what ethan's reading: valentine's day edition

Holidays are a big deal around here. No longer just because I insist on celebrating them way beyond necessity, but because Ethan loves celebrating holidays. It was rough weaning him off of Halloween and then equally as dreadful getting him to realize Christmas was over but, thankfully, there was Valentine's Day to swoop in and distract him with hearts and doilies and glitter. Because it's always fun to expand our library and read about what other kids are reading to get in the holiday spirit, I thought I would share Ethan's favorite Valentine's Day books, age 2 1/2.

1. LOVE MONSTER by Rachel Bright

Good grief, do we love this book. Ethan and I may both be equally obsessed with this book. To first point out the obvious: the illustrations and detail in this book are truly breathtaking. The illustrations are done in these...super cool etchings (because that's as technical as I get)...and are just so raw and bright and perfect. And the story line, oh, the story line. How we all deserve to be loved for who we are, the way we are. I'm also pretty certain the last page in the book would make one awesome tattoo, but that's neither here nor there. At the end, Ethan points to the monsters and says "is this where the monsters belong, mommy?" and my heart melts and all is perfect in the world. Love Monster is a must not only on Valentine's Day, but it sure makes a super sweet read with those you love. (Ethan and I read it at least four times a day.)


Because it wouldn't be our house with Curious George titles to represent every holiday, this is another popular one. I like that the story is about celebrating your friends which is a little bit of an easier concept for Ethan to grasp at two and a half. Ethan mostly likes that it has flaps to open.


My mom bought Ethan this last Valentine's Day and it's been a favorite ever since. When I tried to explain to him that the Christmas decorations were going away but Valentine's Day was coming, he immediately remembered the mouse and this story. It's classic Laura Numeroff mouse goodness and another fun story about celebrating friendship.


This is another cute story that my mom brought over last year for Valentine's Day. He still loves it year 'round as it doesn't specifically pertain to Valentine's Day, but it's still a cute story to teach little ones that love comes from their heart.

LOVE YOU WHEN by Linda Kranz

Though not an only for Valentine's Day story, this is such a sweet story that once again is perfect to cuddle up and read with the little one(s) you love in your life! It's a sweet story about how when you love someone, you always love them and they're always with you because of it. Linda Kranz is one of my favorite children's authors and I love her beautiful rock art that she features in her books!


call it predictable, yesterday my dream was of you

There was once a time, not too long ago, when I made updating this blog a priority. It began to feel like a job. When I started to feel stressed out about the prospect of updating, I knew it was time to step back and ask myself why I began blogging and why I continue to do it. The answer was simple: because I've always been a writer. I just write. It's what I do. And while the activities and recipes continued to flow easily on a perfectly tuned schedule, the writing from my heart sort of fell to the back burner and, more or less, stopped. The thing is, I have so many things on my heart that I have wanted to write about but they keep falling behind the scheduled posts, the must-writes, the lists and projects. And then there is the whole issue of time, something that is in short supply as a parent, and my first trimester lack of energy and nine o'clock is simply bedtime because my brain hurts and the day has ended. So, I'm making it my goal to write from my heart first and foremost when time permits, when energy permits, and letting everything else fall into place.

And on my heart right now is Ethan becoming a big brother. We've explained to him in ways he can understand at this point that he's going to be a big brother, that he's going to have a baby brother or sister. (He insists both.) The why and how and when is still irrelevant at this point, though we keep the topic fresh in our conversations. He has expressed interest in doing things that he associates with babies because he has observed them during time spent with his friends who have baby siblings: making baby food, feeding the baby milk in a bottle, pushing the stroller when baby is crying. He is bright and beautiful and optimistic about the whole ordeal at this point, offering up name suggestions such as Penguin, Curious George, Octopus and -- always a favorite -- Jonas for his baby sibling. I'm trying at this point to involve him in the process without overwhelming him because at this point there isn't much need for details. At this point, he doesn't notice that I'm more sluggish than usual or that we start our mornings off slower than before. As much as he thrives on routine and constant schedule, Ethan is pretty adaptable. And he likes stealing bites from my morning bagel.

