Two Children and a Wedding

We have been to a handful of weddings since we became parents.  D’s first flight was to Alaska for Kristin and Adam’s wedding.  He was just under three months!Other than that, I don’t think either boy has attended any weddings.  We have always found a sitter so we could enjoy the event and avoid messing with our sacred sleep schedule.

Recently, we traveled to Gainesville to  celebrate the wedding of a dear family friend. We left early because, well, we have children and they do not sleep in. Ever. Somehow we missed the memo that April 1st was the official departure day of all snowbirds, so traffic was a bit heavier than we would have liked.  We made it safely and early enough for nap time.  The hotel was able to check us in early (Thank you, Jesus) and we got settled in our room.  With all of the commotion and excitement, D had no intentions of taking a snooze.  Cam took a short one.  I knew we would be in for an interested afternoon.

As with all attempts to go anywhere with children, chaos ensued and we were almost late to the wedding.  I have to give my husband a big shout-out because he held everything together and got us there in a cool and calm manner while I was freaking out.


The ceremony was outside at a beautiful farm in Alachua (how do you pronounce Alachua?) My dad was one of the groomsmen and D was very excited to see him walk down the aisle and stand up front.  So excited that he decided to yell, “Hi Grand-dad” during the vows.  He soon realized that this was getting him lots of attention so I had to literally hold my hand over his mouth the rest of the ceremony.  He could not be trusted.


Meanwhile, Cam was beginning to get antsy, so thank goodness we had puffs.  Or, so I thought.  The moment D saw the puffs, he wanted them too.  Which would have been fine if he hadn’t started whining and yelling about needing puffs that very moment.  Again, I am trying to keep my children as quiet as possible so we don’t disrupt the entire ceremony.  Eventually, a battle ensues over said puffs and they have to be put away.

From what I saw of the ceremony, it was beautiful.  Matt and Debbie looked so happy.   The farm was amazing and there was so much space for the boys to run around and there was cool tree right in the middle.  It was nice to be in an area where I knew that we could let them roam while still being able to keep an eye on them.  It was a bit warm so Doug and I traded off trailing the kids.  I probably would not have encouraged the tree climbing while in dress clothes, but I guess that’s what Dads are for.

The reception was held inside and we snagged a table on the edge.  I knew we would be up and down a lot.  D instantly found his way to the dance floor and was totally content to dance by himself.  It was pretty adorable.  I did need to step in to remind him to be gentle with the other children, but overall, he was too busy being a dancing fool.


Dinner was a delicious southern barbecue.  And, naturally, D ate only the mac-and-cheese, only when we could tear him away from the dance floor.

My family was a great help through it all.  They took the boys outside and danced with them.  They helped with dinner and were the extra eyes and hands to help us.


Bedtime is 7pm sharp.  By 7 we had just finished eating dinner and the dancing had just started.  Cam did a few rounds on the dance floor and by 7:30 he was asleep in Doug’s arms.  D, on the other hand, was full of energy and was running and dancing inside and outside.  It didn’t take too long to realize that with one already asleep, that the other would soon crash and we had a bit of a drive ahead of us to get back to the hotel.  We aren’t usually the first to leave, but by 7:45 we were out the door.


I packed pjs and had both boys ready for bed as we got on the road.  You would think they would fall right to sleep in the car.  Not.  You would think they would fall right to sleep when we got back. Nope.  Finally, around 9ish they gave in.


Overall, the boys did really well.  Even without good naps they managed to make it through the wedding without any major meltdowns.  I still think that weddings are more enjoyable when you do not have to chase after your children, especially while being dressed up.   I find that when you expect your children to behave like adults in social settings, you are usually setting unrealistic expectations.  Everything is novel and exciting to them and they have no clue what is socially acceptable.  They just know what their wants and needs are and running in a field, climbing a tree, and calling out to their loved ones are exactly what kids their age should be doing. And, that is ok!  As parents, we teach them how to behave in those settings, but we also have to be realistic about how long and how well they can handle being outside of their norm.   For us, it is always ideal to keep sleep schedules as close to regular as possible.  It just gives you a little extra assurance that they are rested, which means they should be better able to adjust to the new situations.  At least my dress was super easy to nurse in and the next morning the boys slept in!  Until 7:30 am.


