sunuva kids uv swimwear & beachwear review

We live in South Florida, so we're out in the sun year 'round. Ethan swims twice a week at his outdoor lessons and if you tack on all of our time spent at the local splash pads, water parks or playing outdoors, we're in the sun a lot. I always carry sunscreen with me though applying it on a wriggling three year old can be difficult at best. That's why when I heard about Sunuva's UV swimwear for kids, I couldn't wait to learn more about their products!

A couple of years ago, my mother had to have a skin cancer procedure and it really got me thinking about how much time we're in the sun and how important it is to take proper care of your skin. After all, melanoma is now the leading cancer for people 12-24 years old. Scary, right? In order to take a stand against the skin cancer epidemic, Sunuva's rash guards are made from a special Italian fabric that provides 50+ UPF for your kids. That means it blocks out approximately 98% of the suns rays! I was excited to be able to try a swimwear set for Ethan. To my surprise, Sunuva's swimwear isn't just smart, effective and protective -- but it's super stylish. If you've ever seen my child before, you'd be able to guess we're pretty into the surfer-skater look. I'm pretty picky with what clothing he wears so when I stumbled through Sunuva's extensive swimwear options, I was so excited! We selected the Boys Shark Rash Vest and the Boys Shark Board Shorts. I've gotten several mock board shorts for Ethan over the years -- you know, the elastic-waistband swim shorts designed to look like board shorts but aren't -- but these were his first real pair. And they were adorable.

Aside from the obvious cute factor, I loved these as soon as I pulled them from the packaging. They have a true board short tie-up front and also have velcro to snap the front closed. This allowed me to put the shorts on Ethan, secure the velcro and then tie the front to where it needed to be -- ensuring the perfect fit for Ethan and allowing him a little more room to grow into them if needed. The length was also perfect! Usually when I find a pair of swim shorts that fit Ethan around the waist, they go down to his ankles. It's obvious Sunuva is a lot more meticulous with their sizing and creating an actual quality product. Yes, these shorts are also made from UPF 50+ fabric and are also quick drying. By the time we took an ocean break to enjoy our packed lunch, Ethan's board shorts were already nearly dry. You'd never be able to tell that Ethan was wearing a bright blue swim diaper underneath these white board shorts -- the quality of the fabric is that good.

The rash guard also didn't disappoint. As I said earlier, the rash guard provides 50+ UPF protection. I was curious to see how the material would feel in person and was surprised by how thin and breathable it was. My main issue with long sleeved swim suits is that the sleeves are always really open and baggy. Between getting scoops of sand stuck in them or just being plain old uncomfortable, I usually try to stay away from long sleeve rash guards for Ethan for that reason. He usually begs me to roll up his sleeves when we're swimming because they drive him nuts. However, I noticed immediately that these long sleeves were different. They fit closely to his skin without seeming restrictive which definitely allowed for that added sun protection. The material felt more like a wet suit on his arms rather than big, bulky sleeves. He didn't even notice they were there!

The quick drying feature is also wonderful as I could avoid the "fun" of peeling off a wet rash guard off a squirming toddler. I never buy Ethan swim trunks without a rash guard so I'm no stranger to the art of selecting a rash guard -- and you can tell a huge difference in the Sunuvua fabrics and materials as far as quality goes. They're not itchy, scratchy or bothersome. They fit snugly, perfectly and are super comfortable. It's added piece of mind knowing that Ethan's upper body and arms are covered in sun protective gear in the event I happen to miss a spot or two with his sunscreen (anyone who has tried to apply sunscreen to a toddler can sympathize, I'm sure).

Something I really, really liked about Sunuva, as a company, is that they donate 10% profit on several items to the British Skin Foundation, which is the only charity in the UK (where Sunuva is based) dedicated to fighting skin disease and skin cancer. It's obvious to me that Sunuva was founded by two moms because there is care and heart in every bit of everything they do. They even make UPF 50+ float suits for little ones who need a little help in the water as well as goggles and sunglasses -- I am in love with these Wayfarers -- that provide 100% UV protection.

As I also mentioned earlier, they're so stylish. I love the hip prints and designs available for boys. It's a refreshing break from the silly cartoon characters or plain colors available at most larger retailers. Since I found out I'll soon be shopping for girls clothing, too, I had to take a peek at their selection of UPF 50+ swimsuits for girls, too. This girls skull swimsuit made my heart skip a little beat. Can we talk about how much Sunuva rocks?!

