Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It Doesn't Have to Be Pink

As we approach another birthday, I worry about how much pink E has accumulated. It doesn't help my mama guilt that she has asked for a "pink scooter" for her birthday. Pink is fine, but I want E to know that just because she is a girl, everything doesn't have to be pink.

We have lots of pink clothes.
(This is one of my favorites)

Some of it is my fault. When I found out E was a girl I was super excited. Little girl clothes are super cute and I love big bows. That said, I also tried to be cognizant of how early kids begin to internalize what being a "girl" or "boy" means. I work to make sure E has a variety of toys, but there is still a lot of pink in our house. 

She loves her pink suitcase.
I know I only have so much control. She is influenced by family, teachers, friends and others. We are also very blessed and she receives a lot of gifts and hand-me-downs. It isn't just the clothes that are pink, but the shoes and the blankets and the toys. I try to avoid buying too many "girl" items, but sometimes it happens. (Try shopping with a toddler and not occasionally getting what they want at least occasionally.)

She picked out a pink bracelet.
Pink Ice Cream
(Always a good option, but what about chocolate or vanilla?)

It isn't that pink things are bad. I have to admit that I like pink things (and sparkly things) as well. I want E to know that she can love the pink things, but she can also love getting dirty and play hard. I knew that raising a girl would be hard, but I really didn't know how hard it would be.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Checking In - 2016 Looking for Balance

We are half-way through 2016, so it is a good time to check in and see how I am doing with my goal for the year. As I discussed in January, instead of setting goals for the year I decided to focus on balance. Half-way through the year, I have to say that I am making progress.

This year has been about saying no more than yes. I can say that it still isn't easy and occasionally, I regret saying no, but as a whole it has lead to less stress. I am working on carefully evaluating the opportunities I am presented with.

Finding balance by letting some things go has been a bit more difficult. My perfectionist nature makes it difficult to buy dessert at the store or to not worry about other things. We have a number of unfinished projects around the house and some days I just want to finish them all...NOW. I know that none of them are make or break and I am working on letting them go.

I still have a pretty strong fear of missing out on something, but I also appreciate the balance I have gained over the past few months. My plan for the rest of the year is to continue to work to have balance and determine what my priorities are going to be going forward.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tea Time at the TeaCupcake Experience

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to have tea at the TeaCupcake Experience with some ladies from Central Florida Lady Bloggers. This cute little shop is located downtown just a few blocks from Lake Eola.

When I first walked in, I was amazed by the cuteness of this little shop. The shop is located in a newish building and not what I was expecting. They have done a great job making it cozy and I love the gold and white color scheme.

The owners of this shop are very sweet and greeted us and shared their story. I love that they combine their heritage with the traditional tea experience. It gives it a unique twist on the traditional tea.

We had the afternoon tea experience. This included tea sandwiches (the tomato basil ones were amazing), various pastries, Devonshire Cream & preserves, loose leaf tea and a cupcake. I was a big fan of the scones and the guava filled pastries (my favorite). Everything was yummy and it would be a great afternoon treat.

The TeaCupcake was a lot of fun. I can't wait to take E to tea. You should go if you are in the area.  

(Disclosure: I received a free afternoon tea as part of the Central Florida Lady Blogger event, but all opinions are my own.) 


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Race Recap - #OrlandoUnited5k

This race is all about mixed emotions. The #OrlandoUnited5k was a benefit for 49 people who lost their lives too soon and many others that were injured and impacted from the violence that occurred in Orlando on June 12. I am honored to be able to help, even in a small way, but wish no one had to experience those events.

The good thing about the race was that E has been asking to run a "runnin race" for a few weeks. She has done some of the kids races at past events and really enjoyed the one we did in Feb. I looked at some of the upcoming races, and in all honesty, I am over 5ks right now. I would much rather sleep a little later and get up and run 3 or 4 miles around the neighborhood. I told her it would probably be the fall, but then this event came together.

As soon as I saw registration was open I registered myself and my husband. I also registered E for the virtual option. I knew she would spend most of the race in the stroller, but that way she would get a shirt and medal like Mommy and Daddy.

5 a.m. came very early Saturday morning. Especially since I had been sleeping (I use that term loosely) with a restless E since about 3:30 a.m. I quickly dressed and got ready and woke E up about 5:30 a.m. A few snacks, some water and we were on our way a little before 6 a.m.

The drive to the race and parking were both super easy. We got to the race start with about 20 minutes to spare. E immediately spotted the Dunkin Donuts tent and we grabbed her a couple of donut holes. (I think we have been to DD once in her life, so I am not sure why she noticed it so quickly.) This, along with the banana she had in the car, was the beginning of her fueling for the race.

