So In Love

  The whole time I was pregnant with baby girl, Bug was very sweet to my tummy.  He gave lots of unsolicited hugs and kisses to his baby sister and often just laid his hand on my belly while we were watching movies or reading books.  He talked to her and sang songs to her.  You know, things that make pregnant Momma’s tear up.  I am thankful that our second child came when our first was old enough to understand (very basically, of course) the concept of a small baby growing in my stomach and then joining our family.

It was a great help to him that I babysat for Baby Emma for a year… from the time she was 3 months old until just a couple of weeks before Cora was born.  Bug got to see Emma go from a very small, fragile baby to a baby that stuck everything in her mouth to a toddler walking around and getting into everything she could.  He was watchful and protective of her.  We were able to use Emma as a teaching mechanism so that when Cora was born, he understood that she would be very small and wouldn’t be able to play much, but as she grew she would be a lot more fun.


When we were in the hospital and Bug was in quarantine, we Facetimed with my In-laws so that he could see her for the first time.  As soon as he laid eyes on her, his little face (the one that doesn’t look so little to me anymore!) got so soft.  The sweetest smile appeared on his face and he said, “Awwww!”  He instantly fell in love, just as Hubby & I did with the first glimpses of our children.

Bug’s reaction to Cora when he saw her in person for the first time was just as heartwarming to this Momma as their video introduction.  His face lit up and he was quiet and again said, “Awwww!”  He sat up on the couch with us and touched her ever so gently everywhere that we would let him.  And then, we mentioned that Cora got him a gift (Ninja Turtle Legos!!) and he was off.  Because he’s 3.  Attention span = short.


Bug’s love and affection for his baby sister hasn’t waned (yet).  Over the last week, he has been so incredibly sweet to her.  He doesn’t get frustrated when she cries, or even that we stop playing to tend to her when she needs something.  He loves “playing” with her when she’s awake.  He pretty much always wants to be aware of where she is and what she is doing.  Of course, we have to watch him like a hawk… he is a boy after all, bounding around with little awareness and walking with his head turned all the dang time.


We are so proud of our little man for already being such a fantastic big brother.  He even brags about her at school.  The other day, he was telling his school friends about Cora at lunchtime and he told them all that Cora drinks milk out of his Mommy’s belly.  Hehehe.  So glad his teacher shared that story!



I mentioned in Cora’s Birth Story that Bug had bronchitis when his little sister was born.  This was sad for us… not only because our little guy was sick, but also because it meant that he couldn’t come to the hospital to meet her.  He didn’t get to meet her until she was already 3 days old.  Not having your whole family together is tough on a new Momma.  You know, hormones and all.  I might have shed a few tears because I missed my big boy so much.  I’d call him my little boy, but he would immediately correct me.  Now that we have a baby in the house, Bug is taking being a big boy very seriously.


Hubby & I feel incredibly lucky to have such a flexible son.  Part of this probably has to do with how we’ve raised him, and part is just his personality.  Part of it is also the fact that he loves his grandparents so very very much and feels so comfortable around them.  One of the main reasons that Hubby & I moved back to our hometown was because we wanted to raise our children near our families.  Both sets of our parents live within 25 minutes of us, and I’m not sure how we’d survive without them.

From the time Bug was a tiny baby, he’s spent a lot of time with his grandparents.  He sees both my In-laws and my parents at least once a week (they help with babysitting while I’m working) and oftentimes more than that.  He’s spent nights at both of their houses, both with and without us, on numerous occasion and naps often at both of their houses as well.  When my water broke with Cora, we were at my In-laws house.  Bug was already in bed, but we knew that he’d be totally fine if he woke up in the morning and we weren’t there.  He spent two nights and my In-law’s house and a night at my parent’s house.  My mom actually had to talk him into coming home on Tuesday to meet his baby sister… he was having so much fun at Grandma’s house that he didn’t want to leave.  She bribed him into the car with snacks.  Works every time.


