Friday, May 29, 2015

Five on Friday

I legit thought this weekend would never come. For a short work week, it's been L-O-N-G long I'll tell you! Anyone out there agree? Now that Friday is here, I can officially say that NEXT week is the last week of the school year! Last week of school = every teacher is doing the happy dance!!! 2 months off? Yes please!!!

Here's my Five on Friday for this week! 

I did a ton of laundry last night. I'm trying to get better with doing laundry throughout the week so that I'm not stuck doing 3-4 loads on the weekend. On Sundays, we I wash our bed sheets and JB's crib sheet and I would like for that to be the ONLY load we I have to do this weekend! I don't mind doing laundry but it seems like every time I'm folding it, Elizabeth is sleeping in the nursery and I don't want to go in there and put her clothes away - this leads to massive piles of clothes in the laundry room! 

I'm looking forward to Saturday's music class at Gymboree. I'm pretty sure we're going to go with that class instead of the Tiny Tykes class at My Gym. I'm hoping to sign up right away on Saturday if the class turns out to be a good one! It's super convenient because it's only about 8 minutes away from our house! At the Tiny Tykes class last Saturday, JB was a bit clingy, so maybe the music will perk her right up! 
Summer thunderstorm season is upon us. And I hate it. We had an awful storm on Tuesday and I was legit hiding under my covers in bed. The thunder was so loud it almost felt like the house was shaking. We have room darkening curtains and you could see the lightning through the curtains quite easily. Blah. It's going to be a looooong summer of storms if they are already starting. *Side note: when I was in third grade, we had a terrible thunderstorm and lightning hit the tree in our backyard. This resulted in a limb falling onto part of our house and I just remember getting up in the middle of the night to look out of the window and all I could see were tree branches and leaves. I've been terrified ever since. Yep. 31 years old and terrified of storms. And I live in Florida. Tampa, Florida to be exact which is knowing for intense lightning... Yikes.
I ended up taking Elizabeth to the pediatrician yesterday for her eczema. When I called the pediatrician on Wednesday, she said it'd be best for us to come in since the Eucerin eczema lotion isn't doing much for one stubborn patch on her cheek but it has worked wonders on her other cheek. Her pediatrician said it's most likely a combination of eczema and contact dermatitis (she lays on that side when she sleeps which is making it worse and her cheeks are always wet because she's teething, so the odds are against us with that!). She ended up prescribing a stronger cream, prescription strength that we only put on before bed (it's called Triamcinolone). I really didn't want her to have something strong like this but it's just not getting any better. I also asked her thoughts on cutting dairy to see if that helps and she said she wouldn't bother since if it was a dairy allergy, she would have eczema all over and not just a few isolated spots on her face. I'm praying the new cream works! I know it's not painful and I don't ever see her itching it, but I don't want it to get worse and possibly cause scars.  

I'm feeling really motivated to do a deep clean in our house this weekend. I have a lot of stuff that I want to get rid of (either donating to Goodwill or selling) and my goal is to make a game plan Saturday morning while I enjoy a hot cup of coffee before Elizabeth wakes up. Once summer comes, I would like to get up around 6am to get things done around the house before the little munchkin wakes up. I think this will help immensely with keeping up with household chores like laundry and dishes. That way when she naps. And oh yes she WILL nap, I can spend some time relaxing, reading a magazine, or blogging! Now if I can just actually get UP when my alarm goes off...
Happy weekend!!! 


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Nine Month Update

Say what!?! Elizabeth is nine months already??? Time is going by way, way too fast. Uncomfortably fast. Everyday she is learning something new, giving me an even bigger smile than the day before, or just giving me that warm and fuzzy feeling all over. She is just this amazing little baby girl. A baby girl who is growing so quickly. I just want to stop time for a few moments every day so I can remember everything! 
I remember the first time I held Elizabeth. My heart has never felt that much love before. Until now. Holding her in the evening and rocking her to sleep puts me right on Cloud 9. It is just so soothing watching her peacefully fall asleep. It's one of the best parts of my day! Every day my heart gets filled more and more and it is the most perfect feeling. I love being a mama. I love our sweet little baby girl. 
Doing a photoshoot these days with her is quite intense. It usually takes my husband distracting her and getting her to laugh while I take non-stop pictures for about 10 minutes. This month, just like last month, we didn't even attempt to get her to sit down. There is no sitting down. She was crawling all over her crib and wanted to stand for most of the pictures. Her personality shines through a lot of the pictures - silly faces, that smile with those two bottom teeth, and so much more! 
It was hard finding my "favorite" pictures, so I included a bunch that I absolutely love! Oh, and head on over to my Elizabeth Christine section to read all about her nine-month update!

