Friday, August 30, 2013

high five 4 friday!

Happy Friday, friends! My whole week has pretty much been one long high five, as I've been on vacation in the Outer Banks! It's seriously my favorite place in the world. We've been having a great time!

1. On the only cloudy day we've had this week, we decided to head out to Bodie Lighthouse. I had this picture in my mind of having a wonderful picnic on the grass beneath the lighthouse, until we got there and saw THIS:


So we had our picnic in the car. And it was lovely.

I absolutely love lighthouses... there's just something about them that transports you back to the past. I can imagine a sea captain in the 1800's, scanning the horizon for the light that will guide them home.. it's just so romantic!

2. Spending time in the pool with my little family is my absolute favorite. D looooves the water, he gets so excited whenever he's near the ocean or a pool, it's the cutest thing.

3. My hubby decided to stay back with D one day during his nap (to take a nap himself, lol) so I got to spend some rare alone time at the beach. It was glorious!

4. Today we are going to eat lunch at the Nag's Head Pier, a yearly tradition for us. It's also extra special because that's where we went to celebrate our engagement 3 years ago! They have the best clam strip basket EVER! I can't wait.

5. My good friends from college are in Hatteras this week, only 2 hours from us, so we decided to meet halfway for lunch yesterday! It was so good to see them before we leave for Montana, and we had a great lunch at a beautiful restaurant!!

Linking up this week with Lauren for High Five for Friday!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

We've been on vacation here in OBX for approximately three days, and I. AM. EXHAUSTED. Whoever said that vacation with kids is no vacation at all was sooo right. Don't get me wrong, we're having a blast, it's just not as relaxing as vacation has been in past years. Although that could also possibly be because there are 16 of us here... that could be a factor.


Just a little bit.

However, D is absolutely loving the ocean and the pool, and is pretty much being a gem of a kid, as usual. Our only hiccup was the first night when he woke up ten (TEN?!) times in one night. Yikes. But, he seems like he is used to his surroundings now and sleeping through the night again. His schedule is totally off, but that's to be expected.

It's supposed to be a little cloudy and cool today, so I'm hoping to go for a nice scenic drive and visit some lighthouses, and have a little less hectic of a day!

Fingers crossed.

Now, onto the photo dump!! Enjoy!


As I was finishing this post, I gave D a bite of cereal, and my spoon bumped into something.


He is not old enough to have a tooth.

And it literally came in overnight.

My world is upside down.

I can't decide if I'm ecstatic or sooo sad that my baby is growing up.

Yeesh. Kids make you cray.

Friday, August 23, 2013

High Five for Friday

1. White pants on clearance at obsessed!

2. Sleepy baby :)

3. Almost done packing, thank goodness!

4. Had a date night with my hubby and had the most delish steak sandwich.

5. 2 days til OBX and I. Can't.  Wait.

How was your week?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

an ode to north carolina

With 12 days left in the state I have called home for the last year and a half, I find myself a little nostalgic. So many great things happened to us here, and while I am pumped and ready for this new adventure, I want to take some time to look back as well.

The year I met my husband, only 3 months after we started dating, his family invited me on their annual family vacation. I was surprised, because hey, it had only been 3 months. They must have known what we already suspected ourselves, that this relationship was in for the long haul :) That my was first introduction to North Carolina and OBX. And while I had been to the beach a few times before, this was the first time that I truly fell in love with an area. Something about the dunes, the beach grass, and the lighthouses was so magical to me, and made me feel so calm and peaceful, that I knew this place would always be a home for my heart.

8 years have passed since that first year, each vacation better than the last. It was because of these amazing vacations that we had always planned to move to the coast, preferably OBX, to make our "forever home". Last year, we finally made the leap and moved the 12 hours from Alabama to North Carolina- not to the Outer Banks, as was our original plan, but to a tiny little town we'd never been to called New Bern. When we rolled in, after the loooong 12 hour drive, we were less than impressed. Our apartment was crappy, the town seemed a little ghetto, and we wondered if we had made a huge mistake.

Pretty much describes 90% of our relationship.

