Ok, this is NOT a fun thing to do in the Orlando area. But unfortunately, there comes a time in every parent's life when the pediatrician will hand you an order for a blood test. Usually at the baby's 9th month appointment. Our first order was for Quest, so I took my baby to the Quest Lab closest to our house at the time – the one on West Colonial. They couldn't get his vain, so it was a long and traumatic experience. Not to mention, I didn't find that lab at all pleasant, especially for a baby. So, the next time we had to go get a blood test I took my boy to the Arnold Palmer Hospital. What a huge difference! It only took a second and Owen never even realized there was a needle in his arm. Going to the hospital was a bit more of a hassle. They don't take appointments there, so there might be a long wait sometimes. But, I still think it's completely worth it.
Now, if I had to take my child to Quest I would go to the one on Maguire in Ocoee. It's new, very clean, and I've never had to wait longer than a few minutes. I did all my pregnancy screenings there, including glucose tolerance, and I have to say, I love this lab. Especially when Janelle is there. She's on top of things, and she's super nice.
*You might need a specific order form depending on the lab you're going to, so make sure you check with your doctor. You may also want to check on insurance coverage.
For his third birthday my son asked for a Star Wars party; for his fourth – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It seems a bit backwards to me, but what do I know.
I decided to keep it small this year since we have a newborn at home. Wanting to make things easier on myself I looked into purchasing the invites. I found lots of options online, especially on Etsy. Most were scary though, and probably not even Disney approved. So I ended up designing them myself. They were printed on really thick textured paper and then taken over to my friends at Lure Design to round the corners. I'm really happy with the way they turned out.
The night before the party my mother-in-law and I made Mickey cookies. Well, at least they looked like Mickey heads before they cooked. They kind of turned into giant blobs afterwards. Oh well, they were tasty, and the kids loved them. The main attraction though, was the cake. My friend Lindsay, with some help from her husband Adam of Hobo Press, made a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake that the kids gathered around and played with, as if it was a toy. Our son loved it (and protected it too).
Finally, I got some Moleskine sketchbooks from the local Barnes & Noble and customized them with a Mickey stamp and a band. We gave these out to all the children when the party was over. I figured they'd encourage drawing and creativity, after all, that's how my son's very beloved Mickey Mouse came to exist.
I've already been thinking about next year's birthday party. I'm hoping my son will like my ideas.
The Animal Kingdom is my favorite of the Disney Parks. There are a lot of neat details everywhere and it just feels really authentic. Here are some of the things we like to do there when we visit with our 3 year old son:
1. Camp Minnie-Mickey - A great place to meet the characters. There's usually no lines, or they're short. For extra smiles get a soft serve ice cream on the way out.
2. Kilimanjaro Safaris - The best – in my opinion. You get to ride through the African savanna in a "Bumpy Jeep." All the animals are real, so the experience is never the same. We've gotten some really good views of the giraffes, elephants, and the other animals before.
3. Africa - We like to hang out in this area and look for the local street performances. There's also a set of drums for the kids to play, and a cart that sells refreshing fruit.
4. Pangani Forest Exploration Trail - A nice walk. Again, always different, but we've caught the gorillas doing some pretty fun stuff before.
5. Tricera Top Spin - Like Dumbo at the Magic Kingdom, but with shorter lines.
6. The Boneyard - Really fun playground that even has a fossil excavation site.
7. Rafiki's Planet Watch - Ride aboard the Wildlife Express Train to get to the petting zoo. More fun things and characters inside too.
8. Finding Nemo – The Musical - A really great 30 minute show.
9. The Tree of Life - For a nice and quite time explore the trails around the tree and find all the animals carved into it.
10. Yak & Yeti Restaurant - Ok, this is just food, but it's good (and pricey too) If the weather is nice ask to sit in the balcony upstairs.
I also wanted to mention the baby nursery. Every Disney Park has one. They are nice, and have changing tables, an area to feed the baby, and even supplies you might need. If you're visiting with a baby these are worth checking out. The one at the Animal Kingdom is located on the left, before the gate where you enter Africa.
I'm so excited to have Hobo Press right here in Winter Garden. A couple of days ago I received my letterpress business cards and I couldn't be happier with the way they look. This printing process can really make something simple feel really special. The picture above shows Adam at Hobo Press while printing these cards.