I'm sure this month will be full of even more happy moments, milestones, and the start of a work-free summer! I'm so excited for a stay at home mommy beginning at 3:30 on Friday, June 5th!!! 

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekend Recap

I love long weekends. Not only do we get to have extra time together as a family, but now we only have 4 more days until another weekend! We must be optimistic, right!?!?
The truth!!!
After trying out the Tiny Tykes class at My Gym first thing (I wasn't all that impressed with the class - the ages range from 6mo-13 mo, but there were babies way older than that there for this session, since the Waddlers class was at the same time, and JB was pretty much the only one not walking), Saturday was a normal family day - playtime with our little peanut which included two awesome naps. Goodness gracious, she may not nap during the week, but we are determined that she takes two naps each day on the weekend!  
Saturday evening, my husband and I went on a date. We went to Outback for dinner (I just love that bread. And the fact that I had a coupon). He ended up ordering steak and potatoes (such a man, right!?!?) and I ordered the chopped BBQ chicken salad (sans the bacon) and the dressing on the side. It was delicious. And so was the glass of wine I had. So not one of the ones on their happy hour menu (how rude!?!? LOL), but I'm not a fan of white zinfandel and I didn't want Chardonnay because sometimes it has far too much of an "oak" flavor. Love me some white wine! After dinner, we went to the movies to see The Age of Adaline. Such a great movie! I kinda wanted to see Pitch Perfect 2, but that's so not a guys movie, so I had to give my husband a few other choices. He actually seemed interested in seeing it, so I was pleased. The movie was far better than I thought. I love Blake Lively (she's been a favorite of mine since Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and of course, Gossip Girl). The movie was very well written and the movie never had "boring" parts. Gosh, I love love stories!  
She looks super impressed after
the Tiny Tykes class, doesn't she!?!?!
She thinks she's getting a real dog.
I don't think so. 

All I need ... bread and wine! :)

Sunday morning was spent making baby food (bananas and sweet potatoes) as well as grocery shopping. We went over to my brother's place in the afternoon for a pool party! It was Elizabeth's first time in a bathing suit and her first time at the pool! She was NOT a fan of the water. It felt great to us, but I guess she's used to much warmer baths! We were only in the water for a few minutes before she decided she had enough. The rest of the time, she was perfectly content in her pack and play in the shade! His pool area is awesome - tons of shade, so I didn't have to worry about her being in the sun. Check out later this week for my "trip to the pool with a baby" necessities post! 
 All smiles before we got there...

 Serious sass from this
little peanut...

 Wouldn't even look at me!
Not a fan! LOL!

Monday was Memorial Day, so my husband and I were both off from work. God Bless the brave men and women who lost their lives fighting for our country. We started off the day with snuggles in bed, as we always do on the weekend. There's just something soothing about a giggling baby at 7am! After JB had her morning bottle, we decided it was playtime so she could digest her bottle before taking her nine-month photos. It's very hard to have the time during the week to take these pictures, so we decided to do it a few days early. I might do a few fun things with her on Thursday and take more pictures, but I didn't want to be all stressed out trying to capture good ones. She was such a doll for the pictures. I no longer even make an attempt in getting her to smile. I just snap pictures for a few minutes and I usually end up with some good ones! I'll be sure to share some of them later this week when I do her nine-month update!
 All the toys in the world.
And she loves a calculator.
At least it's pink.

