Sorry it’s been so quiet lately here on the blog. Turns out, 2 kids is a lot more work than 1. Who knew?! 😛

So, after almost an entire month of having family visiting on and off, I’m officially on my own with both kids. As intimidating as it was the first few days, we’ve seemed to have seamlessly slipped into a routine that works well. Since Leah was used to going to school every day when I worked, the girl craves structure. She likes to have planned activities and she likes to know what’s coming next. At bedtime, as I say goodnight, we talk about what we are going to do the next day. We talk about reading books, going for a walk, the playground, the store, etc and, when she wakes up the next morning, she will repeat the day’s schedule back to me. And, as a planner myself, it has made the days much more enjoyable! We have time for reading books, time for playing outside, time for snack, and time for (mommy’s new favorite!) a nap. I told Brett the other day that I have been shocked to find that the days are flying by! Running around with two kids makes my days go way faster than they used to when I was working! And, even though there have been fits here and there, it really has been a blast. Leah is such a joy to hang out with and I am LOVING watching her grow and change every single day. (As well as hearing all the new, funny expressions that come out of her mouth; my current favorites being “Okie dokie artichokie” and “Oh, sorry about that!”) Being a mom to these two sweet little girls makes me feel like the luckiest person alive. Here’s a little of what we have been up to ever day:

1. Splash park playing. I have to say, we’ve had a fabulous winter so far this year in Florida. And by “winter” I mean that it hasn’t been 90 degrees with 100% humidity every single day. We’ve had some “cold” days in the 50’s and 60’s and a lot of perfect sunny days in the mid-70’s. Leah LOVES the splash park (which is funny since, just a few months ago, the girl would barely touch the splash pad with one toe) and will happily play in there for hours. And mommy likes it because she is able to just sit and relax while Leah has a blast.

^^I call this look Leah’s “J-Lo booty” AKA a diaper full of water….

2. Ice cream eating. Because, obviously this is needed when the weather is nice.

3. Walks, walks and more walks. I haven’t been doing a ton of exercising yet, but I have been trying to do daily walks. As much as I LOVE my new double stroller, it definitely took me awhile to get used to pushing this heavy, “stretch limo” as I affectionately call it, around. I am so used to the BOB, which is super smooth and easy to push, but a double stroller is a different story. I swear my arms are getting quite the workout on our long walks. I’ve also finally mastered the double stroller PLUS puppy walk, which I’m quite impressed with. (It’s the little achievements, right!?)

4. Playground playing. Almost every night, if I ask Leah what she wants to do tomorrow, she will answer with “Go to the playground!” (That or, “Watch Frozen!” but, you know, the playground request gets approved a lot more than the Frozen watching, much to Leah’s chagrin). We have a lot of playgrounds around our neighborhood so we walk or drive to new ones daily. We are just getting to the stage where playground playing is more relaxing for me, now that Leah is more independent and I don’t feel the need to follow her up and down and all around the playground. Which comes in handy when you have an infant strapped to your chest.

5. Outside playing. Again, with the awesome weather, we are full on taking advantage of playing outside as much as possible. Leah’s current favorite outdoor activities include drawing with chalk on the driveway (in her Elsa nightgown, obviously) and pushing her baby (usually her Elsa baby) around the block in her new double stroller.

6. Reading. Leah LOVES books and she will read for hours (or, really, have me read for hours) if I let her. She gets into a rut where she wants to read the same book over and over again for weeks on end. So much fun. Brett and I will keep trying to introduce a new book, “Hey, how about this one!?” but she will inevitably shoot down our suggestion and instead go with her current fave. Luckily, she always tends to move on to a new one after a few weeks. Her most recent fave was a book “A Fly Went By” about a bunch of animals chasing each other for no apparent reason and, let me tell you, it goes on just a bit too long if you ask me. Not one of mommy’s favorites. And, sadly, once you read it correctly once you can’t change up the story or skip a little because our kid has a memory like a vault and she remembers every single word and will totally call you out if you try and skip a page or two.

7. Entertaining myself, which, inevitably, ticks Leah off. Maybe I’m a mean mom, but I get a kick out of putting Claire in Leah’s toy stroller and toy pack and play…unfortunately Leah does NOT share my sense of humor…..