Have you brought your children to a wedding?  What are your tips for traveling with children and keeping them happy at a wedding?

With Love,

From Me To You

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Camdon’s Birth Story

After nine months of growing little LBD 2, I was ready to meet our little one.  I was happy to hear that I was dilating and effacing, but then again, since it was my second child, I guess that is to be expected.  This time around my back was killing me and I was way more uncomfortable than I had been previously.  We went in for a doctor appointment a few days before my due date as my final check up.  My doctor said that things were progressing and I should expect a much quicker birth experience.  We told him that we would have a 30 minute drive to the hospital.  And he said that would be too much.  And, like that he scheduled my induction for Friday, March 11th!

Finally knowing when this baby would arrive gave us a huge sense of relief.  There was always a chance that the baby could decide to arrive on his or her own, but we were focused on the 11th.  We frantically finished last minute projects and I cleaned the house like a madwoman.  We finished just in time to celebrate Doug’s birthday and my due date!  We had a gathering at Top Golf with friends a week before.  For Doug’s actual birthday, we decided to enjoy one last family dinner.  The Cottones and my sisters came over to play a game of Catan.

In a horrible turn of events, I dropped my phone and the screen was blank.  Nothing was cracked. It just didn’t show anything.  This became a difficult issue since it was about 7pm and I really couldn’t be without a phone the next day and I was having a baby the following day!  Leah and I went to the mall to have some guy at a kiosk fix it but then he camera wasn’t working…and who wants a phone without a camera?!? Especially when I was about to have a new baby to take pictures of?

The next day, I basically spent a few hours running errands and getting my phone fixed for real.  It was way too much to worry about when I had to get ready to have a baby.  But, all is well that ends well.  I got to spend lots of quality time with my little guy, who had been fighting off a bug for a week.  He kept getting a random fever and I was hoping that he would be healthy in time for his sibling to arrive.

The timing of my delivery was perfect because Rachel was home for spring break.  She was my on-call person if I happened to go into labor and needed someone to watch D.  She came over that night and we had dinner and got ready for the big day.  It was hard to believe that we would be meeting our little one so soon.

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One of the many perks of being induced is that you have time to shower and do you hair and make up before heading to the hospital.  We arrived at St. Joes around 6am.  After the usual questions and medical history review I was hooked up and ready to go.  I assumed that it would be the same as before when they used Cervadil, but this time they used Pitocin.  I was dreading this because of the horror stories I had heard about how intense this drug made your contractions.  I had heard that they could make your contractions really close together and very strong.

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My doctor came in around 7am and said he was going to break my water.  This was also new since my water wasn’t broken until the very end last time.  It was the weirdest feeling.  Just like a warm gush of water. And every so often, more would leak out.  Especially during contractions.  It was so strange because it literally felt like I was peeing or something because water just kept on coming out.  How much water was in there?

So Doug and I were just hanging out.  I started getting contractions and we would watch them spike on the machines and the go down.  We played Phase 10 again.  I was feeling lots of contractions as we played so I was a bit distracted and yet, I still won!  My nurse kept checking on me and would turn up the pitocin each time, which was both horrible and wonderful.  I was progressing more and more.

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Since they had broken my water, they did not want to check to my progress too often since I would be more susceptible to infection.  Last time I got updated often so I knew how far along I was.  The contractions weren’t great but I was able to breath through them and I wasn’t in too much pain.  I didn’t want to get the epidural to early since I knew it could slow my contractions and stall the process.  My nurse was really sweet and kept saying that she would know that I was ready for pain meds when I couldn’t joke around any more.  I like to keep things light when I’m stressed and I guess I never really got to a point of sheer horrible pain.  Finally, I was ready for the epidural.  Thankfully, there wasn’t a long wait for the anesthesiologist.  The epidural wasn’t bad at all and I was happy that I would be able to feel some relief soon….or so I thought!

