Instawhat: Week of 6/16


For the first four months of this pregnancy I was so tired that I spent every free moment napping.  Finally, about a month ago, I started exercising again.  I’ve been running once or twice a week and, man, does it feel good.  Don’t worry, I’ve been taking it super easy… alternating jogging for 5 minutes or so and then walking for a few minutes.  There is a great, wide bike trail that runs throughout our county that I take advantage of as often as I can… mostly because it is full of views just like this.


We spent the weekend with Uncle Chris & Aunt Millie (Bug’s Godparents) and Chris’ wonderful kids Karley & Timothy.  Chris’ grandmother has a home right on the beach here in Venice, so we took advantage of the fact that she is up north for the summer.  That’s Hubby and the kids heading from the pool to the beach.  Rough life, huh?


Buggers and Karley enjoying an awesome surf & turf dinner on the grill.


When Hubby told the kids that he brought fireworks, they were excited.  When he told Uncle Chris, he might have jumped up and down a little bit.  Proof that boys never really grow up.  They just get big enough to use lighters all by themselves.


Yeah fireworks on old crab traps!


Sunday morning swim session/water gun fight.  What else would you do after breakfast?

What did you do this weekend?

Bug’s 3rd Birthday Party

Eleven days ago, my baby turned 3.  Although I’m not one of those moms that loved the baby stage, I’m still wondering where the heck my baby has gone.  Seriously.  The boy turned into a legit kid overnight.  (And I somehow slipped into my early 30s during that night… yeesh.)

We asked Bug what kind of party he wanted, and he answered with an obvious, “Superheroes!”  Last year we had Bug’s birthday party at our community pool, which was great because it’s so darn hot in June.  We totally would have done that again this year, but we may or may not have gotten in trouble last year for having beer at the pool.  I mean, it’s not like anyone was hammered… just some dads (and maybe a couple of moms) enjoying a beer or two while watching burgers cook on the grill and kids playing (supervised) in the pool.  Needless to say, we had to find somewhere else for a party.  We chose the beach.  My wonderful in-laws live in a neighborhood that has a private beach access with a grill and a little pavilion.  It’s the perfect party spot.  We used it for Bug’s 1st birthday, and I’m sure we’ll be using it again!

Party details: Bug requested a Superman cake.  With Superman on a motorcycle.  Because, you see, his friend Ben had a cake with Batman on the Batcycle, but Bug “likes Superman the best.”  I’m thinking, great, I’m going to have to find a motorcycle that a Superman figuring will fit on and superglue them together.  Luckily, at Target one day I happened across an actual Superman on a motorcycle set.  Score.  Bug’s cake (as requested) was chocolate with blue, red & yellow.  I’m pretty sure the kids’ mouths were blue for days.  I know my hands were.  Also, side note on the cake – I used a recipe that replicates Publix’s buttercream icing, because I figured it would hold up well in the heat.  It did, and it was yummy, but it was SUPER GREASY.  Like impossible to wash off of your hands without loads of Dawn greasy.  I won’t make it again unless I need a cake to sit outside for hours.  (So, probably Bug’s next birthday.)

I made superhero capes for all of the kids, with a special E cape for Bug.  We had little party favor bags with Thank You cards attached, little waters for the kiddos with cute labels and an Eli banner.  I designed the graphics, so if you’re looking for Superhero Party labels and whatnot, email me and I’ll hook you up (  All in all, the details looked awesome and the capes were a huge hit.

Funny how we have a party at the beach and nobody actually went down to the beach.  The ids were having so much fun playing in the kiddie pool and in the shower that they never even made it to the sand.  Which, in actuality, was just fine because it kept everyone in the same area.

We grilled burgers & dogs and had cake, of course.  Don’t worry, Bug got to finish his.  I mentioned in an earlier post that it rained for over a week here in SW Florida.  On Bug’s birthday, it rained at our house (several miles east of the beach) off an on all day.  We get to the beach and no rain.  We saw lots of gray clouds, but they floated on past us.  It started raining about 15 minutes or so after the festivities were pretty much done.  It was perfect timing.

My favorite part of Bug’s party was the pinata.  I was mostly impressed with how a group of 2-5 year olds took turns and cheered each other on.  Nobody cried.  Nobody fought.  Everybody shared.  Each kid got  a turn before it busted open.  It was amazing.  Plus, the kids’ faces are priceless.