 Baby Einstein and snuggles 
with the dada!
Once JB got up from her morning nap and I threw dinner in the crock pot, we headed off to the mall. My birthday always falls on Memorial Day weekend, so between coupons and sales, I got some pretty good deal! Elizabeth was a celebrity at the mall  - everyone who walked by said how adorable she was. She was talking the ENTIRE time. It was so. stinkin'. cute. Even as I was trying on clothes, I could hear her talking to Shaun outside of the dressing room. I got a few summer pieces and a comfy dress for work this week. Love new clothes! Now I just need to stop eating so much so I can lose a few pounds. I wasn't too happy with the size I had to buy, but I'll be watching what I eat very closely from now on.
The rest of the day was spent playing with JB, cleaning up around the house, and getting ready for the second to last week of the school year! 8.5 days to go!!!! 
Have a great short week everyone! 
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Friday, May 22, 2015

Five on Friday

Anyone else feel like this today?
Talk about a busy week! The end of the school year is always hectic - add in being a resource teacher and you are pulled in 15 directions at once.  I'm glad it's the weekend, and a long one at that! Oh, and it's my birthday weekend!!! 

So, here we go with this week's edition of Five on Friday! 

I've had strange eating habits this week. Cereal for dinner a few nights this week, eating potato chips at work (leftover from last week's potluck lunch), and drowning myself in coffee. Yikes. I didn't weigh myself this week which is probably a good thing. I must get better with meal planning before I end up gaining unwanted summer weight! I guess one good thing is that it was healthy cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats with skim milk). Another good thing is that the gallon of milk I bought almost two weeks ago is almost gone, haha! 

I'm honestly beginning to get a little sad about the end of the school year. Not in the aspect that the school year is over, but that I'll be leaving my current school. I posted about this big change earlier this week and it's starting to make me emotional! It all started at the fifth grade banquet on Monday where my first group of first graders are getting ready graduate and head to middle school. Then yesterday, I was walking in the hallway and every child I saw said "Hi Ms. Lauren" or "Hi Mrs. White". Sigh. It makes me so happy that so many students know my name and come up and hug me. But with starting at a new school in August, I won't have this. It'll be an entire new school of students. None of them will know my name. None of them will know how much I enjoy being a teacher (I do love teaching even though I would love to be a stay at home mom). I will have to start fresh knowing no one. Gosh, I'm going to be such a mess the last day of school! 

My mother-in-law is babysitting twice this weekend! Woop, woop! She's watching Elizabeth today (let's see how our little no-nap ninja does with grandma) and then she's coming over tomorrow night so my husband and I can have date night! Date nights are far and few between with my husband's crazy work schedule and the fact that we enjoy just staying at home. I'm thinking dinner and a movie and a stop on the way home for some frozen yogurt! But, who knows where we will end up! Either way, I'm excited! Pair this with Mom's Night Out tonight at Outback with some other mama's and I'm ready for some fun!!! 

I nailed being a solo mom this week. (Well, maybe if I don't count nicking JB's thumb while clipping her fingernail earlier this week). But for real - my husband has been out of town the entire week - he left Monday morning and I've been solo every day.  I've managed to have a sleeping baby by 6:30 every day this week, in addition to doing multiple loads of laundry (we had a pee-pee explosion in her crib Wednesday night which meant doing a load at 10pm that night), dishes were washed and put away. And all of this was done AFTER having playtime with our little munchkin. She has been perfect this week. I mean she's always perfect, but she hasn't been fussy one bit, she's been oh-so-playful, and always smiling! Since she was asleep by 6:30 every night this week, I've had time to relax, blog, and watch a little bit of television! Amen!!! I'm looking forward to my husband coming home tonight, but I really have enjoyed this week alone with our sweet baby girl! 

Blogging is one of the things that relaxes me in the evenings. Now that summer vacation is almost here, I'm really looking forward to working hard to get my blog out there. I've been doing a lot of research on how to share blog posts via different social media networks as well as trying to monetize my blog. I know a few bloggers in the Tampa Bay area, so I'd really like to set up some sort of a coffee-shop meeting so I can ask them all about their blogs and how they made it work! So... Tampa Bay area bloggers - let's set something up! I want to learn from you! :)

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! I'll be back throughout the weekend! 

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Things I'm Loving: For Baby

It's been a while since I did a Things I'm Loving post, so I figured it's time to bring it back! 

