iFLY Austin : Our Indoor Skydiving Experience

Thanks to iFly Austin for inviting us out to participate in one of the coolest family activities in the Austin area- INDOOR SKYDIVING!! Read on to find out about our first family skydiving experience, our initial thoughts, and what surprised us most!

iFLY indoor skydiving Austin TX

iFLY is an indoor skydiving experience that creates true free fall conditions, just like skydiving, without having to jump out of an airplane. iFLY’s vertical wind tunnel generates 1600 horse power from 4 powerful fans, creating a wall-to-wall cushion of air on which you can safely float. There’s no parachute, no jumping, and nothing attaching you to planet Earth. It’s just you and the air, AND it’s the most incredible adrenaline rush.

Our daughters have always been the extreme thrill seekers in our family so I knew immediately that Kaitlyn would want to come along to experience this for herself. Sebastian had recently gone with his class on a field trip here just a couple of weeks before so I was prepared to have to sit on the bench this time, thinking he would be ready to go again. To my surprise he INSISTED I go in his place because as he put it “Everyone should try this at least once in their lifetime.” It looked like this would be my day to try indoor skydiving. I’m so glad I did!!

austin iFLY indoor skydiving building

First time Indoor Skydiving? What you can to expect at iFly Austin

When we arrived at the facility, check in was a breeze because we already had completed our forms online. We just provided our names and they were able to locate everything easily. We did have participate in a quick (very discreet) weigh in so that the air pressure in the flight tube could be calculated correctly for our flight.

After that we went upstairs to watch a quick safety video with the instructor and got fitted in our flight gear. The gear consisted of a helmet, goggles, earplugs, and flight suit. The flight suit is basically just a jump suit that goes on over your clothes. I recommend wearing athletic clothing that fit close to your body, athletic shoes and pulling your hair back. You’ll also want to remove any jewelry that could come loose as well.

iFly indoor skydiving flight suits

All suited up and putting on our best game faces as first time flyers. We looked brave but eek! We were a little nervous.

The biggest surprise was finding out what a workout this could be. You might not initially consider indoor skydiving as part of your fitness routine but during your one to four minute flight session you are engaging a series of isometric contractions to keep your entire body suspended and stabilized as you encounter the high-speed wind resistance in the tunnel. iFLY offers several flight packages that could be a really fun way add some new energy to your fitness routine.

ifly indoor skydiving tunnel

Not really knowing what to expect and not entirely sure I could remember the instructions from the safety video, I was relieved to see our instructor would be in the tunnel with us to help us remember what to while we were in there. Kaitlyn and I positioned ourselves somewhere in the middle of our group so we could watch a few other attendees go first and see how it’s done. There were people of all ages, sizes, and athletic ability in our group. I wouldn’t let any of those be a factor in holding you back from this super fun experience.

Here’s a video of what the iFLY experience was like:

We were able to experience 2 full flights in the tunnel each with our instructor. Kaitlyn had such a great time that we upgraded her experience and she took an advanced flight going higher and learning a few more techniques. At the end we both received a certificate for our indoor skydiving experience. We both agreed we would love to come back!!

iFLY Austin Certificate

Ready to take an iFly indoor Skydiving adventure of your own?

Have we convinced you to in check out iFly for yourself? You’ll find the Austin location at 13265 North US 183, Suite A Austin, TX. (Outside of the Austin area? No Problem! iFly has several location in Texas and throughout the nation. Just check the website for the location nearest you here)

Give them a call now to set up a visit (512) 774-4359

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Thursday: 10am – 9pm
Friday: 10am-11pm
Saturday: 9am – 11pm
Sunday: 9am – 9pm

Be sure to check out their website here for more information and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest offers and events!

Have you been indoor skydiving? I’d love to hear about it!! For other fun activities in the Austin area check out this post

 

Making Life Changes + New Car Buying Easier


Capital One Navigator Kia Cadenza

Thank you Capital One® for sponsoring this post. Capital One® Auto Navigator® simplifies car buying and financing before you ever set foot in the dealership. With Auto Navigator, consumers can find a car and see their financing options, all in one place. Whether it’s moving to the suburbs, having children or getting a new job…as life changes happen, so do your car needs.

