Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is finally fun again! Having a child who can participate in all of the festivities is so much fun. We actually went trick-or-treating this year, which is something neither of us have done in many, many years. Last year, we dressed up Bella as a bumble bee and visited with a few neighbors but we didn't go trick-or-treating. When we were finished visiting our neighbors, we sat in our driveway with Bella and handed out candy. It was a perfect 1st Halloween for Bella

We dressed Bella in her lady bug costume (a.k.a "buggy") and went to Beef O' Brady's for dinner. The restaurant was running a special in that kids in costume ate for free. You can't beat a free meal for your child! We even tried a new location and ended up loving it, which is awesome because this location is much closer to our house. Bella had a blast and enjoyed the attention she received from the waitresses and other customers. And a funny little story, when given the choice between fruit and broccoli, Bella chose broccoli! I love my healthy girl!

After dinner, we headed back home to meet up with some friends of ours. We took pictures and handed out glow sticks, so we'd easily be able to see our kids when it got dark. Those glow sticks came in handy because we were separated from our friends a few times and the glow sticks made it so easy to find them! We live in a pretty large subdivision, but only went around our block. We even hit up the really cool neighbors who have a pop corn machine and a really spooking looking house. Despite not trick-or-treating at all 200 houses in our subdivision and Bella not taking all the candy that was offered, Bella had quite a bag of candy by the time we were finished. And being the mean mother that I am, Bella's candy has been confiscated and will be taken to work by Ian. I guess I'm not that mean of a mother, because I let Bella have a lollipop. 

After trick-or-treating, loaded up the car and headed to Grandma Ruth's house. She offered to keep Bella for a few days, so we could get some things accomplished around the house (i.e. organizing and clearing out the bedroom that will be the new nursery). I know it doesn't sound much like a vacation, but it needs to be done and it needs to be done before my dad arrives in 3 weeks. We have an ultrasound scheduled and we should know the gender by then, so my dad will be helping us paint the room! There is such much to be excited and thankful about in November... our big gender reveal, Pop arriving for a 10-day visit and Thanksgiving!

Enjoying dinner before trick-or-treating.

Lady Bug Bella and her friend Reese as Minnie Mouse.

Love this girl!

Bella and her daddy, making their way around the neighborhood.

Bella carried her candy bag the entire time.
It was a great Halloween to say the least. The weather was fabulous, the company was good and the smile on that little lady bug's face all evening long was priceless! Can't wait until next Halloween, when we will have two little ones to take trick-or-treating! Happy Halloween, y'all!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cheers to the freakin' weekend!

It's Sunday, but for once, it actually doesn't feel like the end of the weekend! Knowing that Ian is on vacation for the next 2-weeks makes it feel like a super long weekend. There will be plenty of family time and plenty of fun. We have a few things planned, but for the most part, we will be taking it day by day.

This weekend was a busy weekend for us. We joined our friends/neighbors to celebrate their daughter Reese's 2nd birthday. It was a "Yo Gabba Gabba" themed party, complete with a Foofa cake and boom box party favors. Bella had a great time playing with Reese and Aidynn (as usual) and the adults enjoyed conversing while the kids played. It's awesome taking your kid to a friend's house where you know you can let down your guard a little and actually enjoy yourself. Bella plays well with most children, but seems to really get along with Reese and Aidynn. We gave Reese a kid's laptop by V-Tech that she LOVES to play with at our house. When she comes over, she will seriously play with Bella's laptop for 30-45 minutes. The gift was two-fold, in that I knew Reese's parents would appreciate the toy just as much as Reese!

We went to the mall in an attempt to run a few errands, but failed miserably. I forgot my coupons and the leggings I needed to return. We walked around and looked at some maternity cloths (yuck!) for me. I didn't end up getting anything because I thought everything looked hideous and screamed, "I'm pregnant!" I think I'll stick to wearing dresses and the maternity clothes I saved from when I was pregnant with Bella. I hate being so particular, but for something I'm only going to wear for such a short period, it needs to be really cute. We also grabbed dinner at the mall and returned home just in time for our bath, book and bed routine with Bella.

Speaking of pregnancy brain... it has really gotten the best of me, especially recently. I seem to forget everything these days and unless I write it down immediately, I've usually forgotten it within 10-minutes. For example, I thought Bella had her follow-up appointment with the allergist this Tuesday, but learned that her appointment was not until December 1st. Oops! I walk to the kitchen to get a drink of water and often forget what I went into the kitchen for. Duh! Like I mentioned above, we went to the mall yesterday for two specific reasons and I ended up not being able to do either because I had forgotten my coupons and the item I needed to return. And to think, pregnancy brain will be carried over into mommy brain once baby #2 arrives. I think I've forgotten what it's like to remember things! Some day I will have my brain back... just not any time soon.

I have my 16-week appointment with the OB tomorrow. I can't believe I'm almost half-way through this pregnancy. And if this baby knows what's good for him/her, he/she would arrive a week or two early, like Bella. Bella made her debut at 38-weeks and I wouldn't mind if this baby made his/her debut at 38-weeks either. I would be lying if I said it has flown by and been an absolute breeze, because it surely hasn't. The nausea and vomiting still plague me every so often and I'm still waiting for my energy to return. I remember feeling absolutely amazing during the 2nd trimester with Bella! This pregnancy has been so different than my first. I almost wish I didn't have expectations of how I should be feeling. But for what it's worth, I'm so excited to be expecting baby #2 and cannot wait to meet this little dude or dudette.

