Climbing

Over the last couple of weeks I have taken a big break from the blog to try and prioritize my life, get organized and even relax a little. This summer I have started a part-time job, a few home projects, traveled, planned more trips and began training for a half-marathon. (Insert shocked emoticon here). Plus, it’s summer and I can’t help but want time to swim, go to the park, drink iced coffee and spend as much time outdoors with Luna as possible. It’s been a great summer, no complaints here, it’s just been a challenge to do it ALL. I just read an article about happiness and how happiness isn’t any achievement we reach, but working towards those achievements. It’s apparently more important to set goals, work hard and dream…or as Miley once said “It ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb”. (Too cheesy? Anyone gag?)

So, I’m climbing. Some days I feel as if the peak is in reach and the next day I feel as if the mountain grew another 500 feet. It’s challenging and I learn a bit more about climbing as each day passes, but the best part is when I pause for a second and look away from the mountain. It’s when I look out and around me. I get glimpses of not only what I have accomplished, but of the people around me, supporting me and making memories with me. It’s quite a sight. I’ve done a lot of pausing over the last couple of weeks.

Here’s a few pics of my journey that you may have missed lately.

I got to pet a baby deer by our house!
I got to pet a baby deer by our house!
Our third wedding anniversary night out. We clean up nice.
Our third wedding anniversary night out. We clean up nice.
Husband and I went through a VERY old box of photos one night and uncovered this gem from our first international trip to the Dominican Republic. #thathair
Husband and I went through a VERY old box of photos one night and uncovered this gem from our first international trip to the Dominican Republic. #thathair #circa2007
Luna's favorite zoo animal.
Luna’s favorite zoo animal.
Baby's first canoe trip.
Baby’s first canoe trip.
Her new fav pastime...walking around in Mommy and Daddy's shoes.
Her new fav pastime…walking around in Mommy and Daddy’s shoes.
The library, Luna's idea of heaven.
The library, Luna’s idea of heaven.
This little diva refused to drink her milk unless served in a Starbucks cup.
This little diva refused to drink her milk unless served in a Starbucks cup.

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Playing at the splash park with friends.
Playing at the splash park with friends.

Take a look around and enjoy your view too. Keep climbing! I swear I figure out this whole juggling act out someday.

Cheers!

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Texas Memories

During our recent trip to Texas, my main goal was for Luna to live it up with her Grandparents and family that she so rarely gets to see. I let her stay up later than normal, eat more junk than I ever let her eat and basically let my parents do everything with her. They fed her, bathed her, played with her, walked with her… which basically means I was on vacation all week. Wahoo! Seriously, though, she had a blast with her Texas family!

Luna spent a lot of time getting messy. There is only a short period of time that a human can run around naked, rub food all over their face, eat dirt and look adorable while doing it. I want Luna to get the most of this time in her life, and I think we’ve been successful so far! One of my fav activities in Texas was one suggested from a friend. We used plain greek yogurt and food coloring to make edible finger paints! It was one big fun and super messy activity. She loved it!

ooooh my, those baby blues
ooooh my, those baby blues
Our sweet cousin had way too much fun playing with Luna and "helping" her paint!
Our sweet cousin had way too much fun playing with Luna and “helping” her paint!
"painting" Luna's face and body
“painting” Luna’s face and body
mmmmmmm
mmmmmmm

I’m sure this will probably set her up for a life-long habit of eating paint, but hopefully she’ll learn the difference between toxic and non-toxic.

We spent a day on the coast with the family and Luna’s boyfriend, Orion, too. Once again, we got a little messy and a little naked.

dirty beach baby baby in water baby butt beach

We made some unforgettable memories in Texas! Luna is one lucky little girl to have so many Texans who love her so much! Can’t wait until next time!

Cheers!

Spreading Some Love

A couple of weeks ago, I had a mother daughter photo session with Dottie Beasley. A friend of mine told me about a “pay it forward” payment plan Dottie recently started offering, and after reading about it and Dottie’s bio on her site, I just had to reach out to her. I knew instantly that Dottie was someone I would want to be around, so I emailed her, asked her to be friends and booked a photo session.

Her “pay it forward” plan is simple. You book a session, do something nice for someone (anything!), take a picture of you and said person, send Dottie the pic with a few sentences describing your “pay it forward” experience and voila! Your photo session is paid in full! Isn’t that incredible? It’s Dottie’s way of spreading love around and making this crazy world we live in a happier place. It’s genius and beautiful.

