Friday, August 29, 2008

5 things to take on a road trip with kids

So we are embarking on our journey to Atlanta tonight and I still have to get home and finish packing after all of us unexpectedly crashed at 9:30 last night. Thank you to Debby for the recommendation to visit Stone Mountain...we are going on Monday and coming home very late Monday night. Good thing I took Tuesday off!

Anyway, back to the purpose for this post. Here is what we can't live without on this trip:

5. Sunscreen for the two days we're spending outdoors.
4. Fun snacks for the road and during one of our many stops (we don't want to be forking out bills every time Myles is thirsty or just wants a small snack).
3. At least 4 movies for the long car ride up and back.
2. The camera...and lots of spare batteries for it!
1. An extra helping of patience...just in case!

Most likely, you won't hear from me again until Tuesday. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Locked out

Grrr...we locked ourselves out of the house tonight. How could we, you may ask? Well, it was the combination of lots of variables...and it wasn't pretty.

Myles was not happy when we returned from a bike ride to the local playground only to find we were locked out. It was coming up on 9pm. Billy had his keys, but the key we needed (to our bottom lock on the side door) was inside the house, where our housekeepers had left it after cleaning today. Billy didn't think about that before he left the house with his keys. Oh, and our front door has a deadbolt on it.

We tried all of the windows, the glass sliding door, even called the police, but alas, we were out of luck. With Myles having a meltdown screaming "GO INSIDE!" Billy finally decided to KICK IN our front door!!! He unlocked the actual lock with his key and had to kick the door about 6 or 7 times to break the deadbolt. It was quite disturbing, but on the bright side, at least we know our door frame is pretty darn sturdy! It wasn't damaged a bit!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


We are going on a quick vacation this weekend! Friday afternoon, Billy, Myles and I will pile into my car and make the 7-hour drive to Atlanta. We're staying with one of my closest friends, Julie and her husband Bryan. We are thrilled. This will be Myles' first trip!

While I love seeing new places, I am not a good traveler. I H-A-T-E to fly and while I enjoy a good road trip, it doesn't sound too appealing with a toddler. And, to be fair to him, it doesn't sound like much fun for him. As a result, Myles has never been out of the state...actually, he's only been two places - Treasure Island, FL (about 2.5 miles to the southwest) and Ocala, FL (about 90 miles north). Now that we're rapidly approaching 2.5, we felt it was time and Atlanta was the perfect place to go!

While there, we are taking Myles to Six Flags Over Georgia, where they have a massive Thomas the Tank Engine area and lots of rides, many of which he can ride. We're also going to the Georgia Aquarium and the Imagine That! Children's Museum. I've already started hyping the trip up to Myles. He knows he's going to see Thomas the Train and "the sharks." He's getting excited, but not as excited as me!

More to come, along with lots of pictures!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Entertaining a toddler during a never-ending Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm Fay has been sitting over us for more than 48 hours and it's not been easy for Myles. The schools (and his day care) are open one day (because it looks like it's heading out) and closed the next (because it decides to stall again). The poor kid has been indoors for 3 days. However, we've tried to have some indoor fun these ways:

1. Lots of coloring. Myles loves to have me draw shapes for him so that he can identify them. He can also draw a pretty nice looking circle. We've probably spent more time coloring these last 3 days than we have his entire life. It's actually been nice!

2. Playing different games with his beach ball. We've played monkey in the middle, worked on his throwing and catching skills and batted the ball around our huge coffee table (among the 3 of us) doing our best not to let it hit the floor. Of course, as soon as Myles realized the reaction it got when it did fall to the floor (Ohhhh noooooo!), he purposely let it drop each time it came his way.

3. Watching movies. Last night we watched about half of Peter Pan before bed. We've also watched Cars, Finding Nemo and parts of Meet the Robinsons (which belongs to some friends who have been on vacation).

