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

July 2015

We celebrated the fourth of July at home and then headed to Sarasota for a family BBQ.  We enjoyed the parade in Brandon that was right by our house!IMG_8783

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My birthday was nice and relaxing.  We got our nails done, went out to eat and enjoyed a beautiful Siesta Sunset!

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My Grandmother turned 85 this year so my whole family decided that this would be a great time to get together for a Calhoon family reunion in St. Louis.  We went on an awesome tour of Busch Stadium and watched Caleb play in his baseball tournament.  It was nice to spend quality time with family who I do not get to see often.  It was amazing to see how all of my cousins have grow up into such sweet young adults!

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Donovan is an awesome traveler!

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A selfie with the family on the train in St. Louis!

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Not a bad view 😉

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Most of the family

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Grandma and Donovan 🙂

The annual Anna Maria Island vacation was super relaxing and was filled with lots of Schwartz family fun.  Unfortunately, it rained pretty much the whole time we were there.  I cannot remember the last time that we had that much rain.  We made the most of it anyway with lots of board games and time spend together.

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Even though we were traveling a lot on July, we also did a ton of work, too!  The best part was that I got to enjoy my first two closings back to back!

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: Month Six

Sickness

One of the cons of daycare, besides the expense (!!!), is the sickness.  Donovan didn’t get sick right away, but around 6 months, he was sick all the time, which made going to work that much harder.  It was horrible knowing that he needed me and I couldn’t be there.  Even if I couldn’t do much except snuggle him.  Luckily, I was able to stay home some days, but nothing makes you feel better when your little one is not feeling well.

As new parents we didn’t know the difference between a high fever and a low one. To us, the world was ending.  We made many extra visits to the pediatrician (who thought we were nuts) and started to learn when to freak out and when to just let it work itself out.

Congestion is the worst for babies.  They just don’t know what to do and it makes nursing even harder!  It make sleeping difficult too.  I guess it is just one of those things that you just have to get through as a parent.

That time Donovan got hand, foot, and mouth..
That time Donovan got hand, foot, and mouth..
And the day he came home with a purple foot :)  It wasn't contagious!
And the day he came home with a purple foot 🙂 It wasn’t contagious!
Donovan loves this little swing!
Donovan loves this little swing!

Anna Maria for Labor day

We got to spend a fun, long weekend out on Anna Maria Island with my family.  My Godparents, who own the Alecasandra (http://www.alecassandravacationrentals.com/), invited us to stay with them on the beach.  We love AMI and time with the family 🙂

Breakfast with the fam at Peaches :)
Breakfast with the fam at Peaches 🙂
The boys went for a morning walk on AMI
The boys went for a morning walk on AMI
Uncle Nick is trying to hide greatness aka FSU!!
Uncle Nick is trying to hide greatness aka FSU!!
Smooches from Aunt Vicki!
Smooches from Aunt Vicki!
Pool time!
Pool time!
GO NOLES!
GO NOLES!
Snuggles with GiGI
Snuggles with GiGI
Auntie L and Donovan
Auntie L and Donovan
Helping Daddy pick his fantasy football team!
Helping Daddy pick his fantasy football team! Wish he brought him more luck 🙂

Meeting Mr. and Mrs. K

One of my most favorite people in the whole world is my former high school English Teacher, Mrs. K.  I have kept in touch with her over the years and we would always have lunch together when I came home for breaks.  She was obviously super excited when we told her that I was pregnant with LBD and even more excited to have us back in Florida.  Mr. and Mrs. K loved meeting our little guy!

Pearls of wisdom from Mr. and Mrs. K!
Pearls of wisdom from Mr. and Mrs. K!

Moving into OUR home!!

This was the biggest news of the month.  We were so ready to out of the rental and in our first home!  My awesome Realtor (http://www.kw.com/kw/agent/flrealestatebydoug) was able to keep our closing on track and we moved on September 8th 🙂

Moving is hard work and so is packing and doing it all with a baby.  Luckily, my family was able to help.  We celebrated with pizza for dinner.

