Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I can't believe January is basically over. In some ways, it seems like it's been the absolute longest month, and in others it seems like it flew by. We've had so much going on that I haven't had a whole lot of time to keep up here on the blog.  Quick version of recent events: I got my real estate license and just started with a brokerage here in town, Juston started a new job at another college so we're in the process of getting our house ready to list and finding a home in a new town. I'd love something old and charming that just oozes character, but unfortunately the town we're moving to dozed tons of their older, historic homes in favor of new developments some years ago which is such a bummer (and strike one against the new town), my babies are both growing like weeds and Caroline is back in gymnastics after taking a couple months off for travel and the holidays, I'm still trying to keep up with my regular workout schedule and train for a race we're doing April 1st, too. It seems like every time I sit down to post here during Carter's nap during the day, it serves as an alarm clock for him. It's low on the priority totem pole, but I love looking back and comparing all the things Caroline was doing at the sames ages he's reaching, so I'm trying to do better at keeping up with him by posting more.

We had our first real snow of this winter...and hopefully it'll be our last snow. I'm just not a cold weather lover, but it did make for a cute photo op...

Happy Tuesday!

Last week was a doozie.  I didn't realize until Friday evening that it was a full moon and Friday the 13th week which apparently created the perfect storm of crazy for me. Juston was out of town all week, my workout plan was basically non-existent, so much is up in the air for us right now (I don't do well with not having a plan) and the kids were not acting like themselves at all. Carter, who is normally the happiest baby you could ever meet, would scream for an hour or more straight and nothing would suit him, then out of nowhere, he'd stop, just like that. No rhyme or reason to it. Caroline is the best girl, but Lord if she didn't whine over every. little. thing it seemed like. And my patience isn't the bet to begin with, so I was at my wits end by Thursday and it was still another day and a half until Juston came home. I was ready to smack him by the time he strolled in the door all well rested and happy Friday evening. I don't know that I got more than three hours of sleep any night last week. The first thing I did when he got home was hand over the baby and head out the door to hit the gym. 

I try not to complain, nobody likes a whiner, but man if last week didn't have me waving my white flag before it was even over. Thank the Lord for a long weekend of having Juston home, three days in a row of working out and the return of my patience somewhere in between. Do you ever have those weeks that you just can't? I know so much of whether I have a "good" day or a "bad" day is in the way I react to the things that happen to me, so I'm trying to keep that in the front of my mind moving into a new week. I felt so bad when I lost my temper and raised my voice at Caroline late last week. She turned her little quivering lip under and tried so hard not to cry and I was trying not to either all the while Carter had no trouble screaming his face off. I just hope the full moon and Friday the 13th don't converge again for a good long while. Meanwhile, we're moving into a new week with a new and better attitude. I'm trying to remember that when Caroline gets whiny, I need to take a deep breath before I respond and have more patience with her. Carter seems to be over whatever was troubling him, thankfully, and we are hoping to find a new normal soon. Getting our house ready to sell mostly by myself while chasing my two kids around is hunting for a home in a new town I have no real desire to move to is stressful. Being a solo parent most days of the week while Juston works away is stressful. Deep breaths. This too shall pass. Perhaps I should take up yoga or meditating in the meantime.

Knocking out Milestones

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

This little man has been knocking out milestones left and right this week, so I wanted to be sure and document it here before I forget to do it. So far this week, he's started waving when you wave at him and say "hi" and I'm not positive, but I think he tries to say "hi" back while he waves. Shortly after he started that, he also started clapping. We would clap for him every time he'd wave, and so he started doing it with us. HE also says "Mama" and "Dada" occasionally when you ask him to, only if he's in the mood though.

Yesterday morning, he was playing with one of the little ride on cars at my parents house when he pulled up on it. Then out of nowhere, he just started walking along pushing it! I couldn't even believe it. He's become mobile so much sooner than Caroline did. It's so fun to see how different each child does things. Each in their own time. Still no teeth, but man does he love eating now! Especially sharing my eggs in the morning. It's been a big week around here and it's only Wednesday :)


Refreshing my Look with New Glasses

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I remember in 8th grade, when I finally got my first pair of glasses, being amazed at the fact that I could actually see individual leaves on trees in the distance, that I could sit in the back of a classroom and read the chalkboard and that I could read road signs before I was right on top of them when we were traveling. I have been blind as a bat for as long as I can remember and while I've contemplated Lasik surgery, I'm a chicken and haven't pulled the trigger yet. 