Well, today has been relaxing and filled with lots of football. By the grace of God, the Ravens managed to win after recovering from a 24-3 deficit. Have I mentioned how much I love the NFL Redzone on Verizon Fios?!? It is awesome! We enjoyed spending time and watching football with our dear friends, Paul and Lisa, today. What a nice way to wind down a busy weekend!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Friday, October 28, 2011

Making the most of a rainy Friday

It's Friday... woot woot! Bella and I spent the morning with Grandma Ruth at Citrus Park Mall. We had an appointment at a photography studio for a reshoot of Bella's 18-month pictures. Grandma Ruth wasn't satisfied with how the first set turned out, so she demanded a reshoot. Bella was definitely not in the mood for modeling, but still took some pretty cute pictures.

We left Grandma Ruth after lunch and headed back to our side of town. Bella fell asleep on the ride home and so I ran a few errands while she was asleep in the car. I ran to the bank and got gas while she slept and she ended up sleeping for a little over an hour. I was bummed that I knew her normal 3-hour nap would not happen because I was in desperate need of a nap myself.

When we got home, it was still raining so we headed outside to play in the rain. Bella loves playing in the rain so when the weather permits (i.e. no lightning) we try to go outside. I strip her down to nothing but a diaper (which is doable in Florida). She giggles as she jumps in puddles and squeals as rain falls on her. It's adorable. We had a fun, rainy afternoon on our lanai (a patio/verandah/porch for all you non-Floridians) and I even took a few pictures.

A close up of my little cutie.

Sitting in a puddle is such fun!

Examining a puddle.

Getting up after a face plant... my poor girl!
We had a blast and kept ourselves entertained until Ian returned home from work. This weekend marks the beginning of Ian's vacation!!! I am so excited he is finally able to take some time off from work to spend with us. We've missed having daddy around and we're looking forward to some fun day trips as a family. Hopefully Ian doesn't have to work too much (or at all) during his vacation, but unfortunately his job is pretty demanding so I'm sure he'll have to do some work. It's better than no vacation at all! Happy weekend y'all!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Play Date

Bella and I have been participating in a weekly play group with a small group of friends. We have 10 (well, I guess now 11 with the birth of little Tanner on Monday) kids and 10 moms. Most of the time we have about 8, due to two moms returning to work. t's a small enough group that we've gotten really close over the past year. Bella knows her little friends and she enjoys playing with them. I enjoy chatting with the moms and having adult conversations... even if it's intermixed with conversations with toddlers. We meet each Thursday, around the same time and we rotate the hosting responsibilities. If no one is in the mood to host, we sometimes even meet at the zoo or aquarium. I like knowing that one day a week we meet with our friends and play for a few hours. 

This week was our turn to host and so I hosted a Halloween themed play date. I made treat bags for each of the kids and personalized a mini-pumpkin for each kid. The kids even dressed up in their Halloween costumes, which was super cute. We managed to take a few pictures, which is a rarity for a group of 18-month-olds.

Bella, Logan, Gia, Layla, Luke, Connor and Lily.

Uh oh, and the melt downs begin...

My little lady bug.
Last year Bella dressed up as a bumble bee and this year we decided to stick with the bug theme and Bella dressed up as a lady bug. She refers to herself as "Buggy" when in costume and actually enjoyed wearing the dress, tights and shoes. She did not enjoy wearing the antennae, but I cannot blame her. I tried to take her out of her costume several times and she refused. By the way... how cute is she?!? 

It was a fun play date (as usual) and it wore my little lady bug out, as she took a marathon 4-hour nap! I also napped, but only took a little power nap for an hour. I really do think I enjoy nap time more so than Bella. What am I going to do in April, with two on two different schedules?!? I better rest up now because come April, I am going to be one tired mama...  but the sleep deprivation is definitely worth it though!

Love always, 
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

P.S. Our play group is growing, slowly but surely. My friend Sarah H. gave birth to a daughter, Tanner Lillian, on Monday. I am expecting, as are 3 (yes, 3!) other moms in the group. I'm due first, with another due a week after me, another due 2-weeks after me and another due a month after me! It's crazy to think that our group of 10 has recently grown to 11 and in another 7-months will grow to 15 little ones! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Do any of you have a difficult time telling people, "no"? I certainly do and always find myself telling people "yes." But you know what? My days of being a "yes" woman are over. I am finally putting my foot down and I have resolved to tell people "no." In fact, I've been practicing saying "no" and I will only get more confident with time. 

We all have different types of friends... we keep different types of friends around for various reasons, but the one type of friend we should rid ourselves of is "the taker." We all have friends like this and for one reason or another, we put up with their selfish behavior. I have a friend (or two) who are takers. I bend over backwards for these people time and time again, but it never seems good enough! Even when I try to say "no" I end up feeling guilty and eventually say "yes." It's almost like an abusive relationship and I keep coming back for more... over and over again. 

