Wednesday, August 31, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge ~ Day 11-14

 Day 11~ Something fun!

Beyond the fact that this little dude is loads of fun in and of himself, this picture was taken after he figured out how to get into his old bumbo. Big brother found it in our garage and brought it out. Colin worked and worked till he figured out how to get in it and turn around. He was quite pleased with himself. And he had lots of fun doing it!

Day 12 ~ Close Up

I love baby hands. Little fingers with little rolls, still chubby and nubby. This is actually my 3 yr old's hand while he played with his tow truck. He is tall and thin and big these days, but in this picture, he still has some little baby chub on those little fingers.

Day 13 ~ Far Away

There is something so innocent about little ones running as fast as their little legs can go, trying to get to the playground.

Day 14 ~ Flowers

This was my last lone flower on our little tree/bush thing in our front yard. I am really terrible at landscaping.  Anyone know of any good sites that can give me some ideas of what to do and how to landscape a yard? I would love to do something...but I have no idea where to start...

Day 14 ~ My Shoes

I was going to take a picture of my shoes that I wore today. Than I actually looked down and realized I am in desperate need of a pedicure and no one would want to look at my shoes, no matter how cute they may be.
So, here are a few of my favorites. My feet have changed since my babies and I have a sparse few pairs that fit comfortably. I would say that it is awesome to get a whole new shoe collection, but it is not. I liked my shoes and I am having a ridiculously hard time finding shoes that fit well.
So, I wear the same few pairs over and over.
Good thing I like those few pairs.
Where do you shop for shoes? Do you go for quality over quantity? Is is really better to spend more money on good shoes?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Irene

(Best buddies. They were watching their favorite, Cars, right before the power went out for good)

~ Irene lost her gusto the farther up the coast she came. She was down graded to a Cat 1 by the time she hit the Hampton Roads area.
~ We spent the weekend with good friends, nestled into a cute wooded cottage east of Richmond. Our kids played and we just hung out and watched the rain and wind and ate lots of food. It was good.
~ We had minimal damages, just some wet flooring in our garage, a downed tiny tree and half of our fridge and freezer.
~ Because of power outages, I went to bed at 8:40pm. Probably the earliest bedtime in 5 years.
~ The power came on at our house after being home for just over 2 hours.
~We HAD to have steaks and chocolate cake from the freezer for dinner, ya know, so it wouldn't go bad.
~ Above all, everyone was safe and sound.

 (The men bonding...with technology...while it lasted)

~ It was still a Cat 1 hurricane, so that wind was wicked. We watched two large trees fall at our friend's mom's house, barely missing the house. The back end of the storm was nasty and that wind whipped those trees around like they were nothing. Not cool.
~ We lost power at our house in Chesapeake by 9:30am on Saturday, so we lost half of our fridge.
~ We lost power in Richmond around 7pm. Jack did not understand that we could not turn his movie back on. He kept asking for a different movie, hoping that that movie would work. No luck, so he had to go to bed.
~ Driving back and seeing the massive amount of large trees down all over the place. Loads of clean up is coming.

 (One of the downed trees in Richmond. Missed the house by a few feet)

~ Mornings after going to bed with no water or power. Yeah. It wasn't pretty.
~ Husband forgetting to shower BEFORE the power went out...
~ Two 3 yr old boys who did not nap. The boys did beautifully for most of the day, but there was some moments and they were not pretty.
~ Raw chicken that was left in the a house with no A/C for over 24 hrs. Welcome home.
~ Jack trying fruit cocktail from a can since all of our produce had spoiled. He could not identify any of the fruit, thus would not eat it. I mean really, what IS in fruit cocktail?!

All in all, it was an eventful day. I am so thankful it was not worse and that we had as little damage as we did. Let's just pray this is the last hurricane of the season. That sounds like a great idea. No more hurricanes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: The One with All the Natural Disasters

Well, it is Thursday. We are bracing for Hurricane Irene and watching that darn cone of uncertainty to see just what way she will swing. Praying she swings back out to sea and not closer to land.  Virginia has been a bubbling cauldron for natural disasters these days.

So lets get onto less important matters. Awkward and Awesome Thursday.


~ People as far away as NYC and Maine felt the earthquake. I felt nothing. Bummer.

~I think my perfume expired. I smell more musty shoes than floral fresh. Gross. I ran out of my favorite perfume and pulled out an old perfume. Bad idea.