None of our furniture was arriving until the next day, so camped out in the living room and slept on the air mattress, for the last time!  The next day our bed, sofa and refrigerator arrived!

Last dinner in Ruskin!
Last dinner in Ruskin!
My little guy :)
My little guy 🙂
Homeowners :)
Homeowners 🙂
Good-bye rental craziness!
Good-bye rental craziness!
Hello moving!
Hello moving!
Stella loves her back yard!
Stella loves her back yard!
Helping Daddy with his crib...and watching football.
Helping Daddy with his crib…and watching football.
The men installing the garbage disposal.
The men installing the garbage disposal.
Bears and Packers
Bears and Packers
There seems to be a trend with house work and football...
There seems to be a trend with house work and football…
Doug loves to do yard work...or so he says now :)
Doug loves to do yard work…or so he says now 🙂

Ed and Cathy came for a visit right after the move so they could see the new house.  Doug and Ed did some water rerouting project and we enjoyed seeing them 🙂

Donovan and Grandpa Ed!
Donovan and Grandpa Ed!
Nap time!
Nap time!


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My sleepy boys!

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Doug's attempt at babywearing...
Doug’s attempt at babywearing…
6 month check up!
6 month check up!

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6 Month Photos

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Family :)
Family 🙂
So over pictures :)
So over pictures 🙂

With Love,

From Me to You

Donovan: Month Four

This month was all about chaos.  Moving, starting a new job, living in a temporary rental, commuting to work, pumping, house hunting, and being away from Donovan for a full work day truly tested me in so many ways.

The Move

I had been attempting (I say “attempting” because it is hard work packing and caring for a baby!)  to pack before we left for Alaska.  I was trying to stay mindful of the fact that we would need certain things while we were looking for a house.  So there was still a lot of packing to do when we got back from Alaska and before we moved.  My parents were amazing and came up to help us with the drive.  They were my saving grace as they basically kept me from freaking out about all of the work I had left to do.  They helped me do that last bit of packing (which was really quite a lot). Their timing could not have been better since Doug ended up getting a horrible stomach bug the day before our move.  He was out of commission.  He even went to the doctor to see if there was any medicine he could take, but no such luck.  He had to wait for it to work out of his system.  Thankfully, my mom was able to watch Donovan as my Dad and I loaded the U-Haul.  Doug was able to help with some of the big stuff, but we needed him to rest up so he could drive the next day.

Getting ready to leave.
Getting ready to leave.

I worked my last day on Wednesday and we drove on Thursday.  It was a bittersweet good-bye.  I remember crying on the drive to North Carolina because it was hard leaving my family and my home.  This time, I was ready and excited for the road ahead.  There were still a few tears, but I was thankful for our adventure in North Carolina. The drive was long and we made many stops.  Between Donovan, a sick husband (who was SUCH a trooper), bathroom breaks, and meals, we made it home around 1am.  Oh and did I mention that there was a hurricane heading for the east coast?  So, yeah, we drove through a ton of rain.

Ready to hit the road!
Ready to hit the road!
Pumping on the road...I wasn't driving :)
Pumping on the road…I wasn’t driving 🙂
Back in Florida!
Back in Florida!

Ruskin

We were able to rent a town-home condo from a friend of a friend.  It was in this cute water-front community named Little Harbor.  In the dark of night, we unloaded EVERYTHING from the trunk into the garage. I think it was 3 am before everything was finished.  We slept so well that night. The town-home had a flight of stairs to get to the main entrance and a second flight of stairs to get to the bedrooms.  Moving in was chaos.  And figuring out where everything got packed was a nightmare.

We tried to get as settled as possible in this space, but nothing every looked organized.  This drove me nuts, since I yearn for order.  Just like everything else, I had to learn to let it go and spend my energy on what mattered most. We got super lucky living in such a nice space.  It was awesome taking walks along the water and in the nice community.  I am  not sure how people live with multiple floors with a baby.  We were constantly going up and down until we just gave up and kept half of what we needed downstairs.

