Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From FL to TX to FL…one year later & grateful for the journey

One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to look back at different times in our lives. I started this blog just after we were married. Everything we've been through is in some way incorporated into this blog. I can look back at posts and remember exactly what was going on in our lives at a particular time. It's the main reason I keep blogging. 

One year ago today we moved from Florida to Texas. One of my best friends sent me a picture today of AG visiting her in the hospital where she was on bed rest waiting for the arrival of her twin boys. She asked if I could believe that was already a year ago. While my mini looked so little in the picture, I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I didn't want to leave her hospital room. I knew it was the last time I was going to see her before the biggest day of her life. More than that, I knew what I was going to be missing. I knew how much I was going to be missing and I didn't want to walk out of the room that day. It was a day I will never forget. 

Last night, everyone went to bed early. Nana, Papa, D and AG…it was just me, the pup and Monday Night Football.  It was the first time I've been awake in the living room by myself since we moved home a day short of a month ago. I started to think about everything that has happened over the last year.

You all know that I didn't want to move. At all. I've talked about it time and time again on the blog. I'm not going to dwell on that fact anymore. Even though the move wasn't something I wanted, I believe it was something I needed. It was something that has changed my life, my marriage and myself for the better. Something I am grateful for and today.

When we first moved my biggest concern was about what I was missing. The births, the birthdays, the holidays, the celebrations, etc. I didn't think about what I had right in front of me- my husband and daughter. After we moved, we settled in quickly. We enjoyed Texas. Absolutely loved the fall weather,  ventured out every weekend, met great friends and really made the best of the situation. I was much stronger than I thought I could be. My determination to make the best of the situation outweighed my sadness of what I left behind. I was happy, genuinely happy. 

Over the year there were a lot of ups and downs. Things really took a big turn when I became pregnant.  I became homesick and as time passed hubs did as well. I guess you could say the newness of TX was wearing off and reality was settling in. Over the next few months, hubs and I both decided we wanted to be back in Florida sooner than later. It was a decision we made together. The main reason for wanting to get home was for our kids. We wanted them to grow up surrounded by family and friends. The area we lived in in TX didn't compare to our community in Florida. We wanted that community feeling back. Ultimately, we knew it would be the best for all of us. We prayed day in and out that it was in His plan for us to be back home. You can read about how it all played out here

Today, I want to focus on how the move positively impacted my life. 

First, my marriage. Hubs and I became so much closer thanks to the move. A closeness neither of us realized we were missing when we were in Florida. Before the move we were busy all the time. Weekends were spent with friends, going here and there with family at our house most of the time. In TX, it was just us. All the time. It was quality time we really weren't used to and really enjoyed. We laughed and had a lot of fun, just the two of us. Our communication has also greatly improved. Since we didn't have family and friends to help out with AG or when we were in a bind, we had to figure it all out together. We came out of the move a stronger team than we were before. That I'm grateful for. 

Second, my appreciation for my family. I had never lived more than an hour from my family before. I saw my mom once a week and could count on my family for anything. Whether it was my dad fixing something in the house that I knew nothing about or my mom babysitting AG so I could work or get out with hubs. They were always there and I took that for granted. Not having them around was one of the hardest things about the move to Texas. When we decided to move back home, we decided to move a half hour closer to them. Honestly, the best thing since we've moved back home is seeing AG with her Nana and Papa. To say she's obsessed with them is an understatement. Of course, the feeling is mutual. Joy just fills the room when we're all together, it's something I will never take for granted. 

Third, deeper relationship with my girlfriends. The support I've received from my girls over this past year has been my saving grace. They've been my shoulder's to lean on, have cried with me and encouraged me every step of the way. I was afraid my relationships would change when I moved away since I wasn't "there" anymore. What I didn't expect was for them to change for the better. I am closer to my best friends today than I was when I left. I appreciate our relationships so much and know how blessed I am to have such supportive women by my side. 

Fourth, an appreciation for Florida. They say you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone. At first, hubs and I looked forward to leaving the hot weather behind. One of our favorite things about TX when we moved was the cool fall weather. But…we missed things we didn't even appreciate when we were here. For one, the beach. We didn't go a lot before we moved but it was still just an hour drive away. Then you have the scenery. The water, palm trees, greenery…the beauty. I remember my first time back visiting I kept talking about how beautiful everything was. It wasn't something I really noticed before, now I appreciate it everyday. 

It's been one heck of a year, one heck of a journey. 
One that was in God's plan, one that I am beyond grateful for. 

It's crazy how much life can change in just one year! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

100 Days to Christmas eBook Giveaway!

September is here, fall officially starts next week and I have already started to think about Christmas.  
Please tell me I'm not the only one. 
This time of the year is my absolute favorite. 
I try to soak up everything I love about it from the pumpkins to festive Starbucks drinks to fall festivals to family gatherings to decorations and so much more. 
The only problem is, it always flies by at lightning speed. 
No matter how much I plan or prepare for this season , I always end up having a laundry list of things to still do come December. 

Three years ago, I came across an eBook, 100 Days to Christmas.
It was exactly what I needed to plan for the season. 
Honestly, it's a dream for a type A organizer like myself. 

(click on the image to see a sample of and/or purchase the book)

Let me give you a little more information…
The 100 days starts on September 16th (tomorrow.) 
Over the next 100 days it give you something to do everyday to help plan for a smooth holiday season. 
It's not all about Christmas at all. It includes tasks for Halloween and Thanksgiving as well. 
Some examples include  visit a pumpkin patch, bake an apple pie, plan your Thanksgiving menu and many more. It's a great step by step guide for holiday planning (christmas gift lists, shopping, meal planning, etc.) For me, what I love most about this book is it takes some of the stress out of the holiday season for me. I can easily get overwhelmed with all the things I want to get done. This allows me to get them done over 100 days and enjoy the little things along the way. 

