Happy 8 months! Well I suppose I should say Happy Belated 8 months, considering you will be 9 months just after the New Year. You are changing so much and as each day passes, it seems you are getting farther and farther away from that baby stage. You are motoring all over the place ... crawling from room to room, scooting after the dog, and moving in the direction of whatever it is you want. Your newest trick is pulling up to standing and you are getting really good at it too. It won't be too long before you'll be off and running. With all these changes taking place, I'm reminded just how fleeting the baby stage is. You are growing up way. too. fast.
My favorite part about this age is all the babbling you do. I love hearing you "talk," especially when you say "ma ma." Melts my heart. You are also saying "da da", "ba ba," and the latest and your first word (already?!?!?!) is "ball." Go figure.
You've recently started eating some table foods and seem quite happy to be "eating" like the rest of us. Because you only have two teeth, we've only given you small bites of mushy, soft foods. You like bananas, pancakes, waffles, veggie puffs, and baby crackers. Along with some table food, you are still enjoying the basic baby food too. Much like your big sister, you eat almost anything ... and we love that!
I'm pretty sure you will be just like your Daddy. Handsome and tall. You are wearing size 12-18 months and Size 4 diapers! What a big boy, just growing and growing and growing. You are sleeping well for us, in fact often times you put yourself to sleep. You like to be rocked but only for a few minutes. Self soothing is a beautiful thing! :)
You are such a happy, easy going baby. Your smile brightens up the room and your laugh is contagious. Cuddling with you and kissing your sweet cheeks makes me one happy Mommy! I love you so much Little Man! :)
After much talk about Santa this year, Abby was finally ready to go visit the big guy in the red suit. We have been talking to Cookie the Elf about Santa and watching a video from Santa himself on repeat. Seriously, over and over. She's been telling me for weeks she wants to touch Santa's reindeer and ask him if he's working on her new bike. So off to Main Street we went for a fun night of holiday festivities.
Our "Florida fam" joined in on the fun ... dinner, a carriage ride, carolers, and of course the main attraction, Santa.
While waiting in line for the carriage ride, Abby made friends with a group of girls her age. They were dancing, singing, racing each other, and playing tag. It sure made the wait a lot easier, on all of us! :)
The time to talk to Santa came and Abby was being such a brave girl, until .... it was her turn to sit on his lap. She kept her distance but was fine talking to him. (big improvement over last year) We slowly made our way closer to Santa, but of course Mommy had to sit with him too. Secretly I love it ... because who doesn't love the jolly old man?! Abby watched as I gave a high five, but wanted no part of actually touching Santa ... only made sure he was working on her bike and coming to our house on Christmas Eve. Levi did a great job meeting Santa for the first time ... a little shy and uncertain at first, but no crying at all! :)
I'm starting to get way too excited for Christmas this year. Abby is certainly ready and I can't wait to see her reaction on Christmas morning. There is just something so special about this time of year ... the excitement, the anticipation, the love ... it's the best time of the year! :)
This past Tuesday I celebrated my 31st birthday. Last year I welcomed 30 with open arms and a positive attitude, despite what others might have said about turning 30. I'm so glad I did because 30 was an amazing year for me, for my husband, and for our family. 30 wasn't bad at all, so I'm welcoming 31 the same way. Just another year ... and it's going to be a great one!
My birthday this year was really no different than any other day but that's what made it perfect. Started off with my Pure Barre workout in the morning, followed by Abby's gymnastics class while Daddy took Levi to the chiropractor. Then the dreaded dentist appointment to have a root canal. Yes, I opted to have a root canal on my birthday. Wow. I guess I'm just really ready to have all my dental work done. Almost there ....
Despite the discomfort and a little bit of tooth pain, we still went out to dinner. This was the best part of my day, by far.... being with the ones who are responsible for making my last year so special.
Two of my favs :)
And then my evening after the kids went to bed ...
Ice pack, a glass of milk, apple strudel, some wine, and time with the hubs.
My birthday surprise was extra special ... last night the hubs lined up a sitter and we headed to Cirque du Soleil with our friends Sam and Joe. The show was awesome ... amazing costumes, incredible talent, and a great time with friends!
