Anna Maria Island 2013

It’s been quiet here on the blog, but rest assured, we are back to the real world.
We had a wonderful week away following the 4th of July holiday & our anniversary,
where we headed over to Anna Maria Island for a family vacation.

This was our second time on the island. Ironically enough, the last time we were all there
was at our last family vacation almost exactly two years ago when I was pregnant with Kenley.
Last time, we went over the 4th of July and I was 24 weeks along… this year we decided to
go a week later since the price was a lot better and again, I was 24 weeks along.
We’ve already joked that the next time we go, probably in 2 more years, I’ll be getting my party on, finally!

We were in the market for a house to rent with a pool so we could be occupied during nap time each day.
This house did not disappoint. It was so beautifully decorated and had a great outdoor space.
The best part was that it was only a couple blocks from the beach.
The bonus points came when we showed up and there was a ton of pool toys AND a wagon.
Big win for us!

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After a couple of days, Kenley was a rock star in the pool.
She loved swimming, but also loved when we filled up empty cans with water,
and she got to pour them out. I’m not kidding when I say that she did this for almost an hour one day.
She also loved throwing empty (or full) cans into the pool, which became tricky
for those who still had full beers just sitting around the pool.

We got her a Puddle Jumper right before we left that worked out wonderfully.
She had no problem keeping it on and was even “swimming” with it by the end of the week.
She also did a lot of swimming in her flip flops since the pavers were so hot
when she got in and out of the pool. This led to some wicked flip flop tan lines!

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Pool time also included intense games of Pro Kadima, which meant the
boys battled all week to see who could have the longest streak.
Dad & Michael won with a grand total of 184 (or so they say!).

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The beach was also great. Kenley loved being in the water and it was so warm!
We usually went to the beach for a couple hours in the morning, then headed back for nap time.
We did a great job of sticking with Kenley’s schedule and she slept great for both naps & bedtime.
After nap time, we hung out in the pool for the afternoon.

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On Friday we headed out right when the storms were rolling in.
You can see the rainbow and the clear line of storms to the left.
Luckily, the rest of the day was beautiful.

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Went to the beach & it started raining, so we took a selfie. #goodstory #ami2013

Thursday, we took a break from the sun and headed up to St. Pete
for the Rays vs. Twins baseball game at Tropicana Field.

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Raise your hand if you're excited for baseball! ✋⚾ #rays #actionshot

In addition to the pool and beach…and just relaxing in general,
we ate well, drank plenty, and played some games.
Apples to Apples was the biggest hit, until we went through all the cards. Twice.
Some of our favorite restaurants included Sharky’s (a favorite from last time),
The Beachhouse, Tortilla Bay, Lobstah’s, and of course Two Scoops, which we got a lot!

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Now it's a party! Bloody Mary extraordinaire right here people. #sansvodka #stilldelicious

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Already missing vacation and the world's best ice cream. #ami2013 #twoscoops cc: @kdlower @mjlower @rachwenn @slower1974

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A lot of these photos were taken with our iPhones and a few good one with my camera.
I really wanted to use my camera more, but it was just easier for one person
to whip out their phone, than for me to be in charge of pictures all week.
Looking back, I’m not sure where the week went!
We had a great time hanging with family and relaxing as much as we could.
Anna Maria Island, we’ll see you again in two years.

Now that we’re back from vacation, I have a lot of posts to catch up on,
so stay tuned!

22 Weeks [Round Two]

To celebrate 22 weeks, Greg and I hit the road for a nice little babymoon.
Last time, we had already had a trip planned to Miami, which we dubbed as our babymoon,
but let’s be serious, isn’t your whole life a babymoon before you have a child?
This trip also marked our first trip away from little miss K, which was not easy.

Meemaw & Grandpa arrived Thursday night and we hit the road Friday morning to head southwest
about three and a half hours enjoying some treats on the way.

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We pulled into La Playa Resort in Naples, which was nothing short of amazing.
We had a great view from our balcony and spent the days soaking up the sun
and taking naps by our favorite pool.

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Along with all the crazy pregnancy cravings I have been having,
one of them has been a Bloody Mary… I know, it’s so wrong to be craving
cocktails during pregnancy, but this [virgin] one hit the spot for sure.

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Our first night out, we had dinner at Fleming’s and went to the fanciest movie theater ever.
We were totally bummed out when we got there and all that was left were front row seats.
Assigned seats no less… how weird!
We debated not seeing the movie, but finally decided to cough up the $16 per ticket and see it.
Thankfully, we did because they were the biggest, plushest, comfiest seats ever
and we couldn’t even tell we were in the front row. Plus, the popcorn was only $6,
which is unheard of in our parts. So the cost all evened out in the end.

