now i realize its true, that everything is in full bloom

I remember the car ride home after our anatomy scan with Ethan, over the moon about the little boy in my belly and overcome with excitement. We couldn't resist stopping at a store to pick up his very first outfit despite the fact my husband had to go into work and was already running late. I spent the rest of the afternoon browsing online for ideas for his nursery and dreaming up exactly how I wanted it to be. A lot of heart and soul went into that nursery. I wound up on bedrest and finished it off by my husband pushing me around the room in an office chair as I dictated the finishing touches that I wasn't able to physically get to myself. In the end it was perfect, every bit of it the tranquil, oceanic place of bliss I'd hoped it would be. In that room I rocked Ethan in his glider well into toddlerhood, until the day he asked not to be rocked anymore and instead would we lay by the side of his bed until he fell asleep. His bed. Sooner than we ever imagined we removed the crib rails and converted his crib to a toddler bed, surprised by how early he -- our timid, shy little guy -- hurled himself over the front of the crib in a desperate attempt to put off bedtime. His birth announcement sits framed on his bookcase as a reminder of the baby who once slept in this nursery for nearly three years. Three years. I've been dreading May for the sole reason that it's going to kill me to say "next month I will have a three year old."

The time had come to say goodbye to the converted crib and purchase Ethan a new bed. A bed he could grow with through all of the inevitable transformations his room would go through (if he's anything like me, who changed up my bedroom nearly every year of my childhood). Ethan decided he wanted a pirate themed bedroom and over his excitement and squeals of joy in regards to his pirate octopus and pirate ship lamp, I'm realizing how quickly the time came to change everything up. It feels like it was just yesterday that I sat there pining over every last detail of his under the sea nursery, obsessing over paint swatches and window treatments and name letters that match the decor just so. And, you know, I seem to have blinked and now I have this child telling me his plans for his pirate room and a furniture company putting together a real bed in the room that was once a nursery and now isn't. In a couple of months, we'll be planning another nursery. We'll be putting the rails back on a crib and setting up the glider perfectly so in the corner of the room. I'm struggling to get a good grip on it all.

Tonight was our standard bath, pajamas, teeth brushing, story time -- and then it was different. Then my almost three year old climbed into his brand new bed with a mixture of nerves and excitement in regards to spending his first night in it. I squeezed nine stories into tonight's bedtime routine. He squeezed in even more I can't sleep heres. I even sang Natalie Imbruglia songs. My husband laid with him until he fell asleep at just past nine o'clock, two hours from when our bedtime routine began. There were no tears, thankfully, but my heart still feels guilty. Maybe instead of the converted crib we should have moved him directly into a bed all those months ago, back when he was more flexible and less prone to over-analyzing as he is now. (The "can I still sleep in this house, mommy?" he let out this morning upon seeing his empty bedroom while the furniture delivery truck pulled up onto the driveway just about did me in.) The less rational part of me thinks we should have just bought a new crib for Baby Girl and let him sleep in his converted crib bed until college if he wanted to. Heck, he could take it to college with him, if he wanted.

But I stepped back and remembered the way he squealed with joy as he picked out the decorations for his new room, the way he asked "do you love my new bed, daddy?" as soon as my husband walked in the door from work tonight. I remembered the time he first laid in his crib at seven months old and wanted nothing at all to do with it -- and how quickly that changed. One day this will, too. One day, I will have a hard time envisioning Ethan's room as anything but a place of pirates and a shiny cherry wood bed and nightstand that lights up underneath when you tap it on the side. One day, he will be ten and asking me if we can change his room to whatever ten year old Ethan is into and I will get just as choked up remembering when it was exactly as it is now. Remembering every detail that was poured into it, just like his nursery. Just like the fan pulls we had to import from China, the changing pad covers that had to match the walls just so, the way it all had to be perfect before we brought that little eight pound, four ounce bundle of sleep-protesting joy home from the hospital on that hot day in June nearly three years ago.

This weekend I'll be up to my eyeballs in rearranging the furniture and finishing hanging the pieces of decor that have been sitting in the closet since Ethan first came up with the idea of a pirate bedroom quite a few months ago now. Slowly, but yet not slowly enough, pieces of Ethan's nursery are coming down and pieces of his room, his real bedroom, are going up. And at the same pace, if not quicker, my baby is disappearing before my eyes and, instead, my child sits up in his bed waiting for me to read him bedtime stories and sing him Natalie Imbruglia songs.