As the team was leaving the room, a nurse asked me if I felt any pressure yet.  Literally as she said that I felt a huge surge of pressure.  It caught me off guard and she checked my progress. I was 10 cm and ready to go. I suddenly had the urge to push.  She told me this baby was coming and to not push and she ran out to get the doctor.  Doug and I both were both looking at each other in shock that it had all happened so quick.  I immediately started pushing the button for my epidural meds because I could still feel everything.  Apparently, it takes a bit for the epidural to kick in.  I was not ready to have a natural childbirth!

Quickly the doors burst open and the whole medical crew rushed in.  They set up all of their surgical paper and wheeled in all of the instruments.  It is amazing how fast they all arrive and your empty room becomes instantly packed in a matter of seconds.  My doctor came in smiling and said that he knew I would have this baby quickly.

Meanwhile, I was freaking out.  I was not ready to have this baby.  It had only been a few hours.  And, my epidural was doing nothing!  I looked at Doug and told him I could not do this.  I mean, what were my options?  Couldn’t this all just wait for a few more minutes?  It was all happening so fast  My doctor asked if I had ever been skiing.  Maybe he was trying to lighten the mood.  He told me this baby was coming now and to start pushing.

The pushing was harder than I remembered but I wasn’t pushing long.  After 8 pushes, Camdon Richard DeGroot was born at 10:43am! That’s less than 5 hours of labor! They handed him to me and he was all slimy but I was happy to hold my sweet boy for the first time.

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Meeting my new little guy 🙂

Thankfully, my epidural kicked in just enough to not feel a thing. Camdon was 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long.  The nurse who was taking his vitals said that he was really strong for a newborn. We enjoyed a bit of time nursing and holding our new little guy.  It is so unbelievable how tiny and perfect new babies are.  Soon we headed off to our hospital room.

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That afternoon my Mom and Dad arrived.  Rachel and D came after nap.  It was such a special moment introducing D to his new brother.  I think he was more excited about the special gifts he got for becoming a big brother.  Leah, John, and the Motleys all arrived to welcome Camdon to the world.

We left the hospital at about 10pm Saturday night.  We were not interested in hanging out any longer than we had to.  We wanted to get back to be with D and so that we could actually sleep without being woken up for vitals every hour.  When we got home, it was decorated by my family.  And our fridge was stocked with lots of frozen meals!

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We felt so much more confident in our abilities as parent this time and we were happy to be home with our healthy baby boy.

With Love,

From Me to You

 

Back at the Blog

Somehow this little blog is about to turn two! And, it is about time that I get back at it.  I’ve been debating about the direction of this blog.  The original intention was to share photos and stories with family and friends who live far away and want to keep up with our growing boys and our lives.  While I like sharing and love hearing that people enjoy the photos and stories, it does take a bit of time and energy.

Like I said, life has changed a lot since my last post in my second trimester.  Camdon was born and life has been a whirlwind.  We expected life to be more work with two children and we expected that priorities would shift for a bit. I feel incredibly fortunate to have enjoyed a lot of time at home with my new little guy.  I know that many women do not have this luxury and I am deeply grateful for the ability to do so.  I am thankful for my exceptionally supportive husband, who has given me the time and space to focus on my role as a mom.  And, I am always mindful of the flexibility our business has allow us.  Returning to work has been an interesting balancing act. Doug and I talk about work all the time, so while I might not physically be in the office or out in the field everyday, I still know what is going on and can work on projects from home or with clients in  a way that works with our family’s schedule.

Donovan’s first seven months were total chaos.  Looking back, I just laugh to myself as I remember how much we did.  As if becoming new parents was not enough, I job searched and accepted a new job. We traveled to Alaska. we moved to Florida. I started working full-time (and commuting to work for the first time in 3 years…living on campus had its perks!). I was pumping five days a week.  Doug was restarting his real estate business and learning a new area.  We bought and moved into our first home!  We were out of our ever-loving minds.  Only now, as I look back, do I really realize how chaotic it all was!  But, it was what we had to do and we did it.  Life seemed hectic and frenzied at the time but somehow, it really wasn’t all that bad.

