Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Yes we carved those! We are professional nerds! (I am so proud of that Ron Swanson pumpkin! Mama's got skillz.) If you recognize any of the other faces up there, then I automatically love you forever.

Hope you guys enjoy a safe Halloween tonight. It's kind of a bummer night over here. We're all sick with colds, Hurricane Sandy is still lingering with yucky cold rain, and I've been sugar free for two weeks and wouldn't allow any candy within 10 feet of my house.

Luckily my kids are young enough still to not hold any of this against me.

Not that we didn't allow ourselves ANY fun today...

Monday, October 29, 2012


We went as a family to pick pumpkins this weekend. It was the BEST time! The weather was gorgeous, the farm fairly quiet, and we went home with beautiful pumpkins and yummy Fuji apples.

Do you see my boy's face in the bottom picture? I was laughing so hard trying to get this photo! He was doing so great up until we were about to leave and trying to get this shot. He was tuckered out and hungry and did not have the patience to have his picture taken anymore!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Feeling Lovely

Some days go beyond bad hair days. I struggle with self esteem and self confidence. I count it as both my biggest weakness and deepest vulnerability.

But I've come to realize that while I might not be able to change the physical attributes about myself that bother me, I CAN do certain things to bring a sense of well being and confidence - both which lend themselves to making me feel lovely and comfortable in my own skin.

1. Cardio Exercise It's the answer I think no one really likes to hear, including myself, but really - there is no bad mood, no bad hair day, no "fat day," no depression that a good brisk, 45 minute walk can't help. There's a whole lot of scientific explanations about why exercise makes us feel happy, but for me - I feel better after exercising because I know I've done something really good for my body.  It's kind of hard to think negatively about your body when you're actively doing good things for it and treating it right.

2. Nail Polish I used to never wear it, but during my pregnancy with Silas, when nothing fit and my body was just out of control, painting my nails a pretty color made a HUGE difference in how I felt about myself. It gives me a boost, and makes me feel feminine. Try a color that is totally out of your comfort zone. Try something glittery. Try black! It's so much fun, and it really will make you feel lovely.

3. Wear What You Love I'm a housewife, with two littles. One particular little right now, is in that somewhat disgusting 6 month old stage. I get spit up on and drooled on all the time. It's tempting to wear pajamas or sweat pants and a tee shirt 7 days a week, but I know that makes me feel lousy. So I try to dress up even around the house. Who cares if it smells like baby puke before 10a.m. by the end of the day? When I wear what I feel pretty in, I feel happier and more confident during the day. (And luckily, baby puke and drool washes out really well in the laundry.)

4. Lipstick + Blush Two other cosmetics that I used to never use. The right shade of lipstick WILL make you feel lovely. Coral and orange-y shades are my happy colors. And a little dab of blush on the apples of your cheeks never fail to make you look youthful and vibrant - even when you feel anything but! (I recommend Benefit Benetint for blush. It looks so natural and is so easy to apply. Works as a light lip color too!)

5. Fish Oil + Probiotics Sometimes I am really convinced that I feel bad about myself because I don't feel good, period. I have found fish oil and probiotics to be the most beneficial and healthy supplements for me.

6. Make Quiet Time This one is so important to me, a major introvert, who gets exhausted around people - yes, even around my husband and children when it's non-stop and crazy. Time to get out of the house, get a cup of coffee and read a magazine makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated. It reminds me that I'm not just a diaper changer and drool wiper (I KNOW there's much more to motherhood than that, but you other moms KNOW you have felt like this before!) Times like this are usually when my creative spark is re-lit. Don't feel guilty for needing some quiet time. Make it happen!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On Searching For A Signature Scent

So basically, I am getting old. Ok, maybe not "old" old yet, but still, I'm definitely not a kid anymore. (I've got two kids and stretch marks to prove it in case you doubt me.) 

On a side note, last week as I was coming out of Forever 21 in Raleigh with a bag of cheap beauties, (oh I love you Forever 21) my Dad gave me a "look" and said, "aren't you getting too old for this?" And like that, my heart was broken. Still licking that wound. Anyhow...

I'm trying to embrace the "new me." The new me is older, yes... a bit scarred, but wiser - there's something beautiful, sacred and mysterious about womanhood, and I want to embrace my womanhood and all her potential feminine glory. I mean, I want to rock my late 20s, 30s and 40s (I'm just not ready to think about farther than that at this point) and make them awesome! So I'm trying to learn more about the womanly, feminine of arts of lipsticks, skin care, classic wardrobe staples (you know, the kinds NOT from XXI) and perfume. 