Here are some of the things I'm loving for our little munchkin, Elizabeth.

I didn't get around to making baby food last weekend (well, I did make one batch of cherries) and our freezer stash is getting very, very low. On Monday, I stopped at Publix to get a few jars of Earth's Best Organic baby food because I just don't have the energy to make homemade food during the week. I stumbled across the Gerber Organic Fruit and Veggie pouches and I was intrigued - not so much of the price, but of the varieties and flavors! I grabbed a few pouches to try out - Banana Squash, Apples Blueberries and Spinach, and a few others. They are around 3.5 ounces which is perfect. Elizabeth had the banana squash one at daycare yesterday and I'm guessing she loved it because it was evident she must have been excited eating it judging by her clothing. LOL. As much as I love making baby food, I love having a back-up plan that involves organic fruits and veggies.
It's no secret - Elizabeth is all over the place these days. She is an expert crawler! One way we helped her get this way is with this toy! It's the closest thing we'll ever get to a dog for a while... haha! The dog moves forward and barks when it's gently bumped or tapped. JB loves it! When we first got it, she was a little skeptical, but now she chases it around the living room and even picks it up by it's ears! Ha! Such a good buy on Amazon Prime for around $17! 

[Three] - Eucerin Baby Eczema Instant Therapy Cream

Oh me, oh my. Elizabeth has eczema. It's not all of the time, so it's really hard to figure out what's causing it. Last week her face was looking really red and so I asked insisted that my husband take her to the pediatrician before dropping her off at daycare. I had a feeling it was just a flair up of eczema, but worried mama wanted her pediatrician to have a look. Our pediatrician gave us an entire box of samples of Eucerin Baby Eczema Instant Therapy Cream, so we don't have to worry about purchasing it for a while - but most drugstores carry it. I love it because it's not greasy at all and it's scent-free. We apply a few thin layers of it a couple times during the day, along with when she first wakes up in the morning and before bed. Her eczema appears to be worst first thing in the morning so it always worries me, but it gets so much better once the cream is applied and once she's no longer laying on her face! **Side note: I'm wondering if she's allergic to the laundry detergent we use and perhaps that's why it's so much worse in the morning, so this weekend, we are switching to something more baby friendly.**

Stay tuned for future Things I'm Loving posts! 

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Change is a good thing. I think.

I have a little bit less than three weeks until summer vacation. That means that I have a little bit less than three weeks at my current school. Come August, I will be a reading resource teacher at a different school in the county. It's a change I semi-expected once I returned from maternity leave this past October. My school was fortunate enough to have two reading resource teachers for the past two years but with budget cuts and wanting to ensure that all academic areas are covered, my position was cut. 
I received the news a few months ago and feverishly began searching for another job. 
Thankfully, I didn't have to look for too long before I was called for an interview and offered the job about a week later. 
Change is a good thing. 
I think.
I'm a creature of comfort. I like things to stay the same. I'm not a fan of change. Honestly, it kind of scares me.
Maybe it's the fear of not knowing anyone except one of the assistant principals at my new school.
Maybe it's the sadness of leaving behind a fantastic group of colleagues.
Or maybe it's the fact that so much in my life happened while at my current school.
I began working at Temple Terrace Elementary in August of 2010. It was my first year of teaching first grade. For the previous three years, I had taught third grade. During my first year there, I got engaged. 
During my second year there, I planned a wedding and got married that summer to the love of my life.
My third year was a big one - I decided to go back for my second masters degree - this time in Educational Leadership. My assistant principal at the time asked me all the time about it and I owe it to her for giving me the confidence to pursue getting degree in leadership. I also screened to become a reading resource teacher (I didn't tell many people I was doing this. In fact, the only people that knew was administration). I passed the screening and was given the green light to apply for positions but wanted to hold off for a while to get more experience.
My fourth year was my first year of a new position - AGP (gifted) teacher. That lasted all of a couple of weeks when I realized it wasn't for me. I took a chance early in the year and asked my principal if I could become a primary reading resource teacher since the kiddos in K-2 could use the extra support, just as our 3-5 students receive. After speaking with the district and expressing my passion for reading instruction, I became the primary reading resource teacher. In the middle of the school year, we were given the blessing of becoming pregnant and expecting our sweet baby girl. It was a looooong spring, but I made it through my first year of being a resource teacher!
My fifth year started off with me being nine-months pregnant and having just graduated with my masters in Educational Leadership. I still remember being larger than life on the first day of school and going into my office to do squats because I wanted the baby to come! I came back from maternity leave in October and ended up taking a second leave in November and December due to my sweet baby girl getting very ill and needing to be hospitalized. Upon returning to work in January, I knew things were different. I knew then that I would be changing schools. Things just felt different. I felt out of place. Maybe it's because I was missing my little munchkin. Maybe it was because I had missed so much of the school year.  Maybe it was because I felt kinda lost. 
So in those five years, I got engaged, married, started my masters degree, changed positions, got pregnant, graduated with my masters degree, and had a baby. Talk about life-changing events! 
How blessed am I to have all of these fantastic things happen all in one place. All with the same group of colleagues. Colleagues that I have learned a lot from. Colleagues that I will miss dearly next year. Colleagues that I know for sure I will be staying in contact with because they are just so knowledgeable. Colleagues that have been there for me this past year when Elizabeth got sick - always asking how she is doing, always thinking positive thoughts. Always there for me. 
But change is needed.
All I know is change is a good thing. 
I think. 
I managed to adapt well during my first year at Temple Terrace, so I know I will be just fine at my new school. Change is a hard thing. Change is stressful. But I need to spread my wings and fly a little bit to get more experience. It's time for me to start fresh. It's time for me to experience a new school.
Change is a good thing. 
I think.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Soaking Up These Moments

