Travel Recap: Our Summer Vacation Part 2

Skaneateles, NY

On Saturday morning, we got up and drove to Skaneateles.  We walked around downtown (which was absolutely packed) for a couple hours, then ate lunch at Johnny Angel’s for lunch, which was pretty good and cheap.  After lunch, we went to check into our hotel, Holiday Inn in Auburn, to start getting ready for the wedding.  When booking our hotel, there was hardly anything available, but almost everyone else we knew attending the wedding was staying in the same hotel, so we were pretty happy with it.

In the early evening, we attended the outdoor ceremony then went inside the country club for cocktail hour and the reception.  Everything was beautiful…a good mix of fancy and rustic.  Sophia fell asleep after the ceremony and slept right through dinner (which was fine with us- we got to enjoy our dinner then feed her afterward!).  After she got done eating, that girl was a dancing machine!  She danced with anyone and everyone who would dance with her, no matter if she knew them or not.  She was a social butterfly and I’m pretty sure saying that she had a great time…is an understatement.  After the reception, there was an “after party” at a bar/lounge next to our hotel.  They rented the whole back patio for our party, so we had a good time.

The next morning, we walked around for a couple hours, then headed to Niagara Falls, NY.

1. Johnny Angel’s restaurant in Skaneateles. 2. Sophia smelling the flowers in downtown Skaneateles. 3. My wedding Instagram collage.  4. Skaneateles Lake, a part of the Finger Lakes.


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!

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!

Sophia’s First Easter

Well, a couple weeks ago was Sophia’s first Easter, and a fun Easter it was!

We had about 10 cousins from New York come down to visit during their spring break, so my Nanny had a houseful.  It was agreed upon by everyone that we’d have a low-key Easter…so beach it was!  We all met at Nanny’s church on Easter morning for Easter mass.  We went back to Nanny’s house for everyone to get changed into their beach gear and see what the Easter Bunny left for Sophia at Nana and Pop’s house (yes, the Easter Bunny visited Sophia at our house and at Nana and Pop’s house…lucky girl!).  He brought her lots of fun things to their house, so they brought it all for her to check out.

After getting bathing suits on and lathering up with sunscreen, we headed to the beach.  This was Sophia’s third time at the beach.  She’s liking it more and more every time we go, but it really tires her out, so she thought it appropriate to take a little mid-day siesta right there on the beach.

After about a thirty minute nap, she was ready and roaring to go again, so we went to the edge of the water and played, then came back up to the soft sand to crawl around some more.

I’ll tell ya, that salt water will really wear you out though, because Sophia was ready to take another nap pretty soon.

She fell asleep and stayed asleep until we got back to Nanny’s house for dinner.

Finally, after a couple hour nap, she woke up and had all kinds of fun with her cousins she had just met a few days before.  She crawled around all over the house, jumped from arm to arm, played the piano, played ball, and quite a few other fun things.

It’s funny how much more fun holidays are with a baby, especially at this really fun age.  Obviously, she doesn’t understand the concept of the Easter Bunny yet, but it sure was fun for us!  I ‘d have to say, this was the most fun Easter to date!

Cesar’s Birthday

So, it’s official…Cesar’s getting old!  27, to be exact! His birthday was Friday, and we’ve been celebrating ever since.

Friday night, Cesar got to choose what he wanted to do for dinner.  I told him I’d make just us dinner, I’d make dinner for everyone, or we could just go wherever he wanted.  He chose Chili’s.  Um, ok.  Those 2-for-1s will get ya every time, I guess!  So we met Cesar’s parents, my parents and siblings, and Cesar’s cousin and family at Chili’s after everyone got off of work.  We were quite the rowdy bunch, I must admit.  Between Sophia screaming, Brandon and Yere running around and laughing, and trying to communicate from one end of the fifteen foot long table to the other, we got pretty loud.  Luckily, no one seemed to mind.  We ate dinner and some of us (all of which were of the male gender) had a couple drinks, then had the whole serving staff sing “Happy Birthday”.  It ended up being a pretty good dinner for good ol’ Chili’s.

