Travel Recap: Bahamas Cruise

Cesar and I have been talking about going on a cruise for a while now, but just…hadn’t.  One Friday afternoon, Cesar called me from work and said he had just gotten an email about a great deal on a cruise…and, well, did I want to go?  When I heard the price, I agreed it was great and we decided we couldn’t turn it down.  The catch?  It was a last minute deal and the cruise left on Monday…three days later!

Well, after a little convincing on Cesar’s part, we jumped on the offer.  We decided to bring Sophia with us and leave Emma at home with Cesar’s parents.  We were sad to leave her for our 5 day/4 night cruise, but couldn’t imagine bringing her with us.  We’d have to pack a stroller, pack n play, bottles, diapers…etc.  Plus, that girl is wild.  The this age, she’d go stir crazy after five days cooped up on a ship!  Haha!

Anyway, we booked the cruise on Friday early evening and left our house for Port Canaveral early Monday morning. We had such a great vacation!

When We Went:
5 days/4 nights in early September

Where We Stayed:
We went on the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas.  It’s an older ship but was renovated and extended by 73 feet a few years ago.  We didn’t have a choice in rooms because we booked at the last minute.  We were in an interior cabin, which was more than okay by us.  Neither Cesar or I get seasick and we really spend very little time in our room on a cruise, so no window worked out just fine!

Our cabin actually had quite a bit of space…more space than a typical cruise cabin and more than any cruise I’d been on.

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Where We Ate:
We ate on the cruise.  Only.  The only exception was the BBQ lunch they had at Coco Cay one day, but that doesn’t really count because it was provided by the cruise line, too.  Oh, and Sophia had a doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts on Nassau.  Other than that, we ate all meals on board the ship.

The food was good.  It was pretty much like every other cruise we’ve been on.  Most days, we ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet, Windjammer, then dinner at the My Time Dining restaurant, My Fair Lady.  The first night we just showed up at dinner and were randomly seated at a table.  Our servers, Bryan and Romeo, were hilarious and were especially great with Sophia, so we decided to go ahead and make reservations for the rest of the cruise for their table.

What We Did:
Ate

Ate

Ate…

But really, we…

Went to the beach in Coco Cay. We spent our several hours in the water on that day, getting out only to eat lunch and reapply sunscreen.

Browsed shops in Nassau, including the dreaded “straw market” (why is it even called a straw market anymore, anyway!?). Just thinking back to the straw market makes me nervous! Sophia finally picked out her souvenir (a straw purse with “Nassau” written on it), but not before being hounded and grabbed by almost every vendor in the whole dang place. Literally, they would get a hold of her shoulder and try to pull her into their little shop. Cesar eventually had to throw her on his shoulders to keep people from grabbing her. Least favorite part of Nassau for sure! 😛

Went to a Bahamian Dunkin’ Donuts. There’s an explanation for this one! The whole morning in Nassau, it was raining…hard. We had already gotten off the ship, so we were kind of stuck until the rain died down a little. We found this Dunkin’ Donuts and ducked in there to get out of the rain. They just so happened to have free wi-fi for customers, so we bought Sophia a doughnut (a pink sprinkle one of course), and connected to the internet to talk to our Emmy! She was just as excited to see us and we were her!

Swam in the pool on the ship and watched two NFL games from the pool.  Probably Cesar’s favorite part of the ship.

Played shuffleboard

Went to lots of shows- karaoke, the Love and Marriage Show, the World’s Sexiest Man Competition (ha!), a cake decorating contest, a towel folding demonstration, and a Broadway-type show, to name a few.

