Monday, October 8, 2012

The End of Summer, Start of School, and a Little Belly Butter Inbetween

 I never thought this day would come.  Wait, let me rephrase that.  I never thought this day would come so quickly.  As a stay at home mom, there are days where the seconds, minutes, and hours tend to drag on and on with no kid's bedtime in sight.  Then there are the days, usually the ones where I'm organizing photos on my external hard drive, where I feel that time has passed by in the blink of an eye.  There are days when I look back at photos of my children and I feel a small panic, a small crushing weight on my chest, brought on by the realization of how incredibly fast time is passing.  Of course I add fuel to my small panic fire by thinking, "Am I making the most of the time with my boys, my family?  Am I creating memories they will treasure for a lifetime?    Am I doing things with them that they will one day remember and want to do with their children?  Am I yelling at them too much?  Is that what they will remember the most?"

 As summer came to a close, these thoughts started to permanently take up residence on the front burner of my brain.  Matthew, my oldest, was getting to ready to start kindergarten and of course I started questioning the quality of our time together these past 5 years.   Looking back, it's pretty safe to say that Matthew and I had a good run.  Before his little brother came along, Matthew and I were partners in crime.  I used to load him up and we would take off for hours usually hitting up all my favorite antique and thrift stores.  He loved them! I've never seen a kid rack up so much free stuff from store owners.  They were all so impressed with the way he would walk around at the age of 2 and not touch a thing.  Oh he had plenty of playdates as well but the ease in which I could just do things with him.........

 We made the most out of this summer, packing in as much as possible, which in Florida means anything having to do with water.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  This state is too damn hot!

 Having Bush Gardens 30 minutes down the street is such a blessing!  I pack up the kids, meet up with our friends, aka the stroller mafia, and easily spend 4 or 5 hours at Sesame Street alone.  Matthew and his friends run off on their own (within Sesame Street) and the little ones spend the entire time at the splash pad while us moms (most of us pregnant) sit in the shade.  It's so easy,  it's fun, and the kids sleep so well that night =)

I can't believe my family will be adding a 3rd little boy to this chaotic mix come November. Oh wait, did I forget to tell you? I'm 35 weeks pregnant with another little boy and am praying that these next 5 weeks fly by.

Our time in Sesame Street Land would not be complete without visiting good ol' Elmo and Big Bird.

I know it seems I have more pictures of Nicholas than of Matthew but the bigger boys are always off together doing their thing =)

We usually go to Bush Garden's during the week days in an attempt to avoid the summer weekend crowds. Unfortunately, this means the hubby's are left out. Bush Garden's has an event called Summer Nights which includes later park hours and a really awesome Kinetics Show followed by fireworks. Being that we get to the park around 10am, our kids are usually way too exhausted to hang out until 10pm. However, one day we did plan a later trip so that our husbands could meet us at the park when they got off work. My poor husband had duty the night before and therefore had been up for over 24 hours by the time he met up with us. Kuddos to you honey for being a trooper and not complaining or being grumpy.

 It really was nice to 1) get the husbands together and 2) let our older ones ride the larger roller coasters and hang out with their dads. Oh, and don't let me forget to add that it was nice to have an extra pair of hands around.

  Of course we had to double check which roller coasters Matthew could go on with his daddy.  You still have a ways to go buddy.  I'm super impressed with the fact that he will even ride a roller coaster.  I can't say it enough.  Matthew is our cautious kid who can sometimes be frightened by his own shadow.

But there was one adult roller coaster he could go on and he was so stoked to be able to ride it with his dad.

 Introducing, the Scorpion.

  Good luck guys!

  Three of us moms are pregnant so we had to stay back and keep the cheerleaders under control, aka stroller lock-down.

The kids also wanted to ride some of the smaller, more kid friendly attractions.

  Even the babies needed a little action after being stuck in their strollers.

  Now this is where Nicholas completely shocked the hell out of me. My two year old is a life-of-the-party, balls to the wall, hell on wheels, on the move 24/7, no caution, and no fear kind of kid. So imagine my surprise at his reaction when the airplane ride took off.


