5k with her we were apprehensive to sign up. However, we are very easily persuaded to do just about anything so we not only signed up, but convinced other people to sign up with us. Lucky for all of us, this night time run was at least 10x better than the first.

before color run photo
The “before”, so fresh and so clean clean

The Night Color Run is put on by the Color Run and is similar, yet very different than the other popular Foam Glow 5k. In case it isn’t clear…it’s at night, you run through 5 different neon color zones, a few glowing bubble zones and end in a color explosion. At the finish line you are covered in 5 different glow in the dark colors, receive a medal and a couple more color powder packets (to use whenever you’d like). Then, beyond the food and merchandise booths, there is a stage with a DJ who is not only blaring some great dance tunes, but throwing as much free merchandise (plus more color packets) into the crowd as possible.

color run collage

It’s a little gimmicky, yes, but it’s also soooo much fun! First of all, everything from the t-shirts to the music is MUCH better quality than the Foam Glow. The colors that get thrown on you are in dry powder form, not wet foam, and everything is so much better organized. It makes for a good time. The after party concert was really fun. It’s a mosh pit of runners covered in colors, but the best part is the countdown to a color explosion every 15 minutes or so.

As the DJ (and his little helpers) throw out hundreds of new color packets, they ask that you hold them until they countdown. After they’ve thrown the packets, some tees, hats and other random merchandise, they begin to countdown to a color explosion (BTW, I’m making that name up). It’s 3, 2, 1…and at the exact same time everyone in the crowd opens their color packs and throws them in the air to make a crazy beautiful color cloud that then lands on top of everyone. Good stuff.

color explosion
I tried to capture it, but it doesn’t do it justice.

We stayed for a few “color explosions” before calling it a night. We had NO IDEA how ridiculous we looked until we caught a glimpse of each other under a street light as we walked back to the car. Yowzer.

The "after" photo...
The “after” photo…

Here’s a tip: Bring extra clothes…and some towels. I spent a lot of time vacuuming our car the next day.

Woah…that was some serious color #thecolorrunnight #nashville #funrun #5k

A photo posted by Hilarie (@positivelypanicked) on

Here’s a warning: The blue powder stained some of my skin for a couple of days. It was no big deal, but if you have a wedding or job interview the next day you may want to bypass the blue zones.

So, what will be our next race? Good question… Maybe a Halloween run? Maybe a 10K? We’ll see!

Cheers!

6 Tips for Starting Mother’s Day Out

Luna's first day of Mother's Day Out

Luna has officially been in Mother’s Day Out for a week now, which makes me a MDO pro, right? Well, no. BUT, it does make me a Mom who made several “my kid is starting school!” mistakes, and now I can share what I’ve learned from those mistakes with you!

Luna's first day of MDO

To be honest, I thought I would be an instant school-Mom pro. I mean, after all, I’m a former teacher. I should know how these things roll. I forgot that I am also a first-time Mom and that side of me took over once it was time for MDO to begin. Luna got new “school clothes”, a giant Minnie Mouse backpack, lunchbox and thermos, a handmade mat cover, new shoes, hair bows, etc. Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t buy myself a new “first-day-of-school” outfit. I showed up to meet-the-teacher night with a bag full of crap I didn’t need/couldn’t use and was very quickly realized I had a lot to learn.

first day of mother's day out

 

6 tips for starting mother's dayout

  1. Send them in play clothes. They will paint, play in the mud, spill milk down their shirts and get really dirty being kids. So send them in the inexpensive stuff or stock up on Shout!
  2. Meal planning is a must. This is the toughest new task to learn for me. I have to prepare a healthy lunch that includes a whole grain, a protein, a dairy product and either a fruit or vegetable for Luna’s lunch. AND, everything has to be cut into non-chokable bite-sized pieces. Don’t get me wrong, Luna typically eats a healthy lunch. I’m just not typically so prepared and organized about her meals.
  3. Don’t shop until after you get a supply list. Trust me on this one. Every school and teacher prefers different supplies so don’t think you can buy what your friend bought for their child at a different school.
  4. Don’t save the paperwork until 10pm the night before. There is soooooooooooo much to fill out.  You will need to pull out medical records, the baby book and even ask your Husband for help. mom and dad quote
  5. Bring your camera! Everyone loves some great “first day of school” photos!
  6. Relax. Everything will be just fine. The best way to feel comfortable with dropping your baby off for the first time is to find a school you love and trust. Talk to the director, take a tour, meet the teachers, read reviews, talk to other parents and be involved. I am already so impressed with Luna’s school. The staff and teachers have been so sweet and clearly love their jobs and their students. I am confident that Luna will not only love her class, but learn a lot this year!
big girl with her backpack
When did you get so big, baby?
giant backpack, little toddler
Every toddler needs a backpack that’s bigger than they are.
holding mommy's hand
Never let go!!!