So here's to 31 and making it just as wonderful as the last! :)
Time that is. It seems like with each day that passes, they go by faster and faster. As I sit here and type this post, surrounded by the quiet sounds of the washing machine and Christmas carols playing in the background, I can't believe it's already one o'clock! Seriously, the morning is already gone. I had so much on my to-do list today and only half will get done. And you know what? Oh well. It may not get done when I wanted it to, but it will get done.
The message at church yesterday helped me realize this. Pastor Steve reminded us that the first Christmas wasn't perfect, in fact it was quite messy. It didn't play out according to the script, but what happened anyways was a miracle. Not everything in life is perfect, actually most things are far from perfect. So I'm taking on the challenge during this Christmas season to stress less, enjoy my family, and reflect on the wonderful year that we've had. Laundry will get done, gifts will be wrapped, and my closet will get organized. It may not be in the time I had envisioned... and that's okay. (I sure hope my husband was listening at church.)
I forget the exact scenario but the other day Abby was asking me to read a book to her. She asked over and over and I kept responding with... "when I'm done cooking" ... "when I'm done cleaning up my mess" ... and then finally it hit me, do it later. It will get done. It only took five or so minutes to read the book, enjoy some Abby time, and then I was able to get back to what needed to be done.
It's not always easy, it won't always be perfect but life is one amazing ride, so take the time to enjoy it!
I know it's easy to get caught up in the day to day "to do lists" but try to take the time to relax more, stress less, and celebrate this Christmas season. Remember, it won't be perfect ... and that's the best part about it. And like Pastor Steve said, instead of saying "Have a Merry Christmas," try saying ... "Have a Messy Christmas!" Afterall, messy can be a beautiful thing :)
So here's the rundown of what's goin' on in these pics:
Levi's bottom teeth are so cute, workin' on those uppers now! (And don't worry, his hair has grown back after Daddy's haircut) Three girls reading in Abby's book corner. Abby taking a minute to pose for the camera, since she's quite busy grocery shopping and all. Our new TALL Christmas tree, yay!! Abby and Mommy making reindeer cupcakes. Cookie the Elf helping collect change to put in Daddy's piggy bank. Levi's new favorite toy ... the drums. Daddy and Abby, sweet cuddle time before school this morning. :)
Over the past four or so years it has become tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving with Jim's brothers family. We take turns traveling to each others' homes, where we can spend the holiday cooking together, hanging Christmas lights, and doing a lil' shopping. This year, after much talk we decided it was time to change things up just a bit. It was our turn to travel to Tennessee this year, but instead of going to their home in Franklin, we met in Sevierville, Tennessee, right in the middle of the Smoky Mountains.
We rented a cabin way up on the top of a mountain ... a cabin with a beautiful view of the Smokies. A view that was most perfect for a beautiful sunrise or sunset. So instead of celebrating the holiday at a home, it turned into a little getaway for both families. There was plenty to do in the area, with Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg being so close. It may have been a bunch of "touristy" stuff, but there was fun to be had by everyone. The kids loved racing go carts, riding tons of different rides, playing miniature golf, going out to eat, exploring a science museum, and playing air hockey at the cabin. It was a fun time!
On Thanksgiving morning Abby really wanted to go to a playground, so the hubs and I found a nearby playground. We watched a little PeeWee football and Abby played with some other children on the playground. It was actually a relief that we weren't worrying about cooking and spending all day in the kitchen preparing a Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, we were able to pick up our meal from a local restaurant, heat everything up, and sit down to enjoy a nice meal. I'll admit it wasn't the menu we were all used to, but the food was just fine! I missed a few of our favorite dishes, but it was nice to just relax and enjoy a special day with family, without all the extra craziness!
Whether home for the holidays or tucked away in a cozy cabin, all that matters are the people you share the special time with and the memories you make. Hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)
The week before Thanksgiving Jim's parents came to visit. There were many highlights of their stay with us, but I think my favorite was our day at Busch Gardens. It was a beautiful day to be outside (even a bit chilly at times) and we picked a weekday so we wouldn't be fighting huge crowds. Little Man stayed behind so that way Abby could have a day with Nana and PopPop all to herself. :)
The Sesame Street area of the park was very cool. The characters were out walking around and a few were set up for photo sessions. Abby wasn't too thrilled about meeting Abby Cadabby or Cookie Monster, but with Daddy's help she eventually came around.
The safari train ride was fun too. We were literally on this train right in the middle of all the animals ... no fences, no boundaries. Elephants, giraffes, rhinos, zebras ... all right there! Abby of course loved getting her face painted, this time like Hello Kitty.