22 weeks

How far along? 22w2d
Due date: August 30th, 2014
Baby is the size of a... spaghetti squash, which seems huge!
Baby's development of the week: Per Babycenter: Your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment.
Maternity clothes? All bottoms, most maternity shirts. Still getting away with longer tank-tops or t-shirts.
Sleep: It's still hard to stay comfortable most nights -- and the whole "up all night having to pee" thing -- but sleep still doesn't totally suck.
Best moment this week: Two great things to share: on Saturday, Heather and I made our way down to the local outlet malls and spent six and a half hours shopping. It was sort of wonderful! You don't get to spend nearly an entire day truly bargain hunting when you're accompanied by a toddler, so it was nice to have that mommy time. I came home with about 12 new outfits for Baby Girl and, while I think boy shopping is about four thousand times more fun, I got some really cute stuff. Seeing her outfits hanging in her closet made it seem a little more real!

Also, Ethan got to accompany me (and my mom) to my doctor's appointment at the perinatologist today. They still needed to get a couple more measurements that baby wouldn't let them get at my anatomy scan (baby must know I love the peace of mind of all these ultrasounds!). Anyway, while he was mostly bored sitting in the exam room, he was super cute when watching his sister up on the screen. "What's she doin' mommy? I think she's drinkin' orange juice!" was my favorite of his quotes of the day!
Food cravings: Still with my cereal and ice cold milk kick. On occasion, anything salty sounds delicious -- especially ketchup, which is gross (and weird). We had Shake Shack the other day and it. was. heaven.
Food aversions: No real aversions still. Some things just don't look appetizing, but I'm hardly sick when it comes to eating like last time.
Baby's Sex: She's a girl!
Baby's Name: ...is a secret!

And, for fun, flashback to 22 weeks with Ethan when I actually looked 22 weeks pregnant and not 42 weeks pregnant! But, to be fair, I was miserable and sick and about to be put on bedrest so I'll take gigantic over that anyday!


tot school - letters h, i, j - 34 months

I must admit I didn't have high hopes for this past week in tot school. I procrastinated until Easter Sunday to do any planning whatsoever and it showed. The only thing open was Walgreens and that was my best shot at finding what I needed (and failing). Surprisingly, Ethan really enjoyed tot school last week. He was really into all of the trays and had a blast doing them. They all really kept his attention for the duration of the week and I think he may even be sad to see them go tomorrow! Just goes to show you, you can never hold any expectations when it comes to toddlers. Plus, he woke up the Monday after Easter with a bad cold that really started messing with his breathing (he's asthmatic) so we spent a whole lot of time indoors and in tot school.

Speaking of tot school, the older Ethan gets the more he's accepted the room as his little sanctuary. He has started seeking more independence: asking to go into our tot school room, closing the door (which is glass, so he's allowed) and helping himself to his art mediums and materials and going to work. If I try to enter, he'll sometimes ask for some alone time. I can hear him babbling and talking out loud to himself ("this is 4, this is 5...") as he "works" and I love it! Of course, by the end of the week it also looks like a bomb detonated in the tot school classroom. There is glitter, construction paper scraps, odds and ends from my (at one point neat and organized) shelving unit all over the place. It's getting harder to keep the space clean and organized but, it's sort of worth it, watching Ethan really make it his. This is also where I say kudos and endless thanks to the greatest husband in the world for sweeping, vacuuming and mopping our classroom floor while I sit here on my butt and write this post in order to get it up on Sunday.

Anyway, this past week was another recap of the alphabet on our second run through, this time with letters H, I and J.


This was a favorite! I helped myself to one of these rounded sponges from my dad's garage and cut little slits in it where I stuck little leftover pink and red hearts from our Valentine's Day unit. I included a paper with red and pink hearts as well as tweezers and Ethan got to use the tweezers to pick up the hearts and place them in the correct spot.


The tracing trays have really taken off in popularity lately. Ethan has been loving practicing tracing and trying to write his letters. I recently found some Crayola dry erase markers in fun colors and having these fun colors really upped his interest in these trays, too.


The ice magic tray was Ethan's favorite "science 'periment." I put a bowl of ice (that I filled fresh whenever we went into tot school) covered in baking soda. I laid a few more pieces of crushed ice over the baking soda to sort of disguise it. In a cup, I mixed some vinegar and green food coloring and then gave him a medicine dropper to put the vinegar into the ice. For an almost three year old, nothing is as fun as baking soda and vinegar. This was probably his most favorite tray ever.


Ethan usually despises any and all felt activities so I was surprised how much he loved this one. Then again, it's ice cream, so what's not to love? Ethan got to build his ice cream cone with as many scoops as he wanted and then count them out, identify the numbers on the accompanying cards and place them on the corresponding scoops. He totally nailed this one and really, really enjoyed it! I was surprised by how he was content to keep repeating this tray.


