Thursday, August 21, 2014

Zephyr Park Family Day

Zane's last week of vacation was this week, so in between laying around and being productive, we took a family day to Zephyr Park in Zephyrhills.

First we did the splash pad, which is a super duper splash pad. I didn't get a picture of the whole thing this time, but I have one from last time we went: 

Zephyr Park Splash Pad at 5pm in May

When we went yesterday around 11:00am, there was only one other family, so we basically had it all to ourselves. I sat on a bench for about 10 minutes, and was SO HOT that I decided to put my bathing suit on and get in too. 

It's serioulsy like a free Wet-n-Wild for kids. Daisy, Zane and I had fun playing in the water. Then a bunch of older kids came (not sure why they weren't in school). One of them pointed to my belly and asked what it was. I laughed and said, "A baby! I'm having a baby!" Then she sprayed my ear with one of the water cannons, and I decided I didn't like those kids anymore. 

After the splash pad, we did the swings for a little bit. Then we found a nice, shady spot near the lake and had a picnic lunch. 

August is NOT the best month for picnic lunches, but it wasn't too bad. Daisy apparently has an intense fear of bugs, so we were constantly saving her from tiny ants and gnats. She stopped enjoying the swings because an ant found its way to her foot while she was swinging. The rest of the day, she kept worrying about every speck in the house that it was a bug. 

Overall, we had a great morning out! I look forward to these kind of outings during school hours when Zane's a nurse too, because that's one of the perks of a nursing schedule. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Vacation with Family

Zane has several weeks off of school between semesters right now, so we were able to relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family on an extended trip to Orlando.

photo by Mike Armand

First came wedding weekend! My college friend of 10 years got married, and I was her maid of honor. It was so fun to help plan with her during the months before and celebrate with her and her husband during their wedding festivities. Her wedding was one of the most enjoyable and beautiful weddings I have ever attended.

Minutes before walking down the aisle!

The next weekend was baby shower weekend! We celebrated my sister and her upcoming addition. I posted a little about getting ready for her shower by making a nursing cover for her. I also made some verse cards for baby Adelaide that we used during the shower to pray over her and her parents. I plan to make some for my next baby, so maybe I'll write a little post about it, because it's a really great tradition and helps get your heart and mind thinking about the new baby as a real person.

The last weekend we were in Orlando we had a family birthday party for my grandma who turned 84! All the family who lives in the Southeast were present. It was fun to hang out with family who we hadn't seen in a while, and it was especially fun to watch the toddlers playing together.

By the end of this year there will be three more additions, because my sister, cousin, and I are all expecting.

Between all these big events, we had fun hanging out around the house and around Orlando. We watched movies, hung out at different splash pads, went to the beach, and other fun things.

Playing in the kiddie pool and sprinklers.
Making home-made laundry detergent from this recipe: Homemade Laundry Detergent
Casselberry splash pad fun!
Lunch with high school friends!
Painting nails. 

I even read a book! I read The Princess of the Silver Wood, which I would highly recommend. It was my favorite of the three in the trilogy. I wrote about the first two books of the series here: Princess Books by Jessica Day George.

We had a great time, but it's also great to be home.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Babe's Pizza

We finally got to try another local Brandon restaurant: Babe's Pizza. We noticed it by accident a few weeks ago while shopping at Chucks Natural Food Store, which is right across the street. I saw it and wondered if it was the same place that was recommended to me months ago by a friend and former Tampa resident. It was! 

This is the street view: 

I can't say I would have ever visited based on the exterior if I hadn't had a personal recommendation. 

Last week we hosted my sister and brother-in-law and wanted to try a local spot. Most of the reviews on Yelp said to arrive early, because they get busy. They only seat fully present parties. We arrived at 5:10, right after they opened for the night, and the dining room was full by 5:30 pm. 