In addition to Ethan's completely amazing new rash guard and board short set, we got the chance to try out some other Sunuva quality gear. We currently use a cloth diaper wet bag to tote Ethan's wet swimwear home after a day in the water. It works just fine but it's sort of huge. I loved how petite and compact Sunuvua's striped wash bag is. I loved that it also had pockets and compartments that could be used for keeping your important items -- like your cell phone -- dry while at the beach or pool. The inside is also lined and did a fabulous job keeping our beach bag dry while toting Ethan's wet bathing suit home from the beach.

We also loved being able to try out Sunuva's adorable burlap-style beach backpack! Yes, they also sell beach bags as well -- check out this amazing Rajasthan patchwork bag!

We are huge Sunuva converts and would recommend them wholeheartedly to anyone looking for the utmost sun protection for their little ones -- or not so little ones, as Sunuva's quality swim and beachwear can be ordered for kids up to 13-14 years old! I love the true fit sizing of their products. Ethan is seen here wearing an Age 3-4 size -- way truer to his age than the 5T and up he wears in standard clothing. Sunuva's products are quality products that will last and grow with your little ones -- all while keeping them safe from the harsh sun.


21 weeks

How far along? 21w4d
Due date: August 30th, 2014
Baby is the size of a... carrot, length-wise!
Baby's development of the week: Per Babycenter: Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long. You may soon feel like she's practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now.
Maternity clothes? All bottoms, most maternity shirts. I've been living in plenty of long tank-tops or less than non-maternity stylish t-shirts that I can get away with still for the time being.
Sleep: Ugh, sleep isn't my friend these days. It's already getting harder and harder to get comfortable (and stay comfortable). I either wake up miserable or having to go to the bathroom -- both several times per night.
Best moment this week: Watching Ethan have a blast on Easter. The holidays are getting even more fun the older he gets and the more he really "gets" things. He loved coloring eggs and was so excited that the Easter Bunny paid him a visit.
Food cravings: Still with my cereal and ice cold milk kick. On occasion, anything salty sounds delicious -- especially ketchup, which is gross (and weird).
Food aversions: No real aversions, but I've noticed I crave sweets a whole lot less this pregnancy. Ice cream doesn't even sound good on most days whereas I was living on vanilla shakes last go 'round. I've turned down ice cream each time I've been asked if I want any lately -- sort of bizarre.
Baby's Sex: She's a girl!
Baby's Name: Is finally finalized and still a secret until she's born! I love hearing Ethan say it.


"wow, he's big!"

My husband is a big guy. When I first developed a crush on him as a young teenager, that was everyone's first response when I let them in on the not-so-secret object of my affection: "the tall one, right?" or "the big guy?" My husband was six feet tall by middle school and is now around 6'4". On the complete flip side, I'm one of the tallest in my family at 5'1". I'm honestly not even sure if I deserve that extra inch, but the man at the DMV insisted I did when I was getting my ID. It was probably my hair. Regardless, I've run with it. I'll take that extra inch.

It shouldn't have been a total shock when Ethan was born at 8 pounds, 4 ounces -- at 36 weeks. He wasn't born extra long at all, but it wasn't long before he started gaining speed there. I joked that he ran out of room in there. The kid is all about running out of room: in his clothes, his socks, his shoes. It feels like every morning he's visibly bigger than the night before. My husband says this with pride and a sweet hint of nostalgia. I say this with worry. I guess out of the both of us, he's the one used to being gigantic and living to talk about it. My genes have definitely slowed down Ethan's growth a little -- he's not topping out the percentiles in height completely -- but he's still a great deal bigger, taller and broader than the other kids. He's built just like his father: little legs, long torso. My mother is so busy being relieved that I finally had a child to break our familial Short Cycle, but I have noticed there are some definite things that drive me nuts about having a bigger than average child.

Car seats. Dude, car seats. I'm pretty much always stressed out about car seats these days. Ethan is still rearfacing in his Diono Radian -- by a hair. I buckle him in each day and simultaneously freak out that he's on borrowed rearfacing time. My ideal was for him to rearface until four. That's not going to happen. So I started at least praying for him to make it until three. I'm not entirely sure that's going to happen. After already replacing our old Britax seats for Radians, my only other option is a Clek Foonf which isn't so much of an option because it doesn't fit in my car. Which means, you know, I just keep wincing as Ethan checks in at 41 pounds on the scale and noticing how his head is almost, almost at the height limit. My husband is slowly trying to prepare me for the fact he may not make it until three but I just can't process that right now.