All in all, Bug had a pretty awesome birthday.  He got to play with his friends (this is his sweet buddy Isaac… Bug pretty much idolizes him) and we got to play with our friends, too.  I guess we never really grow up, huh?

Hurricane Day… Kind Of

Yesterday was a hurricane day.  Growing up in Florida, I’ve been through a lot of hurricane days, with yesterday being the most anti-climactic that I can remember.  Thanks, Isaac, for a whole lotta nothin’.  **Side note – I say that, but in reality, obviously, I am thankful for nothing when it comes to hurricanes.  At least we have the chance to prepare for natural disasters, and I would much rather prepare and have nothing come of it than not be able to prepare at all.  And, of course, my thoughts and prayers are with those who were actually affected by Hurricane Isaac.**  This particular hurricane day was determined all the way back on Saturday with the county calling of school for Monday.  48 hours is a long time in hurricane land.  Way back on Saturday, we were still in the “cone of uncertainty.”  By Sunday morning, right about the same time Walmart ran out of water, we were no longer in said cone.  Yet, schools and government offices were still to be closed… which pretty much still made everybody think that there was some serious imminent danger headed our way.

We did some minor stuff at home in case we got heavy winds, like putting the potted plants in the garage and moving the patio furniture up against the house.  At work, we pulled all of the patio furniture inside just in case.  By Sunday afternoon it was pretty clear that we didn’t need to put hurricane shutters up.  It was pretty windy & rainy Sunday night, but nothing too crazy.  All of that meant that, this morning, I got to put all of the patio furniture at work back outside.  I was standing out on the patio, moving tables and chairs at 9:00 with the sun beating down on me.  Sure felt like a hurricane day.  Not.  And, other than bands of rain and wind every hour or so, the only reason it felt like a hurricane day was due to the ghost town feeling around town.  Not many cars on the roads, not many people out for lunch, not many businesses open.  Needless to say, I was happy to cut out of work a little early and spend some time with my family… my family that didn’t have school or work and therefore pretty much just got a free pass to play all day.

The best thing about Hurricane Isaac (or Tropical Storm Isaac as it was when it passed near-ish to our area) was the surf.  You see, we live on the southwest coast of Florida.  When a tropical system comes into the gulf, we have the potential to get really good surf, which doesn’t happen that often on our side of the state.  However, if a storm is too close to the coast, the surf is to choppy and rough and therefore sucky.  Hubby, being a surfer, went from being hopeful that we were going to get a storm to slightly depressed that it was going to be too close for good surf to super excited that it had moved far enough west.  If you know any surfers, especially in Florida, then you know that they are probably the only people that really look forward to hurricane season.  And, yes, Hubby woke up at 6:30 this morning and hit the water at sunrise.

Though I didn’t mind being at work, I was bummed that I couldn’t spend the day on the beach with him.  Hurricane days out on the beach are some of my favorite memories.  It is gray and windy and rainy, but also very warm and balmy and sticky.  As the storm surge comes in, the beach starts to disappear and things just look so… different.  And beautiful.  The waves start out small in the morning and grow exponentially until the wind gets on it too much and the waves get blown out.  The quickness of it all is what makes hurricane swells so different from regular swells.  It is such a peaceful and humbling feeling to be sitting on a surfboard in the rain.

When we were in college, we used to come home for hurricane swells and spend the whole day out on the beach.  We’d get out there as soon as it was light out.  I’d surf with the boys until the waves got too big for me.  The current moves really quickly with storm swells, so there was a lot of drifting past the best break and then walking back up the beach to do it all over again, the storm surge creeping up higher and higher with every drift.  I’d sit on the beach and just watch the boys doing what they love best.  I’d watch the rain and the wind and the way it moved things around.  Or, I’d nap in the back of the Toaster (our beloved Honda Element).  Oh, how I love sandy beach naps in the Toaster.  We’d grab some lunch at whichever beachside restaurant had the balls to stay open and hit the water again until the waves were too blown out or the rain was too hard or the wind was too dangerous.  I loved those days… with the salt sticking to my skin and my hair.