This past weekend, I think I said "yes" to a friend for the last time. I'm tired of being taken advantage and it's time I stood up for myself. I don't mind doing favors for people and I enjoy helping people, it's just that I cannot continue to put my life on hold for other people. And I wouldn't mind so much if the times when I attempted to say "no" I wasn't always guilted into saying "yes." 

Doing favors for people is similar to feeding a stray cat... if you feed a stray cat once, they'll keep coming back for more. The same can be said about doing favors for people... if you do a favor for someone once, they'll keep coming back for more. 

The kitchen is closed... the fat lady has sung... the "yes" train has left the station. I've resolved to learn to say "no" to people and feel confident in my answer. Enough is enough and I refuse to allow myself to be taken advantage of from this moment on. 

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2 

P.S. If you need a favor, please don't hesitate to ask. You probably haven't taken advantage of me yet... hehe! =)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same..."

Have you ever been put in a position where you had to do something that was extremely difficult, but you had to do it, because it was the right thing to do?

Today I was put in such a position and struggled to make the right decision. The who, what, where, why and when are not important. And regardless of the all the details, I was forced to choose between a friend and an acquaintance. Initially, I chose the acquaintance because it was the easiest thing to do. I immediately questioned my decision because something did not feel right and my heart felt very heavy. After several minutes, a brief discussion with Ian and a very insightful text message, I quickly realized what I had done was not right. Rather than live with my initial decision, I worked just as quickly to remedy the situation.

As soon as I completed my necessary phone calls, I immediately felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I knew I had done the right thing and I felt confident in my decision... even if it wasn't my initial decision. I had done the right thing, which was also the hardest thing and I was okay with that. 

It's not always easy to do the right thing, especially when it's difficult. I am so thankful that I had the conscious and confidence to right my wrong. It wasn't easy and it definitely wasn't pretty, but in the end, it felt right. I don't know what got into me, but I'm sure glad I was able to right my wrong. 

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same... but it's up to us as human beings to do what is right, even when it's difficult. 

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Friday, October 21, 2011

Some well-deserved R&R!

Bella and I had a VERY busy day yesterday. So today, while Bella is with Grandma Ruth, I am going to relax! Unfortunately, I have a house that needs to be cleaned, laundry that needs to be put away and a huge pile of mail that needs to organized. Why is there always so much to do when you return from being out of town?!?

Our day started with Bella's first dentist appointment. The child as all of her teeth, with the exception of her second molars. The dentist said we should be expecting those any time between now and the age of 3. She also said that Bella is advanced for her age in terms of teeth so we should expect to see those molars sooner rather than later. I asked the dentist if we were crazy for bringing our 18-month-old to the dentist and she was adamant that it was a great thing to do. She said early exposure to the dentist will help alleviate the fear associated with going to the dentist for children. Bella was a trooper and allowed the dentist to do everything she needed to do, which included an oral exam, a little scaling, a thorough brushing, a quick flossing and fluoride application. We just need to improve our brushing efforts and pay more attention to Bella's gums. Other than that, Bella's teeth are just great and we'll take her back in 6-months.

On a side note... I arrived at the dentist 15 minutes prior to our appointment to ensure the front desk could get Bella into the system and process our insurance. So much for arriving early because we waited for a long time. Our appointment was at 10am and we didn't get called to go back until almost 10:30am! I was on the verge of walking out when we were called to go back. Luckily the dental technicians and the dentist were amazing and Bella's first dental exam was a success. She received a new pink toothbrush, toothpaste and she was able to select a toy out of the treasure chest. They were so lucky the actual exam went so well because I never would have returned to that office. I just know for next time, not to show up early for an appointment.

We then drove to Apollo Beach for a play date at Stephanie and Connor's house. It was our usual Thursday play date and I was really looking forward to it. We haven't been able to attend a play date in almost a month because of doctors appointments and our travel schedule. Bella must have missed all of her little friends because she quickly began playing and talking with everyone. I must have missed all of my friends because I was so chatty! I had so much to catch up on with everyone and I think I talked pretty much the entire time we were there. I guess that's what happens when you don't see your friends for a few weeks! Next week Bella and I will be hosting a Halloween themed play date and we're really looking forward to it.

After the play date, we hit the road and headed to West Chase. I had been selected to participate in a diaper survey at Heakin Research at Citrus Park Mall, so that was our first stop. Fortunately, the 45-minute drive allowed more than enough time for Bella to catch up on some sleep. Too bad, I couldn't have napped because I was exhausted! After her nap, Bella was in a great mood and enjoyed walking around the mall for awhile. After picking up the diapers, we had some time to kill before we met Grandma Ruth. We walked around the mall and then headed to Grandma Ruth's house. Silly me forgot the keys to Grandma Ruth's house so we waited for a few minutes in her driveway. I caught up with Grandma Ruth and then headed out. A long day of running around made for one tired mama!

Since we were Bella-less, Ian and I went out for dinner. We wanted to go somewhere we haven't been in awhile, so we went to the Italian Kitchen on 301. Obviously we won't be bringing Bella to an Italian restaurants any time soon, so we made the most of our dinner with delicious Italian food. We ordered a caprese salad and it was probably the best I've ever had! In fact, everything was really good... and I can't wait to go back.