Whenever we're out -- let's say, at a park -- and the conversation turns to our children's ages, I say that he'll be three at the end of June and I'm always met with one response: "Wow, he's big!" It's never "wow, look how nice he shares," or "wow, so is my kid, want to play some time?" It's always "wow, he's big!" Sure, there are the less offensive "he's tall for his age" or "is his dad tall?" that don't bother me. They're simple observations, much like "the sky is blue." It's the eyes popping out of the head "wow, he's big!" declarations that make me want to reply "screw you, he's awesome!" but I've been told that's not a good way to make friends.

There's also the fact that people look at him and assume he's older than he is. A few months ago now we were in the grocery store when Ethan was having an utter meltdown over the fact that half of his free cookie from the bakery tumbled to the bottom of the cart. I was trying to explain to him that I would get him another one but I had to pick up whatever I was hunting for down that specific aisle first, but he wasn't having it. A well-meaning fellow parent with her infant in a carrier said "oh, honey, you're way too old to be acting that way!" I muttered "no he's not, he's two" before shoveling off back towards the bakery. People are always having these higher expectations of him based on his size. Even at the playground, he's expected to let the smaller children have the first turns on the slide, the swing, wherever because he's "older." Only, you know, he isn't older. He's the same age, if not younger, than most of them. Other two year olds get a free pass at their irrational, tyrannical behavior because of their age and development, but he's somehow expected to bypass it all because everyone thinks he's older than he is. Too much pressure. He can scream his head off down aisle five any time he wants, because he's still two. Same goes for the eye rolls I get when he gets frightened or pushed at the park and comes crying into my arms needing a hug or reassurance. He's two, you eye rolling creeps. Back off.

His clothes fit awkwardly. A 5T in Target fits differently than a 5T at Old Navy that fits differently than a 5T in Volcom and so on, and so on. I'm always stuck trying to eyeball the sizes of those last toddler sizes versus the regular boys clothing. Sometimes his pants are too loose, or too tight, or too long, or too short because he's two but he's having to wear clothes meant for big boys. It's not a rarity for us to show up for My Gym in pants hanging off his diaper or a shirt that exposes his bellybutton when he lifts his arms up to high. This is the most annoying in between clothing stage ever, especially because he's still in diapers.

Diapers! Diapers is my next one. Ethan isn't ready to potty train yet. Though unpopular among the mom crowd, I'm of the "when he's ready, he'll be ready" potty training mindset. I don't believe children ever need to be trained, just that they'll learn when he's ready to learn. Right now, he's not ready to learn. (There's that pressure again -- the kid is still two! I assume half the people who notice he's still in diapers think he's five.) I'm cool with that. I don't mind changing diapers as long as he needs me to. My problem is, we only use 7th Generation diapers on Ethan's sensitive little tush. So what happens when he outgrows their sizes and has to be shoved into their 5T pull-ups that hold virtually nothing overnight? A mess, that's what. A chaotic mess. Er, a chaotic mess that gives my husband a heart attack when it comes time to order them because, dude, those are not cheap. (The only plus to this is it got him on my side for cloth diapering the next baby.)

On a similar note, there is medication dosing. As luck would have it, my kid is allergic to just about everything that makes Florida, well, Florida -- including ants and mosquitos. We have to travel with Benadryl. The bigger he gets, the more panicked I get when I have to administer a dose as his ankles are swelling up from some bug bite. Dosing by weight, and not age, makes me in constant fear of overdose. He's not 12, he's 2, for goodness sake. I don't want to administer Benadryl to a teenager, I just want to take the swelling away from my two year old!

