Instawhat: Weeks of 7/21 & 7/28

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 (thebakerbee@hotmail.com).  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?

Instawhat: Week of 12/9

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On Sunday of last week, we went to Mote Marine with some good friends to see the new sea lion exhibit and show.  It was so much fun.  This is Karley and Timothy, the children of one of our best friends.  Timothy is 7 and Bug pretty much idolizes him.  Timothy is so sweet and holds Bug’s hand and plays with him.  It’s too sweet.

Bug used to LOVE the hurricane machine (see this video for proof!).  He was having fun up until about 50 mph.  And then he started freaking out.  Luckily, you can open the door while the wind it is on!  Karley & Hubby helped him out.  I stood my ground and took a picture.

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We cut Bug’s hair!  And then I spiked it!  He looks like a totally different kid, and like such a big boy!

Bug loves to play with Play Doh, but he loses interest in making his own creations pretty quickly.  He would much rather dictate to you what he’d like you to build.  This is Frosty the “Towman.”  Bug made the broom and the hat.

This is Rudolph pulling Santa’s sleigh.  It’s hard to see, but Santa is in the sleigh with a bag of toys sitting on top of him.  Bug made the toys.

After the snowman and Santa and Baby Jesus, Bug said, “Mom, we need Joseph the Dadda and Mary the Momma.”  Love.

Instawhat – Week of 11/18

First of all, I would like to say that I didn’t take a single picture on Thanksgiving.  We took some family pictures, but not a single one was on my camera.  Whoops.

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This is Mr. Bug Head.  He says nice to meet you.

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This is Pirate Bug.  He’s walking the plank.  He also says nice to meet you.

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Last week, we took a trip to the library.  It was awesome.  We checked out a Fireman Sam DVD… this was Bug’s face for pretty much the entirety of the 5 episodes on said DVD.  Kid loves fire fighters!

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There is a horse show over Thanksgiving week in Tampa that is a tradition for my mom and I.  It’s one of the 4 times a year we get to spend with our horse show family.  This is my barn sister Lauren.  I love her to pieces!

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On Friday night, my restaurant catered a wedding out on Siesta Key.  We were cooking on the beach during sunset… our toes in the white sugar sand.  You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful setting!  This, of course, is not on the beach, but rather in the parking lot.  This is Brittnee… my right-hand catering woman.  She thought it’d be fun to ride on the cart back to the trailer.  She was right.  Also, we had NO LIGHTS out on the beach, hence the lantern.

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“I need help!”  Fallen in between the couch and the coffee table with a whole bucket-o-dinosaurs and zoo animals.  Sheesh.

Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival

Welcome to Halloween week here at The Baker Bee!  Fall is not my favorite season and I don’t really like scary things, but Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  Go figure.  I love the decorations, the pumpkins, the costumes, the candy.  I also love the festivals.  Bug is finally big enough to really have fun at events like this!  There are several to choose from in our area, but this year, we chose the Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival.  Number one draw = free parking and free admission.  We went with some good friends of ours who have 1 year old Christopher and almost 4 year old Madison, who is probably Eli’s closest out-of-school playmate.  These guys have been playing together since Bug was barely sitting up by himself.

We had such a fun time with the kiddos!  Bug went on his first pony ride, which was a big deal for this Momma, considering that horses have always been a pretty big part of my life.  Proud to say that he loved it!  There was a wild animal rescue guy there with a giant boa constrictor, a beautiful owl and a huge iguana.  Bug, who is usually kind of scared of animals, actually wanted to pet the iguana.  Bug got to go on his first hayride, which he thought was pretty cool, though he refused to get off of my lap!  One of the best parts of this festival was the large sand pile sitting in front of the playground.  They had a bunch of bikes and kiddie vehicles to ride down the sand hill… awesome!

One of the biggest highlights of the day for Mom & Dad was the tractor/train ride.  It was the first time Buggy has ridden something like this by himself, and he did great.  As you can see in the picture on the left, he slid down and was pretty much laying down the first half of the ride.  Being the good parents that we are, we just watched and laughed.  Eventually, though, he pulled himself up.  He spent the rest of the ride turning around and talking to Madison behind him, smile on his face the whole time.  Funny guy.

