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Friday, August 8, 2014

Sleep makes everything better!

Oh my gosh! My rant yesterday was real and truthful and I still want to run many people off the road but can I just say it's AMAZING how I feel totally different today because I had a great night's sleep?? That either means I'm going to be a beast to be around when this baby is born or I'm bipolar. I'm not sure. LOL! It doesn't matter. Yesterday I was all angst and 90's alternative and today I'm Pharrell's "Happy". Blame it on the baby I guess.

Either way, today I am not feeling so angry with the world and wanting to flee suburbia...just yet anyways. This morning we grabbed a quick (short) hike with the dog and doing something active usually starts the day off on the right foot for me. Looking forward to a weekend of 'nesting' and getting ready for the arrival of Super Nana on Monday who is coming to help us out. Thank goodness!

Tonight it's Family Game Night as requested by Aiden so we'll be busting out Candy Land and Crazy 8's.

I wanted to also share this article that one of my besties sent me a week or so ago and I have gone back and read it a couple of times. Maybe it's what you're looking for today. I know it makes me want to start choosing MUST over SHOULD every day of the week. Check it out here.

Until next time....have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rage against the stoplight!

I have lived in and walked the crowded streets of New York City and Chicago. I have lived in the City of Angels amongst hoards of traffic on the 405 and suffering through an awful and often unbearable commute (only bearable because then I could drive my VW Bug convertible with the top down and jam very loudly which I miss on the regular). But for some reason, these days nothing drives me more crazy than the crowded streets of suburbia. So many people. So many people always going somewhere at the exact time I want to go somewhere. And where are all of these people going??? Target? The Mall? WHERE ARE YOU GOING??? I guess in a city like Chicago or New York you aren't a slave to your automobile so you can make the choice to pick somewhere walkable if you need a coffee or to drop off your dry cleaning. Walking doesn't make you as angry. Does it? Here, the choice is to drive. Always. Always driving. Always waiting at stoplights.  And you know what? I don't like it. Perhaps this land of suburbia we chose is just too big. I don't know. A small town with one red light sounds about right to me at this current moment in time. Even in my hometown it doesn't take this long to run to the post office or go to the other side of town. Oy!!

Monday, August 4, 2014


We are about to wrap this 2nd pregnancy up over here and I realized I've been awful on blogging my updates. AWFUL! This last week has been one for the books. Obviously I had a couple of magical days up in Asheville and THANK GOODNESS because our house has been without air conditioning since LAST MONDAY!

Apparently we are getting the new unit put in today and I just really hope so. I'm not sure how much more of this I can stand. I will NEVER take AC for granted ever again. EVER!

Today our little Aiden started Pre-K too. It makes me a little emotional on top of it all. We're so proud of what a happy little guy he is and I'm so thankful for his happy disposition. I can not believe he'll be FIVE in a little over a month.

Weeks: 37 Weeks

Cravings: Nothing really. Frankly, I'm running out of room for too much food. Also, my brain is so fuzzy the last few days I can't make any decisions related to food. I do manage to sneak in my sweets every day though :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

One final road trip...

 For me clarity requires cooler temps. Not cold. No, no no. As much as I occasionally get homesick for Illinois I do believe I've traded in my harsh winters for a different definition of chilly. I'm talking 68 degrees early on a summer day and this week I unexpectedly got to enjoy some of those low 60's in July. The more the degrees fell the bigger my smile grew. Fall temps are my favorite of course. Any excuse to wear a puffy vest. What I've learned about myself though over the last few years is that I am happiest either in the Mountains or near the Sea. I'm lighter. More content. Comfortable (especially at 9 months pregnant the mountain air gave me the boost of energy that this Georgia heat had sucked out of me). I assume I'm not alone in these feelings, but I am all about following instincts here. So if cool mountain mornings can be my everyday or even breezy ocean air I'll do what I can to make that happen. Vacation just isn't going to cut it for me.


Let me back up. I've blogged about Asheville a few times so I'm not going to spend too much time on where to stay (The Aloft everytime! No question.) or where to eat (ate at The Blackbird again and oh..my...goodness..it hit all the right spots. Fresh Red Snapper was insane. Coconut Cake was ridiculous). I just need to capture the last couple of days on here for myself so I can look back and be reminded how wonderful they were. The fun I had in these last few weeks leading up to the arrival of baby girl. How I felt. What I thought about. I wasn't about to let being 36/37 weeks pregnant stop me from "getting lost" if you will. I have a stubborn side but I admittedly get it honestly.

