Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Sunday!

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. It is beautiful in South Florida. Sunny and 81 degrees with a great breeze. 

Ava is loving her new rocking chair on the porch. Thank you, Nana! 

Hoping that we all head out to a local farmer's market today and enjoy more of this gorgeous weather and maybe even get lunch somewhere outside :) 

Happy Sunday, everyone! 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Baby Mora + Baby McFarland {Two Beautiful Baby Showers in 1 day!}

On Saturday, I attended baby showers for two of my good friends. The first was for Jessica. She and I met when I moved to Pompano Beach with my mother in 9th grade. She and I are 1 year apart and our birthdays are 10 days apart. We became work out buddies and, today, she shares my interests in eating non processed foods and doing things as natural as possible. I am living vicariously through her in her hopes to have an all natural delivery with her baby boy, Christian Alexander Mora. I find myself wanting to teach/warn/ prepare her for experiences that I had and wish that I could redo. I wish her a beautiful and natural delivery. I could not be happier for her and her husband-to-be, Mike! 
Here are some photos from her fun "Monkey themed" shower. Christian's nursery is adorable! It is tan and green, monkey themed as well. They all did such a great job with the decor. 
Here are some photos from there special day: 

And then I was off to Chelsea + Steve's Baby Shower. Chelsea is the reason I met my husband over 17 years ago. She and Mark lived on the same street and waa-laa... I met my future husband when I was about 8 or 9. 
Chelsea met and married an amazing man, Steve. As I was taking a million photos at their baby shower, I really was able to see how well they interact, laugh, and share these moments together. They make a beautiful couple. I know they will make amazing parents. 
Here are some photos from their special day: 

I had to wear my garnet and gold Tory's for game day - Go Noles!  (Janey and her gold flats had the right idea too! And of course, we let the mama to be in with her close to "garnet" toe nails. haha 

Well, there you have it. Two beautiful baby showers and two beautiful baby boys that are on their way. 
Jessica and Chelsea, you two are going to be the greatest mothers. Both of you are already so maternal, smart, and loving women. Enjoy these precious moments of feeling those baby boys move inside of you (you will miss that!)

I love you both and thank you for letting me be there with you both on your very special day. 


Date Night

Last night after I came home from attending two baby showers, I watched the rest of the FSU v Syracuse game (59-3 GO NOLES!)  with Mark and ate the dinner that he made for us while I was away. (Thank goodness I have a husband that enjoys cooking!) 

Around 7:30, I put Ava to bed. Sometimes on the weekends my mom will come over to hang out at our house while Mark and I head out after Ava goes to bed so that we can enjoy some time with just the two of us.

Last night, we went over to Las Olas Wine Cafe to taste some different wines while Mark got to enjoy one of his cigars. 
My hub hub enjoying his wine at our little wine spot. 

Live music 

It is nice and cozy here. I really like how they have an small indoor "restaurant" (they serve tasty tapas style dishes) that also house all of the wines while also having a outdoor area between both buildings. We chose to sit outside and enjoy the evening breeze and live music.

Playing around with Mark's cigar. He ended up not smoking all of it because more people started to arrive and he didn't want to bother them with cigar smoke by the way the wind was blowing. Luckily, I never mind cigar smoke... it is the smell of cigarette smoke that makes me sick.

Later on, we started walking around and went over to Gran Forno. They had more live music- more of a upbeat, Spanish theme- and so we got a table out on the side to enjoy some sangria. Loved it here because we were off to the side yet got to enjoy the music as well and watch a one year old little girl dance with her dad. 
Cheers to date nights!

To add to the list of things that I am especially grateful for during "Gratitude Month"...
I am thankful for fun times with just my husband. He still makes me crack up laughing at the drop of a hat just like he has been doing for over 17 years. Never a dull moment with my husband.

