& I’m back!

I finally feel like a normal person again! & I finally have a computer back. After some technical glitches… umm, like losing e v e r y t h i n g on my laptop, I have a fresh start. Yep. Losing everything on your hard drive is a major bummer, let me tell ‘ya. I lost three chapters of my novel, our budget, tons of medical references, numerous journal entries, and who knows what else! It would have cost at least $600 to have the data recovered, and that’s just money we weren’t willing to spend. The only thing I can take away from this whole situation is back!it!up!

In other news, I am 16 weeks preggers and no longer nauseous! Yippity skippity! I woke up on Thanksgiving feeling like a completely different person. People kept telling me *16* was the magic number. I guess they were right.

We are finally back in our home as a family. After nearly six weeks of staying with family, Emmalyn and I have been reunited with our favorite man! On the seven hour drive back, Emmalyn cried that she didn’t want to go to her “blue house”–that she wanted to go back to GG and BopBop’s house (my parents). It was so pitiful… However, once we drove down our street she was excited, and even more thrilled to be back with all her toys. It was like Chirstmas Day!

Even though I hated being away from my husband for so long (I saw him for 72 hours within six weeks), we really did have a memorable *vacation*. Emmalyn and I got to hang out with our best friends and go on multiple fun play dates. We went to Sea World once, and Disney four times.

The best part of our trip was when Daddy flew in and joined us for a Disney Princess Breakfast for Emmalyn’s 3rd birthday. Both sets of grandparents were there, and it was such a memorable and magical day! I could write a whole other post on just this day…

{took emmy to our engagement spot at epcot}

We were fotunate to be able to celebrate Emmy’s birthday with all her favorite friends from “back home”. Originally, when making the decision to take a change of scenery, I was bummed she wouldn’t have a birthday party with her friends for school, but spending her day with the little friends she’s grown to love was much more meaningful. She greeted almost all of her guests at the door and we didn’t even tell her to! I know that in the three year-old heart of hers, she was super appreciative.

I was extremely nervous about Emmalyn going back to school today. After all, it has been about six weeks. Last night she told me, “Mommy, don’t ever leave me. Ever. {holds my chin} Understand?” Yipes!! It was quite dramatic. But this morning we were talking about all her friends and the fun things she would do at school. When I dropped her off, she walked right in with a big smile on her face. & when I picked her up? Even bigger smile! She told me she had a really fun day. Phew!

So there ya have it, friends! Just a little update. More to come on “prego bumpdates”, Emmalyn’s birthday, and getting back into the swing of things!

It’s good to be back!

loyally,

katie

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Our First Flight–We Survived!

Welp, we made it back in one piece. Flying with a two year-old was quite interesting, to say the least.

Here’s a break-down of our trip and what I learned…

Flight to Texas:
Who’s terrible idea was it to make a child get out of their stroller to go through security?! Obviously they don’t have any children, otherwise they’d know that it’s absolute hell trying to get a toddler back into the stroller. My husband is usually the one to do such manual labor, when said toddler is kicking and screaming and squirming all over the place. Finally, between my mom, dad, and me, we manage to get Emmy into her stroller.

*Lesson Learned: I would suggest putting the stroller through the conveyer FIRST, that way I could work on getting Emmalyn in while the rest of our stuff was being scanned. Plus, Emmalyn would have already been in the stroller, freeing up my hands to unload everything off the conveyer.

While waiting at the gate, Emmy had a grand time running back and forth alongside the windows, pointing at the airplanes. She even spotted the University of Central Florida triathlon team and shouted, “U-C-F! Go Knights!” (The guys got a kick out of it)

www.katievanbrunt.com
 {i apologize for the crappy iPhone pics}

I made the decision not to bring Emmy’s car seat on the flight, but rather check it at the gate. (I also didn’t want to check it at the curb because I was afraid it would get beaten around too much.) The downside of all that was that we had to carry it from the car to the gate. In the end, not a huge nuisance.

