year in review

2013 was a good year for our family and although maybe it could be considered an uneventful year, it feels like a pretty solid year. Ethan began 2013 as just a baby and seemed to have ended it as anything but. I thought I would take this opportunity to recap some of my favorite posts and memories of 2013.

Ethan and I spent the start of 2013 making memories together underneath the lights at the skatepark. It was his favorite place, watching with wonder as the big kids skated down the ramps. These were some of my favorite memories ever, snuggling on the bleachers and sneaking home in time for dinner.

On January 17th, my husband and I celebrated 11 years together!

I also got my first tattoo in January. I've already made up for lost time and have since gotten two more!

In February, Ethan had his second trip to Disney World.

In April I took a Body Back boot camp class and lived to talk about it.

We celebrated Easter a week late because Ethan was super sick on the actual day.

In May, we celebrated four years of marriage and stayed at a hotel overnight without Ethan. It was the 2nd date night we ever had, so it was a big deal!

We took Ethan's adorable 2 year portraits at the skate park, his favorite place.

In June, Ethan began the most amazing swim lessons ever!

On June 22nd, my little man turned two!

The day after his birthday, Ethan had a Curious George themed 2nd birthday party!

In July we had a super fun joint 4th of July party/birthday party for my husband!

In August, our city commissioner stepped up and saved the day in Tot School, which was super cool.

In August, Ethan also threw a teddy bear picnic for his friends.

In August I also cut my hair off for the first time in years. Proud member of the short hair club still these days!

I got to watch my baby sister turn 17.

Then there was that time the walls had to be torn down in our house after a leak (and mold detection) and we had to move back in with my parents temporarily.

Towards the end of September, Ethan got a super special tour of the fire department!

October saw the five year anniversary of our house.

Ethan also debuted his Halloween costume during our trip to the pumpkin patch. He was completely obsessed with Halloween this year.

My husband, Ethan and I took a spontaneous mini-vacation in the beginning of November. It was awesome, until we came home and Ethan was super duper sick.

Of course, November saw our epic failure holiday photos.

November marked one year of Tot School, which was a pretty cool milestone.

Ethan's 2013 Santa photos were my favorite ones yet!

In December, I finally set up Tot School in our big home office, which has been an awesome change!

And, of course, Christmas 2013.

You were a good year, 2013, but I'm excited to see what 2014 holds.


and i could see for miles, miles, miles

It is the end of the year and so my husband is able to get to work an hour late to compensate, somehow, for the late nights spent sitting in his cubicle until after midnight. The fun and games of being married to an accountant during this time of the year, the worry and panic involved in hoping for an uneventful commute as your husband rings in 2014 on the freeway passing through Fort Lauderdale in an attempt to get home, stories of drunken deaths and senseless partying on what feels like every local news channel. Something about scare tactics and holidays and people who drastically underestimate my neurosis on a regular basis, let alone when it's dark and I'm tired and the house feels eerily quiet and I just want my husband to be home sometime before Ethan wakes up in the morning. I haven't considered New Years Eve a holiday since my husband began working. I am most definitely the Grinch of New Years.

The end of December, the days following Christmas, are long and messy and chaotic and crazy. I roll out of bed in my pajamas and Ethan leads the way to Tot School where I sit on a stool and watch him color so intently, churning out a minimum of four masterpieces before requesting breakfast. My husband always smells clean like shower gel and freshly laundered clothes, crisp work shirts and a belt and shiny shoes and I realize I will probably be spending the duration of my day in the leggings I decided were pajamas and slept in. My husband reminds me I had the opportunity to shower but I chose that extra hour of sleep because I don't think I could have survived the day if I made a different choice. And, well, I could have showered the night before but I didn't think I could possibly stay awake even a second longer. I stand behind my logic and decisions until it's noon and I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realize my hair has actually reached the point of being terrifying. This is, of course, the recipe for running into everyone you know everywhere you go.

