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

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.

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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
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Week 24–On our way to Barcelona!
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Week 25–From Barcelona!
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Week 26
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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

August 2015

We enjoyed the end of summer with lots of fun outside.  That is when I was feeling up to it.  This pregnancy left me with less energy and more nausea than I experienced with Donovan.  Nevertheless, life went on!

We made the big switch to cloth diapers.  Or, at least started testing them out because it is certainly all about trial and error at first before you invest in the whole thing.  Knowing that we had a second baby on the way, I decided to give them a try, since it would save a ton of money over the span of their diaper days.  I am thankful for all of the insight from other mommas who shared their experience with different brands and techniques.  Let me tell you, the cloth diaper world is complicated and vast.  It was hard to know where to start.  I kept it simple with Bum Genius pockets and All-in-ones.  Pockets were my favorite.  Thankfully, Donovan makes mostly wet diapers and his bowl movements are easy to clean, especially when we use a liner.  I know most people think that cloth diapers would be a lot of work, but I found that once we got into a routine, it was really easy to do a load of diapers at night and be ready to go for the next day.  We still keep some disposables on hand and he uses them at daycare.  I have yet to have a diaper that had left a stain!  Plus, I do think that Donovan’s diaper rash issues cleared up a ton once we made the switch. IMG_9344

I was still adjusting to my new job and working with Doug.  I was super thankful for the flexibility since I was feeling so miserable.  It was great taking naps with Donovan on the days that I was home with him.

Donovan loved to play outside so we made a few trips to the park to help him run off some energy.

Donovan loved to explore and climb on everything.  It was a challenge keeping track of him while I was feeling so run down.  I loved that he was so curious about the world around him and I tried to let him try new things.

We also made our first trip to the Glazer Children’s Museum.  Donovan loved it and we will certainly make more trips back when he gets bigger.  I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for an indoor option for their child.

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We shared our big news with Doug’s family this month.  It was nice that more family could be in on our big secret 🙂

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Our growing LBD 2 at 12ish weeks

We spent a weekend at Tradewinds for Doug’s fantasy football draft.  It was awesome to have my parents and sister stay with us and enjoy the beach!  Also, The Rumfish Grill was delicious and the fish tanks were an awesome sight to see!

We fit in a Ray’s game, too.  It was actually our second one in that same week!  Donovan enjoyed meeting the Rays!

Us at Thursday’s game:

Us at Sunday’s game…both wins!

We enjoyed one last family dinner with Rach before she headed back to school for her last year at FSU.  How has it already been four years?!?

And, after our visit at the Guy Harvey hotel at Tradewinds, Donovan started making his “fish” face a regular occurrence 🙂

With Love,

From Me to You

LBD 2: First Trimester Re-cap

Due Date:

March 9, 2016 (Doug’s 35th birthday!!)

Sex:

Sorry, folks!  We loved waiting for the big surprise to be revealed at the delivery, so you will have to stay tuned until March.

How we found out:

Since Doug and I were trying to get pregnant, I was completely aware of every change that occurred in my body.  Since I was pregnant before, I was absolutely positive that I knew I was pregnant.  I think I surprised Doug with my certainty.

When you are trying to get pregnant, any time spent waiting is miserable.  You just want to know if you are pregnant or not.  Given my certainty, I opted to try the early detection pregnancy tests.  I took the first test on June 28th and it was negative.  Since I knew it was really early, and I was sure that I was in fact pregnant, I didn’t really think much of it.

On June 30th, as Doug was getting ready for a trip to Wisconsin, I took another early test.  This one had a faint line.  I began googling and reading discussion boards to see if I could take this as a good sign or if I had to wait longer.  We decided to be cautiously optimistic, yet celebrate that we had a new baby on the way.

On July 3rd as Doug returned, I took one more test.  This one had a full dark line, so we felt more confident in our exciting news.

Reactions:

Jenna-I knew I was right!

Doug-Yay!  LBD 2!

Donovan-Has no clue what is going on 🙂

Keeping the secret and Sharing the news:

This time around, we didn’t feel any rush to share our secret with anyone.  After having one child, you suddenly become a target for questions about when you will have the next one.  People observe when you drink and when you don’t and how you act or if you seem tired or sick.  It seemed that everyone was just looking for clues that I could be pregnant.  It was was a little bit obnoxious, so I felt more justified in holding on to the news a little longer.