Most of the time, I wear my contacts as it's just more convenient for my work (tumbling and cheerleading), for my workouts, especially running, and for playing with the kids all day since Carter is fascinated by trying to rip them off of my face at the moment, but sometimes, my eyes need a rest from my contacts, or my allergies get to bothering me and I prefer wearing my glasses instead. There are also times where I just feel like glasses are much cuter with a certain outfit and they are a fun accessory to change up my look.  I also feel smarter when I wear them ;) I've had in mind to pick up a new pair of frames for a couple of years now, but just haven't found anything I particularly cared much for yet. 

I have never tried Warby Parker before, but I think I'm going to give their at home try on option a whirl and see if I can't choose a pair of frames I feel like suit my face shape. Has anyone ever shopped with this company before? If you have, I'd love to hear about your experience with them and I will definitely be sure to share mine and let y'all know what I think.According to their website, you just choose five frames you like, the company will mail them to you to try for free, then you purchase the pair(s) you like and ship the rest back with the pre-paid shipping label. 
 I sort of have in mind that I want to get some tortoise shell frames, but I'm open to other options as well. The ones I use now are solid black Vera Bradley's and I still like them, but I'd love another option or two so that I can rotate depending on what I'm wearing when I choose to wear them for the day instead of my contacts. 

Here's a few of the options I'm thinking of trying: 

Trying the rose quartz would be branching out for me, but I think they could be really cute on and outside the box (for me at least). Obviously, I love the tortoise option, too.

I normally wouldn't choose something like this Rose style frame with the two colors, but they look so cute on the model that I'm going to give them a try. Nothing to lose since try-on is free and I can just send them back if they don't suit my face shape. 

The Wilkie option I'm showing is similar to what I have as far as color, but they are a more square shape as opposed to the rectangular ones I have so the shape would be a nice change. 

I'm really loving the Pearled Finish on the Olive frames as well. 

I'm leaning towards the Finch frame the most at this point in the striped molasses finish. If anyone cares, I will do a follow up about the at home try on process and if I find some frames that I like. If you have ordered from Warby Parker before, please let me know what your thoughts are :) You can read more about the company here if you're interested.

Happy New Year + Our Christmas Break

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

We started 2017 off with all the necessities...pork, collard greens, cabbage and hoppin, wealth and luck...with a side of cheesy potatoes. I always make this meal on New Year's Day and we have my whole family out for lunch to start the new year off together. I always try and do a little bit of everything love and want to see the coming year hold, so I usually spend time with my family, cook for them, get a weight workout and a run in, read a little bit and mostly, just hang out with the people I love. This new year got off to a great start including a little bit of all of those things and then some. 

I wanted to share a bit of what we were up to over the Christmas break. With Juston working for a college, he always gets the two weeks of Christmas and New Year's off and we get so spoiled having him home every day. This year was no exception. We always have the best time doing a whole lot of nothing. But we did manage a few necessary holiday activities. 

Caroline was the best little assistant for all of the cooking and baking that we did over the holidays. I was off my game this year and didn't do the big sweet baking day to package and deliver to all the neighbors. We have had so much going on that time just got away from me. I still haven't finished addressing and mailing my Christmas cards...I guess they'll be more like Valentine's Day cards this year...oops. 

The kids got some gifts in the mail from our sweet friends who we weren't going to get to see over the holidays. Caroline got so excited to open everything and Carter got so excited to try to eat the paper she'd throw down. 

My parents got Caroline an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas, so of course we had to make the cookies that came with it. Side note: I remember thinking the cakes my easy bake over made were the best things ever...why are the coming with mouse sized cookies now? Those things were almost impossible to roll into balls...half the dough stuck to my fingers but Caroline loved them. 

Carter did not want to be left out of all the action in the kitchen, so he hung out at the play kitchen a lot. This is one of his favorite things to pull up on, particularly early in the morning, when everyone else is trying to sleep and he can sling the pots and utensils plum across the kitchen. 

It's so hard to hold a sleeping baby and not want to nod off yourself. Juston didn't try to fight the urge, he just went with it. 

This man is a gem...he showed up with flowers (purple by request) and a box of chocolates to take Caroline to a movie date. They did the same thing before and she gets the biggest kick out of it. They went to see Sing. Juston said it was cute, but a little too old for Caroline. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little jealous, I really want to see it ha!

This sweet girl was over the moon that she got to see her cousins and play with them every day while they were out of school. She'll be lost with them going back today. They are so close even though my sister's kids are so much older. She tells me all the time that they are her sisters/brother. 

This is so terrible, but with all the traveling we did in December, we didn't make a single Advent church service and aside from Easter, those are always my favorite services of the whole year, so I was determined that we were going to make the New Year's Day service and we did. Juston even went, too. He usually uses church time to go hunt, but I was glad to have him with us.