Lots of people wait to run
There were a lot of emotions as people were gathering at the start. It was amazing to see all the rainbows and support. Since we had the stroller, we hung out toward the back of the pack. I didn't want to catch anyone's ankles. Promptly at 7 a.m., after a few announcements and the national anthem, we were off.

Before we passed the start line, E spotted the post race bananas and had to have one. E went back and forth between being pushed in the stroller and running with me or my husband. The course was great for this. It was pretty, not super packed and had a lot of shade. It was inspiring to see how many people were cheering us on from their driveway.

Enjoying her banana

Running with Daddy
A little over 2 miles in E asked to go home. I think she was getting bored and tired. I told her we had to finish, but that was were we were headed. After a bit in the stroller, she decided to run again close to the finish. Crossing the finish line with her and my husband was amazing.

Working it at the end

I honestly don't really know what my time was. I think it was somewhere in the 50s. Most times I would be really annoyed with a time like that, but this race was different. We stopped a bit to get E in and out of the stroller or give her snacks. (I think I have done halfs with less nutrition.) A not quite 3 year-old also has little legs, but I was honored to run with her. 

I have to give a huge thanks to Final Mile Race Management. They did an amazing job putting this race together in a very short amount of time. It also raised over $100k for the One Orlando Fund. 

I am still over 5ks, but this one was worth getting up early. I hope that this is just the start of a love of being active (and maybe running) for E. What they say about kids is true, they want to do what you do, so you have to set a good example. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

First Look - Lucky's Market Orlando

For a long time I have been saying that the East Orlando area needed some sort of natural foods market. While we have a number of Publix Stores, a Super Target and even a Winn Dixie, but there is no where with a good selection of organic/alternative options. This was especially frustrating when E needed to drink goats milk. The only place I could find it was at Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Neither of which are close.

When it was announced that a Lucky's Market was coming to our part of town, and that the store was a cross between Whole Foods and Trader Joes, I was pretty excited. It is located on a corner that I drive past pretty frequently, so I watched as they made progress on the store.

The stars aligned and I was able to check it out on opening day. (Yeah, I am a giant nerd, but I spend a decent chunk of time at the grocery store each week. The more pleasant the experience the better.)

My first impression is that this is going to be an amazing addition to East Orlando. Lots of nice produce, a ton of local products, a great cheese and meat selection, a bar with coffee and other delicious items (hello Kombucha on tap), and the option of beer or wine while you shop.

Yummy Cheese

Pineapple Ginger Kombucha

My second impression is that our grocery bill is going to go up. There are a lot more impulse items I want at this store than others in the area. (Hello fancy cheeses). That said, their prepared food items should offer a nice alternative to take out for the nights that cooking isn't going to happen.

Lots of options
Check back with me in a month or so and I can let you know if my initial impressions were on target. I know I will be shopping here at least for a while.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thank You to the Fathers

Today is Father's Day. It is a day of mixed emotions for me. My father passed away a few years ago, and that scar is opened a bit on days like today. He shaped me to be the person that I am today. He worked hard, but also showed me what an involved father was.

I wish Ellie could have known her Grandpa for longer.

That hurt is lessened a bit watching my husband be a father to E. As any parent will tell you, this parenting gig is no joke. It is a lot of hard work and takes a lot of patience and understanding. I am thankful that I have an amazing partner to share the load. 

This Father's day I would like to give a big thank you to all the fathers out there who are involved and active with their kids, but especially my husband. I probably don't say it enough, but thank you for everything you do.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Too Close to Home

Sadly it seems like mass shootings and terror attacks seem to occur more and more often. My heart went out to those in Paris and Brussels and I know that there are places in the world where attacks and violence are far too common. But this weekend, it hit far too close to home.

The news can give you the details, but a gunman killed 50 people and injured many more at a nightclub in Orlando this weekend. This was after another shooting the previous night.

I am a transplant, but have lived in Orlando for going on 14 years, give or take, so it is as much my home as anywhere else. It was only one venue, but it feels like the city as a whole, my city, was attacked.

Now, my clubbing days are long gone and the same goes for many of my friends (toddlers will do that), but one of the best things about Orlando is that it is a big-small town. That means that you know a lot more people than you realize and my heart goes out to the victims and their families. 

This type of attack, this close to home makes me wonder about the world. The world we are creating for my daughter and all those her age. One small glimmer of hope in all of this is that the people of Orlando have responded with positivity and strength.