There's only like 12 tables and 4-5 bar stools. The whole room is decorated with train-related things, including a miniature train that traveled around the perimeter of the room on a mounted track. You can see it in the picture of Zane and Kevin, right between their heads. Daisy LOVED that part. 

There's not really room for large parties at one table, because they only have booths. I don't know that I would venture back with any more than one small child. Daisy did pretty well, but the food takes 30 minutes to cook, so you have to have patient kids. We saw several people come in for take-out though. 

Daisy's expression? I just don't even know. 

Speaking of the food, it was delicious! We ordered a large double-decker pizza, because that's what Babe's is known for. It was soooooo good! Soft crust, fresh cheese. Very dense, filling pieces. We only ate about half of it. We also got a small salad that feeds 4 people with their signature creamy Italian dressing. Yum! Daisy enjoyed the club crackers mostly. 

The prices were reasonable. They have fresh-brewed tea, and they give you little pitchers of your beverages, so you can refill at your leisure, which I personally love. 

The service was great. The whole staff was relaxed. They were respectful, real, confident, and knowledgable. No-nonsense and no sugary flattery to get a good tip. They just do their jobs well. The restaurant is run like a well-oiled machine. 

I'd love to return sometime. This is a perfect place to bring visitors who love pizza and love local dining!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rounding Third Base, Pregnancy Style

I don't have a picture of my pregnant self running across an actual third base plate, which I acknowledge would be awesome, if not a little scary. What I mean is that I've rounded the symbolic, gestational third base by entering my third trimester.

My belly is getting kind of big.

Beach day at 29 weeks!

Compared to how much I gushed about my pregnancy with Daisy, I have been pretty blog silent about this pregnancy. That's partly because I'm busy with the first kid, but also partly because I don't know what to share. Everything was so new and cute and fun with Daisy, and this time it's like, "Oh, cool, Amy's doing the same things Daisy did in utero."

I've had an all-around easier pregnancy this time around. Daisy's was pretty easy too, though.

I'm less swollen this pregnancy, which I attribute to a better diet (no donuts, soda, fruit loops, or chips). I can feel the difference of eating healthier. I drink a ton of water, but I probably should be exercising more.

My biggest complaint is the Florida heat. I remember hating it when I was pregnant with Daisy, but I delivered her in June. This time I have the whole darn summer, including my least favorite month: August. Daisy and I will be spending lots of time in the pool and in a dark room under a ceiling fan over the next few months.

Only 11 weeks to go!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dress to Nursing Cover

My sister is having a baby a few weeks after me. I've had to reel it in on gift-giving and advice-giving. I don't want to overwhelm her or break my bank, but it is extra fun to talk pregnancy and coo over baby clothes with her. One gift that I absolutely was dead-set on giving her was a nursing cover. 

There's a whole range of opinions about breastfeeding, and then a whole sub-range of opinions about using nursing covers. I'm not taking a stand on the issue, except to say that each mom decides what's best for her and her baby. 

After I had Daisy, I made myself a lightweight, cotton nursing cover, which I used all the time!

A few months later, the straps of one of my favorite sun dresses broke. I put it away thinking, "Someday I'm going to make my sister a nursing cover out of this." That's a little crazy to plan ahead, but it's lovely fabric, and it's a large enough cut to make something pretty big, so a nursing cover it is! It's possible that I would have used it for something else eventually, but I had my mind set on a nursing cover for my sister. 

The dress was an empire-waist dress, so I just cut off the top and worked with the skirt. I didn't take photos or record most of my steps along the way. I had to change the design a couple times to make it longer in the front and shorter in the back. In the end, it turned out great. 

Daisy and I posed for some pictures. I told her I had a pretend baby under there. 

Just another way to up-cycle something you love (my sundress) into another great, useful piece (a nursing cover)! 

A couple weeks before my sister's shower, she actually asked if I could make her a nursing cover. I had to give away the secret and say, "Already did!" She loves it. I hope it works well for her and her little one!