By carting Bug between family houses so often over the last few years, not only is he comfortable in those environments, but it has helped make him flexible in just about any environment.  This is probably where is easy going personality comes in.  We can take him anywhere for the night and stick him on a random couch and as long as he knows it’s his bed for the night, he’s just fine.  He even had his first sleepover at a friend’s house a few months ago.  Well, it was a sleepover at his Godparents’ house with their kids.  As expected, Mr. Flexible did awesome.  Pretty sure he didn’t even notice that we weren’t there.

Point of this whole post: I’m proud of my Bug for being so flexible.  I hope that we can raise his little sister to be the same.

The Things He Says: Volume 4

Aunt Annie had some friends from Scotland and England visiting.  Bug’s response to their accents? “When they open their mouths they talk silly.”

“Mom, did you get new sunglasses?”
“Yes, Bug, I did.”
“Let me see them… those are cool.”
Just like a big kid 🙂

Really sleepy in the car one afternoon: “I’m going to close my eyes and think about myself.”  And then, promptly fell asleep.

Instead of saying “No, thank you,”… Bug says, “No, please.”  We don’t correct him, because it’s cute.

We had one particularly difficult evening where Bug was just tired after a long day at school.  He refused to eat his dinner, screaming and crying at me to feed it to him.  After telling him that I wasn’t going to feed him because big boys feed themselves, he scooped up some food on his fork, put it on my plate and sassypants said, “I put this here so you could feed me.”  One of those moments where I had to look away so I wouldn’t laugh.

Bug has been having some very good and resourceful ideas lately.  Things like moving his little stool all over the house to be able to reach things that he needs and/or wants.  He is finding more and more ways to become independent, which is great with a new sister in the house.  Every time he does something like this, or every time he sees us do something that he thinks was a good idea, he says, “I was thinkin'” (or, “You were thinkin'”).

One day last week he was on “The greatest ‘fill-in-the-blank’ in the whole world ever” kick.  Each and every thing that day was the greatest.  Sometimes, favorite was substituted for greatest.  My personal fave was “Cora has the greatest baby sounds in the whole world ever.”

Now that it is the holiday season, we’ve been talking a lot about Christmas being Jesus’ birthday and singing a lot of Christmas songs and stuff.  The best part of all of this is Bug saying ‘Jesus Price’ instead of Jesus Christ.  I haven’t been correcting him because I know he’ll only say it that way for a short time and I’ll probably miss it when it’s gone.

Something that I was going to include here, but now technically can’t because, as of last week, it is officially a phrase that Bug used to say: “Sit next by me.”  I am seriously missing this one.  Damn, they grow up so fast!

Instawhat: Week of 8/4


One of Bug’s favorite places to play right now is the baby’s room.  I’d say it’s because he’s getting ready for his sister to arrive or something deeper, but really it’s just because it’s full of toys that he hasn’t played with in a long time.  Like this puzzle.  As soon as we took the pieces out, he said, “Let’s have a battle!”  And so we did.  Nobody won, because he decided that the animals became friends.  Sweet boy.  Love that imagination.


Some lobster crackers that I ordered for work a couple of weeks ago came individually wrapped in these little bubble wrap bags, cardboard and zip ties.  Awesome for Bug, not awesome for Momma, who spent like 20 minutes unwrapping 50 crackers.  I brought a bunch of the bags home and we experimented  with fun ways to pop the bubbles.  The fun lasted about 5 minutes before we had popped them all.


“Mom, take a picture of this!”  He was making some kind of animal sound while he made this face.  Alas, that was a whole week ago and I can no longer remember the sound he was making.  Because I’m pregnant and spacy.

Have a great weekend!

Instawhat: Weeks of 7/21 & 7/28


This is Bug’s new friend Noah.  Noah’s super awesome parents just moved here on a total leap of faith to be the worship leaders of our church.  They moved to a new city & state knowing only a few people… just picked up and moved.  They have garnered a lot of respect from me!  We’ve really enjoyed getting to know them and showing them a little bit about where we live… like Mote Marine!  One of our favorite places to spend a morning.


