Image Map

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Goodbye August, Hello September.

Goodbye, August. 

Goodbye to summer. 

Goodbye (hopefully) to weather in the upper 90's. I'll settle for the lower 90's, really.

Goodbye to Gainesville feeling new and temporary. It's home now.

Hello, September. 

Hello to that sweet month that hovers somewhere in between summer and fall.  
Hello to pumpkin flavored everything. 

Hello to more walks around the neighborhood. 

Hello to squeezing in all the pool days summer has left...and then going home and baking pumpkin cakes.

What are you saying hello and goodbye to this month?

 photo signature.png

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Thirty-Two Weeks With Jack: Allllllll of The Pictures.

I really love blogging for so many reasons, and one of those is that it gives me an excuse to remember the little moments in life. On Thursday, Jack turned 32 weeks old. Thanks to this blog, I'll have a sweet little collection of little moments from weeks 29-32...which is great, since I've yet to get around to making a baby book or printing pictures or scrapbooking.

Also, this means he's 20 weeks away from being an entire year old. Too early to start party planning? Don't answer that.

Week twenty-nine: 
sleepy eyes, sleepy smile // we found a new mexican restaurant and chris gave you a lemon. you made terrible faces, but kept licking it // the cutest krispy kreme mascot there ever was // all decked out in your pool gear 

sleepy bear // you learned to stick your tongue out and make funny noises // your face when you think you're getting frozen yogurt vs your face when you realize you're not getting any frozen yogurt (I crack myself up)

Week Thirty:
the happiest babe // you love playing with toys now // so peaceful when you sleep // my happy little bub 

your first doctor's appointment in Gainesville // I have so many blurry pictures of you now because you are on the move! // just hanging out in your bathrobe // smiling and bouncing, your favorite things. 

Week Thirty-One: 

my favorite selfie-taking partner // future prez // baby toes // you and gatsby just hanging out. 

movie-watching buddies // snuggles // you have a little toy tractor and it's your favorite toy // so proud of all your toys 

Week Thirty-Two:
always so smiley // passed out in church // silly faces // you're forever my favorite. 
Happy thirty-two weeks, baby jack! I love you thirty-two times more than I did when you were born. xoxo
 photo signature.png

Monday, August 29, 2016

Books I Read in August (And Whether or Not You Should Read Them).

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Plot: Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm. -via Goodreads

Favorite quote:

My thoughts: I absolutely love Liane Moriarty's books. I was so excited to read this one, but it was very different than I expected. That doesn't make it a bad book by any means (it's not!), it was just less mysterious and shocking than I expected.

Most mysteries go like this: You find out an event that happened (like murder or kidnapping or something like that), and then you're introduced to all of these characters and have to figure out who did this thing. 

Her mysteries go like this: You're introduced to all of the characters and the mystery isn't who did what, the mystery is that there is a thing has already happened you have to figure out what that thing is. I love it. 

This book follows that model, it just does so in what feels like a milder sense. It focused more on the characters than the events. 

Should you read it? If you're already a Liane Moriarty fan, yes. If you're not, start with What Alice Forgot or The Husband's Secret. 

The Vacationers by Emma Straub 

Plot: For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole. -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: 

My thoughts: I picked up this book, read the first six or seven chapters, and then completely forgot about it...never a good sign. 

Jack took an extra long nap yesterday, so when I saw it on my dresser, I decided to finish it. 

And I liked it!

I don't think it's as amazing as everyone makes it out to be, but I do think it's a raw and honest (so therefore sometimes sad and sometimes funny) look at family, friendships, mistakes, and just life. 

When I finished the book, I felt like nothing had really happened, but I still felt closure. And really, it's not a book where a lot happens. It's a family and some friends who go on vacation together, and you get a view into their lives and their pasts and their mistakes and what they're going to do about all of that. 

It made me think a lot about my own life and family, and I always love when a book that really has nothing to do with me can make me feel a connection like that. 

Should you read it? Sure! But if you decide to skip it, you're not missing out on anything life-changing.

What did you read this month? I really need an "absolutely loved it" kind of book for next month...send one my way!

 photo signature.png

Friday, August 26, 2016

What August Taught Me.