For the first time in 14+ years we aren’t going to be a minivan family. That’s not to say I don’t still love a good minivan. After all they are functional, reliable, can be decked out with ALL the amenities of home. Between soccer, dance, football, errands and shopping my minivan was my home away from home. Sometimes it was my mobile office because it was the only quiet place in my home to make a phone call. This summer everything is changing.

We moved to Austin Texas as a large family of six with an equally sized dog, smaller cat, and much smaller frog. This week we are moving out of the city due to my husband’s new work position and are leaving with only two children. The oldest two have flown the nest, one took the dog,  and sadly the frog died this week. We did pick up a hedgehog, Sunny, during our time here. All of that is to say there have been lots of changes.

Along with these new changes is the possibility of changing vehicle needs. In the past we absolutely needed a minivan or larger SUV to all ride together. Now with our reduced family size, our options are much more open! As life changes happen, so do your car needs.

Have you bought a car recently? Thinking about getting something new? The Capital One® Navigator website can help!

Auto Navigator Capital One

What is the Capital One® Auto Navigator® website?

Capital One developed Auto Navigator to simplify car buying and financing. Auto Navigator focuses on adding transparency to a sometimes confusing process by allowing consumers to pre-qualify for auto financing and see their financing terms before visiting a dealer.

Capital one Auto Navigator

I am a huge advocate of knowing that your time is as valuable as money in the bank. I would rather spend more time with my family and less time at the dealership talking financing. Capital One Auto Navigator makes it easy to do that part on the sofa at home, on the road traveling, or ANYWHERE because I can do it all from my phone.

It’s a big change for our family to make this transition to a new city, new home, new schools, and yes, even a new car. Changes in life are inevitable but they don’t have to be hard. Look for ways to make your life easier and recapture more of your time and finances. I’m glad companies like Capital One are thinking outside the traditional models to help us do just that.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Bring Your Team Together: Team Building with Taste Events

Dallas Team Building With Taste Blogger EventWho else is watching cooking competition shows and dreams what it would be like to participate? Do you make your kids help you in the kitchen, responding to you “YES, Chef!” ? In our house its a semi- regular occurrence. Recently, I was invited for a super fun experience exactly like that with Team Building with Taste at their Dallas location.

After serving us morning mimosas and apps, we were divided into cooking teams and raced against the clock to prepare a meal worthy of chef’s approval. Not only were we racing against the clock but we had several challenges and plot twists thrown at us too. When the clock countdown came to a close, the heat was on as it was time to present our dish to the chef and discuss our strategy and process.

Smoked Salmon Leek Crostini

Our team did an amazing job. We did make some adjustments to the basic recipe that resulted in us winning the competition!! (I’ll be sharing our recipe in another post so you can make our winning recipe at home!)

Chef Joey Allette Team Building with Taste Dallas

Chef Joey Allette is an award-winning chef who has a great reputation in Dallas. He was incredibly entertaining and knowledgeable making the experience even more fun. I immediately called my husband afterwards and recommended he schedule an event here for his board and executive staff. This really is a great alternative to team building that eliminates physical fears some have with ropes courses or other trust challenges.

In addition to business team building, this is perfect for volunteer groups, birthday parties ( ages 13+ allowed in the kitchen). I’m thinking this will be a great option for Kaitlyn’s next birthday! Occasionally there are cooking classes that individuals can sign up for. Check out their special Fathers Day event details here.

For more information on their programs and menus, go to Team Building with Taste.

Stop Nagging Your Kids to Brush their Teeth and Make it Fun! #TheraBreathKids

For this post we’ve partnered with TheraBreath for Kids! and The Motherhood to offer up better ideas for oral care routines for our families. All opinions are 100% mine.

Before bed: “Have you brushed your teeth?”