After dinner, we all headed back to our house for some good old fashioned cake and presents (and running/crawling around screaming like crazy people for those under the age of 8).  We were all pretty stuffed still from dinner to eat much of the ice cream cake I bought, so most of that ended up squished in a Tupperware container in our already-overcrowded freezer.  Cesar got some nice cards and gifts, then we shooed everyone out because at that hour (11pm…when the party was just getting started in college!), it was time for bed for these old farts (haha!)!

Saturday, we decided to go over to Orlando to go to SeaWorld for a few hours.  We got to Orlando at lunchtime, and went to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch (which by the way, was really good) since I’d never been.  As we were leaving though, it started pouring.  After “waiting it out” for a half an hour, we looked on Cesar’s phone, and that rain was just not stopping any time soon.  So on to Plan B…off to Ikea we went!  I love Ikea, but always end up spending so much money on stuff we don’t really need.  This time was no exception.  Two hours and $100 later, out we came with our big blue bag full of…a toilet cleaning brush and some AAA batteries?  We got a few other random things, but I’m still unsure as to where our $100 went.  Haha.  The rain was still going strong, so we decided just to head home.

Cesar came up with the idea of going to dinner and the movies, you know, since it was still his birthday weekend, and since apparently a birthday is not enough.  So, we dropped Sophia off at Cesar’s parents house and headed to the movies.  We saw “The Hunger Games”, which neither of us had read or had any idea about.  We both liked it, but were both a little confused by the whole thing.  Maybe I’ll read the book and it’ll make more sense.  We went to Bubba Gump’s for dinner, then back to pick up our pretty girl.

Today, we went over to Cesar’s parents house for a cookout for- you guessed it- Cesar’s birthday!  Both of our families were there and some friends.  It was a nice day, so we sat outside for hours talking and laughing and letting the kids play.  We left once it got dark, came home and started winding down for the night.

It’s crazy how much different of a celebration birthdays are nowadays.  Now that we are married and have Sophia (not to mention, we’re out of college), a “craaaazy birthday weekend”  is no longer defined by getting “wasted” and going crazy, but by sharing two rounds of 2-for-1s at Chili’s instead of one.  But, I don’t think either of us would change it for the world!

Sophia’s First Trip to the Beach

Cesar and I have been wanting to take Sophia to the beach for a while now.  But until yesterday, it just hadn’t happened yet.  Last summer, Sophia was only a couple months old, and we didn’t want to bring her when she was that young.  Then, it was way too cold for a few months (you know, like…in the 60s!).  And after that, we’ve had something going on every weekend.  Finally, a nice day coincided with a Saturday that we had nothing going on, so to the beach we went!

When we got there, we put Sophia in the sand to crawl around, and she did not know what in the world to think!  She crawled straight toward me and wanted me to pick her up.  She just stared and stared at her hands, just as confused as could be!

I put her back down and we walked toward the water, and she followed us to the edge of the water.  Again, she just looked at us like, “what the heck is all this stuff!?”  But, soon enough…she was actually having fun!  She was splashing and digging in the sand and crawling around.  And fake laughing (the middle picture).

We only stayed at the beach for about 45 minutes.  Even though it was only 10am, it was a little hot for Sophia.  We wrapped her all up in her towel (a hand towel…perfect size for her!), and we were on our way home!

We will definitely be going back soon (hopefully next weekend!), and hopefully she will get used to it and love it!  I have lived near the beach my whole life and have never really taken advantage of it…I really want Sophia to love it!

P.S. Isn’t her $3 bathing suit adorable? 😛

The past few months…

Well, hey there!  It’s been a little while, huh?  Well, I really have no excuse other than that life just got in the way over here.  Strange how that happens!  I guess I have a lot to catch you up on…you’ve missed a lot.

