The Evening of the Fourth

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I wanted to write this post right away because I didn’t want to lose the feeling from the day… but alas, time got the best of me and I forgot.

After a great parade and some quality time with Nana and her puppy dog, we came home for naps and then went to my parents’ country club for a fourth of July party with my sister and her fam (something we’ve done with my parents for the past 3 years).

The kids all went swimming, there was music, food and a bounce house obstacle course race thing.

It was great. Just so, so great. Sometime around 6 or 7, we took the kids back to my parents house. My kiddos went to bed and the rest of us hung out, played games and watched a movie. Around 9, we woke up Charlie to take her back to the fireworks.

When we got to the car, she noticed that little Hem wasn’t with us. “Where’s hemy?” We explained that he was still too little and had to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. She cried. “But I want my Hemy! We gonna pick him up and put him in my car after fireworks?” No, honey. “But I want my Hemy!!!” <MELT>

When we got to fireworks, C was excited and a little nervous. A few days earlier, I had bought some noise cancelling protective headphones… in blue of course, so she was ready.

The fireworks started and she was super timid. Her face looked panicked and she sunk back into Mark. She started muttering things like, “I no like fireworks. I’m all done.” etc. Finally, I just started hyping it up. “WOAH!! Did you see those colors? Wow!!! That’s beautiful! I LOVE that kind!!”

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Charlotte got into it. “Mommy, you wuv that kind??” “You see dat? Its butiful!”

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I loved every moment. We Oooo’d and Ahhhh’d! We hugged and laughed and were totally those annoying firework commentators.

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When the fireworks ended, we walked around looking for fireflies and checking out the stars and moon. Charlotte goes to bed so early, she rarely (if ever) sees the night’s sky.

We decided to head back home – H slept at my parents’ house – and look for fireflies in the backyard. Our neighbor was shooting off fireworks.

Charlotte was so incredibly happy. I can’t even begin to explain it, but there was just this magical feeling about the whole day. Like, such a cliche movie-type day.

When we finally got C in bed, she just kept hugging us saying, “mommy, daddy, i wuv you. We wuv eachovers.”

If only I could just put it in my pocket. Bottle that moment and that feeling and those sounds and smells and everything up and keep it with me forever.

What an amazing summer day.

 

Disney World!

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Remember MONTHS AGO when I built up so much hype about our trip to Disney and then literally NEVER POSTED A SINGLE WORD ABOUT IT? Oy. Okay, well, I’m going to post some words about a day that was glorious and wonderful and fun.

To begin, we’ll just say that I did my due diligence in terms of researching, planning, scheduling, etc. With only one day in Mickey’s presence, I wanted to make sure Charlotte and Henry (but mostly C, because H didn’t really notice) got the most out of the experience. SO, all of my research concluded with this carefully thought out schedule…

Disney Itinerary R

To access the full doc:  Disney Itinerary R

Now, some might say that I over-planned or that they’d worry such a rigid plan would feel stressful, but let me just say, we ALL enjoyed my psychotic planning. We were able to see everything we wanted to see – parades, rides, meet and greets, etc – in such a strategic way that it felt like a natural transition into the next ride or activity. I had booked all of our fast passes ahead of time (maybe 2 months out?) and our dinner reservation a month out. It was AHHHMAZING.

A few pretty important items that we packed: double stroller, neck fans!!! (it was SO damn hot and these were so crucial. They were cheap and effective), snacks (pouches, etc), sunscreen for us and the kids, hats for the kids.

Also, matching shirts…

So now, the photos and fun details…

We missed the park opening… because let’s be honest… we are ALWAYS. LATE. When we first got in, we started waiting on line to see Minnie and Goofy, but ended up leaving to start the rides because it was taking way too long. In hind sight, I do wish we would have seen Minnie. C still talks about how she wasn’t able to give Minnie a hug and a kiss. A month or two ago, she came up with the idea that we should bring her Minnie stuffed animal back to Florida to give to Minnie as a gift. So sweet.