For my “pay it forward” fee I decided to treat some new friends of mine. You can read about my story here, but to sum it up, I wanted to let my new “mom friends” in my life know I appreciate them. They have given me support, company, sanity and a lot of laughs over the last several months and I am oh so so thankful for them!!! New moms, trust me, you need a great group of Moms in your life.

And, NOW I can share the outcome of my photo session! I love them and I cannot thank Dottie enough for capturing such beautiful candid moments between me and Luna. We literally just danced, sang and played in one of Nashville’s coolest coffee shops, Atmalogy, while she snapped away. Here are some of my favs.

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Romper from Rags to Raches

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Dottie says she wants to take photos of us that hold up a mirror and say ‘Look! You’re awesome! You’re beautiful! And you are loved’. Well, Dottie, that is exactly how these photos make me feel. Thank you for doing what you do and spreading love around as you do it! People like you make this world a happier place.

For any of you locals looking for a photographer, I highly recommend Dottie and suggest you check out her work here and here and here!

Cheers!

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who have mothered, longed to mother or helped mother others. You are heroes!

#14DaysOfMe Challenge Complete

Two weeks ago, I challenged myself to a #14daysofme challenge wherein everyday I must pick one thing I love about myself, capture it in photo and share it via social media. While aware that this may appear to be narcissistic, I did it to not only change my own inner voice, but to encourage you to change yours. Positive self-talk is one of the most effective ways to improve depression and anxiety, but it takes a lot of work to change that negative inner-voice. The #14daysofme challenge was my answer to kicking off better habits and thoughts about myself.

The first two days were easy. It’s simple to find at least two things you like about yourself, but by the third day it started getting a little challenging. I began questioning anything I liked… What if I share this and everyone thinks “really? she likes that about herself?” What if I’m wrong? What if I sound cocky? What if I don’t like anything about myself? I almost asked Husband to help me out a few times, but I never never did.  You know what? I found something everyday.

And, what’s more, everyone was super supportive. I cannot tell you how nervous I was to post each photo, but everyone single one was met with words of encouragement, agreement and even appreciation. It started getting easier to find what I like about myself. I began feeling more confident and am now very aware when that negative voice sneaks back in and tries to knock me down. THAT is a huge step in the right direction. Oh how, I hope hope hope my little challenge may have challenge one of you to do the same and change your inner voice!

By the end of the two weeks, I couldn’t stop thinking of things I like about myself. In fact, today, the final day, I had a list of things I could have shared, but after reading this beautiful essay by Glennon over at Momastery, I decided to appreciate my many faults. I highly recommend reading it if you have or know anyone who has any sort of mental illness. (addiction, anxiety, depression, etc).

Help us manage our fire, yes, but don’t try to extinguish us.Tweet: What we mentally different need is respect. Help us manage our fire, yes-but don’t try to extinguish us. @momastery http://ctt.ec/e11Cc+ ‎ That fire that almost killed us is the same fire we’ll use to light up the world. And so we don’t want you to take what we’ve got, we just want help learning how to use what we’ve got for good.  – Glennon

(Funny, how you find just what you need at the exact right moment.)

So here it is, all 14 days of me…

The challenge may be over, but it’s just the beginning to my new habit of loving and encouraging myself. What’s more, is this little boost of confidence is already empowering me to encourage and remind others how they too, are beautiful and wonderful. Like, you. You, my friend are beautiful, brave, kind and strong. And don’t you forget it.

Cheers!

An Even Better Phone

So, remember that time I quit the iPhone and said how freakin’ amazing the Samsung Galaxy S4 is? Well, it’s been a while and now I’ve gotten to try the Motorola Droid Turbo and HOLY COW, this phone is so much better! I love it, and all of a sudden my Galaxy S4 seems so slow and old and yucky and light years behind.

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There are lots of cool techy features about the phone that involve words like resolution, processor, RAM and Kavlar, but you can read about that somewhere else. I’m going to tell you what I like about the phone, and I do not plan on using any of the cell phone jargon. Here goes something.

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1. It has awesome voice control! You can set a voice command, or launch phrase, to whatever you like to get your phone’s attention. My phone responds to, “Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful.” I say that simple phrase and Mr. Wonderful lights up and is ready to fulfill my needs. It is ridiculously accurate, once I whispered my launch phrase to a friend and it responded. It’s so nice to have someone…er something, that always listens.

2. This is related to #1, but it needs it own number: Voice commands! For example, these are some conversations that happen between me and my Mr. Wonderful….

Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful. Take Me Home. (Google maps will then route me home.)

Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful. Call Peter my love. (Calls Husband)

Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful. Take a selfie. (selfie cam turns out, counts down and takes pic without me pressing a button)

Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful. Play Taylor Swift, Shake it Off. (video on, baby stops crying)

I especially love this feature in the car. I typically keep my phone attached to this little device that connects to my AC vent so I can see the maps or whatever. I can have complete texting conversations without ever needing to look at or touch my phone.

3. It knows when you are driving. Yup, it will recognize the speed and background noise and go into driving mode. For example when someone calls or texts you it will say, “Text from Mom, say listen if you would like to hear text”. Everything is hands-free and it works so well.

4. It takes great photos. Here are some photos I took that have not been retouched in anyway.

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5. Everything seems faster. Maps, google, facebook, instagram and even texting seem so much faster.

6. The battery last a very long time. They say it lasts 2 days, but I use my phone a lot, so it lasts me all day, which is better than any other phone.

7. It’s bigger and prettier. The screen looks amazing.

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8. It chargers much faster. It has a “turbo charger”.

It does lots of other neat tricks, but I guess you’ll just have to get one and find out what they are!

What phone are you using?

Cheers!

 

The Third Edition of Annual Friend Photos

Welp, another year has come and gone, meaning another year of “annual friend photos” has taken place. Remember those stunning photos my BFF’s and I took last year? And the year before? We take a group photo each year to 1) make sure we always get together at least once a year, 2) commemorate our time together, and 3) watch our families grow, and grow and grow. We actually took this year’s photos over Thanksgiving break, but because I am SO behind in life, I’m just getting around to sharing them.

That's one BIG group
That’s one BIG group

The amazing, talented, sweet, loving and life-saving Simone from ST Photography took our photos again this year. To be honest, we originally scheduled with another photographer (simply because we planned to get a new photographer each year, just as part of the tradition). However, at the last minute lots of things went wrong (no one’s fault) and our session with our new photographer got canceled. I had very limited time left in Texas, and we were all certain the annual photos were not going to happen. Enter Simone. She literally rearranged her schedule to fit us in, never rushed us, was incredibly patient and somehow managed to get 5 sessions squeezed into one hour before the sunset. ALL with 6 very active kids! It was nothing short of miraculous. Maybe we should call her Saint Simone?

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BFF's
BFF’s

God, my friends are beautiful, inside and out.

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Annddd then, there are the family photos.

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It’s magical. Photographers are magicians. Thank you, Simone for giving us these bits of magic to cherish forever and ever.

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Cheers!

The Annual Beach Photos!

You KNOW that anytime you take a family vacation, you’ve GOT to take a big group family photo. It’s just a rule. Then everyone can share it on Facebook, email to their relatives, frame it until you take next year’s photo and years and years from now your kids will look back on it and say “What were we thinking? Why did you dress me like that? Gross!”. In our family we have the ones who love taking the yearly photo and the ones who despise it, but the lovers always win. Obviously I’m on the “lovers” side. I love photos and a I love family traditions. I look forward to looking back at our previous Hilton Head photos and can’t wait to show Luna the ones from her first year!

family photo

We typically spend one evening taking photos of everyone on the beach. Most of us dress up a little and we pose, jump, act silly and take hundreds of small and large group photos as the sun sets (hello magic hour!). The most important one is the big family photo. Every year we get everyone together for the big group picture. This year may have been the biggest year yet.

new fam

My parents were invited to join us (Husband’s side of the family) for the second time and it was perfect! They got to spend so much time with Luna and experience a lot of her “firsts” We are really really grateful that our parents get along. It makes life a hell of a lot easier. I love Husband’s family soooo much so it means a lot to me that my family has become part of his family too.

My parents and me (2012 vs 2014)
My parents and me (2012 vs 2014)

Clearly we have an issue with taking jumping pictures…I know, it’s so 2012. Whatevs.

All of the cousins and their significant others. Some of the coolest people I know, for sure.
All of the cousins and their significant others. Some of the coolest people I know, for sure.

Husband’s family (my family now) is super close and really good about spending quality time together. There are few families I know who get along with their cousins so well. We spent every single night staying up super late playing Murder, Apples to Apples, Scattagories, gossiping and whatnot. Well, to be honest, Luna and I missed a lot of the quality time… apparently infants need to go to bed much earlier than us big kids.

cousins

the ladies
the ladies
Aunt Zoey got some serious quality time with her "Lulu".
Aunt Zoey got some serious quality time with her “Lulu”.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s photos. It’s crazy to think that last year I was ten weeks pregnant and next year Luna will be running around and swimming.

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What are some of your family’s summer and vacation traditions?

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Cheers!