My little family!

My little family!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

How Quickly Her Face Changes

I see something happening....

Every morning, I get Layla out of her crib.

For the past two weeks, she's woken up in the 5:00 AM hour for some unknown awful reason -- but that's a story for another day. 

I take her out and her first sentence is always "Where is Dada? Where is Benny? Are they awake?" - she's always smiling. Her hair, matted down with sweat, sticks to her face and I always gently move it away.

We come into my bedroom or downstairs, depending on the day, and I change her diaper while asking her "How was your rest, baby?"

She always giggles or says "GOOOOOOD" before demanding "milk in a pink cup."

But in this moment, I stare at her face. I study her and I realize something very real is happening.

Her face is changing.

It's slight. Most people that see her every day probably don't notice it. But I do.

I see it. I see her whole face changing and it's -- beautiful and tragic all at the same time.

Her once round face is losing it's baby fat and turning oval.

Her big blue eyes are brighter then ever sitting proud under bushy little girl eyebrows.

She's changing and growing and turning into this little girl.

Right before my eyes, she's changing and growing and it's so, so, so lovely.

She's SO beautiful. Sometimes I find myself staring and holding my breath because I can't believe that something so exquisite lives and breathes in my very house.

And I want to freeze time. I literally want to Zach Morris this very moment while she's cuddled up with her Dada watching a movie.

But I can't (and I hate it).

So I'll continue to study and stare and try to remember each day. The way her face lights up when she smiles and the way her brows furrow when she's concentrating. Each and every face I just want to bottle up and keep with me forever.

My favorite newborn picture. 

<3 (I think roughly 8 months?)

1 year!

Finding out we were having a BOY!

What a love.

Around 20 months old. 

Layla & Benny.


hahahhaha. Layla about 24 hours old.

Layla at 2 years old.



My girl

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Benny turns 13 months!!!

13 months - handsome as ever!!

I literally bite your cheeks.

Why so serious?

Benny in a nutshell. That's Brian he's clutching :)

Sweet boy.

Benny has a Brian on his head.

Layla couldn't resist a smooch!


13 month stats:
Weight: Somewhere in the 28 pound range?
Height: He's so tall - I'd guess 32 inches? 
Eating: All day, everyday :)  
Clothes: 18-24 month and 2T :)
Diaper: Size 5  

Benny Boy,
13 months??? Didn't you just turn 12 months? 11 months? 10 months? I know, I know. I am like a broken record but it's just insane to me - time is flying by faster then ever and while I'm complaining about early wake-ups and frozen temperatures, I need to remind myself that this precious time will be my most favorite. 

You are so very handsome. There are times I study your sweet face and wonder how something could be so beautiful. Your big, brown eyes light up with wonder & joy at the sight of your sister, the cat, a ball. You are so big but with all of your walking around, you're really starting to lose your baby chub. This slays me as I LOVE baby rolls - but with a little boy constantly on the go, it's no wonder you're losing the baby fat! You just had your 2nd haircut and look handsome as ever. Your hair is a dirty blond - it's so cute I can't take it. 

You are VERY good at walking - I'd say you're 90% walking, 10% crawling at this point. You're fast! You're also very good at climbing - amazing on stairs - and incredible at DANCING!! If you hear music, you immediately start bobbing your head and shaking your whole body. You love to clap your hands and sing songs. You love to wave BYE-BYE and sings songs. You're favorite thing is to play with Layla - most of the time she wants to play too, but you are now "fighting" over toys. It's tough because Layla was so used to you letting her do whatever she wanted. Not anymore! Now you fight back - I'm proud of you buddy. I mostly let the two of you work out your problems and you do a great job. It's clear Layla is your best friend and favorite person (tied with Mama & Dada). 

You're not very interested in the TV except for Jacks Big Music Show. So opposite of Layla - she'd watch the iPad and TV all day if I let her - not you. You'd much rather listen to music and have a catch with a ball. Your favorite toy is a ball - you call it a "DA" and run to the ball any chance given!

You're an excellent sleeper - we went through a little rough patch with napping (I think due to teething or traveling or diaper rash or something else?!) but you're really amazing. You go to sleep 6:30-6:30 (a little earlier today - pass the coffee!) and nap twice a day. It used to be like clock work, every 2 hours you needed a nap. Now it's moving towards 3 hours. So today you woke up around 6 AM but I'll put you in around 9AM for a nap. You LOVE Brian, your stuffed animal and also like Teddy - your little bear. These past couple of months have been really busy traveling and you've adapted so beautifully. 

You're officially transitioned from breast milk to formula to organic whole milk but you're not quite ready to let go of the bottle. I'm not forcing it and I know you'll switch soon. Hopefully by your 14 month birthday! :)

You're an amazing talker and repeat everything I say. Your staple words are Mama, Dada, Cat (Dat), Layla, Ball (Da), Pop-Pop, Elmo, All Done, Hello, Bye-Bye, Pickles, Bagels, Pizza, No-No, Uh Oh, It's Good. Probably more!!! Just like Layla, you're a little chatter box and I love your high-pitched sweet voice so very much. 

