Coffee and Classics All By Myself

The past weekend was AMAZING and super busy. We did something fun and awesome everyday, which means I have some fun and awesome events to review for you. I’ll start with Friday… Friday morning I got to review the Nashville Symphony’s (Schermerhorn Symphony Center) Coffee and Classic’s series. I had planned on going with Husband, but turned out he was the only one who could watch Luna. So, I got all dolled up and headed downtown all by myself.

coffee and classics

At first, I felt slightly apprehensive about attending the symphony alone. I’m used to being with someone pretty much all of the time, being alone seemed a little scary, at first. Then, it wasn’t scary. It was awesome. From the quiet car ride to the single chair and hot cup of coffee, it was nothing but awesome. I have never been to the symphony (minus the one time I took my 2nd grade class on a field trip), so I really didn’t know what to expect. I learned quite a bit during this first experience of mine and I became a forever fan of they symphony

The first thing I learned was to arrive early. I left with enough time to arrive 30 minutes early, but after driving through downtown traffic, searching for a parking space, paying and walking to the theatre, I barely had enough time to scarf a blueberry muffin and add a little creamer to my coffee. Thankfully, they allow you to bring your coffee inside. Otherwise, I may have missed the first number. I joined the crowd of senior citizens and found my seat which was located at the end of an aisle and an empty seat next to it. Yay! I expected a crowd of Moms and kids, but I guess there are lots of elderly people who prefer to drive during the day and not hangout downtown at night. I get that.

coffee

Before the show began the conductor gave us a history lesson over the composer, Rachmaninoff, and symphony No. 2 in E minor. It was lighthearted, humorous and interesting. The whole setting was laid-back. People dressed more casual, drank coffee and laughed at the composer’s jokes. As soon as the show started I was transfixed. The way the strings moved up and down simultaneously and the fantastic facial expressions each violinists made was mesmerizing. I didn’t know if I could appreciate the classical music the way it should be appreciated, considering my lack of knowledge when it comes to symphonies, but holy cow, it is impressive how instrumental music can arouse such a wide array of emotions.  And, come on, who doesn’t love watching the conductor? It’s amusing and stunning at the same time.

Honestly, the coffee and classics experience was the exact kind of peaceful break I needed. It was as relaxing as a stroll in the park, as soothing as a coffee break at Starbucks and as magical as an hour trying the new products at Sephora. Not to mention, it finally gave me an opportunity to dust off the real clothes hanging in my freshly cleaned and organized closet.

symphony

The symphony reminded me to do three very important things, three things that we should all do more often.

Be still.

Listen.

Reflect.

Scratch that. There’s a fourth thing; enjoy something beautiful.

Shouldn’t we take the time to do that everyday? I guess that’s why I enjoyed being alone so much that morning. It gave me the opportunity to sit still, listen without needing to respond, reflect on things I enjoy and appreciate the beautiful music being played for me by such talented musicians.

I am already planning my next trip to the Symphony. On October 28th they are playing Phantom of the Opera and it will be accompanied by the Concert Organ. There will be trick-or-treating, costume contests, street performers and more! Can’t wait!

To check out info. on the Coffee and Classics series and the many other events hosted by the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, click here.

Cheers!

A Quick Getaway

I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom for almost 7 months now, and I’ve got to say, it rocks! I absolutely love being able to do everything everyday with Luna. I do miss some aspects of having a paying job, and still think about going back to the classroom, but right now I love being busy raising, feeding, changing, playing with, bathing, teaching, reading to, cooking for, cleaning up after, singing to, dancing with, rocking, nursing, snuggling and entertaining my baby girl. I’ve told everyone for months, that I know it’s a perfect job for me because it doesn’t feel like a job at all. I look forward to my days and do not mind getting paid in kisses one bit. Having said all that, I’ve got to say, that sometimes I need a break. 

