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!