Did anyone else’s babies start some type of school this month? I’d love to hear about it!

First full day of #MothersDayOut is in the books! #yay #LunaHazel #18monthsold #webothcried

A photo posted by Hilarie (@positivelypanicked) on

Cheers!

 

My Night Out at Cirque Du Soleil

varekai

Husband and I are HUGE Cirque fans. Varekai is our 12th Cirque show to see together. We love love LOVE the shows, but I do have to admit that after seeing 12 of them, the acts do start to feel a little repetitive and “been there, seen that”. That’s not to say that Varekai isn’t good or worth seeing, but it definitely doesn’t top our list of most impressive shows.

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Varekai translates to “whatever/wherever”. The show begins with the Greek myth of Icarus and starts were the myth ends. After Icarus flies too close to the sun and falls from the sky, he lands in the imaginary exotic forest of Varekai, full of wild and crazy creatures.  I’ve got to say, had I not known this beforehand, I NEVER would have picked up on it. In fact, it was hard to follow even knowing the story. Although, who ever really follows cirque stories? We just want to see really strong people do crazy stuff and flip around.

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Luckily, there was lots of strong people doing what appears to be impossible. One of the most impressive acts was when Icarus dropped to stage in a net and then performed a silk-type performance using the net. It was beautiful and impressive and unique…3 things I always want to see in a Cirque Du Soleil show.

PORTLAND, ME - SEPTEMBER 3: A performer with Cirque du Soleil descends down to the stage while waving wings during a performance of Varekai at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland on Wednesday night. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

My favorite act is always the gymnasts. The gymnasts in Varekai had 2 big acts (yay!). One was a floor routine, which sounds basic, but was so fast and stunning. and that I didn’t want to blink and miss a trick. However, the last act (The Russian Swings, which I very poorly described yesterday), was insane! It was jaw-dropping good.

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Sadly, not all the acts were as impressive. Don’t get me wrong, they were all very well done. The performers are impeccable. They are clearly among the strongest, most-talented and dedicated performers. However, some of their acts have just been done too many times. Others were just boring or annoying. One character in particular, the Skywatcher, was painfully bothersome. The noises he made, the fart jokes, the “kick-in-the-crotch” humor he constantly brought to the stage not only took away from the story, the beautiful set and the amazing acts, but drove me nuts. Thank God, the clowns were actually funny and interactive with the audience.

This guy.... STOP IT.
This guy…. STOP IT.

I may sound harsh, but I want to be honest. I want you to know what to expect if you get a ticket to Varekai. If you’ve never been to a Cirque show, you’ll love it. You will be in awe as you leave the theater. If you have seen a few Cirque shows, then feel free to skip Varekai, you won’t miss much. Also, you’re welcome.

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Cheers!

Behind the Cirque Du Soleil Curtain

behind the scnes

This week I got a backstage pass to Cirque Du Soleil’s Varekai! I got to go to dress rehearsal, interview one of the producers and most importantly, get a very up close look at the costumes. I am a HUGE Cirque fan so getting a little peek into their world at how things work and run is a special treat. Watching a seamstress add glitter to a costume, a baton artist warm up on the “blue mat” or an acrobat practice that one big trick numerous times doesn’t take away any of the magic. If anything, it give me a greater appreciation for all of the hard work put into these intense and enormous shows .

russin swing

Luckily, I got to watch the most exciting act in the show rehearse, the Russian Swings. This act consists of two enormous swings, a giant column (that I assume is made out of whatever gym mats are made of) and two giant canopy-catcher thingys (that’s the scientific name). This performance took a year to create, BTW. Some of the male gymnast would wait on top of the column and others would swing below on the giant swings. Then, at just the right height, one of the swingers would somersault to the top and be caught in handstand position by another gymnast. It made my heart race, and though I watched it multiple times, I could not ever take my eyes away.

woah

Julia, who helps run this enormous show, took some time to answer my questions and even humored me a little by laughing at my corny jokes. She did not, however, take my question about trying the Russian Swings seriously.