I truly love being with my child. We rarely, and I mean rarely, get a sitter. Even at home, Husband is always offering to do whatever he can for Luna, but I do most everything because I really want to, even when he does take her I just sit next to the two of them and watch. Honestly, it wasn’t until recently that I realized I needed some time to myself. Luna has had a virus and been running a fever for the last few days. She is needy, grumpy, sleepy and not her happy-go-lucky-self. I have spent hours upon hours nursing, rocking, tickling and caring for her. At night, she only sleeps if I’m holding her, so I have had virtually no sleep. While, I do enjoy our time together in the wee hours of the morning, it is all taking a toll on me. 

Yesterday morning I had to go pick up a prescription. Normally, I would pack up Luna and head out to run a couple of errands together, but I decided at the last minute to let Husband watch her. After all, I was only running to Walgreens. After my very quiet 15 minute car ride to Walgreens I decided I might as well stop at the local coffee shop for an iced latte…it’s only 5 minutes out of the way. The coffee shop, The Good Cup, is so cozy with big comfy armchairs and local art hanging on the walls. The big oversized chair by the window was begging me, begging me, to occupy it. I may have taken a little 5 minute rest. 

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The Good Cup happens to be in a small shopping strip with some local boutiques. Can’t hurt to window shop a little, right? Then, my Mom called so I figured I may as well continue to roam around while talking to her. After all, it’s safer than driving home. Afterwards, I did finally go home. Luna was sleeping next to Husband when I arrived and all in the house was well without me.

I was only gone about an hour, but what a glorious hour it was. I didn’t realize how much I needed a little break until I took one. I forgot how nice it is to be alone, think and just enjoy my coffee. I guess I’ll have to let Husband watch her more often. I could get used to a Saturday morning to myself every once in a while.

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.

zimbicki

 

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

luna butt

Cheers!

All By Myself

Tonight is Wednesday night, which for me means, Hilarie’s Night of Fun. Wednesday night is Poker Night for my Husband. I used to get a little sad when he’d grab his bag of quarters and head out the door leaving me to fend for myself until the late late hours of the night. Overtime, though I learned the value of a night to myself. I learned to love my time alone, just me and no one to bother me, interrupt my thoughts, ask for something, change the channel or make tons of noise. (Of course, Luna’s here now, but she goes to sleep early so it’s the same as being home alone.)

left alone

Being alone is the best. Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging out with people, I love my friends and having get-togethers and parties, but no one is quite as entertaining as myself. I used to be afraid of being alone, especially with my own thoughts (scary!), but now I know that I need this time in order to relax, reflect and re-charge. If you haven’t taken some time to just be with yourself, do yourself a favor and take a break from everyone else. It’s important to quit listening to others and listen to yourself for a change. What makes you happy? What do you need? What brings a little peace into your life?

I have other time alone too. There’s often time in the very early morning hours when I’m the only one awake. I LOVE when I get to drink coffee when it’s quiet and the sun is just coming up. It’s so peaceful, like that moment is just for me. However, most of the mornings alone and nap times alone are spent working…either working on the blog, working in the house or working with someone else. Wednesday nights are reserved for only things I want to do. These are the nights I relish. I never make plans with other people on Wednesday nights. Nope, I already have very important plans to be alone and do nothing that involves getting ready or leaving the house.

smart smart lady that Audrey
smart smart lady that Audrey

So, what do I do on these sacred nights? Only the most sophisticated of things, of course… I catch up on Pretty Little Liars (it’s a day late, but this way I don’t have to hear Husband’s snarky comments about the ridiculous story lines), paint my toe nails, eat Husband’s snacks, shop on Zulily, take a long hot bath (usually while watching PLL) and RELAX. It’s glorious.

Find some time for yourself this week. Do whatever you need to chill out and feel  peacefulness. For real.

Cheers!

 

Hostess with the Mostess

For what seems like ever, we have been the people that hosts other people, a job that we love BTW. We always have people staying with us and our home seems to be the central hub for visitors, parties and what have you. Our house here is perfect for having people stay, guests basically have the bottom level to themselves, but even in our one bedroom, less than 400 square foot apartment in NYC we had guests almost every weekend. Hosting our friends and families is one of our favorite things.

our dining room table full of people!
our dining room table full of people!