I'm aware that there won't always be just good in this adaptation. That one day the baby will actually be here and life will be completely different, unrecognizable, unfamiliar. This new dynamic is inevitable and as daunting as it is to anticipate jealousy or hurt feelings or trying to split my love and attention in so many directions, I welcome it. I welcome the change. I welcome the thoughts of seeing Ethan become a big brother and give that bottle of milk, that stroller push, helping me to puree sweet potatoes for his new sibling. I welcome our tiny home feeling even tinier. For me, the thought of having a close in age sibling is one of the most magical thoughts anyone can think. The fact that I am able to give Ethan this gift makes it all worth it, all of it, the gruesome mornings and the even worse things to come. I never had that. I was finishing up elementary school when my own sister came into this world and our closeness, though it ebbs and flows in her teenage years, has always been more of a mother/daughter relationship than siblings. I've never been able to turn to my sister for life advice, relationship advice, for someone to squeeze my hand and celebrate the excitement of becoming a mother for the first time. It's something I've always wanted, something I've always been jealous of in friends who are surrounded by siblings and who are, consequently, never alone.

I am sure that in the beginning, or maybe even down the line in years to come, Ethan will feel jealous, or slighted, or upset, or sad, or confused as to why his world has changed. But in my heart, there is only one reason: for him. It's all for him. It's for him to have someone to grow with, to scheme with, to dream with, to call up on the phone in their 20's and gossip about why I'm the most unreasonable mother on the planet. It's for him to have this puzzle piece in his life that was missing from my own.

I'm sure there will be drama and a less-than-smooth transition into a family of four, but my mind isn't ready to process that all yet. I find myself up at night thinking about what it will be like to see Ethan hold his baby sibling for the first time and every last bit of everything feels right in this world. In the morning when the world is spinning and I'm not sure if we're leaving the house without shoes (which we did today -- without Ethan's shoes, anyway) or we're wearing pants (which thankfully we both had on today), it's this thought that gets me through it.

The thing is, people find out you're expecting your second baby and they talk about it with this tone of pity for your child and the insinuation that his world is ending. But the truth is, his world is just beginning.


nine week bumpdate

How far along? 9w4d
Due date: August 30th, 2014
Baby is the size of a... Grape! That seems so big for some reason.
Baby's development of the week: Baby's heart has divided into four chambers and the valves start to form — as do her tiny teeth.
Maternity clothes? None yet, though I'm totally only wearing leggings, yoga pants and sweatpants so it's easy to avoid at this point. I definitely feel so bloated around the middle of my tummy that pants seem more like a torture device than a piece of clothing. I am wearing a maternity shirt in these photos but, to be fair, it's pretty much my favorite shirt and I've been wearing it since I was pregnant with Ethan. I'm just stylish like that.
Sleep: I've started the waking up to pee somewhere around 4-5 a.m. and getting comfortable is tricky, but so far sleep is still a non-issue. My husband has been taking over Ethan's ridiculously early wake-ups so that I can sleep in until the last possible moment which is very much appreciated.
Best moment this week: I think we may have actually agreed on a girls name. You don't know how stressed out I've been about the fact we've never, ever, ever agreed on a girls name.
Food cravings: Toasted bagels and seltzer get me through my days. I've also found that popping Sour Patch Kids help with the nausea. Today at the movies, Ethan pointed to a box of Sour Patch Kids at the concession counter and said, "those are my mommy's medicine." So, there's that.
Food aversions: Nothing really bothers me like it did with my first pregnancy, but don't talk to me about food before noon or I'll puke on you.
Baby's Sex: I'm still guessing girl. My husband still refuses to guess.
Baby's Name: Still a secret but, fingers crossed, I think we may have finally figured this one out.


funbites review and giveaway

So, if you've ever seen this blog (or my Instagram), you know that I'm pretty into making cute meals for Ethan. There's just something fun about being creative with his food. Yeah, I've seen the blog posts insisting I've got it all wrong and food is for eating not for beautifying, but there's something therapeutic and fun about turning Ethan's sandwiches and fruits into cute pictures for him to admire before inhaling. (Oh, how your idea of "fun" changes once you become a mom.) It definitely takes me a while to sit and plan and carve out Ethan's lunches. As much as I love it, time is sort of hard to come by when you're a mom. When I first heard about Funbites, they seemed like the perfect way to still make the cute lunches (or breakfasts, dinners, snacks) while cutting the prep time in half.