I am ready for 2014 to be here, for the clean slate of a fresh new year. For not having to be the bad guy who gets to respond to a two and a half year old's insisting that "daddy makes night night with Ethan, not mommy. Mommy, do you see daddy? I don't see him." I am ready for peace and order and a refrigerator with groceries and a dinner that doesn't consist of Back to Nature whole wheat crackers with peanut butter. These last few days of December are always a break from the routine we spent the entire year developing. I become a walking example of what all of my childless friends fear they will one day become if they have children. The end of December always makes me realize that I'm kidding myself when I commend myself on spontaneity and the ability to improvise because I'm a basketcase scrawling notes and reminders on torn-up sheets of scrap paper and having to reschedule Ethan's haircut appointment twice because I can't get my act together. "Someone needs a haircut," my mom says, running her fingers through the wavy mullet that sits atop Ethan's head. Cringe. I'm ready for 2014, if not a little desperate.

how to (safely!) color salt

I got a couple of e-mails and messages on Facebook after yesterday's S week post asking about coloring salt so I thought I would share a quick tutorial!

We used very coarse salt. Table salt would work just fine, but I think it always looks cooler with the coarser, larger grains of salt. To get the most vibrant color (and to make it safe for tasting, though they typically learn really quickly that salt doesn't taste very good), we use glitter sprinkles.

Add a few shakes of sprinkles to your bag of salt.

Drop in a few droplets of water. You don't want more than a few droplets and you don't want your salt to get very wet (or even damp!). Just a few droplets will do.

Massage the sprinkles and salt around until the color is all mixed together. The water will melt the sprinkles and color the salt beautifully!


tot school - letter s - 30 months

We had another great week at tot school! This week was letter S week. It was perfect timing with all of the Santa Claus and snowmen and snowflakes that come along with Christmas cheer, so Ethan had a pretty exciting week.


Strawberry Counting Activity

Ethan and I had gone strawberry picking a few days prior so he was pretty excited about this one. Nothing like picking your own strawberries to make them suddenly super exciting and the number one preferred snack food. The point of this one was to notice the number written on each strawberry and count out the correct number of seeds. He's still getting a grasp on recognizing the numbers themselves but with my help, he was able to count out the correct number of seeds for each strawberry. He was pretty excited about this tray in the beginning but towards the end of the week he didn't really use it much.

Star Size Sorting

I was fairly certain we had done this before, and that would have been correct -- we did star size sorting back in yellow week when Ethan was 18 months old. He was relatively uninterested in this tray and only used it once for the duration of the week.

Sponge & Sticks Open Ended Imagination Tray

This one was one of the biggest hits of the week. Ethan absolutely loved it. I sliced up a couple different types of sponges and put down a couple different types of sticks. Ethan could use this tray however he wanted and it was so awesome to see what he came up with using his imagination!


A boat!

A gingerbread house!

Santa Snowman Tic Tac Toe

I found this at the dollar store by accident and thought it was a fun holiday themed fine motor activity. We tried playing it like tic tac toe but mostly Ethan just liked putting the pegs into the holes. We couldn't tell if the white ones were Santa or Snowmen or Santa Snowman, so we went with the latter. It was a fun little activity!

Stingray Stripes

Ethan is usually into the tracing trays but he had no interest in this one this week. The point was to trace the stripes onto the stingray following the dotted lines. He never touched this tray once!

S Themed Discovery Bin

I threw this one together really quickly not thinking much of it, but Ethan really had fun with it. There were some salt shakers, some snakes, sunglasses, a stegasaurus, a Spiderman figurine and some seashells.

Salt Transferring & Color Matching

This tray was another hit of the week! I colored some salt and painted the wells in an egg carton the corresponding colors. I gave Ethan a 1/8 teaspoon spoon to transfer the salt into the wells of the matching color. He absolutely loved it! After a good run, he then he had fun mixing all of the colors and seeing what he could make with his colored salt.

Magnet Board

And, of course, this weeks magnet board!


We used some guinea pig hay and some old too-small clothes to make a scarecrow!

Sponge Painting

My dad gave us a couple of big boat sponges and Ethan had fun making a big sponge painting!


We used this recipe for Borax-free slime dough. It was awesome!


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