Saturday, May 25, 2013


Today I turned 33. Another year older, maybe a little wiser, but most of all grateful for another year spent with my amazing family. That perspective kind of takes the sting out of the whole "older" thing. :)


Adult birthdays are kind of weird. Once you hit a certain age, when you no longer have parties or even look forward to getting another year older OMG, it becomes kind of awkward to go around talking about or telling people it's your birthday (or is that just me?). Like you're trying to solicit compliments or something. I don't know. I mean, I really appreciate it when people want to celebrate my birthday and I want to be celebrated, but don't want it to seem like I'm asking people to do it. (That's why Facebook is so much unprompted birthday love!)

Anyway, we did celebrate my birthday, but in a very nice low-key way that's suitable for a non-milestone adult birthday. :) I only asked to do 2 things on my birthday: sleep in, and get frozen yogurt with my family. Mission accomplished!

Lorelai slept until after 8, at which point she came in and sang(ish) Happy Birthday to me. And then this happened:

Mommy: How old am I?
Lorelai: 3? No, not 3. Ummm?
Mommy: Keep going...
Lorelai: 4?
Mommy: No, keep going...
Lorelai: Ummmm, old?

Wow, kiddo, harsh! But way to start my day with a smile. :)

Then we just lounged around the house, enjoyed some crazy beautiful weather (70* and sunny, what??! That's not late May weather in NC!) and went out for some frozen yogurt before dropping the kids off at my mom's house for a sleepover.


Adam and I did some birthday shopping at the mall and I enjoyed Chipotle for the first time (I know, shocking).

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It's been a really great day. Even though as I'm writing this, Adam is picking Lorelai up from my mom's because she refuses to spend the night. Eh, more birthday snuggles is never a bad thing.


(#momfail: no good pictures of me and the boys. I will rectify that tomorrow at my birthday cookout. Swear.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Making me happy

I'm just a mess of jumbled thoughts lately. I've got like 3 unfinished blog posts just hanging out because my brain is just too mushy to make them coherent and meaningful. Work is crazy, life is crazy, what's new?

So I figured I'd take a cue from Ariel and just list some things that are making me happy right now.

*Tiny painted toes.


I've done Lorelai's fingernails once before, but this is her first pedicure. We're toe twinsies! (I also love my new lavendar Zoya nail polish from my May Ipsy glam bag.) Can't wait to do more toe painting in the future with my sweet girl.

*Green smoothies.

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smoothie mustache!

And more specifically, I love the fact that my kids BEG me for them. So healthy and so easy to make. Win win! I've always done spinach before, but recently tried kale. I have to say that I do prefer spinach, but no preference from the kids so far. As far as a recipe, I just kind of wing it on amounts, but basically it's just a few handfulls of the green stuff (spinach/kale) blended together really well with a cup of water. Then add 2 cups of bagged frozen tropical fruit mix (peaches, banana, pineapple, mango) and a couple tsp of honey, and voila! I like to use the orange/yellow fruits so the "soobie" as Lorelai calls it stays a pretty green color.

*My new Pacifica Island Vanilla roll on perfume courtesy of my May Ipsy glam bag.
I usually steer way clear of vanilla scents, but there's something about this one. It smells yummy and lasts a long time. Also, I think this has been my favorite Ipsy glam bag so far since I started in January! And if you want to sign up, they now have referral links. Here's mine.

*Raspberry pink peony hand soap from Bath and Body works.
This is my new favorite soap scent. I've actually got a ton of favorites but this is now at the top of my list. Every time we switch hand soap scents, I get so excited. I actually walked around the other day wondering what smelled so good until I realized it was my hands. And then I weirdly sniffed them. Something about scents with me, huh? But there is a whole thing about scents and memory/moods, so maybe it's not so weird that hand soap makes me happy...

*My new shoes.


And Lorelai's a fan, too. She so graciously pulled them off of my feet to model. Speaking of modeling, do I have a future fashion blogger in the making? She sure has that model pose down! :)

*Evenings (and weekends) spent watching the kids playing outside with the neighbors.