Funbites come in a few different shapes. I got to try out the fun heart shaped cutter in honor of Valentine's Day. I couldn't wait to get to work slicing and seeing how I could incorporate some Valentine's Day fun into Ethan's food.

The Funbites cutters are made up of two pieces: the actual cutter, on the bottom, which you place on top of your food and rock it back and forth about five times until the food is cut completely through. The top piece is what you put in to pop your fun, shaped food out.

What I really thought was cool about Funbites was that they're pretty tough -- in a good way. Meaning, they were a cinch to use on fruits and veggies in addition to just something soft like bread. Ethan isn't much of a sandwich guy so, so far, we've used ours the most on fruits and veggies. Just a few seconds and you're able to transform a typical snack into something a lot cuter. Check out our veggies and hummus, complete with heart shaped cucumbers!

We also had some fun making hearts out of fruit. Any fruit we tried worked perfectly with the Funbites cutter. Look at our cute medley of strawberries, pineapple and cantaloupe. So super cute.

While researching Funbites, I loved people's creativity when using the individual shapes to create a big picture. People used the shapes to create flowers, animals, nature scenes...

From funbites.com

While I may have gotten lucky in that Ethan is not at all a picky eater, I definitely think helping to make food fun and visually stimulating can help encourage healthy eating habits. Ethan is always so excited to see his lunch for the day and I do think it plays a little bit of a part in him being such a great eater.

Another cool part about our heart shaped cutter was that you could use it to create one big shape that was easily pulled away into little bite size pieces -- perfect for little hands!

You can use Funbites cutters on just about anything and it really did put a huge dent in the time it took me to prepare snacks and lunches for Ethan. Gone were the days of standing there like a crazy person carving watermelon freehand with a knife -- all it took was a few rocks back and forth from the cutter and there you had it, fun shapes! I'm excited to see what we can come up with in the future!

TO BUY: Funbites can be purchased through their website. There are quite a few options to choose from!

TO WIN: Funbites have graciously offered one of my readers the chance to win a Funbites cutter of their choosing! The giveaway is open to US residents and closes on February 10th! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


planning for ethan's big boy bedroom

Ethan is currently sleeping in his old crib that converts to a toddler bed. With baby #2 coming, we decided to get Ethan a brand new twin bed and put together the crib again for the new baby. This is something I had wanted to get done before it came time to start making any real preparations for baby #2, just to sort of ease into the transition a little bit for Ethan. My musts were keeping the paint color (blue) and keeping the furniture (minus the changing table, glider and crib/bed which will be moving out -- so really, keeping his cherry wood bookshelf and dresser). Oh, and keeping the cost as low as possible. Easy enough -- I hope. (This is Ethan's current room, for reference.) We do have textured walls so decals are not an option, unfortunately.

Here are some of my favorite things and elements for Ethan's future big boy room that have caught my eye!

I love these pirate themed name blocks by Aunt JJ's Attic. I have a set of these blocks in a beach theme that were up in our old tot school classroom and they're simply gorgeous!

I love floating wall shelves, like these from Home Garden Max. I would love some of these in a cherry finish to hang on Ethan's walls to display photos, art and other trinkets rather than them just sitting on top of his dresser lost among clutter.

I love this pirate flag nautical print by Lemon Lime Paperie!

This beautiful wooden pirate treasure map would look awesome displayed in any pirate themed bedroom!

Ethan's one request was an actual pirate flag, like this one I found on eBay.

This pirate fabric bunting by Belle Bunting is so cute, and would make the perfect touch to display on his teepee or extra wall space. It's so fun!

One thing I kept thinking would be so cool would be vintage fishing nets. They seem like they'd make the perfect pirate touch while still incorporating a little bit of vintage timelessness into the room.

This Circo Pirate bedding from Target is what we're likely sold on. Ethan was sold the moment he saw the throw pillow and the little octopus. Luckily, it pretty much matches Ethan's current room color perfectly (the walls are a little bit lighter than the lightest blue in the bedding).

I was thinking of adding some vintage globes into the mix.

I thought some vintage boat propellers and other vintage boating gear would look super cool on some shelves. With a dad in the fishing and boating industry, I'm hoping he can make this happen for us somehow.

