lost time

It's been quiet around here on the blog and it hasn't been intentional. Summer is in full swing around here. Our days are long and full and we're also in the throws of what can only be described as a time of chaos at my husband's job. It's been just me running everything around here and it shows. My husband is the organized one in the relationship (and the piles of laundry and tumbleweeds of cat hair exemplify that). I've had many posts to write but am trying to not eliminate sleep completely from my schedule so I'm letting the posts come as they're able to. As the chaos winds down around here, hopefully I'll have more time to write.

In my absence, Ethan turned four on the 22nd. Watching my baby grow into this beautiful, inquisitive little boy continues to be the greatest experience. Lately the child in him completely sweeps up any little crumbs of baby that have been left behind. At this point, I don't know if our baby having and raising days are numbered and my inability to cope with the unknown helps me to stay in the present. I am very much enjoying being a part of Ethan's present. His strong will oftentimes feels like my backbone and his laughter is like medicine to my soul on days where I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Already, four has thrust me headfirst into so many scenarios where I find myself questioning if I actually do know what I'm doing and, more often than not, I decide that I don't. Deciding to redshirt Ethan in school is the first big (and socially unpopular) decision I've made as his parent; the first time I've felt like I'm swimming upstream while everyone else is headed in the opposite direction. While most of Ethan's peers will begin VPK this fall, Ethan will be headed into another round of homeschool preschool with me and I'm relieved and confident in the decision (and also secretly glad that many of his closest friends have birthdays after the cut off so he isn't entirely losing his entire realm of playmates).

Most recently, Ethan has added music class to his repertoire and is loving it with the intensity that I always knew it would. For a year he has been begging to start music classes and after trial and error, we have found ourselves the perfect fit. The bulk of our days are usually still spent in the water which remains Ethan's happy place and ensures that we usually always smell of chlorine and sunscreen and that my car typically reeks of wet towels baking in the Florida heat. You get used to the latter, I swear.

Ethan's actual birthday was spent at Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach where he fed animals and braved the heat and showcased a new development of his four year old self: his bravery, as he hopped up on the rides without hesitation. At four, there's a solid chance Ethan will answer you back if you say hello to him and, even if he still requests my presence as he does so, he even enjoys making new playmates at the park. Most recently, Ethan spent a solid hour playing with a little girl at the park who only spoke Creole. When asked how he managed to play with someone who didn't even speak the language, Ethan sighed knowingly: "we both laughed!" I lose count of the times he makes my heart flutter with pride, with joy, with peace in knowing that he's so much more precious and beautiful than he knows.

I'm ready for four, for another year of adventure and Ethan's reassurance that I've got this. Even when it doesn't feel like it.

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love day

My love,

Ten years from now, you probably won't remember this day. I mean, you've just turned 4, so there's a good chance that by next month, this day will have already left your mind. Still, I can't begin to put into words what experiencing today alongside of you meant to me. This morning, we were camped outside of our local Lush store ("the soap store," as you lovingly call it) waiting for them to open to stock up on some #GayIsOK soaps. We took a detour first to sip some coffee (water for you) and throw pennies into the fountain in the middle of the mall. I'm glad we took this detour. About thirty seconds before we stepped foot into Lush, I got the news: marriage equality in all fifty states. The texts from friends began to roll in then, each one celebratory and full of can you believe it? and rejoicing that, yes, this world just got a little less cruel for our children. You see, my love, ten years from now you will look at me with horror as I recall a time where discrimination was rampant in this country. You will shake your head and be glad that you don't know a world like that.

"It's love day," you told the Lush employee who greeted us. Yes, it's love day. We stocked up on our soaps -- and even made a second trip back in to pick some up for friends -- and as we walked through the mall, you begin to ask me about love day. Your confusion, you see, was that you didn't understand why loving someone was bad. "But, mommy, we should all love each other," you said. I realized then that in your life, you hadn't heard the nauseating "one man, one woman" song and dance. In your life, a family was who loved you and marriage was something that people who loved one another did to celebrate that love. The very idea that there were laws against love was something you never knew about until today when we celebrated the demise of this particular evil. We sat by the fountain again and I tried to think of a way to explain it to you but, much like it doesn't make sense to me, it didn't make sense to you, either. We decided that it was better to celebrate love, to love one another, and to acknowledge that love always wins.

Today I sat with you at the fountain in the mall and soaked up every second of history being made. Human rights were granted. Equality is here. Love won. By the time you read this, you'll probably be unable to fathom a time when it wasn't this way. By the time you read this, you'll look at me with the same horror and disbelief that I feel when my mother lists the establishments that she, as a Jew, was banned from during her adolescence. We have a ways to go to get this country up to speed, my love, but we took a gigantic leap today. My heart is soaring with pride today. History was made today and you were a part of it, even if you likely won't remember.

My love, please remember that your father and I will always be on your side. Who you are is beautiful. Who you are is perfect. You are always worthy of being loved. We will always be proud of you. We will always support you. We will always love you. We will love whoever you loves you, we will love whoever you love. Your love story will always be my favorite. Let today be a reminder that love always wins -- and how absolutely beautiful that is.

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ethan's 4th birhday party!

Ethan turns four years old on the 22nd and last weekend we celebrated his birthday with a Lorax party!