Well, I'm going to finish watching the Today Show and bum around the house this morning. On a positive note, I found a (normal) buyer for my steam mop and I'm supposed to meet her late this morning. At least that's productive, right?

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2nd Trimester... time to start planning!

I've reached the 2nd trimester (woo hoo!) and the weeks seem to be flying by. I'm beginning to feel so much better and I hope this feeling continues! For me, the 2nd trimester goes by the quickest. When I was pregnant with Bella, I felt great and I accomplished so much during this time. That being said, my nesting instincts are kicking in and I'm beginning to plan. 

We don't know whether or not Bella will have a little brother or a little sister just yet, but we will hopefully know in less than 4-weeks. We've opted to have an elective ultrasound at Meet the Baby once I'm 18-weeks. I know, we could wait 2 more weeks and simply find out the gender at the 20-week anatomy scan, but what's the fun in that? I've never been a patient person, but more importantly, my dad will be in down for 10-days in November and I'd like to have the new nursery painted while he's here. And so the planning begins...

We ordered the furniture and most of it has been delivered. It was on sale, so we couldn't resist. The furniture really sets the tone for the room. I momentarily considered white furniture, but opted for classic cherry furniture. In fact, the only difference between Bella's furniture and the new furniture is the finish and the dresser. Bella's furniture is chestnut and she has an armoire. The new nursery furniture is cherry and will have a dresser. We purchased a 4-in-1 crib, so the cribs will convert from a crib, to a toddler bed, to a day bed and to a full size bed. I love the fact that we purchased such great furniture and it can grow with the kids. 

I've even begun to narrow down the bedding options. If Baby #2 is a girl, I'm partial to the Scarlett bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. If Baby #2 is a boy, I'm partial to the Bradley bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. Either bedding will go with the cherry furniture and can be used for the toddler years. In fact, it kind of makes me want to re-do Bella's room, but I think we'll cross that bridge once we transition her into a toddler bed (and we are by no means ready for this). I love PBK and all the super cute stuff they make for kids. 

I just need to figure out what color to paint the new nursery, which will be decided once the gender is determined. I'm thinking a cream or khaki for a little girl's to set a neutral background for the dark furniture and pink bedding. And I'm thinking a light blue or khaki for a little boy's room would work well with the bedding I'm considering. Either way, the room isn't going to be painted a bold color, like Bella's room. I think a more neutral color palette will accent the dark cherry furniture and light, neutral bedding with either pink or blue accents will look adorable. 

Oh, all this planning gets me so excited about my pregnancy. Nesting is so much fun and I can't wait to really get started. Only 25.5 weeks to go! Oh wow... time is really starting to fly! By the way, I was discussing baby names with some girl friends today, but we have absolutely no idea what we're going to name this baby! We definitely have some wonderful options, but we haven't narrowed our list down to any less than 20 or so names per gender. All of this planning really makes me excited to meet Baby #2!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The NEW iPhone 4S

I am a technology junkie. I love having the latest and greatest new gadgets and especially love things that make my life easier. One of the things that has made my life easier is my iPhone. I've had an iPhone for over two years and I can't imagine life without it. It's manages everything, my calendar, email, text messages, phone calls, music, social networks and pictures. I carry one device and it does everything. I love that.

After a much anticipated wait, I waited patiently for the new iPhone to be introduced. The iPhone 4S was introduced the day before Apple founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, passed away. It was truly bittersweet, especially for an Apple fanatic, like me. So, after waiting... waiting... and waiting some more, I finally have an iPhone 4S in my hands!

I went to my local Apple Store because that's the only way to purchase any Apple product. The authorized retailers (i.e. Best Buy or AT&T) just don't have the customer service that Apple offers. Apple will set up your new iPhone (or whatever you purchased) and answer any questions you have. The staff is very knowledgable and you can't find that kind of service at just any store. I was not alone in my quest for the new iPhone and so I waited for a bit. While I waited, I played with the new iPhone and even made my final decision as to which iPhone to get. I decided to get the iPhone 32GB in white. I upgraded from my old 16GB iPhone and I've never owned a white phone before. So why not?

I'm excited about the upgraded camera (with a flash and HD video), faster processor and the new Siri assistant. The better camera will mean better quality pictures and I will be more likely to take more pictures. The faster processor makes my life easier because there isn't a delay in the loading of applications and other basic functions. And Siri... oh, where do I begin? It's like having a personal assistant in my phone. I can talk and text, I can talk and surf the internet, I can basically talk and the phone will do whatever I need it to do. It's pretty cool. I'm also excited about Facetime, but that's not new to the iPhone 4S, but it's new to me!

I also purchased AppleCare+ which will cover my phone from defects and accidents (only 2 accidents) for two full years. It also gets me free sessions with the Genius Bar, which is basically an in-person help desk. I can make an appointment to learn about my new phone or get assistance with figuring out a new application. The additional accident coverage is a necessity when you have an 18-month-old. Hopefully I won't have to make a claim, but it's nice to know that the phone will be covered if an accident does occur.

So I'd better go sync my contacts, music, pictures and everything else I used to carry on my old iPhone so I can feel more at home with my new iPhone. I also need to order a case from Otterbox to protect my investment. Otterbox makes some great products that really protect your valuable electronics. Until I get my Otterbox case, I bought a temporary case to do the job. Let's hope it holds up for the next week or so!