Over time, we slowly fell in love with the town. We explored the quaint downtown area, the waterfront, and met some of the amazing people who call this place home. We experienced so many firsts here; I found out I was pregnant, and told Mike he was going to be a daddy in that crappy little apartment. We worked our asses off to move out of the awful neighborhood, into the cutest little house, the first place we actually felt was ours. We brought our son home to this house, and watched him go from a tiny little squirmy newborn into the amazing little boy that brings so much light into our lives every day. Here we experienced some of our roughest patches, and some of our happiest times.

So, although we are leaving a place that we have made so many wonderful friends and memories, we are excited for our new life. We've learned over the years that home is wherever we are all together. But, in times of stress, whenever I think of my "happy place".... it will always be here.

D's first time to the beach... he's 1 month old! (And it's January... crazy)

the packing queen

Now that I officially let the cat out of the bag yesterday, I can actually share what's been going on around here the past few weeks!

We (and by we I mean I, since my husband's packing skills are nonexistent) have been packing up a storm! I've gone through every room, throwing tons of stuff out, having a yard sale, and trying to pack in the most organized way I can. I've moved so many times, I'm practically the packing queen!

Seriously, packing up a house with an 8 month old is difficult on a whole new level. His new trick is running his walker repeatedly into stacks of boxes, purposely giving mommy a heart attack, while laughing maniacally.  My most productive times are the 2 hour spurts of nap time...which usually backfires, as I inevitably drop a box and wake him up...its been a trip, lemme tell you.

We've got 4 days left to pack, then we go on our family vacation for a week, and when we get back, its off to Montana! I'm sooo looking forward to that week of relaxation in between all the craziness. I love this week every year, full of family and fun. It's extra special this year, as it's D's first beach vacation, and he'll meet his great grandparents for the first time.

The next two weeks will be exciting, exhausting, terrifying, and exhilarating.

And I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

the big news

I alluded to our big news a little bit in this post, and now I think we are finally ready to share! All our family and *most* of our friends have been told, so I've gotten the go ahead from command central, a.k.a. the hubs,  to share it with the interwebs :)

After much thought and soul-searching, God has led us to make the HUGE decision to move from North Carolina to MONTANA!

Why are we moving 2,000 miles away, you ask?

Several reasons. We've been unhappy where we are for quite some time now, and my husband has been trying to find a new position in the field he's passionate about, IT, and it's just not happening here. We have been struggling with being on our own with a new baby (our closest family is a 6 hour drive) and feeling overwhelmed and isolated. We want D to grow up around family, which really gives us two options. We could move nearer to my husband's family, which is up near DC- very densely populated, crowded, and traffic like you wouldn't believe. NOT our cup of tea.

Or, we could move near my parents, to Montana. Where the entire state has less than 1 million people. The closest mall is 2 hours away. 3 hours from Yellowstone. 2 hours from Glacier Park. 8 hours from Seattle, 8 hours from Canada... you get my drift.

Montana just suits the lifestyle we strive for better. We aspire to be the type of people who see the world, not own it. Because granted, this move will set us back considerably. We were on the verge of buying our first house here, and that will be put on the back burner in Montana. We are having to get rid of quite a bit of our furniture to make our 5 day road trip easier, which means we will be furnishing our home all over again (which, really, is kind of exciting). We will be staying with my parents for several weeks while we find a place and get settled. Yikes.

But, none of those things really matter, in the long run. What matters is our family's happiness, and we truly believe that God is leading us to Montana. It is definitely going to be an adjustment to move from a state that can hit 80 degrees in December, to a state that barely hits 80 degrees in July. Montana is notorious for harsh winters; but, also well known for beautiful hiking, lakes, skiing, horseback riding, and all of the outdoor activities that our family loves.

We are nervous, but infinitely more excited. I know that this decision is part of God's plan for our family, and I can find peace in that. The next few weeks will be challenging, tiring, and sad, but we just have to keep our eye on the final prize- it's all about crafting the life you want for yourself. If you are unhappy with where you are, change it. Nothing is permanent, nothing is static. Everything is constantly changing, and we should free ourselves to adapt with it.