Of course, we had to get pictures of the kids in the pumpkin patch.  At first, I was bummed that none of the twelve pictures I took of these two included neither child looking at the camera and smiling.  And then, I saw this photo.  Absolutely precious.  I’m willing to bet that we all look back at this one when Maddie & Eli are all grown up and cherish the fact that they’ve been buddies their whole lives!

Coming up this week: a how-to firefighter costume, pumpkin painting and a recap of our annual Halloween party!

The Mama Group

You guys.  I kind of, sort of joined a Mommy Group.  I mean, it’s not exactly an official, organized, we-meet-each-and-every-Wednesday-at-10am-and-do-stuff-that-you-usually-do-in-a-Mommy-Group kind of group, but it’s kind of a Mommy Group nonetheless.  (I’m going to try to work in “Mommy Group” as many times as I can in this post, k??)  It’s more of a couple-of-Mamas-in-my-neighborhood-that-started-a-Facebook-page-so-we-can-all-get-our-kids-together-to-play kind of group.  And, it’s awesome.  Thus far, Bug and I have met them at the neighborhood pool twice for swimming & lunch & more swimming.

Ya’ll should be proud.  You see, I am not exactly a go-out-there-and-meet-new-people kind of person.  (I’m also going to try to use as many hyphens as possible in this post.)  I am kind of shy in new situations with new groups of people.  My close friends are probably tilting their heads at that sentence, but it’s true.  If I am not surrounded by people that I know, then I have a hard time breaking out of my shell.  Once you know me, I am pretty outgoing.

Actually, outgoing may not be the word.  Ballsy might be more like it.  Example: I am a great wingchick.  If we are out somewhere and you see a hot guy… or girl… whatever floats your boat (when was the last time you said that?)… but you don’t have the balls to go talk to them, I will gladly do it for you.  Another example:  At my friend Ryan’s bachelorette party, we had those Bachelorette Party Truth or Dare Cards… you know, the kind that dare you to do silly things and you get points for completing the dare.  Or the truth.  Or whatever.  Anyways, there was a card that dared you to drink a stranger’s drink without asking first.  Nobody would do that card but me.  I’m pretty sure it was worth 100 points.  I’m also pretty sure I finished off some guy’s vodka tonic, which I am not a fan of, as evidenced by my face:

Yes, that is the actual picture from 2006, taken directly after downing said vodka tonic.  Thank you, Facebook.

Back to the whole point of this post… I am super excited that I sucked it up and was my own wingchick concerning the group of neighborhood Mamas.  I have never been super keen on the Mommy Group thing, mostly because it makes me nervous.  I tried doing some classes at our local library, but I had a hard time making myself meet the other moms & kids there, and to be honest, they didn’t seem that interested in meeting us, either.  With this group, I’ve met some really nice moms who are my age and live nearby.  Bug has met some kids that are adorable and well-behaved and around his age.  One of the little boys is almost 4 and is quite the swimmer.  Since we all know that Bug is an imitator, I view this as a fantastic plus and a great motivator for him to learn how to swim.

So, in short, turns out groups of other moms are actually pretty awesome.

**Side note – I like how the only picture in this post is of me immediately post-alcohol consumption.  I obviously need to take more pictures of my child.  Sorry, Great Nana.**

Are you a part of any Mommy Groups… official or not?

Iowa = Way Cooler Than You’d Think

The weekend before last, Bug and I went to Iowa.  Yes, Iowa.  You see, my bestest friend Randall lives there with her husband.  She hasn’t lived in Florida for almost 4 years and I had never been to visit her.  I’ve gotten to see her when she’s been here visiting her Mom or when she flew home to host my baby shower, but had never been to her new home.  So, Bug and I went.  I will probably get around to writing about flying by yourself with a 2 year old at some point, but that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about a barrage of pictures documenting the fabulous trip we had.  Randall (or Randi, as I have called her since we were 5) and Nick showed us a grand ole time.

Bug and I arrived on Friday afternoon at 11:30 Iowa time.  11:30 Iowa time = 12:30 Florida time = 30 minutes past lunchtime and 30 minutes until naptime.  We went and grabbed lunch in Le Claire and then snapped this picture.  This was obviously past naptime.