I can't do everything. If you read my blog last month, you saw that July taught me that I can do hard things. I find it funny, then, that what I learned in August was that I can't do everything. 

I can do anything I set my mind to. I know this. I can grow my blog. I can write great stories. I can be an amazing mom. I can keep the entire house completely clean. I can connect with new people and make new friends. I can read tons of books. I can exercise and get in great shape. 

...I just can't do all of that. 

It's silly that a lot of the things I learn month to month are things I already know. Logically, I know I can't do everything. No one can! But learning how that applies to my day-to-day life is different than just knowing it as a fact. 

I can do anything, but I can't do everything. So right now I just have to pick the most important things. 

There are a lot of good people in the world, and I should strive to be one of them. Since writing this post I have met a few people here that have just completely surprised me with their goodness. 

Now, a quick side note: I love being Jack's mom. I wouldn't change that part of my life for anything in the whole entire world. But it does make connecting with people a little bit difficult unless they also have a baby. Because yes, I can come to your girl's night...buuuut I will have a tiny little boy with me. Yeah, I can go see a movie with you, but I'll have to get up seventy-seven times. See what I mean? 

But I have met a few people who have just gone out of their way to include me and make me feel welcome. I met a girl who doesn't have kids, but she has just gone above and beyond in inviting me to so many things, spending her own time to try to figure out how to make it Jack-friendly. That is just a good freaking person. 

It's really made me think about myself...I don't know if I've ever gone out of my way to make sure someone was included like that. Sure, in a conversation maybe, or if I see you alone and uncomfortable somewhere. But just in daily life? I need to be way better at that. 

Morning walks are like free therapy. I've been taking Jack for more walks, and it's such a good way to start the day. It's good exercise, it's a great way to re-center and think about things, and fresh air and sunshine are just good for the soul. I definitely see more walks in my future, especially when the weather stops resembling the surface of the sun. 

What has this month taught you?
 photo signature.png

Thursday, August 25, 2016

From the Cutting Room Floor: August.

A little look at life in August through snapshots that never quite made it to the blog. 

First things first: I colored my hair pink on a whim. I need an hour to decide where I want to eat lunch, but big decisions like this? Nah, better not think about it, let's just do it. 

This kid has such a big head. I love him in hats, but this one is for 9-12 months. He's seven months. It's fine. 

We found a new doctor for Jack here, and he was great. It's so funny how much your life can change in a year. A year ago, I would have just said that a pediatrician is a pediatrician, you know? But now? Oh no. I want a pediatrician who actually likes being a pediatrician, who makes me feel comfortable asking questions (as opposed to feeling stupid asking questions), and is preferably a little bit funny. It was a relief to find a good doctor for my little man! And Jack was very into ripping the paper into little tiny shreds. 

Target's Simply Balanced line just keeps getting better and better. I've been drinking this peach tea all day, every day. 

Reading is a little bit harder these days, with a curious fox and a kicking baby. 

How pretty is this juice? It was delicious. I came home and tried to copy it, and mine was so gross. 

My tiny little snuggle bunny. 

Picking weeds on our morning walks. 

Also from Target: This is so delicious. Add some rice and chicken and veggies and it tastes (almost) just like my favorite meal at a Thai place.

Gatsby follows me room to room, finding a place to curl up and watch me. 

A little sneak peek at real life: I was so behind on dishes that I mixed my protein shake in one of Jack's bottles. 

Moving on. 

This little guy is so in love with his new toy.

I got a shopping cart cover and it made shopping SO much easier. However...I was super disturbed by how many people just touched Jack without saying anything to me. No thank you.

Super Casual.

What did your August look like?

 photo signature.png

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Your Daydream is a Part of You. Don't Give That Up.

The first time I saw this saying, it was on a t-shirt. Just seeing it made me tear up, because it just felt so perfect for what I was feeling at the time. I bought it and declared it my new favorite. Of course, it was from Forever 21, so I think I wore it twice before it got a hole in it, but hey. You win some, you lose some. 

It's a saying that has stuck with me. I've seen it on more tees, all over pinterest, painted on canvases. It's become so popular, but it still makes me feel so hopeful whenever I see it. 