I download the eBook and keep it on my desktop. Each week I go through the book and write the things I should do each day in my planner. That way, I know what I have to do over the entire week. There are printables I print and fill out to help keep organized as well.  I also make sure to follow along with the 100 Days to Christmas Facebook Page to see what others are doing. There are great discussions on the board along with fabulous ideas (recipes) reader's share for the holiday season. 

If you're thinking about getting a copy, there are only FIVE more days to purchase it before it's gone until next year! 

(click on the image to see a sample of and/or purchase the book)

Jennifer, the author of 100 Days to Christmas is the creator of the site, List Plan It

Listplanit.com has hundreds of lists to keep your life in order.  You can try it free for 30 days. I promise you won't be disappointed! Take a few minutes, visit List Plan It and see how it can help to keep you more organized! 

Now for the fun part!  Thanks to my friends at List Plan It, I am giving away TWO COPIES of the 100 Days to Christmas eBook! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends this Thursday! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

{Bump date #2} 36 weeks!

I'm a few days late posting this update and have yet to take a picture with the mini this week. It is coming though, hopefully this weekend. Last weekend I started getting really prepared for our little man. I've started on my hospital bags, started on the things I'll need for him and am almost finished with BIG SISTER preparations. I've been working hard each day to finish the orders I have and am looking forward to the day (hopefully next week) I have nothing left on my work list. I have a laundry list of things to do for the house and am taking small trips each day to get things here and there. Really, I'm at Target every other day for some household items, an Icee for AG and a break out of the house. Unfortunately  I've spent all the money we're saving on groceries (living with the 'rents) at Target. BTW have you seen all the cute fall stuff in their dollar spot?!? 

Anyhow, we have a lot going on over the next 19 days before Luke is scheduled to be here. I honestly don't think he will come early but would be thrilled if he did. 

Real photo coming soon...

Week 36

Size: Honeydew Melon 

Gender: IT'S A BOY! 

Movement: Consistent big movements. He's up a lot at night and mid day. He loves to dance to music when I'm in the car. 

Sleep: Still no complaints. At this point with AG I was on the couch multiple times a week. Honestly, this trimester is the best sleep I've had throughout my entire pregnancy! 

Cravings:  Nothing in particular. I'm trying to watch what I eat to prevent extra pounds from creeping on the last few weeks. 

Aversions: Fish. 

Symptoms: Doing good. I'm a little swollen here and there but nothing noticeable. I still have back pain a lot. If I took it easier I'm sure it wouldn't be as bad. I'm still carrying AG when she asks, working about 6 hours a day standing up and getting some workouts in. Taking it easy isn't something I do, I'll leave that for my recovery. The hardest thing at this point is getting up and down easily. Depending on where he is, it hurts to move quickly. He's running out of room in there, I have a feeling he is going to be much bigger than his sister. 

Exercise: I still miss my trips to the gym but I've been good with walking with AG three mornings a week and doing my 10 push ups. 

What I Miss: Nothing. I can't wait to meet this little boy and am so excited that we are just 19 days away! 

What I'm Looking Forward To: Closing on our house. We heard yesterday that we could close as early as the 19th. We're hoping that is the case. If so, we will take a week to get it painted and some other upgrades added before moving in the weekend before Luke arrives. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Frozen Coffee Recipe & a Coffee-mate Giveaway!

Thank you Coffee-mate for sponsoring this post and providing the product samples! For more delicious fun and giveaway opportunities, follow Coffee-mate on Facebook and Twitter.

If you've been following this blog for a while now you know my love for runs deep. Its how I start my mornings, something I look forward to each day. No cup of coffee is complete without the right creamer. I've also shared time and time again that I am a Coffee-mate  girl through and through. When it comes to a creamer, I want one that will add flavor to my coffee without having to add a bunch of extra sugar. Coffee-mate 's smooth, creamy taste has been perfected to bring out the flavor in your coffee, just what I look for in a creamer. 
Recently, they've come out with two flavors that are sure to add a touch of Latin to your day.  Abuelita® Mexican Chocolate is a silky, cinnamony, rich, authentic experience and La Lechera® Dulce de Leche is a creamy, dreamy, milk caramel caress from the Southern side of the continent. It's impossible not to fall in love with these new flavors. They taste as amazing as they sound. 

To find a store near you that carries these two new Coffee-mate Latin flavors, use this store locator tool

Since it's still HOT! here in Florida, I decided to make a frozen afternoon coffee treat with the new Abuelita® Mexican Chocolate creamer. It was the perfect nap time snack, also quick and easy to make. 

1 cup of cold brewed coffee (I just brewed it and put it in the refrigerator for an hour)
1/4 cup almond milk (or any milk)
 2-3 TBS Abuelita® Mexican Chocolate creamer (depends on how sweet you like your coffee)
1 cup of ice 
Cool Whip (or whipped cream) 
In a blender, puree coffee, milk, creamer, and ice. Pour into a glass, top with cool whip and sprinkles. All I had out were Valentine's sprinkles =-) Serve immediately.
**For a thicker consistency, you can always add more ice**

Now, lets celebrate these new flavors with a GIVEAWAY! 

Thanks to my friends at Coffee-mateone lucky reader will have the opportunity to win  a custom designed coffee mug by Kathy Cano-Murillo of Crafty Chica, coasters and 2 full-value Coffee-mate product coupons ($31 ARV)

Follow Coffee-mate on Twitter for more delicious fun and giveaway opportunities!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.