Honestly, I thought that after having Luna either no one would want to stay or that we would no longer want tons of people staying with us. Turns out neither is true. Since Luna was born 5 months ago we have already had over 20 people stay with us. It helps that Luna is super cute and a really good baby. It’s also nice that a house full of friends equals a house full of  babysitters. I can just set Luna in the middle of the room and walk away to go cook or clean or something knowing that at least four people are watching her. The fact that my friend Sara cooks the most delicious food the whole time she is here doesn’t hurt either.

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Our recent weekend of visitors ended with some Nashville sightseeing, thrift-store shopping and eating some really good local grub. It was our most laid-back day…a day to just enjoy each others company before everyone left for the real world.

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It’s always tiring to have a house full of friends, but tiring in a good way. Its tiring the same way Disneyworld is tiring. You are constantly busy, but having a blast and making a lot of good memories. Plus, it makes us really appreciate our alone time.

We had a great weekend with our new and old friends. In fact, one couple even got engaged in our guest room!  Definitely a first for our house! Now it ‘s already time to enjoy another weekend, a holiday weekend nonetheless. Happy 4th of July!

Cheers!

Giant Bugs That Don’t Terrify Me

summertime

We spent our Saturday at Cheekwood Art & Gardens. It was our first visit in a year. We love Cheekwood and I CANNOT believe it’s been an entire year since we went to “Light. This summer’s trip instantly beat out last years because this trip included Luna. My in-laws, Husband, myself and Luna all spent the warm summer afternoon walking around the gardens, the mansion and the really cool sculptures.

This little girl loved playing in the bamboo.
This little girl loved playing in the bamboo.

The most prominent part of Cheekwood this summer is the giant bug sculptures exhibit. There are huge wooden bugs scattered throughout the grounds, all made of wood and some our even large enough to explore. There is a beehive, a treehouse and an enormous butterfly that everyone is actually allowed to touch, climb, swing and slide down. And, by everyone, I mean adults too.

davidrogers

 

spider

We pushed the stroller around, but only to carry our bags, water and camera because Luna wanted to be carried around so she could look at the world. It was a hot Saturday, but luckily we found lots of shade to sit and relax. Luna even got to dip her feet in one of the water gardens.

water

Besides the giant wooden bugs there was also a crazy stick house created by Patrick Dougherty. The house was created on the property and is made of all sticks and twigs tangled together.

patrick

Thank God there is a mansion in the middle of the gardens to offer some relief from the 93 degree weather. The Cheekwood mansion is always lovely by itself, but it also holds different art exhibits throughout the year. It’s currently hosting Andy Warhol silkscreen painting of flowers, and I swear they’ve never looked so beautiful as they did in the air conditioner that day. Luna seemed to really enjoy walking around and gazing at all the photos with her Grandma.

These are, of course, real flowers, not painting, but taking photos of the paintings is forbidden.
These are, of course, real flowers, not paintings, but taking photos of the paintings is forbidden.

There’s just so much to look at in the Gardens we saw a crazy outdoor train set, the Japanese gardens, the herb garden, the dogwood garden and more. Then there’s lots more we didn’t even get to this time around. I guess we will just have to go back and maybe pack a picnic basket next time.

our family

For my local friends (or my traveling friends) keep in mind that Cheekwood has extended hours on Friday nights and several other summer events for the whole family. It’s beautiful there, seriously, you don’t want to miss it. In fact, if you go, let me know, maybe we can meet you there!

cheekwood

Cheers!

Family Picnic

Funny story… while berry picking last weekend a friend of mine noticed a band around Luna’s toe. We thought a small string or hair got tangled around her toe, squeezing it very tightly and we spent a good two hours trying to get it off. We poked, pulled and prodded my poor baby’s toe and could never get a hold of whatever was tied tight around the middle of her toe. It didn’t take long for me to work myself into a frenzy and imagine Luna needing her toe amputated. We decided to call our plastic surgeon friend and he was kind enough to meet us at his office on a Sunday to take a look at her toe under some microscopic lenses. However, the second he looked at her toe he calmly said, “Oh, that’s just a restriction band she was born with it and it’s no big deal. There’s nothing tied around her toe. Seriously, nothing.”