Watched “Maleficent” in the theater

Shopped on board

Sophia went to the kids’ club, Adventure Ocean Aquanauts, several times. When we told Sophia that she was going on the cruise with us, we were describing to her all the things she could do on the ship. She was amazed at all the things going on, but what she was most excited about was the kids’ club. When we actually got on the ship and to the kids’ club, though, it was a different story. She’s never gone to school or anything, and the only people that have ever watched her are family (we’re lucky…lots of family around!). So when we showed up there and told her that was it, she said, “I don’t think I want to go to the kids’ club anymore. Maybe next cruise.” Cesar and I couldn’t have cared less if she wanted to go or not, so we left the decision to her. She decided not to go that day, but when we walked by the following day, she changed her mind. She stayed for about 45 minutes, but was hooked. She couldn’t wait to go back! She went probably four times, usually for about 1-2 hours at a time. She also went to movie night one night, where the kids came in their pajamas and watched a movie and made crafts. It was nice because we could use any of the phones around the cruise to call and check in, and they also gave us a pager to page us if Sophia needed anything. We only left her a few times, but it worked out great because it gave us a chance to do some adults-only things, including watching an adults-only show and going to the casino for a little while.

Well, gee, I could go on for a while about all the fun things we did on the ship, but those were some of the best. We were sad when it was over, but super excited to see Emma after a few days away. We are definitely looking forward to being able to take a cruise again in the near future…maybe with both girls next time! We would definitely recommend Royal Caribbean and specifically the Enchantment of the Seas, and would definitely sail with again!

Here we go again…

I’m just terrible at this whole blogging deal. I keep meaning to update, then get busy with other things (including but not limited to 2 busy little girls, a husband, a dog, a house that needed renovating, and a part time job).

Anyway, here I am again. I guess I should catch y’all up on the last five (!!!) months! Let’s just jump right into some Instagram pictures, shall we?

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1. Cesar and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in February. Five years! I really don’t feel old enough to have been married for five years.

2. Valentine’s Day 2014- I have to say, I’m pretty sure I had the two cutest little Valentines around.

3. My girls are about 1/16th Irish, so they celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green and chowing down on corned beef and cabbage.

4. Cesar celebrated his birthday in March also. We had a yummy lunch at a newer restaurant in town with my family and his family, then had a picnic dinner and went for a walk.

5. We’ve made many trips to Disney since the last time we’ve “talked”, but this trip was particularly fun. We took Sophia and left Emma with my parents (sorry, girl!). We arrived in the early evening and closed the park down at 1am. There were hardly any people there, so we got to do so much in one night!

6. Since I found out we were expecting a second daughter, I’ve dreamt of dressing my girls in matching Easter outfits. I found these adorable dresses at Target and could not have been more excited!

7. Moving day- finally! After owning our house for almost six months, we finally moved in the middle of May. We had lots of help, so it wasn’t horrible, but it was an exhausting day. Well worth it, though.

8. Sophia turned three at the end of May. I could hardly believe it. This girl is growing up so fast before our eyes, but I am so proud of the sweet, smart, hilarious little girl she is becoming. She had a such a fun birthday!

9. A couple weeks later, our baby girl turned one. It just doesn’t seem possible either. Emma is our “wild child”. She’s a good girl, but will definitely give you a run for your money. Not an hour goes by that I don’t laugh at something Emma does.

There it is…the past five months rolled into one post. Maybe I’ll finally get around to introducing you to our four-legged girl and possibly even show some before and after pictures of our house. Until next time…!

Our Family Lately

Goodness, it’s been awhile. As usual.

We’ve been having a good time as a family of four! Well, technically I guess we’re a family of five now, since we have adopted a four-legged friend. But we’ll save that for another post.

Since we last met, lots has gone on! Here are some highlights:

Emma went to Disney for the first time. We took the girls to Magic Kingdom. Sophia had a blast, like she normally does, but at 4 months old, Emma could not have cared less.
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Football season came and went. We don’t really want to talk about it. Us Gator fans like to pretend it didn’t happen. But on the bright side, our girls look cuuuute in orange and blue!
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After seeing pictures of Cesar (at about 4 years old) dressed up as Superman for Halloween, Sophia decided she wanted to be Superwoman. She chose Minnie Mouse for Emma. I have to admit, they looked pretty cute!
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Emma started eating solids. Pretty funny stuff. Here’s where she tried peas for the first time. Actually, she loved them and this face was because there were none left.
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Christmas. Sophia was at such a great age this year at Christmas! We did all kinds of fun things!
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We bought a house! We became homeowners the week between Christmas and New Years. We absolutely love our house, but unfortunately, there have been some problems with the whole renovation process and we have yet to move in. Once we have finished renovating and decorating, I will share some of the changes we’ve made.
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We spent New Year’s Eve at my parents’ house, where some of Cesar’s family joined us. I thought for sure Sophia would be worn out by 9pm, but she outlasted us all!
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And since then…well, we’ve just been staying busy keeping up with our girls. They’re both super mobile now (Emma started crawling about a week after she turned 5 months and pulling herself to a stand at about 6 months)!

My Week in Instagram Pictures

Wow, I have a ton of pictures from the last week. Cesar and I and the girls went to Puerto Rico last week for a friend’s wedding and made it into a little vacation. It was our first vacation as a family of four, and geez…it was chaotic to say the least! But we had a good time just the four of us navigating Puerto Rico’s crazy (and sometimes scary) roads. More on Puerto Rico later. But for now, let’s get into my week in Instagram pictures. They are a little out of order this week…I used a new program to make this collage and well…I got a little confused.

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1. Before we left for Puerto Rico, we went to my parents’ house for dinner one night. My dad has a little garden that Sophia likes “helping” in, so even though she is extremely helpful with his garden, he went ahead and got her her own seeds to plant.

2. Here we are at the airport and on the plane leaving for Puerto Rico! We ended up taking Sophia’s suitcase as a carry-on, so she insisted she wheel it around the whooooole airport. That would have been fine and dandy if we hadn’t hit traffic on the way there and had about 45 minutes to get through security and get to our gate. Luckily, good ol’ JetBlue was running a little late, as usual. As you can see here, we were all happy to be heading out of Florida on our way to Puerto Rico!

3. This one’s a little out of place, but this was a sign I liked at the wedding we went to. It was very appropriate for this wedding. Everyone definitely wore their dancing shoes. I forgot mine (oops) but it was fun watching everyone else dance. Haha!

4. This was on Friday after we went to Casa Bacardi. We were on our way back to the ferry to get back to Old San Juan and it was like 200 degrees outside. We planned to get lunch after we got back to Old San Juan, but saw this place, SOS Burger, and decided to stop. This ended up being one of the best (and cheapest) meals of the trip.

5. The first night we were in Puerto Rico, we wandered around the cute little street our hotel was on in Old San Juan and stumbled upon Genesis Restaurant. It was really good, and Sophia decided she loves passionfruit juice at that meal. She drank like 10 more during our trip.

6. This was at Casa Bacardi in Cataño. It was fun, but again, it was so hot.  And yes, it was appropriate for children!

7. Just a few short miles from our hotel (which took like 20 minutes) was Castillo San Felipe del Morro. We got there too late that day so we missed the tours of the fort, but we wandered around by ourselves. They had vendors all up and down the streets, so afterward we stopped and got some very highly recommended piraguas (shave ice that is shaved by hand).

8. Most of the touristy things in San Juan and Old San Juan close by 6:00pm. So on Friday night, we decided to venture into the heart of San Juan and find Plaza Las Americas (not my idea!). That mall was huge. We shopped for a while, got Sophia a stuffed dog at Build-a-Bear (which she herself named Rico for Puerto Rico), then ate dinner at an Argentinean restaurant called Fuegito.

9. On Saturday morning, before the wedding, we drove about 20 miles away to Carolina, where they have a children’s museum (Museo del Niño). When we arrived, the parking lot was pretty empty, so we looked and found out they open at 9 every day except Saturday (when they open at 10). We stopped at a store on the corner and asked a local where we could go to eat breakfast and kill an hour. He directed us to Panaderia Flor de Asturias. It was so good, but we were way outside of the tourist area of Old San Juan, and virtually no one spoke English around here. Luckily, Spanish is Cesar’s native language and I minored in Spanish in college.