You love love love FOOD - anything I'm eating, you want to try. The only food I've found that you DON'T like is strawberries!! Everything else, you'll eat (and a lot). You're a growing boy and I'm so proud of you for trying any and all foods. You love water too -- you drink a lot of it daily. I am trying so very hard to teach you & Layla how important it is to eat a good, balanced diet full of healthy foods. Of course you love dessert like your mama so you get special treats from time to time!!

This winter has been awful - tons of snow, ice and lots of indoor time - you've really loved it and I think your favorite place to be is with mama and your toys. On Mondays, we take Layla to school and then it's your morning!! We drive around while you nap in the car (haha) and then it's music class. You love it SO much - you sit right in front of Miss Sandy and sway to every song. You are always looking back to make sure I'm there but you've become very independent. After class, we have lunch with Pop-Pop. You love eating the pickles, matzah ball soup and assorted other goodies we order. On Wednesdays & Fridays, Layla's also at school and it's so lovely to spend time with my little man. We sure do miss our girly and love to pick her up from school!! You've had an amazing month going to Disney World for the first time. I can't wait to go back in December -- I think you'll love it even more!!!

A couple of quick, funny things I love that you do. First, you always find the shoes scattered around the house and EAT the bottoms. It's so gross and I hate it but you've made a game of it. If you see a shoe, you make your way over and stuff it in your mouth while I scream in horror. You giggle - so weird. Second, you love to SCREAM high pitched while I jump from being scared. It's another game we play and you laugh so hard scaring me! Third, you love to crawl over, put your head on my shoulder, suck your thumb and cuddle. It's the sweetest, most amazing feeling and I hope you do it forever!!!!

With time marching on, it's insane to think you're now officially signed up for school. You'll be starting in September (you'll be 20 months) and I'm so excited for you. I know you'll love it and will learn so much but I'm SO sad to think that I won't be with you everyday. I'm going to go back to work part-time so I can buy you anything you want ;) I love you buddy. You're the cutest, sweetest, most perfect little man and I can't wait to watch you grow into a running toddler!!

Lots of love,

Haircut & your first lollipop!

So handsome!

Literally seconds after waking up from a nap <3

Cool guy!

C'mon. THAT FACE. 

Your favorite place to be. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Disney World!!!

For the past 6 months, Layla has asked me almost every single day - MAMA, WHEN ARE WE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD?! And that would answer her own question with "FEBRUARY!"

And now.. we have gone. We have conquered. We had an amazing time and I can't wait to go again.

Our trip down there was... horrific. No other way to describe it. We left Wednesday and ran into an INTENSE amount of traffic, thus making us late for the airport. We went encountered the longest, slowest line to check into our flight. We then encountered the longest, slowly line at security. The result? RUNNING to our gate and making it by seconds. The nice employee actually said to me "Oh, you're The Englands? We almost deleted you from the flight!" Wow. SO..there we were, begging people to switch seats so the 4 of us could share a row. We managed and happily sat down but that was short lived. Within minutes, the turbulence started (my gorgeous husband is a HORRIBLE flyer) -- and soon after that, Benny began crying and Layla became antsy. It was, in essence, 2.5 hours of trying to tame two little kids. The last 20 minutes was spent forcing Layla back in her seat while she screamed bloody murder. OY. BUT... we made it. Safe and (somewhat) sound. We gathered our luggage, found Josh's parents (who rented a Suburban for trip - awesome GIANT car) and went to our hotel! We stayed at World Quest Orlando again - it's a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom condo with a full kitchen & full living room plus a screened in porch. It's perfect for families and highly recommended (plus it's insanely affordable, comes with breakfast and is basically 4 minutes from Disney World). After checking in, we let the kids explore - unpacked and went to Publix for subs (YUM) and food shopping. It makes it much easier to keep fruit/milk/yogurt/snacks in our kitchen then in a tiny hotel room!!! We ended up splitting up the rooms with Me, Josh & Layla in one room, Josh's parents in one room and Benny in one room. Josh's sister, Sydney, came for 1 night and crashed on the sofa. It worked out well.

