A Family Outing: The National Naval Aviation Museum

To update you all, Baby J and I are still here in Pensacola visiting Hubby, but we’ll be heading back up north soon. Hubby will be heading to Texas for a few more months of training, then we’ll all be reunited and move to the Baltimore/DC area together this summer. Busy, but fun times are coming! …Along with family outing posts about the Northern Virginia/DC/Maryland area.

Two Saturdays ago, the three of us visited the National Naval Aviation Museum on Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. This was Baby J’s first air museum, and he clearly loved it. I took dozens of photos of him and could not get him to stand still for most of them. They’re almost all blurry!

Museum admission and parking are both free. The guided tours and flight line trolley tours are also free! You do need to sign up for those at the information desk. Attractions that charge include the IMAX, flight simulators, and the Blue Angels X4D Experience. See the website for current ticket info.

You will need a valid ID to enter base and the museum. Concealed weapons are not allowed on the naval station, and you cannot carry a backpack into the museum. We did bring a small diaper bag that we placed in the bottom of the stroller. Also, you’re not supposed to bring food or drinks in, but nobody stopped me over Baby J’s sippy cup, and I did have some of his snacks along (no one questioned that).

Other than Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, the museum is open all year, from 9am to 5pm. The IMAX theater, gift shop, and cafe hours differ, so check online before heading out there.

The museum has more than 150 restored aircraft on display. The exhibits include Homefront U.S.A., World War II, Pacific Island, and Naval Aviation in the Persian Gulf. There are really too many to mention here, but you can find a list on the museum’s website.

It’s been years since I visited this museum, so it was really neat to see how it’s changed and grown. There’s an entire second building now (a hangar) dedicated to more “modern” aircrafts including an unmanned aerial vehicle and Marine One.

One of Baby J’s favorite places in the museum was the Kiddie Hawk play area. It’s modeled after the island of an aircraft carrier, completely with rope ladders, binoculars, periscopes, and more. There’s also a slide, but Baby J was too chicken to go down by himself, and people older than 5 are not allowed on the play equipment. =D

Baby J kept pointing at the air planes and yelling, “Oh, wow!” so I definitely think he’s ready for an air show! I’m really enjoying taking him to museums and attractions now that he’s getting older; seeing the wonder on his little face is an amazing thing.

There were raised areas here with steps, but ramps were always easy to find. We did have a little trouble locating the elevators for the Second Deck. We ended up taking an elevator up, but carrying the stroller down the stairs to get back down (I wouldn’t recommend this). There are (supposedly) two elevators from the First to the Second Deck. I should confess that we never checked for a museum map.

We went spent a couple of hours there total, but you could definitely spend more time if you read all the plaques, watched the movies, and perhaps visited the simulators. Baby J refused to sit in his stroller -he wanted to run everywhere- and he was starting to really lag, so we ended up calling it a day without seeing everything.

If you’re in the Pensacola area, I recommend spending a morning or afternoon at the museum. If the Blue Angels are in town, you can even head outside, sit on the available bleachers, and watch them practice overhead! You can usually see them Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for about an hour beginning at 11:30, March to November. After Wednesday practices, the pilots will often come inside the museum to sign autographs.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see them flying during our Pensacola visit, as the Blues are currently in California for some air shows. You can read the Blue Angel’s show schedule for more information.

Are you a homeschooling family? They have a distance learning program with on-demand video courses. Learn about air pressure, altitude, and more. The museum property is also home to the National Flight Academy, and registration is now open for their six-day educational summer camps.

Have you ever been to the National Naval Aviation Museum? Do you enjoy going to air shows and/or museums?

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Fitness Friday: 3/7/14 (Stats update)

This week has flown by, hasn’t it?! Or maybe it just seems like that because Baby J and I are visiting Hubby in Florida this week. 🙂 Hubby still doesn’t have orders to his next duty station, and he’s done here in 2 weeks. Craziness! Wherever we end up, I hope the base or naval station has a Family Fitness Center like the one I’ve been using this week, because it’s awesome!

Sweaty me in our hotel room after one of my gym workouts at the Family Fitness Center this week.

So one of the local naval station gyms back home in Hampton Roads has a tiny family fitness room. There are a few treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes, and then some dumbbells. That’s pretty much it. The room also has two gated areas to stick your kids in (divided by age). There are no toys, just some soft, stackable kids furniture that holds onto filth. But I’ve used it a few times during the cold weather. It’s much better than nothing.

Well, here in Pensacola, one of the naval stations has a family fitness center. It’s two large, well-equipped rooms with all sorts of machines and dumbbells. There’s plenty of room to work out. Alongside the main room are two raised platforms that are encircled with plexiglass to enclose your kids. And there are lots of toys! Baby J’s been doing really well in there. Most of the time, he’s alone, but occasionally there have been other kids.

One day Baby J was getting really fussy playing alone, so the lady in charge told me I could take him down in the weights area with me, since I was the only one working out down there. He was trying to do BOSU squats and donkey kicks like Mama! It’s been a really fun week.

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Well, as I mentioned above, we’ve been going to the Family Fitness Center while staying here in Pensacola. It’s open Monday-Thursday, so we went every day. I was able to get 15-20 minutes of cardio in every day on the elliptical, treadmill, Stair Master, or a combo of the three. In addition to the cardio, I also did strength training every time for about 45-60 minutes. Monday and Wednesday I focused on arms and abs. I concentrated on legs and butt Tuesday and Thursday. I know I need to do more exercises targeted specifically toward my back, but I have no idea what to do. Time to hit up more YouTube videos!