10. Sophia had so much fun at the Museo del Niño and these were just some of the fun things they had there. Sophia was absolutely in awe that they had step stools that folded down for her to step on to wash her hands in the bathroom. They also had an entire row of kid sized toilets. We could’ve just saved the $26 admission cost and taken her to play in the bathroom. No, really. That’s how much she loved the bathrooms.

11. The wedding we went to was on the Coast Guard base in Aguadilla. It was a really fun time for Cesar, Sophia, and I. Emma took the opportunity to catch up on her sleep.

12. On our way home from Puerto Rico, we flew over the Bahamas on a very clear day. This is a picture I took of the Bahamas from our seats.  We had a great view!

13. In the Museo del Niño, they had a Mini City. It was so cute, and had a whole little town of about 15 different places, complete with a police station, bank, mayor’s office, and fire station. Each of the places had activities and outfits for the kids to dress up in.  Sophia loved this part of the museum.

14. From Old San Juan where we were staying to Aguadilla was about 2 1/2 hours. It would have been bad, except for this view we had for about half of our drive.

15. Since we missed the first Gator game when we were in Puerto Rico, we were excited to watch the second game. Sophia and Emma were not impressed (neither were we).

16. At least my littlest girl (and my biggest girl too!) looked cute, despite how terrible to Gators looked.

That’s the week I’ve had, as described through my Instagram pictures. I will do a Travel Recap post on our trip to Puerto Rico as soon as I can, because we had such a great trip, but until then…

My Week (Uh, Month…) in Instagram Pictures

Sooo, since I’ve been gone a while, I haven’t done an Instagram post in a while.  And, well, I still use it quite a bit so I have tons of pictures to share.  I’ll at least try to catch you up to the beginning of July, now that it is officially August (yikes!).  I do apologize that the majority of these are of my kids, but you know, when you’re a mom, that’s just what happens.  And my girls are just the cutest darn things I’ve ever seen.  That too.

My Week In Instagram Pictures

Row 1 (L to R):

1. When Sophia graduated from round 2 of her ISR lessons, she was beyond proud of herself.  I asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate and she told me she wanted to make cupcakes.  So off we went to the grocery store, where she picked out what kind of cake mix, icing, and sprinkles she wanted.  We ended up with chocolate cupcakes, pink and purple vanilla icing, and rainbow sprinkles!

2. Emma and I when she was probably 3 weeks old.  She loves to sleep with her face buried in my chest.

3. With both girls with me during the day while Cesar works, unfortunately there are many times when I am nursing Emma that Sophia has to play by herself.  She loves being near me though when I’m feeding her little sister, so the iPad is the perfect solution.  She has all kinds of learning games she plays on it, so I don’t mind too much!

4. My sweet big girl loves feeding her little sister when Emma takes a bottle.  Of course, Cesar or I always help her, but she loves being involved.

5. Emma was about 3 weeks old here.  This was right after her third doctor appointment since leaving the hospital to check her weight, and she was finally back up to her birth weight (yay!).  She lost quite a bit of weight while we were still in the hospital and had a hard time gaining it back at first.  We have since started supplementing me nursing her with formula, and she has more than made up for it.

Row 2:

6. This was on 4th of July.  We went to my parents’ house for a cookout for lunch and both girls fell asleep almost instantly.

7. This was also at my parents’ house on 4th of July.  We had a fun day swimming and cooking out.  And, the girls looked super cute in their matching 4th of July outfits!

8. A beautiful picture I took from where we watched fireworks.  This picture has no filter applied.

9. Towards the middle of July, Sophia, Emma, and I rode to Orlando where my parents were staying for a few days for a conference my mom had to go to.  We were going to camp out in their hotel room for the night, but ended up having a car problem that had to be fixed ASAP, and extended our stay an extra night to give the mechanic time to work on it.  This picture is wall art at a restaurant called Burger 21, which I loved.