This one was pretty much a bust (that's what I get for procrastinating). I took a picture of our home and cut it into pieces for Ethan to put together. If I was smart, I would have adhered it to cardstock so the pieces wouldn't flip up and bend. Missed opportunity. Ethan did this one once or twice but wound up frustrated with the pieces that kept bending and then refused to even entertain the idea of doing it again.


This is the one activity I had planned out and, of course, forgot to buy juice prior to Easter Sunday. This was the only juice Walgreens had. I'm one of those parents everyone loves to pick on who doesn't let their kid drink juice so aside from squeezing our own oranges to make juice, this was Ethan's first experience with juice. He's been really into practical life activities lately and helping me around the kitchen so I thought a pouring activity would be fun. Since the jug of juice was heavy, I helped him pour it into one jar and then he had fun transferring it between the jars for a while. He curiously took a sip and that was it -- from then on, he drank as much as he poured! But, you know, two days of juice (before mommy "magically" made it disappear...) won't kill anyone and if it helped him feel better then, you know, worth it.


We've been using our magnet board to break apart words, identify letters and what sounds they make and sounding out words. He's started to develop a huge interest in wanting to know what words are whenever we go anywhere and there are signs (going to the zoo has turned into a major "okay, let's sound it out..." lesson!). He's been really into the magnet board for this reason but last week it was a bit of a flop. I'm wondering if it's because he didn't feel good.


Tot School Montessori MondayI Can Teach My Child

No Time For Flash CardsFor the Kids Friday


mercola all-natural bug spray review and giveaway

I hate mosquitoes. You would, too, if your child was allergic to them. I think I'm a little bit traumatized by the time Ethan woke up with his entire eye purple and swollen shut from a mosquito bite allergy. Of course, we're in Florida. Mosquitoes are a little bit hard to avoid. For this reason, I'm super neurotic about keeping them at bay. And, for that reason, Ethan is super neurotic about being bitten. I don't want him to never be able to play outside without cautiously asking "are there 'squitoes here, mommy? Will they bite me?" I also don't want to spray harsh chemicals or aerosols or who-knows-what on his skin, either, because that seems like a lose-lose situation. When Mercola contacted me about their all natural bug spray, I couldn't wait to give it a try.

Mercola is sort of synonymous with toxin-free products and I was interested to see what their bug spray was all about. To my pleasant surprise, the ingredients in Mercola's bug spray were simply oil of citronella, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil and vanillin. Yes, that's all. We first tried out the spray on Ethan's legs during our backyard Easter egg hunt.

We also recently learned (the hard way) that Ethan also has a sensitivity to fire ant bites. Mercola's bug spray doesn't specifically say it targets ant bites, but does say it helps battle against "other biting insects" so I figured it was worth a shot. Being that it's Florida, and it's hot and muggy, my main concern was keeping away the mosquitoes without keeping Ethan away from enjoying his Easter egg hunt and all the excitement of the morning. The Mercola bug spray actually smells wonderful! It smells like lemon with the faintest hint of mint leaving a fresh, clean smell. The spray comes out like a nice mist so it's easy to cover exposed skin, especially in little ones, and doesn't take very long to spray on. There's no need to rub it in or take time to apply -- just sort of spray and go. After the egg hunt fun, Ethan came in without a single bite. Always a good sign.

We tried the Mercola bug spray a second time during a recent trip to our favorite wildlife hospital and nature center. The injured and rehabilitated animals are homed in a beautiful outdoor sanctuary that Ethan loves to walk. The problem is, the grass is tall, we're surrounded by wild animals and we're on the brink of the Everglades swamp land. That means bugs. Lots of bugs. It means lots of stepping over puddles of stagnant water and mosquito larvae just to enjoy our day. This seemed like a good place as any to give Mercola's bug spray a go! I applied it on Ethan -- but not myself -- and off we went to enjoy our morning. After an hour and a half, we got back into the car. Ethan had no bites on him whereas I had a mosquito bite on my arm and another one on my ankle. That was all the convincing I needed that Mercola's natural bug spray is the real deal! Also, I may or may not love the lemongrass scent a little too much.

On a fun side note, Mercola's bug spray formula is so natural that you can use it on pets, too! It's a great, natural way for added flea protection on those pets who frequent the outdoors, especially during this yucky, sticky summertime.

Mercola is offering two of my readers the chance to win a bottle of their own all-natural bug spray!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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 peace 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.

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