Donovan and Evey met for the first time.
Donovan and Evey met for the first time.
Happy 4th of July!
Happy 4th of July!

The New Job

I started my new job on July 7th.  I got to enjoy the 4th and my birthday before jumping into work again.  The first few weeks were filled with training.  It was overwhelming at times, but I liked learning about all of the new aspects of my job and the academic policies.  I continued with training for a while by shadowing appointments, observing and asking questions.

I quickly learned that commuting was HORRIBLE.  Why do people do this?  The drive from Ruskin was at least 45 minutes to an hour and I didn’t leave work until 5, which meant rush hour traffic.  I HATED the two (sometimes more) hours that I wasted in car.  Time that I could have spend with my family.  Time that I could have spent doing anything else.  I longed for my 5 minute walk to work and suddenly realized that  I had it so good back then and had no idea.

The House Hunt

We knew that we needed to buy a house and move as soon as possible.  We focused in the Brandon area because we wanted be south of Tampa.  This would allow me to get to work easily while also keeping us a little but closer to family in Sarasota. House hunting is not at all like the show House Hunters.  You see lots of duds.  And you have so much to consider.  Luckily, I had the best real estate agent in town and he spent so much time looking for properties.  I feel like we looked at close to 50 homes.  To see the houses, we spent weekends and evenings visiting different properties.  It got old pretty quick.  The longer we took to find a house meant the longer we would be living in Ruskin.

We found one home that we really liked, but it needed some work.  We put in an offer and someone else did too.  We didn’t get that house and we learned what a roller coaster ride it can be to want a home and not get it.  Doug and I were both pretty realistic about the process and we tried to set our sentimental feelings aside.  We keep looking suddenly and we found a bunch of homes all at once.  Its almost like that one that didn’t work out was just the first step in finding something better.  We eventually found a house that was everything that we were looking for.  AND, it was newly renovated so we would not have to do any work.  We were so excited when we found out that our offer had been accepted!  We were so ready to move!

Chipotle is good for house hunting.
Chipotle is good for house hunting.
Panera too!
Panera too!
Offer accepted = time for Champagne!
Offer accepted = time for Champagne!

The Tears

This month was filled with so much transition and change.  It was an exciting and happy time but it was also overwhelming.  I knew that we were slightly over-zealous in choosing to cram so much in, but I also knew it had to happen.  It was like pulling off a band-aid; yes, it might hurt at first, but it would be better than dragging it out.

I cried a lot this month.  Sometimes it was just the stress of it all.  But, the biggest reason was because I felt that I was missing so much time with Donovan.  My focus had finally shifted back to work.  I had to focus on learning my job, which left me mentally drained.  I had to get up super early to drive to work and I was still waking up to do night time feedings, which left me physically exhausted too.  I rushed home every day just in time to feed him.  We would have a little bit of awake time and he would be in bed by 7:30 or 8, which left me with only two hours with my little guy.  It was heartbreaking.  I felt like I was being forced to choose between my job and my role as a mom, which surprisingly had become my most favorite role.

I was able to pump at work, which was great.  But it was also a lot of work. Three times a day and balancing a job was no simple task.  But, I was thankful that I could continue to exclusively feed Donovan with my breastmilk.  Every night when I prepared his bottles for the next day, I was always so sad that I would not be the one to feed him.

The silver lining was that my mom was able to watch Donovan most of the summer.  It was great to get text messages and pictures so I could keep up with how he was doing.  I knew that he was in great hands with his GiGi!

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So much happened this month and we had so much to be thankful for.  I kept hoping that everything would settle in and get a little bit easier.

Donovan’s first swim

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The Timeshare

Sloan and Donovan meet!
Sloan and Donovan meet!

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Four month photos

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With Love,

From Me to You