So, soon we'll be back to doing fun things outside. As of now though, I have been spending a lot of time at home with baby Kellan. Having a newborn to take care of again has made me think of a few tips for future parents...
1. If you're having a boy and are planning on having him circumcised, buy a tube of Vaseline and have it at home for when you return from the hospital. You'll need to use it every diaper change.
2. Have alcohol and cotton balls ready too, or get some alcohol prep pads. You'll use these on the belly button to help the "yucky thing" (that's what my 3 year old called it) fall off. (It's umbilical cord)
3. I don't know about other hospitals, but if you deliver at Winnie Palmer, know that all that's in the baby's drawer (with the exception of the blankets) is yours to take home. DO take the little shirts with hand coverings. Baby's nails might be long from the start and you won't be able to cut them right away. With uncovered hands babies will scratch their faces.
4. Remember newborns don't have a neck. Keep this in mind when shopping for clothes. All those polo style oncies, thick hoodies, and any kind of outfit that's bulky around the neck will just make your baby uncomfortable. The ones with the simple overlaps over the shoulders or bottons on the side shoulder work best.
5. Socks and mittens fall off so easily. If it's cold opt for outfitls that have feet and hands coverings.
So I've been wanting to post this for the last 2 weeks. I've been busy with baby and recovering from the not fun at all repeat c-section.
Here's what happened; two weeks ago I went to see the doctor and he thought I was in labor so he sent me to the hospital. I was in denial but still called the husband and off we were. It turns out the doctor was right and the newest addition to our family was born just a few hours later. His name is Kellan and he's a beautiful baby. The four of us have been enjoying our holidays together at home. Starting tomorrow though I'll be even happier. I'll be allowed per doctor's orders to go up and down the stairs. And in 2 more weeks I'll be able to drive! That will make it a bit over 2 months of no driving. Hopefully I'll remember how 'cause honestly can't wait to get out!
Since I'm on bedrest, I've been having to do all my Christmas shopping online. I ran across a lot of interesting gifts for kids, so I thought I would share some.
1. Twin Baby A/B: If I knew anyone having twins, I'd give them these!
2. Alphabet Baby Teether: I love type, hence I love this baby toy.
3. Create Your Own Puzzle Set: My kid loves puzzles, and he also loves drawing and painting. I love the idea of him being able to create his own puzzle.
4. Airplanes Box Set: This is not only a really nice looking toy, it also packs up neatly.
5. Educo My Backyard BBQ Set: Nicest toy grill I've ever seen.
6. Pita Pockets Lunch: Nice play food
7. Animal Alphabet Wooden Puzzle: This is both beautiful and educational.
So I haven't been doing much lately, which explains the lack of posts. A few weeks ago, the baby in my belly started thinking he was big enough and wanted to come out and play. Well, the doctor didn't agree and that's how I ended up on bedrest. I was only 33 weeks, the longer I can keep him in there, the better for him. 37 weeks seems to be the "safe" number. The doctor is actually hoping I make it to 39 weeks, since that's when my c-section is scheduled for. We will see...
This whole thing was kind of unexpected. With my first kid I ended up having to be induced at 42 weeks. So, very different. My life is very different now though. Maybe carrying my sleeping 3 year old up the stairs (35lbs) didn't help. Well, there's nothing I can do now, except for lay/sit on my bottom and overdose on episodes of Parenthood on Netflix. I'm so thankful for my mom, husband, son, and friends, that have been helping out during this. I'm also thankful for my iPad, that has been helping me stay sane.
* The image above: My son came in my room the other day, grabbed a piece of paper and a pen, and drew this. He said "He's sad. Because he's stuck in the house and he can't get out" #bedrest
This is definitely one of those Holidays that's a lot more fun with kids. I feel at age 3 our son enjoyed it more than ever. He also expressed what he wanted... for his costume, the pumpkin... He asked that we carve a Mickey Mouse pumpkin. He said the ears should be two smaller pumpkins (talk about art directing...) Luckily my husband was able to make that happen (with our son's help of course) He also told us a while ago that he wanted to be a pirate. And luckily my mom was able to make that happen (with her daughter's help of course) Yesterday was an intense day – started the morning dressed up for the Halloween party at school, and then later again for the party at our neighborhood, and the much awaited trick or treating... I'm still exhausted, and he's already talking about next Halloween. He says he wants to be a pirate every year from now on. We will see...