I know it sounds so silly to be so excited over a damn phone but this is something I rely on every day. This phone will probably take Baby #2's first picture, provide hours of entertainment for my children and keep me connected to my family and friends. Be on the look out for new pictures, courtesy of my new iPhone! If Bella were awake, I'd take her picture and post it, but she's napping. I guess that will just have to wait.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella and Baby #2

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Everybody needs a little time away..."

With Ian working 80-hour weeks and being out of town, I've had very little time to myself. This isn't unusual, as I am a stay-at-home-mom but usually I have a few minutes each day to myself when Ian is home. Ian almost always handles bed time and morning time because he really enjoys bonding with Bella during their bath, book, bed routine and I am not a morning person. It's a nice break for me and Ian and his mini-me enjoy their special time together. What a great father and husband... Bella and I really lucked out!

While Ian was working like a crazy person or out of town (working like a crazy person), Bella and I spent all day, every day together. Out of bed every morning by 8:00am and back in bed every night by 8:30pm was our schedule. I took over the bath, book, bed routine and also got up with Bella in the morning. It was a good dose of humility for me and it renewed my admiration appreciation for having such a great husband. I often forget how hard Ian works and how much he helps around the house. Not all husbands/fathers do this, or so I've learned. It's pretty sad that not all husbands help their wives around the house or spend as much time with their children as Ian does. Whenever I've asked him about how he manages it all and he simply says, "I can't imagine not doing it all." He was raised well (thanks to Grandma Ruth) and he is very dedicated to each role he has. He does it all, he does it well and he does it because he loves us. Okay, enough about how wonderful Ian is... and hopefully all the praise doesn't go to head!

27-4 mommy duty is exhausting, especially when you're pregnant. The first trimester was a bit rough for me with the constant nausea, vomiting and back pain. I am thankful to be feeling almost 100% since beginning the second trimester and I am hopeful that those days of feeling like a zombie are behind me... at least until the third trimester! I could have used the extra energy while Ian was working like mad, that's for sure. Some how, some way, we managed to make it through the first trimester and a hellish busy season.

So while Ian was gone, for almost 2-weeks, I kept very busy. My friend Jamie and her boyfriend Jesse spent a long weekend with us and I planned a trip to Maryland. Ian returned home yesterday and Bella and I will return home tomorrow evening. Spending time with family has been great. I've really appreciated the extra help from my parents, Pop and Dee Dee and wouldn't have been able to get through the past week without them. Pop got up every morning with Bella so I could sleep in and Dee Dee took Bella for a night so I could have some time to relax. I definitely needed a little time for myself... and I finally slept really well  last night. Pop and I are going to pick Bella up from Dee Dee's house and head up to Frederick to visit more family. Having some many aunts and cousins makes for built-in babysitters, so hopefully I'll be able to enjoy some more relaxation this afternoon.

But anyway... I am so grateful for the extra help and time for myself this past week. I've been really spoiled these past few months in that I've been able to spend a great deal of time with my family. But I won't have to wait too long to see my family again, as Pop will be down for Thanksgiving! He booked his flight this week and will be spending over a week with us. He even offered to help us organize, paint and prep Baby #2's room... yay! Maybe Dee Dee will be down some time before the Baby #2 arrives?!?

I'm feeling very blessed and very lucky today. I'm blessed with an amazing and supportive family in both Maryland and Florida. I'm blessed with an amazing husband. Bella is blessed with an amazing father. And for those things, I am thankful.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Friday, October 14, 2011

Common Sense: Car Seat Safety

Have you ever been with friends with someone but questioned their common sense and overall intelligence? I have questioned many friendships throughout the years, especially since becoming a mother. My life is busy and hectic and I simply don't have time to be friends with just anyone. I've weeded out several friends throughout the past year and half and I think I'm about to do some more weeding... apparently not everyone is born with common sense.

While browsing through a friend's pictures on Facebook today, I noticed a picture that immediately caused me to question the common sense of this friend. She had a picture of her 8-month-old daughter in a car seat that was FORWARD-FACING. I thought to myself, "Are you kidding me?!? Not only is that completely unsafe, it's also against the law!" Having been the victim of judgment, more times than I can count, I normally don't judge other mothers. But this is an issue of a child's safety! 

According to Florida law, an infant under the age of 1-year and under 20-pounds must be rear-facing. To me, the law is in place for a reason, to protect the child. Not only is it law, but it's recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the manufacturers of car seats. While the recommendations should be followed, the law most definitely should be followed... no matter what. In my opinion, there is absolutely no need to turn your infant to forward-facing. Unless a valid reason can be supplied, then I think the rest are just excuses for parents. Is the car seat easier to install and balance while it's forward-facing? Yes, absolutely. Is it easier to get Bella into her car seat while it's forward-facing? Yes, absolutely. Does Bella enjoy looking out the window or watching her movies on the DVD player while she's forward-facing? Yes, absolutely. But is the risk of injury or death worth all these minor conveniences? Absolutely NOT! 

