Year in Review: 2017 Edition

It is easy to look back at 2017 and remember all the ways that this year was weird, hard, and chaotic. But, I started organizing my yearly photo-books (I make a 8×8 Shutterfly photo-book for every three months.  I intended to make a “yearbook” but let’s be real, I take WAY too many pictures of my children), I was reminded that there was far more joy and I am so thankful for it all.

Here is a recap of our year:

January

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Grandma Kimmy visited and went to the Treasure Island Kite festival.  We also had a visit from Laura and Nick. We rooted the Packer into the play-offs…but there is always next year (haha).

February

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We worked like crazy in December and January, so we took an impromptu trip to Orlando.  We stayed in an awesome suite and watched the Superbowl.  We randomly saw Jeff and Kristen since they were also in Orlando! We survived a few days without Daddy while he was at Keller Williams’ Family Reunion in Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day.  Doug got a new car: a black 4Runner.

March

For the big birthday month, we spent a week at the beach in Venice with Doug’s whole family.  They were all there for Camdon’s first birthday.  Doug celebrated his day at a Ray’s spring training game.  And, Donovan turned three with a Dino party.

April

We celebrated the wedding of Matt and Debbie in Gainesville. Andrew returned home from Bahrain.  And, we loved everything about the Easter season.

May

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For Mother’s Day, I got an awesome garden, so we spent lots of try out in the yard.  Donovan really loved the whole process of digging and watering.  We are so thankful for that huge backyard.  We have spent so many hours playing out there!

June

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My childhood bestie got married and I was thrilled to stand by her side!  Doug and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. Our AC died on Father’s Day and we booked a trip of a lifetime to Iceland and Sweden.

July

Obviously, this is the best month of year!  I celebrated my 31st birthday and we spent our annual week on Anna Maria Island.  This year we bought our own timeshare!

August 

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Right after our week at the beach, Doug told me he wanted me to come see a house. Little did we both know that we would move three weeks later. This month was sheer chaos.  Packing, prepping the new house (it needed WORK), renting our house, and moving.  I’m tired thinking about it all.  We love our new home! And, we loved seeing our dear friends, the Motleys, who visited during the chaos.  Y’all, only good friends (who see you at your most stressed) can come visit you during such a crazy season. As if there wasn’t enough change in our lives, Donovan switched to a new house, new room, new bed (Toddler bed instead of the crib) and started a new school.  Homeslice did not know what hit him.

September

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This month is defined by one word: IRMA. Mic Drop.

OK, but really, so stressful.  We boarded up and traveled to South Carolina and stayed with my dear and very pregnant friend, Sarah.  We also ended up in the same town as my ride-or-die momma friend, Jen.  The photo above is us with the kids at a Chick-fila. Shortly after returning home, we all had the plague and were home sick for about two weeks. My baby sister, Rachel moved to Chicago.

October

We took a trip to Kansas to visit the Motley crew and celebrate Evey’s fourth birthday. We loved the Midwest fun at the farm. We literally finished the Whole30 days before the trip.  The 30 days of the Whole30 might have been the quietest part of our year…go figure. For Halloween, we dressed up as the Wizard of Oz. I was very proud that I was able to sew the boy’s costumes.

November

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I took a trip to Chicago for Leah’s rescheduled (Thanks, Irma) Bachelorette. She got married the next weekend.  It was a beautiful day and I was honored to stand by her side and her Matron on Honor. Sidenote…being the MOH is a ton of work. Other sidenote…I OFFICIALLY have a BROTHER!  Grandma Kimmy came back to help and so did Ashley. Thanksgiving was a wonderful season and we started Christmas early as we prepared for our big trip. PSA: check your passports before you book your trip. If you don’t, just know that Miami does same day issuance, which I do not recommend.

December

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Iceland and Sweden was amazing. I wish we could travel the world everyday. We loved sharing this trip with Grandma and Grandpa DeGroot.  We did not see the Norther Lights and we had very little snow (all that we saw was in this picture), but the kids had a blast and we all had so much fun.  Christmas through the eyes of your children is such a blessing and we enjoyed a beautiful and simple holiday. This year, most of our gifts didn’t fit under a tree because we did them (trip to Europe and our annual sister day). Doug also go a new car: a navy blue 4Runner.

