Friday, July 7, 2017

Summertime and Potty Boot Camp

Summer always signals a flight response inside of me. Florida summer and me have never been best friends, although we have made an uneasy peace over the past few years, mostly due to the fact that I try and get the heck out of dodge for at least a week or so.

Following that theme, I finally tapped in to 5 years worth of frequent flyer miles and bought myself a ticket up to Chicago. A quick girls trip to the lovely little Naperville and downtown Chicago was just what the doctor ordered- and luckily coincided with 75 degree weather. Danielle described Naperville to me as "Disneyworld"- think Main Street USA - and she ain't wrong. And while they do have a beautiful man made beach, and Portillos (I brought chocolate cake home as a carry-on souvenir for Jared because of course I did.) they do not have dynamite rolls at their sushi houses, ain't perfect. Almost but not quite.

Danielle hadn't done much city exploration, so doing the relaxed and abbreviated tourist thing was so much fun. Chicago has so much beautiful architecture, design, and FOOD so we hopped a boat tour, visited the Robbie House, checked out the Tiffany dome in the old library, went to a vintage market, and stuffed ourselves at Frontera Grill.  We also entered and failed to win the Hamilton lottery ;___;

Refreshed from my time alone, I came back to my little home on French Street and the very next weekend instituted a Potty Boot Camp. When I first told Echo that there would be no more diapers, she flipped out and tried to haul 2 foot long pack of "biapuhs" out of the giant box in was stashed in, followed by a lot of wailing. Don't worry, I caught some of it on tape. Shortly thereafter, she peed on the floor, tried to run away, slipped in her own urine puddle and fell on the air intake grate in our hallway. Non-stop fun fest at the Alexander household.

All of those things aside, she did SO great. Once she got over the shock of having her beloved diapers ripped from her, she got really in to the potty and the individual skittle reward. She filled her little sticker chart 4 days later and hasn't looked back! The potty pride is strong, I am very proud of her, even if she did become so engrossed in a story yesterday that she peed on my lap. Two has been such a precious time, so far. I love toddler Echo. She's so funny, sweet and kind.

If there is one thing I have learned as a parent of an Echo - because so much of parenting relies on the child under your care - is that any anxiety, stress, guilt or fear I am feeling as a parent is usually self induced. Echo is incredibly resilient. Every milestone we face - ditching the paci, switching from breast milk to formula, ditching the bottle, daycare, sleep training, you name it, she seems to just take it in stride. She is two, so obviously crazy moments are there (see: pee-pee puddle comedic gold), but I am almost always the one making it worse by being a stress monster or a guilt monster. I actually learned my lesson a tiny bit, and didn't rush the potty thing. I just set my expectations that yes, I would be a prisoner in my own home for 3 days, and No, we would never do day-time diapers again (naps excluded) and moved forward at my own pace, regardless of the fact that other kids were/were not potty trained completley by 18 months or whatever. Just knew I was doing my absolute best for my absolute best girl, and that perspective change really helped.

In pregnancy news, I hit the 6 month mark. Echo, and everyone else, is convinced the baby is a girl. Echo specifically say's its a baby sister named Ronnie. In fact, she asked for a baby sister with a bottle for her potty training grad gift, ans seems quite determined. Time will tell - we will find out Cubby's gender on it's birthday :).

Monday, May 29, 2017

Seat belts everyone!

Hello, proud owner of a school bus checking in. We found a great deal on a Toyota Sienna, and I have embraced van life. For reason's unknown Echo calls it the School Bus and is OBSESSED with it. So, just call me Ms. Frizzle.

This past Friday Jared and I took our second overnight trip away from Echo. While she lived in up with her aunt and uncle, we went to see Beach House and catch the first temple session of the day. I'm 19 weeks pregnant today and have reached full pot belly Is she pregnant? phase.

Had to stop by an old haunt after the show- Grits and Gravy nights are something I still miss! Of course I-Bar wasn't even open yet because we sauntered by at the crazy wild hour of 9:30. PS I was already exhausted.