After a nice nap (for Bug & Mommy), we played on the back porch with Bug’s new best friend Winnie (sorry, Ben) & blew some bubbles.  Then we took Winnie to the dog park and played on an awesome playground.  Bug loved this thing that spun ’round and ’round.  He’d get really dizzy, fall down and then want to do it again, of course.  That night, after Bug was in bed, Randi & I left Nick at home and went out for a girl’s night.  We haven’t had a girl’s night with just the two of us in, ummm, years.  Like 4 years.  It was amazing.  I had the best bacon I’ve ever had ever at Duck City Bistro.  I’m doing my best to recreate it.  I’ll share when I have it perfected, but it involves brown sugar, black pepper & twisted goodness.

Saturday morning, Bug fell down the stairs.  Gave me a heart attack.  THANK GOD he was okay… just a little bump on the forehead.  We went to this lovely farmer’s market that blows farmer’s markets in Sarasota out of the water.  All kinds of super yummy fruits & veggies & crepes & cake pops & flowers.  Also, an entire booth of just radishes.  I didn’t realize so many kinds of radishes even existed.

After the farmer’s market, we headed to the John Deere Pavilion.  Oh. My. Goodness.  If you are ever anywhere near Moline, Illinois and you have a toddler… go here.  It was awesome.  They have big tractors with all of the buttons & levers still inside that the kids can climb in.  They have an area with tables full of tractor toys to play with.  They had someone helping kids with an arts & crafts activity.  They had freshly hatched baby chicks.  They had a gift shop with more tables full of toys to play with… plus the gift shop actually had really reasonable prices.  We obviously bought a couple of tractors, but don’t tell Bug because we are saving some for his birthday!  After a nap, we helped Aunt Randi water the flowers, which resulted in playing in the hose.  THEN, we went to Whitey’s and had delicious ice cream.  I had salted caramel and almost died and went to heaven.

Randi had a babysitter all set up for that evening, and we all went out for dinner & drinks with Randi & Nick’s group of friends.  It was super fun and their friends are all wonderful, sweet people and I am so glad that I got to meet all of the people I hear Randi talk about.

Nick is the golf pro at the beautiful Pinnacle Country Club. We went to see him on Sunday morning.  I don’t think I’ve talked much about this, but Bug LOVES golf.  He has these little golf clubs that we (the Easter Bunny) got him for Easter that he plays with every. single. day.  He’s played with them so much that they are now bent.  Going to a golf course was very exciting for him.  Nick drove us around in the golf cart up and down hills.  Let’s be reminded that we live in Florida, where there are no hills.  Bug kept saying “go fast!”  Randi & Nick gave Bug his birthday present early… a good set of just-his-size golf clubs, complete with a tee & a hole!  Couldn’t have asked for a better gift.  Nick set it up on a fairway for Buggy… and he was in heaven!  That afternoon, after nap, we went to another playground, where Bug sat a swing like a big boy.  Well, he sat on a swing like a big boy long enough for Mom to get a picture.  Then he promptly fell off.  That night, we grilled out at the house & sat on the back porch with a bottle(s) of wine and gabbed for a couple of hours.

On Monday, Randi had to work, but Nick had the day off.  We went back to the dog park and the playground and then went to lunch with Randi at work.  She works in the admissions office at the beautiful St. Ambrose University and she gave us a tour of the campus.  We had to fly back on Monday night, and it was very sad to leave.  At the end of every day, Bug said that the favorite part of his day was Aunt Randi.  And, he talked about Winnie the dog for days after we got home.

It was so wonderful to spend so much one-on-one time with my Randi.  We’ve been friends for 25 years and have been through so much together.  It’s weird to think that she lives so far away and that up until last weekend I didn’t know what her house looked like or who her friends were.  Now I know that her house is adorable (as only Randi’s house would be) and her friends are fantastic.  It’s weird to me that although she met Eli a few times, she had never really been able to spend time with him… and he didn’t know her.  Now, when he sees Randi & Nick’s wedding picture on our fridge, he yells her name.  I am so thankful that even though there are a lot of miles in between us, we can still sit on a porch together now and then and drink wine and talk about books and kids and life for hours.  Yay for best friends and random trips to Iowa.

I Turned 30

On May 12th, I turned 30.  No big deal.  Actually, I pretended to make a big deal about turning the Dirty Thirty.  In reality, I feel pretty good about being 30.  I don’t feel 30 and people keep telling me that I don’t look 30 (though they are probably just being nice to the old lady).  So, there.