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First time at a theater with assigned seats. Expensive seats, but they are the most comfiest seats ever. #fancy #babymoonpartdeux

The second night out we headed down to Fifth Avenue, full of shops & restaurants.
We ended up at Yabba Island Grill which was right up our alley.

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I later realized that I had salsa for every meal that day, which was awe-some!

#babymoonpartdeux

Greg and I had a great time together relaxing, eating, and sleeping in as late as we wanted.
The scenery wasn’t too bad either.

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We were excited to come home to our sweet girl on Sunday,
even though she was having a great time being spoiled by Meemaw & Grandpa.
We got a little spoiled too.
Not only did they come down to babysit, but we also came home a mowed yard
and trimmed landscaping! We are so thankful for both!

In other pregnancy news, I am still feeling great & energized, most of the time.
Baby G2 is moving around a lot, kicking & jabbing and Greg has been able to feel it.
The weekend getaway was a great way for me to rest, but now that we’re
back in the real world, it’s a little bit more difficult.
I have been pretty good about not picking up Kenley as much,
and she really hasn’t seemed to notice, which makes me feel better.

Progress in the nursery is moving along slowly but surely
and we have been tossing around names (after name after name)
to see if something will stick… so far… not much!
Good thing we have some time.

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my weekend in indiana

Kenley and I headed up to Indiana for a quick trip this past weekend.
45 hours, to be exact.
We had some fun, family functions we had been invited to,
but I just pulled the trigger last weekend and decided to just go.
This was after a very crazy week, which I will share with you at a later date.

We had SO much fun and saw SO many people during our short visit.
It was awesome to enjoy the first day of fall with the cool, crisp weather.

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We celebrated Megan & baby GB on Saturday morning.
Meg didn’t know that Kenley & I were coming in, nor Misha, who came from Seattle!

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Later that night, we celebrated Logan & Vanessa who got married in Alaska!
Fail, I didn’t even get a picture of the bride and groom.

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Sunday, we had a play date with Katie & Ashton and spent time with the other side of the family.

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I like to think that I’ve reached pro traveler status by flying solo with Kenley.
Even though I know moms do it probably all the time, I’m pretty impressed that we did so well.
Kenley was a rock star and flying after bedtime was an excellent idea.
Not to mention, I made it there and back with one carry-on suitcase.
That’s got to be some sort of record!

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We had a great weekend in Indiana
and were so thankful to see so many wonderful people in such a short amount of time.

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How was your weekend?

so long sweet summer

Since I live my life one semester at time, it is officially FALL in my book.
Bring on the sweaters, football, crunchy leaves, and pumpkin spice everything!
Ok, who am I kidding? It’s still ridiculously hot and we don’t have leaves, just palm fronds.
But, we do love us some pumpkin spice lattes, coffees, and coffee creamers.
If it were up to Greg, he would indulge in pumpkin flavor year round
but I think that defeats the purpose and it would totally kill the excitement.
I digress.
Anywho, I want to give summer one last shout out before we move on to bigger and better things.
I’m pretty sure fall would be my favorite season, if we had seasons in Florida.
I love football season, those perfectly crisp mornings that aren’t too cold but aren’t too hot,
October in general (birthday(s) month, breast cancer awareness, Halloween),
and knowing that the holiday season is right around the corner just leaves me feeling giddy.

Again, back to summer. We had a great one. I have no idea where it went, but it was fun.
Everything I was excited about in this post lived up to its expectations.

We had a great vacation up in Indiana over the 4th of July,
it was great to see family and friends, yet relax at the same time.
You can read more about it here, here, and here.

It’s hard to imagine how different our family vacation will look next July.

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I mentioned that I wanted to try some make-up and beauty products, tips, and tricks.
A huge thanks to Rachel for keeping me up to date on what’s out there
because Lord knows I need help in that department.
Some of my new favorites include the Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes,
MAC Naked Lunch eye shadow, and Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain.

We also got our baseball fix in this summer. Greg hit up a Phillies/Rays game in Philly,
in addition to our trip to St. Pete for a Rays/Red Sox game. Yes, he saw the Rays in two different cities.
Our St. Pete trip could not have worked out any better than it did meeting up with the Campbell/Pena clan
as it was the front end of their family vacay. We had a great time and we got to see some live baseball,
which is a must in our household every summer.

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We normally do a lot of year ’round grilling in these parts, but it’s usually the same things week in and week out.
Throughout the summer, we did try a new recipe here and there, but nothing spectacular.
I do a great job of pinning recipes on Pinterest, it’s just the making them part that doesn’t get done.
We’ll chalk that up to a work in progress.