Me: So when do I get to try those? (Pointing to the acrobats flipping from swing to swing on stage)

Julia: (laughter) Never. 

swing

After our special up-close and personal show, we walked backstage to watch some performers prepare, stretch and practice their tricks. They were fun to watch, but I was super excited about getting up close to the hundreds of costumes, masks, headpieces and make-up trays. Soooooo pretty. You can just imagine my excitement when we were then walked to the costuming department! This is one room I have never had an opportunity to checkout at a Cirque show. Yay me!

stretching or napping
stretching or napping?
That is some serious upper body strength
That is some serious upper body strength

scary masks

The costume designer of this show wanted more than just skin-tight lycra suits. She wanted to add some dimension and texture to the costumes that isn’t seen in most Cirque outfits. I was drooling over all of the glitter, sequins and spandex. I could have watch those women work on costumes for hours. There are over 2,000 pieces of costume for this show and they are all custom-made for every performer. My first question was do they get to keep them when they leave the show??? Sadly, no, they don’t.

glitter costume

The backstage tour and interviews were great, but we got to see the show that night… that review of Varekai will have to wait till’ tomorrow! Spoiler: it wasn’t my fav Cirque show. Details to come!

Cheers!

 

My New Favorite Adventure

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Guys, I am SO excited about Franklin’s (my town’s) latest attraction. It’s so good I almost don’t want to tell you about it. Seriously, I think it topped the Escape Game. I want it to be my little secret. However, it’s far too cool to remain a secret for much longer, so I might as well be the first to tell you. Soar Adventure Tower just opened up in Middle Tennessee and it rocks.

My little sidekick tagging along for interviews and photos.
My little sidekick tagging along for interviews and photos.
the tower
the tower

This tower appears to be a series of ropes courses, but it’s much more than that and not exactly that at all. It consists of 115 obstacles that range from easy to medium to hard (or blue, red and black). There are 4 levels. The first (ground) level is for children who cannot reach 5’5 yet. Three is a good age to start, but Luna was dying to try them already. The next 3 levels are for anyone who can reach with their hand up to 5’5. The obstacles get harder the higher you go, BUT there are at least a few easy ones even on the top level so that everyone gets to experience playing around 50 feet up in the air.

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This aerial adventure park is designed by a Germany company, but it’s is locally owned and operated. The owner, Kevin, is family man from Michigan (former NBA mascot), he has 5 super cute kids and he sincerely loves working and running a place that the entire family can enjoy. He told me about a special needs teen who spent three hours on the course and left feeling strong, capable and so proud of himself. The entire staff was in tears. Just a few days ago a 72 year old women braved the course and thanked him for opening a park that allows senior citizens to be adventurous and brave too. That’s the great thing about Soar…it’s for everyone. 

Husband mastering one obstacle.
Husband mastering one obstacle.
Luna's GrandDude on the surfboard obstacle.
Luna’s GrandDude on the surfboard obstacle.

It truly allows you to pick your adventure, goes as fast or slow as you want, make each obstacle easier or harder and even repeating them as much as you want. Since there is no route to follow and so many different paths to take, you are never waiting in line. There can be a hundred people on the tower and it still won’t feel crowded. I can see the place being used for so many different events…parties, corporate events, team building, date nights and I’ll of course be taking all of our visitors there (I’m looking at you Danica). If you do have a party or event, feel free to bring food and set up shop on the picnic tables on their covered deck. If you show up on a Thursday night than expect free live music too.

Luna snacking with her Great GrandPappy
Luna snacking with her Great GrandPappy

Soar Adventure is only just getting started too. They’ve only been open for less than two weeks (the landscaping hasn’t even been completed), but they are quickly becoming a very popular attraction. Within the next year they plan to expand and O EM GEE I want to tell you what their plans are, but it’s just TOO good. You’ll just have to wait and see what comes. However, I will tell you that soon they will offer a version of cross fit (Adventure Fit, if you will) on the top level obstacles AND yoga on the top deck. I am so definitely attempting both of those!

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I should probably mention that the Adventure Tower is incredibly safe. You are in a comfortable harness with two belay systems so you are always hooked into the safety line. I don’t know how to describe how the carabiners work, but I’m pretty sure it’s magic.

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Honestly, I could say so much more that I like about this place, but you should probably just check it out yourself. It is a little pricey at $45/adult, but it’s worth it and if you fall head over heels for it than you can always purchase a membership and lower the price a bit. You can learn more here and when you check out the tower tell Kevin and his giant adorable family I sent you!

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I fell at this exact moment.