So like I was saying, we let Emmy sit in the “Big Girl Seat” and she thought she was hot stuff. I thought for sure having her sit like a big girl was going to be the ticket to a smooth flight. But alas, I was wrong. When it was time to buckle up, Emmalyn didn’t want any help doing so. Normally she can buckle her regular car seat, but with this seat belt she had it backwards and refused to let anyone help her. Typical two year-old. She was thoroughly convinced she had it right and nothing was going to change that.

The flight attendant came over and told us we needed to get her in her seat. So… the screaming began… My daughter was quite frustrated and mad at me for forcing her in her seat.

Once she was buckled in, she seemed to settle down and was onto her next discovery.

www.katievanbrunt.com

One of the biggest suggestions I received from friends was to give her a lollipop at take-off. This was a huge deal for me because I’ve NEVER given Emmalyn a lollipop before. It’s a personal choice, but I strongly believe in not feeding my child(ren) candy. However, I made an exception because I was more concerned about her ears hurting with the change in pressure.

I laughed because Emmalyn looked at me and said, “What’s this? How does it work?” when I gave her the lollipop.

Side Story: Jelly Beans were the center piece of my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah (the reasons for going to Texas) and Emmalyn picked up every.single.one off the floor and threw them in the trash! That’s my girl! 😉

But I digress.

Overall, Emmalyn did OK during the nearly three-hour flight. Curious George on the iPad entertained her for a while, then a new game on the iPad. Then Girlfriend wanted to climb all over me, which drove me insane. But not as insane as when she wanted to go potty. Have you every tried to bring a two year-old into an airplane bathroom with you?! It should be an Olympic sport, people! Enough said.

Emmy threw another fit when we had to put her back in the seat belt to land. & again when we had to put her in the stroller after exiting the plane. Exhausting.

// // //

Our time in Texas was filled with family, new friends, and plenty of laughter and memories. But that’s all for another post.

// // //

Flight Back Home:
Again we had to take Emmy out of the stroller, and again, I wanted to beat up the person who implemented this rule. People were staring at us: Emmalyn screaming, and me with a determined-to-survive-this-flight look on my face, dodging innocent passerby’s.

*Lesson Learned: Never judge people dragging little people at the airport.

At the gate, Emmalyn didn’t want to sit still–she kept running off amongst a sea of travelers. Thankfully I could take turns chasing her with my parents. Not sure what I would have done if I were by myself… who would have watched my bags while I ran after her before she boarded a flight to Mexico?

Because Emmalyn wanted to play *musical air chairs* on the first flight, I thought maybe it might be a better idea to bring her car seat with us this time. It was worth a shot, right?

*Lesson Learned: BRING CAR SEAT ONTO FLIGHT!!!

Best! Decision! Ever!

www.katievanbrunt.com
{with Silly Putty, a.k.a. “peanut”}

Although she fought me getting into her seat, it was smooth sailing, er–flying, from there. I believe she did so well on this flight because her car seat brought her a sense of comfort and order. She didn’t ask to get out once during the entire flight. {Except for when we were descending and she said she needed to go potty… thank goodness for Pull-Ups!}

On our way to land, Emmalyn looked at my mom and said, “I can’t hear.” Poor thing, but it was cute. Thus, her second lollipop in history was distributed 😉 A little while later my mom asked her if she wanted a drink of water to help with her ears and she said, “No, I can hear now!” When we got in the car to go home she told my husband, “My ears are all better now.”

// // //

Overall, I’d say my first time flying with a toddler was a success. I know it could have been a whole heck of a lot worse… like the poor parents several seats behind us…. stuck with two very young, screaming children.

I was proud of my girl for going with the flow on this new adventure.

& proud of ME for surviving, too!

Now I just need a vacation from my vacation!

loyally,

katie

Our Cowgirl Boots Are Packed, Y’all

Tomorrow, I will be taking my girl on her first airplane! To Texas.