8. Enjoying this new little chub of a cherub that has joined our family. Leah LOVES holding baby Claire and, coincidentally, baby Claire LOVES being held (maybe not so much by Leah…) Having 2 kids makes me even more thankful for baby wraps/carriers because I don’t know what moms do without them. Claire seems to be under the impression that being put down is a form of torture, so she tends to be in my arms 24/7. And when I actually NEED my arms, she’s strapped to my chest.

And that’s life around here these days. That, and many, many trips to Trader Joe’s because I’m just a bit obsessed with their food (okay, let’s be honest, I’m mostly obsessed with their snacks). Now excuse me while I go snack on some Cowboy Bark and take advantage of nap time to catch up on some reading. 🙂

Life Lately…

1. Leah is enjoying her first summer Popsicles.  This is the first time she had a Popsicle of her very own (as opposed to just licks of mine or Brett’s) and she is highly enjoying the summer experience. It was actually humorous to watch her the first time trying to figure out how to hold it by the stick, but she got the hang of it pretty quickly. Of course she’s not the neatest Popsicle eater in the world so she generally eats them half stripped down outside on the front porch where she can easily be hosed off. Nothing says summer like sticky toddler Popsicle hands, right??

2. I have been craving milkshakes with this pregnancy like something fierce. I think it’s because my stomach still can’t really handle a bowl of ice cream at night without my stomach starting to hurt, so I’m all about getting mid-afternoon milkshakes. On the healthier side…

I could seriously eat my weight in hummus right now. Cucumbers and peppers dipped in red pepper hummus is seriously my all time favorite snack, closely followed by pita chips dipped in hummus. Which is funny to me since even the sight of hummus made me want to gag when I was pregnant with Leah….

3. Leah is becoming such an independent swimmer!! We bought her a new arm/chest floaty a couple of weeks ago and she just took off in the pool. She loves to kick around like a big girl and jump off the side into the water all by herself. It boggles my mind how she is big enough to be swimming on her own already!!

4. Lucy is getting bigger (and cuter) and she seems to be making it her life mission to destroy our house plant. Every time I catch her ripping off the leaves she immediately stops and runs away, clearly knowing she is being naughty, but as soon as I turn my back once again she is back at it with the plant!! In spite of her shenanigans, we still love her and we are really enjoying having a dog in the family. Leah and Lucy are so cute together and it melts my heart every time I catch them playing and snuggling. (Random side note, we have had a few people jokingly ask us if baby #2 will have an L name to match Leah and Lucy and I adamantly say “NO!” We didn’t purposely name Lucy an L name and, as cute as her name is, I already find myself accidentally yelling Lucy instead of Leah and vice versa so  I can honestly say that baby number 2 will not be joining the L name crew!)

5. My youngest sister had a baby!! Little Madelyn Michelle was born in Alaska on the 4th of July and I am already in love with her puffy lips. Sadly, with them living so far away, it will be awhile before I get to meet my second niece, but until then I am enjoying all the pictures she sends of her! Crazy enough, I am one of 4 girls and our baby will be the 4th granddaughter… maybe we will be an all girl family who have all girls!

6. This proud smile coming from the big girl who used the potty for the first time ever!!! I’ll spare you the picture of the actual pee in her little potty (of course I took a picture!!) It was so funny because, although she asks to sit on her potty all of the time, she had yet to actually do anything in the past. Her potty time usually ends after 2 mins where she makes funny grunt sounds and faces and pushes on her stomach to “push the pee pee out” before jumping up and proclaiming that she is “all done! Good girl Leah!” So I really did not expect this time to be any different. I was busy giving Lucy a much needed bath in the tub (which side note, pisses Leah off to no end since that is “my tub!!”) and Leah was sitting on her potty perch watching me. I kept asking if she was all done and she would just give me a calm “nope!” before going back to singing her ABC’s (which tend to stop at “P” before starting all over again…). As I was finishing up blow drying Lucy, Leah proudly jumped up saying “All done!” and I looked in, shocked to see that she had actually gone!!! I think I freaked her out with my intense and over enthusiastic praise, but I was just so shocked!! No, she has yet to do it again, but it was a darn good start!

7. We bought this cute, tiny little baby shirt at a cute little shop down by our beach. Yes, I bought it in blue (with a matching pink one for Leah) because at the time I still honestly believed that baby was a boy! Oh well, baby girl will just be rocking blue and I still think it’s about the cutest thing in the world. I just love teeny tiny baby clothes!!