Bella is 18-months-old and with the exception of a few times, she has always remained in the rear-facing position in her car seat. We transitioned her to the Britax Boulevard when she was 6-months-old because she out grew her infant car seat. She remained rear-facing because while she 21-pounds and nearly 30-inches long, it was against the law for her to be in the forward-facing position. When she turned 1-year-old, the AAP amended their recommendation for toddlers to remain in the rear-facing position until they turned 2-years-old. That being said, Bella has remained in the rear-facing position and will remain in the rear-facing position until her 2nd birthday. 

Parents are often in a hurry for their children to grow up. But for me, I am not. Bella will remain in her crib (yes, I said crib) until she learns to climb out of it. Bella will remain rear-facing until her 2nd birthday, unless the recommendations change. What's the big deal if a child sleeps in a crib or sits rear-facing anyway? All I care is that Bella is safe. I think parents often lose sight of safety when convenience is compromised. But for our family, I'll compromise convenience any day to ensure that Bella is safe. 

This has been your daily public safety and common sense announcement. If you'd like some more information on why toddlers should remain rear-facing until their 2nd birthday, feel free to check out an article published by CNN via Parenting Magazine regarding the issue: Car Seat Guidelines

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Thursday, October 13, 2011


After doing some extensive research, I decided I wanted to purchase a new steam mop. We've had our Shark steam mop for several years and compared to newer steam mops, it's a piece of crap. It's small, it has to be pumped in order to produce steam and the tank is small. Newer steam mops have a larger cleaning surface, don't have to be pumped and have a bigger tank. We have a lot of tile in our house, especially downstairs, so it's a necessity to have something that cleans well and cleans quickly.

I listed two of our steam mops on Craigslist in hopes that I could get a few bucks for them to put toward the new steam mop. Yes, I said two steam mops. I got a great deal on a Bissell Sweep & Steam mop about 6-months ago but didn't really care for it. The suction on the vacuum was poor and the steam didn't seem to clean the floors very well. I will admit, it was an impulse buy, but with a $25 Target gift card and a $30 manufacturer's rebate, I couldn't resist. But anyway, I listed the Shark steam mop and the Bissell Sweep & Steam on Craigslist and patiently waited.

I received several responses for the Shark steam mop, but I think only because I had listed it for $25. I actually had ALL the attachments, including 5 microfiber cleaning pads, a carpet glider, a funnel and measuring cup. Considering that I paid nearly $90 for this mop a few years ago, $25 was a bargain. A very nice gentleman replied to the ad and I met him in the Publix parking lot one afternoon. He brought cash and I brought the mop. It was so easy! I hoped the other steam mop would be just as easy to sell.

Now this brings me to the Bissell Sweep & Steam mop... I patiently waited for a response and didn't receive one. I listed it for $100 and knew that people would think it was too high. I had only used it once and was looking to break even. After about a week, I lowered the price and re-listed it. I received a response from a gentleman who sounded to me like he was foreign. It turns out, he wasn't foreign, he was just stupid. I replied to his inquiry and that's when the weirdness began. In his second email, he had asked me out on a date and urged me to call him. Umm, definitely not buddy! I eventually reported him to Craigslist and I never responded to his second email. Who the hell asks someone out in response to an ad for a steam mop? Ewww!

I waited for a more normal response to my ad and vowed that I would take Ian with me if and when I should the steam mop. I didn't have to wait long and several people replied to my ad in one day! I had multiple offers and so I responded to all of the offers, in case the original offer fell through. I told the additional inquires that I had an offer but would contact them if they were still interested and if the original sale fell through. I was low-balled by a few people, but was able to get the full asking price of $50. I didn't get my original full asking price, but at least I got something for it. The transaction is scheduled to go down next Tuesday so hopefully it will be as smooth as the first.

My first experience selling something on Craigslist went surprisingly well. I can't say the same for my second experience, until that actually happens. So far, it's been a bit more difficult, considering the low ball offers and the creepy dude who asked me out on a date. But making a few bucks on things we no longer use isn't too bad. The $25 I've made thus far and the potential $50 I'll make next week is far better than nothing at all!

Oh, and if you're wondering what steam mop I purchased to replace our other steam mops... I purchased the Eureka Enviro-Steam mop and quickly returned it. People raved about this mop and I thought it was a P.O.S.. The steam produced was not impressive, it didn't remove half the gunk that was on the floor and it left my floors soaking wet! I'm not sure what all the hype is about, but I was definitely not impressed. I ended up returning that steam mop and purchasing the Shark Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop. The highlights of this steam mop include not having to pump it to produce steam, a taller handle, a bigger tank AND a lift-away feature so that you can steam clean things other than your floor. It's only been used twice but it works really well! It thoroughly cleaned the floors and melted away handprints and dog gunk from the sliding glass door. The lift-away feature is pretty cool and I think it will come in handy for steam cleaning just about anything. Oooh, I can't wait to steam clean some of Bella's toys... it's the little things in life that bring me such excitement!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Traveling with Kids

Have you ever boarded a plane and realized that the flight is full of kids and babies? A child-less person's worst nightmare... I'm sure! But even before I had kids, I was always patient with kids kicking my seat or a baby crying. Now that I am a parent, I am even more sympathetic towards parents flying with kids because I know how stressful it can be. Traveling with kids is not easy and we parents try to make it as pleasant as possible for all involved parties, even perfect strangers.