This old world map fabric growth chart is so breathtaking and unique! I've never seen anything like it and it has that perfect vintage-y pirate feel that I was hoping for.

It's still up in the air, but this is the bed that caught our eye initially for Ethan's new big boy bed. I love all of the shelving on the back!

I'm hoping I can make this come together pretty simply. Any suggestions? Advice? Help for the least DIY savvy mom on the planet (that'd be me)?


let's talk about strep (4/52)

A few days ago, Ethan sneezed a couple of times. His eyes were glassy. I knew what was to come. Somehow in my gut, I just knew he had strep throat. "It can't be strep," everyone would tell me, "or he wouldn't be eating." Do other children do this, stop eating when they're sick? Maybe they do. I know that I can't bear to eat when my throat is killing me. This is never the case for Ethan. One time it took three days of incessant whiny and really awful sleep before I went with my gut and brought him into the doctor. My husband was sure it would be another case of paying a co-pay to be told there was nothing wrong with him, but it ended up being strep and a double inner ear infection. The doctor was just as shocked he was eating, but just that morning he had a huge breakfast. I blame this fully on my husband. He's the only person I know who insists on eating and drinking even through the stomach flu. Anyway, point being, on Thursday Ethan was still eating but he was running a low-grade fever and I felt my throat getting scratchy, too. He ate a parsnip muffin in the car on the way to the doctor, even. They swabbed him and confirmed that, yes, it was strep. Being pregnant, I felt my own scratchy throat and swollen glands and proceeded to freak out.

So, you know where I'm going with this. Strep throat, a first-trimester pregnant lady and a miserable two and a half year old. I didn't think we would survive Wednesday. Or Thursday. I began my "when are you coming home?" phonecalls to my husband at about noon. You know when you reach that point of first trimester nausea and exhaustion plus head congestion and swollen glands and a throat on fire and your kid is miserably sick and starts wheezing (thanks, asthma!) and you just can't care that he's coloring on the tile with markers? They're washable, after all. Yeah, that point. Plus banana peels and half-chewed apples and old tissues everywhere and general mass chaos and misery. You would think I would be used to the asthma game by now but, truth be told, it always freaks me out. No matter how poorly I'm feeling, I hear Ethan's asthmatic cough and feel twenty times worse. On Thursday evening my husband brought home my favorite Italian ices to help my throat and on Friday he worked from home. Having my husband home on Friday was just about the biggest bright spot I could imagine shining down on our miserable, dark, gloomy week. Ethan, who isn't pregnant and thus allowed the good drugs, was feeling a lot better on Friday minus his breathing issues. My head and glands were so swollen that even standing up to walk to the bathroom made me feel faint and the idea of chasing a two and a half year old was sort of daunting in that "I'm worried for all of our safety" way. Luckily I was able to spend Friday holed up on the couch under a blanket, drifting in and out of sleep and alternating that with The Wonder Years reruns. I'm determined that we're all going to kick this thing by this weekend and start next week off fresh and healthy. Which sounds like a great plan, you know, if someone stuck drainage tubes in my sinuses and helped me out a little bit here.


my gym coconut creek special enrollment party

I'm kicking off this post with a major understatement: we love our My Gym in Coconut Creek, Florida. Are all "mommy and me" classes created equal? I never thought so. You can take it from the girl who interviewed over fifteen pediatricians before selecting ours -- my count wasn't too far off when it came to mommy and me classes. As a first time, new mom, I wanted a safe, clean place to watch my baby develop and learn to play. From the moment we found My Gym Coconut Creek, that was it. They were exactly what I had been looking for. They've been a part of Ethan's life since, well, since the beginning. Just check out these pictures of Ethan from his first ever day of My Gym classes back when he was eight weeks old:

And just about every single week since then, Ethan has been having a blast at his weekly My Gym classes. We've joined and quit other secondary classes along the way, but nothing stuck like My Gym continues to stick. It's been totally heartwarming for this overly-sentimental heart of mine to watch him grow up at My Gym, advance to bigger and older classes and have this safe, clean place to play his little heart out. We've seen three years of Halloween parties (these are Ethan's favorite) and holiday parties and special events. I've watched Ethan's My Gym teachers, Mr. Lee and Ms. Karen, become what feels like part of our family (guess who knew I was pregnant before you guys did? Yeah, that's right, they did!).