Camdon’s first seven months have been the exact opposite.  We had a nursery ready for his arrival. Our house is thoroughly kid-proof and most of our projects and to-do lists were accomplished before he was born.  We knew what to expect.  We had been through the new baby transition before. We knew what to do.  We knew our resources.  Our family was close by and were an amazing support!  We planned for time as a new family and what work would look like.  We only planned one big trip to Wisconsin to celebrate two wonderful women who both turned 90!

With any new baby, life was filled with lots of highs and simultaneously, plenty of lows.  Taking care of two children at one time is no joke!  And nursing is freaking hard at the beginning, even if you have done it before.  Also, nursing a baby and keeping a two-year-old happy and safe is not an easy task.  Amidst the daily struggles and growing pains, so many special moments occur. I knew they would all fly by before my very eyes, so I worked extra hard to just be present.  To be in the moment as much as possible and to remember as many details as I could.  And, even with that mindfulness, I still sit here typing and wondering how seven months has really passed by.

So, I’m going to catch you up on the months that have passed.  I think I left off in October of 2015…so I might shorten some of the stories and there will be fewer pictures.  I think I’ll add a few more blogs about life.  Not just what we do, but some reflections on what is on my mind.  And, you might see more about work on here because work and our life is pretty intertwined.  As always, I’d love to hear what you think.

Here are few pictures of the boys in the cutest shirts from Auntie Yaya!

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With Love,

From Me to You

Second Trimester: Re-cap

Rings on or off:

On-I never had to take them off last time, so I figure that I’ll be fine this time.  I did have a reaction to metal during my last pregnancy, which lead to a rash on my ring finger.  This time, all is well!

Cravings:

Anything sweet. Candy. Cookies. Ice cream. Fruit. Christmas Tree Cakes. I try to keep it all in moderation, but it is pretty nice to have an excuse to eat whatever you want 🙂

Aversions:

I’m still not a fan of raw meat or anything with strong smells or flavors.  Thankfully, I have an appetite again and I don’t feel like I’m going to puke all day.

Physical Differences:

This baby is carrying lower than Donovan did. I am also having way more pelvic and hip pain, which is supposedly caused by stretching ligaments.  When I stay active it doesn’t seem to bother me as much.

The long flight to Barcelona was way harder on my body than I expected.  On the way there, I slept in a weird position and had lower back pain for a few weeks.  As if being pregnant wasn’t hard enough on my back!  I also had to pee a million times on both flights.  Sitting in one position for long periods of time is not comfortable, so I felt pretty miserable on the flight home.  Oh, and add a fidgety toddler to the mix.  It was a loooong flight.

Does Donovan know what is going on?

I think he is understanding more and more.  During Christmas, he was very interested in Baby Jesus and once the holiday was over, he began referring to the baby as Baby Jesus…I had to help him understand the difference 🙂

When did you start feeling the baby move?

It was some time around 20 weeks and my trip to Chicago.  Those hiccups.  They are hard to miss.  The rest just feels like flutters.

What are you doing to get ready for the new baby?

Not much yet.  Just lots of thinking about doing things.  With all of our traveling, BOLD and work, the holidays, and just general lack of anxiety this time around, we just haven’t really made any moves to get things in order.  I am certainly a planner and I know that we have lots to do, but I also know that what needs to get done, will get done.  The rest is extra.

Any predictions about the sex?

I think girl and Doug thinks boy.  Donovan is still certain that he is having a “sissy”.

Any names chosen yet?

I thought that we had our names set from the get-go.  But, Doug just didn’t seem as excited about these names as he did last time.  So, we have been looking for inspiration and we have yet to decide.

Other differences this time around?

It is nice to not feel so anxious and uncertain about what was to come.  Doug and I both know what to expect so we just pray for a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby.  Not finding out the sex also takes some pressure off of us to have certain clothes and everything monogrammed…like I would anyway 🙂

All of the doctor appointments are way more annoying this time, since it is all pretty boring until the end.  Plus, I forgot how much they stick you and take your blood in the second trimester. I go to a large practice so I see different doctors for each visit. It is interesting to get to know each of them and understand their different perspectives and personalities.