The day we visited Mote, we took the boys across the street to have a little picnic lunch.  Not a bad spot for a picnic, huh?  The boys loved watching boats go by!  You will notice here that Bug looks quite a bit shorter than Noah.  This is true.  And, of course, Noah is 3 months younger than Bug.  Story of my poor short kid’s life.

I realize it doesn’t look like much of an incline, but this is pretty much the biggest hill in Venice.  It’s part of the Legacy Trail, which is the amazing bike trail that I run on.  This bridge goes over US 41.  I used to look at this bridge as a challenge during my run.  Now I stop and walk and take pictures.


Sometimes, Bug wakes up too early for my liking.  Especially after I’ve worked a late night.  Hubby goes to work at 7am, and his car often wakes up a small child.  If I don’t have to work that morning, or if we don’t have plans of some kind, Bug gets to pick out a movie and climb in bed with me.  We both think this is awesome.  He’s holding a Tums in that picture that was left over from the night before on my bedside table… I wouldn’t let him eat it, so he just held onto it for like 45 minutes.


It was my turn to wait for the hood cleaners at work last week… yay!  Once a quarter, guys come to clean the hoods in the kitchen.  Instead of leaving work at about 11pm, someone gets to stay with the hood guys until, oh, about 2am.  It’s awesome.  I decided to make the most out of that time and work on a project.  I started making a paint chip mobile for baby girl’s room.  It turned out pretty cute… eventually I might even do a little tutorial on it.

This is Bug.  He was once a baby.  He is now a big boy.  Just ask him.  I love looking in on him while he’s sleeping, because he just looks so… so… grown up!  Until I realize that his Bud (his lovey blanket) his in his mouth because he fell asleep sucking it.  That makes me feel a little better… like he’s not growing up quite so fast.

Instawhat: Photo Dump


Hi there.  We’ve been busy living summer.  This here’s a photo dump of what I posted on Instagram for the end of June and most of July.  These pictures pretty much sum up our summer thus far.  See that freckle faced boy?  Poor Casper has skin just like his mommy & daddy… fair & freckled.  No amount of sun leaves a tan on him.  Not that the constant application of 55 spf helps that situation.  It does, however, help that whole skin cancer issue.  You’re welcome, Bug.


I never thought about this when we were naming him, but I am thankful that we chose a short, easy to spell, easy to write name for our son.  He’s been able to spell Eli for months, and now he’s figuring out how to write it.  This was the first time I had him try it (though they may have practiced at school).  With the exception of the letters themselves being backwards, I was was really impressed.


I manage a full service restaurant.  We all know that.  We also cater.  Catering is kind of my baby at work, and we went from rarely catering (like, maybe once a year) to catering events 6-8 times a year.  I love being able to cook something fresh for someone’s wedding or birthday.  I also love the challenge of making a beautiful, delicious meal in an unconventional setting… makeshift kitchen, cooking out of coolers, etc.  We have yet to cater an event where people weren’t really happy, and that makes all of the stress of the organization and timing totally worth it.  This particular wedding was at the same estate where Hubby and I got married, which made it extra special for me.  This couple’s first dance was to Jack Johnson’s “Better Together,” which happens to be the same song that Hubby & I shared our first dance to almost 7 years ago.  I was very excited about that.  Also, the couple had their first date at our restaurant, which I thought was pretty awesome.  It sideways torrential downpoured about thirty minutes before that photo was taken.  Yay for improvising & for portable sunshades!


Hubby and I got to go golfing.  By ourselves.  We laughed a lot.  Love that man.


Fourth of July to me is celebrating with friends and family on the beach and watching the fireworks go off over the water.  This year we were able to share the evening with our new friends from church, some of whom had never experienced the 4th the way we do it in a coastal town.  Our little boy got to play with all of his buddies… I was in heaven watching him be so excited and happy.