“Um, could you look at it again…just to be sure.”

Talk about “Mom of the year”. The child is 4 months old and I never noticed this so-called restriction band. I was honestly hoping he’d find a hair around her toe just to save face. Whatever, I’m blaming it on sleep deprivation.

After our strawberry picking/plastic surgeon extravaganza we headed to the park for Luna’s first picnic. We were given a super cute picnic basket a couple of years ago and we finally put it to use. We laid out our blanket, took over a picnic table and relaxed because that’s what Sundays are all about, right?

picnic luna

We have taken Luna on walks around the park numerous times, but this was her first time to actually get out of her carseat/stroller. There’s a nice playground in the middle of the park and I just had to see if she would fit into one of the “baby swings”.

first swing

She is definitely too small to fit in the swing appropriately, and I’m not sure if she enjoyed it, but we still captured the moment on camera because it is a “first” after all. After her few minutes in a swing, we went back to our regular walks in the stroller.

walking

Sundays seem to be the best day of every week. I love spending quality downtime with our family and friends…especially during summer. Bring on the pool, beach trips and weekend getaways!

batgirl

Cheers!

Laxy Day

I wrote this yesterday, but our Internet has been out all weekend, so I am just getting back into the blog life. Gotta say…the vaca was kinda nice!

We have been so busy the last few days that I have not had enough time to sit and write anything. It was a really fun kind of busy though, so I really can’t complain. We had a 3-hour 10-course dinner at a ridiculously fancy hard-to-even-get-a-reservation restaurant (the Catbird Seat), shopped at the enormous annual Nashville flea market, enjoyed some sales at Opry Mills mall, ate at the famous Prince’s Hot Chicken, hungout with friends and enjoyed some Greek food, did lots of T25 and even participated in a Pepsi commercial that involved free Pepsi sundaes and free food trucks. We spent two whole days running around with Luna and it was exhausting, which is why I declared yesterday “Laxy Day”.

my find at the flea market
my find at the flea market

When Luna woke up at 6am yesterday I couldn’t keep both eyes open long enough to walk to her room. My body ached, the dark circles under my eyes were forming their own dark circles and brushing my hair seemed like waaayyyy too much effort. I considered the messy house and the list of  writing sitting on my desk, but thought the couch and my huge soft blanket sounded so much better. When Husband got up and joined me in the living room I decided to announce that we were having a day of rest. I was debating weather to call it “Relaxing Day” or “Lazy Day”, but because my head was so foggy it came out “Laxy Day”. I almost corrected myself, but then decided “Laxy Day” was the perfect name.

The only problem with “Laxy Day” when you have a baby is that babies do NOT understand the importance of laxing. I tried very hard to explain to Luna that “today is laxy day…the day of lax, it is NOT day of cry or day of being constantly entertained”. I even sang to her “lax little baby don’t say a word, Daddy’s going to buy us a Sephora shopping spree”. (I’m not a fan of birds.) However, even with all the explaining and singing my little girl refused to lax. So, laxy day was more of a play with a baby, take a nice walk, wash the cars, do the laundry, clean the floors, cook dinner all while staying in our PJ’s kind of day. Still a very nice day.

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Taking some time off has me feeling completely refreshed and ready to do lots of writing and sharing! Get ready for some new reviews, giveaways, and tales of strawberry picking, picnics, growing babies, workout updates and more!

ealking

Cheers and Happy Memorial Weekend!

Firsts at the Farm

WOW. This has been one helluva weekend, in a good way. Really, it’s been one big awesome week. We have had friends and family staying with us. Two of our best friends got married. There were so many parties, sleepovers, dinners, get togethers and baby snuggles that I had absolutely no time for posting a dang thang. Now, it’s time to play catch up because boy, oh boy do I have lots to share.