To say I’m a little nervous is an understatement.

If you know me, you know I’m a total planner; complete with a check-list of my check-list, and a chock-full of realistic possibilities stacked up in this little head of mine.

I imagine the worst-case scenario not because I’m a pessimist (I’m not!), but because I want to be ready. I expect the best, but prepare for the worst. I can’t help it. It’s in my DNA 😉

Overall, Emmalyn is a great kid. Strangers often comment on her laid-back demeanor.

But she’s two. & with that comes the “Terrible Twos.”

It’s funny because my husband and I have to remind ourselves that she is just two. We often *forget* because she’s so verbal. She talks better than some four-and-five-year-olds. So when she throws a ginormous tantrum we look at each other and say, “WTH? Why is she acting like this?”

“Oh yea.. she’s TWO.”

So anywho…. I’m nervous that she’s going to show her true colors on the airplane. & my husband isn’t going to be there to “lock her down” when she’s kicking and flailing her arms all over the place. Girlfriend is strong, yo!

I’ve reached out to people about their Tools of the Trade, to keep a curious toddler occupied, and here’s what I’ve collected:

Lollipops for her ears (which I’ve never given Emmy before)
A new toy… I bought a mini “I Spy” book with a mini magnifying glass, plus a friend is lending us a sticker book
Band-Aids (for her to open and stick all over herself)
Snacks!!! (granola, raisins, veggie straws)
iPad with headphones
empty H2O bottle
Books/Flashcards (I bound them together so they don’t scatter all over the place. Thank you, Pinterest)
Change of clothes
Emmy’s “nigh-nights” (her blankets) A MUST!!
Magna-Doodle
Plus, we are checking her stroller and car seat at the gate

// // //

Any seasoned mommas have advice for a newbie like me?

So our trip doesn’t look like this…

Please & Thank You!

& don’t forget to wish us luck!! =)

loyally,
katie

Summer Lovin’

*Family Vacation
**2nd Wedding Anniversary Getaway
***Art of Animation Resort @ Disney World

:::

loyally,

katie

I Heart America

I’m so thankful we are free to celebrate our country like this:
& this is what happens when you let your little cousin in on some picture-making fun:
we’re having a blast!!
loyally,
katie

We Made it!

6 grandkids 
+ their spouses 
+ 9 great-grandkids 
+ 1 great-grandmother 
+ aunts & uncles 
+ 1 ginormous beach house
=
TONS OF FUN
let the games begin!
loyally,
katie

From the Mind of Me

Written last night…
There are so many random things on my mind. All throughout the day, I’m constantly ‘writing’ eloquent blog posts full of clever alliteration, metaphors, & all that other School House Rock stuff in my head. And all day I look forward to the peace and quiet, when my little love rests her sleepy eyes, and I can sit down and blog. But what happens? I’m too tired to think. Too tired to try and be all witty and clever–because truth me told, it doesn’t always come so easily to me. During the day when I’m elbow-deep in sweet potatoes and bubble baths? Yes. But not when I actually have the time to sit down at my computer. Wouldn’t it be nice if what I was thinking would just magically appear in text on a screen? Well maybe not everything, but at least the good stuff 😉
*

And instead of running to my computer when I feel like I have something important to say, or share, I just become stagnant and do, well, nothing. And I really hate that. Blogging is an outlet for me. Growing up, I always kept a diary or journal of some sort. The earliest I can remember keeping a diary was in first grade. I remember my grandmother giving me many diaries throughout my childhood. One with a cartoon dinosaur on the front. Another with Disney princesses. And of course, all of them had a lock and key. There was something so fulfilling about pouring all my thoughts out onto the crisp wide-ruled lines. 
(BTW, I highly dislike wide-ruled. I much prefer college-ruled.) 
*