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Our first ride was Dumbo. Being that it was C’s first ride, I wanted to pick something that was in the open so she could see exactly what was going to happen. It was a great first ride. When it was over, she instantly said that she wanted to stay on. And thankfully, the magic of Disney had rubbed off on her, because despite her wants, there were no meltdowns… the whole day… with either child.

After Dumbo, we walked to the next ride over… the barnstormer. It was a mini roller coaster that seemed fast, but not so fast. I let C watch it and asked if she’d like to ride. YES!

Let’s just say that there was NOT a lot of breathing for either of us on that ride. It was FAST! I’ll post the video, but afterward as we were getting off, C said excitedly, “That ride was SOOOOO FASSSTTTT!!! I no like to go so fast!” It’s funny because when we put her to bed that night, she told us that her favorite part of the day was going “SO FAST!!”

After the barnstormer, we went to the Winnie the Pooh area and waited in line to meet the characters. Our next fast pass was for the Winnie the Pooh ride, so we waited to see the characters and then immediately went on the ride. It was pretty silly meeting them. Charlotte was so excited, but ultimately, very timid with the characters.

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In contrast, Henry LOVED them. He was petting them, high fiving, laughing and loving every minute. It was pretty darn silly.

The Winnie the Pooh ride itself is a little scary and just intense. There’s constantly so many sounds going at one time, moving from one scene to the next quite quickly. And, of course, it seems like there’s an excessive amount of time in the “Heffalumps and Weasels” rain storm nightmare. PASS!! I could have done without that one. And C seemed like she wasn’t a fan either. I feel like I remember her saying she didn’t like it, but then maybe asking to do it again later.

Somehow, by the time we finished the Winnie the Pooh ride, it was time for lunch. We went to the Pinocchio’s Village Haus for a ridiculously priced kids meal. BUT, the positive is that we were able to find a seat easily.

Clearly the only logical follow up to lunch is the teacups. SO, we tested our luck and took C on the teacups. Simultaneously, Henry began his only nap of the day… which lasted maybe 30-45 minutes.

After the teacups, we went to the Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Grotto ride. This was the only ride we waited in line for, and probably only waited about 20-25 minutes. All along the way, there were cute little things to look at. It was an easy wait and nicely shaded, which was great. Because, did I mention that it was 97 DEGREES THAT DAY!?!?! Hot.

The Little Mermaid ride was one of C’s favorites! She seriously just LOVED it! It’s a cute little story type ride where you get to hear tons of songs and see all the characters. Thumbs up to that one.

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After little mermaid, we decided to take one more ride on Dumbo before catching the train to Main Street. I nursed Henry while we took our flight – nursing bucket list?! Of course, C loved Dumbo once again. It’s seriously just a great one. Especially on a hot day.

The train was pretty awesome, too… EXCEPT, we had to fold up our double stroller to ride, which meant making everything nice and tidy again… which was far from where we were at. We had things stashed in every cup holder and pocket. Thrown in the under storage, etc. We were littering our items through the entire line. But, no worries. The train ride was great, gave us an opportunity to sit and reapply sunscreen.

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When we got to Main Street, it was time to grab ice cream (and a GIANT starbucks coffee for me) and watch the Festival of Fantasy parade. In true form, we were cutting it close, but ended up getting a great spot and really loving the parade. I think it’s the parades and shows that really make Disney unique from other Amusement Parks. Getting to see your favorite characters, seeing the spectacle… it’s just fantastic. And seeing it through the eyes of a 2/3 year old is just magic. Charlotte believed everything she saw. Whether it made sense or not, she totally believed it. She experienced true magic throughout the day. No questions asked, totally naive, untainted trust in the Disney magic. It was just pure and awesome.

When the parade was over, we went over to use our next fast pass for the Buzz Lightyear ride, which is just so much fun. Maybe less fun for C than some other rides, but the adults enjoyed it!