Before leaving for school: “Did you remember to brush?”

After ice cream or candy: “Go brush your teeth.”

Who else is growing weary of reminding your kids to pay attention to their teeth? I’m kind of over it. But this doesn’t mean I’ll stop. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. It’s too important and the consequences are costly and painful to repair.  The best solution is to equip our children with some fun facts that will help them WANT to take ownership over their oral care routine.

bathroom notes for kids therabreath

Now that our kids are able to read on their own I leave notes on their bathroom mirror to read while they are getting ready in the morning and switch them out at night. Any sticky backed note pad works great for this. I always leave reminder to brush their teeth mixed in among the fun facts, this day in history, and maybe a joke or two.

Therabreath for kids

This strategy does a couple of things. It let’s them know I am thinking about them and it keeps them in front of the mirror longer while they are brushing, flossing and rinsing so they don’t rush through it. I’ve also added a new product to their routine that they are excited about :TheraBreath for Kids!

TheraBreath for Kids! is a  terrific alternative for families looking for healthier, more natural product. This is an oral rinse different from others because unlike competing formulas in other brands TheraBreath for Kids! uses no Dyes, Artificial Flavors, CPC, or other ingredients that parents are scouring labels to avoid. It is also certified gluten-free, helps prevent cavities and freshens breath.

therabreath for kids no dyes

It helps to prevent cavities and keeps kids teeth healthier without questionable additives. It made with real Organic Grapes and sweetened with a touch of Xylitol, a natural non-sugar sweetener with demonstrated oral health benefits. Since they can’t use this until after they brush, we are seeing more frequent brushing and less reminders.

BOGO!!!

Consumers have always been willing to pay a little bit more for TheraBreath products because of the better ingredients used and that it’s manufactured in smaller batches (which helps from needing to add a lot of preservatives.) Adding this in to your kid’s routine can help save more time and costs at the dentist office!

Right now you can stock up on TheraBreath for Kids by clicking here to download a buy 1 get 1 coupon. You can locate the retailer nearest you here.

Ultimately I’m a firm believer in doing what you need to do to make the essential boring routines of life fun. This has been a fun way to get the kids excited about taking more responsibility and less nagging for me.

What do you do to help your kids have better oral care habits? Are you having to remind them a lot?


 

What I’ve Learned about Parenting Teenagers Might Offend You

Part of parenting is giving these humans enough space to let them be their own people. It’s a delicate balance of guiding them, equipping them, teaching them social graces, and setting them free. I’ve always felt like it was an honor to be the one to guide these lives but I’ve never felt like I owned them. I’m still very much responsible for holding a position of authority in their life but I also respect their autonomy and personhood. This parenting philosophy has allowed me to learn as much from them during this time as they do from me.

Another of our children crossed over into “teenhood” this month. Thirteen always seems like a monumental year in the life of any child. Lots of parental commentary during the teen years will equate to telling you :”Parenting Teenagers Is the WORST”. I call B.S.

B.S. because unfortunately, Parents, it’s not them. It’s you.

I can say this with confidence because I have been the problem in the past. We’ve gone through the teen years with two children ( 1 boy, 1 girl) already and two more ( 1 boy, 1 girl) to go. I’ll be the first to admit we made mistakes during the first go around, plenty of them if we are being honest. Nobody really knows what to do with the first one, amiright??? We made fewer mistakes during the second attempt and our hopes are high for three and four that we continue to improve. This is not to say that we’ve mastered this teen parenting thing by any means. No, each teenager is their own unique enigma that you will have to figure out the key for.

Each child, and parent, will present their own set of strengths and strongholds. It’s kinda like the freakin’ hunger games, actually. Here’s the thing, teenagers aren’t actually awful. Teenagers are just trying to figure out life, just like you. They are being put into all new situations that they’ve never encountered before. The world is telling them to “grow up” and behave maturely. It’s throwing vocabulary and scenarios in front of them at a rapid pace, none of which they have been trained for, in fact most have been sheltered from any of this in their previous years. P.S. YOU did that.  I know it was in an effort to keep them safe of but you can’t expect them to just magically excel at something they haven’t been trained for.

