Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Boca life lately...

So it's been about a minute since I've last posted, and by a minute, I mean 3 weeks! I've been trying to get back to it, and I've got several posts in mind but you know--life. I really need to get back to writing about the girls milestones again too. I've had this blog since my second daughter was a toddler and it's my diary of the things the girls have said and done that I don't want to forget!

I feel like I never know how to start off when it's been several weeks since I've written. I'm not going to delve too far back, I'm just going to talk about the last two weekends. Our favorite event happened recently and that's the Boca Bacchanal which benefits the Boca Raton Historical Society Hank and I look forward to this every year and this past year he started serving as the president, so it was doubly important to us. This year the historical society kicked off the festivities at the Boca Beach Club with Bubbles & burgers. I wasn't able to attend this one since Serena needed me to chauffeur her to and from her volunteering shift at the hospital, but I heard it went well. 

Friday the vintner dinners were held and the food did not disappoint. I was happy to see that the vintner was from my favorite winery Craggy Range. They are out of New Zealand and oh so good. I think it's the subtle peach flavor that gets me. I love peaches. Hank actually just picked up the bottles we bought at the vintner dinner yesterday. I'm actually enjoying a glass as I type.

The next day after the vintner dinner was the grand tasting at the Boca Raton Resort. It was a great  night and the turnout was fantastic! I can't wait to do it again next year. Out of all the events in Boca, the Bacchanal is my favorite! Now onto pictures.

Another exciting thing that's happened is I've been accepted into a leadership role with the Junior League of Boca Raton. I have loved being on the recruiting committee this past year, but I'm looking forward to working with new members as a membership development advisor. The league has been instrumental in helping me develop into the person I am today, and I'm thankful for what I've learned the friendships I've made and the opportunity to give back to my community.

Have a great Easter! I'll be updating the blog again next week.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Spring Break Recap: Sarasota, Florida

Happy Sunday! There is officially one more day of spring break left. Technically spring break should be over but tomorrow is a teacher work day. Almost time to get back to our usual routine. I can't imagine it should be that hard this time around waking up early, because these kids have been waking up early every day! Serena can sleep in, but the other 3 have been ready to go around 7 am every day. I've been going to sleep late too because my husband got me into watching Narcos on Netflix. It's so good! Some scenes are tough to watch but the story line is so good.

We had talked about going to Sarasota for a couple days for spring break about a month ago, but hadn't decided on anything. Last Sunday morning, Hank sprung it on me that we should go that same day. We waffled for a bit with either doing Naples, or Tampa, but settled on Sarasota. It's only about a 3 hour drive from Boca so not too much of a long drive for the kids. Because it was such short notice, we literally booked the hotel on the way up there. The weather was great while we were there, and we all had a good time even though we just sort of winged it without a plan or even deciding early on where to eat. We stayed at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in the arts district. The beds were very comfortable, the rooms were clean and the heated pool had a great view!

On our first day there we drove over to where the opera house was along the water and just explored. We noticed that Lion King was there and had a showing that was going to start in an hour, but it was too late to get tickets and there were no cancellations. We noticed two men that were stretching nearby and were wearing matching t-shirts. They looked like they might be in the show so I decided to ask them if they were, and if they knew how to get any last minute tickets. One of the men was actually Simba in the show! Still we weren't able to secure tickets. They mentioned that in some cases 30 minutes before the show a person might try to sell a ticket if their companion doesn't show up, but trying to secure 6 last minute tickets was going to be really difficult. So no Lion King for us, but it was still neat to have run into a cast member. We also explored the area by Mote Marine Laboratory which has a neat little park and nature walk area, and then drove through St. Armands Circle before going to downtown to find a restaurant. 

On our second day we ate breakfast at the hotel and then headed to The Ringling. It was beautiful and on the grounds they have a very fun park for the kids and a few flower gardens. Every Monday the museum of art including special exhibition galleries are free to the public. Regular admission pricing applies if you wish to visit the circus museum or Ca'd'Zan.

