Date Night

So Brett and I don’t get out on many date nights. At all. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that I could count how many dates we’ve been out on since Leah was born TWO YEARS AGO on both hands. That’s pretty sad. It may have something to do with the fact that I’m a bit neurotic when it comes to finding a babysitter for Leah. Which can be seen as a bit ironic since I started babysitting at the age of 12 and obviously saw myself as the most mature, competent babysitter in the world. But sadly I cannot hire younger me. Therefore, the only times we have left Leah is with family members or good friends of mine…And this post is starting to sound like I need an intervention on my babysitting trust issues….

But, moving on!! A few months ago Brett and I opened up our home to a wonderful young lady who was completing her child life internship at the hospital where I work. And just recently she applied (and got accepted!) for a child life position we had open in our ER and she made the big move down to South FL to start her new career. We were lucky enough to have her stay with us again for a few days while she waited for her apartment to be ready and she generously offered to watch Leah so we could go out on an actual date! And since we just recently went out on a date in New York we felt like we were being spoiled! 2 date nights in one month!? Look at us crazy kids!!

Brett and I were actually on a date at PF Changs when I told him I was pregnant so we decided to head on back there for dinner because we don’t like change we were feeling sentimental.  And mostly because I’ve been craving their tofu lettuce wraps something fierce. So off we set at the senior citizen hour of 5:15 because we wanted to get there before happy hour ended at 6. (You can call us cheap, we don’t mind..) So there we were at 5:30 pm, scarfing down our lettuce wraps and spring rolls and dumplings and then we were done. And it was 6:15 pm. Which is a very embarrassing time to end a date night. Unless you are 80. I suggested a movie, but Brett had the better (and more romantic!) idea of setting out on a dessert adventure in South Beach, Miami. So off we drove, down the ocean lining A1A, while I quickly attempted to Google the best dessert place in Miami.

We decided (well really, my pregnancy cravings decided) on The Icebox Cafe mainly because Oprah claimed that they had the best cake in Miami. We are trusting you Oprah!! I also liked it because, although they were a full service restaurant, they offered a “cake bar” where you could order a piece to go, which was awesome since they were right across the street from the marina. So we get there and Brett had a moment of doubt because the place looked “too trendy” but I was determined to trust Oprah and her cake loving knowledge. Brett knew right away that he wanted the strawberry shortcake (his favorite) but I waffled back and forth between the coconut with butter cream frosting and the Oreo fudge cake. But, life is full of tough decisions, and I finally settled on coconut. I’m sneaky like that because I know Brett hates coconut so this ensured that I would get to eat my entire piece as well as some of his. I never admitted to being considerate when it comes to my dessert decision making.

^^It was a good decision because this cake was AH-MAZING. I liked it better than Brett’s strawberry shortcake that he deemed “Good, but nothing special.”

^^Baby loves cake.

We look our cake across the street and sat on a bench overlooking the bay (and the many million dollar yachts) and watched the sunset. It was fun and romantic and simple and totally perfect.

After cake we walked along the marina, picking out which yacht we would choose once we make our millions. Which could happen, you know. I’m not a HUGE fan of South Beach and it’s crazy party energy, but this part; the gorgeous palm trees and the picture perfect pink sunsets over the bay, is right up my alley.

^^Crappy quality Iphone picture to show our happiness and date night love.
After our walk we headed back home, up A1A, so we could oogle at all the beach front mansions. And then we got home at 9:30 pm, which is a much more respectable end time to a date night, right?? Or maybe I really am just a grandma. All in all, it was a PERFECT date night and I’m so glad I got to spend a wonderful night with this amazing husband of mine!!

In which I cried and took way too many pictures of Leah eating cookies…

So Saturday was the big day; my baby turned TWO! But backing up a little ways to Friday……

Two years ago on Friday, I was laboring away in the hospital debating whether or not to get an epidural (spoiler alert, I did). At that point I totally expected to give birth at some point during the late afternoon or evening and if someone had told me that I still had over 10 hours left of labor, and that I wouldn’t give birth until the next DAY, I would have punched them in the face. But, 19 hours of labor or not, that sweet girl pictured up there was worth every second of pain because she has brought me nothing but joy over the course of the last 2 years. She is my best little girl friend, my mini me (more in personality than looks) and my heart.

Although her BIG DAY was on Saturday, her teacher offered to do a little school celebration on Friday, which I obviously was all for. We are lucky to have Leah in the sweetest church half day program and her teacher really is the greatest. I know so many school these days have such strict restrictions on what you can and cannot bring in for treats (no glucose, no homemade, no sugar…I’ve heard the list go on and on) but we are lucky to have Leah in a very chill program that, not only allows me to bring in yummy homemade birthday treats, but also allows (and encourages!) me to come in for the birthday snack time celebration where I turned into a full on emotionally charged crazy lady, crying and snapping a million and one pictures of my daughter sitting at the snack table eating a cookie. And yet her compassionate teacher just smiled and said how glad she was that I could stop in.