Cheers!

P.S. A tip from me to you: start on the top and work your way down! You do not want to be tired when you get those top obstacles.

I think I have forgotten to mention that I am training for a half-marathon.

Let me say that again. I (the person who HATES running) is training (like running…A LOT) for a half-marathon (translation: 13.1) miles. The Disney Princess Half-Marathon to be exact.

midnight

But, that’s not even the whole truth. I am actually going to run the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge in February. This means that I will run a 10k on Saturday (6.2 miles) and a half-marathon (13.1 miles) on Sunday. A total of 19.3 miles.

19.3

Belle and I have been training for a couple of months now and Husband is refusing to train. Of course, he will probably do just as well as we do without any training, because he’s just one of those people who is good at everything. Yes, it’s okay to hate him.

look like a beauty

Unfortunately, I have already had a couple of hiccups in the road (hello injuries!), but I don’t want to focus on the struggle just yet. No, instead let’s talk about the important stuff…. costumes.

you can run

Obviously, I need to dress like a princess for the half-marathon and this may be the hardest decision I’ve ever made. What do you guys think?

Cinderella and Prince Charming? You know, Husband loves when I force him to dress in costume.

cinderella

Cinderella pre-fairy Godmother

cinderella old

Belle…and Husband could be Prince Adam (post-Beast)

yellow belle

Belle Pre-Beast

blue belle

Those are my top four favs, but I am open to suggestions. OH and before I forget Luna will be running a toddlers’ 100m dash! Gah, another costume to plan!

Wish us luck and I’ll keep you posted on all of our training plans, triumphs, set-backs, costume decisions and everything in between!

Cheers!

Easy Breezy Summer Play Dates

We are so far into summer and it is so hot there aren’t enough popsicles in the world to keep us chill. Even though I am working part-time now, we are still doing our best to keep Luna busy (and exhausted) this summer. Our days at home are spent trying to find and do creative, outdoorsy, social, crafty, not expensive toddler-friendly activities. We’ve managed to keep busy at the house, but lately all I want is to be OUT. The past couple of weeks I’ve compiled some ideas of not only fun away-from-the-home activities, but also FREE away-from-the-home activities!

  1. The pool!

Okay, this first one is debatable…some pools are free. We are lucky enough to have friends and family with pools and a pass to the local rec center that was gifted to us from Grandma. If you know people with pools or have a neighborhood pool, use it! Jumping in a pool of water is just about the only relief you can get in August. Also, invest in a puddle jumper for your littles. We love ours!

little fish
little fish

2. Splash Pads!

There are two splash pads around Nashville. (The second best form of relief in the August heat.) The one in Spring Hill has dozens of interactive sprayers, squirt cannons, fountains and showers. It’s a kid’s summer wonderland. Plus, there is the coolest and newest playground right next to the splash pad – complete with artificial turf and a crazy climbing tower.

The splash pad in Spring Hill, TN
The splash pad in Spring Hill, TN

The second splash pad is actually in Nashville. It’s new, it’s on the Cumberland River right under the Pedestrian Bridge and it’s awesome. There are interactive features, rain curtains, a sand play area, a playground with a rock-climbing wall and more. We can’t wait to go back!

The Nashville spray park
The Nashville spray park

3. Playgrounds!

Luna loves playgrounds, but she is OBSESSED with slides! Or, “shlides” as she calls them. We hit up playgrounds all over the city, but you can find us in Brentwood most often. My child will be the one hogging the slide and piling mulch on the steps.

Luna's favorite piece of playground equipment, "shlide".
Luna’s favorite piece of playground equipment, “shlide”.

4. The public libraries!

The libraries in Williamson Country freakin’ rock. We have story times, craft times, preschool hours, oh and let’s not forget the free books and DVD’s. It’s heaven for both me and Luna. I hope her love of books stays with her for life.

The Brentwood Library
The Brentwood Library

5. Whole Foods! (And other free classes for toddlers.)

Our local Whole Foods has a free kids’ hour every Wednesday at 9:30. It’s a really good hour with local performers, music and dancing. Unfortunately, I’ve started working on Wednesdays so we’ve had to miss our kid’s hour. Whole Foods isn’t the only local place hosting free activities, especially in the summer. For all my local readers, check out Nashville Parent for LOTS of free activities for all ages. And, for my non-locals, check out the local libraries, parks, rec centers, gyms, museums and mom groups. I promise there’s more going on than you think!

What are you doing to keep busy this summer?

Cheers!