We told my family first because they would be the most likely to figure out that I was pregnant.  While we were at Anna Maria Island, we had Donovan wear his “Big Brother” shirt and wait for my parents and sisters to notice.  They were all excited about the news and all admitted that they were suspicious that something was going on.

We shared the news with Doug’s family via FaceTime in a similar fashion.  Adam and Kristin took the longest to notice the shirt, but to be fair, they were also taking care of their new son, Simon.

Once our family knew, we started making calls to friends.  It was a great reason to catch up with people when you have exciting news to share.

We shared our big news with most of our family and friends at my parents Labor Day party.  We had taken a few pictures of Donovan and put them up on the TV.

Our Facebook announcement came the following weekend.

How I was feeling:

This time around the morning sickness was way worse.  I needed to eat as soon as I woke up and I always felt as if I could throw up at any moment.  I only wanted to eat carbs.  Frozen food was the only way that I could satisfy my urgency to eat immediately.  Snacking was critical to not feeling too sick all the time.  And, dinners, well, let’s just say that there was a lot of eating out and frozen meals.  I just could not bring myself to cook because then I would want nothing to do with what I had made.  I also adopted what I like to call, fourth meal.  As if the snacks didn’t add up to additional meals, this meal came after dinner.  If I missed fourth meal, then the night and the morning were extra nauseating.

No one warns you that having a toddler is a lot of work.  It is wonderful, and exhausting on a typical day.  Add in being pregnant and you reach a whole new level of fatigue.  This time around, I did not have the luxury of laying on my couch while watching mindless TV.  I still had to take care of my little guy who needed my attention and wanted me to play.  The silver lining was nap time.  I greatly appreciated snuggling with Donovan and taking long naps together.  The only problem was that I could have taken at least two more naps a day, but he wasn’t interested.

Doctors appointments:

The first few appointments are so exciting as you get that final confirmation that you are pregnant.  My new doctor does more ultrasounds that my doctor in North Carolina. So, we could see our little one growing.

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Our little blob at 8 weeks 
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Our growing LBD 2 at 12 weeks

Soon the excitement wears off a bit as I remembered how many doctors appointments there are and how much waiting you do for quick check ups.  And, I hate having my blood taken, even though I have gotten better.  It seems that your blood is needed way more frequently at the beginning to make sure that you and the baby are healthy.

First pregnancy and second pregnancy comparisons:

As I mentioned before, I completely underestimated how much work it would be taking care of Donovan and being pregnant.  I tried so hard to be fun and playful, but there were days that I was just not on my parenting game. I had to cut myself some slack and realize that I could get through this and I would feel better one day!

There was certainly less anxiety with this pregnancy than the first.  Since I had been through it all before, I knew what was coming next.  I didn’t need to read “What to Expect When You are Expecting” and I didn’t need to google every symptom.  I still had the first trimester worry that the baby would be health and that we would make it to the second trimester successfully, yet it wasn’t at the front of my mind because I was busy with LBD 1.

It is amazing how quickly you forget the misery of the first trimester when you decide to have a second child.  Since I felt worse this time, I found myself wondering how I forgot about this from before.  As a parent you learn to not wish time away because your child grows so quickly.  I felt a simultaneous urge to hope that I would feel better as soon as the second trimester began.

Doug and I did not anticipate to get pregnant so quickly.  We expected a few months of trying before we would have our intended outcome.  We are so thankful that we were blessed with such an smooth process.  The timing will put Donovan and the new baby at exactly two years apart.  I guess March was meant to be birthday month for the DeGroots 🙂

As I mentioned before, Doug and I were not in a rush to share our news.  It wasn’t that we were not excited, but more that maybe we were not ready to admit how much our lives were about to change.  We wanted to continue to enjoy our lives as our little family of three and not get too wrapped up in what was to come.  We knew there would be plenty of time for preparations once I started to feel better 🙂

I did start to wonder how I could love a child any more than I love Donovan.  I know that my love for him completely caught me off guard so I assume that the new love for LBD 2 will do the same.  But, I do worry about comparing the two.  What if I do love Donovan more?  And, how do parents of multiple children give their children all the love that they need?  It was easy with Donovan because he was the only one.  He has always been the focus and has received my full attention.  How do second children even come close to experiencing what the first received from their parents?  I’m sure that instead of dividing your love for two children, it will just grow.  For now, we are enjoying each day before everything changes in March 🙂

As you can see from the pictures below, this time around I opted to take my “bump” picture in whatever I was wearing that day, instead of wearing the same thing.  I also have a new little buddy joining me in each picture.  Stella voted to sit these weekly pictures out.  And, let me tell you, Stella was a much easier customer than Donovan.  It is fun to look back and see how Donovan has changed over the past few months.