Surfer Boy

I would like to start by saying that yesterday was the first time we’d seen the sun in almost a week.  The clouds started last Thursday, followed by 5 straight days of nothing but wind and rain.  Thank you, Tropical Storm Debby.  Now, if you live in Washington or, say, Alaska, you might be used to not seeing the sun for 5 days.  Spending pretty much my whole life in Florida, I am NOT okay with no sunshine.  Yesterday’s sun (and accompanying heat) was welcome.

Tropical Storm Debby not only threw wind and rain our direction, but also waves.  Hubby is a surfer and got to spend the entire day Sunday surfing some of the best waves the west coast of Florida has seen in quite some time.  Saturday, the waves were smaller, but still pretty well formed, so we decided to take Bug for his first surf session.

We started by having him sit on a board while Hubby & I swam & pulled the board to the sand bar… where the little waves were breaking.  The plan was for Hubby to push him into a wave & for me to be on the receiving end should he fall.  2 problems with this plan: 1) Bug was not excited about being on the board by himself and 2) the tide was so high that I could barely stand on the sand bar… treading water for an hour was NOT going to happen.  We didn’t want him to be scared of the situation, and I didn’t want to drown, so we ended up going back to shore with me swimming and Hubby paddling on the board with Bug on front.  He paddled Bug around for a while and tried to have him stand on the board for a minute.

After a little break, we decided to take him out with 2 boards… Hubby & Bug on one and then me on another.  This worked out SO much better!  Hubby & Bug caught one decent wave, and Buggy loved every bit of the 6 second thrill ride.  I was on the inside, waiting to dive off and grab him if fell off (don’t worry, he had a life vest on, too).  He did fall off a couple of times, but each time he wanted to get right back on and do it again.  There was a lot of excited squealing going on.

Bug’s first surf session was a huge success.  It was also a dream come true for Hubby.  Surfing is Hubby’s one true passion.  To the point of all plans will be cancelled if there is surf… with the exception of childbirth.  Ever since we found out I was pregnant, you could just see him playing a video in his mind of taking his kid surfing for the first time.  God help any child of ours who doesn’t like water.

“I’mma go surfin” is now the new favorite phrase in our house.

When did you first share your passions with your children?  When did they first participate?

2012 Vacation #1: Captiva!

I have a brother.  I don’t think I’ve ever written about him here because, well, I just don’t get to see him all that often.  He’s pretty awesome, though.  He lives in a suburb of Chicago with his beautiful wife & their 6 year old twin boys.  Up until the twins were born, we went on a family vacation every year.  Note that I said up until the twins were born.  We haven’t been on a family vacation in over SIX years, people.  It doesn’t help that I work for my family, which means that it is near impossible for my Dad & I to take time off at the same time.  But, this year, we decided it had been way too long and we got to spend an entire week together!  My bro & his family was here for a week and our parents took the whole family to Captiva Island for the last few days.  We used to vacation here as kids, and when we were there in August for my cousin’s wedding, we though it would be a great place to spend some time as a family.

We started out by spending a couple of days here in town, just hanging out at my pool and at Mom & Dad’s house.  Somehow, in spending like 6 straight days together, we only managed to get ONE family picture.  That’s what happens when there are small children running around.

The cousins all had an absolute blast playing together.  We spent lots of time out on the beach building some serious sandcastles.

And then, in true little boy style, destroying them.

We spent each morning swimming and relaxing on the beach…

We spent each afternoon swimming in the pool and eating ice cream.  I didn’t get a single picture of Bug swimming.  Why?  Because he spends all of his swimming time underwater these days, but since he hasn’t quite figured out yet that he has to come up for air, somebody (me) has to have a hand on him AT ALL TIMES.

We brought our boat down with us and Hubby & Papa took the twins on their first fishing trip one evening.  They were super excited to tell us that they learned how to “launch” (cast).  They didn’t catch anything, but Papa & Hubby did, and they got to help reel the fishy fishies in.

The last night, Grandma & Papa babysat and Hubby, my brother, my sister-in-law and I all got to go out on the town.  We went to Tween Waters Inn, which is a place where my uncle’s band played like 20 years ago, to watch some live music and a have a couple of adult beverages.  There are pictures from that evening, but let’s just say that I’m not allowed to post them.  It was wonderful to spend so much time with my brother & his family… and to watch Bug interact with his cousins.  He wanted to emulate everything that the big boys did, and they were so good about letting him play with them.  Family vacation are the best.

Are you planning any family vacations this summer?