Hope you are all having a nice weekend! After Ava wakes up from her nap, we will probably head out and go find something nice to do outside. The weather is a whopping 83 degrees in November! :)



Monday, November 11, 2013

My Gratitude Month: November 1-11th

I noticed that some of my friends on Facebook have been listing something that they are grateful for on each day of November.
I thought it is better late than never to start my own on our family blog. 
I should start by saying that a couple of months back, I found myself complaining a lot. I would complain about the smallest things...
One afternoon while Ava was napping, I was talking to my mother about it and she told me to just "Stop and think before you complain. Christina, there are mothers out there that have it way worse than you. You get to stay home with your daughter, you have an incredible husband, and you have a lot to be grateful for." 
She was so right. I am not sure what made what she said CLICK but it did. I had known what she said before she said it. I would often tell myself these things, but time and time again...I would still catch myself saying I "was exhausted, overwhelmed, feeling lonely at home, etc." 
However it was that my mom explained it to me that day, I finally understood it. I needed to take a step back  and think when those thoughts entered my mind or before they came out of my mouth and it worked! Her words stick with me to this day.  

Now, let's be clear...I am not perfect and if I drop and break a glass or stub my toe, I will probably still huff and puff. But I can say that I have seen a big change in my overall attitude since that conversation with my mother. 
It has made me see the: spilled sippy cups, the 5 min to merely change my daughter's diaper because she rather do the alligator death roll on the changing table, or making dinner for 1 because my husband is at a company event/dinner/or trip as simple daily things that are not fun but are a still blessings. 
I get to be home with my daughter and take care of her the way that I see fit because my husband works his butt off so that I can. I have a lot to be grateful for. 
So with all that said, here are my first 11 things I have to be grateful for in this month of November (in no particular order) 

1. My mother's unconditional love. I feel like I could never repay my mother for everything she has done and given me. To me, she is the definition of a perfect mother and friend. 

2. My daughter's goofy personality that makes each day different and worth living. Her belly laughs are the best sounds I have ever heard. 

3. My husband's selflessness. He not only works hard for our family but also works hard for his "work family". He wants to help them achieve their goals and enjoy coming to work each day. 

4. The roof over my head. We may not be homeowners yet but we treat and love it as if it were ours.  We chose to live here to be within walking distance of my mother in these first years of being first time parents. My in-laws are also long 20 min East of us as well.  Having our mothers close by has been such a blessing. From coming to pick up/ take care of Ava if I am under the weather (like now) to having family dinners often are only a couple of reasons why I am so grateful to live close by. As much as I look forward to looking for a home, I do not look forward to moving out of mother's neighborhood. 

5. That my eyes were opened about what is put into our food supply. This has been life changing for me. Again, my mother was the one who opened my eyes to this issue. She is a rock star, isnt she?! Since learning about WHY we need to eat organic more often than not, we feel better and I sleep better knowing that I am preventing my family from disease and illness down the road. 

6. My friends. From the ones that I've known growing up (going on 22 years of friendship!) to the ones I married into, I know that I have people in my life that will be there to cheer me up, teach me something, be willing to hear my side with an open mind, or just sit around and do nothing with and still have a great time. 

7. Our families. I have some pretty awesome families! The Vega, Duffey, Kimmel, Murphy, Lorenz, McGuire, Strege, Schlanser families make up our tribe. 
Whether they are here with us on Earth or passed on, see them daily or just on holidays, talk daily or just on FaceTime once in a while... they are our foundation. Our rock. We wouldn't be where or who we are today without each and every one of them. 

(Sidenote: Mark's grandfather, Claude Strege, passed away over the weekend. Mark hasn't been the same since he got the news. 
I did have the privilege of meeting Grandpa Claude which I am very grateful for. The last memory and one that I think about from time to time (even before his passing) was the last time I saw him. It was less than 2 months before Mark proposed to me and we were visiting his hometown of Wyndmere, ND.
Mark's "Grandpa Claude" and "Grandma Ann" were dropping us off at the airport to fly back to Chicago, IL. Grandpa Claude got out of the car to say goodbye to us and gave me a strong hug like I was one of his own grandchildren. While he hugged me, he quietly said to me, "Now you take good care of Mark, he is a good man."  ( and now I am typing this in tears ) 
I replied something along the lines of, "I will. I promise."