  The kids love standing beside The Sheikra which produces a huge splash as it passes.  By the way, The Sheikra is the best roller coaster at Bush Garden's of Tampa but you have to sit in the front row.  The way they leave you hanging, staring down as the track curves under itself, leaving you with a view of nothing but open scenery below is A.Mazing.

And what's Summer Nights without a little impromptu dance party? Bust a move Nick and Tyler!

We were all so exhausted that we almost missed the biggest attraction of Summer Nights, the Kinetics Show. We just happened to walk past where it was taking place when we spotted a park worker ushering people inside the gates toward the stage. Bush Garden's puts the show on every night and I can't believe we only caught one the entire summer. They do a wonderful job and the kids loved every minute. Note to self: do more evening BG trips next summer.

The kids started out dancing but quickly ended up like this.


Being that this is Florida we also spent a lot of time in the pool.  Some of our favorite afternoons were spent at our community pool after Jacob came home from work.  Matthew took swim lessons this summer and trust me, he needed all the extra practice he could get.  I promise you even though he looks like he is drowning, he's not =)  I'm so proud of him though.  For the longest time Matthew wouldn't even get in the water.  He would hang out on the side of the pool while all his friends were jumping in and swimming.  Matthew was perfectly happy with his pool side post and he had the best time fetching the pool toys gone rogue but still.

I signed him up for swim lessons with Sharks and Minnows and it did wonders for his confidence in the water.  At the end of his 6 week class he still couldn't swim on his own but he was rockin' out with his water wings.  He went from the kid who wouldn't get in the pool to the kid that wouldn't get out.  I slowly deflated his wings until one day he was doing it on his own.  At the same time, Jacob and I made Nicholas transition from his water vest to water wings.  Pool time is so much more relaxing now that we don't have two kids clinging to us for dear life =)

  Nicholas still hasn't learned to jump away from the side of the pool. He literally jumps straight up and pulls his legs out from underneath himself. I'm waiting for the day where he smacks his noggin on the side of the pool.

I'm so proud of you Matthew for conquering your fear of water.

  I told you it looks a little like Matthew is drowning but it's because he refuses to kick his legs as hard as he should.  My son, always looking an easier, possibly lazier way of accomplishing things.

My boys, my life.

Nicholas was trying so hard to swim with his face in the water.  


We also had plenty of pool playdates at friends' houses as well.

Here is Nicholas taking up his usual spot in time out and not being phased one bit by it.

Jacob's mom, Nana, flew into Orlando for a few days for a work conference which was a perfect opportunity for her to see the boys.  She doesn't get to see them very often since she lives in Ohio and so she treated us to Dinosaur Cafe located in Downtown Disney since it was so close to Nicholas's 2nd birthday.  Everyone should dine there at least once with their kids just so they can say they did.  The atmosphere and decorations are insane but I'm still trying to figure out if my burger was worth the $20.  Let's just say that it cost 5 people over $120 to eat and this was sticking to no alcohol and no fancy entrees.  It was strictly burgers and chicken fingers kinda night.  Expensive but cool nonetheless.

A few times us moms took the kids to the Fishhawk Fountains for an afternoon of easy water play. It's a little downtown area located in the middle of a subdivision that has a splash pad, ice cream parlor, pizza place and a few other quaint shops. Bring some water toys, order a pizza, and the kids are entertained for hours.

And of course we closed out our summer vacation with a simple back to school party in the mother of all backyards. She has a pool, trampoline, tire swing, huge sand pit, jungle gyms, tons of outdoor toys, and she lives in a cul-de-sac which allows the kids to run from house to house. Please excuse the lack of pictures as I was busy just enjoying the moment with great food and wonderful friends =)

So this is how the majority of summer went: Bush Gardens, pools, cook outs, splash pads, Sea World, anything and everything we could think of to keep us busy and keep us cool. I know deep down Matthew won't really remember the summer before he started kindergarten but I hope at least for now he can think of it as a great one. 

 And then it was here.

 My baby boy, my first born son was starting kindergarten. 