~ Following a sketchy moving type truck that had the back door open displaying some huge mattresses bungee corded to the wall. Once I came to a stop behind the truck, I also noticed a guy. Just sitting there. On the back of a moving truck, with the back door rolled completely to the top. Just sitting next to the gross mattresses.

~ All of the water, batteries, flashlights and radios were out of stock at Target. Guess I am not the only one who has not stocked their emergency hurricane kit...

~ My mom ordered a radio flyer wagon for the boys for their birthdays. We had to pick it up at the local Wal-Mart, since she ordered it online. I waited a week, so Ryan could be there to help me with it. My mom forwarded me an email from Wal-Mart reminding me that we need to pick it up. I responded to my Mom, told her that I was waiting for Ryan and that we did, in fact, pick it up already. BUT, I emailed Wal-Mart, not my mom. AND Wal-Mart emailed me back, thanking me for picking up the wagon. Awkward.

~Thinking my glasses were dirty because it was so muggy and foggy outside. Clean my glasses, still blurry and hazy out. Open the door. Smoke. The haze is smoke from the swamp fires in NC and now my house smells like a campfire.


~ Jack packing his little backpack full to overflowing cause we are going on a "cation". Makes me want to plan a vacation because his stuffed backpack is so dang cute. Although, with this hurricane a coming, we may have that little vacation...

~ Bright coral capri pants that I got from ASOS...for $9! They are pretty much florescent and pretty much amazing.

~Going to see The Help with my girlfriends. It was good!

~ Find a great painting for our bedroom...thus inspiring the whole decorating theme of our boring but soon to be awesome bedroom.

~ Hopefully the rain from the hurricane will put out the fires. I mean, something good may come from all this natural disaster mayhem that is rolling around these part.

~ Husband stayed home from work today. He is not feeling the best (not so awesome) but, it is so nice to have him around.

~ Jack asked me what time it was. I told him it was 5:30. He said no, it was time to kiss Mommy. Best answer ever.

The most awesome?

This photo that circulated around my office. I am extremely thankful that this was the extent of any damages around here!

As always, sponsor by The Daybook.

Monday, August 22, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge ~ Day 6-10

Day 6~ Childhood Memory

This one was a little harder than I thought. I could not thing of anything that would be fun to photograph. When Jack was getting his haircut in our friend's back room, I thought of my great grandpa. He was a barber by trade. When we were little, my brother, sister and I would go into his back room, with his old-school barber chair and get a hair cut. We would also get some sort of candy or sucker afterwards, just like Jack did.

Day 7 ~ Something New

 Blazing Rays dress~ Anthropologie
Teana heels~ Target
Nordstom Rack necklace and BR bracelet

This dress was one of my favorite finds from my shopping trip while in MN. I was in the Anthropologie in Maple Grove, and I found a this little dress shoved in the back of sale room. I have not seen anything like this and to my surprise, it was my size and $19.90! It originally was $158, and someone had returned it the day before. The sales associate was surprised it even lasted till the next afternoon.  It is a tad bit big, but nothing that I was willing to pass up!  In fact, I like this dress so much that I wore it to work and to church! Add a little jean jacket and it is is church and office appropriate. I love a good deal!

Day 8~ Technology

At first I was thinking about my mac laptop, or my camera or my android cell phone for the technology photo. Than I watched my little 3 yr old turn on the television (with permission...this time), turn on the wii, sit down and navigate to the netflix and than select a Thomas the Train episode. All by himself. That is a very technical 3 year old, if you ask me! He also dressed himself...but was not as successful with that :)

Day 9~ Faceless Self Portrait

I wanted to do something dramatic and artsy...but I didn't. Because most of my time is spent wrestling these little men. This picture was taken on Sunday, when both Jack and Colin decided to cover me with their stuffed animals and random blankets. I was in an animal tent, obviously.

Day 10 ~ What I Made

These guys are my proudest accomplishments. I made these guys and they are wonderful and amazing and beautiful. I could have photographed a meal I made, or a piece of furniture that I redid, but really, that is not important. I carried these guys for 9 months, I fed these guys from my own body, I held and cradled and rocked these guys into a sleepy delirium. While I was not alone in the making of these sweet babies, I will claim them as my own.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Favorites: Food love


This cilantro-lime rice recipe that I am about to share with your will changed your life.

It did mine.

In fact, the blog that I found this recipe in will also change your life.

Meet Gina, of Gina's Skinny Taste.

