Travel Recap: Our Summer Vacation Part 1

When Sophia was only 2 months old, Cesar, Sophia, and I took a trip to the mountains in Tennessee.  At that young of an age, Sophia couldn’t have been a better traveler for our 10 hour drive up to our cabin.  A year later…not so much.  At 13 months old, in planning our trip to upstate New York, we new good and well we wouldn’t be able to cross the Florida/Georgia line before we had one cranky little girl on our hands.

In the past, when traveling up to New York, we have flown several times, but most of the time, we drive.  With Sophia, we made a very, very good choice to fly.  We weren’t sure what to expect with a newly walking one year old, but she did great.

Here are a few pictures of Sophia and Cesar in the airport and on the plane.

Our main reason for going up to New York was to attend the wedding of one of my cousins, but we decided to make a whole vacation out of it.  My cousin and his bride had their wedding in Skaneateles, NY, a small little town about 30 minutes from Syracuse.

Syracuse, NY

We flew into Syracuse on the Friday night before the wedding.  After getting our rental car, we decided to get dinner at Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse, which was recommended to us by another one of my cousins.  There was an hour wait, but man, was it worth it!  It was so good!  After dinner, we stopped by Walmart to get some milk for Sophia and a few other things then went to check into our hotel, Doubletree Syracuse, for the night.  It was super clean and nice, so we were happy with our $60 Priceline purchase.  I wish we had a few days to explore Syracuse, but maybe someday we’ll go back!

1. Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse. 2. Cesar and Sophia while we were waiting for our dinner. 3. In our hotel room- I have no idea how she got that cookie (that we got from the front desk), but as soon as she thought I couldn’t see her, she dug in. 4. Sunset in Syracuse.

My Week in Instagram Pictures

We live in a day and age where we practically need our cell phones to breathe.  I am no exception to this rule.  Not surprisingly, I use my cell phone camera more so than my point and shoot or DSLR in my day-to-day life.  I must admit, too, that I am 100% on board with the new Instagram craze and have far too many pictures on my Instagram account than any one sane person should.  Sooo…what does all this mean for you?

I am going to share with you my week…through Instagram pictures I took.

1. My poor sweet little girl.  When I got her out of her crib one morning, she had a knot on her arm, one above her ear, and one on her eyebrow, from what her doctor and myself could only assume was a reaction to mosquito bites.  Her arm was swelled up as big as a golf ball, and well, her eye looked like this picture all day long.  After a little Benedryl and calamine lotion, all was well, but she has her 15 month check-up this week, and we will be discussing a possible allergy test with her pediatrician.

2. I have to say, Sophia is such a good little girl.  I drag her all over town on a daily basis, and she still has a smile on her face at (almost!) all times.  In this picture, she is “relaxing” with a neck pillow I got her at Target while we were shopping.

3. My baby girl is getting so big!  Last week I bought a potty at Babies R Us and a few days ago, we sat her down on it, not expecting much.  Much to our surprise, she went on her big girl potty on the first try!  The next morning, I ran out and bought her a “potty book” and some reward stickers and got the show on the road.  She absolutely loves putting the stickers up when she goes potty and “reads” her book whenever she sits down.  I am so excited that this is happening, and am so proud of my big girl!

4. My family’s dog, Abby (who we got when I was like 17-ish and still living with my parents), had an embolus last weekend, which (according to the vet) caused blood to get into her spinal cord and left her temporarily (we hope) paralyzed.  She is at a dog rehab center in Orlando and my mom, dad, Sophia, and I rode over last week to see how she was coming along.  She has made a little progress, but not as much as they’d hoped at this point.  In this picture, my mom and Sophia were reading a book while waiting for the vet to come in and talk to us.

5. Good thing about riding over to Orlando?  Mellow Mushroom.  We don’t have one near us, so we obviously had to take advantage of one close-by when we were there.  For the record, the Holy Shitake pizza is definitely worth the trip.  P.S.- Mellow Mushroom is so good, Cesar and I went to 4 different locations on our honeymoon…for real.

6. This picture is just a pretty cool one of the beginning of one of our daily afternoon thunderstorms here in central Florida.