10. This was at the hotel in Orlando.  The had two huge fire pits out near the pool and Sophia loved going down to sit and watch.  She was completely mesmerized.

Row 3:

11. This picture was also in Orlando (last one, I swear!).  I like having a few matching outfits for Sophia and Emma, but they’re hard to find unless I order them online from somewhere I don’t normally shop.  Most places they have a newborn section which only goes up to 12 months, then a toddle section that is 12 months and up.  Well, Emma wears size NB and Sophia is in size 18-24 months, so there is usually not too much that matches for the two of them.  Anyway, here’s a matching outfit I found at Target for them.  They are so stinkin’ cute!

12. When Emma turned a month old, we had family pictures taken.  We hired a photographer that came recommended from a friend to come to our house and take pictures of the four of us.  This is what Emma wore, which I think might be the cutest newborn outfit ever made!

13. Since we went to the Magic Kingdom for the first time a couple months ago, Sophia has grown more and more fond of Monster’s Inc.  When Monster’s University came out, everywhere we went we saw commercials and toys and books and anything else you can think of.  She kept saying she wanted to watch it, so one night, we took Emma to Cesar’s parents’ house and took our big girl on a date to see it.  She was so good and loved the movie!

14. This was one night after dinner when we were getting ready to go for a walk.  Sophia picked out her “exercise outfit” and insisted that she needed to stretch beforehand.  I don’t know where she gets this stuff from, but she really cracks us up!

15. Emma was born with a ton of hair!  This was one night after her bath, when she had crazy post-bath hair.

Row 4:

16. This is when Emma was about 5 weeks old.  She was swimming in her newborn clothes.  In most of them, she still is!

17. One day we were leaving the house to go run errands and Sophia asked me to take a picture of her.  This is what transpired.

18. Emma’s one month picture.  I was a little late on posting this to Instagram, which is why it’s a little out of order.  She was making all kinds of crazy faces while we tried to take her picture.

19. Sophia loves shopping at Target.  You can tell by the look on her face.  Her daddy pretty much hates this idea!

20. Last weekend, my mom, sister, and I went to a Gator’s football clinic for women, which is really fun if you are a Gator football fan.  You listen to all the coaches talk about football and about the upcoming season, then tour the weight room, locker room, offices, etc.  After that, you go onto the field and do a bunch of drills with the coaches, which are really fun.  This is leaving the tunnel and entering The Swamp.

Row 5:

21. Cesar and the girls came to Gainesville with me for the night.  The next day, when we left, we stopped at an exit to find somewhere to eat and found a Chuck E. Cheese.  We decided to go since Sophia had never been before.  It was absolutely packed, but Sophia had a ball.  It cost us all of 5 bucks for tokens to keep her occupied for about two hours.  Score!

22. Before we left Gainesville, we stopped at Trader Joe’s, which is my absolute favorite grocery store.  We don’t have one anywhere near us though, so I jumped on the opportunity to stop before we left town.  Here’s our two big ol’ bags full of groceries that we really didn’t even need, but bought anyway.

23.  The other day, Sophia and I dropped Emma off to their Abuela’s house and ran some errands.  I asked her where she wanted to eat lunch, and she matter-of-factly told me “Chick-fer-la”.

24. We visited Nanny (my grandmother) yesterday and out of all the toys she has there, she wanted to sit in a cardboard box.  She told me, “Mommy, I’m in the bath!  Scrubby, scrub, scrub!”  Here she is scrubbing herself clean.

25. Last night after dinner we went for a walk around our neighborhood.  Obviously one girl is much more excited about it than the other!

 

Sorry that was so long.  Kudos to you if you actually got through it all!  I’ll try to do these more often so I don’t have to do such a huge one all at once again!

The Happiest Place on Earth!