Then, we headed back towards Main Street where C and Mark watched the Friendship Faire (hello, more Frozen characters and songs) and my parents, Henry and I waited for our dinner reservations at the Crystal Palace. I also had to nurse little Henry while we waited.

Dinner at the Crystal Palace was fun! I hadn’t realized that it was only Winnie the Pooh characters there, so it was a bit of a bummer that the kids wouldn’t get to meet any other characters, but seriously so much fun. I just love the character meals. By that time, C was pretty hot and exhausted and didn’t really want to interact with the characters; although, she enjoyed watching Henry play with them.

The food itself was pretty decent! I mean, let’s just be real… it’s not about the food. And when is a buffet really THAT good? But it did the trick and was super fun (and air conditioned!).

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After our 4:45pm dinner, we took a slow walk back to the car. The kids were beat, my parents were beat and we were ready to get the kids in bed so that Mark and I could go back for fireworks, parades and a couple faster rides.

Mark and I got back at firework time. We got greedy and weasled our way to the front, which turned out not to be the best spot. In hind sight, we should have stayed back towards the front of the park where we walked in.

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Anyway, afterwards, we went to find a drink. We quickly discovered that there are NONE TO BE FOUND unless you have reservations at a sit-down restaurant. Dang. I settled for a Diet Coke and then we watched the “Once Upon a Time” show, which is a projection on the castle with music. This was my favorite show of the day. It’s just fantastic.

Next, we got a FREE cream cheese stuffed hot pretzel (they were about to close), which was phenomenal, and went on the Buzz Lightyear ride and Space Mountain. Space Mountain is just so fun. I still just really love that ride.

With our adrenaline pumping, we decided we had to go ride Big Thunder Mountain. SO, we literally ran/hop/skipped our way across the park (in the heat) to haul ass to Big Thunder Mountain before the park closed. We made it and rode one more ride before calling it quits on our big Disney day.

We slowly walked back to the Ferry with tons of people hauling exhausted kids, pushing sleeping kiddos in strollers and just dragging themselves. Disney is hard work.

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All in all, we had such a great and fun-filled day!

Here are some other photos from our trip to Florida – including our hike to Coco Beach…

First Day in Florida

Charlie woke up singing about the beach where the sharks live from her pink bunk bed (I need to remember to take a picture). She’s already loving her “Florida home,” as she calls it.

This am, Mark & C played while henry napped and Dad and I went to the convention center to set up our trade show booth. 


We finished around 1130, scooped up everyone at the house and headed to downtown Disney.  C was pumped to see Mick-Mouse, but unfortunately, Downtown Disney is more of an outdoor mall than anything else. 

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First stop: Irish pub for lunch


After lunch, we explored, saw kids singing, Went on C’s first ride (train fun), and more! Good stuff ❤

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And how could I forget, we went to a CUPCAKE store for “puck cakes wif frinkles!”

My Guilt

So, I wrote the list below last week after bawling my eyes out on the driveway (and inside the house) over my guilt. I had been chatting with a friend that morning and had asked her what her kiddo did at 10 months. I kept having this feeling that I just wasn’t doing as much with Henry as I had with C. She read off this whole list of “skills” her babes was doing at 10 months (she keeps track in an ongoing note on her phone), and as I listened, I got this terrible, sinking feeling.

For whatever reason, the two things that stood out the most to me were the fact that he was signing and the biggest one, that her son loved animals. HE LOVED ANIMALS? Does Henry even know what a flipping animal is? Shit. Seriously, besides Toby (our pup), have I ever specifically pointed out an animal in his entire 10 months of life? What the fuck? Why would I not show him animals?