Jared's true natural reaction to my secret selfie attempt says it all.

Of course we missed our sweet E, talked about her often, and discussed the new gummy cub on the way as well. I am so happy I get to be her mama.

Friday, May 12, 2017


Life is busy for everyone, but 2017 seems to quite possibly be the busiest year of my life. Every 2 weeks or so we seem to be thrown some kind of curve ball.

Of course these interruptions are a great excuse out of many things, blogging included. Today someone mentioned trying to find my dusty old blog and I quickly discovered that my URL had been completely taken over by some weird sweat shop clothing ads. Bummer. I also flipped through a few old posts and was immediately reminded that I remembered SO little of what I had written. I didn't remember that Echo used to try and put her hands in my mouth when she was nursing, or use my palm to cover her face when she was falling asleep. But boy do I want to remember!

Anyway, enough of waxing poetic. I give you 2017 AS WE KNOW IT:

Jared and I celebrated 5 years of Holy Matrimony with a trip to Disney (thanks Beth) and Pizza. Jared and Echo continue to have the same ocean blue eyes. I also had a really early miscarriage and felt like I was losing my flipping mind for a few weeks.

Come on, y'all knew I was a dark sider. ^
The new-ish neopolitan pizza place in EPCOT has been our go to in the parks. The pizza is delicious and as long as you're in the mood to share a pie, it is super affordable and well above and beyond Pizza Planet. 

Echo turned 2, and on the day of the party fell down a steep staircase. She ended up throwing up and nearly passing out a few hours later, so we had a crazy stressful trip to the ER. Graham and Lacey were able to come and be with us, and give Echo a blessing. About an hour after arriving she was diagnosed with a mild concussion and was back to her old self, trying to climb the bed railings and jump off.

 On her actual birthday Aunt Lacey and Uncle Graham brought her some awesome gifts (ring pops are where its at) and our beloved Gilligan was attacked by another dog! He had a nice little gash ripped in to his side by a particularly mean pit bull who pulled away from his owner and ran Gill down. 

This month I also got to take off on a girls trip! Yes truly! With my best Jacksonville girls. We are spread all over the place these days and had a wonderful time eating and dancing and talking for hours and hours on end.

We also had a wonderful time at the Scottish Highland Games and we found out I was expecting again.

This month was especially hard. I love my sister in laws very dearly. One of them experienced a very personal and tragic loss, and the other nearly lost her life in a horrible car accident. Moments like these really shake you to the core, and I am so grateful for my family. 

I turned 28 (lets be honest I feel 30) and we went to Oahu! I was also sick as a dog for most of it :) 

Easter! The older I get, the more I love and cherish the Easter holiday. I love what it represents, and it seems a lot easier to focus on Christ at Easter. of course I/m never above a good cousin egg hunt. Sadly I could not convince Echo to wear a bonnet. End of an era folks.

Also - termites started taking over Echo's daycare! Ugh, what a saga. Lots of working the afternoons at home with my little helper.

Jared caught up with me on this side of our late 20's, and he had a great 28th birthday- if I do say so myself. We are only 12 days in to this month and on Monday I went and got myself rear-ended on I-10. My car was totaled, and it was pretty terrifying, getting in a wreck with a 2 yr old in your backseat. So....looks like the tail end of this month will end with minivan shopping. Below please see some photos of Echo and her friend Hazel. Or as she calls her: Beezle. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Overwhelming Every Day

Echo at 15 months

Echo is officially a toddler. A a crazy one at that. This picture was taken back in May and my brother's pre-wedding festivities.

I haven't been blogging and as time seeps on I start to panic about losing detail or getting to far from an event for it to matter (Echo's first birthday?!)