What your perfume says about you is important. I don't want a scent that says "Avon lady" or "juicy." I want a perfume that is ultra feminine, yet youthful - sweet, yet sensual. Something slightly mysterious and slightly flirty.

Here are some contenders in my search for my favorite perfume.

I would feel kind of bad about adopting this as my scent, simply because it's my sister's favorite scent, but dang it all - it's a REALLY good perfume! I love it's sweet simplicity that walks the line between girlish and womanly with grace and dignity. 

Florabotanica is floral and sweet, yet something more. There's a real edgy, sensual side to it that I'm almost not sure I can pull off! But I really love this one. A lot. And the packaging it gorgeous. (Packaging is important!)

Stella McCartney's "Lily" is ultra feminine. Very floral and fresh. Maybe just a teenie tiny bit too floral for my taste, but still lovely. 

Now I just need to get my husband's input and beg for one of these for Christmas. ;)

What is your signature scent? What do you look for in a perfume? I'd love to hear your input!

Monday, October 22, 2012


My Dad and I

I am in recovery mode from my week away from home, visiting my family down south. I love my family, and have felt really emotional the last few months as I contemplate how being long distance and other various circumstances have changed a lot of the old dynamics of our relationships. I'm not sure if the new dynamics are necessarily better or worse, but it's all still emotionally draining sometimes. I still sometimes feel like I'm in that weird, difficult transitional period of separating from my family and being my OWN family with Matt, Olive and Silas. Anyhow...

Trying this new "currently" prompt I've enjoyed reading on other blogs that I follow. You can join along by following the link at the bottom of the page.

I am currently...

Feeling: Not good enough. I'm so easily discontented. It's my natural instinct to look at what everybody else has going on and to feel totally worthless and inadequate. Impulses like that are really hard to kill, I'm coming to find, in spite of my best intentions to do so. So I'm trying to get in a better state of mind by focusing on living in the present, being thankful for the blessings God has given me, and making choices throughout the day, EVERY day that promote health and well being.

Drinking: Not enough water, and too much coffee and Coke Zero. (Oh Coke Zero, why do I love you so much? I mean, you're actually kind of gross.)

Looking For: A realtor! I can't believe the time has really come to put this house on the market and move forward with plans to move! Nerve wracking and exciting!

Dreaming of: going on a date with my husband. It feels like we have so little time to just talk and hang out, even though he works from home. Between the demands of his job and the demands of our little ones, we are constantly distracted and exhausted. This is maybe kind of pathetic, but I think I am seriously grieving the loss of freedom that happens when babies come along. Sometimes my mind is screaming at me, "look at you, you're in your 20s, exhausted and covered in baby puke! You're a disaster!"(I am not saying that I regret my kids, I adore them and wouldn't trade them for anything!) But I do get those negative, grieving feelings and I'm struggling to discover the "new me." The me that is in her 20s, covered in baby puke and somehow not a disaster? I don't even know how I got on this rabbit trail you guys. Moving on.

Making: time for exercise and devotions. Because those things never fail to bring me peace of body and peace of mind.

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1. Harvesting Kale 2. Amazing Day 3. Brennans Mom! 4. Sabz @ The Ecle

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Dat At The NC State Fair

We are home! What a long week! While spending some time with my family in NC, my Dad, Olive and I got to spend a few hours at the NC State Fair. We barely scratched the surface on all the things to do there but we still had a good time. Olive loved everything!

You guys, there were MINI DONKEYS! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Happy Weekend!

We have a lot to celebrate here this weekend! Mainly, that silly girl up there [who taught herself to cross her eyes and torments me with them every time I turn around] is finally potty trained!

Ok, confession time: I really, really hated this whole potty training thing. I was maybe kind of a big baby about it. It was so not fun for any of us, and we had numerous set backs and tantrums and tears,  but the happiness and pride Olive and I feel now that she's really got the hang of it is enormous! And if it's any encouragement to you other moms out there who are stuck dab in the middle of this misery that is potty training your toddler: if my extremely stubborn Olive can finally learn it from her often impatient, very imperfect mother, your babies will learn for you too! Potty training has taught me a lot of patience. Mostly through stupid mistakes on my part. Moving on...

I'm flying to NC with both littles (and without my husband!) tomorrow and will be gone for a week. I was planning on taking my computer with me to keep up with the blog but have decided to leave it at home and just enjoy the week, entirely present and focused on my kids and family. So we'll be back with pictures and stories of our NC adventures in a week!

And now we're off to our favorite ice cream shop to celebrate Olive's success and have some fun family time before we're separated from Matt for a week (I hate that part.) :( Be back soon!

