Sunday, September 21, 2014


I just love this kid, heading off into the sunset in search of her next big adventure. She's really growing up into such an awesome little girl, and it's so much fun to watch.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Family Fun in Jacksonville

We had a really great weekend last weekend, largely thanks to the wonder of social media for keeping us informed about events around town. Each day we did something different and fun, which has really been our goal here - we want to do as much of that as we can to give Jacksonville a real fair shake. And really, so far Jax is doing a pretty good job of keeping our little family entertained. It's a different kind of entertainment from my beloved New York City, but we're not at a loss for things to do!

We kicked things off with another Friday night at Eric's school for some football. They won this game, too, and thus remain undefeated for this season! The band also performed at halftime for the first time, which Ellie was thrilled with.

Ready for some football!

Ellie was so pleased watching the band's halftime show!

On the other hand, the jury is still out for E.J.

On Saturday, Eric had a Teach for America thing in the morning, so the kids and I did a little consignment shopping, where I got suckered into treating Ellie to some light-up "glass slippers" with heels - definitely an "I-swore-I'd-never-let-my-daughter-have-a-pair-of-heels-but-now-I'm-eating-my-words-because-look-how-much-she-loves-them" situation. She's pretty cute shuffling around the house in those things, too. And hey, they're just for dress-up. No glass slippers allowed outside of the house!

She's feeling super fancy right now.

VIDEO: Ellie walking across the house to show E.J. her new glass slippers! 

Eric was home in time for lunch, and after lunch we went to St. Vincent's Hospital-Riverside for a "Read and Romp" event, which was very cool. They had tons of free activities for the kids, including a bounce house, fire truck and ambulance, music station, crafts, building blocks and even a photo opportunity with Clifford the Big Red Dog. There were also free sno-cones and popcorn, as well as fruit punch and assorted snacks. At each activity station, they were giving out free books to all children under eight years old, a couple of which Ellie has already incorporated into our regular storytime rotation!

Enjoying a refreshing sno-cone

We didn't get a picture with Clifford, but we did get Police Dog Guy! This girl loves a good costumed character.
(She's also munching on free animal crackers - score!)

Rest break! Ellie is already reading one of her new books.

Fun at the music station

On Sunday, we went to My Gym's Fall Festival, which was great fun. They, too, had tons of activities, including a bounce house, face painting, petting zoo and pony rides. Ellie loved petting the bunnies and other animals at the petting zoo....

She loved the soft white bunnies!

Petting a guinea pig

...but she was most excited about riding the horse. And I was so proud of her! It seemed like the kind of thing she would say she wanted to do but then either change her mind when we got to the front of the line, or at the very least insist on one of us joining her. But no, not this time! She excitedly asked to ride the horse up until the very moment it happened, then happily sat right in the saddle and rode around in the little parking lot circle, pleased as punch. (See video of it here.) When her turn was done, she only wanted to get off the horse if it meant she could ride the other, bigger horse next!

Ellie's first pony ride!

What a big girl!

Luckily we were able to distract her with some more fun on a fire truck.

She's pretty in to fire trucks these days.

Trying on the "big boots"

E.J.'s first time in a fire truck, too! (Hard to see - I'm wearing him.)

Firefighter Ellie!

When that was done we went into My Gym where all the kids were allowed to come in and play. It was essentially pandemonium, so we didn't stay long before calling it a day.

Ellie and Daddy, hand-in-hand

What a fun weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fun with Papa

Last week my dad spent a few of his vacation days up here with us. Of course, we showed off our new house and took him on various walking tours of our new neighborhood.

Ellie and her Papa having fun at the "train park"

Swinging together!

Splashing in puddles

More splashing the next night at Friendship Fountain

Along the riverfront with Papa (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery)

Just being generally sweet

Reading up about Treaty Oak (more imitation!)

She was mid-temper tantrum here, but you'd never know it because she's all MODEL STATUS.

My dad stayed at a hotel out on Jacksonville Beach, so when he wasn't here being dragged all over San Marco, we joined him out at the beach for fun in the pool, the sand and at a nearby playground.

More swings!

Papa protecting Ellie from the waves

Selfie time!

Chasing after her Papa

It should be noted that this was E.J.'s very first time at the beach!

A couple of beach bums on a blanket!


Judging by the photos he took, my dad also very much enjoyed the beach at sunrise each morning.


He also brought Ellie's sandbox with him from his house, which was backyard fun for the whole family!

