halloween 2014

Halloween Week was crazy busy and in the best way. My house is completely trashed which is usually a good indication that fun was had -- and a lot of it. There were some blunders (like the time I wrote down the wrong date in my planner and we showed up to a non-existent Halloween event in costume) but for the most part, it was a lot of fun. Ethan didn't really remember much of Halloween last year and so this was the first year he really understood it all. It was all still new and fresh and fun and exciting to him. We went on at least one walk around our block -- minimum -- per day the past week just to admire the decorations that began popping up. He was really into his costume and playing the role of Elliott (he was saying "phone home" instead of "trick or treat") and it was just a lot of fun to watch and experience through his eyes.

I knew that the holidays would be hard this year, and that is proving to be true. It wasn't long ago that I had picked out what Wylie would be for her first Halloween (Sophia from The Golden Girls) and made plans about matching Christmas pajamas and having two kids pose with Santa this year. Of course, those things aren't going to happen and you do feel the void of it deep in your stomach. There's always that feeling of "something is just not right" that lingers wherever you go. I'm guilty of being extra sensitive to what people say in the first place but it's somehow been intensified with the holidays being here and the wound feeling pretty raw. Still, I was determined to put all of my focus into giving Ethan a magical Halloween and I hope that I did that, which I think I did because he had a pretty awesome time tonight (and all week!).

Pretty much every day this week we hit up some local Halloween festivals, did a lot of Halloween crafting and baking and I had to sadly acknowledge this would probably Ethan's last Halloween not knowing what candy is. (Neighbors: "Hi, Ethan! Want some candy?" Ethan: "No thanks, I have enough at home in my bucket.") This mostly means it'll be the last year I can hand out Ethan's trick or treat candy to other trick or treaters (or eat it myself because, hey, no shame in that game).

To my surprise (and shock and horror), I didn't even touch my actual camera this year and I'm scrambling to find enough Instagram or iPhone photos to add photographic proof of our Halloween adventures. It's been a little hard to feel like myself and I really sort of haven't, but we've still been having fun.

Tonight -- actual Halloween -- was a lot of fun, too. We split the trick-or-treating into shifts: my mom and I took Ethan around half the block while my husband and his dad handed out candy and then we swapped. I love our neighborhood so much and even moreso on Halloween. Ethan was in awe of all of the great decorations and seeing all of the kids in costume. He handed out candy towards the end of the night and we eventually ran out.

Of course, a very tired little boy finally went to bed hours past his bedtime absolutely devastated that Halloween is over, so I'll have to find something else to wean him onto something else to ease the disappointment. Or he'll just be known as "Elliott" and wear a red hoodie while carrying around ET for forevermore. Whichever.


ethan's 2014 halloween cards

I make Ethan little Halloween cards each year to hand out throughout the day. (Fine. I'm that mom that makes my kid something to hand out on every holiday, I own it.) They were inspired by these party invitations I saw on Pinterest. (Is this a safe place to admit that I am drowning in Mom Guilt for not having planned a Halloween party for Ethan and his pals this year?)

Anyway, first I cut out these bat shapes from black construction paper. I didn't use a template -- I just sort of winged it and did the trial and error thing until I found the perfect size.

You also get to cut out a zillion little heads and some orange bellies which you then get to assemble.

Then you get to glue on some chocolates (and resist the urge to eat them as you go!).

And there you have it!

Little bats!

Ethan is so super excited to hand these out on Halloween. I had to hide them from him in the meantime!


farm visit

We went on a quick trip up to Central Florida this past weekend for a baby shower. Before our drive home, we made a pit stop at this little farm that we've been visiting every year at around this time. Visiting a farm is one of those things you have to do when you're from the suburbs of South Florida and so it's one of those things we seek out whenever we make the trek up north a few hours. We were limited on time this trip so I promised Ethan we could visit again around Thanksgiving time. I imagine then the weather will be chilly and right now I long for that, some official promise that summer is over.

A few pictures from our visit:


absence and apologies

I'm resisting the urge to begin this post with some "hey, remember when I had a blog?" melodrama. But. Seriously. I miss sitting down to write. Life has been a whirlwind lately and I'm doing my best to not stress out when I'm behind on the posts that I've been meaning to get done.

We went out of town this weekend for our good friends baby shower! They are expecting their first child, a little boy, very soon and I'm ridiculously excited for them. Can I brag here about how I'm the one who fixed them up years ago? Because I totally am and I didn't brag nearly enough about it at their wedding. (Okay. I sort of did.)

Anyway, the getaway was nice but also sort of stressful. Ethan is still in the beginning stages of potty training and so the three hour each way road trip (which was more like six hours coming home thanks to some ungodly traffic on the Turnpike) didn't really work in our favor. We had our first carseat pee incident which really opened the floodgates. Literally. After potty training on his own with no accidents for a couple of weeks and waking up dry, Ethan has decided he forgot how to use the potty at all and I have spent the entire day cleaning up urine. I mean, he spent today climbing off the potty and peeing on the floor instead, insisting he doesn't get how the whole process works. Now in between washing loads of the tiniest little boxers anyone did see and sopping up urine off the tile, I'm supposed to figure out how to remedy this potty situation. With it being Halloween week and Ethan super stoked about our event calendar, it feels like punishment to make him stay home completely and miss out on things he's looking forward to, so I'm trying to trim back our social calendar as much as I can without taking things away. I also realized at bedtime that if I celebrate each individual pee the way I did when he was first learning, he is more inclined to actually go in the potty. I'm sure if I psychoanalyze this enough during my late night laundry party, I'll figure something out. (Insert snide remark about how glamorous parenting is.)

