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Friday, September 8, 2017

Our Pre-Irma Update

Hurricane Irma is heading our way....we live in Central Florida about an hour north of Orlando, so YES we are in the path. As you know, the projected path changes with each update, but at this point we do know for certain that we are going to be experiencing the effects in one way or another. Here are some of the specifics on our plan at the moment.....

1. Yes, we are "sticking it out"....there are no mandatory evacuations in our area, we live inland and we're about 96 feet (Boy Scout Hubs checked into this) above sea level. 
2. We have LOTS of water, and food and we have followed many of the guidelines for hurricane preparedness....did I mention Hubs was a Boy Scout...Eagle Scout actually!
3. Our family from South Florida drove up here so we're ALL going to be together. They left at 11 last night and arrived at 11 this morning. Ordinarily this trip shouldn't take more than 3.5 - 4 hours. 
4. Stephen's job announced earlier this week that they would be closed Friday (today) and Monday. My job initially closed for Monday but then Gov. Rick Scott closed all K-12 public schools and late last night I found out that the charter school I work for (and that the girls go to) was closed for today. At first this was a bummer because I have so much work to take care of in case we are out more than one day next week and we needed the girls to be in school while Hubby prepped the house. Luckily my cousin Nikki was here so she helped take care of the girls and Hubby got to do his thing! He even topped my car off with gas! WIN! I had to go to work to prep paperwork for a TON of meetings I have scheduled for next week. It was so eerie, hiding my computers and important files in my offices (yes, I have two...story for another post), and all of my favorite office supplies "just in case"!
5. My house is a wood frame home, and Mom and Dad's is a concrete block home so we just feel like it's smarter to be with everyone over there.  
6. There are FIFTEEN OF US....plus 2 dogs that will ride out the storm at my parent's house. Outside of that (before and after Irma) we also have a house we rented out nearby for spare bedrooms and showers for the So-Flo crew. We aren't sure really how long it will be before they are able to make the journey back home, so at least there's a plan in place for a possible longer-term stay. (Thanks Mal-Smiles for having a super cool family!)
7. Even with all the changes in the forecast, we feel comfortable all being together! Using the term hurricane "party" in this situation feels a little strange, being that we aren't sure what to expect...especially the family from down south is unsure of what they will be going home to....and when! However, we will certainly try to make the best of it. Tonight we kicked off our gathering with 3 rotisserie chickens and two fried chickens. It's always about the food. Starting off on a good note before we resort to eating peanut butter and crackers.
8. Dear El, you know there's a big storm coming and you're so excited about a BIG sleepover with so many people! Dear Em, you will surely be the life of the hurricane "gathering"!
Emmy braved the crowds at Publix, and she is all set for the storm! Bring it on, Irma! 
So far, it seems like the worst in our area will be Sunday night to Monday-ish. Things are changing constantly though so who knows what the impact will actually be. Waiting on the 11:00 update....hoping this turns out to be not as bad as expected. Praying for everyone in Irma's path!
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer Me

The summer version of me is WAY more fun and creative. Every year, over summer vacation I like to pretend I'm crafty. It's very fulfilling. It's not like I'm sitting around being bored...there is plenty in this home to keep me busy. It's just that during the school year, I find very few opportunities to branch out and learn new things. Yes, I know that if you want to do something bad enough, you can make time. The reality is that crafting is very low on my list of extracurricular activities. Obviously you've got the very important stuff at the top of the priority list...trying to nail the work/home blend consumes it all. This encompasses all things family, and a very demanding work schedule. I do enjoy cooking, at least I try not to make it a chore. Scrapbooking used to be a HUGE hobby of mine (one of the reasons I originally started blogging forever ago). I found a way to incorporate scrapbooking into my regular day to day work and home planning by going all in with the planner community. Perhaps that's a post for another day. Moral of the story....when it comes to crafting....it's just not something I make much time for unless I'm home for an extended period of time and have a stress level of at least 90% less of what it is during the school year. It's just the reality right now...no complaints. 