Last but not least, I love that my kids have struck up a friendship with the brother (also named Aidan who's a little younger than Logan) and sister (who's about a year younger than Lorelai) next door. They have such fun playing together and it's safe to say that Lorelai is obsessed with her new friend. :) That was my dream for a neighborhood like this when we had kids, but since we're such hermits, we don't really get out to meet people much (at all) or take the kids on play dates. So it was really nice when the kids got together all on their own. It's easy for us parents to just hang around and let them play without ever having to leave the yard.

Brain dump complete. Who knows if this will help straighten out the jumbled thoughts in my head, but at least it was good for my mental state to concentrate on a bunch of things that are making me happy, right?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Not getting any younger

Hello captain obvious, I know. But I'm turning 33 in a week so I'm getting the OhmygoshI'mgettingOLD panicky feeling. Especially since 3 kids + 11 years of marriage doesn't exactly scream 'spring chicken' if you know what I mean...

Anyway, I mentioned here that I'm a slave to proactive, but I think I'm at a point where I can/should try to wean myself off. So I've been thinking a lot about my skin and needing an appropriate skin care regimen for my age (oh my, that was painful to type). My dark circles are fairly noticeable but not terrible, but it's the wrinkles that are freaking me out.

I might be almost 33, but I don't want my skin to look it, right?!

So I've got my eye on some new (to me) products I've seen floating around in blog land and the (online) pages of Allure.


1. Rodan + Fields Multi-Function Eye Cream. Since it's from the makers of Proactiv, it seems like a natural next step or add-on to my current routine. But it's pricey at $59...
2. Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Deep Wrinkle Eye Cream. Much (much!) more in line with what I'd normally be willing to pay, and it's recommended by Allure. But does it really work? I guess for $12 it's worth a shot! I'll probably start here.
3. Josie Maran Argan Day + Night Eye Cream. This one looks really interesting to me. Not only is it dual purpose, but I got a sample of Josie Maran Argan Oil in my first ipsy glam bag (ipsy rocks, btw!) and I've actually been using a dab of that with some regular concealer to go under my eyes during the day which has been working nicely for a while. I wonder if that's basically the same thing as the day cream, or if this pricey ($68!) combo is worth the money.
4. Clarisonic Mia Skin Cleansing System. I've been curious about this one since I saw a review on The Small Things blog. And lately I'm convinced it's something I need (Ariel's post sealed the deal), because I keep getting these weird dry flaky patches of skin on my forehead/temple area. A baking soda scrub has only done so much. Ugh. But I haven't pulled the trigger yet, because it's also pricey--$95 is the cheapest I've seen it.

I'm seriously wondering if skin care products are a 'you get what you pay for' type of thing, or if the less expensive drug store brands work well enough. Because dude. $68 for teeny tiny thing of eye cream seems like a rip. But one I might be willing to splurge on if it really does the job. I'd need someone to really sell me on it though.

What do you guys think? Has anyone used any of the products I mentioned or have any others you swear by? I'm open to suggestions!

Side note: I've seen some people getting a StriVectin eye cream in their birchboxes recently. As much as I've been loving ipsy, that would have been perfect for me! Hmmm, is two beauty subscriptions overkill? ;)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

If nothing else, I was meant to be a mom

I've had a rough and stressful couple of weeks at work that's left me questioning myself professionally. Questioning my abilities. Questioning my worth. Questioning my purpose. Maybe I wasn't meant to do this job and don't have what it takes.

But with all of those questions and doubt that sometimes swirl in my head, there's one thing about myself that I know without a doubt: I love being a mom. I was meant to be a mom. I have what it takes and I enjoy it.



Does it mean I'm a perfect mom? Of course not, there's no such thing. Could I do things better? Yes. Am I doing my best? I truely believe so. I love my kids with every fiber of my being. I'm there for them. To nurture, guide and care for them. To set limits. To teach respect and responsibility and how to love in return.


Despite all the sleepless nights, tantrums (oh so many tantrums), and doubt about how best to parent during difficult situations, I've never once questioned my decision to become a mother. I've never once thought that I don't ultimately have what it takes to be a good mom. I'm certainly not bragging. I'm just confident.