Their physical bodies are growing like adults but they aren’t adults. Yet when they act like adults they are reminded that they are children, and when they act like children they face consequences for acting as such. Parents, WE are the ones getting it wrong.

Instead of frustration and disappointment, offer grace and patience. Over the next few years you and your children are going to make some mistakes. You might make a lot of them. It’s OK. Allow yourselves the grace to fail. You are all going to be OK. Fewer people are judging you than you think. The parents that have done this before know what you are going through. They are not judging you.  Honestly, anybody participating in parental judging is a jerk. Don’t be a jerk. Parenting is a tough gig no matter what stage you are in.

Toddler to Teenager

Good News! Do you remember the extreme amount of patience that the toddler stage required? THAT was your parental training for now. I tell you this not to worry you but to encourage you. You have already trained for this. You are going to experience some of that craziness again but you are both going to do better this time. Here’s why… Remember when your toddler was throwing a fit, screaming, crying, over who knows what insignificant thing back then? Remember that when they behaved irrationally and you knew it was because they were just hungry/tired/needed your sole attention? (pay attention here.) IT’S THE SAME THING NOW! Their behavior isn’t personal. So much of what’s wrong can be solved with good nutrition, a nap, and knowing that they can have your attention when they need it.

Parenting teenagers is a lot like parenting toddlers

You may not be changing diapers anymore but those same basic toddler issues are the root of a good deal of what is upsetting your teen as well. This is not the time to overlook those things.  Now, I do not approve of the hover-parent lifestyle. You’ve done that. We’ve all done that to one extent or another. Give them the space to put in motion what knowledge you’ve already given them. You tell them you trust them, prove it.  Equip your child to take ownership over their own sleep, nutrition, and attention needs. This may seem simple but it’s not. Teach them about the needed amount of protein in the body, why sugar causes emotional crashes, and how water can literally refresh their mind. Do it in a way that isn’t patronizing. Don’t be manipulating but allow it to be “their idea”. They want to make good choices but they are in the “I do it myself” stage again. Make it easy for them to grab high protein bars, nuts, fruits, healthy fats, or shakes instead of sugar to refuel. If they are going to be successful adults they are going to have to make these choices themselves.

Everyone needs a nap sometimes. Even you parents. If you feel like you might lash out, take a quick 10 min rest time before responding. Things will look different after you’ve slept.

Be the example of not being ruled by your emotions. I was terrified when I had daughters that they would be girls that made decisions led by how they felt. For the record, that’s a behavior that is not exclusive to one gender. This season of parenting is going to be scary. You both are going to be a little apprehensive about what happens next, day to day, minute to minute. Don’t make fear based rules for your children. Make smart ones. Trust your intuition.

Do not forsake a future relationship with your adult children for fear based rules today.

Be available for them. No matter how much you may think they don’t want you around ( they might even say it) they need you around. They need you more than ever. They need your approval, your reassurance and your unconditional love. They don’t need you because they aren’t capable, they need you as a safe space in the world. Every day they are encountering literally hundreds of people at their school just like them trying to figure out who they are. By pure percentages, they are sure to encounter people who have behaved poorly to them that day. They have to figure out how to respond. Some days they’ll get it right. Some days they’ll get it terribly wrong. All of that weighs on their mind and emotions.  Wait until they come to you to offer advice. When they come to you to talk, ask them if they just need a listening ear or if they want advice. Most often they don’t need you to fix it, they just need to get it out of their head and when they hear it all said out loud they have the solution.

Last piece of advice, over the next few years when these teens seems to have lost their minds, try to see back to the sweet tiny person you knew a decade or so ago and handle this person with the same amount of love and patience. Don’t scream back. Don’t allow these actions to determine your reaction or rattle your emotions. Just know that you are the perfect parent for this human in front of you and they are the perfect human for you.

You are both doing a great job and It really is going to be okay.