So that was my mindset. (And all the other items below)

  • I don’t read to Henry every day. With Charlie, I read two books before each nap and before bed. I’m only recently reading to Henry more regularly and it isn’t NEARLY that frequent.
  • Henry doesn’t know his animals. Like, have I even ever shown him animals in a book? He sees Toby, but that might legitimately be the only animal he sees.
  • I haven’t even really taught Henry to clap his damn hands. Ugh.
  • I feel like the past 10 months have gone by so fast that I just feel like he’s a tiny baby who only needs food and love. He most definitely gets an overabundance of love and smooshing, but wtf. It’s like I’ve totally forgotten every. other. thing.
  • I feel like we give Henry love and keep him from crying, but we don’t devote as much quality time to him. When have we played Henry-only games?
  • Mark used to read to Charlotte every morning and play with her over lunch… Henry just doesn’t get that same level of attention. We’re chaotic and running around and I feel like we just take advantage of how relaxed he is.
  • I feel so f..

Since I started this post, here’s what I’ve done and where I’m at…

First of all, I slept about 24 hours in 2 days. That helped.

Then, I reminded myself that I’m always doing the best that I can and that I should use this situation as a reminder of what I’d like to be doing with Henry and just try as hard as I can to do at least some of it.

So, I’ve been reading with Henry. Two books when he wakes up in the AM, from his naps and before bed. AND, GUESS WHAT? Henry LOVES books. He’s amazing at turning the pages and he loves books with the flaps. He can lift the flaps all by himself and he really enjoys it. See what I did?!? I learned something about my guy.

I’ve been showing him animals using his animal puzzle… to the point that he’s probably thinking, “Ok, mom. STFU and give me my puzzle piece so I can shove it in my mouth and move on.” But whatever.

And, most importantly, I’ve been taking some time during his awake time at work to just play with him and enjoy him. While having him at work is such a blessing, it’s also REALLY hard. Especially when I’m busy. It’s hard to shut off my work mind and go all momma on a situation and then switch right back. But, I’ve been doing it and things have been going well this week. We’ve had some nice time together and I’ve been getting a lot done.

I guess the MOST important thing is probably just giving myself a break. I get so caught up in doing everything and managing everything, that I feel totally paralyzed. In trying to do everything, I just shut down and can’t do anything… which, of course, just stresses me out even more.

I’m trying to just relax before my body (and/or mind) just explode.

Deep Breaths. Just Keep Swimming…

So many mantras.

Henry’s 4 Month Photos

Henry’s 4 month pictures were taken at a park located on Lake Michigan. We had an absurdly windy day, but sunny and lovely. Poor Henry had a solid blowout poop/pee mid-photoshoot, that wasn’t noticed until we were just about done… so, if he looks pissed, he is! haha Literally.

I loved how these photos turned out. They definitely reminded me of our engagement photos, which are my favorites.

See… aren’t these amazing:

But I digress… (sorry for attempting to steal the show, Henry)!

Henry’s 4 Month Photos

Henry’s Newborn Photos

Within a week of little Henry’s arrival, we took Henry’s newborn photos. I don’t remember all the details, as I was in a blurry state of exhaustion, but I do remember that it did not go amazingly. My GIANT baby refused to sleep like a newborn. He cried and cried for the first 3/4 of the session and then slept super lightly for the last quarter.

We had planned to schedule another mini session to get a few more photos, but I got lazy and didn’t want to endure the torture. Regardless, his pictures are cute! Not my favorite photo session, but definitely some very sweet shots. As you’ll see, my little ham also tried to steal the show with some 2-year-old shots.

Newborn Photography

Henry’s Fresh 48 Photos

I noticed yesterday that I have yet to post any of Henry’s professional photos. For Henry, we did photos in the hospital when Charlie was there visiting. This is the “Fresh 48” and I am SO happy that we did them. They’re amazing and special and give me all the feels.

Fresh 48 Photos

Valentine’s Day

We had a really nice Valentine’s Day! My amazingly sweet husband snuck out of the house early to surprise me with flowers at my office. 


But before I saw my flowers, Marky took charge with both kiddos so I could get into work early…


At lunch, hubby came by to spend time with Henry and I.


And then we put the kiddies to bed early (after an adorable evening with them), ordered Thai food (Marky was even home from work early), and had an at-home date night ❤

My sweet hubs surprised me with a massage gift certificate and the kids and I made him this beautiful little piece of art…