The blog is about to get really exciting, as we will be documenting this craaazy cross country move. I will be flying with baby D, but my husband, dad and brother will be driving 2,000 miles across the country, and you can bet I will be recruiting them for some guest posts about their travels!! I'm super jealous, as I'd love a cross country road trip... but you KNOW I'm not about to drive for 5 days with an 8 month old.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

Friday, August 16, 2013

homemade baby food and organic alternatives

Making your own baby food can be time consuming and challenging, but, in my opinion, one of the best things you can do for your baby. When you make baby food from scratch in your home, you know exactly what you're getting; the cleanliness of your prep area, the freshness of the produce you are using, and the exact date it was made. These are variables that you just can't be sure of when using pre-made baby food. Not to mention, most jars of baby food contain quite a few preservatives, such as citric acid, that are not necessarily harmful in low doses, but are just really unnecessary to your baby's diet. 

Today, I'd like to share with you the few tips and tricks that I've learned in the past 4 months when making D's food. I want to preface this by saying that we do not always use homemade baby food. The majority of his diet is fresh, organic produce, but sometimes that is just not feasible. One of the major downsides of homemade baby food is how difficult is can be to transport it. A jar (or pouch) of baby food doesn't need to be refrigerated until opened, making it easy to throw in your diaper bag and go. A fresh jar of homemade baby food needs to be kept cool, requiring a cooler, ice pack, and proper timing, which can definitely add a little stress to your outing. 

When we use pre-made baby food, I always read labels. A lot of the fruits contain citric acid, which I try to steer clear of. I've found that my favorite brand of pre-made baby food is Earth's Best Organic. Occasionally, there will be a preservative in there, but for the most part, the ingredients are straight forward, and all organic. They also come in jars and squeeze pouches, which I love. 

Making your own baby food can seem like a daunting task, but it's really not that difficult. The biggest challenge for me was getting accustomed to cooking fruits and vegetables that I wasn't familiar with. I'm a very picky eater, and had never tried quite a few of the things I wanted to feed D. For instance, I had never cooked squash or zucchini before, so that was a little bit of a learning curve. This has actually been a great experience for my diet as well, as I taste everything before I feed it to him, so I've learned to like new vegetables!

The first thing you need is a blender, food processor, or dedicated baby food maker. When you decide what you want to use, it's important to only use it for baby food prep, so there is no cross contamination (even after going through the dishwasher, you don't want the remnants of your margarita in your child's food!!) I was given the Baby Bullet as a gift, and have been very pleased with it. I also received the Baby Bullet Cookbook, which was a great guide for which foods to start out with.

Once you've chosen what food you want to start with, the rest is very easy! Make sure your work space is very clean. Wash, peel, core, or seed the fruit or vegetable you are working with, and chop into small chunks. You can either boil or steam at this point, but you want to make sure the food is thoroughly cooked, practically to the point of falling apart. This will reduce the likelihood of unwanted chunks in your final product. Drain your food very well, then put into the Baby Bullet or food processor, and blend the heck out of it. Seriously, you cannot overdo this part, especially if this is your baby's first introduction to solids. You want it to be smooooooth. One of my biggest frustrations with the Baby Bullet is sometimes it leaves some serious chunks, which I have to pick out... so not fun.

Sweet Potatoes!

Pour into individual containers, and stick in the fridge to cool! Baby food in the fridge will last 3-4 days, but you can freeze some and those will last for around 30 days. I recommend trying to do a few days a month of bulk freezing, as it can get time consuming. If you purchase the Baby Bullet, it has these great containers that allow you to put the expiration date on. Also, you always have the option of pureeing the food right before serving, which I do often with things like blueberries, that don't need to be steamed. 

Happy Food!

Making your baby's food can be time consuming, but it's also extremely fulfilling and rewarding, especially knowing your baby is getting the best you can offer. It's a great feeling!

I know this is a super long post, but I wanted to be as thorough as possible! If you have any questions about making your own baby food, or organic pre-made baby food products that I recommend, just email me at! 

I have to have a title??

My baby boy has his first cold :( He's 8 months old tomorrow, so I guess it's pretty good that we managed to go 8 months with no illness. It's still brutal to see him so uncomfortable- it breaks my mommy heart. He's still so incredibly sweet and happy though :)

My hubby has been home the past few days, and it's been wonderful. Spending some quality quantity time as a family is fantastic...its been so long since we've gotten to do that.

Vacation is in 8 days and counting, my friends. So close, and yet so far.

Happy Friday!