Tis the season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well…besides the sunshine and the 80 degree weather, but such is life in South Florida. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of the changing seasons, as they tend to all run into each other. However! The past few evenings/nights have been downright chilly! Last night we actually had to shut the windows a little because it was so cold, even with our feather duvet on our bed! Woah Florida, you’re really bringing winter this year!! 😉

Even with the perfect beach weather in December we still try to fill the house with a cozy Christmas feel. Holiday candles burning, Christmas music on the Pandora station 24/7 and lit up Christmas trees. I’ve got a stack of Christmas cards sitting on the coffee table that I’m determined to get out by the end of the week so at least most of them can get to where they are heading before Christmas Day. I’m always so good with being on top of the actual ordering of the Christmas cards, but then I down right stink at actually getting them out on time. It always comes down to running out of stamps. And then it takes me a week to remember to get more at the post office or grocery store. Why don’t I stock up on stamps BEFORE it’s time to send the cards out, you may ask? Well, that would obviously make logical sense, but sadly I run into the same problem year after year.

These past few weeks have been INSANE at work. It’s hard to explain just what being a child life specialist means during the month of December. I don’t think anyone can fully grasp the craziness unless you yourself are a child life specialist. But I’ll try to break it down for you. Imagine hundreds of people, churches, organizations, etc calling you to set up a date and time to come in for an activity, performance, or just to hand out gifts. And then imagine, once your calendar is booked with said groups, still getting call after call from upset people who feel you are being a Scrooge for not letting them come in to visit with the patients. And then imagine donation after donation being dropped off. Seriously, the moment we are called down to security (frantically searching for a flat bed along the way), load up, and are on our way to bring the toys to our storage room, we are called down yet again to pick up more toys. And then, on top of all this, we still have our normal units and patient load to take care of on a daily basis. As well as our other side jobs (like pet therapy) on top of it all. I come home from work on a daily basis and collapse on the couch, not wanting to move or look at another toy for the rest of the day. Let me say this, as CRAZY as it is, we LOVE the joy it brings to our patients, and, in the end, that’s all that matters. Although I get stomach ache stressed at the 19th phone call of the day from some upset church group that I have to tell we don’t have space for, I still love my job. I love seeing a random group of employees from some bank company glow with excitement as they decorate stockings in the playroom, I love seeing a patient’s face light up with glee as they watch a Christmas musical performance, I love to see a parent’s eyes fill with tears when their child is handed that one toy they’ve been asking for all season; I love it all. But, let me tell you, it is EXHAUSTING and I can’t say I won’t be happy once December 26th rolls around! I’m working part day on Christmas this year and I am psyched. It might sound weird that someone is actually excited to work on Christmas, but, let me tell you, it’s going to be a great day. We have this wonderful Santa that has been coming in for years and we get to spend the day being Santa’s elves and walking him around to visit and give gifts to every single child and sibling in the hospital. And I am so excited that I get to be a part of the joy Santa will be bringing to those kiddos on Christmas Day!

And then we are off to VT the day after Christmas to see my family and (hopefully) meet my sister and her husband’s new little bundle of Christmas joy! She is due this Friday and we are all waiting on pins and needles for her to make her grand arrival!

Until then I plan on running around the hospital while trying not to lose my sanity under our ever expanding pile of Barbie dolls…..

In Bloom

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I wish these pics weren’t blurry, but her smile was too cute not to share.

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Just rocking her ice cream jammies and mini pony tale

photo1IMG_0019 IMG_0021 IMG_0025 IMG_0026 IMG_0027Spring has most definitely made its way to South Florida. Although our spring may look a bit different than it does up north, spring still instills the same mentality of renewal and life. No, we don’t have layers of ice and snow that are beginning to melt, and yes our idea of a “seasonal temperature change” may mean the early mornings bring 70 degree temps instead of 60 degrees, but all around us flowers are beginning to bloom and the air is beginning to get warmer, bringing the sweet smell of spring in the breeze. I would say we are also getting hit with the “spring cleaning” bug in this house, but let’s be honest, we’ve been cleaning like crazy since we moved into this house so the new season isn’t really bringing much change on that end. Although hubs is starting to feel an extra push to finish our yard projects, before the dreaded Florida summer arrives with it’s 80 degree heat and 100% humidity. Gotta love it. When we first moved in and saw the overwhelming amount of landscaping in both the front and back yard (let’s just say the previous owner was a bit obsessive with his planting) we decided that the majority of the “jungle” must go. However, lately, more and more beautiful flowers seem to be springing up in the yard, making us second guess our “just rip it all out!!” mentality. Scaling back will still need to happen (I’m not exaggerating when I say the current landscaping is so overgrown you are not able to see the house from the street) but we definitely will be keeping as many gorgeous floral plants as possible. Because I’m digging the caribbean resort feeling they give me every time I come home and see their bright colors. So, a new season is upon us and I’m loving it. Leah and I are embracing spring with as many afternoon walks to the park as possible because our sweet girl loves feeling the breeze blow through her wispy hair as she swings and mommy loves hearing her delighted belly laughs.