8. Random, funny story: When the Children’s Hospital where I work opened (we used to be a part of the adult hospital before moving across the street into a free standing hospital) we got to wear these lovely (said sarcastically) silk scarves at our hospital’s grand opening event. The scarves matched the different units color theme and they are printed with the hospital’s logo. Let’s just say that it’s been shoved in the back of my closet for the past 3 years. Well, somehow Leah found it and has decided that she loves this fashion accessory. Brett takes her to school in the morning and apparently they keep it in the back seat for her to wear once she gets into her car seat. The other weekend when we were all in the car together Leah was whining for her “scarf” and I asked Brett, confused, what she meant. “Oh,” he replied calmly, “She wants her riding scarf.” And with that he reached behind him and handed Leah my lovely bright orange hospital scarf that she immediately wrapped around her neck. So there we have it, a riding scarf for Leah. If only we could all be so fancy….

9. I have been attending a spin class and a cardio interval class at my gym 2x a week. I am LOVING spin, as hard as it is, because it really feels like it is keeping my legs (and more importantly, my butt!) in shape during this pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Leah I didn’t really work out much at all, so this is all so different for me this time around. I will definitely be writing a post about my experience with working out while pregnant soon!

10. Leah has been loving trips to the playground, regardless of how hot and humid it is outside. It’s always a battle to get her to leave, but it’s worth it to see how much fun she has! This past time she totally shocked me by climbing up the ladder to the slide all by herself. Usually I hold her under her arms to help her lift her small body from one step to the next, but this time she was adamant about doing it herself. “Mommy I do it!” she would scold me if I tried to touch her so I stood back and watched, amazed, as her strong little arms and legs pulled herself up. I know she’s almost 2 and all, but every time she does something like this it really makes me realize that she is definitely not a baby anymore!! Also, she insists on wearing this exact outfit whenever we go to the park. She calls it her “play suit” and she will run to go find it whenever I say that we are going to walk to the park. Who knows what she will do once she outgrows it!

11. Talking about big girl…this month Leah moved up to the 2-3 year old classroom! She is such a smart girl that they moved her up before she turned 2 because she is definitely ready. I love it because it has a more pre-school structure, as opposed to the baby room she used to be in, and it’s insane to see how fast she learns. The other night at dinner she sang “Twinkle Twinkle” pretty much word for word (complete with hand motions!), which isn’t a song we usually sing at home (here, we’re all about the ABCs and “Wheels on the Bus” these days…) so I knew it was something she learned in school, which I love!! I also love hearing her talk about her friends at school and who she played with that day. As much as working (even part time) can make me feel guilty at times, when I see how verbal Leah is and how much she is learning it really makes me see the value of her few hours of “school” every day!

12. And last, but not least….this girl’s personality lately has been cracking me up. It was funny because the other day my mother-in-law texted me and Brett a picture of two pairs of shoes she bought Leah as options for her flower girl dress for my sister-in-law’s wedding in a few weeks and she asked “Do you think Leah will have a preference?” and I immediately laughed and texted back, “Definitely!!” Lately, this girl has an opinion about EVERYTHING, from the shoes she wears to school, to what color bib she wears, to what she eats for dinner to what pj’s she wears to bed (which is why she usually ends up with some lovely get-ups such as this one-her beloved “kitty cat” shirt with her “doggy” pants). I’m trying really hard to find a balance between encouraging her independence and choice making, but also setting down the rules and making sure she knows that mommy and daddy are in charge. When it comes to pj’s, I could really care less if she wants to put together her own outfit creations, but when it comes to snacks and dinner, she does not get free reign! (Which would basically lead her to eating either crackers, yogurt or Cheerios if she had the choice…) This has led to quite a few fits these days, but we are slowly finding our groove with allowing options, without letting miss bossy pants totally take over. One things for sure, this girl definitely knows what she wants! Although I’m doubting a career as a fashion designer is in her future…. 😉

Lately I’m Loving…..

1. This funny girl’s poses when I go to take her picture. Not too long ago, it was tough to get her to even LOOK at the camera, but now, this girl is always ready with a “cheese!” and a pose. The other day when I went to snap a quick pic to show my sister her new outfit, she stuck her hands on her waist and threw out the perfect hip thrust, all while screaming “CHEEEEESE!” and smiling directly at the camera. Where does she come up with these poses?! Who knows, but one things for sure, it sure does make taking pictures of this little model amusing, wondering what new pose she’s going to give me next.