My hands down greatest pet peeve -- which keeps happening more and more lately, unfortunately -- is the people who feel compelled to tell Ethan that he's fat. No, you didn't read that wrong. People think it's somehow acceptable to tell him that he's fat. I'm one more "oh, look how fat you are!" from completely (and totally) losing my cool. Some people think body image issues only apply to girls and others think that body image issues just aren't a big deal. But they are, and they do apply to boys. We don't talk about weight, we don't point out when someone (or even our cats) are fat or thin. We eat healthy, we stay active and healthy, and that's all my two year old needs to worry about. The last thing I need is a toddler who won't eat a slice of birthday cake at a birthday party because someone thinks it's funny to tell him he's fat. Here's the deal, people: if the toddler you're familiar with feels a lot lighter than my child when you lift him up, maybe it's because my kid is bigger. You know, just like how some of us adults are bigger than others, the same goes for babies. Every time we leave his doctor, I get the same report: he's perfectly proportionate, he's in a higher percentile bracket -- for height and weight -- than other kids his age, he's the picture of health, she wishes all of her other patients shared Ethan's diet and level of activity. Just as I don't poke at your kid and say "wow, you're underweight, does anyone feed you, bones?" please refrain from telling my kid he's fat. It's not funny. It's not cute. You don't sound funny. You sound like a bully. I'm one more "look how fat you are" from going off on someone with a heated lecture about verbal abuse. Don't mess with me or my hormones, thankyouverymuch.

But, you know, whether or not he'll be taller than me in five years (I feel this is highly probable) is besides the point. He may be a big boy, bigger than what the other parents on the playground are used to, but he'll know what matters is how big your heart is. And this kid's heart? It's as big as can be, perfectly, perfectly so.


easter eve

It's the day before Easter and what a busy day it has managed to be. I've admittedly been slacking on my day before Easter activities because my mind has been clouded by what today also is: summer session swim sign-ups. Last summer we were new to our swim school and I didn't think showing up at 8:00 a.m. for a 7:30 a.m. sign up would be all that bad but, as it turned out, the session had sold out and Ethan didn't have a place. Since we're in Florida and have lessons year 'round, you don't really think the summer would be much different but, turns out, it is. Between school being out, teachers having the summers off and people deciding that this is the summer their kids learn to swim, the summer sign-up day becomes like Black Friday. This year, I was ready. My friend and I were all set to meet up at the aquatic complex at 6:00 a.m. for a 7:30 a.m. sign-up. This seemed reasonable. Ethan is doing so well in swimming and his teacher wanted him to skip the three year old class after his birthday in June and move right up to the 4-5 year old class. There was no way I wanted him to miss this opportunity because I was sleepy and stayed up too late watching Party of Five. Now that he can swim, they're working on technique and I'm experiencing a whole new world of encouraging my child's hobbies and interests (even the ones I'm utterly clueless about, like swimming). If the kid wants to swim in the Olympics, the kid is going to do it -- even if I have to camp out at 6:00 a.m. to get him signed up for the 4-5 year old summer session. It's the sort of adrenaline you get from your kid actually being passionate about something, especially for the first time.

I pulled into the parking lot at 5:55 a.m., moments before the monsoon started outside. I was 20th in a line that soon wrapped around the entirety of the building. We sat there soaked and tired, moms and dads chugged down coffee, people sat in their folding chairs. The entire thing was a little bit insane but at the same time, I was kicking myself for not getting there at 5:00 a.m. like the people at the very front of the line. I had set out to sign Ethan up for a very specific schedule based on a whole lot of reasons: the same pool as to not switch it up on him, the time when his beloved teacher would also be in the pool since she won't be teaching his new class and a weekend class because if something else should happen to me this pregnancy I needed my husband to be available for Swim Duty. It was a little bit intense. As they shoveled our line forward through the rain, a man decided he wanted to take my ticket -- we had numbered tickets to hold our place in line -- and cut in front of me. I was sandwiched in line between two dads who didn't let that happen, thank goodness, but I'm still torn between laughing and being dumbfounded by how rotten some people would be. I mean, really, who takes someone's ticket and cuts them for a swim class sign up? Cut throat, I'm telling you. Heather and I got to the front and learned the weekend courses cost more money than the cash we had brought -- a total we calculated based on our current lesson pricing -- and proceeded to, uh, lose our minds a little bit. Because my mother is somewhat of a saint, she was there in ten minutes with our extra cash and a couple hours later we left the facility with our children signed up for our first choice swim courses and no battle wounds to show for it. In return for her setting out in the wee hours of the morning in a tornado watch, Ethan now has to thank my mother first in his Olympic medal acceptance speech. I can deal with these terms.