Happy Spring!

Island Love

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Leah met her great-great aunt and uncle!

Leah met her great-great aunt and uncle!

IMG_0225 IMG_0224photo photo1photo1It’s hard to put into words how much we love this island. A little background on this magical place, I actually grew up vacationing here. My great aunt and uncle own a condo on the beach (about a mile down the road from hub’s parent’s condo!) and my grandparents used to come down from NY and rent a beach condo some winters. I have so many memories of spending spring break on this island, boogie boarding in the waves and lounging by the pool. So for me…this is home. Now, with hub’s family generously allowing us to claim their condo as our own as much as we possibly can, my heart is full knowing that Leah will grow up with the same memories.  I am so excited for the sandcastles she will build, the shells she will collect, watching Brett teach her to swim in the pool, watching her play in the ocean waves, biking down to the park to look for manatees, eating blueberry pancakes at our favorite breakfast place….the list goes on and on. Every once in awhile, during a particularly beautiful ocean sunrise, hubs and I will day dream of moving and living full time on the island. We brainstorm about what jobs we could work and how awesome it would be for Leah to grow up on this quite stretch of sand. But the joy of having this not-to-far weekend escape will mean that the island will never lose it’s charm or its magical, “We have arrived, now feel all the stress leave our body” quality. Because everyone needs an escape from their day-to-day craziness, and for us, the island will always be “our spot.”

We lived it up on the island last weekend. I was so excited to get Leah in the pool, since the last time we were here she was such a little nugget and too young to enjoy the beach and pool. The ocean was pretty darn chilly, but Leah didn’t protest to getting her toes wet. Instead, she gazed at the water and intently watched as her toes started to sink into the chilly, wet sand. The pool, on the other hand, was a lovely bath water temperature, perfect for a baby’s first swim. I love how babies possess the natural inclination to kick in the water and Leah quite enjoyed floating and kicking her way around the pool with mommy. All in all…a perfect welcome back to our happy spot weekend on the island. We plan on heading back up at the end of this month for Brett’s birthday and I’m already itching to get back to waking up to the sound of waves crashing along the shore and the smell of a sunscreened up baby. Here’s to many…many more weekend island memories with my little family of 3.

Things currently making me happy….

1. My little baking buddy. Yes, her delicious chubbiness is starting to make bending over with her in a sling hurt my back, but I love having her squished all up against me. And the fact that I accidentally dropped a bunch of cinnamon sugar on her head just made her smell all the more delicious.
2. Fresh snickerdoodle cookies. They are seriously a favorite of me and hubs and we could (and do!) eat so many of these yummy cookies. And I have taken it upon myself to try out all the “Best Snickerdoodle Recipes!” that I find on the internet because how else will we know which ones really are the best?!
3. This conversation I had today via text with hubs:

Ok, so in my defense, I REALLY restrained myself this time. Usually I take out 6 or 7 books at a time, so only getting 3 is a huge cut back for me. And I really DO try to return them on time, but sometimes it’s just so hard to remember and there is never any way I can read all 7 books in the skimpy 2 weeks they give me. And really, why do they cut me off after I try to renew a book for the 3rd time?! And the reason why I returned the last book so over due was because I had a BABY and so I couldn’t get to the library for weeks and that should be like an automatic debt forgiveness, right?? But seriously, I will be better this time. I promise….All that to say, man, do I love the library.
4. Pouty babies in purple. Her “Mom, enough with the pictures already.” expression just kills me and I just want to kiss those pouty lips right off.
5. Baby animal butts. Because they are just so cute.
6. The fact that my older sister Lauren is coming down from VT in two weeks to spend some time with me Leah! I am so psyched to spend some time with her and I know the chubalicious baby is excited to meet her aunt as well.
7. Being cleared to start exercising again by my doctor!! I had my 5 week post birth check up yesterday and all is looking and healing well. I am officially allowed to start running again, although after not running for almost 9 months, I’m sure it will start off as more of a slow trot. But me and my 15 lbs I still have to lose are very, very excited to start exercising once again.
8. The fact that I can now officially fit into ONE pair of normal, pre-pregnancy skinny jeans. Even though that may just be because they are especially stretchy. Hey, it’s a start.
9. Modern Family is back tonight. I seriously love that show.

Now I’m off to eat a cookie, read one of my new library books and kiss some chubby baby lips.

 

Bahama Breezin’

I had the perfect Thursday night, consisting of wedding dress shopping with a good friend followed up with a delicious lemonade and flat bread dinner at Bahama Breeze. I love wedding dress shopping. Yes, it was fun when I was planning my own wedding, but I honestly think it’s even more exciting when you are helping a good friend dream up her perfect wedding day. There’s just something about getting caught up in someone else’s big moments that is infectious and I am looking forward to helping more in the month ahead. (And yes I know I’ll have a newborn at home and may be a tad bit occupied, but there’s always time for wedding planning on the side, right??)

The weekend is coming!! Happy almost Friday.