As disappointing as it is to be in a position where I'm questioning my professional abilities, it's comforting for me to know that my job doesn't define me. I have always been a mother first (as made clearly evident to my coworkers from the massive amounts of pictures of my kids I have in my office, ha!). My career will never be put above them. I'd be more than sad to see it go (because of the paycheck), but as long as I have my kids, I have purpose and fulfillment and I'll be okay. And that's exactly how it should be.

That perspective helps me make it through the tough times, both at work and at home. If nothing else, at least I'm a good mom and that's no small thing.


PS: I feel like I need to clarify--I don't always feel so down about work. I've been enjoying my job for the most part (especially since my promotion), and I'm very grateful for it. I'm comfortable with my decision to work outside of the home, but that doesn't stop me from daydreaming about what it would be like to stay at home. The grass is always greener, right?

PPS: These are (obviously?) more pictures from Strawberry picking. Told you I had a bunch of them! :)

Linking up with Mandy's Mama Memoirs

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Strawberry picking perfection

You know that feeling you get when all plans fall perfectly into place? I was practically giddy with that feeling on Saturday.

We went to bed bummed about the forecast of rain all day, but we woke up to the sun shining bright and the birds chirping and 0% chance of rain until the evening. Perfect weather for strawberry picking and fun at a local farm. 

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We rearranged our plans and like magic, we were able to have our cake and eat it, too. No more having to choose between seeing Adam's mom on Mother's Day or going strawberry picking. And I could still have time to go shopping with my mom and have a cookout at our house for her birthday/Mother's Day celebration.

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Photo credit: Lissa Smith, who we were fortunate enough to run into on our way out. She was kind enough to take a couple of family pictures with my camera.

I've only ever been strawberry picking once. My mom and I took the boys when Logan was Lorelai's age (I think?!) and we just haven't made time to do it again. I'm pretty sure the boys don't even remember ever going. But it was the perfect family outing--especially considering how much all of my kids LOVE strawberries.

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But yeah. That feeling. The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze in the air. The kids were excited, the hubby was smiling, I was getting some good photos, and my belly was full from a special breakfast. Pure, simple, perfection.

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Every time Logan would excitedly point out another perfect strawberry, my heart would gush about how perfect this day was.

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When Aidan would run ahead to see how many more ripe berries there were, I relished the thought of all the memories we were making.

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When Adam offered to take the camera to capture me and some moments of our day, I could tell how much fun he was having, too.

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Nice artistic shot of the strawberry, honey! Great minds think alike (mine is at the top of this post).

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And when Lorelai got sick of the camera in her face and got tired of picking berries (as soon as she noticed the bounce house in the background, the berries lost their appeal), I didn't get bummed. I just picked her up and held her close, enjoying just being there with her in that perfect moment on that perfect day.

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And then we laughed when she stuck a berry down my shirt and called it a strawberry nipple. :)

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Sometimes I worry we don't do enough with the kids. I admit we like to stay close to home on the weekends because it's really the only time Adam and I get time to sit around, relax and do all the mundane things we don't have time for during the work week. But lately I've been a lot more motivated to go out and do stuff. And let me tell you--it's been pretty great. Not to say that we can't (and don't) have perfect weekends where nothing much happens. There's most definitely still a place for those in my life as a busy full-time working mom of three. But watching the joy on their faces during these out of the ordinary experiences is kind of intoxicating for me as a mom. The best thing is that this wasn't even something big like Disney. Heck, even the pet store was one of these out of the ordinary experiences. So simple and easy.

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There was a lot of enjoying the little things this weekend, and it was (have I said it enough?) perfect.

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Photo credit: Lissa Smith

PS: We had a lot more fun at the farm, but due to an absurd number of pictures I took, I'm going to spread them out over several posts.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

My loves, my hearts. The ones who made me a mother and introduced me to the deepest and best love I'll ever know.

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It's been a wonderful Mother's Day weekend full of some of my favorite things: fun, family and food. I couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

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Special breakfast of specialty donuts and biscuits.