This is my favorite healthy/food blog. Hands down. She takes good recipes, skinnies them down AND gives out the nutrition points AND the Weight Watchers points.
And the food? It's amazing. Not like, wow, this tastes good for a skinny version, but just plain old, wow, this tastes good! (Husband loved everything I made and he didn't know it was a skinny version)
She has a fantastic filing system and you can find anything you want, either by WW points or by food category. Really, it is amazing.

So, this rice recipe. It tastes JUST like Chipotle's rice. Maybe even better.

It is super simple to make. Just make sure that you use the basmati rice that is recommended.
It is so good. I could eat pounds of it and defeat the purpose of it being "light".

Go here. Get the recipe. Go make your own burrito bowls.
Total favorite.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hey Mom...

Two words I hear from my 3 yr old all day long. Hey Mom! I am never quite sure what will come after those two little words, but I know that it will be interesting.

(While at a play area at Chick Fil A)
"Hey mom...I am running and scaring kids because I am a dinosaur. See. Watch." (Runs into play area and 'rawrs' around. No one is scared.)

"Hey Mom... When I am 15 and big, than I am going to carry Daddy around on my shoulders. My shoulders are small now, but when I am big, they will grow and I will carry Daddy."

"Hey Mom... I think I need to buy some race cars now" Mom: "You don't have any money left, buddy. You used your money to buy trains, remember?" Jack: "Oh. Hey Mom, do you have any money?" Mom: "A little." Jack: "Maybe YOU can buy me some race cars with your money? That's a good idea."

"Hey Mom. I miss you"  Melt. He says this in place of I Love You most of the time. I don't think he really grasps what missing is, but he gets the feeling and will tell me that even when he has been with me all day.

"Hey Mom. When I am big, like when I am 6, I am going to watch all the Spider-Mans there is. So, tomorrow." Apparently he found some old Spider-Man episodes on our netflix, and his daddy would not let him watch them till we watched them first. He told Jack that he could watch them when he was older.  Six is obviously old. And we also need to work on his perception of time.

"Hey Mom. I have a good idea..." Those are always interesting ideas. Usually they involve going to his friend's house, turning into animals or going to a park. Most of the time those good ideas aren't such good ideas.

Other cute things he said this week that did not start with the words hey Mom.

" Holy Coaley! Holy Moley!"

" Whoa, Colin. Ease up!" Colin was sitting on his head jumping up and down

Life with a 3 yr old is never, ever boring.

Monday, August 15, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge~ Day 1-5

Day 1~ Self-Portrait

Day 2~ What I Wore

Shirt {Anthropologie}
Jeans {Gap}
Necklace {Anthropologie}
Uber ancient belt and shoes.

This is what I wore to work in the 3 year old classroom at church this Sunday. Not really that exciting, but movable and, most importantly, washable! 

Day 3~ Clouds

Day 4~ Favorite Color

I love all shades of green, so I figured I would take a shot of some of the foliage in our backyard. I can't remember the name of this tree, but it flowers and has these pods and makes a nice, huge mess.

Day 5 ~ Things I Love

Clean, happy babies. I love them. Plus I love Hubbies who bath babies.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge

Debra is hosting a 30 day photo challenge. I had seen this challenge before on Andrea's photo blog, but never got around to doing it. I love the idea of challenging myself to take more pictures. I love photography, but do not do it enough. I want to learn so much more and explore it's endless possibilities. I tend to get intimidated by really good photographers, but just need to point and shoot.

So here it is, a 30 day photo challenge. I know it is in the middle of the month. So I am going to make my own rules, being that it is my own blog and stuff. I am going to post the challenge photos once a week. I will post 5-6 photos at a time. I would ideally like to post daily, but the reality probably would not happen. We have two old lady computers and sometimes the one where I store and edit the photos decides not to work. So, once a week it is. We will start with the first 5 and work our way through.

Want in? Let me know and we can all link up and browse some inspiring photos. Don't have a fancy camera? Who cares. Just point, shoot and have fun. Who knows what we will learn in the process.

Happy clicking!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Favorites: Weddings

 I love a good wedding.

I love a wedding where the couple is madly in love, where they are embarking on a new adventure together and they want the world to join in their celebrations.

I attended the wedding of one of my dearest friends last weekend. We were college roommates and shared the same passion for people, media, missions and travel.

After college, I got married and started my dream job. (and had babies)

She worked in MN  for a bit and than was able to move to Madrid, Spain to work with International Media Missions. She lived and worked there for 2 plus years. Before she left, I told her that she was going to go off to Spain and come back with a husband. She laughed, told me that she was there to work, not to date.