7. Last week was my 26th birthday (yikes!).  Cesar and I have been talking about buying bicycles for a while now, but just haven’t gotten around to actually getting them.  Well, for my birthday, I got a bicycle and a seat for Sophia to sit in.  This week, Sophia and I have been trying to take advantage of our new toy, but as you can see in picture #6, there are thunderstorms pretty much every day of the week.  Sophia’s nap usually just happens to be over as the thunderstorm is rolling in, so it makes it pretty hard.  She actually loves the bike rides, but is not too fond of the helmet, as you can see in this picture.

8. One day, while trying to kill an hour of time, Sophia and I walked through the kids’ section at Barnes & Noble, where she happened to find the Interactive Table, which was basically just a bunch of Lego’s with a table to build them on.  She played for about 30 minutes, then I practically had to pry her off so we could carry on with our day.  She has Lego’s at home, but she pretty much just throws them around.  She hasn’t played with them in a week or two though, so maybe we’ll try again!

9. My mom’s dad is Jewish, and while my mom was brought up Catholic, they always followed some of the Jewish traditions too.  So, when my brother, sister, and I were growing up, we were introduced to some Jewish traditions along with some traditional Jewish food.  Every once in a while, my mom will make matzo ball soup, and we are always invited over when she does.  I think this was the first time she’s made it since Sophia has been eating “real food” though, so I was excited to let her try it.  She loved it!  So much so, that she ate all her matzo balls (and bananas), and secretly (or so she thought!) fed her grilled cheese sandwich to the dog.  Hmm.  I believe we have a little trouble maker on our hands! 🙂

Well, there you have it…my week according to my Instagram pictures.  I might start doing this more often, since so much of mine (and Sophia’s) life is recorded on my cell phone.  Until next time!

My ISR Graduate!

Before I even had Sophia, Cesar and I knew we wanted to put her in swim classes as soon as she was old enough.  Not just any swim class, though…we wanted to put her in survival swim lessons.  After some pretty thorough research and more than a few recommendations, we settled on Infant Swim Resource.

To be short and sweet, the idea behind ISR is to teach babies (beginning at 6 months old) how to float.  It is really hard work for the child, but it is a huge commitment from the parents too, as these are just a few of the requirements:

  • There is a big list of foods Sophia could not eat the entire time she was in lessons.  For example, apples.  She could not eat apples themselves, nor anything with apples in the ingredient list.  Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of any type of juice or baby puffs or any other “baby snack”?  Even if it is not apple flavored, it almost surely has apples in it.
  • Every day for six weeks, I had to record every single minute she slept, every bite of food she ate plus the time she ate it, every time she peed or pooped, every time I left her with anyone else other than Cesar or I, and how she acted after her lesson the day before.  They do this to monitor the babies, and make sure they are not overworking them, they don’t swallow too much water, etc.
  • Lessons are five days a week, 10 minutes per day, for usually about six weeks (the average time it takes the child to learn).
  • She could not have any dairy for at least two hours prior to her lessons, nor could she have anything to eat or drink at all for at least an hour and a half prior to her lessons.  This required a lot of pre-planning on my part, because I had to make sure she was awake and had a snack/milk between 3:30 and 4pm, then went down for a nap until about 5:30pm.
  • She had to wear three layers of clothes: a cloth swim diaper, and plastic diaper cover, and her bathing suit.  Of course it couldn’t be a regular cloth diaper, nor could it be a disposable swim diaper, but a cloth swim diaper.  And have you ever looked for a cloth swim diaper?  Not as easy as it sounds.  I literally drove around town like a mad woman for hours looking for a cloth swim diaper.  I finally found one on beachside at a little tourist shop.