Sandbox time!

Sand in her curls

It was a great visit! Thanks for coming, Dad!

E.J. and his Papa!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Strong Little Man!

I swear, this kid is growing too fast. I put him down for tummy time last week and what do you know? He's just all, "Come on, Mom. Laying flat on your tummy is for BABIES. I'm two months old and totally rocking this. What else ya got?"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

E.J.'s First Bath

Another thing that I never got around to blogging about in August was E.J.'s first bath, and I know you all were totally sitting around wondering to yourselves, "Wait, did they ever bathe that kid? I never saw a detailed report so they must have that poor baby living in filth." Well, don't worry, friends. Our baby is clean and a detailed report is here.

Can you imagine if I had just skipped writing this post altogether? Then someday poor E.J. would be sitting in his therapist's office, the neglected second child, crying over the fact that his mother didn't even love him enough to record his first shampoo in detail on the internet. Not on my watch, people!

Anyway, E.J.'s "first bath" is described as such pretty loosely. Really, it was his first real bath in the tub at home. They did bathe him during his two-week hospital stay, but I wasn't present for it (it was after he was taken away to try to insert an IV) and I'm not sure how they did it. But hey, pictures or it didn't happen, right? So we'll call his first home bath the first overall and just run with that.

We took a break from frantically throwing our belongings into boxes the night before the movers came for this big occasion. We set up Ellie's old whale tub in the kitchen and went to town. At first, E.J. was mostly unimpressed.

"So we're going to do this thing, eh, Mom?"
(Also note that there is still wine on the counter behind me. In all our moves, I have learned that it is very important to pack the most essential necessities last for easy access.)

That is the most unimpressed a baby has ever been by anything.

Mildly amused

As things progressed, however, he took a turn for the concerned, perhaps even disgruntled.

Starting to suspect this is actually something he should express an opinion about

Wait, what's happening here?

Nope. Hates it.

When it was time to dry off, E.J. took a break from worry...

Hey, Dad!

Rocking the duckie robe

...before launching into full-out ANGRY.

Mom, this robe is RIDICULOUS.

Somehow, I had this strange feeling of deja vu.

Who hates it more?

For the record, aside from that first bath of questionable enjoyment, E.J. has really taken a liking to baths. In fact, if he's very upset as the night wears down, the best two ways to settle him are nursing or a bath (or, preferably, both). He loves the water on his belly and kicks his little feet with joy. The drying-off portion is still hit or miss, but he's much more tolerant of it overall than his sister ever was.

Yay for clean babies!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wait! August Happened!

I joked in my last post about living life interfering with writing about it, but as I went through my disaster of an unorganized, unedited iPhoto library yesterday, I realized that I basically didn't blog about August. This is quite understandable, given that we had just gotten home from the hospital and had a week to pack and move, then had to unpack, then Eric started school again and I became an official stay-at-home mom of two kids, then we made an unplanned trip to St. Petersburg for my grandmother's funeral, and things just were kind of all over the place for nearly all of August's 31 days.

So, let's do a catch-up post, shall we? There are a couple of other things from August that will get their own posts later, but for now, this will do. Here are some of the fun things we did in August:

We moved into a new house. Unpacking is still a work in progress, but much progress has been made. It is my goal to finish setting up, take pictures and share the house with you before we decorate it for Christmas. Lofty goals!

New house!

Dr. Ellie got some more practice in her chosen profession alongside our pediatrician at E.J.'s one-month well-visit.

She's a natural.

I impressed myself by actually leaving the house and venturing out into public on my first day home alone with both kids. "Train park" and Panera Bread!

One kid is super happy and the other is sleeping. I was killing it.

On the last day of summer vacation before Eric went back to work, we took E.J. to the zoo for the first time. He slept through the whole thing, but Ellie got to feed a giraffe!

Feeding the giraffe!

That giraffe looks well-fed, if you ask me.

A zoo snooze

Kids at the zoo

We did lots of exploring our new neighborhood, but I'll talk more about that soon!

Ellie by the riverfront, about a half mile from our house

Before officially handing over the keys to our old apartment, we hit the pool one more time.

Bathing beauty

Swimming with Mama

Fun with Daddy

This kid knows how to relax poolside

Love these two!

Hanging out in the shade with E.J.

And, my mom came to visit, and we took her to one of our new favorite parks.

Ellie and Grammy at the playground

Grammy and E.J.

Pretty busy for an already busy month, right?