I am lucky that I haven’t really gotten too big either.  Some people really have no idea that I am pregnant.  And, I sometimes forget, too.  I’m not too uncomfortable and I can still do pretty much anything that I want.  If I overdo it, then of course I feel it, but for the most part, I have to remind myself that I am pregnant and to slow down.  Donovan certainly keeps me pretty busy.  I am still able to wear Donovan (thank goodness!) and I am still breastfeeding.

One of the biggest differences is work.  Last time, I was in a college setting with students who, I’m pretty sure, were just worried that being pregnant was a contagious condition.  I didn’t get a lot of attention from them or tons of questions about how I was feeling.  And, no one touched me, ever…which, I was ok with!  This time around, I work with more people who have their own children or grandchildren.  They have experienced pregnancy and are so open and friendly about discussing their experiences and want to know how I am doing.  And, the touching of the belly is way more of a frequent occurrence.  This time around, I am ok with it.

13 weeks
Week 13
14 weeks
Week 14
15 weeks
Week 15
16 weeks
Week 16–.can you tell it is bedtime 🙂 I lost week 17’s picture somewhere 😦
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Week 18–From California!
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Week19–First day of BOLD!
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Week 20–On my way to Chicago to see the Cubs!
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Week 21
22 weeks
Week 22
23 weeks
Week 23
24 weeks
Week 24–On our way to Barcelona!
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Week 25–From Barcelona!
26 weeks
Week 26
27 weeks
Week 27–BOLD graduation!

With Love,

From Me to You

September 2015

One of the best things about September is football is BACK!  College Game Day mornings return and lazy Sundays watching WAY too much tv resume.  There is something wonderful about a new season.  All of the possibility and potential is just brimming from each player and you once again hope that your team will win it all.

Sharing our love of football with Donovan is only natural.  I am usually pretty strict about the ‘no-screen-time’ rule, but football is just different.  Thankfully, Doug and I made a vow (literally, before we got married) that we would root for the Seminoles as our college team and the Packers for our professional team.  Many of my Bears fan family were shocked by my allegiance; however, I have found that when the Packers win, my husband is happy and so is our household 🙂

Donovan did learn many cheers and chants this season.  He will eventually know the correct words to the fight song and he had to begin learning about first downs, touch downs, and cheering for his teams.  We quickly learned that Donovan picks up everything we say.  So, during certain moments of frustration while watching games, we had to be mindful of not using words out of anger.  Inevitably, those would be the only words that he would hear and repeat.

Doug’s mom, Kathy, came for a wonderful visit.  We took her to the Columbia for a nice lunch together and we visited the Aquarium.  We also enjoyed a dinner and a sunset at Siesta Key with my family.  Kathy is so sweet with Donovan.  She is incredibly patient and good with children and she played with Donovan so much.  This allowed Doug and I to finish a few house projects that we had been putting off since we hardly ever have time carved out to tackle them while watching the little man.  We all loved our time with her and wish that she lived closer.

We also got to enjoy a date night, thanks to Grandma Kimmy!  We were joined by our favorite third wheel, Andrew!

We loved using our zoo passes for “swap-tember” and visited the aquarium as much as we could.  Donovan and Evey loved seeing all of the fish and animals that live under the sea.  It is awesome to be able to share many fun outings with friends and their children, especially when they are close in age.  Most importantly, they just ‘get it’ when your child is crabby or needs a break because they have been there.

Donovan is still learning to be gentle with his friends, especially poor Evey!  He gets so excited to play with them that he needs to take a minute to calm down.  I have loved Dr. Harvey Karp’s book, The Happiest Toddler on the Block.  I recommend it to anyone with a toddler.  We have been practicing many of the techniques and our favorite is just taking a few deep breaths to just restart and move forward when Donovan gets too worked up.

Other fun times from September included trips to the park, school picture day, eating out (Donovan mostly likes to eat crayons…don’t let those sweet pictures fool you), adventures to Bass Pro Shop and Top Golf (courtesy of Auntie YaYa) and of course the joys of teething.