What do you do when you're stuck inside with a toddler for such long stretches? Today is more of the care closed, winds high and rain heavy. If Fay doesn't go away very, very soon, I'm afraid we're all going to lose our minds!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

My head is ready to explode at work so I had to stop and breathe. Here's a fun recent photo from a park trip.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Free movies at UCF

Last night we took Myles to his first movie - a free showing of some cartoons on the UCF lawn, showing on a 26' screen. It was a gorgeous night and we were able to get a seat pretty close to the screen. But we were validated in our opinion that he's not quite ready for the movie theater yet when he decided he was done about 15-20 minutes in. Now, in his defense, we did get there about 45 minutes before they actually started. We wanted to get a seat up front and we wanted to sit on the lawn and eat some pizza (which you could order from your blanket with servers from the on-campus establishments walking around taking orders). And the movie itself really wasn't all that relevant for an active two year-old. But hey, we tried and we will most likely try one of these again because a) it's something to do and b) it's free. I certainly recommend these movies on the lawn to families with young kids in the area.

The area where they showed the movie (Knights Plaza, on campus) is beautifully decorated with lots of nicely lit trees. Here's a photo as we were leaving around 9.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The body of a mommy

I've been thinking a lot this year about my body. It sure has changed over the past 10 years, when I was a svelte 21 year-old Barbie doll! Gosh, even if I look back four years ago, the old body was much more attractive to the average eye.

And then I look at myself today. Sure, I'm up 11 pounds from where I was at 21. I'm up about 5 pounds from where I was four years ago. I never quite found my waistline again and my hips decided they'd keep about an extra inch or two. My legs started to sag a little. And I continued to look in People Magazine every week and cry inside that I didn't look like the women I see in its pages.

I made a pact with myself that I'd finally get that pre-pregnancy body back (2 years post-partum, mind you), joined Weight Watchers and got to work. Well, I lost those last few pregnancy pounds. But do you know what? As soon as I eased up, I put them all back on! It took me 6 weeks to take them off and 6 days to put them back on.

It was then that I realized my body is where it wants to be as a 31 year-old mom. And it was then that I decided I would love my body regardless if it was a size 8 (which it is) or a size 4 (which I so longed to be again).

Don't get me wrong - I still want to exercise and be in shape. And I know I need to eat right. Those choices should be a part of every person's lifestyle, thin or not thin. But what I'm no longer doing is depriving myself of a piece of cake if I want it. Or ordering skimpy salads with little to no dressing when I really want a chicken breast and fries. I'm learning to live with my body...all size 8 of it!

Here are a couple of pictures - one from four years ago, when I was "Barbie" (and that's Jen from Another Online Mom to my right!) and one from earlier this year, at Disney. You can't see my body well, especially on the first photo, but I'll have to post some different photos when I'm home and have access to them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My new layout

So I finally bit the bullet, sat down and took the time to find a more suitable layout for my site... you know, something that actually matches my personality. So thanks to my friend Katy of Another Mommie Blog, I came across this great blog designer named Lena. She had dozens of very cool designs that were fairly simple to download. Let me know your thoughts on the new blog if you have a minute.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Counting the days til August is over!

So I'm taking the idea for this post from my friend Jen's blog but this is something I was just thinking about this morning. I absolutely detest August! I think every Floridian must (unless you have a birthday this month)! It's hot, muggy and the amount of rain always seems to drop off, leaving my poor plants to shrivel up! It's even unbearable to go to a shady park and play on most August days. It's also a dead month in the hockey world (my favorite sport) and the holidays are all still too far away to get excited about. So while I H-A-T-E August every year (and dread it from about May until it's officially over), I've decided to find my Top 3 favorite things about it. This is something my husband has encouraged me to do, since he says I complain too much about the weather (wah, wah!). So here they are...enjoy (Billy)!