I’d write about anything from the “scary gorilla at the farmer’s market during Halloween” (True story; circa first grade) to feeling left out at school, to what boy I was crushing on that month. There’s something so therapeutic to me about it. And if you’re a blogger, I’m sure you can attest to this, too. I still hand-write my private thoughts from time to time, but with modern-day technology I’m able to share more with family and friends. I blog not for popularity or bragging rights, but as a way to document my life for family and friends, living throughout the nation. I never knew I’d ‘meet’ such friendly and kind people along the way. I don’t think I even realized how beneficial other blogs could be to me. I have read so many inspiring, funny, and informative posts. 
*

I believe in freedom of blogging, but personally choose to steer away from negative and over-ranting posts. There’s enough negativity in this world. I don’t need to read about it every time I sit down to my computer. If I can’t say something nice, I’ll simply say nothing at all. (Thumper’s daddy was a smart bunny!) Negativity just leads to more negativity and bad moods, in my opinion. What started out as something I wanted to try, and received little support from skeptical friends and family members, has turned into a necessity in my life. Now, I am constantly encouraged by others to keep on keeping on.  

*

And that’s exactly what I’m going to do!

Loyally,
Katie

***For the remainder of the day, I’ll be putting on the final touches of packing for a week-long vacay at the beach! Last year, about twenty family members of mine from Florida, West Virginia, & North Carolina met at Myrtle Beach over the 4th of July; and this year, the gang’s headed to an island off of Georgia, where we’re all piling into a beach house.
Emmalyn & I will be shotgunning with my parents for the five hour drive tomorrow morning. And per usual, the hubster has to work at the hospital 🙁 We will miss him dearly!!!!!!  It’s Emmy’s second time to the beach, but first time on a long road trip, and first time on a real vacation. Wish us luck! 
And if there’s wi-fi like there should be, I’ll be sure to post pics!
Have a safe and memorable Independence Day!!! God Bless!! YAY USA!!!!!!!!!!

I must confess…

…I’m a terrible blogger.

BUT… in my defense, I’ve been pretty busy.

“Why?” You might ask.

Because I’m getting married in 25 days!!!

YES!

So, needless to say, I’ve been a little preoccupied.



There’s a lot that’s been going on; and wedding planning, honeymoon booking, and vacation planning has all-consumed my life. No complaints here though. I’ve just barely been home; traveling back and forth between our little haven of love on the west coast, to our hometown, every other week. I cannot tell you how excited I am to marry the love of my life. We’ll exchange vows in the church his parents and oldest sister got married. You’ll have to wait for details of the wedding… I’m not giving away anything! 


I will let you in on our honeymoon agenda, though:
We fly into San Juan, Puerto Rico, the day after our wedding, only to catch a 7-night Royal Caribbean cruise to Curacao, Aruba, Dominica, and St. Thomas. Then, on the way back, we fly into Myrtle Beach where my family is having a mini-reunion. We’ve rented three beach condos for a week over the Fourth of July. I cannot wait! 


So, again, sorry I’ve been M.I.A., but this girl’s been busy! I promise, promise, PROMISE when all the commotion lessens, I’ll be back to normal

I hope everyone is having a safe and blessed summer! 


When in Rome…

Picturesque seaside scenery, unique natural beauties, tantalizing wines, and carb-free pasta dishes…

…this is how Blake and I plan to spend our vacation this summer.


That’s right, B and I are going to Europe. Italy and Paris, to be more specific. We booked our flights last week and will be arriving in one of the most marvelous places on Earth come the end of May. For two weeks we’ll be witnessing breath-taking views and soaking up the rich culture. We’re fortunate enough to be traveling with another fun and wonderful couple.


I’m very excited for this adventure, and even more blessed to be sharing it with the love of my life.


My friend Megan and I have been anxiously planning the destinations, while Blake and her husband are busy studying for med school. Essentially, this is B’s last summer for the rest of his life and we decided to do it BIG.


In the beginning, our hearts were set on going to Greece, too, but apparently Greece isn’t doing well economically and are on strike. We were disappointed, but understood it wouldn’t be feasible. Tentatively, Megan and I have come up with the following destinations. 