Why am I blogging about this? Because.... 1. I want to share some awesomeness from over this past summer break, and 2. I don't want to forget where I left off, so I can pick it back up next year! 
This is a cozy baby blanket that I made for a friend. It was ridiculously simple, and since the yarn is so chunky and the hook was so fat....I finished it in about 4 days! THIS is the tutorial I followed.
I also made these adorable donuts for a sweet little two year old's birthday. At first I was unrealistically ambitious and thought I was going to make a dozen....in reality it ended up being only four. They are pretty easy but slightly time consuming for as small as they are. After I cranked out the first four for the birthday gift, I ended up attempting more for my girlies. So far I have 1 and a few random tops and bottoms that still need to be stitched and stuffed. That is a project for another time. I don't want to forget the exact tutorial I followed for these. It's THIS one, and HERE is the link to the actual pattern. I'm going to make more of these....some day. #tobecontinued
It blows my mind how you can learn pretty much anything on YouTube. A while back, a co-worker taught me a few crochet basics, and I relied on YouTube to take it from there. I'm nowhere near pro status, but if it's basic and the tutorial is clear enough...I can figure it out (and so can you, I promise). 
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Life is short....take the trip

For a little over 8 years, I've been living in Florida. Stephen and I took a risk by leaving New York, in order to start our careers...and ultimately our life together. As exciting as all of that was, it was never easy to just leave....and I'm saying this for a lot of reasons. For me, a big reason was my little brother. We were ALWAYS close, even while growing up with just three years between us. To this day I consider him my best friend in the whole wide world, and literally I think the world of him. Of course we don't talk as much as we would like but it's understandable as we are both incredibly busy people in two totally different ways. We see each other but not as often as we would like. It also seems that when we do see each other it is for either holidays or special events. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see him under those circumstances but I always figured it would be nice to spend time with him "just because". Pete (that's his name, FYI) is a musician and all summer long I was hoping to plan a trip to see one of his shows. 

There always seemed to be a reason to put it off until the next one...legitimate reasons too....the girls, timing, taking off of work, flight expenses....life, ya know. After returning back to work after summer vacation and talking to a co-worker and friend of mine I decided life is just WAY too short, and I was so over putting the trip off. My sweet hubs understood and just one week out - I "spontaneously-ish" booked a trip for a visit to see Pete in Boston at one of his shows. BEST decision ever! It was a blast! My cousin Jen went too, and we had the best time...mostly eating, and drinking, and being silly like we've always been. In those moments it's like time is standing still...we don't seem like grown ups, it's like we're kids again. Here are some of the highlights from my very quick but wonderfully jam-packed trip to Boston.... I definitely hope to be able to spend more quality time with him JUST like this, JUST like old times. 
We wandered the city, and did what our family does best....eat! When we aren't eating, we are usually planning out our next meal. This is normal for most families, right?! Pete's show was incredible, the crowd was insane, I don't have any pics because I was a very proud sister....and I Facebook-lived, almost the entire show for my parents. Good times, I hope it isn't long before I get to experience another bro-sis trip, even if it's something a little more local. Love you Bro!! 
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*Dear El + Em, 
I hope you girls have a bond as strong with one another as I do with your very cool, Uncle Peter. There's nothing like it! 
Love, 
Mom

Monday, July 10, 2017

Can't do all the things

I'm a sucker for a good quote. Pretty fonts, words that have meaning....big fan over here. Lately the ones I choose to share have a common theme which is being gentle with yourself, accepting that you can't do it all and things aren't always perfect. Sometimes a little reminder helps bring me back down to the ground when my head is in the clouds. When I'm working like a maniac and striving for the perfect balance between work and home I need reminding. When I'm on a break and home with the girls trying to find time for them AND myself...I need reminding. When I'm striving for "wife of the year" status....yup, reminding.
There is this pressure to make sure I'm "being productive" and packing as much into the day to be sure every moment counts and is worthwhile. Thankfully I don't at all have a husband who has any kind of expectations on how I am spending the day with the girls. Obviously I'm the only one putting this pressure on myself...but why?!? I KNOW I'm not alone on this.  

Surely many of you know the feeling. For me, the day begins with an unrealistic grand plan and when I reach that point where it's obvious things aren't going the way I first envisioned...it almost feels like failing. I'm beginning to really see how ridiculous it is for me to feel the need to justify every moment of the day. It's a lot of work and frankly I'm over it. I posted this on instagram the other day and it completely sums up how I'm feeling...
My summer vacation is coming to an end, and there are many things on that summer to-do list that just won't be happening. Every year I go through this. Summer starts and I'm thinking "this is my chance to accomplish everything I've been wanting to". I'm going to organize my life and make every moment meaningful.