Abby wanted to try all the rides. She had a blast on the swings (go figure!) and she also loved the motorcycle ride. She was screaming and giggling the whole way through.
Our family had never done Busch Gardens before, but we had such a fun time together that we ended up buying season passes on our way out. Good times, spent with family makes for some great memories! :)
I haven't done a "Thankful" post in a long time and today it seems fitting to start 'em up again. We have been dealing with Levi's chronic torticollis for almost six months now, going back and forth to physical therapy appointments, helmet appointments, and now adding in chiropractor appointments. It's been a bit crazy and truthfully a bit tiring.
A month or so ago, Jim and I decided (after much thinking) to remove Levi's helmet for awhile. After talking with the pediatrician, we thought it was in Levi's best interest to see if his head could be corrected without use of the helmet. His overall head shape had improved drastically, but his tilt wasn't showing much improvement and we were beginning to think that the helmet was hindering his muscles from strengthening.
Levi's torticollis is quite stubborn. His whole body is out of alignment and his neck and shoulder muscles are very tense, making it difficult for him to move in different positions other than his comfort zone. And unfortunately, his comfort zone is when he tilts his head to his left. Poor guy. He wants to move in other positions, but struggles because of the discomfort that comes along with it.
Today Levi had back to back appointments .... first with the chiropractor and then the physical therapist. He was such a trooper, with only a meltdown at the very end! I'm so thankful that we've found help (that is covered by our insurance) to correct this torticollis once and for all. It takes time, a lot of work (stretching, repositioning him, and not always letting him do the easy way of doing something), but I'm thankful to know that what we are doing is helping. It's a slow, gradual process but we are making gains.
The encouragement I received from both doctors today made me feel like we are doing the right thing for our little man. We don't always have or know the answers, but we are all working towards the same goal... and for that, I'm extremely thankful.
Our handsome little man ... with head tilt and all :)
Ever since kiddo number two arrived, I've realized how important it is to have quality time for just me and the hubs. During the baseball season it wasn't exactly easy to find the time for just us. The mornings were full of activities for the kids and then by the time Jim came home from a night game I was usually sound asleep. I was needing all the sleep I could get, knowing that Levi may wake at any hour of the night ... hungry, wet, or just wanting to play. That's just how it went. Now that we're home, the offseason is here, and Levi is much more manageable, it's a bit easier to get "couple time."
We kicked off our couple time with a vacation to Costa Rica. The hubs and I haven't been on a vacay together since our honeymoon. Seriously. It was five years ago. Definitely long overdue, but a perfect way to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary!
Costa Rica was breathtakingly beautiful. The views, the water, the sunsets, the people. We were so lucky to have found a resort with wonderful amenities, easy access to the local town and restaurants, a private beach, and people offering help and advice all around us. It didn't take me long to figure out a few things about Costa Rica ... stray dogs are everywhere, stop signs don't always mean stop (there was one that was always missed!), it's normal for sideview mirrors to hit while zooming down/up the mountainside (happened on one of our trips into town), and when in doubt just smile and say "Pura Vida!"
Our resort was in the middle of a national park at the very top of a mountain, which offered the most amazing views of both the jungle and the ocean. We were also able to spot monkeys, sloths, and tons of different birds right on the property. It was awesome!
Costa Rica is known for its many activities that involve nature and the outdoors. We did some hiking, went jet skiing in the Pacific, and zip lining through the jungle/rainforest. Zip lining is something I never thought I'd get the chance to do. I'm a bit nervous when it comes to heights and the thought of losing control on the zip line made me uneasy. But - we were in Costa Rica after all... and I was feeling adventurous! Maybe.
So here is my first ever zip line ..... notice what I say at the end. And no ... I didn't.
And here is zip line number four or five ... getting more used to it!
Even though I was super nervous and shaky at first, I'm so glad I decided to go out of my safety zone and try something adventurous. It was such a cool experience and it surely was the best way to see the jungle!
We took so many photos that I included some of them in this slideshow ... take a look :)
I still have tons of stories and pictures to share with y'all ... our vacation to Costa Rica, Abby's first adventure to Busch Gardens, and a few other odds and ends. I'll catch up one day, but unfortunately may not be anytime soon. Life is just crazy busy right now!