I love babies. I love the newborn smell. I love the first smile. I love everything there is about babies - even the waking up in the middle of the night for bottles.

But this stage of Elizabeth's life is by far my most favorite. She is so energetic. So smiley. So much fun. She's almost 9 months and is becoming more fun every single day (if that is even possible!). 

Our little munchkin is learning new things everyday and it amazes me. Last week, my husband and I were talking about how our little JB doesn't say "dada" or "mama" much anymore. After speaking with a few mommy friends, as well as my best friend who is a speech-language pathologist, they all assured me it was just a phase. I figured it was because she's learning to do so many other things. But then this past weekend, we were all playing on our bed and in the sweetest and most clear voice, Elizabeth said "mama" and then looked right at me. Talk about a warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart. Over the course of the weekend, she said "mama" a ton. She also said "baba" for the first time (baba is what we call her bottle). It's like she heard us talking and wanted to let us know that she, as always, is doing HER thing and that we simply cannot compare her to other babies - she likes to do her own thing! The learning that takes place on a day-to-day basis just blows my mind. What she can't do one day, she figures out the next day. 

On Saturday afternoon, while we were in our hotbox of a house, Elizabeth and I were playing in the living room. She said "mama" and then reached her arms out in a "mama, I want to hug you" motion. Oh. My Gosh. I snuggled her forever after that. I kissed her sweet cheeks. I blew raspberries on her neck. I told her how much mama loves her. The feeling of love in this moment filled my heart and put a smile on my face. 

Then, on Sunday afternoon, my husband was having a difficult time getting her to drink her bottle. I was able to get her to drink a few ounces and then I thought she was going to do her typical "4-ounce" dance party - this is where she drinks 4 ounces and then wants to stand on us, bounce, and wiggle around. But instead, this time, she climbed up my chest and put her lips on my cheek, as if she was giving me a kiss. It was probably one of the sweetest moments we've shared together. I called my husband into the room and gleefully said "Elizabeth just gave me a kiss!" 

A hug and a kiss? All in one weekend? Along with her saying "mama", as if she completely understands that I am her mama? These are the moments. These are the moments that I don't ever, ever want to forget. I wish I had hidden cameras to capture these moments. Sure, I take hundreds of pictures every week and I'm so thankful for these photographs.

 But these moments. 
These are just the moments that I wish upon every couple praying to conceive a baby. 
These are the moments that I wish upon the parents who have a critically ill baby in the hospital. 
These are the moments that I wish every parent is able to have.