Hubby (with some help from the rest of our family) helped make my birthday fantabulous.  He made me Eggs Benedict in the morning (my fave), then we went to our friend Grady’s first birthday roundup, which consisted of Hubby’s group of friends from high school, several of whom now have children within a year or so of Bug’s age.  I love that Bug will likely grow up with the children of people that his Daddy grew up with.

Then, we dropped Bug off at the In-laws and went golfing with my Daddy.  We just played 9, but it had been almost a year since I last played, so 9 is pretty much all my hands could take.  It was wonderful to spend some outdoor time with Hubby & Dad.  Hubby would prefer that we not talk about where his ball ended up after this shot, but I’ll give you a hint… see that large pond in front of him?

The plan at that point was to go home, get showered and dressed up all pretty, go to the In-laws to open some gifts and then go to a nice dinner at a place unbeknownst to me at 8:30ish.  All went as planned… until we got to my In-laws.  Where I saw like 15 cars.  We walked in to lots of friends dressed way more casually than myself.  I had Hubby help me pick out my clothes and thankfully he picked nice shorts instead of a dress.  Why is this important?

Because we were riding bikes.  See the pretty old-lady trike my sister-in-law decorated for me?  Awesome.  That’s not a sarcastic awesome, either… I actually mean that bike was awesome.  Wait, let me rephrase… that bikelooked awesome.  It was actually a pain in the butt to ride, because it only had one speed.

Let me explain a little.  My In-laws live really close to all of the bars & restaurants in our little town.  Hubby found enough bikes for 10 of us to ride bikes around town.  My oldest friend Ryan and her husband Walt drove down from Gainesville, plus a bunch of our other wonderful friends joined us.  We rode to dinner first.  On the beach.  Can’t ask for much else.  Except for Patron.  Which I didn’t have to ask for.  (Thanks, Matt.)  After dinner we rode to a couple of bars… at one of which Hubby had a beautiful cake.  Several other friends met us out after dinner.  I felt so incredibly loved.  I am pretty sure I showed everyone how much I loved them, too.  Tequila does that to me.

I should probably also explain that my sister-in-law had mustaches for everybody.  They were a big hit.  That chicky up there?  That’s Ryan.  We’ve been friends for 27 years.  That is a long time.  That group throwing the shocker?  We’ve all been friends for 19 years.  That is also a long time.  I am so blessed that they were there to celebrate with me.

Best birthday ever.

Also, my baby looks awesome with a ‘stache.

Best Buddies

Bug has a best buddy.  His name is Ben.  Ben is incredibly smart, which hopefully will rub off on Bug.  Seriously.  Kid speaks better than any 2 year old I know.  Bug could certainly use a little help in that area.

Ben & Bug go to school together.  They became fast friends when Bug started back in September.  After only a couple weeks of Bug being there, Ben would come up in the morning and say, “Eli hug?” and give Bug a big ole squeeze.  Bug wasn’t too sure about this at first, but eventually he gave in and squeezed right back.  One day, when Bug had been attending preschool for a month or so, his teacher told me that he and Ben spent the afternoon sitting next to each other babbling back-and-forth and making each other laugh.  I remember thinking how cool it would be if Ben & Buggy had one of those friendships that lasted their entire lifetimes.  I met one of my closest friends when we were 3 and I would love for Bug to have that!

Bug gets super excited when he sees Ben outside of school (queue happy dance) and recently, we’ve gotten the boys together for some play dates, which has been so much fun.  It is amazing to see the little bromance developing between these two kiddos.  They have little conversations and probably little inside jokes.  In fact, they are probably already plotting how to take over their school.  Little masterminds.

Cell Phone Saturday: Punta Gorda

So I think on Saturdays I am going to try to post whatever fun thing we are up to via my phone. Yay technology.

Today we went to Punta Gorda to visit my close friend and Bug’s Godmomma Millie. Our friend Lucy was down from Gainesville with her adorable 11 week old boy Dawson.

This is Aunt Millie with Dawson… somehow we managed to get a picture without Lucy. Oops!  Bug really enjoyed meeting his new friend.  He kept smiling and squealing at him and trying to pat him. So sweet.

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We went to lunch on the water (feel bad for us?) and had a wonderful time visiting.

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Hope you had a wonderful Saturday as well!

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