In a perfect world, this is what my summer vacation would look like:

-Organize, organize, organize! My closet, the kitchen, the girls toys....minimalism looks nice...try that out!
-Craft! This includes, crocheting, and my latest obsession that I'm doing research/buying materials for but haven't actually done....bracelet making. You could learn anything from YouTube tutorials...my "watch later" list is a LONG one!
-Read! Oh, there are so many things I want to read! I've gotten into a bunch of essential oil books and cook books. Non-fiction is fitting into my life the easiest at the moment, but oh how I long to dive into some good chick-lit! I've also got a new Marzano book that is calling my name. 
-Cook! From those cookbooks I've been poring over, I've got some big plans. I'm picturing the movie Julie & Julia!
-Oils! I want to learn everything there is to know about essential oils! I'm part of several amazing communities I would love to keep up with, read everything that's shared, learn about the latest products, watch all the live videos, participate in all the classes! 
-Document! I want to take a million pictures (which I do), blog all the important moments, and capture every milestone in some way!
-Be a #fitmom! Eat well, exercise at least 4-5 times per week. 

This is just a glimpse at a few of the things that have my head spinning. I want to do all the things! Ummmm, helloooo! This list is insane...the reality is I can't do all the things. Balancing my work and home life doesn't mean that I have to spend every home moment jamming in a ridiculous amount of accomplishments in every minute of free time. I know this...yet sometimes reminders still help.
Who cares about a to-do list anyway? All I really want to do is sit on the floor and play with my babies! They are only little once, and in 10 days, our summer vacation will end and I won't have the option to spend an entire lazy day with them like this. 
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Friday, June 30, 2017

All about Emmy-Ems

Let's talk about our Littlest E! Since I left things hanging at 36 weeks pregnant, it only seems right that I dedicate this entire post to the newest member of the family. Emmy Kate was born on August 29, 2016 at 6 lbs, 10 oz. The best way I can describe her is an absolute JOY...this includes now and even during the "newborn trenches"! 
Emmy has such a sweet little personality and a smile that melts our hearts. She is a very easy going, low-key and go with the flow kind of baby. I think I birthed one of those mythical unicorn babies....parents often refer to them as "good babies". Ella gave us a rough start, mainly due to her tummy troubles, so you can't really compare (and shouldn't). Since I don't want to jinx things, I'm not going to get into what a great napper and sleeper she is...and how she is smiling most of the time. Ha! 

Ella is a phenomenal big sister and of course, a great helper like Stephen and I knew she would be. People often ask me if she experienced jealousy. She absolutely did, but in never presented in any animosity between her and Emmy. Instead, she demonstrates it through attention seeking behaviors. She absolutely adores her Little Sis! Now that Emmy is more interactive, Ella gets the biggest kick out of playing with her. All day long Ella says things like "isn't she cute", and "awwwwww, look at Emmy". I love how she loves her and is just as fascinated with her as Stephen and I are! We are all enjoying watching this baby girl grow. Why does it have to be happening so fast?! 
As of now, Emmy is in full-on crawling mode, is always trying to pull herself up and she cruises around in her walker like a boss. It's hilarious to watch her fly across the wood floors and crash into things! She also has found her voice recently and is always trying to copy us and even sings too. Speaking of singing, she LOVES the movie 'Sing'....even the cover of the blue ray makes her excited! Anything with music she loves because bopping along and clapping is her favorite. She is just so happy and sweet! So far, she claps, stomps, waves, blows little kisses and pretends to talk on the phone. No joke, her first official words were "Aunt Laura"...referring to one of her little people with blonde hair! We call her Emmy-Emys, Em, Ems, Emmy Face...sometimes I call her my meatball baby, or my "Shnookies" (not sure where that came from but it really stuck for me). 
It's been a blast being home with her this summer vacation. The timing is perfect because she's changing and learning so much by the day.  Hubs and I are thrilled to have another little Skoblicki girl to love on! Now if only time would slow down!
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