The Happiest Place on Earth_Magic KingdomSophia has always loved all things Disney.  Her first birthday party had a Minnie Mouse theme, she has more Disney stuffed animals than she can count, and she loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse when it’s on TV.  So, not surprisingly, Cesar and I had been discussing the idea of taking her to Disney World (as in, the parks) since she was about 18 months old.  Kids are free until their third birthday, so it would just be buying tickets for Cesar and I…perfect.  We talked about all the possibilities- one day pass?  Three day?  Seasonal?  Annual?  Geez, the number of options when it comes to purchasing Disney tickets can really stress out a research freak like me.  Finally, about a month before Sophia’s second birthday, we decided to go for it.  But not without a little research first.

One day pass.  Cheapest option for sure, but definitely not the biggest bang for our buck.  We could only choose one park and I’d feel like we needed to spend the whooooole day there to get the most out of our money.  Umm, that was a big no with a two year old and a 7.5 month pregnant mama who was already starting to waddle.  One day passes were out.

Three day pass.  We didn’t really want to go for three days in a row with Sophia- we thought it might be too much.  With the flex-pass or whatever they call it, we could go three separate days and we could probably fit some time in at all four parks if we chose the right tickets.  But what if she loved it and wanted to keep going back (which we were thinking was a very strong possibility)?  We would have wasted like $150 each then would have to buy more tickets anyway.  Hmm.  Three day passes- nope!

Seasonal pass.  I knew from the beginning that I didn’t like the idea of seasonal passes for us.  We had them when I was younger and it worked out nicely for us, but for Cesar and I, there are too many blackout dates.  With Cesar working an hour away in the complete opposite direction from Orlando, there are only certain days we could go and wanted to know that our Disney tickets would be good for the days we wanted to use them.  Plus, if I was going to spend several hundred dollars on passes for the year, I’d rather just spend the extra $200-something and get annual passes.  Soooo…annual passes it was!

I researched and researched and researched online to figure out how I could get the best deal.  I ended up buying annual passes through AAA.  It was a little cheaper than buying them directly through Disney and it came with a free Diamond parking pass.

At the end of April, we took Sophia to the Magic Kingdom for the first time.  She had an absolute ball!  When we first got there, a parade was just starting.  She did not turn her eyes away from that parade for a second.

The Happiest Place on Earth_ParadeAfter the parade, she wanted to meet the princesses.  She couldn’t believe the princesses in her books were real!  Her favorite was Cinderella.

The Happiest Place on Earth_PrincessesThen we rode the train to Fantasyland to ride Dumbo.  She was so excited to ride them both and just laughed and smiled the entire time!  She and Cesar rode Dumbo while I watched.  She was having so much fun controlling the lever on the Dumbo ride.  I think Cesar regretted that decision.

The Happiest Place on Earth_TrainThe Happiest Place on Earth_DumboNext stop was meeting Minnie Mouse and Daisy.  She squealed when she saw Minnie Mouse and she even tried sneaking under the ropes to meet her before our turn.

The Happiest Place on Earth_Daisy and MinnieWe also shopped a little, rode on the Carousel of Progress, ate lunch in Tomorrowland, and visited a few other attractions.  Believe it or not, that was a full day’s worth of fun (which equaled about 8 hours for the aforementioned 7.5 month waddling pregnant woman).

We have been to Epcot since then, which was even more fun for me (at about 38 weeks pregnant).  We are really happy with our decision to buy annual passes and are definitely planning on going lots now that I’m no longer pregnant.  Next up…Animal Kingdom!

 

Sophia’s 15 Month Check-up and My Week in Instagram Pictures

First things first…Sophia had her 15 month check-up a week after her 15 month birthday.  What a good girl she was!  She stepped right on up to the big girl scale for the first time, and weighed almost 21 pounds!  They measured her height (32″!) and her head circumference, then we waited for the doctor.

Her height is in the 95th percentile for her age, her weight is in the 25th percentile, and her head circumference is in the 95th percentile (you can blame her daddy for that one!).  That means she is taller and has a bigger head circumference than 95% of the kids her age and weighs more than 25% of kids her age.  I was a bit concerned that she is so high in the height percentile and so low in the weight, but her pediatrician assured me that since she is keeping up with her percentiles, she is fine! 🙂  He said she has a fast metabolism (and hopefully it stays that way!).