Love Where I Live

There is usually one day a week where I take Bug to school at 9 and then I don’t have to be at work until 4. Usually on those days I get as much housework done as possible.  Today, though, I decided to take advantage of where I live.  I dropped Bug off and went for a run by the beach.  I brought a book and a towel and plan to spend the next hour or so laying on the sand.  I might even stand up long enough to go for a swim.


In other news, I turn 30 tomorrow.  More on that later.

Beach Days Are Here Again

I know I have posted about the beach before.  Like here. And here.  Oh, and here & here.  Trust me, this won’t be the last time either.  If you’re new here, let me fill you in on something.  We live in a beach town in southwest Florida.  You know, the part of the country where it got below 40 like twice all winter.  The part of the country that allowed Bug & I to swim IN THE OCEAN on March 1st.  It’s pretty much summer here already.  Crazy town.  I love it.

So far this month, we’ve been to the beach twice and the pool twice and the splash pad downtown twice.  My kid WILL be tan by the end of the summer, darnit.  I say this, but it won’t happen.  Have you seen my kid?  Ghost-baby-Casper-white all around.  It doesn’t help that we load him up with the 70 spf and make him wear a rash guard most of the time.  Hubby and I are both fair-skinned frecklies (especially Hubs), so we pretty much wrote off our kid being tan before he was even conceived.  We also wrote him our of any sports where you have to be bigger than 5′ 9″ and 150 pounds.  Poor guy.  Soccer & surfing are pretty much his only hopes.

Anywho, back to the beach.  We kind of have a good beach routine down.  We play up in the sand first.  I get Bug a bucket full of water and we get the sand wet and make sand castles (and destroy them, obvi).

Then, we head down to the water’s edge and dig in the wet sand there a little bit.  Sometimes we pick up sand and throw it around… but never at people… because we don’t throw sand at people, Eli. Then, Bug makes a beeline for the water.  He’ll straight up run right in until his head is underwater.  Who cares that he can’t swim yet?  Not Bug!  Who cares that the water is still pretty darn chilly?  Not Bug!  Who cares that Momma LOATHES cold water?  Not Bug!

Is it beach/pool/splash pad weather where you are?

The Men in My Life

See these guys?  These are the most important men in my life… my husband, my son & my daddy.

I am so blessed to be able to spend so much time with my guys.  One Sunday a couple of weeks ago the 4 of us went to the beach together.  Bug had so much fun hanging out in one of his favorite places with some of his favorite people.  Momma had fun watching her men enjoy each others’ company.

It was just one of those days where you think, “Life is good.”

Water. Baby.

 See that little baby toddler walking all by himself straight for a giant (to him) fountain of water?  That’s my son.  Fearless.

You see, Bug is a Water. Baby. It helps that he lives in a beach town in a hot place with parents and grandparents who would almost always prefer to be doing something outside in any kind of water.  We have a great little splash pad in our little downtown area for kids to play in.  And Bug doesn’t like to play in the little tiny outskirt fountains meant for the little kids.  Oh, no.  He likes to run through middle… through the big streams of water with the big kids.  Before he could walk unassisted, this meant that Mommy got to run through the big fountains, too.  Now I get to (mostly) avoid them!


Buggy also really loves to go swimming in the pool.  We started ‘dunking’ him under about a month ago and he is getting so good at it!  We (either me or Hubby) bounce slowly up and down, count to three and make a big show of holding our breath, then we blow in his face (helps him hold his breath) and gently put his head under.  He takes a breath before he goes under and comes with up the funniest face… then he laughs and starts bouncing to do it again.

Mr. Man is a pro at diving into the pool.  He’ll sit on the side and on the count of three will jump off into your arms.  Well, Daddy’s arms.  For some reason he won’t do it for Momma… I am obviously not as cool as the Da-da.

The beach is obviously a huge hit.  Shells are awesome toys (no, no Eli… not in your mouth) and waves coming up do not bother Bug in the least.  In fact, the bigger the better.  He better get used to those big waves, because surfing is pretty much his only option for pro sports.  Or maybe soccer.  Hubby and I are pretty small people, so poor Eli has no hopes of becoming a basketball or a football player.

Hubby and I feel so blessed to live where we do… beautiful weather and water and lots of fun outdoor activities for our boy.

What do you do with your kids outside?