I'm wiped out. I've been wiped out since 8:00 this morning. Eventually as the day unfolded we made our way to the previously planned pre-Easter festivities. This year, dying eggs was Ethan's favorite. It was serious business. Each time he pulled an egg from the dye cup he would exclaim, "I love it!" or "it's beautiful!"

It's crazy to think that this is our last Easter with only one child. I think that about every holiday that passes. Last December was our last Christmas with just one child. It's hard to imagine these holidays -- or, heck, life -- being any fuller but I'm excited to challenge that thought. I'm excited to make the holidays even bigger and fuller and listening to my kids laughing together on Christmas morning or hunting for eggs in the backyard on Easter. It's a crazy thing to think about, our kids, but it's a good one to think about. No matter how wiped out I am, I can't wait to do it all times two.

Even sit outside the aquatic complex in the wee hours of the morning in a monsoon waiting to sign two kids up for swim classes.

Yes, even that.


making room for gray area

I keep making the promise to myself to write more. Like I used to, when the words flowed way more freely because virtually no one knew about this little space. Not that this blog is large by any stretch of the imagination, but these days I know people other than my husband are reading it and with that comes this little voice in my mind that says be careful what you write. I've been writing for most of my life. While other children colored, I "wrote" little illegible stories about dogs and cats and somehow, over the years, this morphed into morose teenage prose and then into this. This being, of course, a "mommy blog." And while my role of mommy brings to me to crafts and experiences from the perspective as a parent, I'm finding myself second guessing what should be considered appropriate for this space. What would, let's say, the people who check into this space for tot school updates say about my hormonal abreaction about whatever is going on in my heart at the moment? But I also know that before I was a mom, I was a writer. Before I was a blogger, I was a writer. I also know that it's slow suicide with a heart like mine to keep the words cramped up in my brain until they dissipate. Enter my promise to write more. Just as I can dig into a box in my closet and read the teenage words about the way a fourteen year old boy who smelled of tobacco and Altoids managed to break my heart into shards of nothingness, I want to be able to look back at this space one day and remember. Remember the things that fell behind the milestones and doctor appointments and moments I actually documented with my sorely neglected DSLR.

On my heart lately is babies. Having them, adopting them. People are quick to ask you how many children you plan on having and I've realized once they learn you're having one of each sex, they are quick to ask if you're "done now." Like there's some common goal that's been reached and anything else is just an over-achievement. I come from a small family -- a painfully small family. I was almost eleven by the time my only sibling was born and while I am close with her now -- as close as a married almost-thirty year old with a kid can be with a responsibility-less teenager -- there's still an ache. That ache of wishing I could have called my sister first to tell her I was pregnant and have her be excited for me, of wishing I could call her when I was stressed and have her understand and offer advice, of wishing we could raise our children together and create something else my family doesn't do well: cousins. My sister and I both were essentially only children and it's hard to feel a connection with someone on a friend level when you're nagging them like an exhausted parent to remember their house key, their wallet, hurry up, you're going to be late for dance. I have always wanted to remedy this. I have wanted to give my children the gift of a sibling they could actually relate to, grow up with; that sort of friend for life everyone else seems to have. I've also always said I wanted four children. Four. In my head I can see the family photos, the house filled with chaos and kids and friends and sleepovers and chauffering to lessons and playdates. I have always wanted to adopt two children, specifically from Haiti, and the older I get the more I understand the financial undertaking that is international adoption and it's frustrating. I may not be able to scrounge up a cool $60k in cash up front, but I think I can give two kids a pretty awesome life. I think my heart has more than enough love to give.

My husband is adamant that we are done when people inquire. On one hand, I agree. While this pregnancy has been significantly easier than my last (please knock on wood for me as you read that statement), I couldn't imagine my body going through this again. And while my husband isn't opposed to my adoption plan, he's more of a realist than I am when acknowledging the financial aspect that I tend to leave behind on my journey through la la land about adding two sweet little ones to our family because in my heart, they belong here, with us. Then there is the fact that we're only twenty eight years old and giving either of these plans a definite axing seems unfair and unrealistic. We're too young to make that call. In five years, I'll be the same age as most of the other people I know who are just settling down and having their first children. Who is to say things won't be different? Who is to say the timing won't be right just then? It's impossible. We're sort of stuck in this place of limbo between definitely done and most likely done and then there is that adoption cloud sort of hanging there. I've always wanted to have two and adopt two and now that I'm pregnant with that second one, the adoption plan sort of pings at my heart a little. It's brought to the forefront.