We didn't do a thing for New Year's Eve, in fact, I was the only one to see the new year in at midnight and watch the ball drop. My husband is many things, but a night owl isn't one of them. I haven't really thought about my goals for this new year yet, I'm still trying to get caught up on 2016 ;) But I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday break. I don't know about y'all, but I am so ready to be back on a normal schedule, a normal healthier diet and back into the swing of my exercise routine. I only managed about five workouts the whole month of December and I am feeling it. Juston and I are doing the Cooper River Bridge run in a few months, so I need to hop back on my wagon...has anyone seen it?

The Polar Express

Monday, January 2, 2017

The last stop on our December road trip was in Salisbury, North Carolina, the cutest little town that we will definitely be visiting again! Back in July, I got us tickets for The Polar Express train ride that the North Carolina Transportation Museum puts on each holiday season. The tickets sell you quickly, so I made sure to buy early this year. The museum is in Spencer, NC, but I booked a hotel in nearby Salisbury and it was the perfect end to our trip. 

We got to Salisbury late Friday evening, so we didn't get to get out an explore until Saturday morning. We headed into the downtown and ate at a little cafe before doing a little bit of shopping. I found the most adorable children's boutique called Lora Belle Baby. Search and you can find their Facebook and Instagram, but I found so many cute things for the kids there and I even called them when we got home from our trip to order a few more things I'd seen and decided would make great Christmas gifts. We also found the cutest little quarter pony that Caroline LOVED!

She asked to sit on it and had no idea that it would actually be a ride initially. Her expression when I dropped the quarter in and her took off was so precious. We might have ridden it four more times before we left for the train ride. 

A little backstory here before I go on...I ordered these tickets in July and Juston printed them off for me and put them straight into my glove box in the car so that we wouldn't lose them before December. Fast forward to the next time I saw the tickets, the day of the train ride, and I realized that the date was wrong. I thought I'd ordered tickets for December 10, I distinctly remember selecting that date so that we'd be traveling for Juston's birthday weekend and work in some stops for it along the way, but when I looked at our tickets as we were parking in the lot, the date on the was December 3. I was almost in tears when I gave the tickets to Juston. Caroline had been so excited for the longest time and I just knew we were screwed. I can not brag on my husband and his people skills enough because he took the tickets, talked to a few employees before finding a manager and somehow finagled us onto a train for the exact time we were initially supposed to have. It was such a relief, I can't even tell you. Better believe that I will look most closely at dates any other time I buy tickets. The only thing I can figure is when I was ordering them on my phone, I accidentally scrolled the date when I was trying to scroll down to checkout. But all thanks to Juston, crisis was averted and Caroline never even knew anything was wrong. 

I can't say enough good things about this whole experience. It was the most adorable thing from start to finish. The conductor and some performers start off the whole experience and as the train pulls into the station, the music from the movie plays while you wait to board. 

The people working in our car walked around to each family snapping pictures for them while we waited to take off. 

Can you tell Caroline was a little bit excited? 

Right before the train left the station, everyone got their own hot chocolate and cookies as well as a golden ticket, which the conductor indeed came around and punched letters into.  All the performers were so sweet to the kids and so cute. They performed a few live songs as well as holding giant books of the story as it read over the speaker system. 

At the end of the reading of the story, the train stopped at the North Pole! It was all decorated with Santa's sleigh and the elves waiting to greet all the passengers. Everyone got off the train and walked to the sleigh to see Santa off and sing a Christmas carol together. 

When we got back on the train, we were surprised to find Santa come aboard and give each child their very own belle. Caroline was star struck and it was precious. 

Everyone got back on the train to ride to the last stop, the gift shop, of course ha. It was also a place to have pictures made with Santa and meet him, to do arts and crafts, to watch the movie play and plenty of places for photo ops. 

Caroline asked Santa for a Walk and Talk Max from Secret Life of Pets and was so happy to find that he'd delivered on Christmas morning. Carter got to meet Santa as well and he was pretty interested. He kept touching his beard. He probably thought it was my dad; he has the same white beard, just a bit shorter ;) But he didn't cry, so that was good. 

You never really know what to expect on a road trip with kids, especially one this long, but this baby and our sweet girl were rock stars. They honestly could not have done any better. We were so blessed to have such a great trip before everything got a little crazy around here. I think we're on a travel break until we head to Alabama in March unless we get a wild hair to head someplace for a weekend. I tend to hunker down after the holidays for awhile and hibernate. I don't like snow, I don't like the cold and I generally have no use for winter after Christmas and New Years. I'm not sure why we haven't moved to a beach yet ;)