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Week 6- July 16th
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Week 7- July 21st
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Week 8- July 28th
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Week 9- August 4th
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Week 10- August 11th
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Week 11- August 18th
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Week 12- August 25th

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

June 2015

Leaving my job in May was a huge accomplishment for our family.  It opened up more time for us to spend focusing on our priories and allowed for more quality time together.  May was a blur as I adjusted to the reality that I now had time to do everything and anything I had ever wanted.  And I was loving all of the time with my little guy.

I am grateful to work for an amazing company that invests in their agents by providing opportunities for learning and growth.  Ignite is an intense course that allows new agents to learn the nuts and bolts of the job.  I found myself in the classroom three days a week and it was overwhelming at times.  As a new agent you do not always know what you should spend your time on or how to really do anything.  Working with Doug was awesome because he had already paved the way and had systems and leads ready for me.  At the same time, we had to learn how to really work together.  In everyday life you work with your spouse to coordinate schedules, plan meals, take care of the house, and spend time together as a family.  You communicate all the time and share how you feel about different situations.  Yet, when you work together in a professional environment, we found that we had to work through some differing expectations until we were on the same page.

I was hungry to prove myself as a competent part of our team, yet I needed Doug’s insight or input to accomplish the simplest task.  I am thankful that my husband held my hand and was patient with me, because, let’s be real, in life no one can really do that for you in any other work situation.  At the same time, I know I drove him nuts because I needed so much help.  The summer is an especially busy time in the real estate world and I jumped right in.  I worked with two buyers right away and learned so much in the process.  I quickly learned how my schedule would always be changing depending on the needs of my clients and it was nice to work hard one day and be ok with taking some time to relax the next.  I came to realize that working in real estate is all about problem solving and being flexible.

Here are a few of the out-takes from our headshot photo shoot:

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Someone once told me that in life you should really try to avoid making big life changes when you are in the middle of transition.  And, if you must, you should really try to keep it to no more than two big things at once.  Some how I have never really been able to follow that advice.  When I finished grad school, we got married, moved to a new state, started new jobs, and adopted Stella.  Three years later, we moved back to Florida, started new jobs, bought a house, and all of this with a child under one.  You would think that starting a new job was enough excitement for our lives, right?

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Well, Doug and I were lucky enough to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary on Lido beach.  GiGi and Granddad were more than thrilled to watch the little guy for us so we could enjoy our first weekend away.  Doug and I were sitting at the Charthouse enjoying a bottle of wine and reflecting on life.  The topic of our next child came up.  We had always said that after Donovan turned one that we would at least begin the conversation about LBD 2.  For me, parenthood has been a calling that I never knew I would love as much as I do.  It is no secret that I want to have multiple children now, but I suppose it is best to take it one at a time.  As we talked about the future and our family, Doug made the bold statement that he was ready for LBD 2.  I was stunned.  I was mostly surprised by the certainty with which he made this statement.  And, I was also caught off guard by the fact that I was the one who was hesitating at all.

Of course, we knew that there were no guarantees with getting pregnant.  We were very lucky with how quickly we got pregnant the first time.  And, then you do have nine months of pregnancy before the baby would arrive.  So, really you could be looking at a full year before life would truly turn up-side down.  So, we talked about it more and as we were leaving dinner, we had decided to start trying and see what happened.

Looking back, it is comical how easily we made that decision.  The first time around, we talked about every possible scenario over and over for about a week before we both felt really ready.  This time, we knew what we were in for and we knew we could do it.  We wanted our family to grow.  And, we were pretty lucky again.  Sure enough, I was pregnant by the end of the month!

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First Car Accident

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At the Chadwick Company Picnic

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Teaching Donovan how to be a buyers agent and climb stairs 🙂

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Go Lightning!

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First trip to the library!  Book Worms Rule!

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Magic dust for the win!  Bandanna to save my hair not for fashion 🙂

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Happy Anniversary!!

And we can’t forget Father’s Day!  I have never mowed the lawn before and I knew that Doug would really appreciate it, so I gave it a try and it was really hard!  I don’t think that I will volunteer for that chore ever again 😉

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With Love,

From Me to You