Over the years with My Gym Coconut Creek, I've watched Ethan learn to develop his confidence and social skills. As any parent to a painfully shy child knows, it can be alarming and worrisome to watch them let fear win when it comes to having fun and trying something new. Mr. Lee and Ms. Karen have always given Ethan the love, kindness and confidence to know he can do anything even when he's being the drama king he can most definitely be. We've made friends, beat the rain and heat with open gym sessions on days when we didn't have class and have enjoyed the always popular Unlimited Classes special that My Gym Coconut Creek offers so often so that it's members can attend as many classes as they want. It's also become a sort of unspoken rule that when my husband gets a day off of work, he always chooses the day we have My Gym. It's just so much fun. And the coolest part about My Gym is how the fun progresses by age, making it feel nearly impossible to outgrow My Gym. Everything is so perfectly catered to age and maturity of the child, even their amazing birthday parties.

Ethan's 2nd birthday party was held at My Gym Coconut Creek this past June and it was every bit as amazing as I'd hoped. For those who opt to take a pass at the chaos of parties, My Gym Coconut Creek does everything for you. For those of you like me who just can't sit on your hands and not plan a crazy party, My Gym Coconut Creek still lets your inner control freak shine.

For all you South Florida readers, I'm closing out this post with an opportunity to save $124.86 on your My Gym classes for 2014.

My Gym Coconut Creek is having an enrollment party (and who doesn't love a party?!) on February 1st (my birthday!) from 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. They'll be showcasing their fun gymnastics stations and hosting tons of games and activities. When you sign up, you just pay $20.14 for your first month of classes, including the membership fee! That puts you at a savings of $124.86 -- not too shabby.

Already a member? No big deal, you're more than welcome to attend, but it would be sweet to bring a non-member friend with you to join in the fun!

For more information: My Gym Coconut Creek is located at 6504 North State Road 7 in Coconut Creek, Florida. They can be reached by phone at (954) 596-9010 or by e-mail at mygymcoconutcreek@comcast.net. Visit My Gym Coconut Creek online at mygym.com/coconutcreek.


eight week bumpdate

I definitely forgot to post my seven week update last week. I took the photos and everything. Oops. Speaking of photos, I'm debating moving my full length mirror from my closet so you don't have to stare at that disaster scene every week. Anyway, I'm eight weeks (and three days!) along already. I had another ultrasound today with my doctor and we got to see the baby's heartbeat flickering away. Baby 2.0 is measuring perfectly this week again, still putting my due date at August 30th. I will be having a repeat scheduled c-section a week earlier than that, but due dates have started to mean nothing to me after my water broke with Ethan at 36 weeks.

I'm finally starting to feel nauseous, which kicked in with week 7. If I don't start my morning with a plain toasted bagel and some seltzer, it's just bad news all around. Unlike my pregnancy with Ethan which resulted in severe all-day sickness, I typically feel better by 9:30 or so and can continue to function like a normal person. The nausea is more like grogginess and I've only been really sick once so I'm still pretty relieved. It truly is funny how two pregnancies can be so different.

How far along? 8w3d
Due date: August 30th, 2014
Baby is the size of a... Kidney bean
Baby's development of the week: Webbed fingers and toes are poking out from baby's hands and feet, his eyelids practically cover his eyes, breathing tubes extend from his throat to the branches of his developing lungs, and his "tail" is just about gone. In his brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways.
Maternity clothes? Not yet, but I've been living in yoga pants for the sake of comfort. Nothing sounds less fun than wearing jeans right about now. Thankfully we've been having a cold front down here in South Florida that makes my sweatpants and yoga pants wardrobe acceptable.
Sleep: I'm still sleeping just fine, though it's hard to get comfy sometimes.
Best moment this week: Seeing that little healthy heartbeat on ultrasound today and having my husband be there! He wasn't able to get off of work to see Ethan's so it was exciting to have him there today.
Food cravings: Seltzer.
Food aversions: I'm slowly getting to the point where more and more things sound unappealing. Today I had to keep stepping away from the pasta sauce I was making because it made my stomach turn.
Baby's Sex: I'm still guessing girl but we obviously don't know just yet.
Baby's Name: Boy name is 100% settled, girl name is about 90% settled -- but both are a secret until birth this time.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...