Seriously, for six whole weeks, every Monday through Friday at 6:10pm, Sophia and I drove to a neighborhood about 15 minutes away from our house for her swim lessons.  I plopped her in a pool with a lady she didn’t know, she screamed her head off the entire time, then stayed mad at me at least until we got home and I gave her a snack.  I sometimes had to make special meals for her if she wasn’t allowed to eat what we were having.  I did more loads of laundry those six weeks than I usually do for her for three months (we had to bring at least two towels to every lesson).  I had to pre-plan our schedule every day so she would eat, drink, and nap at a certain time.  It was overall a pretty big pain in the neck.  But you know what?  The peace of mind I now have that if (God forbid) my little girl were to ever fall in the pool, she could save her own life…was worth every ounce of extra work and effort it took to get her through lessons.

 Sophia about 4 weeks into swim lessons

Sophia wasn’t able to start until she was 11 months old, because of the huge waiting list in our area, but they do start babies as young as six months old.  ISR certifies instructors (so I was told, many of them are nurses and teachers who do this as a side job) to teach these babies and they do lessons at their own homes, for the most part.  At 6-12 months old, they teach babies how to orient themselves and float until someone comes to their rescue, no matter how they enter the water (head first, on their belly, etc.).

After six weeks were up and her instructor felt confident that she had mastered everything she had been taught, I brought her in the next day with a summer outfit on (no bathing suit), sandals, and a regular diaper (no swim diaper).  She did perfect, so the following day, I brought her with “winter” clothes on, which included a shirt, hoodie, jeans, and sneakers.  Give me a break, we live in Florida!  Haha.

According to her instructor, the winter clothes most often give babies a problem, because not only is their diaper filling up with water, but so is the hood of the jacket, which drags them down. Being in her heavier clothes seemed to have really no effect on her and she did perfect once again, so the following day we had her final lesson, and she was an ISR graduate!  I was so nervous throughout her whole six weeks of lessons that Sophia would start to hate the water because every time she went to a lesson, she literally cried the entire time.  But at this point, although she is still a little clingy sometimes, she is liking it more and more every time we take her in the pool.  She is starting to realize that every time she gets in the water, it doesn’t necessarily mean she will be thrown under and forced to float by herself.

Next year, probably around March, Sophia will go back for a “refresher course” that they usually do for babies around 18-24 months old.  She will learn to float if she fell in, then turn over to her belly and swim to the edge of the pool and pull herself out.

I am so glad that we decided to put Sophia in these lessons and feel very confident that she could save her own life if ever anything were to ever happen that required it.  We will absolutely be putting any future children of ours in ISR, too.

Sophia’s 1st Birthday

Well, hello there, strangers!  I guess there’s no other explanation other than…I stink at blogging.  It has been months since I last posted, and there have been so many things happening since then!  I’m going to try to catch up here, starting with Sophia’s 1st birthday.

At the end of May, my sweet little girl turned a year old.  How it happened that quickly, I’ll never know.  As cliche as it sounds, it seems like just yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital.  It’s been the best year of my life, but a crazy one too.  She is the sweetest little girl I’ve ever met, and so darn smart.  I’m such a proud mom!

So, anyways, back to her birthday…Cesar and I decided since we were having a big party for her the weekend following her birthday, we’d just have our parents and siblings over on her actual birthday to do cake and presents.  We gave her a small piece of cake as a “smash cake”, and she wanted no part of it until we gave her a little push.  She had a lot of fun playing with all her new toys!  We had a low-key night, but had fun celebrating Sophia’s birthday.

The Saturday after her birthday, we had her birthday party at my parents’ house.  I’m not sure of the exact number, but we had somewhere around 50 people there.  We had hamburgers and hot dogs (which kept it easy for such a big crowd) with lots of fixins and sides.  We also had a table set up for those of us with a sweet tooth (what can I say…I am my mother’s daughter!).

Sophia and her little friends played, while the adults chit-chatted and ate.  She “opened” gifts after everyone was done eating, which actually consisted of me opening and her scattering the contents of each box all over the floor.  She got so many (too many!) gifts, but she loved them all.  After she managed to make a complete mess all over of toys and clothes and wrapping paper, we decided it was time for cake.  I guess the whole “smash cake” thing was familiar to her this time, because she did much better digging in the second time around.

After swimming and cleaning up the big ol’ mess we made, we called it a day and headed home.  What a fun day it was for everyone, but especially for the birthday girl!

See you back here soon!