1. Mad Men is in season the entire month (my favorite TV show)
2. The fall clothing line is released (always very exciting for me)
3. My mom and my brother celebrate birthdays, which means two pieces of cake to gorge down

Are Jen and I alone in our overall disdain for August? What else is there to love about it? Please...I'm dying for reasons here!

Fun times...some old, some new

Well, the week of being a single mom (Billy was in California) is finally over and our goal over the weekend was to really re-connect again as a family and show Myles lots of fun. I think that goal was accomplished!

Truly, the highlight of the weekend was our Saturday trip to Wet & Wild, a nearby waterpark in Orlando. Billy's company was holding its annual picnic there, meaning the day was 100% free! What a fun time we had! The park was absolutely packed, so we spent most of our time in the kids area. This area, while fairly crowded, definitely offered room to breathe, and the company rented out three very large covered pavilions for its employees and families, with people only able to enter if they had on a wristband. These large pavilions came in handy when they shut everything down around noon for an hour to wait out a thunderstorm. Myles did ride on one slide - The Bubba Tub. Billy, Myles, and his co-worker and 4 year-old son waited 45 minutes to ride the five-story slide that features a gigantic tube taking on three drops. Myles looked petrified as he was coming down the final drop (I had a good view), but when they got to the bottom and we were all cheering for him, he let out an uneasy laugh and yelled "Again!" Of course, there was no again. Not with the lines.

We also had fun Sunday evening, as Myles and I went down to Shady Park for him to play in the splash fountain for about an hour. He loves the water and now that we're only about six weeks from the beginning of the seasonal change, we're getting in our last bits of fun.

We are also planning to go to Chick Fil A tomorrow night to see Mr. Richard give his monthly performance there for the kids. It's always a fun night, as Myles loves Mr. Richard. Hopefully this time, I can get some photos.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Reasons I work

Sometimes people ask me why I choose to work when I have such a wonderful little boy who I could spend my days with. It's a fair question! After all, Myles is truly a joy and there are many days when I have a lot of guilt for leaving him with someone who certainly doesn't love him anywhere near the way I do. So I ponder the question...and offer some answers.

1. I really enjoy having a life outside of motherhood. I tried being home for about six months and didn't enjoy it at all. Now, in all fairness, Myles was at his most challenging while I was home and I felt very unprepared to deal with the challenges. I also felt very tired and found myself dying to get some time away from Myles, which is very unhealthy.

As a working mom, my life is much more routine (most days!). Myles and I spend some time together in the morning, we enjoy our car ride to the daycare center, I come to work on projects that generally don't require mommy skills, and I'm able to socialize with other adults. When 5:00 rolls around, I'm dashing out the door...dying to see Myles and create some memories.

2. I have no support network. With my closest family member living 50 minutes away (and she is very busy with 3 kids!), I typically cannot lean on family to just "give me a break." Usually, I can only get help in an extreme emergency. It's a little better during the summer when my mom is not working, but she, too, is 90 minutes away, hardly around the corner. I also have very, very few friends. The friends I've made in the past 10 years are all either in another state now, or they do not have kids. There are one or two exceptions but again, people are very busy and I can hardly fill much time with just one or two other moms to hang out with.

3. I enjoy having the extra money. It is always interpreted as a selfish statement, but I have to be honest here. I can't stand being "broke." I want to take a vacation every year (although that hasn't quite worked out yet) and I don't want to have to worry so much when we have to spend $5,000 to have our house re-plumbed (which we may be facing right now) or when a car needs major service. Particularly in these economic times, Billy and I are seeing our "net worth" dropping steadily before our our house has lost $50k in value in under three years and our investments have been losing money every quarter. In essence, if we were faced with an emergency, we wouldn't have a lot of money to fall back on if I stopped working and we were once again living paycheck-to-paycheck.

So there you have it. Straight from a working mom's mouth. I absolutely adore Myles...I would give up my life if it would save his. My heart does ache for him when I'm gone. But I've been on the other side...and this is the right one for me at this point in my life.