She did work. But she also dated. A Romanian living in Spain.

Marin was her first real boyfriend, her first kiss. Though they remained "friends" for the first year or so, I knew what was going on. Her letters and phone calls were filled with mentions of this guy, and than those mentions turned into questions of greater value.

And than there was that phone call. THE phone call. She was engaged! Her parents were visiting in Spain and Marin asked her father for her hand. When he asked Crystal, she said yes!
Visas and paperwork were filed and the waiting commenced. Crystal came back to the U.S, Marin remained in Spain. And we waited. And waited.

Till around 3 weeks or so ago. Marin arrived, first time on U.S soil, his new home. It was time for a wedding!

And a mighty great wedding they had! Filled with lots of laughter, joy and love. Marin did so great, with a new home, a new family and friends and all in his THIRD language. I was very impressed. I could not have picked a more perfect man for my dear friend.

We laughed, we cried, everything a good wedding can be.

I am very thankful that I got to be a part of their special day. When their kids are older, I will get to be their other auntie, like Crystal is to my kids. I will get to tell those kids about their parent's wedding day. I will get to tell them about their momma's booty shaking before their daddy turned around to see her in her wedding dress.

Yep. I sure do love a good wedding.
Definitely a favorite.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Heart MN

You guys.

I miss Minnesota.

I lived in the Twin Cities for 6 years during and a little after college.

I totally fell in love with the cities. I wish that I could tell you that I totally fell love with Virginia and Hampton Roads, but I didn't.  I am still trying, but there is not a whole lot of love going on here.

I went back to MN for a wedding and it just made me miss everything so much.

 To help ease my nostalgia for my old college town, I compiled a list of things that I love and miss about the Twin Cites. (In no particular order or importance)

~ Minnesota Nice. Really. People are just SO nice there. Cute little old ladies talk to me, just cause I had a book and they wanted to know what I was reading. I was shocked. Good old hard east coasters have started to do me in apparently.

~ Caribou Coffee. They are everywhere and I love their coffee.

~ Minneapolis city skyline. It was always like a welcome beacon when I was driving back to my apartment.

~ No sales tax. A $19.95 shirt is $19.95. The shopping in the twins cities is fantastic.

~ Centennial Lakes. Lake Calhoon. Pretty much any of their little lakes.

~Festivals and outdoor activities that do not include getting coated in sand.

~ Uptown.

~Lienenkugel Honey Weiss

~Grand Ave.

~ Real art and science museums. I found out 3 hours before I flew home that the King Tut exhibit was at the Science Museum. I almost died. I have wanted to see that since I was little...had I known, I would have rearranged my whole schedule to go to it. The Science Museum in St. Paul is outstanding.

~ The farmer's market downtown Minneapolis. It is the best of both worlds. Bustling urban downtown with the freshness of country roadside stands.

~ Being with friends that you have not seen in years and having it feel like just a few months.

~ The Minnesota State Fair. Namely, Sweet Martha's Cookies.

~ Fireworks off of the Stone Arch Bridge.

~ Theater. Real, live theater. Minneapolis has the 3rd largest theater district in the world.

~ Adult ballet classes downtown.

~ The ability to go to a pro football, baseball, hockey or basketball game.

~ Dinky town and their coffee shops.

~ The summer weather in MN.  Granted, this is their (MN) best weather of the year and this is our (VA) worst weather of the year...but it just felt so refreshing to be in a low humidity 85 degree day!

And not to be all peaches and cream on this post, here is what I do NOT miss about Minnesota.

~ MOSQUITOES! Those buggers are out early and in full force.

~ 494/94 construction traffic.

~ The road conditions of 169...or any of their roads really.

~ The amount of people that continually run red light in St. Cloud, MN.

So, I will just patiently wait till the next wedding, get together or whatever and think back fondly of my little Minnesota.

What places make you nostalgic?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Favorites: Anthropologie Alone

It is no secret that I have a great love for Anthropologie.
If you have never been in a store and you have the oppourtunity to, go.
Do it.
You don't have buy anything.
Just go and breathe it in.
Pretend that you get to live in the perfect displays, with the flickering candles and pitch-perfect music.
You may just find yourself falling a bit for this store.

I live 2 hours from an Anthropologie.
If I am lucky, I get to go twice a year or so.
Really, it is quite a travesty.