Because life isn't quite crazy enough, I decided signing up for something called Hell Week at Orange Theory seemed like a great idea. Today was the first day. It's going to be a long week.

Anyway, I'm sorry for my unintentional and deeply unwanted leave of blogging absence. I have a few posts to finish as soon as I can find both the time and the energy. (Story of a mom's life, right?)


stackable handwritten name rings by centime gifts + 20% off code for your order

I received an e-mail from Centime about their stackable handwritten name rings and was instantly intrigued and excited. Upon hearing of our loss, Centime graciously offered me the opportunity to create custom stackable name rings with both Ethan and Wylie's names. What made these products so unique is that the names weren't written in just any font, but instead my handwriting! I had never seen anything like this before and eagerly waited for the mail each day to see how these rings turned out.

The packaging the rings came in was beautiful and once I carefully opened the little gift box, I couldn't contain how touched I was to see the rings themselves. I hurriedly sent iPhone photos of the rings to my friends and even drove over to my mom's to show her. As a loss mom, I'm always looking for ways to memorialize Wylie, especially ways that include her in our family to the outside world as well as myself. These rings were such a perfect way to do that.

The rings themselves are dainty, elegant and light on my fingers while still super durable and tough. They're made of sterling silver and have already undergone some rough treatment (you know, "day in the life of a mom" stuff) while still remaining shiny and new as ever. To be honest, I'm not a jewelry fan and wearing my wedding rings took some getting used to. What I love about these stackable name rings is how light they are so that you honestly don't even feel them there. The bands are thin and comfortable, which is a huge plus. Because of the careful, thoughtful construction of the bands, the wearer is able to add even more rings to be stacked on in the future if they wish.

The process itself was simple and ordering with Centime was a breeze. I sent them over a scan of my children's names in my writing (although a photo of the writing would work, too):

And there they were! Aren't they beautiful?! I just can't get past what a unique and special gift these rings are and what a nice token they are to have.

My husband, the ring model.

I also love how affordable these rings are. At just $29 each, they make practical and special gift options. If rings aren't your thing, Centime also offers custom handwritten bracelets ($35) and necklaces ($35). These are such a special gift for mothers, grandmothers or that person you're always trying to find a special gift for.

Centime offers more than these handwritten gifts, too. Be sure to visit their website to browse their full assortment of custom jewelry, engraved gifts, bangles and charms. There is a lot to choose from! All of Centime's products are made from quality sterling silver and are made to uphold all of life's chaos (spoken like a true toddler mom, right?).

SAVE 20%! Now through November 15th, save 20% off your full order with promo code ROOTS20OFF. This is a great opportunity to save on some pretty special holiday gifts for someone you love!

For more special updates and offers, stay connected with Centime on Facebook. Happy shopping!


for the first time let's just allow ourselves to be whatever it is we are, and that will be better, okay? i think that will be better.

This blog is all tumbleweeds and crickets, or so it feels to me. It's not that I'm void of ideas or topics that I want to spill my guts about, it's just that I'm sort of zapped for time. I've spent a lot of time with my thoughts lately and also a lot of time living. Ethan and I have gone from dangling our toes in the water to submerging ourselves back into life again. Ethan is at that age where he truly values playing with other children his age and I am trying to step around everything else to give him the opportunity to play and be a child again. He has been making new friends and playing with old friends and talking about his friends up until the moment he goes to sleep at night and I swear this little boy of mine goes to sleep smiling. I am slowly getting my act together, a little bit. I am grateful for the friends who have been so patient with me -- so kind and understanding -- as I tried to navigate this not-new-but-different life of ours. We've been filling up our calendar with playdates and events and I've been inviting people to our house again. Ethan has been so excited. He has been so patient with me and sometimes I'm amazed that he's only three years old because what I wouldn't do for a sliver of his wisdom and compassion.

Last Friday, my husband managed to get the day off of work so we could take Ethan to Boo At The Zoo. We have somehow created this tradition in which Ethan dresses up like a zoo animal each year and it is one that he takes very, very seriously. This year he opted to be a tiger. I made stripes out of duct tape and felt and hot glue and shoved him into a pair of $2 girls leggings I found on eBay but, my gosh, he was stoked to be a tiger. "Mommy," he whispered as zoo employees asked if he wanted a piece of candy, "I think they think I'm a real tiger."

We go to the zoo so much that Ethan can navigate it likely with his eyes closed, but he likes to use the paper maps and boss us around and act like he's some great explorer who has never been to the zoo before.

His map always takes him to Mardi, the white alligator. Ethan is beyond obsessed with Mardi and it's laughable because Mardi is the only animal who, well, never moves or does much of anything but Ethan sure thinks he's incredible. Which isn't to say Ethan wasn't a little frustrated that Mardi refused to don a costume for Boo At The Zoo, but I think he forgave him. "Oh, maybe Mardi dreams of me when he goes to sleep. He thinks I'm a nice friend. Maybe I'm his favorite friend."

So, Boo At The Zoo. Last year, Ethan was a raccoon. "Remember when Ethan was a raccoon?" I asked my husband. "I don't think he's grown much since then. Maybe a little. I don't really see such a difference, looking back."

And then I compared the photos.

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