After breakfast one morning, Bug said, “Mommy, let’s snuggle.”  Couldn’t say no to that.  Plus, we were both wearing our tie-dyed shirts that we made together.


Random boat trip on the Myakka River.  We packed a lunch, cruised for a bit and just spent time together.  It was a beautiful day with my boys.


A long time ago, when I first started blogging, I had a Pineapple Project.  A pineapple grew from a pineapple grew from a pineapple plant I had planted and I documented the process.  That first pineapple was 4 years ago.  That same plant grew another fruit the following year.  The original plant died off, leaving a pup plant, which is what pineapple plants do.  That pup finally bore fruit this year.  Usually, pineapples start growing in the summer and are ready to eat by December or so… or, at least, my last two pineapples followed that timeline.  This guy started growing in the winter (which was very warm) and was ripe by summer.  The cold snap we had in the middle of that is probably what made him a munchkin pineapple.  He was seriously tiny, but oh-so-sweet and tasty.


We closed for three days at work to do some remodeling and maintenance work.  In three days we managed to empty the kitchen of nearly all of the equipment, re-tile the kitchen, office & dry storage areas, re-pave the parking lot, sand down and re-epoxy the bar top, paint several inside doors, paint some furniture, paint the outdoor patio floor, paint the walls in dry storage and deep clean all of the equipment and pretty much the entire inside of the restaurant.  And, proudly, the only thing that we didn’t do ourselves was the kitchen floor & the parking lot.  I wore a face mask for three days, but it was totally worth it to see the outcome.  Also, it was amazing how many customers walked across the blocked off and freshly tarred parking lot to see if we were closed.


We went on a mini-vacation with my parents to Steinhatchee.  Steinhatchee is a really small town on a rive that leads out to the Gulf in the armpit of Florida.  I don’t mean it’s smelly… it’s just in the curve of Florida before the panhandle.  The scalloping there in the summer is awesome… you snorkel on the grass flats and pick up the most delicious little bay scallops.  We had a great long weekend, but it rained a lot so there wasn’t actually a lot of scalloping to be done.


There is definitely a Hungry Howie’s on the river.  You can call in your order when you are done fishing or scalloping or whatever and then go pick it up by boat.  This made a pregnant lady very happy.


This is how Bug spends his time in the boat.  Catching, naming, playing with and then releasing bait fish and shrimp.  It is amazing how quickly those little hands can grab a pin fish.


While swimming at the beach house, Bug turned Aunt Millie in to an elephant.  He’s quite the magician.


After swimming at the beach house, Bug & I went for $0.99 ice cream at our favorite farm market, Detwiler’s.  Kid takes his ice cream seriously.

What have you been up to this summer?

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?

Birthday Cake Nightmares

Friday night, 2:30am.  I wake up to Bug yelling and crying, which happens very rarely.  I get up and go into his room to hear him sobbing, “I want to go back to my birthday party and finish my birthday cake.”  Not thinking that it was a bad dream, I tried to explain to him that he did finish his cake (you know, a week ago) and to go back to sleep.  This happens two more times before a glass of water calms him down enough to go back to sleep for real.

When he woke up in the morning, the first thing out of his little mouth is, “My birthday party was ruined because I didn’t finish my birthday cake.”  It was then that Hubby realized that he must’ve had a nightmare about not finishing cake.  Hubby then proceeds to explain that dreams are just pictures in your head and they are pretend and yadda yadda and tried to recap his actual birthday party, wherein Bug did finish his birthday cake.  The birthday cake that we, in fact, brought home to be finished at a later date.  I’m not sure Bug bought it.

These, folks, are the things my kid has bad dreams about.  My child that is obsessed with superheroes and villains and Ninja Turtles.  He has nightmares about unfinished birthday cake, which just goes to show how much he loves cake.  Just like his Momma.