This weekend we had a garage sale and emptied our house of a lot of stuff. Jim may not agree that we "emptied" our house, but we did get rid of a bunch of unnecessary junk! While he was tending to the sale, the kids and I headed to the mall. Abby was so excited to mail her letter off to Santa and we even caught a glimpse of him writing some letters back to the children. Abby wasn't ready to sit on his lap just yet, but she did wave with a smile. That's improvement over last year! :)
Later that evening, the hubs and I had a double date night with our neighbors. Lots of wine tasting (including their own from their vineyard in France) and a wonderful meal. It's always good to get out and have couple time, along with some great conversation!
We started off a busy Sunday with church. Great music, wonderful message, and enjoyed catching up with some friends. Then hubs and I decided to divide and conquer ... I took Abby on a lunch date and then to a classmates' birthday party, while Jim stayed home with the little guy. Abby had so much fun celebrating Madison's birthday with her little buddies. They are just so cute! Meanwhile ... Daddy was home with Levi, who ended up running a high fever with a super congested nose. Off to the ER they went and poor little guy has an ear infection. :(
Thankfully Levi is feeling better today. Still slight fever and very congested but he's been a happy boy. Hopefully the antibiotics start kicking in and he'll feel like himself in just a few short days. We were supposed to fly to TN today, but delayed our trip an extra day.
In the morning we'll be headed to the mountains of TN to spend the holiday with Jim's brother, sister-in-law, and their two girls. Looking forward to it! I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving with your friends and family. I'll be back to blogging as soon as I can! :)
It seems to be that the theme from October is continuing into November ... busy, busy, busy! I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I last uploaded pics of our adorable kiddos. We've been having tons of fun, although sometimes I wish we could put the brakes on life. It just seems to be going too fast and I'm not sure I like it.
To kick off the month of November, we celebrated the birthday of a sweet little girl. Miss Isla turned TWO and we went to her birthday party at the FARM! This was the first party that Abby actually got really excited about and asked each night with much anticipation, "Is Isla's birthday party tomorrow?" It was so cute.
The party itself was pretty awesome. Who doesn't like a party at the farm?! Of course the Mama of the birthday girl is a super party planner and had the most perfect ideas for the decor, right down to every detail. Flowers to match the Fall feel, adorable banner and matching birthday hats, burlap tables cloths, favors in the cutest little paper bags, and of course a cow cake. Everything looked fabulous!
Levi and Abby loved the John Deere swings ... it comes naturally. (Grandad, can you make some of these?!) The kids took a cow train ride into the cornfields, had a chance to feed the baby calves, watched the pigs race, went on a hayride, and had a tour of the farm. It was so much fun!
Abby was super excited about the party hats and loved the cake. It tasted amazing. There's just something about a farm that provides so much fun for the whole family. Kind of reminds me of my roots :)
Happy birthday to our sweet friend La! We loved sharing such a special day with you :)
It's amazing what a difference a year can make. The days leading up to Halloween, Abby kept asking if it was time to trick or treat yet. She had her costume ready, trick or treat basket on hand, and the infamous "trick or treat" line just right. And thankfully she learned that in time because just last month a conversation went like this:
"Abby, what do you say after you knock on a door on Halloween night?"
"Hmmm ... nice to meet you!?"
Kids say the funniest things. Gotta love it.
The first of the Halloween festivities was the Costume Parade at Abby's school. She enjoyed it much more than last year. We could tell she was scanning the crowd to find Mommy and Daddy and once she did, she smiled so big, clearly proud of herself. Last year was more of a meltdown, crying mess. After the parade, we enjoyed some refreshments inside her classroom along with her little buddies. :)
Right after school, friends came over for burgers on the grill and the much anticipated trick-or-treating. Minnie and Mickey Mouse were ready to go and of course the hubs and I joined in the fun and went as Woody and Jessie from Toy Story. Never too old to dress up, right?!
As you can see, we didn't have much luck taking photos of the kiddies beforehand. Levi was tired and fussy, Abby was antsy and ready to collect her "treats" and Isla only sat still because she was munching on candy already. Mav was just going with the flow, what a good lil' Tigger. :)
Such a fun night ... and to think that next year these two sweet babes (who couldn't handle all the fun) will be running right along with La and Abby next year. Looking forward to creating more memories with such great friends. Happy Halloween! :)