I'm a little bit (okay, a lot bit) obsessed with planning parties and so this one has been in the works for some time now. About six months ago, Ethan asked me if his birthday party could be Lorax themed and, well, I almost immediately got to work on the details.

Our super cute Lorax invitations were designed by Designs by Jessika. To be extra Lorax-y, I printed them on plantable paper (purchased here).

My best friend is basically good at everything, and she showcased her skills with some cute envelope addressing, too!

The Lorax isn't exactly a super popular theme (unlike last year's pirate theme) so a lot of brainstorming was required. Luckily for me, Ethan was super into his birthday party this year and spent a lot of time helping me and running his ideas by me (see also: letting me know he had some requests -- no pressure!). For a venue, we yet again chose our local My Gym (My Gym Coconut Creek). Ethan's party has been held at My Gym the past three years in a row, plus, he's been taking weekly classes there since he was eight weeks old. There's little Ethan loves more than My Gym! Our party was a 10 a.m. party so we did bagels (with butter or cream cheese) for food and lots of little Lorax-themed snacks, too (Hummingfish hummus, snacks of the Swomee Swans, Truffula fruit, barbaloot snacks, super axe crackers).

A couple of years ago, my best friend had this great idea to reduce balloon waste by displaying the balloons simply by tying them onto each party favor. So, each kid leaves with a balloon and that leaves us with none leftover. It was a brilliant idea and I've been doing it year after year now!

The "big kid" favors

And a snuggly little Lorax for the one and under crowd!

My sister (the Lorax) and her friend (the brown barbaloot) were the event photographers of the day.

How cute are Ethan's super cute Lorax harem shorts?! They were custom made by Joyaltee for the party!

The Lorax isn't an easy character to come by so we decided he was busy saving the trees -- but, luckily for Ethan, he took the time to send his buddy The Cat in the Hat to the party! Ethan was so excited! This is our 3rd year using a character from Character Adventures (954-536-8771). We can't recommend them enough!

Ethan had the best time and it made every ounce of planning so worth it!

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introducing buglet, the all natural bug repellent wristband for kids

I feel like we're always fighting the good fight against mosquitoes here in South Florida. All year 'round they are a complete nuisance, but, oh, how it intensifies in the summertime. In addition to Ethan being allergic to mosquito bites (I know, good thing we live in Florida, right?), mosquito season is stressful because it's nearly impossible to find a way to keep the bugs at bay. You have the option to spray your child down in some toxic chemical mist and -- well, I probably don't have to go into detail as to why that's not the best option. Those all-natural sprays are fine if you want to grease up your kiddo and forgo the sunscreen which, well, isn't really an option, either. There are some variations of rubber repellent bands on the market but they all require direct contact on your child's skin or belt loop (which isn't always an option) and can cause irritation and rash. It always feels a little like a juggling game and for that reason, I tend to eliminate the park from our list of later afternoon summertime activities -- which is a shame.

When I first heard about Buglet, I quickly realized that this one product eliminated all of my qualms with bug repellent. Buglet is a wristband with a stone face that allows you to apply droplets of the all-natural bug repellent onto it before use.

The stone is set in the wristband so it makes no contact with your child's skin. The band itself doesn't contain any repellent -- and ready for this? -- it's a slap bracelet!

(The '90's kid in me was so excited to watch Ethan discover the fascination with slap bracelets.)

The Buglet wristbands are cute and come in a variation of colors and shapes (Ethan got to try the owl!). One of the things that I also loved about Buglet right off the bat is that the wristbands come with a refill bottle of the essential oil-based repellent making it so that your dollar stretches a lot further and you don't have to worry about running out and replacing new product. When the time does come to reorder, Buglet makes it easy by letting you purchase a new bottle of the repellent refill for only $7.00 instead of purchasing a new set entirely.

So, I established really quickly that a) Buglet wristbands are adorable and b) they seem like the answer to our bug bite woes. The only thing left to do was to make sure they actually work. Our first outing with the Buglet in tow was an early evening nature walk on a nature trail in a wooded area of a local park. At the end of our walk, none of us had a single bite. If you're from South Florida, you can acknowledge what a victory this is!

After our walk, Ethan was bug bite free and ready to do some playing on the playground as the sun went down. We went home with no bites whatsoever, just the good kind of tired you get after an afternoon of playing before bedtime. With Buglet, that after dinner, before bedtime playtime becomes a reality again -- even during the Florida summers.

It's been a few weeks since we've been using our Buglet wristband -- and I said "our" on purpose. Sure, it's for kids, but I've been borrowing it (I can't resist the slap bracelet, okay?) on my nightly walks. Whereas I used to come home bitten up or, worse, having to cut my walk short due to the presence of mosquitoes, I now come home bug bite free each and every time.

As the summer unfolds, I am grateful for the freedom Buglet gives Ethan to enjoy his time outside and that it keeps itchy, stinging bug bites the farthest thing from his mind. We have had zero bites since utilizing the Buglet on our adventures and, well, I don't even know how to begin to properly express my gratitude! We wholeheartedly recommend Buglet to anyone looking to provide their little ones with some relief from those pesky bites -- safely and effectively. Oh, and pretty cutely, too.

TO BUY: Shop Buglet's website and check out all of the different colors and styles available!

TO WIN: The amazing folks at Buglet have offered one of my readers the chance to win a Buglet of their very own! (Winner picks the color, too!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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