Everything I needed I found. Our homes AC unit busted the other day. As in stopped working!!! It was in the 90's so I was pretty much miserable and looking to punch something or someone. Side Note: It's still broken today. They are putting in a new unit so pray that I don't hurt anyone. The dog, the kid and myself stayed at one of the only local hotels on Monday night that would take a 50+ lb dog. It wasn't that nice. I didn't sleep well (Momma bear instincts kicked in). However, I guess it was better than sleeping in a house that was over 80 degrees. I wasn't planning on capturing my 36 week photo in this hotel but here are my sad, tired eyes. Calgon take me awayyyyyyyy.....

Luckily I knew that next morning I was packing us up to meet the Hubby up in Asheville. Sadly he has to work when we are up there much of the time but I'm grateful we could spend time with him. We miss him so much when he's gone and lately my pregnancy brain has a need to keep my family all together. Plus, Aiden starts school next week so no time like the present. We took the scenic route which is a little longer but my favorite. I cruise through all of my favorite mountain towns like Elijay, Blue Ridge, up through North Carolina. I daydream about my mountain home. A large cabin with very high vaulted ceilings and a huge fire pit. We stop along the way to look at the river rushing by us (a place we'll one day have a family vacation and go rafting). Perfection from Mother Nature. Pitch me a hammock and let's call it home.
We got to Asheville and headed to lunch at Wicked Weed Brewery. Delicious. Great ambiance. Super dog friendly. Can't wait to go back and drink loads of beer. Had an AMAZING BLT with heirloom tomatoes and a garlic aioli spread. YUM! We spent that evening mostly swimming at the hotel and playing with Finley.  The Aloft might be the friendliest dog hotel ever by the way. Finley was given a plush doggy bed, a bag of treats, a kong ball and way too much attention. Most people don't get treated that nice. Just snuggling up as a family that night and I could rest. I knew the next morning I was about to go for it.


That morning it was chilly in the air. We considered stopping and buying something with a sleeve but decided it'd warm up soon enough. And frankly it felt so good to me. I wondered if I could take a nap outside. We drove down to Dupont State Forest near Brevard (which I've blogged about here). I was on a mission. Waterfalls. North Carolina and this particular area has loads of Falls. Had I not been pregnant we would have hiked all day to look at them, but I managed to squeak in about 2-2.5 miles which given my state I thought was pretty impressive. By the end I felt like my hips were about to explode but it was worth it. And I am so proud I went for it. I felt better than ever.  It was picture perfect. We saw High Falls and Hooker Falls this time. You can find links to these hikes here if you find yourself in Asheville.


Looking out among these glorious falls I just allowed myself to drift and dream for a moment. About how the next time we'll be a family of 5 (Aiden said I have to count Finley...and I agree). How we can make the life we want where we want. We can get lost and not drop a dime if we wanted. Head for the mountains. Bask in the sun. Smell that air. And then cruise back along the Blue Ridge Parkway (which oh my gosh is STUNNING). I thought about how I want to take these same pictures in the Fall when the leaves are turned and shades of reds and oranges. Can you imagine? I'll have a baby strapped to me.

For now I'll pack away my dream of this future hike. I'll revisit it on what I can only imagine are a few tired nights to come. Relive these last few days on the days when I'm so exhausted and just be grateful for this life and my family and for the simple beauty of the outdoors.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Quest for Simple Living; Part 1 of a Million

"The cause for most of man's unhappiness is sacrificing what he wants most for what he wants now." - Gordon B. Hinckley

Read that again. Make sure it sinks in and you understand it. This quote wandered across the pages of the book "Notes from a Blue Bike; The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World". The book is written by Tsh Oxenreider. If you have had any desire to live a more simple life. An intentional life. Read this book. This post isn't about a book report but this book found me at the most appropriate time in my life. If you've read this blog enough you know that living simply is something I crave for us as a family. But it's hard. Really hard. And I am seeing some of what is missing here.

Sacrificing what he wants MOST for what he wants NOW. That's me lately. There are things I want most in this life. Big things. Things that would require discipline in saving to achieve. Places I want to go. Friends in foreign countries I want to visit. Adventures I want to take. Mountain homes and beach homes I want to own one day. I know that these things require much of our family to achieve and that they aren't likely to happen overnight...or even within three years, some way longer. But I also know they could NEVER happen if I can't sacrifice the things I want now for the bigger picture. That is a terrifying thought.

Like many of you I'm sure, I have a tendency to get caught up in the moment. Let's take the baby nursery as an example because it's a good and recent example. There is always ONE. MORE. THING. I need to complete the room, the vision. Spend. Buy. Order online. If I don't order this particular (insert whatever nick knack I've got my eye on) the room is not just right. So I do. I usually buy it if it's reasonable. That money could have been saved for the family vacation we want to take the kids on next year to the Keys but instead I'd rather have the immediate satisfaction of the 'perfect' nursery. Heck, the cost of the nursery would look awfully nice in that savings account right now. And guess what? The baby doesn't care what her nursery looks like. Nope. I haven't even met her yet and I know this to be true. It's for me. Let's get real. Now, I do love it. I get deep satisfaction being in that room. I peek inside the room a few times a day to admire what has been done. I wish it were my room. I went a little "Crazy Eyes" on this project. I can admit that too. I'm like a recovered crack addict who decided to use and now is on a binder. And that's not simple living. That's watching too much HGTV and wanting what I want now.