 After the museum we headed to Siesta key beach, but just to walk in the sand since it was still a bit chilly and the water was cold. The sand was so clean and amazingly soft! Ava said it felt like flour. 

After the beach we had a very late lunch/early dinner at a local seafood place and then stopped for ice cream at Crystal cream rolls in the nearby town Osprey. The girls and Hank loved it! I unfortunately couldn't eat it because I'm dairy sensitive, but I did have some of the toppings like a marshmallow and graham cracker. 

All in all we had a great time. Going on a trip without a plan is completely doable because we are still all together, and I know it sounds cheesy but we can have fun anywhere. Lately I feel like I'm really cherishing our family outings more than ever, because in two more years Serena will be done with high school and she may not be living at home if she decides to go away for college. It all just goes by too fast, and I'm hanging onto these moments where my 4 are still under the same roof. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Life Lately + Upcoming plans

Wow, I don't know about you all, but this time change was brutal! I woke up super groggy and not rested. I suppose hearing little feet running across the hallway in the middle of the night, and then Ava calling my name and whining for about 10 minutes didn't help. In the morning I found out Layla woke up for some water, and that was her running through the hallway, and she had woken up Ava in the process. I was pretty close to going to her, but decided on tough love and she fell back to sleep on her own. She had a much better week last week as far as sleep goes. I've mentioned in the past that she goes through these cycles now. Sometimes she's on an upward trend of sleeping through the night, and sometimes she's back on a downward trend and not sleeping through the night. "One day." That's all I can tell myself at this point, and just continue to make sure I don't fall back in the habit of letting her crawl into our bed and staying there. So far so good. 

She's doing great with pre-school lately. She loves it! It's been soooo nice to have the house to myself for a few hours and concentrate on work. I just rolled out my newest product: Ruffled bonnets. Super cute! I made a few for Ava and my friends a few years back, but wasn't ready to make them available for purchase at the time. You can find them here: FHJBaby

I'm so excited about spring break next week because that means no waking up super early, and trying to get everyone to school on time without losing my mind! Also REALLY looking forward to a small break from all the driving I do for the kids. My neighbor and I were trying to plan a small getaway with our spouses and kids, but our schedules are no longer lining up, so we won't be doing anything together. For now we will probably still take a small trip to Sarasota since we haven't been yet. Hank was originally supposed to take the week off but work engagements came up. Also this week or next, I may be flying out to Houston. My brother is having twins and I would love to see them when they are born! I also want to visit my mother. If there's time hopefully I can swing by my in-laws and visit my best friend. It will be a very short trip. I still have no idea how I'll swing it with the kids schedules, because I don't know the days yet. It's still up in the air as far as what day they will be delivered this week. There is also the matter of the twins being premature and I'm praying for a safe delivery. 

Yesterday we were also looking at flights for Houston in the summer. We go every year (except last year I stayed home with Ava), and most likely we'll be going late June. We also need to start thinking about summer camps for the girls. How are we already in March?! I feel like before we know it, we are going to have to start thinking about Christmas. What?!

Lastly, I'm getting close to wrapping up my final furniture project. I just sold Serena's old bedroom set yesterday, and this week I'm listing the bed frame I've been working on. I'm so done with furniture projects for awhile! Dealing with some of these people on Offer Up makes me lose a little faith in humanity each time! Like how hard is is to be a decent human being and communicate, and not stand people up? Over it! Also ready to start parking my car back in the garage. I'm looking forward to working on smaller projects this year. Next week I'm going to start fixing this little patio we have off our breakfast nook. I have ideas of putting a little bistro or patio set out there and being able to enjoy some fresh air out there....and secretly hoping the mosquitos won't eat me alive. I need to level the stones, paint it, and then find an outdoor rug. Still thinking of more ideas. Little by the rest of my projects go ha! I'll finish it. We have another patio area off the living room in the backyard, but it doesn't have these hedges for privacy. Right now we just use this small patio for our food smoker and grill but those are going to be moved.