We also shared our big news with all of our family, friends, and Facebook.  It was nice to have our big secret out in the open so we no longer had to dodge certain topics or situations.  We shared the news at my parent’s Labor Day BBQ since many of our family and friends were there for the celebration.  As for the morning sickness and hormones, well, they were still hanging in there with full force.  Luckily, I started to feel better a little further into my second trimester.

With Love,

From Me to You

May 2015

Good-Bye USF

My last day at USF was May 1st.  It was strange leaving a job that I had only been in for less than a year.  I had no regrets leaving and I was looking forward to my new career in real estate and more time at home with my little man.

I greatly miss my co-worker, Melissa, who taught me how to be an advisor.  How to ask the right questions and know what students really mean by their questions.  She is such a dedicated and hard working woman.  I am thankful that she was there to show me the ropes and keep me from losing it when I was frustrated or down.

I was most happy to say good-by to my breast pump.  Three times a day was getting old, but Donovan wasn’t ready to wean.  I gave up a lot of opportunities to connect with colleagues and friends so that I could pump during my lunch.  I also learned that it is ok, and frankly, good to take breaks during the day.  It helps you refocus and turn your attention back to your work with a fresh mind.  I was so thankful for a job that allowed me the flexibility to pump and that Donovan and I were able to keep our nursing relationship going.

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Rachel arrived home from FSU that same night, so obviously, some Champagne was in order!

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Rachel Turned 21

Cinco de Mayo might be the best date to turn 21.  It certainly is a special day in our lives as it is Rachie’s birthday.  We celebrated at Don Pablos for dinner and toured the Village for Rachel’s first LEGAL night out.  Look out world, all of the Schwartz sisters are legal!  In other news, I am old.  10pm was WAY too late for me to be out.  But, we were happy to celebrate Rachel’s milestone 🙂

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Summer fun!

We enjoyed an awesome beach day with the Motley’s.  We also stepped up our beach game by purchasing a pop-up tent to keep the little ones in the shade.  Also, Donovan likes to eat sand…

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Mother’s Day is one of my new favorite holidays as it is a reminder of how much I love my new role as a mom.  I never knew that I could be so thankful for my little guy or how much he would change me.  I also find myself appreciating my own mother in new ways.  She has taught me more than I will ever know and she has helped me in more ways than I can count.  Being a mom is a tough job and one that doesn’t always get the thanks that it deserves.  But, it is the best and I am thankful  to have the best mom around!

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During the riots in Baltimore, the Rays hosted an extra game with general admission for all.  We got a big group together and enjoyed the Sunday game!  The Rays won!

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Donovan the Toddler

It seems that since Donovan turned one, he has grown and changed so quickly.  He loves practicing animal sounds and he has quite the repertoire already.  He still loves reading books, but now he likes to try to read them to himself.

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He has always loved exploring, but now he is into everything and he cannot be contained.  Every ordinary object is now a new toy yet to be discovered.  And, have I mentioned that he loves to climb on everything?!?

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As much as I see him growing up into a big guy before my eyes, he still needs his Momma.  Especially when he is sick 😦  He is loving the extra time with me at home!

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Adjusting to the new job

It is strange to wake up one day with a whole new schedule and set of priorities.  I no longer turn into a crabby person on Sundays nights as I scramble to get the chores done and the family ready for the new week.  I still have responsibilities and things to do, but now I have time to do them and I’m not up against a stressful and dreaded Monday deadline.

It is nice to drive with Doug to work and to drop off Donovan for only three half days of daycare.  I wasn’t easy learning the ropes of a new job, but Doug is a patient and amazing teacher.  He puts up with my lack of knowledge and encourages me to work on projects that utilize the strengths that I bring to our team.

Working from home is not as easy as it seems.  There are distractions everywhere.  And, mostly, it is the cute little boy who needs me.  I try to be as productive as possible, but sometimes, work has to wait.

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One of the many perks of working with you spouse are lunch dates.  With Donovan at daycare, we can find time to eat and catch up.  We talk about work a lot more than we did before, but we also find time to check-in and support each other.