Monday, October 8, 2012


1. Why does it feel like we skipped fall and jumped into winter? It is so cold today. And wet. Hopefully it goes back to being fall soon. We haven't had a free moment since getting back from the beach to enjoy the pretty fall colors and smells.

2. I am reading J.D. Salinger's "9 Stories" and loving them. Salinger loves symbolism, and reading his stories is like working out puzzles. It's silly, but I get great satisfaction out of reading a story, mulling over it for an hour or two, then looking up the spark notes online to see if my conclusions or assumptions have any merit. Cough*nerd*ahem.

3. I really need to just give up sugar. I am so addicted. (Why am I confessing this?) I have no trouble giving up any other food, but my sweet tooth is mean and stubborn. But I know I will feel so much better, in and out, if I give it up for a while. Anyone have tips for giving it up? Is slowly weaning yourself off better in the long run than just going cold turkey?

4. I know she's odd, (aren't we all?) but I am obsessed with Fiona Apple lately. What an interesting character she is. Her anxiety, sadness and quirks come across so strongly to me in her music and they are my own. I found this interview to be fascinating and rather heartbreaking.

5. I need to get my bangs trimmed.

6. I wish you could hear Olive sing "The Bare Necessities." (She says "bay-uh ne-seh-seh-tewees. And with great dramatic flair. It is hysterical.)

7. Matt got me hooked on that silly "Temple Run" game on my phone.

8. In just 6 days I am getting on an airplane with my two babies and no husband to fly to my parent's house for a week. I don't mind planes too much, but flying alone with two little kids? I am already dreading the evil stares from fellow travelers.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October Book Picks

Lately I have sort of rediscovered my love of reading. So I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite "October themed" books with you other fellow bookworms.

Vampires are all the rage now, and even I got sucked into the hype and finally read ALL FOUR Twilight books this year. (In a nutshell - I don't recommend them. Just, don't even go there.) I guess I like my vampires more classically dark and mysterious, (not sparkly, ew) and that's why I loved this book. The Historian manages to put a modern twist to the "Dracula" story without getting ridiculous. Also, it's extremely well written. Unlike other vampire stories I've read *coughTWILIGHTcough.* You might not want to read it at night like I did, though, unless you really like to scare yourself.

Ok, couple of disclaimers here: if you are repulsed by disturbing, violent stories where really crappy things happen to people, this is NOT your book. Also, this book is quite crude in places. I'm not usually a reader or proponent of crude, ugly books, and I can think of several people just off hand who would probably be highly offended by this book, so if you decide to read it, enter forewarned (and please don't think I'm a horrible person?)  I look for and enjoy really good writers and Katherine Dunn is a very good writer. It took me a long time to read Geek Love and to digest it, and the story is still sticking with me months later. It probably always will. In my mind, that's the mark of an extremely gifted author, who knows how to poke at your deepest feelings, insecurities and fears. The story is NOT pretty, it is very disturbing, but I think there's an element of brilliance to it and that fascinates me. 
Oh, one last disclaimer - in this book, "geek" has a totally different meaning than that which you are used to thinking of. Just so you know.

On a much lighter, less disturbing note - if you have never read anything by Ellen Raskin, you are seriously missing out on a treat. They're considered children's literature, but Raskin's writing is so smart and clever that they're enjoyable for all ages. The Westing Game is probably my favorite of her books, and is a great October read with it's riddles and mysteries. Please, please, please give this one a try!

I just finished reading Ted Dekker's Thr3e last week after hearing several people rave about it. I was skeptical at first because, yes, even though I'm a Christian, I don't have a great respect for most of today's "Christian Fiction." Most of it is just horrendously, horribly written. (Yes, I am a snob.) I am, however, a fan of some of Frank Peretti's books (This Present Darkness is brilliant) and I heard some people compare Dekker's style to Peretti's so I gave it a try. Verdict: it was really pretty good. Lots of good twists and turns, and a good message that comes across without sounding preachy. Definitely worth recommending.

What are your favorite October-ish reads? I'm always looking for suggestions! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Six Months

My littlest sweetheart is 6 months old!

If you haven't heard, the first 6 months of your second child's life go by WAY faster than the first 6 months of your firstborn's life. I thought you should know that. It's a pretty sad fact.

Silas is a big, strapping boy (emphasis on big. Little dude is over 20 lbs and mama's back is FEELING IT.) Luckily he's also a happy, smiley, cuddly, sweeeeet lover boy. Kissing those cheeks is extremely addictive.

He also is all about making ridiculous faces lately (as evidenced above.) I love this stage. I just wish I could slow time down a teensie bit so I could enjoy it longer!