Overall, we had a great summer, but we are definitely looking forward to the fall season.
We have a lot of fun things planned between now and the end of the year,
which brings me to the last thing that we’ve been up to… First birthday party planning.
I mentioned I wanted to get a head start, and I definitely have. I realize that we are still two months out,
but like I said, October is my favorite month and it’s also the busiest. Each year it’s insane.
Therefore, to avoid me running around like a crazy person (even more than I do now), I need to do things in advance.
I am a major planner… I know, I know, shocking, right? and that’s what we’ve been doing,
along with sewing, crafting, hunting (for bargains) and gathering (party supplies).
It’s gonna be fun people. Real fun.

So there ya have it. What we did this summer. How was your summer?

41 weeks :: photo overload

Can we just stop a second? How is it August 1st?
Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.

In honor of the new month, I’m going to overload you with some photos from July that never made it to the blog.
I was looking back on Kenley’s younger years months and was shocked how many pictures I have of her on my phone,
You’d think I was obsessed with taking photos of her. Oh wait, I am.
I was especially surprised by how many I have of her as a wee little newborn that I never posted!
So sorry for that.

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Loves playing at the window and in the curtains.

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Enjoying a snack outside in her swim suit on a hot summer day. Doesn’t get much better.

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One big difference between Indiana and Florida is the grass. Florida grass is hard and crunchy and not fun.
Kenley has really ever been in the grass so she was not sure what to think.
It didn’t help that Indiana is going through the worst drought in history, so that grass wasn’t too fun either.

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She definitely has a love/hate relationship with animals. She’s definitely not sure at first…

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but does warm up to them later. Holden’s baby kitten was the perfect size for her!

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Just swinging at the park with Kyler. They must have got the memo that day to wear green.

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Heaven on earth right here. This girl loves her cords.
I had written my computer off at this point, so I let her get a few good whacks in.
Still works, no worries.

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This was the only way I could get her to pose with her “First Rays Game” button.

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This is probably one of my favorite pictures. She had so much fun figuring out how to open the drawer,
then proceed to take every single shirt out of it. This ranks up there with opening and closing cabinets.
Not even sure why she needs toys.


41 weeks today!

Traveling with a Tot

Apparently this post has been much anticipated, so I hope it can live up to the expectations.
Obviously, I mentioned several times that we traveled with Kenley a couple weeks ago.

Flying

Growing up, we didn’t travel much by plane. Our family drove everywhere.
We had a great van(s) with the works, so we were able to stretch out and get comfy.
Greg, on the other hand, had been flying since he was a kid.
Once we moved to Florida though, we became frequent flyers.
Our flight experiences consisted of getting to the airport right on time, or near right on time,
with everything packed nicely in our carry-on luggage, grabbing a beer, and boarding our flight.

Oh, how times have changed.

They’ve even changed since Kenley’s first flight.
This time around we didn’t even pack the Ergo, but opted for our new super-light umbrella stroller,
which turned out to be a great purchase and very convenient.

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We try to travel light with our carry-on luggage. I packed the diaper bag to the brim with the necessities
and Greg carried our camera bag with the small, fragile items. These two bags are easy to carry on our person,
so we have two free hands to deal with a squirmy child, if need be.

The flights were only two hours each way and they were a challenge.
She was by no means bad on either flight, but due to her age and her very busy nature,
it was a struggle on our part to keep her occupied in the small space we had available.

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I was able to get her to sleep on both flights for about 45-50 minutes :: cue angels singing  ::
and no matter how bad my arm hurt holding nearly 20 pounds of dead weight,
I wasn’t going to move it for the life of me. Let’s go back to rule #1…never wake a sleeping baby.

The flight attendants, on the other hand, couldn’t care less that we had a sleeping baby on our hands.
They were the first to let us know we were at cruising altitude and we were free to use our portable electronics.
Mmmmkay, thanks.

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While she was awake, it was an reenactment of a WWF wrestling match.
Kenley was up and down, then would crawl over to Greg, then back to me.
She was curious to see what was going on. She had no interest in the toys we brought her,
then ended up on the floor every time we gave them to her. Then that turned into a game in itself.
We had a snack and some puffs to pass the time.
Thankfully, on the way back, there was a sweet little boy in the seat in front of us who kept
putting his hand through the seat when he heard Kenley get fussy.
She loved it and it distracted her for a short bit.
Greg occupied another five minutes by clicking the reading light on and off… on and off.
She was enthralled by it. It’s the little things I guess.

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Like I said, she really was good on both flights, but it was exhausting.
Greg gets stressed out easily in situations like that and gets worried about the people around us,
which, in turn, makes me stress out  more about Greg than Kenley.
I kid you not, once we were back in the Orlando airport, I said to Greg that we are not having any more kids.
Obviously, the moment has passed and we can laugh about it now and needless to say, we were ready to get home.