I’ll do a quick little run through of the past few months.

Sophia’s First Halloween
The weekend before Halloween, we wanted to take some fall pictures of Sophia, so we took her to a local church that had a pumpkin patch, gave them a donation, and snapped away.  We got such cute pictures!  For Halloween, Sophia was the cutest little ladybug I’ve ever seen.  We went “trunk or treating” at a church with Cesar’s cousin Jorge, his wife Edith, and their two kids Yere and Brandon.  Yere and Brandon had lots of fun, and Sophia was just very confused.  She didn’t know why we were walking around looking at all these crazy looking people, and especially didn’t know why she had antennas hanging off her head.
After trunk or treating, we went to visit my side of the family at my Nanny’s house.  Nana and Pop got Sophia a little “First Halloween” gift, and so did Nanny.  She enjoyed getting to sit on the dining room table and play with her new toys while everyone else enjoyed rummaging through her stash of candy.
Sophia Met Abuela for the First Time

Sophia has known her Nana, Pop, and Abuelo since she was born.  Unfortunately for everyone, her Abuela (Cesar’s mom), was not able to come from Venezuela until the beginning of November.  She had only met her through Skype prior to then.  Let’s face it though…while Skype is better than nothing, it is definitely not the same as being able to hug the person on the other side of the computer.  I’m sure it’s especially true if that other person is your first grandchild.
Clara (aka Abuela) landed in Orlando late on a Friday night, and Cesar, Oswaldo (Cesar’s dad), Sophia, and I were there waiting for her.  She was very emotional, but as you can probably tell by the pictures, Sophia wasn’t sure what to think!
Sophia Went to “Disney” for the First Time
First things first…”Disney” is in quotes because when I say Disney, I don’t mean the Disney parks, but Disney property in general.  Cesar had a half day of work a few weeks before Christmas, so Sophia and I rode to Orlando with him for the day.  When he got off work, we went to all the Disney hotels and campground, rode the monorail and boats (which Sophia loved…until she spit up all over the place in the monorail, and we realized we left the burp cloth in the car), and went to Downtown Disney.  We used to do that all the time when I was a kid, usually with my Grandma and Granddad, so it was super fun to do it with my own daughter!  Everything was decorated beautifully for Christmas.  Afterward, we went to Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney for dinner, which Sophia thought was the best thing ever.  She loved the “thunderstorms” and looking at all the fish in the aquarium, especially.
Sophia’s First Christmas

Since last Christmas when I was pregnant with Sophia, I have been dreaming about her first Christmas.  I dreamt of Sophia waking up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, begging us to get up so she can go through her stocking and see what Santa brought her.  Well, apparently I wasn’t thinking straight…I guess they call it pregnancy brain.  Ummm, at 7 months old, Sophia wasn’t quite old enough to wake herself up from excitement of the day to come, get herself out of bed, and come bug the crap out of us til we finally got up (not that my brother and sister and I have ever done that…hah!).  She wasn’t old enough to go through her own stocking or to be extremely excited about all the stuff Santa brought her.  True, she would have rather played with the boxes and wrapping paper and bows than with the toys that we spent all this money on.  But you know what?  It really was the best Christmas ever, even if it is just because she was here with us.  And after I threw away all the trash she was playing with, she actually did like all of her toys!  It was a long day for all of us (especially Sophia), but it was so much fun.
Our main Christmas card picture
Sophia’s First New Year
We spent the whole New Year’s weekend in Tampa with Cesar’s parents and brother.  On New Year’s Eve day, we went to Busch Gardens, and stayed until after midnight so we could watch the fireworks.  They had a stage set up in the fields in the back of the park, with a concert going on for several hours before midnight and we had a good time singing along to all the songs the band played.  I think we wore Sophia out…she was asleep by 9pm.  Luckily for us, her stroller can lay completely flat, because it was a very long day for her!  We woke her up at 11:59pm to watch her first New Year’s fireworks (which she really didn’t end up caring too much about).  We also called my brother’s phone on FaceTime right after 12:00am, so we could say Happy New Year to Nana, Pop, Uncle Garrett, and Aunt Jess.  What a way to bring in the new year though…with my awesome husband and my beautiful little girl!
Well, I think I’ve pretty much caught you all up on our lives for the past few months.  I promise, promise, promise I’ll try to be a better blogger and update a little more often than every 4 months!