We love making everyday a little (or a lot) adventurous, but it has been slightly harder to keep up the adventures now that we have Luna in tow. No big deal though, we like a challenge. Our most recent adventures have just been a little closer to home. Zoey came to visit for about 10 days and she put together an enormous party at our Uncle Kelly’s farm.

We had twenty something people, horses, tractor rides, mac & cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, banana pudding, brownies, cookies, fruit, veggies, hummus, cornbread, dirt bikes, babies, cats, chickens, cows…everything you could possible need for a day of fun on a farm. Being Luna’s first time on a farm I did what every good Mom would do and worked all morning to put together an appropriately themed outfit. Luna’s got to learn that any activity can be fun if it includes getting a cute new outfit.

My "cowgirl" look ended up looking more "gangster"
My “cowgirl” look ended up looking more “gangster”
We weren't able to get a get photo before the overalls had to be removed.
We weren’t able to get a get photo before the overalls had to be removed.

Our little friend Parker was with us for the day too. Husband and I spent a lot of time watching him and I got a glimpse of what life would be like with two kids…busy, very busy. Parker rode a horse for the first time! Before getting on he looked a little weary at the giant animal in front of him. Two seconds after being in the saddle he was yelling “faster!” and swinging his red cowboy hat in one hand. Cutest. Cowboy. Ever.

on fence first time fast corral

Parker also learned to lasso, drive a tractor, chase chickens, play in rundown cars, scare the crap out of us and get so caked in mud that he had to be stripped down and hosed off before going home. Favorite quote of the day? “Not everyone should see my booty!” before Husband hosed him off.

driving

 

old car

 

Most of us took a tractor ride around the whole property and hunted for dinosaur eggs and giant chickens with Parker. It was meant to be fun, but I think we ended up causing a life-long fear of non-existing animals for Parker. whoops.

hayride

 

Luna's first tractor trailer ride
Luna’s first tractor trailer ride

It was a day full of “firsts”. Our friend Derek crashed on his first dirt bike ride. Steve had his first lasso lesson. Parker had his first day as a cowboy, and even Luna had her first time on a horse!

uncle kelly first horse

Even Husband managed to find something dangerous to do.

boys

We were all completely exhausted by the end of the day, but luckily only Parker had to be hosed off before heading home.

worn out
worn out

Cheers!

 

Down by the Bayou

While visiting friends and family in Texas last week we had a crawfish boil! Crawfish boils are crazy popular where I grew up. Most of us are at least part Cajun and either had or were invited to crawfish boils for basically every occasion in the spring. Easter, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Graduation, Memorial weekend or any get together that consisted of 4 or more people usually involves crawfish, corn and potatoes this time of year. It’s glorious.

flower

 

Since, this is a southern and mostly Cajun tradition I miss it dearly every year. People in the north jus don’t get it. My parents understand the importance of good spicy food so they put together a boil the second they knew we were coming to visit. Lots of family came over and we managed to eat 120 pounds of crawfish.

crawfish

Every time we have a crawfish boil or barbecue my Dad’s side-by-side manages to make an appearance too. Almost everyone took a ride through the yard, around the neighborhood and down to the bayou. I let my 5-year-old cousin control the wheel while I controlled the gas. Luna even had her first ride around the yard.

sidebysode

 

peter

Speaking of my little cousin, Abby, she was so in love with Luna! She followed me around all day wanting to hold her, comfort her, carry her, change her and even breastfeed her! She was completely intrigued when I had to feed her and by the end of the day she was convinced she could to do it too. I told her she needed to be a Mommy first, but she insisted she “could just try it, just one time!”

abby

Of course it was also a day for lots of our family to meet Luna. She was a little overwhelmed with all the traveling, meeting new people, parties and rides, but everyone still loved her fussy butt.

dana aunt mimi joe hat

Anyone else have a special tradition or something they like to do when visiting family?

Cheers!