I think that sometimes we think that if our daydream isn't paying all the bills, then we're a failure. And that's just not true. It's not all or nothing. You're not either extremely successful at your dream or nothing at all. There's an in-between. An in-between where you have to choose to not quit your dream. 

I don't know if I'll ever be truly successful at my daydream. But I do know that I can't quit it, because it's a huge part of me. To give up because it's not paying the bills would be a betrayal to myself, you know? 

Maybe you'll be so successful at your daydream that you can quit your job and only do what you love. Or maybe you won't, I don't know. I don't have any advice for being successful at your dreams. But I do want to be someone in your corner, reminding you to not quit. Don't you dare quit. 

So this is just me popping in to say that your daydream, whatever it may be, is a part of you. Probably a big part of you. Don't give that up.

What's your daydream?
 photo signature.png

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Project Happy: Days 22-28.

week one // week two // week three 

And so we've arrived at the final week of pursuing daily happiness through little actions. I have enjoyed this so much! One thing I've learned is that sometimes, when I'm looking to make a life change, I feel like I have to do a huge overhaul right this second. Which in some cases is needed, but in most cases is just overwhelming, frustrating, and leaves me feeling worse off than I did to begin with. 

Little changes are easy. They're not stressful. If you want to be happier, sure, you could pack up and move to your favorite city. You could quit your job and start your own business. Or, you could take ten minutes for yourself in the morning. You could go for more walks. You could buy yourself a new candle. 

Do I think you can make yourself happier? Absolutely. And I don't think it takes a dramatic change or giant gesture to happen. 

On to the final week!

Day Twenty-Two: Think of your "happy places" and see what they say about you. If you're really happy when you're at work, maybe you need more things in your life that give you a sense of accomplishment. If your happy place is the gym (really, though?) maybe you need more activities. If you're happiest on vacation, maybe you need to work on de-stressing your daily life. If your happy place is in the middle of a good book, maybe you need some more creative things in your life. See what I mean?

Day Twenty-Three: Buy new pajamas. This may seem silly, but think about how much time you spend unwinding for the night/actually sleeping/drinking coffee & actually starting your day. We're talking hours and hours! You should spend those non-hectic hours in something insanely comfortable. 
Side note: This does not have to be expensive. My favorite pajamas in the world were 12.99 at Target.

Day Twenty-Four: Go somewhere you love and just walk around with no list or agenda. The mall or Target or the library or Hobby Lobby or Home Depot...go through Chick-Fil-A's drive-thru and then browse away while drinking your sweet tea. 

Day Twenty-Five: Ask yourself what the biggest thing in your life making you unhappy is. If you know the answer to this, chances are that you can't do anything to completely change it overnight. But you can take little steps to change it. Come up with three tiny steps you can take to make yourself happier in that area, and do those. 

Day Twenty-Six: Make a list of the good decisions you've made. We've all made bad decisions, but who cares about those. Let's talk about the good stuff!

Day Twenty-Seven: Print out some of your favorite pictures. Things and people and places that make you happy. Put them places you'll see! On your walls, in your car, at your desk. 

Day Twenty-Eight: Go out for ice cream. Or frozen yogurt, or coffee. Grab your husband or boyfriend or best friend or dog (I vote dog!) and go get a treat. Life is short- treat yo'self. 

Your turn! What are some small actions you've taken that have made you happier?
 photo signature.png

Monday, August 22, 2016

It's Okay to be Scared. It's Not Okay to Stay Scared.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was absolutely terrified. Looking back now, I was of course terrified for the obvious reasons-I was going to have a baby, I was going to have to learn how to be a mom, I was going to be responsible for keeping a tiny human alive-but a big part of my fear was that it was a completely unexpected life change. And those are freaking scary. 

And then, my tiny little love was born, and I was no longer scared of the life changes, because he just fit right in so perfectly. Instead, I was scared of messing up. Of feeding him wrong or of him getting hurt because I didn't do something right. 