Maybe it's the gemini in me, but I tend to have about 10 projects going on all at the same time. Sometimes I'm the same with books. I'll have 2 or 3 going on at various times before finishing just one. 

Have a great Monday!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Ava sleep update & why my situation needs to change

I wish I could say that at 3.5 years Ava is finally sleeping like a normal child. I wish I could say I'm finally feeling rested, but I can't, because I'm not. Ava is still waking up at night several times a week. Sometimes it's the whole week. She was doing good for awhile in November and December, and then it got bad again. The week before last, she woke up 8 days in row and would patter over to our room and climb in our bed. Last week she did better and had 3 nights in a row where she didn't come to our room. Then she was back at it again. For the past three nights though she has stayed in her room. I've been telling her that I'm locking my door and she's not allowed in--but I have yet to do that. I am going to start though and if I hear her, I will walk her back to her room. I used to be good about doing that, but I got lazy and I was letting her climb in and stay.

Imagine being sleep deprived for over 3 years, and having to parent 4 kids who all have various needs, and busy schedules, and you're still trying to run a business, and be a good wife, mother, sister, friend. It's enough to make life feel really really hard. 

At 3,  Ava is also extremely needy, clingy, and bossy. She doesn't nap during the day, and it literally feels like a 24 hour cycle of Ava especially when she won't sleep through the night. It's been making me increasingly agitated, and overwhelmed and like I'm losing the joy in motherhood. Last Wednesday I cried myself to sleep and the next morning I was still really sad. Something needed to change. I needed to change my circumstance.

While I've had it on my mind since last year, I hadn't planned on it until the fall of 2019, but it can no longer wait. I registered Ava for pre-school and she starts today! I'm no longer nervous, I'm excited! She'll be just about 5 minutes away at my top choice. Several of my friends have children that go there and I know Ava will be in good hands. While I was hoping to have her in a 3 day program, they didn't have it available this late in the school year, so she'll be going just 2 days a week for now from 9-12 pm. It doesn't sound like much but it's a start and during those times I'll be dedicating my time to my business FHJ Baby With Ava not sleeping good for the past 3 years, it really affected my time and motivation that I used to have. In the beginning it was hard to come to terms with it, but in the past year I made peace that this is the way things are, and eventually I'll get back to being able to put more time towards the business--at least like I used too. I'm a mother first and foremost, but I'm also a person with dreams and aspirations of my own. I believe that when we feel fulfilled in our own lives, that carries over to our children and our loved ones.

Have a great Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

All about the bronde. My new look!

If you follow my Instagram stories I apologize for all the new hair pictures, because your girl is obsessed! It's not exactly blonde, it's not exactly brunette. It's somewhere in between and I'm loving it! The combination of blonde and brown shades and balayage came out super flattering and this is the lightest I've ever gone.

It's my ashy shade of bronde dreams come true!

For the past 4 years I've been box dyeing my hair. For one, 6 days after moving to Boca (4 years ago), I found out I was expecting baby #4. Couple that with being in a new city and overwhelmed with 3 other children and a business, the color of my hair just wasn't top priority. Come to think of it. I probably didn't dye my hair more than once while I was pregnant. I'd say 2 years ago I just started using L'Oreal box dye in medium ash brown, and now with a lot more gray hairs popping out--thanks kids! I've been having to dye every 4-5 weeks. It was a picture I saw online recently of me at an  event with my husband that really pushed me to go back to a salon. My hair was looking so bad! 

I did have my eye on two salons that I felt could help me achieve my hair dreams, and in the end I chose Thay Oliveira. I'm so glad I went to go see her. She does amazing work with balayage and helping latin hair like my own transform! She specializes in blondes and has an adorable studio here in Boca Raton. You can see a ton of her work on her Instagram @thayoliveirahairartist.