From all of the things I hear about Grandpa Claude, I think that Mark carries a lot of his grandfather with him. Claude was a hardworking salesman and a family man - just like Mark. 
May you rest in peace, Grandpa Claude. I'll take good of your first grandson. )

8. My education. I will always be grateful for the amazing education I received growing up at St. Anthony Catholic School, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Florida State University, and 1 year at Florida Atlantic University (post grad) 
I know that there are many people in this world that would give anything to be able to attend school and get an education. Not only did I get to, but I was surrounded by inspiring peers, teachers, professors, and mentors along the way. (Thanks, mom!)

9. My faith. I think that faith in our God has helped me understand that sometimes we cannot understand why some things happen, but can try and make the very best of the situation at hand. If we lose a loved one, a job, an opportunity, or ability to even see the good in some people... Having faith can help us look at every single situation with positivity and hope. 

10. My health. I am grateful that I have good health (besides the nasty cold I am fighting off) and know how to maintain my health through clean eating and lifestyle choices. 

11. Being an American. I am so grateful to have been born here and have our military that serve their time in protecting us on a daily basis. Thank you to those who have served our country on this Veteran's Day and those who continue to serve. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ava Turns 1!

On Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 we all celebrated 
Ava's 1st Birthday!

Ava's 1st Birthday fell on a big South Florida Rival weekend... FSU v UM. 

 So rather than try and work around this, we just went with it. Ava did not have your typical 
"princess party" was FSU themed! 
Are you really surprised!? haha

Ava with her Nana Lorenz

Nana Lorenz bought and painted this adorable rocking chair for Ava. 

Tickling the Birthday Girl 

Mark and I wanted to celebrate Ava's birthday how we typically enjoy Game Days when we are home for them...Brunch! 
We had a honey baked ham in the oven, salmon platter, croissants, fruit, cupcakes, cheeses, prosciutto wrapped cheese, veggies, a baby food/snack station, pumpkin spice & apple cinnamon muffins, a shrimp wheel, and mimosas/other cocktails for the adults. 

FSU utensils! 

Mark's friend from work came over with his family. Mark had a little gift for him :) His friend has been so helpful and supportive through Mark's efforts of becoming the new VP. We thank him for all that he has done for Mark and our family.

Our good friends came over over to celebrate. We cut them some slack even though they aren't Seminoles. They are the sweetest. Mike is my mother's late best friend's son. When we found out that he was becoming a father and naming his daughter after his mother, we just about burst into tears. We love this little family so much. Rachel is Mike's beautiful wife and little Fern is their sweet daughter. Don't let this picture fool you either, Fern has is smiling just as much or more than Ava. Happiest baby ever! 

Ava playing with her friends. 

We had friends that even drove/ flew in from:
 Jacksonville, FL
Chicago, IL 
Taveres, FL 

to be with Ava on her special day. We have great friends and we are so thankful for them.

Melissa & Doug puzzles! 

Having fun with Daddy as usual 

She was even sent a real Gucci purse from a very generous and kind mother that we have never met in person. Ava is a lucky girl!

Slobber monster. Cutting more teeth! 
 My friends, Sarah (Ava's Godmother- left) and Ali(my Maid of Honor-right), traveled in to be with Ava. So happy that I had them there with us. 

Ava's birthday was great. We got to see and spend time with great friends, celebrate our baby turning 1, and enjoy our FSU v UM Game Day together. 

Later that evening I dropped Ava off at my in-law's home and we headed to Galuppi's with all of our friends in town. We all got a long table to watch the game together. We had a great time all catching up while watching FSU beat UM. 

I picked up Ava in the morning when I woke up and Mark headed out to play golf with his friends. 

A BIG thank you to those who attended Ava's birthday party and sent Birthday Wishes via: phone call, text, Facebook, Instagram, you name it... I enjoyed reading all of them and cannot believe she is 1 now. 

Happy Birthday, Ava Loren McGuire!