For real estate, we helped 42 families buy or sell this year. And, together we reached our highest production ever!  That is called hustle, my friends.  And, we are forever thankful for our amazing customers, family and friends who chose us to help them.

While this year might look awesome and positive, do not let my recap lead you to believe that it was easy.  We were manic and stressed and tired and sick and crabby so much this year. Looking back, I am grateful for all that we did and everyone that we saw, but I do not recommend it. Be sensible people!  This year we will be saying ‘no’ more. We will be taking care of our family’s health (mental, spiritual, and physical) as our primary goal. We will be simplifying and staying still more often. And, I’m sure there will be adventure and fun, just maybe a little less.  And, that is A-OK with us!

WHEW!  What a year!  We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us!

With Love,

Jenna

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

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

Donovan: Month Ten

The New Year always makes me sentimental.  I like reflecting on all that has been accomplished and all of the events that made the year memorable.  2014 has been the best year of our lives.  Nothing can compare to the joy that we experienced as we welcomed Donovan to our lives.  Watching him grow and change has been such a blessing and it was taught us so much, too.  Moving back to Florida and buying our home has truly made life more complete.  Saying good-bye to the best year ever was harder than I thought it would be.  But it also reminded me that there are many memories yet to be made.

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In true Schwartz Family tradition, we rang in the new year with our close family and friends.  It was wonderful to be able to drink this year and someone even made an appearance at midnight…I guess he couldn’t miss out on all of the fun!

IMG_6717Doug and I met in December of 2008 and he came to our NYE party that year.  So each year we celebrate our anniversary of meeting.  7 years!

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We suffered through a horrible FSU game:

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Donovan has become quite the little “helper” with chores:

Folding Laundry
Folding Laundry
He really loved laundry!
He really loves laundry!
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Packing Christmas items
Putting his toys away
Putting his toys away
Entertaining/annoying Stella
Entertaining/annoying Stella

We celebrated Cuba night at our house with the Mitchells (Photo credit to Mary):

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We suffered through a Packer play-off game:

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Using my new bread maker!
Using my new bread maker!

We enjoyed a chilly day at the Children’s Gasparilla Parade with the Motleys:

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And a fun visit from the Saliards.  And, they shared some very exciting news!

Baby Saliard will be arriving August 2015!

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We enjoyed a St. Pete sunset on MLK weekend.  Complete with dinner at the Hurricane and lots of Grouper! YUM!

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And lots of fun with family:

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10 month photos:

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With Love,

From Me to You

Donovan: Month Seven

October was a pretty calm month.  We spent most of our time getting settled in our house. It felt nice to finally unpack some boxes that had never been unpacked from our wedding!

Donovan likes to eat his crib...
Donovan likes to eat his crib…
or play with toys...
or play with toys…
We moved him into the bath tub!
We moved him into the bath tub!
We needed the "baby jail"!
We needed the “baby jail”!
So cute :)
So cute 🙂

We had a horrible stomach bug and we had a few lazy days recovering.  Donovan had more sinus issues and we started to get used to handling the sickness.

At the doctor again...
At the doctor again…
My little sick guy.
My little sick guy.

We took an impromptu trip to Tally for the FSU vs. Notre Dame game.  Thankfully FSU won 🙂  And Donovan got to experience the best University ever!

Donovan and Auntie Rach!
Donovan and Auntie Rach!
Family!
Family!
Go Noles!
Go Noles!
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with Gigi!

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Cousin Becky!
Cousin Becky!
That purse looks good on him :)
That purse looks good on him 🙂

We enjoyed lots of time with family and friends!

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Evey Motley’s 1st birthday!

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Donovan meets Natalie and Vinny!
Donovan meets Natalie and Vinny!

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First walk in out neighborhood!
First walk in our neighborhood!

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We cheered on Leah and Becky in the Chicago Marathon!

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We went to a pumpkin patch to get ready for Donovan’s first Halloween!

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Donovan started eating more solids.  He loved avocados 🙂

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And we moved just in time for Donovan to start crawling 🙂

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IMG_5909Seven Month Pictures

He wasn’t feeling too great and he officially boycotted the laying down photo.

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With Love,

From Me to You