The next morning, we woke up ready for DISNEY!!! Layla woke up at 3 AM and came in our bed -- she hasn't slept in our bed since she was 5 months old so I'll admit I loved it but it was tough getting her back to bed. She eventually fell asleep around 4 AM so that was good. Benny was a CHAMP - he slept great and napped even better. My big boy!!! Anyway.. we all woke up early (me at 5:30 AM so at least I was able to straighten my hair). We quick got ready and were en route to the Magic Kingdom!! The downside? It was FREEZING AND RAINY. Like..beyond cold. I don't ever remember it like this when I lived in Orlando for four years. But we put our ponchos on and marched on!! We were one of the first ones in the park and it was truly magical. I'll never forget Layla's face when she saw the Castle for the first time. Pure love and happiness. We decided to slowly make our way to breakfast rather then try to do a quick ride. We had 8:40 AM reservations for breakfast with the princesses in Cinderella's Castle. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS. Josh & I had dinner there for our 2nd anniversary but this was 60468 times better. You first get to meet Cinderella and take two professional pictures with her (included in the price of breakfast). We then go upstairs and sit at a beautiful table -- the food was delicious but no one really noticed because you are surrounded by PRINCESSES. We were able to meet Ariel, Jasmine, Aurora, Snow White. SO great. Unlimited coffee & juice. And wonderful service. It's expensive but a great experience. After breakfast, we were ready for rides!! Because the weather was so crummy, the park was fairly empty (plus it's apparently a really great time to do Disney - not very busy) - we packed in ride after ride and each one was less then a 15 minute wait!! Layla's favorite was the new Little Mermaid ride (we did it twice). We also like meeting the princesses (we saw Rapunzel and Snow White). I was hoping Benny napped right after breakfast but instead he stayed awake sucking his thumb and lounging in the stroller. While in line for the new Belle ride, I decided to change Benny's diaper and try to get him to nap. I realized he had peed through his clothes (so now he was freezing, wet and peed upon) - poor guy! I changed his diaper, bought him new thick Mickey sweat pants and put him back in the stroller. I walked around (while getting poured on) and he passed out - success!! I met up with everyone and decided we should do one "adult" ride - Josh & I went on Thunder Mountain (so fun). We found everyone and realized Benny woke up and everyone was hungry. A quick meal & back to the hotel for naps. After everyone woke up, Josh, Layla & I went BACK to the park for dinner and fun! Layla's bedtime is 6:30 and our dinner reservations were for 6:30 so I was VERY nervous she'd be too tired to be happy. But she did great!! I think adrenaline helped? We made our way to the Ariel ride again, did the Winnie the Pooh ride, then dinner at the new Be Our Guest restaurant. This was eh - I was a bit disappointed. Belle is NOT there (annoying) and instead it's just The Beast (cool). The room itself is beautiful but it's an expensive restaurant with decent food. Oh well - it was a cool experience. Mid-way through dinner, Layla's sleepy face showed up and I knew it was time to go. We made our way to the front of the park and were able to catch some of the night-time show. It was pretty amazing - they project movies & objects on to the castle while music plays - she was so cute. Pure. Amazed. Happy. I loved it. We were going to stay for fireworks but she wanted to leave so that was that! We rode the monorail back to our car and got a quick glance at the fireworks as we left. Very cool. A long, rainy, cold, amazing day filled with memories we will all never forget!!!

Friday, another rainy & chilly day. Our plans were switched so we grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel, had lunch in Animal Kingdom Lodge (a restaurant called Senna - very good but not very kid appropriate) - checked out all the animals we could see and went back to the hotel for naps. We ended up ordering dinner in (semi-decent pizza & pasta), baths for the kids and bed. Josh went out with all of our college friends in downtown Orlando that night while I stayed back. He made his way back to the hotel around 4 AM and nursed his hangover the whole next day ;)

Saturday, I let Josh sleep in and got everyone ready for a yummy breakfast at IHOP. It was nice and the coffee was yummy, haha!! After breakfast, I got my hair blown out at a salon in downtown Orlando called Mosaic - I really liked it! Went back to the hotel - picked everyone up and headed to downtown Disney for lunch & shopping. Layla picked out Ariel pajamas (huge relief because she has been begging to wear the same Ariel PJ's and socks every night to bed). It was a nice day. We all went back to the hotel for kiddie naps - Josh & I got ready and left for Drew & Jamie's wedding. It was at a gorgeous location in a part of Orlando I've never been. It looked NOTHING like Florida and could have easily passed for a random location in Europe (no joke). It was a small, intimate wedding of around 80 people and really lovely. It was so nice to spend time with our college friends and made me really nostalgic for UCF in general. I wish we could have gone to the college to walk around but time didn't allow it - maybe next time!!

Sunday consisted of packing, cleaning and going to the airport. This trip home was MUCH easier then going -- we had plenty of time and Layla even made a friend in the airport while we waited. She's so cute and literally makes friends everywhere we go. I love it - she's so full of life and happiness, it makes me smile.

AND now... we're back and in the thick of winter. We're getting hit day after day with snow/ice/rain so it's tough to not want to pack up and head straight back for Florida - but alas, for now we live in a cold tundra (ha!)

It was a great trip and I'm already looking forward to our next time down to Disney World - this time my parents are coming with us. I need them to see the faces of pure joy on my babies :)


Benny, Ariel & I at the Princess Breakfast in the Castle - please ignore my rained upon hair ;)

Drew & Jamie's wedding

A picture from my real camera - I love this!! I need to upload those ASAP!

Benny & I at the castle - notice how empty it was!

My family <3