I had my hair done this past Friday and this is what it looked like at home later. Not the best lighting, but I sure wish I could recreate salon blowouts at home. 

2 days later

Finally washed it today. 4 days later. I'm going to try my hardest to just wash it twice a week. It might be a little difficult once it gets hot outside and the fact that I exercise, but let's just hope dry shampoo helps--and a baseball cap. I bought all new hair care products, and I'll do another updated post with that and how the care is going another time. 

Have a great Tuesday! 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

I'm still here....

I haven't blogged in almost a month. That's a pretty long stretch for me. Two things that would help would be Ava sleeping better again, and me converting to using my husband's laptop instead of this laptop who I call "the rocket ship." A year ago Ava took a big glass of water and poured it right over the keys and it just hasn't been the same since. I have to attach the power cord, a wireless keyboard and a mouse every time I want to use it. It's a pain in the butt! I try to do most things from my phone, but blogging is done easiest on a laptop. 

Anyways, now that I've listed my excuses.....going back to Ava, this week she's back on a downwards trend of sleeping. She's consistently been waking up every night for the past 5 nights. Ughhh.....can't wait until she's back to giving us at least 3 nights a week where she's sleeping through the night. I realize at 3 years old that's still pretty sad that she's still not sleeping normally, but all we can do is hope and pray that one day she will. At the very least she'll reach an age that if she is waking up at night, she'll know she can't come into our room and disturb us. 

I had high hopes to get back to writing Monday, but my dad is currently visiting us and my whole schedule has been thrown off. We are happy he's here though and have had a nice visit. Today we went to Morikami gardens & museum and it was nice--minus the 200 times Ava would ask me for a snack or wanted to come in and out of her stroller.

 Hopefully next week things are a bit back to schedule, and Ava starts sleeping better again.

Friday, January 25, 2019

A mountain getaway at Black Thorn Farm & Kitchen!

It's been over two weeks since my last blog post, but better later then never! I have 4 kids, what can I say? Things almost never happen at the times I plan them. Just getting everyone out of the house on time is an experience not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it goes smoothly and sometimes....not so much.

After our new year's day trip to Savannah, Georgia, we headed out to North Carolina. What a fun trip! A couple weeks beforehand, we pulled up several VBRO rentals on the laptop and sat on the sofa with Serena for awhile after the kids went to bed, and narrowed down our top choices of where to stay. We wanted it to be somewhere in the mountains with a great view, and not near other houses. We had it down to our 4 top places and ultimately settled on Black Thorn Farm & Kitchen. The description of it being a working sheep farm and culinary destination ultimately won us over. Definitely an advantage over the others. We figured the girls would enjoy watching the sheep, and we love food so why not?! Hank loves lamb and I loved the idea of fresh baked goods delivered because I'm a carb addict like that. 

I mean just look at this bread! It really is what dreams are made of. So delicious.

Before I get ahead of myself though, let's get back to the farm. The "high house" where we stayed had everything we could of possibly needed. From cookware, to toiletries, books, DVD's and basic necessities, all our needs were met. We went to the grocery store the second day we were there and just had so much fun cooking simple country meals like steak, meatloaf, and pan seared lamb. I loved cooking in the kitchen, and the house was clean, charming, and comfortable.

It was cold outside but we still enjoyed being out on the deck at times looking at the mountains, and also exploring the grounds and petting some of the sheep. It was really nice to just unwind and unplug from the world. Sure I still did two loads of laundry, and made the beds, and tidied up but it was different than if I was doing those chores at home. Much to Serena's dismay, she was still on kitchen duty for the most part and had to do after dinner dishes.

We also went to a local ski resort in search of some snow. The girls had a great time snow tubing!

It's been a few weeks now since we settled back into the hustle and bustle of daily life, but I will always have fond thoughts of our tranquil stay at Black Thorn Farm in the basin of Sandy Mush. It was definitely a unique farm to table vacation experience and we'd love to go back sometime.

Have a great weekend!