Saturday = Game Day

Saturdays in our household mean one thing…game day. We wake up in the morning, shower, and as quickly as we can, change into our Gator garb (although, I’ll admit, sometimes it’s hard to decide what to wear because of the abundance of orange and blue in our closets). Even Sophia has a whole Gator wardrobe to choose from.

This Saturday started out as a typical Saturday during football season. We slept in until 10am, got ready for the day, then laid around and flipped back and forth through about four football games we found on TV. Later in the afternoon, it was so nice outside, we decided to take a little break from football and check out a little fair that was going on nearby, before it was time to go our friend Tim’s house to watch the game. We walked around and smiled, nodded, and uttered “Go Gators” to anyone and everyone we passed by that even looked like they might be a Gator fan.

We left the fair, anxiously awaiting 8:00. We stopped by Walmart to buy beer (for Cesar) and Diet Coke (for me) to bring to Tim’s, then we were on our way. We ate tacos for dinner while we watched the pre-game show and waited for the game to start. When it was finally time for kickoff, we didn’t know what to expect…after all, Alabama has a great team.  After only 19 seconds of play, John Brantley threw a perfect pass to Andre Debose, who ran it into the end zone for a quick six. After a made extra point, Cesar and I were high fiving each other and were feeling pretty good about the rest of the game, while Tim and his friend Kathryn were pretty annoyed (they are both Florida State fans, which actually means they are a fan of anyone playing the Gators).

Well, it all went downhill from there. That would be one of only two times we scored the whole game (the other being a field goal), while Alabama continued to rack up the points. By half time, we decided to play board games instead of watch the game. We listened in the background, but playing Uno, Taboo, and Battle of the Sexes proved to be much more fun than watching the Gators get stomped by the Tide.

The final scored was 38-10 Alabama. But hey, the night wasn’t a total loss. At least us girls won at Taboo and Battle of the Sexes.  Plus, I am the mama of the cutest little Gator fan I’ve ever seen!

Welcome to “My Sweet Little Family”

Five years ago, I was a junior in college with a fairly new boyfriend and a party to go to every night. If you had told me that five years later, I would be settled down, married to my college sweetheart, and the mother to a beautiful little girl, I’d say you were nuts. At 20 years old, that kind of life was just not in my five year plan. I always figured I’d have a great career out of college, be married at 30, and have 2.5 kids by age 35.

Crazy how love changes things.

I’m Amanda. After dating for three years, I married Cesar in February 2009 and we had our first daughter, Sophia, in May 2011. I want to travel the world. I’ve traveled quite a bit, but there are so many places I still want to see and someday, I hope to see them all. I am a Floridian, born and raised. Living in Florida, you have two choices- orange and blue or garnet and gold. And, well, garnet and gold just does not cut it around here. I am a huge Gator fan and luckily, they usually give us fans something to cheer about. I am a stay-at-home mom to Sophia at this point in time, and while I enjoy staying home with my little girl, I plan on going back to work at some point. I have a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, but have yet to do anything in the health sciences field.

I have thought about starting a blog for a while now, and have finally decided to do it. I am going to write about anything and everything I can think of and give you a glimpse of what it’s like to be me. I’ll try not to be too boring along the way. Sometimes I might post three times a day, sometimes I might not post for a week. We’ll see how it goes. I’d love to hear any feedback you might have as to how I can improve my blog, so please feel free to leave a comment!