There are days when I'm a walking contradiction. I am ready to abandon my excessive ways yet it's hard giving up the little things that are just part of the norm; dinners out/clothing/etc..We live in a 'want it now' society so finding a way to block out that clutter is TOUGH! I was doing good until I got pregnant I swear and then I started pinning things, finding brands on instagram,etc..it's a slippery slope. I will live BELOW my means because that is what would be required of me if I want those big things mentioned above. Just a little juggling of priorities. We can do it! I know that there are things I can't sacrifice like our need to take a little overnighter to Asheville or Blue Ridge on the occasion. We need those things as a family. They give us great pleasure and excitement and I think they are good for the kids too. I want to expose my kids to as many places and spaces and food as possible. However, I can vow to not buy anything for myself for a few months right? Not get the beast of a car I was spying because think of all I could do with that car payment? Maybe skip the Starbucks and just brew good stuff at home. Little changes could add up to a big reward (something I will have to constantly remind myself of every time my eye starts twitching over something 'new' I want that I discovered and just HAVE TO HAVE IT!!! AHHHHH!!!!!) Ugh, I just went a little Veruca Salt there. My apologies. Next thing you know I'll want a goose that lays gold eggs for Easter.

How do you keep yourself in check? How do you focus on the big picture instead of the immediate want? I'm such an open book right now. I'd love to hear any and all ideas.

Also, thank you to Tsh Oxenreider! You are super inspiring to me. My new hero and a wonderful example of what living simply is all about.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Preoccupation with Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with Aiden we spent an obscene amount of time looking at, researching and plotting what stroller and car seat system we were going to buy. We tossed and turned over which one to buy, went to this same over priced baby store in Los Angeles and looked and played with the models we were considering until finally like little bunny foo foo we were bopped on the head and realized that spending over $1,000 on a stroller/car seat contraption was bordering insanity. I'll pat myself on the back for that one. Close call. Instead, we opted for a Snap n' Go (which is brilliant by the way and costs a mere $60 or so) until almost about 9 months after the baby was born we purchased a B.O.B stroller (which I still have and still love and will use again..and it didn't cost over $1k).

This is but ONE example of the craziness that can happen when you're pregnant.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Obsessions!

I love summer! Last summer we were so lucky to get to spend a couple of solid weeks beaching it and I daydream of that again. But this summer we'll stay closer to home prepping for baby girl. However, just because we're not AT the beach doesn't mean I can't be beach ready at say...my pool or the lake right? I figure if I'm going to continue to decorate as if I have a beach house why should my wardrobe and goodies be any different?

While I love the hottest trends as much as the next gal I try to find a way to buy them on what I consider a reasonable budget. Also, I'm trying not to spend so much on myself so I can spend on my 'baby want' list (coming soon). The summer season works in my favor though because I can get a few key items and make it work all summer long. This summer with the belly I am all about hats, bags and beachy wear. Here is my Summer Essentials List! Some of these items I have in some form or another, some I plan to buy, and some I'll continue to admire from my screen.  What's on your list?

Cutest little crossbody from Target! Would be perfect for walks on the beach or festival season
Confession: I've seen similar bags that cost way more...but you can get this adorable version at Nordstrom's in the Jr. Section for a sliver of that cost. And since we're all about the weekend getaway this would be a great addition!
Oh I love this chair so much! This belongs in my 'future beach house' arsenal stat!
I'm ready for an upgrade in beach towels and this fouta beach towel from Serena & Lily needs to be mine.

I'm a hat girl! I wear a hat 5 days out of the week because they are fun, stylish and conceal a bad hair day! I have no problem investing in a great hat. This panama hat from Madewell belongs in my collection.
I think I want a Kimono just to wear around the house. If I had all the money in the world I'd buy this and everything else from Nena & Co.
However, this Kimono from Billabong is way more in my price range and just as cute!

COMFORT! You need a pair of these for any beach vacation or just to lounge at home. This pregnant momma is living in the pair below folks! AMAZING!
Hey! You gotta have SPF for the summer. I suggest trying Sun Bum. Discovered it in Clearwater, bought it in Ocean City and I'm HOOKED! It smells INSANE and it's in such a cute bottle. They also have Baby SPF too :)

What's on your summer 'want' list!? Whether it be hats or bathing suits I hope you're having a great summer so far!