It is official! We are moving to Florida! Everyone keeps asking me why… well why not! Why not go live by the beach for a bit and give it a try. We are not tied down here and have jobs that let us work anywhere… so why not!
Just as we made it official we received this little present in the mail from my sister…
Funny right!!!!?!?! Who knew you could mail a coconut! Just so you know the background story of why my sister sent us this coconut, you should know that my hubby lived in the Philippines for two years before we were married… that adorable man wrote me a letter every single week for two years! He never missed! We were engaged 3 weeks after he came home and married 3 months after that.
While living in the Philippines he drank from these young coconuts all the time. He has been craving them since we got married, almost 10 years ago now. Whenever we go to Florida he is always eyeing them, but is too big to climb up a tree to get them!
He tries throwing rocks at them, using a sticks to poke at them, pretty much whatever he can think of. Now that we have a six year old who is half monkey – half boy he has encouraged him to climb up the palm trees to pick the young coconuts for him. Don’t believe me… see pics below!
Can you believe this monkey! This was in Florida in March for our spring break visit.
Here he is.. making his Daddy proud!
So yes, now we are moving to Florida in one month where we can have all the young coconuts we want!
Drink it up!
Luckily he shares with the boys!
Thanks for the fresh coconut Bakers!
Although, here is my motivation for moving! Starting off my day with a morning run on the beach is absolute bliss!!!!! Florida here we come!!!!!!
I didn’t think of this myself. A couple of years ago, we went to a homearama in Norfolk near my in-laws house and I saw this in a little girl’s bathroom. If you’ve never been/heard of a homearama, you need to check out ASAP if there is one in your area anytime soon. Basically, it’s a set up of 20 or so model homes that are for sale, but they are decorated amazing and can give you tons of fun ideas!!
I went to the Navy Exchange and found this memo board (~$15) and wahlaa. These aren’t bows that I made in case you’re wondering, I got most of these from Target, Wal-Mart or Clarie’s. It is a great way to organize all of the hair clips and everyone that sees it loves the idea. It’s perfect in their bathroom.
I am an avid reader! I love love love to read. In fact, I don’t consider any vacation a very good one unless I have been able to devour 4 to 5 books within the week. So, basically you could say that I read a lot! I always have a book I am reading and always have a list of books on my “to read” list, and I AM ALWAYS LOOKING FOR GOOD BOOKS TO READ.
I figured if I come across a book I have really enjoyed I should share it with you and I hope you do the same!
I have had my eye on this book since I first saw it as a #1 New York Times Best Seller. During a typical raid of my friend’s book shelf, I discovered that she had it! I took it home and had it and its sequel read within 4 days. I loved it! The third book is due out this November, but is already available for pre-order.
Matched, by Ally Condie is centered around a 17 year old girl living in a the future run by the “Society.” The Society is basically the government that has complete control of every life decision, from what is eaten each day, your career, your spouse, where you live, even how you spend your free time.
The book starts out with Cassia, our 17 year old heroine, getting ready to find out who the Society has picked to be her Match for the rest of her life. As Cassia goes about trying to be the perfect citizen, she finds out that her heart may disagree with some of the Societies choices for her and has to make a decision about what she should do about it.
This book has a very Handmaid’s Tale feel to it (another one of my very favorite books). Basically a government taking to much power and the people learning to live with it or fight against it.
It is incredibly interesting and will have you reaching for the sequal. I am only to sad to have to wait until November for the 3rd book.
Alright, listen up… Everyone with kids should own Magna-Tiles! They are great!
I like to rotate my toys every few months so that when my kids start getting bored with some I rotate in another batch they haven’t seen in a while and they get all excited to be reunited. Magna-tiles are the only ones I don’t rotate out… and that is because they are the only toys the kids play with every single day. They never miss a day playing with them. They never get bored with them and they are finding new ways to play with them as they get older.
Magna-tiles are basically flat magnetized building blocks. They come in a 100 piece set or a 32 piece set. You can get them in solid colors or a colored translucent set. There are five different geometrically sized shapes in the set and it is suggested for ages 3 and up.
I first got magna-tiles for my little guy’s 4th birthday almost 3 years ago. He loved them and built the most interesting things! His 18 month old brother also loved them. Neighbors, friends, cousins, boys or girls come over and they always want to play with them. Even my 10 year old nephew will play with them when he comes over.