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Strawberry picking (separate post to come).

Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mother and mother-in-law, and to all of the other fabulous moms I know.

And special birthday wishes to my mom today. I love her so much and wouldn't be the mom I am without her love and support. Cheers to you, mom!

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Of course I didn't manage to get a single picture of me and my mom this weekend, or Adam and his mom for that matter. But we were able to spend time together, and that's the most important thing.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Random thoughts: shopping, avocados and carnivals

1. I learned my lesson: never go clothes shopping wearing a sports bra. We stopped at Old Navy this weekend since they were having a 30% off sale, and I grabbed a couple of cute tops to try on. They were so unflattering that I left mad, without getting a single thing. Maybe they would have been unflattering anyway, but the sports bra sealed the deal. Bummer, because I really want some new tops for spring/summer.

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Not wearing a single thing from Old Navy, but still the cutest model there :) Should have just skipped my section and shopped for her instead!

2. I also tried on a bathing suit, and I stand by my previous statement that bathing suit shopping makes me wish it were winter all year long. Ugh.

3. Avocados (or "applecados" as Lorelai would say) are awesome. She and the boys don't appreciate their yumminess so that meant more for me and Adam. On burritos for Cinco de Mayo, and then on toast with feta and tomatoes for lunch the next day. Yum! I just wish they weren't so expensive...

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4. I sat in a conference room all alone for a meeting today. Lame. (And it happens more often than you might think...)

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5. I took the kids to a school carnival on Friday. Bounce houses + games + soda + staying up past bedtime = good times. Plus, Logan's friend's mom got us free tickets, so that's a total win in my book.

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Logan's favorite thing ever was soda pop drop ring toss. He play so many times until he won, and was so excited to drink his 7up, a treat since he rarely gets soda :)

 Also, is it really only Tuesday? Geez.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Flashback Friday: Cayman Island Turtle Farm

As my Timehop app so cruelly kindly reminded me on Monday, a year ago this week Adam and I were on our amazing second honeymoon cruise. With the chilly, dreary weather we've been having this week, it makes me extra bummed to know I'm here and not there. Sigh.

Anyway, since I completely forgot to post about our excursion to the Cayman Island Turtle Farm last year, I figured now was a perfect time to reminisce.


We got to hold sea turtles!!

We hadn't actually pre-booked any excursions for Grand Cayman, since we had already spent money on the Ruins of Tulum and zip-lining in Belize. I kind of figured we could just lounge on a beach or walk around. But at breakfast that morning, we just happened to be at a table with two different groups who were both going on various excursions to the turtle farm, and were talking about how awesome of an experience they heard it was.

There were all these separate tanks where turtles of the same age were grouped together. I love how hands-on it was, and how informative.

They totally sold us on it, so we at quickly and made a beeline to the excursion desk to see if anything was still available (a lot of excursions sell out early or leave first thing in the morning). We lucked out that there was still an open one that included a visit to the farm, lagoon snorkling, access to their swimming pool/slide and lunch.


It was totally impromptu, but I have to say that I enjoyed it as much (if not more!) than the planned excursions I had been looking forward to for months prior to our cruise. Getting to hold the turtles of different sizes was amazing, and snorkeling with them in the lagoon was really cool. What would have been really awesome is if they had some of the huge 500lb turtles in the lagoon...but no such luck :)




Afterwards, we had time to lounge poolside (and watch all of the iguanas climbing on the rocks), eat lunch (neither of us had the courage to order their turtle soup though!), and wander around the grounds and aviary. We also spent a bit of time gawking at the tank of GIANT turtles. Unfortunately, none of the pictures I took turned out, and you can't tell how big they really are from the video I took, but they were as big as me.


Adam and I kept thinking that was something the kids would have LOVED. That plus the trip to stingray city we took on our honeymoon, and the options for dolphin excursions put Grand Cayman on my list of places to take the kids one day. As fun as our annual trips to Topsail are, I would love to be able to take the kids on special vacations like this so they can experience more of our country and the world. Who knows if/when that'll actually happen, but I can dream, right? :)