The doctor did his routine check-up then she had 3 shots…she barely even cried!  The doctor said she is perfectly healthy and very advanced intellectually for her age.  He said she should know “mama”, “dada”, and hopefully 3 other words.  Wellllll…she says “mommy” and “daddy” at this point (she used to say mama and dada), knows how to say at least 15 more words, and recognizes probably 100 more words (she will point to something if you ask for it, but cannot say the word yet).  Proud mama, right here!

Anyways, on to my week, which is more like two weeks, in Instagram pictures…

1. I bought this little Fisher Price piano almost new at a consignment event in the area, cleaned it up really good, and it is one of her most favorite things to play with.

2. Sophia and I went to a park for a picnic lunch one day, and my sister came and met us on her lunch break.  Sophia had a blast watching the squirrels and much preferred trying to offer them her lunch (ew!), than eating it herself.

3. This is Sophia and her Pop (my dad) when we went to visit our dog Abby again at the rehab center she was at.  As a side note…as of today, Abby is home at my parents house, and since being home for a little over a week, has started walking by herself again!

4. Sophia at the doctor’s office waiting for her appointment, giving me a tad bit of attitude when I asked her to say “cheese”.

5. Cesar and I bought season tickets to the Gator games this year!  We are so excited to finally have our own tickets instead of bumming a couple games off my parents or having to buy tickets on the street.  Sophia stayed with Cesar’s parents while he and I went to the game with my sister and my cousin.  Here’s Cesar eating lunch at the Reitz Union before the game.

6. Sophia’s first real “boo boo” since she’s been walking.  She fell when she and I were walking on the walkway up to our house last week.  I must say, she is pretty proud of her boo boo and is sure to show it to anyone she comes across!

7. This was about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen…Sophia and Cesar sitting side by side working on their laptops!  She is such a daddy’s girl and wants to do everything like him.

8. Sometimes after my brother Garrett gets off school and my dad gets off work, they stop by a little restaurant near their house for a snack and to play a couple games of pool.  I had to pick up something from my dad one day last week, so we met them there and stayed to watch.  Sophia had an absolute ball watching them play pool and holding their pool sticks for them.

9. The little city I went to college in is about an hour away from where we live now.  It has the cutest little downtown area, but for some reason, we really never make it over that way.  Since Cesar had last Monday off for Labor Day, we decided to venture over to see what’s new around there.  Unfortunately, almost every shop and restaurant in downtown was closed because it was Monday (just Monday in general, not because of Labor Day), but we did have a yummy lunch at a cute place, where this picture was taken.

10. My little diva while we were getting ready one morning.  She is such a priss sometimes, but so dang cute!

11. Sophia reading her “potty book”, then putting a lot of thought into which color sticker she wanted for going on the big girl potty.

12. Sophia was definitely all ready to watch the Gator game!  My dad bought Sophia this dress while I was still pregnant with her and it finally fits her just in time for this football season.

13. Before the Gator game, we met Cesar’s parents and brother at Hooters for lunch.  When I told the hostess we needed a high chair, I was a little confused when she brought us to a high top table, until she came back with this monster of a high chair!

14. This is Sophia and me at Hooters…she looks thrilled to be taking a picture with Mommy, huh!?

15. We ended up at my parents’ house to watch the Gator game.  After the game, Abby was ready to go outside to go to the bathroom and this was the first time we’d seen her walk by herself again, so I was watching out the window when Sophia decided to join me.

16. Did anyone remember yesterday was Grandparents Day!?  I didn’t, until I saw a sign for it when I passed by the card section at the store.  Anyway, Sophia and I picked out some cards and for her Nana and Pop (my parents), Abuelo and Abuela (Cesar’s parents), and Nanny (my grandmother).  After church yesterday, we delivered everything and everyone was pleasantly surprised that I remembered the holiday, haha!

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!