I babysit 2 little boys full time and have 3 boys of my own. The magna-tiles are incredibly durable! The boys often throw them around and once even went through a phase where they built towers and then jumped off the couch to land on them! They have withstood and are still in great shape 3 years later.
Here are few of the creative things my kids have done with the Magna-tiles:
Built by a four year old!
They called this “TheTemple”
So proud of his castle!
My six year old built this before school
The boys like to make castles, towers, temples, you name it! They like to build them up and wreck them. They love to build super hero forts and keep their action figures in them. My two year old builds garages to store his favorite cars.
My 18month old building
A five and six year old playing
Here is my list of pros: Creativity, Creativity, Creativity!!! Loved by all ages Durable Gives familiarity with shapes Increases fine motor skills Develops cognitive thinking by teaching spacial relationships, math, logic, and problem solving
And now for the Cons: A bit expensive ($120ish for a pack of 100 or $50ish for a set of 32) Wrecked magnet towers are often scattered across the floor!
I started by buying the 32 piece set of magna-tiles and as soon as they arrived I realized they just wouldn’t do and ordered the 100 piece set months later. Save yourself the time and just start with the 100 piece set. It is pricey, but I am telling you, you wont be sorry. The cheapest place I have found to buy them is here (plus they have free shipping). They will be back in stock this spring so keep a look out.
Had to add this one in here… This little guy is 2 1/2 years old and made this all by himself!
If you think winter is hard on you, imagine being an active kid. I’m always looking for things to do with my over-the-top energetic 2 year old. It’s almost impossible to take her outside in the winter while also having a 10 month old. So, we try to find things to do inside. Last weekend we took the girls to a chocolate festival at a church. My girls had a lot of fun! I feel like churches are always advertising fun things they do to reach out to the community. This event was raising money for a missions trip and it cost only $5 for each child. This included balloon animals, 2 bounce houses, lots of games and candy. They also tried raising money by selling baked goods and served lunch, but you could just get away with the $5 per child. So cheap and such a great outing.
Having fun in the bounce house!
They even had balloons!
Even the parents helped!
Having fun playing a game.
My advice is to get out and see what the community has to offer. Most of the time it’s very affordable and your kids will be worn out for that AWESOME afternoon nap.
I get a kick out of people’s Facebook posts. Some are always stating how perfect their kids and life are. Ain’t that some bull. I actually pity them for feeling like they need to cover up the hard days of motherhood. It’s not always easy…. remember that. Being a stay at home mom is especially hard sometimes because you don’t get a break.
Some days consist of your kids throwing tantrums, not listening, crying for no reason, skipping naps, fighting with siblings, spilling drinks or just wanting to be held all day. Trust me, the list goes on and on….. and on.
I recently read a post that I could actually relate to and it was real:
there are magical days when the baby wakes up in a good mood, everyone is smiling, games are played, crafts are made, things get done around the house, and there are even a few moments of “me time” to do whatever I want…
today is not one of those days.
I loved the punch line. It’s so true.
Here’s my advice: Once the kids are in bed and you’ve gained your sanity back, go check on them. That’s what I do. Trust me, your difficult day is suddenly refreshed. I did this the other day and look what I found:
My 10 month old sleeping.
My energetic two year old sleeping.
Heck, you will probably look back when they’re grown and wish you had those bad days all over again.
I have the best six year old ever! He woke me up today at 630am… yes you read that right. 6:30am!!!! He snuck into my room when it was still dark out. I heard him whispering over to me, “Mom, I made you a Valentine. It has a note on it, but you can’t see it in the dark.” He slipped a cut out heart he had made from construction paper into my hand. In my drowsy state I saw him sneak over to his Daddy and do the same thing. He also put a hand cut out flower he made on top of his four year old brother (who happened to have snuck into our bed unnoticed last night).
Seriously…. how cute is this little note! I am in shock that he thought to do this all on his own and woke up early while the rest of us slept to make us each a Valentine. In all honestly I didn’t think he though of much besides skateboarding, climbing trees, and learning stunts on his bike. He is a true boy through and through so this gesture of his really made my day.
Translation: “Mom you are the best I love you I tinck you are so cool. From Casey”
There are definitely days when I wonder where these little monsters of mine came from, but on days like today I think how really incredibly awesome my kids are. What a cool kid!