Of course, let's get real for a few minutes (something I'm not good at). We live in Southeast Florida. Everything is infinitely more expensive. For what we paid for our shoebox-sized home, we could easily own a gigantic home elsewhere in the country (or, heck, county). Life is expensive in general, and life is expensive here. Would I be willing to relocate? No. The reason my husband works his tuchus off and why we chose this home in the first place is because of the schools we're zoned for. I have a child who is a little more than two years away from Kindergarten. I have hand picked the elementary school I wanted to send him to and, by the miraculous power of a short sale home at age 22, made it happen. I don't want to take those opportunities away from him, or this other little one kicking up a storm in my belly. This is important to me. Their education is important to me. And while I couldn't care less if they pursue college (like my husband) or a trade or art (like me), these schools are why we worked so hard and pushed from such a young age to get here. I'm not willing to give that up. And then I get it, why my parents had so many years between my sister and I: because sometimes, even when it flat-out sucks, you have to be realistic. Reality can be such a buzz kill sometimes, especially for a control freak like myself who just can't function in life without a solid plan.

I know all of the old adages about if it's meant to happen, it will, and the like. They're all as valid, if not moreso, than my frustration in a vague future. In my heart, I don't feel like our family is truly done. Maybe my mind will change once I hold our daughter in my arms for the first time, but even when I swore Ethan was going to be an only child, I knew he wasn't. I torture myself watching documentaries on Haitian adoption and knowing that one day, a child will be born to someone but he or she will be our son or daughter. I think I'm good at being a mom. I think that as much as I insist I wouldn't want our children to share rooms and a third child would simply erase our tot school space, I just don't know what it's like to share a room with a sibling. I only got to share a home with my sibling for seven years.

When people ask, I usually say that, yes, we're more likely done. But in my heart, I feel as if I'm lying. I guess I need to learn to say I don't know without having a miniature breakdown in the process because, the honest truth? The honest truth is I don't know. And I need to somehow learn to live with that.


and baby is a...


Yesterday was our anatomy scan and baby looks great! I went into this pregnancy just knowing in my gut that baby was a girl to the point where I had given no thought to anything regarding this baby being a boy. I've had the girl's nursery planned in my head for months but just couldn't convince myself that this baby could be a boy. It's funny, because going into this pregnancy I also said I wanted boys -- lots of 'em -- but once the ultrasound technician confirmed that baby was a girl, everything just felt right. It felt like, yes, that was the way this was supposed to be and we would be welcoming a little girl into our family in August. My husband was more surprised as he's been guessing this baby is a boy. I've been right with both my pregnancies. Mother's intuition, or something! According to the poll I set up last week, 64% of people guessed girl as well while 36% of people guessed boy!

Both of my pregnancies have been polar opposites. Both babies have had heart rates in the same ballpark so I'm quick to nix that old wives tale, but I just felt different. My belly is pointed where it was much rounder with Ethan. I just feel different than I did last time and despite my insisting I'm meant to be a mommy to just boys, I knew this one was a girl. A few months back my sister and I saw Iron & Wine and I had sent the thought into the universe that if this baby is a girl, I wanted them to play Woman King. I mean, sure, it's been on my bucket list to see Iron & Wine live and hear that song live, but I've always associated that song with having a daughter. And as soon as he played it that song -- one of the first songs of the evening -- I just knew that I was carrying my daughter. Maybe now my husband understands my urgency to duke it out over a girl's name.

When we told my parents I was pregnant with Ethan, we played them a song -- True Blue by Bright Eyes -- and let them guess. For my mom and sister it was obvious but the funniest part was watching my dad sit there until the end of the song, frustrated and freaking out about not being able to figure out what this song has to do with a baby. Because of that, we knew we wanted to do the old song thing again. This time, we used Something Corporate's Punk Rock Princess -- and to my surprise both my parents got it at once. The hardest part was not telling anyone until my sister got home from school at 3:00. I didn't want her to find out on social media or from someone else, which killed me to do. As soon as she walked in the door, we played her the song and she guessed it right off the bat, too. (If you're wondering, the boy song would have been Summer Fling Don't Mean A Thing by New Found Glory.)