Soaking in these moments is what makes being a parent such a magical blessing. I remember all throughout my pregnancy, I was so excited about holding Elizabeth for the first time or seeing that first smile. I wasn't even thinking about the warm and fuzzy feelings I would have when she did other things, like talking for the first time. Or hugging me. Or trying to give me a kiss. Or when she rubs my face as I'm feeding her in the nursery, staring into my eyes with her big, beautiful eyes. Or when she looks at me like I'm the most important person in the world.

She will be nine months in a little over a week and every day is more exciting than the last. These moments are what makes being a mommy the absolute best job in the world. These are the moments that make me count my blessings for having this beautiful baby girl in our lives. 

These are the moments that I want to soak up and remember forever - not just the moment, but the feeling behind these moments. 
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Recap

Every weekend seems to be an adventure lately! This past weekend was no exception to that! It started off normal and ended normal, but everything in-between... oh boy!
In my Five on Friday post, I mentioned that our air-conditioning thermostat has been acting funny. When we called the AC Repair people on Thursday, they suggested replacing the thermostat ourselves because of what they charge.
 So, on Saturday my husband went to Home Depot and bought a cheap $20 thermostat. When he got home, I gave him the "are you sure we should go THAT cheap and are you sure it's going to work with our AC system" look. I got the "yes, honey" and he proceeded to replace it. Naturally, it didn't work. He went back to Home Depot, bought a more expensive one. Fail. Nothing worked. He ended up putting the old thermostat back on. Again, naturally, the air-conditioning didn't work. This all occured Saturday afternoon. By Saturday evening, it was 80 degrees in our house and we weren't expecting a visit from the AC people until sometime on Sunday. It was HOT in our house. Too hot for our little peanut. Luckily it dawned on me that my husband has a ton of hotel reward points since he travels for business so often. 
Thankfully, we scored a free night at a local hotel and we packed up the car and checked in. Only when we got to our room, we realized that we forgot the pack and play. He thought I loaded it into my car. I thought he loaded it into his car. We took separate cars just in case we got an early morning call that the AC man was on his way. So, my husband ended up going back home to grab it and I got our little munchkin ready for bed. 
Putting her to bed once he got back with the pack and play was a disaster. Every time she fell asleep, we laid her in the pack and play and she cried. But not a fussy-cry. Not a teething-cry. And not a "I'm hungry" cry. It was an "I'm scared" cry. It was sad. My husband ended up getting her to fall asleep in bed and once she was in a deep sleep, we said a few prayers, moved her into the pack and play, and then went to bed ourselves. Yes. We were in a hotel room and all three of us were in bed by 9:30. Party animals, I'll tell you! 
Loves mama's purses! :)
We got up at 7:15 to a baby just sitting in the pack and play, smiling. Gosh, she's so precious. We grabbed coffee and a hotel cinnamon roll and took turns taking showers and playing with Elizabeth. 

 Loves her little dolly!
Right as we got home at 10am, we got a phone call from the AC man that he was on his way. Thank you Jesus!  
 It was a blown fuse. Ugh. $200 later, our air is working. But for real... it's been in the mid-90s this past week and weekend, so our air has been working like crazy. I'm so thankful it's back up and running and that I'm not sweating anymore. I'm pretty sure I was sweating for about 8 hours on Saturday.
Once the AC repair man left, we proceeded with our usual family Sunday. I was in the kitchen baking muffins and icing cookies while he played with Elizabeth. The three of us ended up at Sam's Club in the afternoon because they were having a good deal on diapers and wipes! Score for two giant boxes that should last us a few months! After bath time and bedtime bottle (during a terrible thunderstorm that left mama sitting in the nursery while the dada fed baby girl in the rocker. I hate storms), we did a mini BBQ with chicken sausages, corn on the cob, and baked beans! Yummy! 

 Playtime with dada!

Practicing this whole self-feeding thing.
I'm not used to this kind of mess! Yikes!

What a great way to end the evening! Oh and I'm saying prayers that my little peanut doesn't feel as warm this morning as she did last night. She had a 99.7 temperature, which is pretty "textbook" for a teething fever. Poor thing. Third tooth, just pop already!

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