So for now, here is a little post on my dear sweet E. I will give her birthday a proper post.
Echo at 17 months

So- Blueberries. The best possible explanation of Echo at GASP 18 months, is her complete devotion to blueberries. She's always been a great eater. She's getting a bit more dubious of veggies lately, but if she see's anything that even looks a tiny bit like a blueberry, she goes ape. She begs and pleads and whines and will eat half a pint in one sitting. Other favorites are oatmeal, plain greek yogurt with a little pure maple syrup (and blueberries obvs), scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes, grilled chicken (she won't eat fried), edamame and pad thai.

She hates sitting still, she loves water. Even the simplest sprinkler elicits oo's and awes. She says about 30 words, including Mama, Gilligan, Rory, Daddy, Thank You, All Done and Shoe. She dances wildly at any music, and sings softly to the more sombre tunes. She folds her arms for the prayer, and loves to take walks. She can handle even the biggest slides at the park all by herself. Her favorite person is probably her Grandpa Alexander, though she rarely meets someone she doesn't like. She also loves to smack her parents which we are working on....

So other then a toddler consuming my life, what's up? Jared is almost 6 months in to being a scribe at UF Health North, still chugging away towards PA school. And I, after a year of working "part time" 35 hrs a week, am going back to full time hours. We've been enjoying our time having just about no social life beyond Netflix ha! Although we have been l o v i n g Broadchurch and Stranger Things lately.

I've been back on my fitness grind. I've dropped 13 lbs! I am really proud of myself. The last year has been hard in a way that it's difficult to describe. Just so much change, and growing up, frustration, loneliness, heartache and trial countered with pure joy, support, love, bravery, and hard work. Just the overwhelming ever day that most of us endure.

We also got to go on a great family vacation to Vancouver. Blogging it is on my list!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Better late then never

* This has sat in my inbox for 3 months!!! So may as well post it right? I have a bunch of updates to slog through but you gotta start somewhere**

I just had a thought of Echo at 8 years old and my breath caught in my throat. It makes my eyes well-up to think of her journaling, reading Anne of Green Gables for the first time, writing in her friends yearbooks, and checking out book after book after book on dogs or chinchillas or whatever she is obsessed with. Maybe she won't do any of that stuff, but I sure did. Looking at Echo really makes me think about my own childhood and how imperfect it was, but also consider the fact that for most of it I was so earnestly happy.

Echo at 11 months is climbing stairs up and sliding down again and again. She started wobbling around at 10 months and is now trying her hardest to run, often falling flat on her face. She grabs a trophy: a whisk, a lego, a sock, and carries it around. Walking back and forth, exploring every nook, and now climbing anything she can. After a walk the other day I bent to unleash the dog, and in a second she had pushed the stroller to the front door, scampered to the top and started grasping for the doorknob.

Shes also had a cold for weeks and is the snottiest kid on the block. Ever tried to give cough syrup to a congested spider monkey? *update she had- and still has!- RSV*

A few first steps.

We got a new behemoth car seat. It looks launch-ready and I'm certain she will be the cutest thing in lunar orbit. With the new car seat came a realization that holy crap we have 0 space in our car so....something else? Wanna buy a Ford Focus? The minivan looms in the distance, but my wallet and ok a tiny bit of my pride isn't quite ready for that yet. People are very passionate about minivans, did you know that? They are even more passionate about giving a 1 year old the right to face forward and see the wide open road for what it truly is! She deserves it, darn it! But I say through gritted teeth that she is very petite and install the car seat rear facing just the same, while feverishly reciting the Consumer Reports study I poured over in my head. I try to think of all the unwanted advice I have been given and swallow my opinions as often as I can, which is not easy for me. *update- we got a CR-V*

When I think about why it's been so hard for me to blog lately, I look to the last few paragraphs. My life is work and Echo and Jared. Not so many fun little romps lately. In fact, many really boring romps! Many treks through adulthood. But still nuggets I want to remember and a life that I am so grateful for.

Our family turned 4 on January 21st. Jared and I, and Echo. My team. Jared is a really good dad and a great partner. I love him a lot and I still have a big crush on him.