And now, I've kept this mini-me alive and happy for seven months. And sure, there are four-thousand and seven things to be afraid of on a daily basis when raising a baby, but all of my first fears? Not true. The way he's changed my life has not only been just fine, it's been amazing (challenging, of course, but amazing). And my worries of doing something wrong and him being hurt because of it haven't come true. Instead, I have the happiest baby on the planet and we're learning about this whole mom thing together. 

* * *

When Chris explained to me how the match process worked, and we spent weeks and weeks and weeks trying to balance good programs and good locations with what we wanted and also with the fact that we really didn't have much control at all over the situation, I was so scared. Walking down a path completely blind as to what's going to happen is incredibly unnerving. 

And then, things fell into place more beautifully than I could have imagined. The city and the neighborhood and the house, all something straight out of my dreams.

And now, I am constantly overwhelmed with just how good my life is. I have the perfect house. I got to stay in the sunshine state. It's the perfect city for my little family. And all those fears I had about what the outcome of match may be, they're just gone. 

* * *

It would be easy to look back and say, there was no reason to be scared! That was stupid! But I don't think that's true. My fears were legitimate to me, and it was okay that I felt them. 

Becoming a mom is downright terrifying at times. Taking chances is scary. Unexpected life changes can make you shake in your boots. Choosing to walk down a path without answers can be unnerving. And it's okay to let yourself feel all of that. It's okay to be scared. 

It's okay to be utterly terrified at times. 

Just as long as you don't stay there. 

Things always seem to have a way of working themselves out exactly as they're supposed to. Sometimes better than we expected, sometimes not so much. But if our arms are too busy trembling from fear, they won't be steady enough to catch the good things life is sending our way. And trust me, there's a whole lot of good.
 photo signature.png

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Swing Forward Camp.

In case you're new around here, I'll let you in on a very important fact about me: I start celebrating fall on September first. I love summer. Pool days and fruit and slower's the best. I'm a Florida girl, a summer girl, but fall is the season that holds my heart. 

I love this quote, because I really feel that way about August. It's still bright and sunny and hot, but with the back-to-school supplies filling the shelves and the boots and scarfs that start appearing in stores, you can't deny that fall is on it's way. 

I'm in the swing forward camp all day long. It's easy for me to say that, of course, because I live in Florida. Summer really only leaves for a few months out of the year. Last year, my mom and I were planning a Halloween party, and we went over our to-do list the day before while laying out in the sun. I wore a sweater to the party and had to change halfway through because I thought it probably wasn't the best if I passed out from overheating while I was pregnant.

So to me, saying hi to fall doesn't really mean saying bye to my favorite things about summer. But if we have to swing, I want to swing forward. To apple cider and boots and pumpkin spice everything. I want to swing to (slightly) cooler weather, to pumpkin carving, to oversized sweaters and hats. 

I'm always so excited to welcome fall, but this year I have an extra special reason: Jack.

The thought of getting to do all of my favorite fall things with my tiny little love just makes my heart want to explode. Taking him to a pumpkin patch? Dressing him up in (way too many) costumes? SWOON. 

I remember taking this picture so clearly. I was about six months pregnant and we left there talking about how crazy it was that next October, we'd have a real, live baby who was a part of our family. 

It is crazy. And perfect and weird and exciting and different and something that's going to make fall a thousand times better.

Summer is wonderful. August is lovely. But if we have to swing? Swing forward, baby. Right into fall. 

Which camp are you in?
 photo signature.png

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

On Saying No.

Near the beginning of the year, when Jack was just a few weeks old, I wrote this post. I was (and still am!) in a season of learning how to measure what's really important and that "if it's not a hell yes, then it's a no." 

I was texting my best friend about that Jen Hatmaker quote and told her, this time last year, I was so excited to say yes to everything, ever, and now I just can't wait to say no to everything. 

So, six months later, I've said a bunch of no's.

No to...

Things I just didn't want to do. 

Expectations that I had no business paying attention to. 

Comparing myself to other moms. 

Explaining myself. 

Going places I didn't want to go.

And because of that, I've gotten to say a bunch of fantastic yes's. 

Yes to...

Soaking up all the time I get with Jack. 

Enjoying my new home and making it the perfect little place for us.

Just winging it and trying to become good at being a mom.