On another note, a friend gave me this tray of marshmallow fudge this morning. So yummy! Love sweet friends like this… I need to do more things like this for people because it really has made my day!
I gave birth to the most perfect and beautiful baby ever. She came out looking just like my husband and was everything I had always imagined. We named her Ella Bree! She was ours, all ours.
Look at how beautiful she is!
Before a newborn is discharged from the hospital, their pediatrician needs to give the okay for them to leave. All was going well until the doctor put her legs together, pushed her knees up and the spread them apart. Her hips were completely displaced. There wasn’t even a real click, they just easily came out of socket and her legs practically fell to each side. Of course we had never heard of hip dysplasia, so we asked a lot of questions. It is most common in first born girls because of the conflicting hormones of baby and mom (don’t ask because I’m not exactly sure why). They said she would have to wear a harness that goes on the outside of her diaper for probably 2 weeks. HEARTBREAKING. My perfect babe had to wear a Pavlik harness just four days after she was born. I had so many thoughts going through my head– “people are going to think there is something seriously wrong with my baby”, “I’m going to have to explain this to everyone”, “why me and us”. Here is what her Pavlik harness looked like:
She was placed in the Pavlik Harness for 6 weeks.
She was so tiny, only 6 lbs when she got the harness! Oh man, the day she got the brace, my hormones were raging. I cried over anything and everything and I was so sore from having a csection. This just added so much more fuel to the fire. Life has to go on and you live with each challenge. Well two weeks with her in the brace, turned into a long six. Seemed like the longest six weeks of my life, but they were over! She was checked out and ready to live the nonbrace life!
She went for her three and six month check-up at her pediatrician, no hip clicking. Thank God! Then, we went for her nine month well visit. The doctor felt a click in her hip. Brian and I were so devastated. I think I cried for four straight hours. How could this be happening again? She was already mobile and pulling up– she would have been walking in no time. I called her pediatric orthopedist (Dr. McHale located in Annandale, VA) and was able to get an appointment the next day. Dr. McHale said Ella could have the surgery where she had to wear a body cast for six weeks, but she felt like she needed to go back into harness to see if that would help and then move into another brace called the hip abduction brace. What?! The harness that covers her whole body. How would she crawl? Well, she learned and adapted fast:
She adapted to this so fast!
This was just a couple of days after she was put back into the brace. Meanwhile, the doctor ordered Ella to have an MRI. If you know much about MRIs, you have to be completely still = baby needs to be put under. So, my poor sweet 11 month old at the time, had to have anesthesia to get an MRI. Thankfully, the MRI came out to show that she did have cartilage there, it would just take a while to turn into bone. This means she needs to wear the hip abduction brace (which Dr. McHale found from Germany) for a while. Here is what the hip abduction brace looks like:
Hip abduction brace.
Of course Ella’s issue is so small compared to so many other children, but I still had meltdowns every so often seeing that my baby wasn’t “normal”. She went to the doctor every month to six weeks and got x-rays. We got the same response every time “she’s winning and I really don’t think she will need the surgery” and “I wish I had a magic ball to tell you how long she would need the brace”. Thankfully, Ella did not need the surgery AND she learned to walk in the brace. She walked at one year and one day. Check out the video. It will seriously melt your heart.
Pretty sweet huh?
She started wearing the brace at night only when she turned two. Ella still goes back to the doctor every 3 months and still has to wear the brace at night. She said Ella will have to wear it at night until she’s three. My husband said we are taking everyone cake in the orthopedist office when she has her last hoorah at age three. They have all been so sweet. They know Ella every time we go in there. They even tell other patients all about her and how she’s been there since birth. Even the doctor, who is SO busy (seriously the busiest doctor’s office I’ve ever seen) knows her and said she wanted to publish an article about her case. I could seriously rant and rave forever on Dr. McHale’s office. They have all been so awesome.
Lastly, here’s my girl now in her brace:
Age 2 1/2 in her brace.
This girl doesn’t skip a beat. She is one of the most energetic and outgoing kids I know. Kids do adapt to everything. I’ve learned to seriously count my blessings. Now, she even asks for her brace at night. She’s used to sleeping in it. I do thank God everyday that she was able to be fixed without surgery and long term side effects.
Please ask if you have any questions. I love talking with other people about it!