We fly into Rome, but will take the train to Sorrento, located along the Amalfi Coast. A thirty minute boat ride will lead us to Capri, where we’ll spend the day bronzing in the Mediterranean sun.



Peaceful landscape full of serene rolling hills, olive groves, cypress trees, vineyards, and medieval towns and castles is what attracts us to Tuscany. A wine-tasting tour is a must.



Cinque Terre is the unique part of our trip because it’s one of those “Back Door” destinations that not many tourists know about. A seven mile hike (including a “Lovers Lane”) will lead us through unforgettable views of it’s National Park. There’s just something charming and romantic about these “Five Lands,” which is what Cinque Terre translates to.





What is there to even say about Paris? I think it speaks for itself.



With it’s infamous architecture and as a home to Romeo and Juliet, our trip would not be complete without Rome. It’s an Eternal City; a cultural icon filled with secrets and romantic sneak-aways. Love is everywhere in Rome.


…do as the Romans do.

My question to you is: Have you been to Italy or Paris? Do you have any suggestions, ideas, regrets? I’d love to hear what you have to say.


Ciao, Bella


Winter Kisses & Birthday Wishes

I don’t even know where to start! These last few weeks have been crazy, busy, fun! (I’ll try to make this as short and sweet as possible):

1. B’s parents treated everyone to a weekend getaway at the Grand Cypress near Disney. In case I’ve never mentioned it before, B has two older sisters. Here’s a room with a view, if you ask me:
2. The whole fam went to the coolest mini-golf place ever! It was Disney’s Fantasia-themed. Just a little goofing off with the boy…
3. I took a little break from the resort to support my best friend & sorority sister, Lauren, at her college graduation. I always love when we get to hang out, but wished we lived closer. I can’t wait ‘til we go see Swifty (Taylor Swift) in concert together in March!
4. Back to the resort… On the second night of the weekend we celebrated B’s grandma’s 80th birthday! We jumped on the Disney monorail and hotel-hopped to see the Christmas decorations and watch the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from the Polynesian. I love this pic of us (even though my eyes look funny from adjusting the red eye. I really need to invest in a better camera).
5. “Goofing” (no pun intended) around at the hotel shops. Only a few hours until my 23rd birthday!
6. One of my favorites. B’s sister volunteered as our photographer and caught this candid. I love it. (Again, new camera needed desperately!)
7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY (and Hanukah) TO ME!!! A fun fact about me… half my family is Christian/Catholic/Baptist and the other half is Jewish. Interesting mix, huh? In my parents’ household we celebrate Hanukah. If we go to West Virginia where my mom’s family is, we celebrate Christmas. And with B’s fam, we celebrate Christmas. At my and B’s house, we had both a Menorah and a Christmas tree. It’s ALL FUN! Here’s a picture of me with one of my Hanukah gifts from my mom. I’ve been swooning over these Victoria’s Secret “Pink loves the Knights” sweats. (Not posting all the pics of my goodies, especially since all the pictures clearly give away that I just rolled out of bed, HA!)
I also got a Longchamp backpack in taupe. I have two other Longchamp bags and just love them!
For my birthday my parents got me this baby (I got the matching ring for my 21st birthday):
One of my other absolute favorite Christmas gifts was from B’s parents. They were so thoughtful and got me a mug with pictures of B and me because they know how much I love to drink hot green tea every morning. On top is says “Live, Laugh, Love.”
8. Finally, we have come to Midnight Mass. B’s mom plays the bells for their church and it’s absolutely beautiful to listen to them. But what a late night! I didn’t get back to my parents’ house until 2 a.m. Then, I had to drive two hours the next morning to be back on the gulf coast to work at noon! Yes, that’s right… I had to work on Christmas. Two year-olds don’t stop, and neither do I!
I hope everyone had a very safe, happy, and blessed holiday and New Years. Welcome 2010! I can’t wait to see what’s in store.