 Like any other mother, I had this grandiose idea of how Matthew's first day of kindergarten would kick off. We would wake up with plenty of time to sit and eat breakfast together. No one would be rushed or in a hurry, no one would be in a bad mood, the morning would start off perfect.

 Yeah, right.

 The night before, we performed a little ritual given to us by his teacher during meet the teacher night. We tucked the boys in and gave Matthew his Ready Confetti to sprinkle under his pillow.

 Ready Confetti is nothing more than holes punched out of construction paper that your child sprinkles under their pillow while you read them a poem about going to kindergarten in the morning.

 No big deal, right? Wrong.

 Mathew immediately started crying and after a few minutes we finally were able to figure out why. Apparently, Matthew is super scared of the Tooth Fairy and thought that by sprinkling the confetti under the pillow someone was going to come into his room while he was sleeping. I never thought about it from a 5 year olds perspective but I guess some stranger creeping into the room while you're asleep is a pretty scary thing.

 Bless you Matthew, my cautious one =)

 We swiftly moved the Ready Confetti into the trash.

 Before climbing into bed, I asked my husband if he had the alarm on his phone set or did I need to set my alarm. He said his was good to go, no worries......

 Seeing that I've been with this man for 6 years I should have known better. For him, taking his kid to school was important but so was hitting the snooze button so many times that by the time he woke me up we only had 20 minutes to eat breakfast, get the kids dressed and ready, and get Matthew to school. Screw any pictures that I might have wanted to take throughout the morning.

 I could have strangled the shit out of him and it still burns me up when I think about it.

 Here was the only picture I was able to snap that morning.

 I thought I was going to be able to drop him off without getting emotional but who am I kidding. I was a hot blubbering mess walking back to the car. Thankfully I was not the only mother having a hard time keeping it together. The whole situation was made worse by all the pictures my friends were posting online of their kids from that morning. Pictures that I don't have........thanks bunches honey (insert sarcastic tone here).

 I did, however, snap some pictures later that day when I picked him up from school.

 They really do grow up so fast. Matthew's first day of kindergarten went great and from what I understand he only cried once.

 I'm going to leave how the school year's been going since then for another blog post. ********************************************************************
Alright, so here it is.

 The awesome body butter recipe I found online back in February. I've had a number of people ask for it and trust me, once you take the time to make it, you won't buy store bought body butter ever again.

 The body butter is a little on the greasy side but I just put it on immediately when I get out of the shower and it's usually soaked into my skin by the time I'm done with my hair and makeup. I have the most sensitive facial skin ever and so far it is the only moisturizer I can use. I can't even use Oil of Olay anti wrinkle creams because they make my skin break out. Also, I made my first batch in February and am just now getting ready to make another. A little goes a long way.

 The cost to make is around $32 but it's lasted me 8 months. I think I more than got my money's worth. I purchased all the ingredients at an Organic Food store so everything is pure and minimally processed if it's even processed at all. Maybe that's why I can use it on my face?

 I wish I had pictures but they are located on my other external hard drive which is currently under the care of a data recovery team and has been for 3 weeks. Long, long story but to make it short Back. Up. Everything. Not once, not twice but 3 times and make sure one back up source is offsite.

 So here it is:

  1 cup Organic, raw shea butter
  1/2 cup coconut oil
  1/2 cup almond oil
  essential oil of your choice

1. Melt shea butter and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. You may have to chill the mixture for this step.

 2. Stir in almond oil and essential oils of your choosing.

3. Wait until oils start to partially solidify then whip until a butter-like consistency is achieved. This should only take a few minutes. I had to put mine in the freezer for almost an hour before I could get it to partially solidify.

4. Place in clean, glass jar and enjoy! Store under the bathroom sink or anywhere else that is nice and cool. A little goes a long way.

This pregnancy has me loving any scent that is citrus so I chose grapefruit. Its nice, crisp, clean smell is the perfect way to start and end my day. The final texture of this body butter is like meringue. It seriously looks like something you could eat.

*This is not my recipe but one I found on multiple websites*

Truly a little slice of heaven in a glass jar =)


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