I’m pleased with what I did this week, but definitely feel that there’s room for improvement. My foot has held up okay. It occasionally hurts, but I can’t always figure out what’s causing it to flare up. Yesterday afternoon it didn’t hurt after working out, but today it started throbbing after I walked around my hotel room barefooted for a few minutes. It also started hurting after I drove for 30 minutes one day. The good news is that it hasn’t gotten worse, and I think it’s gotten better.

Today, I’m relaxing and letting my body have a break, since I was really tired at the gym yesterday after just a few minutes of exercise. Tomorrow morning I hope to run outside, while my husband watches Baby J for me. I’d love to put 4 miles in, but if my foot starts to hurt, I’ll have to stop. There are some trails around here that are lined with wood chips, dirt, and grass, so I’ll try one of those. Those surfaces should be much better for my foot than asphalt or concrete.


Oh dear, I didn’t do so well at the beginning of this week. Saturday was a difficult day since we were flying out here, but I did well until we arrived and Hubby’s friends were grilling outside the hotel. And there were potato chips. I just can’t resist them. Then on Sunday, we went out to eat after church. Hubby’s friends wanted to go to Sonny’s BBQ. Maybe I should’ve stuck with the salad bar, but everything smelt so yummy, and I love barbecue and southern food. Bring me some biscuits and fried okra any day, mmmmmm. Monday I tried really hard all day to be good, and I was. But Hubby (against my pleading) bought Nutella. I had one little taste and it was over. Two or three Nutella sandwiches later, I was feeling horrible about myself.

But I determined I’d do better, and I have these last few days. I’ve been eating plenty of veggies and the right amount of carbs. I’m still probably eating too much saturated fat, and I’m having trouble getting enough protein. So I need to keep working on those too. I’m still researching protein shakes. I drank a ton of water this week, and sometimes I have trouble hydrating, so that’s good.


I was planning on posting “after” photos of myself to compare to my “before” shots back on Fitness Friday January 10. I had Hubby snap a few photos of me in the same workout clothes last night, but I eventually decided to not share them. I look the same! Well, I might look a little smaller around the hips, and my backside might be a little perkier, but that could also be the angle of the camera. My arms do not look any more muscular in my new photos. *insert sad face here*

Although I did feel bummed for a few minutes, I reminded myself that my clothes are fitting looser now. So even if I look the same or almost the same in photos, I know that I’ve been toning (i.e. BUILDING MUSCLE). That’s what matters.


I decided I’m not going to update this anymore. It’s no longer an accurate measurement of my fitness level.

Measurements: (Taken according to Weight Watchers guidelines.)

Previous Measurements (2/7/14):

  • Height: 5’10″
  • Weight: 149lbs.
  • Upper Arm: 11″
  • Abdomen: 33.5″
  • Waist: 30″
  • Hips: 36.5″
  • Thighs: 22″

Today’s Measurements (3/7/14):

  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: N/A
  • Upper Arm: 10 7/8″
  • Abdomen: 33.5″
  • Waist 29.5″
  • Hips: 36.5″
  • Thighs 23.5″

As you can see by my measurements, either I’m not making much progress at all, or I’m really terrible at taking measurements! I don’t know what else to do other than keeping plugging away, hoping that I’ll see some significant difference in those measurements eventually.


I’d like to see my arm measurements go up a little- with muscle! I’d like to see another inch come off my waist, and I definitely would like to lose inches off my hips. I think my hips are going to be the last to lose fat, and that may not happen until after I’m done having kids.

As I’ve mentioned, in spite of the numbers on the measuring tape or the scale, my jeans are fitting looser, so I know I’m losing fat and gaining muscle. I’m happy that I’m making progress. I’m getting stronger; I can lift heavier and do more reps. But if I’m honest with myself, I’m not working as hard as I could. I’ve always lacked discipline when exercising, so my fitness journey really is a work in progress for me. I’m thankful for the women both online and in real life that inspire and motivate me to keep going.

 Fitspiration/Fitness Stuff I’m Loving:

I’m still watching Brenda Leigh Turner’s videos for motivation and workout ideas. I also LOVE this blog post by Jen Sinkler, “Strong Isn’t Really the New Sexy/Skinny.”

Join in:

If you’re a blogger, link up your FF post at my two favorite Fitness Friday linkys- JillConyers.com and WeDontHaveItAll.com. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to let us know in the comments below how you’re doing with your health and fitness goals.

How was your week? Any fun plans for this weekend?
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Giveaway: “I Miss Daddy” deployment book for #military kids & their parents, Jan. 9-22

Win a copy of "I Miss Daddy" deployment book for kids & their parents on My Life: A Work in Progress

I haven’t hosted a giveaway in a few weeks, so I think it’s about time! One winner will receive a paperback copy of Acacia Beumer’s book I Miss Daddy, valued at $8.99 (current Amazon price). Although the book is geared towards military kids and their parents, I think it’s a worthy book to add to any child’s library.

You can read my full review here, but to recap, the book highlights through the main character, Jana, that children don’t usually express their sadness the way adults do. A child may be acting out, because she or he misses their deployed parent. That’s something adults need to be sensitive to. Besides reminding parents to be mindful of this, the book can be used as a talking point to open these conversations with your children.

The giveaway will run from January 9 to 22. It’s open to US residents. Please see full terms and conditions below. If you agree with them, scroll on down to enter. Thanks and good luck!

Terms & Conditions: Sweepstakes open to residents of the US. Must be 18 years or older. Void where prohibited by law. Two entrants allowed per household. Odds of winning depend on total number of eligible entries received. Once winner has been selected and emailed, winner will have 48 hours to respond or new winner will be selected. Winner’s name may be posted on this blog and other social media and Web sites. My Life: A Work in Progress (MLAWP) is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Sweepstakes not associated with Facebook or any other social media platform. Entrance into the sweepstakes indicates acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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