Putting more time and effort into this blog. 

Really, truly being there for the people in my life.

Starting to write again.

And now, looking at this list and my life and these last six months, it's so obvious to me that I was only able to say yes to some things because I said no to others. 

Some things are no-brainers. Like, I got to say yes to more time with Jack because I said no to events that I didn't even want to go to. Not going to an event = more time that I got to choose what to do with = more time making memories with my chubby little guy. But some things aren't so obvious. 

For example, in order for me to say yes to being happier, it was necessary that I said no to obsessing over my post-baby body. In order for me to say yes to learning how to be the kind of mom I want to be, I had to say no to feeling like I had to explain myself and my choices. I've been able to say yes to devoting more time and energy to my blog because I've said no to spending hours watching Netflix (even though that sometimes sounds way more appealing!) 

I could go on and on and on. 

I think the amount of things we need to say yes or no to changes in each phase of life. And it's definitely different for each person...some of us crave going out, some of us need alone time, some of us love to be busy, some of us hate it. But for me, it's been so good to look back and see that saying no to things didn't take away from my life. On the contrary, saying no allowed me to say a whole bunch of yes. 

What's something you've said no to lately?

 photo signature.png

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Project Happy: Days 15-21.

A moment of complete honesty: For a myriad of reasons, this has been a hard month. Really, there could not have been a better month to try the experiment of actively making yourself happier. 

Halfway through, I can honestly say it's working for me. Tiny little actions add up to make happier days, and a happier life is made up of happier days. So let's keep going with the happier days!

Day Fifteen: Make a to-do list of everything you have to get done this week. When you get overwhelmed, look at this list. Sometimes being unhappy comes from being stressed, and forgetting what you have to do and spending your time getting distracted by things that aren't totally necessary is most definitely stressful.
Day Sixteen: Get outside. Make an effort to spend more time breathing fresh air and less time cooped up inside. Really, just five minutes of sunshine can make a huge difference in your mood.

Day Seventeen: Read a chapter in book instead of watching television when unwinding for bed. 

Day Eighteen: Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and spend ten minutes just drinking it. No phone, no TV, no email, no to-do list...just you. 

Day Nineteen: Forgive someone. Don't drudge up the past, don't invite new drama into your life...just decide to forgive them, and move on. No need to involve anyone else.

Day Twenty: Make a list of things you really, truly like about yourself. Hang it on your mirror.

Day Twenty-One: Take a humor break. Spend five or ten or twenty minutes browsing the humor section on Pinterest, watching your favorite stand up comedy, watching funny youtube clips..whatever it is that makes you laugh!

Cheers to another happy week!

 photo signature.png

Monday, August 15, 2016

Letters to Jack: Seven Months.

Dear little Jack, 

You've been in this world for seven months now. That's two-hundred and twelve days. Two-hundred and twelve days of you bringing joy and purpose into my life. Two-hundred and twelve days that have been brighter because of you, more full because of you, filled with more love and light and, okay, sleepless nights, because of you.

This month has been a challenging one. Between teething and not sleeping and Chris working some insane hours, I've felt less like a Pinterest-perfect, has it all together, savors every second kind of mom and more like a slightly crazed, sort of holding it together, really needs to wash her hair kind of mom. 

But the beautiful thing is that you don't care. You don't care that I haven't managed to do a monthly photo shoot of you with cute props, you don't care that your nursery doesn't look like something straight off of Pinterest, you don't care that I consider a Target run a fun outing for us. Your face still lights up when you see me. You still want to snuggle up to me when you're sleepy. 

Because all you know is that I'm your mom. And no matter how hard things seem or how sleepy I am or how messy things get, you love me just the same. There are no words to describe how great of a gift that is. 

You have two little teeth, are suddenly very ticklish, and have a lot to scream say. I wouldn't be surprised if, by the time I write your eight-month letter, you can say mama.

You're my best little buddy and I just adore you and your sweet little giggles and snuggles and babbles. There may have been grumpy teething days and what felt like zero-sleep nights, but these have been the best seven months of my whole entire life. 

Happy seven months, little Sneebles. Love you forever.

 photo signature.png