2. How happy this guy was to drive around our neighbor’s 1960’s VW bug convertible for his birthday. We have the COOLEST neighbor named June. She’s about 80 something years old and this woman can talk your ear off about anything and everything. A strong Christian, she will ask you if you love the Lord within minutes of meeting her, and she has the strongest faith I’ve ever seen. She has lived in her house since the ’60s (She’s a neighborhood original!) and she knows everyone in town, even telling me what pharmacist is best at Target. The other day we were out talking with her and she gave us a CD that she just recorded of Gospel and Folk songs that she wrote herself! Her band is called June and the June Bugs and they are currently recording a new CD. I love it! Anyways, she has the coolest stuff in her garage, including this car and a surf board that has Brett drooling. Luckily, she is the sweetest woman in the entire world and she encourages us to drive this baby around whenever we want! So, for Brett’s birthday we took down the top, somehow finagled Leah’s car seat to strap into the back seat, and went cruising around town, down to the beach. And that husband of mine was in heaven!!

3. How Leah says “Cheerios.” I want to remember it forever. “Che-chows” she asks for ever morning, “che-chows?” It sounds so gosh darn adorable coming out of her mouth and Brett and I have even found ourselves saying che-chows, hoping the name sticks around forever.

4. This proud little smile she gives me when she sits and eats at her big girl table instead of her highchair. Someone is a baby no longer!

5. Friday night pizza picnics that turn into summer nights at the playground. There is this pizza place downtown that Brett and I are obsessed with. Brett, having grown up right outside of NYC, considers himself to be a bit of a pizza connoisseur, and I have to admit, the man knows his stuff. I still remember one of our first dates where he drove me all over Long Island, tasting the pizza at all his favorite shops. Luckily he married a woman who loves pizza just as much as he does, and, when we moved to FL, the first thing we did was search out the best pizza places. I remember the first time we stepped into this pizza place. Honestly, you can’t even call it a restaurant. It’s just one long skinny strip of hot, un-airconditioned, slightly dirty, space with a long counter and signed dollar bills taped all over the walls. “This is the one” Brett nodded, convinced. And when we took our first bite of those (huge!) pieces, we were convinced. The place is basically a dirty hole in the wall with signs taped all over the counter (“cash only!” Don’t ask for forks or knives!” “If you annoy us, we will ask you to leave!” etc) but the pizza speaks for itself and we are hooked. It’s the perfectly place to grab a few slices before watching Leah run around the park, going up and down the slide a million times.

6. Leah’s obsession with selfies. I have a million and 5 photos on my cell phone that either look like this, or just pictures of her forehead.

7. My girly girls obsession with hair bows and accessories. As soon as she wakes up she is asking “bow? bow?” and after I stick one in she will give herself a good look in the mirror, complete with a head tilt and an “ohhh pretty!”

8. Weekend IKEA dates. We love going, even if we don’t plan on buying anything. We head there early, sit in the cafe and enjoy a cinnamon roll and a cup of coffee, before pursuing the displays. We usually head home with something small, cute potted plants or new picture frames, but it’s really more about the experience than the actual shopping!

9. Our quick one night visit with grandpa and the Winnie the Pooh he brought with him (which Leah is now OBSESSED with!) My dad had a quick business meeting in town so we got to host him for one night before he flew out. It was so great having him and Leah made sure to get in a LOT of grandpa snuggles before he left. Luckily we already have a trip planned to see grandpa and grandma in North Carolina next month, so we don’t have to wait long until we see him again! Until then, Leah carries around her new friend everywhere and Winnie is always there at night to snuggle Leah to sleep.

10. Our new power washed driveway and painted front porch. I’ve said it before, but we live in a cute 1960’s ranch and the front porch and driveway definitely hadn’t been washed since….ever. They were both black and disgusting looking it just really ruined the curb appeal. So for Mother’s Day, Brett spent HOURS, power washing the porch and driveway and then painting the porch a gorgeous greyish/blue. I cannot get over how amazing it looks and how it totally changes the look of our house. Next up is painting that front wall a fresh white.