Car Riding

We were very fortunate that my parents had an infant car seat, which means we didn’t have to bring one.
Big win.
Kenley is usually pretty good in the car & car seat. After flying 2 hours, we had to drive about an hour
to get back to my parents’ house. I used this time to feed her a snack to pass the time.
It was nice to always have someone in the back seat with her to help keep her entertained. 
We didn’t travel very far once we arrived at our destination, so the next long trip was back to the airport to go home.

Simplifying Life

We took advantage of the fact that we were going to be on vacation and opted to use disposable diapers.
It was one less thing to worry about and much less to pack in our suitcase.
It was nice and a good break from diaper laundry, but it didn’t change our mind about using cloth back home.
We also decided to get jars and pouches of baby food.
These Boon spoons were clutch all week when we were on the go. They attach directly to the food pouch.
Genius I tell ya.
We love making Kenley’s baby food at home,
but knew that it would be silly to do that on vacation. Again, a nice little break for us.

We tried to stay our normal schedule as much as we could, but we knew we were going to be flexible.
The first night Kenley was up about two hours past her bedtime and we honestly didn’t even mind.
It was a special occasion and we were cognoscente of the fact that people wanted to see her.
The rest of the week was more normal. While it was a little more difficult for her to sleep in a pack-n-play,
she ended up taking an extra nap every day while we were there, which was fine with us.

Rolling with the Punches

Of course, we were bound to forget something. Unfortunately, it was Kenley’s lovies that she sleeps with every night.
We improvised and purchased the next best thing at Marshall’s as soon as we arrived. This one had a rattle in it,
so I preformed some surgery on the little guy, opening him up, removing the silly noise maker, and sewing him back together.
He worked out great all week for her cuddling needs and now acts as a back-up at home.

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After the hour+ car ride back to the airport and knowing she was going to be cooped up on the plane,
we let her crawl all over the dirty airport floor. When push comes to shove, you realize it’s not the end of the world.
Whatever it takes to keep your sanity.

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So, there you have it, our travel experience with an (almost) 9 month old.
Do you have any tips for traveling with a tot?

summer vacation

While some may not consider a trip to Indiana a “summer vacation”, it was for us.
Who would have thought that when we booked our trip months ago
that it would be hotter in Indiana than it was in Florida.
No joke, it was over 100* the entire time we were there.
Another fun fact, it stays light so late up there. Like, the sun set at 9:15pm,
so there were nights that we went to bed and it was still light outside. Yeah, winners.

This trip to Indiana was the perfect mix of relaxing and seeing family & friends.
We got to see most of our family & friends on the first night we were there!

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Michael & Rachel were down from Chi-town for a few days, so it was great to see them.
For some reason, it took Kenley a little to warm up to Michael,
which was strange since she had just seen him over Mother’s Day weekend.

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All of the Lower great-grandkids were in one place at one time!
David & Jodi made the trip to Indiana for the week too, so it worked out nicely.
It was so good to see the majority of our cousins & their kids,
even though we did miss the ones who couldn’t make it.

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Megan also made the trip up from Btown to snuggle Miss Kenley.

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Over the course of the night, Kenley was passed from one person to the next
and didn’t make one peep about it. She was so good and stayed up way past her bedtime,
which her father and I paid for later,
but that was okay since it meant she got to see a lot of different people.

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We spent the following days swimming and playing outside as much as we could.
Greg and I also hit up our local favorites like Dortee’s, the Mexican restaurant, and the Curve.

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We celebrated the 4th of July with a trip out on the boat.
Due to the insane heat and lack of rain, the lake was being drained by the day,
so it was crazy low and was one of the last days the boat was actually in the water.
Pretty crazy, but luckily we were able to head out for a short bit.
Greg and I stayed under the umbrella with Kenley and jumped in when we could.
We didn’t see one firework while we were there also due to the heat and dryness.

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Cameron and Kenley got to play together afterwards!

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Greg and I celebrated our 4th anniversary while we were vacationing.
We played golf in the morning. Kenley came along for the ride and loved it!
After bedtime, we headed to dinner just the two of us.
It was great having grandma and grandpa there to babysit.
I had big plans to blog about our wedding day to commemorate our anniversary,
but that clearly didn’t get done, so look for that post in the future.

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Overall, Kenley did wonderful. We tried to stay on schedule as much as possible,
and she even ended up taking an extra nap every day we were there.
It was so fun for Greg and I to spend the week with her.
She’s changing every day and learning new things and we were able to watch her explore
her new surroundings which was great.
More on traveling with a tot later.

I think it’s safe to say Kenley enjoyed her time at Grandma & Grandpa’s house.