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Wisconsin

With the new job, comes flexibility.  It is so nice to plan a vacation without needing to check with someone or request time off.  We headed to Wisconsin to visit family and celebrate the wedding of Doug’s cousin.

Donovan had a great time on the plane!

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We spent time with Grandma Kimmy and we really enjoyed the Milwaukee zoo!

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We saw Great-Grandma Irene and Uncle Terry for dinner.

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We arrived at the DeGroot house and Cathy hosted Ed’s birthday and invited Doug’s childhood buddies and their families over for a fun day.  It is fun to see how their children grow!

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We traveled to Antigo, Wisconsin to celebrate the wedding with the DeGroot family.  The wedding was beautiful and the reception was a blast.  Such great time with family!

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We headed back to Milwaukee for a Memorial Day BBQ at Grandma Kimmy’s house.  The weather was perfect!  And, we enjoyed some quality time with Brian and Pip and their sweet children.  We wish we lived closer to them!

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Our trip was a busy one, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world!  It was perfect seeing so many special family and friends and getting to do so much, too!

With Love,

From Me to You

Donovan’s First Birthday

Donovan’s birthday arrived quickly and before I was ready.  Of course I had the decorations up and the food ready, but I was not ready for the first year to end. It was a long year and a tough one.  But it was also the year that I became a mom, a role which, I was unsure of at first, but quickly grew to love fiercely.  I was filled with sentimental memories of the week leading up to Donovan’s birth.  The frustration, the lacking patience, the excitement.  Donovan’s birth was one of the most special moments of my life. As I reflected on Donovan’s birthday, I realized that a child’s birthday is all about celebrating their life, while also celebrating the the joy of being their parent and welcoming them into this world.

Donovan woke up happy and excited to enjoy his first birthday. We ate breakfast and headed to the Lowry Park Zoo.

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The day was overcast, which kept the weather nice and cool for our morning outside.  Aunt Allison had flown in from Minneapolis as a surprise to Doug. I am still completely proud of myself for keeping the secret.  Her arrival was perfect and Doug was unsuspecting and caught off-guard! Donovan enjoyed spending so much quality time with his Auntie Al!

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Doug and I decided that Donovan’s birthday gift would be annual passes to the zoo.  Growing up, my family used to go to the zoo once a month.  I have such fond memories of seeing the animals and playing in the water fountains before heading home exhausted.

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Auntie L was also able to join in the fun!

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We had a blast at the zoo.  We saw many animals.  And Donovan enjoyed his first doughnut!

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Donovan went on his first carosel ride.  He only enjoyed the first half and then wanted to get off.

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We went to PDQ for lunch and then to Sports Authority to get a few last minute birthday party items.

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We avoided most of the rain that day, which made for the the perfect nap time!

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We took his measurements for the family measuring stick.

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And we took his last month photos, which were really difficult since he has become super fast!  We were lucky to get the sticker and the bunny in the same picture.

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Donovan’s Birthday Party was on March 28th and it was a baseball theme.  We asked everyone to wear their favorite baseball team apparel or colors.  And naturally, Donovan was the Rookie of the Year.

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We had hamburgers, hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, peanuts, and nachos.  The nachos were served in those plastic dishes that are used at real baseball games (Thank you, Sam’s Club). And they were a special request from Doug.  They were quite a hit and everyone loved them!

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I think everyone would agree that the highlight of the party was the cake smash.  We posted the video on facebook (https://vimeo.com/134027550) and people loved it!  Donovan was not shy when it came to enjoying his cake.  He eventually put his entire face in it.  He was polite and offered to share some with me, as I was attempting to keep the cake on his tray.  And, Donovan decided to have his cake and eat it too, by searing it all over his hair.

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The party was a blast!  We were so thankful for all of our amazing family and friends who came to celebrate our special boy. Donovan was a party animal and almost missed his nap!

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Donovan’s birthday and party were both special days for our little family.  Even though, it wasn’t easy to see Donovan’s first year come to a close, I was comforted by the fact that the best would be yet to come.

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With Love,

From Me to You