We've been flying with Bella since she was about 5-months-old and it's gotten progressively worse. When she was an infant, we would give her a bottle and she would sleep for the 2-2.5 hour flight. It was great, although our arms usually fell asleep, but she was an absolute angel the entire duration of the flight. I didn't dread flying with her, kind of like I do now. The groans, sighs and dirty looks when Bella is not happy are super annoying. I usually give a dirty look or say something smart in response to the rudeness. I'm not going to apologize for something beyond my control. I try my best to keep Bella entertained and console her when she's upset, but there's only so much I can do on a plane. We have to get from point A to point B and flying is the most efficient means of doing so. If you don't like excess noise on a plane, buy a private jet.

The past three trips we've taken have been pretty rough with the exception of the flights in which we were allowed to carry on her car seat. Bella isn't much on snuggling or cuddling, so when she has to sit on one of our laps for an extended period of time, it isn't pretty. But, when she's strapped into her car seat, she is content and comfortable... as are we. We have never actually purchased her a seat until this week, we've lucked out several times with fairly empty flights and simply carried on her car seat. This isn't a chance I'm willing to take for our next flight, so I called Southwest this week to amend our travel reservations. I booked Bella a seat for our upcoming trips and our little frequent flier is now a member of Southwest's Rapid Rewards Program. Knowing the we will both be comfortable flying on our next few trips alleviates any anxiety I was feeling about these trips.

I was looking forward to six more months of "free" flights for Bella, but I'm more than willing to pay for a seat at this point. Traveling with a toddler is difficult but this makes it a little easier for us. We can know in advance that Bella has a seat on the plane and carry on her car seat. Bella enjoys having her own space, which I can appreciate, so the extra money is totally worth it to me. And Bella will now be racking up frequent flier miles, just like the rest of us.

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Recently, Bella has been more communicative than ever. She is really getting the hang of using her words and identifying things. I wrote an entire post about her vocabulary, but the list isn't doing her vocabulary justice. She has begun to excel and it is amazing to communicate with her each and every day.

Last week, she stood at the sliding glass door and yelled, "Kaisee" and wasn't satisfied until our dog, Kaiser, came to the sliding glass door. She has learned that the dogs will come if she calls them, especially if she says, "Kaisee... treat!" I'm pretty sure the dogs are enjoying her use of the word treat on a regular basis, but wish she would forget their names. She likes to call for them when they are asleep but are usually good sports and go to her. She hasn't mastered Riley's name yet, but Kaiser is more of her buddy than Riley. 

During a weekend stay at Grandma Ruth's, Bella came home with a new phrase... "Oy vey!" Yes, my little quarter Jew is now walking around saying, "Oy vey!" It's actually pretty darn cute and she actually uses it appropriately. Only a Jewish grandmother would teach their shiksa such a phrase. I guess she's gotta learn the Yiddish phrases from some one!

We're working on the polite words. She has mastered "please" but is still working on saying "thank you" and "you're welcome." She understands that she needs to say "please" in order to request something from someone, but doesn't quite understand that she needs to thank the person once she gets what she wants/needs. Yes, I know she's only 18-months-old but manners and politeness are so very important to us. People don't say use polite words nearly enough and I hope to instill these little things into our children. And yes, I make it a point to use polite words regularly so that I can set a good example for Bella. Hopefully one day she will truly understand the importance of politeness and will have good manners... a mother can have hope, right?

Well, that's all from our little piece of the world tonight. I can't wait to post more cute Bella-isms in the future and there will be more... trust me, because that child can talk! 

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella & Baby #2

Monday, October 10, 2011

Allergies and Eczema

During Bella's 18-month wellness check-up, I brought up a few incidents of hives that Bella had experienced recently. We're fairly certain that Bella may be allergic to tomatoes because she has broken out in hives three times within the last month after eating tomatoes. Each time we've given her Benadryl and the hives cleared up within a few hours. Obviously we learned that Bella cannot have tomatoes so we've eliminated tomatoes for now. 

Based on our family history of allergies (nasal allergies and food allergies), the pediatrician referred us to an allergist. Both Ian and I saw allergists as children and received allergy shots for several years. Ian had various allergies, but is only allergic to cats at this point in time. I also had various allergies but the only allergies that still plague me are bee stings and sulfa. I am supposed to carry an Epi-Pen for the bee stings, due to anaphylaxis, but I'm not the best at always remembering to do so. Ian's family has a history of shellfish allergies, too. Bella was bound to have allergies, I just didn't think we'd be dealing with it so soon.

Today, Bella and I met with the allergist for an initial consultation. Our pediatrician referred to Dr. Kalik at Partners in Allergy and Asthma and once again, her referral was greatly appreciated. Dr. Kalik was personable, warm and very gentle with Bella. He took his time developing a rapport with Bella and eventually earned her attention and then her trust. He spoke with me at great length about our family medical history and our present concerns. Based on what I told him, he said he was 99% sure Bella was allergic to tomatoes but wanted to test to confirm his assumption. He also suggested that we test for the 5 most common food allergies (milk, soy, wheat, eggs and tree nuts). I was relieved to learn that Bella would have blood drawn and would not have skin testing done. He even prescribed a numbing cream so that Bella wouldn't have to suffer the pain of having blood drawn... how awesome is that?!? An Epi-Pen may be prescribed for Bella if her allergy is severe enough, but we will cross that bridge once we have the results back.