But this friday, this fabulous Friday, I am going to Anthropologie.
There are 3 on my way north to a wedding.
I can go if I want. 
I can try on clothes at my leisure.
I can browse as slowly as I want.
No baby or husband waiting for me.
It is just me and Anthropologie.

Throw in breakfast coffee from Caribou, lunch at Pei Wei and a best friend's wedding prep that night and it just about the most perfect day.

Definitely one of my favorites. Ever.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Awesome and Awkward Thursday

It Thursday. I have a big day today. I am going on an airplane today. Alone. For 4 nights. Alone.

I am off to a wedding in Minnesota and the boys are staying behind.

I have not been away from Colin overnight. It has been over a year since I have been away from Jack this long.

Hubby has never had both boys overnight...or longer than 6 hours.

All of that is both very awesome and very awkward.

And that makes it a perfect Awkward and Awesome Thursday!

~ Making chocolate cupcakes and forgetting to put the oil in them.

~ Jack deciding to take his clothes off. Outside. With everyone around. At his birthday party.

~ Colin's new high pitched scream.

~ Colin learning how to play Jack's recorder.

~ Three first born 3 years duking it out...over a stuffed baby toy.

~ Taking family pictures, forgetting my husband's pants, so he had to wear his work clothes.

~ All three of my boys sweating in like 3 minutes while taking our outdoor family pictures. Loads of sweat. Perfect.

~ These beauty tips. I mean really, please don't do these things.

~ The amount of ants on my counters. Thanks, August. I love when you come and the ants dominate my house.

~ Little boys' faces when everyone in the room is singing "Happy Birthday" to them.

~ Finding the perfect cilantro-lime rice recipe that taste just like Chipolte's rice.

~ Having long lost friends back in town.

~ Packing for one person, not 4.

~ Getting kisses from Colin and "I love you" from Jack. Without asking for them.

~ Seeing one of my dear friends for the first time in 3 years this weekend.

~ Jack needing to tell me everything that is happening on one of his little shows. " Mom! Oh no! There is a fire and Fireman Sam is on his way!" He has to rush in and tell me and than rush out of the room to go back to his beloved Fireman Sam.

~ For those who constantly run late...if only I had one to my car.

~ Snuggle time in Jack's bed with all his stuffed animals. " Mom, it is so squishy in here. Come in here and cuddle, it is so squishy!"


The aftermath of Colin's first birthday cake.


Feeding this goof ball. He loves to move his food around and play in it.
Good thing his little smile is so stinkin cute!

And sponsored by this lady.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Warby Parker: A Review

Have you heard of Warby Parker?

I first heard of them from a fashion blog. You know the type, slender, stylish girls sporting hipster frames shot in cool locations.

I am none of those.

But I was interested in the company when I heard they do a one for one, similar to TOMS shoes. And they have free home trials. And they are pretty inexpensive. Maybe I COULD be one of those fashionable bloggers!

So I looked into.

I liked what I saw. 

All prescription frames are $95. They ship for free. They return for free. They do this awesome home try-on for free. They give sight to those in need. I was sold.

So I wondered over to the website, browsed their selections and picked out 5 pairs of glasses to try on at home. I did have to use a credit card to place my order, but it was not charged. They quickly sent out my beautiful box of glasses. I have 5 days to try them on, move around in them, ask my kids and husband what they thought, take pictures, etc. After 5 days, I smacked the return label back on the package and dropped it off at the UPS store. No charges.

* Warning: There is a whole lot of my face in this post.*
Sorry for the cellphone pictures. My wonderful hubby took outdoor pictures for me...but the computer was not working, so cellphone it is.

Up first is the Beckett Striped Evergreem. I call these the "Fashion Blogger" glasses. Kinda fun. Not really that practical for my life though.

These are the Nedwin Amber. I like to call these my "reader" glasses. It is hard to tell in this picture, but they were too small and cut some of eye. They reminded me of my mom's reading glasses.

These are the Sibley Amber. They were the lightest color that I tried on. I liked them. 

These are the Zagg  I like to think of these as semi-hipster glasses. But the question I really cool enough to wear these in real life? Hmm.

These are the Reece Sandalwood. They fit the best and were the most versatile. They were very similar to my old glasses, which I love but the prescription is like 10 yrs old and they give me a headache.

* I mislabeled the glasses and corrected the names on 8/9*

SO. Those are my 5 free home try on glasses from Warby Parker. What do you think? Would you give them a try?

I do plan on ordering a pair or maybe two. I need to go get a recent eye exam, than I will order them. What one(s) should I get? Decisions. Decisions.