Ethan doesn't really 'get' it yet, but we wanted to finally tell him he would be having a baby sister. We put a pink balloon in a box and let him open it. It was sort of counterproductive. I spent his entire life explaining that there are no girl colors or boy colors so all he got out of it was that he had a balloon, but by the end of the day he was getting that he's having a baby sister. It's been his guess most of the time, too, with a couple of flip-flops in between -- probably because his friends only have baby sisters.

The final person that I wanted to tell in a special way was my aunt Fran who lives in Pennsylvania. Because of the distance, I didn't know how to include her in the special surprise without just blabbing it out over the phone. I turned to Google and found an amazing cupcake baker in her area who was so excited about making a special reveal cupcake for us. I just texted her the morning of my anatomy scan and within 30 minutes she was at my aunt's condo to surprise her with a pink-filled cupcake. She even included a fondant keepsake topper which I thought was so awesome!

She also videotaped my aunt's reaction to finding out it was a girl after she took a bite of the cupcake -- which is an awesome keepsake for us to have, too. So, yes, if you're up in the Philadelphia area, check out V's Cupcakery! I thought that was so awesome of her to do for us and such a special way to include my aunt in all of the fun!

It's been crazy being able to write this baby's name in her baby book now and refer to her by name instead of just "baby." But speaking of names -- we are keeping it a secret until she's born! I know. No fun. I always say this and everyone gives me the death stare. When choosing Ethan's name, I couldn't believe how many people -- even random ones who work at the grocery store or randomly stopped to chat about baby stuff in the mall -- thought their opinions mattered! For every "no, I don't like that," "no, that's boring," "no, how about ____, it's better," I promised myself I'd be making it a surprise this time! It's killing me, especially because we chose her name (thanks to another sign from the universe, which I'll talk about later) and love it so, so much. The cutest part is hearing Ethan say it, which he does as if the first and middle name were hyphenated, and it just makes me so happy. I can't wait to see him as a big brother. He's going to be awesome.


tot school - letters e, f, g - 33 months

I meant to post this last week, but with the whole hospital fiasco, I didn't get around to it. Also because of said fiasco, I wasn't able to swap out the tot trays this past week. The older Ethan gets, the less acceptable leaving the same trays up for two weeks becomes. By Thursday of the first week, he already wakes up asking for new trays and gets all cranky when I make him wait for the weekend to get them changed out. Tot School is still his favorite so I'm trying to figure out how to keep everything up to speed to hold his interest again. It's crazy how quickly he's growing up!

Anyway, this last week (er, or two) were the letters E, F, G. We've already finished the individual letters but are now wrapping up the alphabet a second time in groups.


The point of this tray was to help Ethan practice spelling his name. He's getting quick about saying the letters out loud, but it was fun watching him identify each letter and place them in the correct order to properly spell his name! He liked this one, but kept commenting how there were no pictures of him. Whenever we do name trays, I usually include some pictures of him and I guess I dropped the ball on this one.


Sweeping was a skill we mastered a long, long time ago, but lately he's been asking for more sweeping trays. This one didn't disappoint -- I'm pretty sure it was his favorite of the week. I cut up some green paint swatches and a letter G, and Ethan got to go to work sweeping the green pieces into the G.


This tray had photos of different objects and Easter eggs filled with said objects. Ethan got to shake each egg, listen to the sound and place it on the correct card. He also loved this activity! The downfall was by the end of the week, he had started to open all the eggs with the intent to put the objects in different colored eggs. On one hand, it was a good idea -- that way we couldn't remember what color egg held what -- but on the other hand, there were rice and beads all over the floor by Thursday and this tray had to retire early.


We did more work with sounding out words that begin the letters E, F, G. Unlike last week, he was sort of over the magnet board this week. It didn't get much action.


Ethan is still really into the dry erase trays and really loves trying to write his own letters! We did a basic tracing tray but also added this one so he could try to make his own letters, too. He got a little self-conscious about trying to write his own letters but was trying really hard and doing awesome!


This tray was my nemesis! I waited until the last minute to do it, past my bedtime, and had to sit there all cranky and crabby trying to cut out felt people -- which I didn't excel at. Sigh. This was just an open-ended fun activity for Ethan to be able to build a family using felt people and to learn that all families are different. The first family he created was ours, and then promptly noted there weren't enough cats. Oops. But he had fun making all sorts of combinations of families and it made my hard work worth it -- especially because he usually ignores any and all felt activities!


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