And FINALLY someone addressed her eczema as an auto-immune disorder! He said that Bella's eczema was mild compared to some cases, but I also explained that we just finished battling a bout of eczema and her skin was finally clearing up. He prescribed a topical steroid and a lotion. The topical steroid is made especially for babies and toddlers and is a very mild steroid, so that eases my fears of the side effects of prolonged steroid use. He seemed to think that Bella would respond well to the prescriptions. Winter (and cooler, less humid weather) is approaching so he wanted to get a jump start on prime eczema weather. Due to eczema being an auto-immune disorder, just like allergies, she may test positive for things she is not truly allergic to. If she does, we will undergo an elimination diet for a month to see if she is in fact allergic.

There could be much worse things we would have to face with Bella's health. This is a minor bump in the road and we are definitely equipped (thanks, Ursula) to deal with allergies. If we have to avoid tomatoes and carry an Epi-Pen, then so be it. It's just a bit sad that the poor little girl may not be able to enjoy pizza, spaghetti and other yummy foods containing tomatoes. 

We'll go for testing next week and should get the results back within two weeks. I hope it's just an allergy to tomatoes and we won't have to avoid any other foods. I also hope that her eczema begins to improve with the use of the new medications. Fingers crossed!

But if you're looking for a good allergist (pediatric or otherwise), I highly recommend Dr. Craig Kalik at Partners in Allergy and Asthma. I should also give a "shout out" to our pediatrician, Dr. Gabrielle Hosemann at Pediatric Health Care Alliance. 

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella and Baby #2

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Big Sister Bella

Bella is going to be a BIG SISTER!!!

It's been an exciting couple of months around our house! We learned in early August that our little family of three will be expanding to a family of four! Yup, it's true... I'm 12-weeks pregnant and we're expecting baby #2 next April! The official due date is April 17th, 2012. Which is funny because it's the day after Bella's original due date.

And it's true what they say about each pregnancy being different. When I was pregnant with Bella, I was plagued with occasional nausea, but only vomited twice my entire pregnancy. So far, I've been nauseous pretty much all day, every day and I've vomited more times than I can remember. I've been surviving by taking Phenegran and Zofran, two prescription anti-nausea medications. And not to complain, but the exhaustion, heartburn and back pain I've been experiencing have really taken the pep out of my step. I'm hoping that the second trimester (and maybe even part of the third trimester) is much kinder to me and I can return to a being a fully functional human being.

But all things considered, I'm doing very well and baby #2 is doing very well, too! We've had the opportunity to see baby #2 via ultrasound three times so far and seeing that tiny little guy or gal, never ceases to amaze me. Speaking of which, I have no feeling one way or the other of the gender of this baby. Part of me wants a little sister for Bella, but part of me also wants a little brother for Bella. So place your bets ladies and gentlemen... will baby #2 be a boy or a girl? Either way we are excited to be welcoming another bundle of joy and cannot wait for he/she to arrive. Only 28 more weeks...

And today Bella is 18-months-old... can you believe it? It seems like only yesterday we were anticipating her arrival and now she's a busy toddler. She is going to make a great big sister! Happy 18-months Isabella Eve!!!

Love always,
Ian, Kim, Bella and Baby #2

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Fall Y'all!

It looks as if cooler temperatures have graced us in the Tampa Bay area! With highs Sunday and today in the low 80's and lows in 60's, it's finally feeling like fall around here. Unfortunately today, it's supposed to get a bit warmer than yesterday, but in the meantime, I have the sliding glass door open and we're the 60 degree weather this morning.

This is type of weather is the reason I moved to Florida. During the summer it's pretty brutal, but I think my friends and family in Maryland suffered more this summer with the excessive heat and humidity, just not for as long. The 90 degree temperatures of September made for some super uncomfortable days, but those days are all but forgotten with the arrival of cooler temperatures and less humidity. October through April is my favorite time of year in Florida. The sunny days and warm temperatures are a reminder of how lucky we have it here. I'm excited to do more things outside and actually enjoy being outside! I'm especially excited for the Pumpkin Festival at Hunsader Farms! We went last year and had a blast, even though Bella was only 6-months-old. This year should be even better because Bella will be 18-months-old and actually able to see and do things.

It's even beginning to look like fall at our house. On Sunday we put out a few decorations for fall and Halloween. A few pumpkins (faux) on the porch and several ghosts and a witch in our trees and it's feeling kind of spooky around here. We don't go all out for Halloween decorations, but it's fun to put a few things out to make it festive. We've purchased real pumpkins in the past, but they don't usually survive. The warmer temperatures and humidity aren't kind to pumpkins and it usually ends up being a giant mess when it's all said and done. Maybe when Bella is older (and can clean up the mess) we will carve pumpkins, but in the meantime, we will celebrate with our faux pumpkins.

By 10am, I'll probably close the sliding glass door and crank up the a/c, but while it's still cool outside, I'm going to go and enjoy the nice breeze that's blowing through our family room. Happy fall y'all!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella