Monthly Archives: June 2013

Our Summer Solstice Celebration

Summer is officially underway in CLE and it definitely feels like summer: hot and humid. Yep, just like summer. To celebrate the start of summer (and Brian returning from a week away in Dallas, booo!), we took our first family trip to the zoo.

Although we didn’t get to see all of the animals, and some, including my favorite, the bears, were hiding in the shade, it was a lot of fun. It’s true what people told me, that when you have a child, you live life again through their eyes, and this experience was definitely one of them.

Here are a few pictures from our trip:

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Sunday, we broke out the swimming pool, Bridget’s birthday present from Grams. Bridget has always enjoyed bath time so I was happy when she got right in and started playing. It made me even more excited for family vacation this summer where we’ll be spending a lot more time in the water.

I also can’t get enough of her in this bathing suit, which was a gift from my Aunt Pattie who said (in her words), “Every baby girl must have a bathing suit from Nordstrom’s.” Right….

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We are two days into summer and we have already accomplished more summer activities than we did all summer last year. I wouldn’t trade those few months last summer indoors for anything in the world, but I’m learning that each phase of Bridget’s life brings something new and exciting, and I am trying to soak it all in–and hopefully some sunshine while we’re at it.

Happy summer!

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Garage Sale Saturday

Uh oh. I think I may have found a potentially addicting summer hobby: garage-sale-ing.

A house on the street behind ours had a garage sale this weekend. Within eye sight of our back window, I could see tables of items. Having watched hours upon hours of HGTV, I have learned that the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is often true. So, once Bridget went down for her morning nap, I grabbed my wallet and headed down. After chit-chatting with the home owners for a while, I headed back home with a few very cool finds in hand.

A wooden woven vase that their daughter brought home from a trip to Africa. It will go perfect on our living room shelf. $5

A bracelet that for whatever reason, I am in love with and can’t wait to wear it. Plus, it fits perfectly; which doesn’t happen often for me and bracelets. $5

Super cute pot holders that I know are nothing special, but I like them and will definitely get some use out of them. Free

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Eczema relief

For those of you who suffer from eczema, you can attest to how uncomfortable, at times painful, and annoying it can be.

Following my pregnancy, I developed severe eczema on my hands. According to the dermatologist, I have sensitive skin that reacts poorly to dryness typically brought on by water. Well that’s no good…between my excessive hand washing, bottle cleaning, and bath time, limiting water use would be nearly impossible.

For the last year, I have tried dozens of lotions and soaps to relieve the eczema: Aveeno, Neutrogena, Neosporin, Cetaphil, the list goes on. Nothing seemed to help. I think I finally found some relief, and both are natural to boot.

We are avid Shark Tank viewers. Our Friday nights revolve around the show. A few months ago, a 19-year-old pitched her natural skin scrub, Simple Sugars, claiming that it helped thousands of eczema sufferers, and it was 100% natural–as in safe enough to eat. I was intrigued, but not enough to order a $15 jar online. Fast forward to last month when I was grocery shopping at our local Giant Eagle and happened upon a kiosk of natural skin care of which Simple Sugars was in the spotlight. After a demonstration and sample, I decided to give it a try and within just a few days, experienced noticeable improvement. I finished the jar after using it twice a day for about four weeks.

I then began using another free sample I received that day called Zum Bar a bar of soap made from goat milk. Again, I started noticing more results after just a few uses; plus its sensitive nature made previously painful hand washing much more bearable.

Finally, after each use of the scrub and soap, I use an Aveeno dry skin lotion to help lock in the moisture.

My hands are not back to 100%, but after a year of discomfort, I finally feel some relief. If you suffer from the same, maybe it’s worth a try.

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The hot water tank

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne W. Dyer

On Sunday night, our hot water tank died; conveniently during the 30 minutes between Bridget’s bath and my shower.

While bumming about the unexpected cost and poor timing (hello, we just bought this house!), I attended a health workshop during my company’s wellness fair yesterday. The speaker shared the quote above to support the idea that conscious thoughts are important in our overall well being. While I know she intended much deeper inspiration than how to cope with home repairs, I couldn’t help but think about that darn hot water tank. This may seem silly, but it really changed my perspective on this unplanned, and frankly, rather annoying, expense.

After two cold showers and having to boil Bridget’s bottles instead of washing them in hot water, I thought of all the people that don’t have these “luxuries”-even some people in the very same city we live in. And then this hot water tank, a necessary investment in our home, didn’t seem so bad after all.

This tank that sits in an unseen location in our basement may not be the new countertops or appliances I would have much rather spent that money on, but I’m pretty sure I will enjoy my hot shower, bath time with Bridget, and clean dishes much more.

Thank you, hot water tank, for reminding me what’s really important.

Down on the farm

We found this petting farm very close to our house called Spring Mist Farms. What a neat little gem!

It’s open every Wednesday from 10-8 pm. Admission is $4 for children and $1 for adults. For less than $10 and an hour of our evening, we got to…

Meet and feed Charlie the camel. He greets you, literally, while you pay admission. He’s the sweetest little (big) guy. Bridget couldn’t take her eyes off of him and I had to drag Brian onto the next animal because he was so enthralled with him.

Take a pony ride with Bridget, saddle and all. It was quite the upgrade from her giraffe scooter at home and after the initial hesitation, she seemed to enjoy it.

Be escorted in a carriage by another horse. In my next life, I want to be an equestrian. Horses are such beautiful animals.

Pet (or view for some) goats, donkeys, sheep, llamas, reindeer, elk, pigs, cows. Oh and turkeys, ducks, and chickens; but I tried not to spend too much time with them.

This place was such a great find: cheap entertainment, very nice staff, and close to home. We will definitely be back.

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Take 2: Bridget’s 1st birthday photo shoot

For the second part of Bridget’s first birthday photo shoot, I wanted something “girly.” This was another grand idea of mine, in theory, but not so much in practice. Like I’ve said before, Bridget isn’t the cute dress, fancy headband-type gal just yet in her young life, so this version of the photo shoot was a bit more challenging.

When I put the tutu on her, she looked at it like, “What the heck is this?” And then for the headband, “Yeah right.” This turned out not at all as I had envisioned, but like many things in life, sometimes the unexpected is just fine, too.

After dozens of takes, we coaxed her with Cheerios, a tool we use often to calm or distract her (you gotta do what you gotta do, right?). Here are the best of the “best”:

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And you know how I love black and white photos, so even though the colors are what make this fun and girly, I couldn’t resist turning this one into black and white.

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The number one lesson I learned throughout this experience: I have great respect for children and family photographers. Seriously, how do pros get mobile children to sit still for the camera? Tips welcome, please!

Although this photo shoot didn’t quite turn out as I had planned, it did capture Bridget being Bridget: her smile, curiosity, and active self. Oh, and her love for food.