Charleston

This past weekend, my girlfriends and I continued a 5+ year tradition of getting away together for the (long) weekend. We’ve done Napa, Fredericksburg (which I missed due to Celine being born), Nashville, and New Orleans, and this year we decided on Charleston! We were hoping for a charming Southern town with great food, and we weren’t disappointed.

After flying in on Friday afternoon, we headed out for dinner at our first stop: Poogan’s Porch. Our experience was slightly marred by sub-par service that resulted in a 3+ hour dinner, but we made the best of it (where were we going to go?). It was a charming, cute restaurant.IMG_0004IMG_0002IMG_0007IMG_0006IMG_0012IMG_0009

Towards the end of dinner, we glanced over and saw that Nat was circling places of interest on a map. Where did she get a printed map? No idea.IMG_0011

The next day, Michele and I decided to take a little run to check out the town while Nat and Lindsey walked around and Susanne and Lauren relaxed at the hotel.IMG_0013

After getting ready, we headed out to lunch at SNOB. It was delicious and the atmosphere was perfect!IMG_0017

We spent the afternoon wandering around, and then decided to grab a drink at a rooftop bar before heading in to change for our evening.IMG_0019IMG_0019 2IMG_0032IMG_0025IMG_0096

Our first stop of the evening was a haunted carriage ride. We learned a little history of the town and some fun ghost stories!IMG_0036IMG_0058

We headed over to Husk for a delicious dinner…I didn’t take any pictures because we were too busy eating, drinking, and getting shushed by the tables around us!

The next morning we peeled ourselves out of bed and had brunch at High Cotton, followed by a walking tour with Oyster Point Walking Tours. Our guide was absolutely amazing and not only did we learn so much, we were entertained as well!IMG_0078IMG_0084

With the rest of the day ahead of us with no plans (SO unlike us), we decided to head over to Sullivan’s Island and check out the beach. We had a good lunch at Poe’s Tavern and then walked down the boardwalk to the glittery sand. If I had stopped to think about our day’s activities, I probably wouldn’t have worn black jeans, but…it was fun anyway!IMG_0089IMG_0083IMG_0090IMG_0092

After we made our way back to Charleston and changed, we walked down the street to dinner at Fleet Landing. We were anticipating a fried-catfish kind of place, but it ended up being one of the best dinners.IMG_0105IMG_0108IMG_0110IMG_0109

Monday morning, Lindsey, Lauren, and Susanne headed to Boone Plantation while Nat, Michele, and I slept in and enjoyed our kidless morning.IMG_0138IMG_0140

We all met for lunch at 5 Church before heading to the airport. The restaurant was absolutely beautiful…the service was not so great.IMG_0118

All in all, it was such a wonderful trip, and I’m happy I can get away once a year to a fun location with these lovely ladies!

Celine: 2.11

One more month until we have a three year old! Maybe she’ll be more into taking these photos when she’s three?dsc_0417

Two big things happened this month…Celine is potty-trained, and she now has her big girl bed! The potty training went much more smoothly than with Louise. We tried one weekend, put her in pull-ups for the week at school, tried a second weekend…and then she was in panties at school and that was that. She still has to go #2 in a pull-up, but it’s super easy: she tells us she has to go, we put one on, she goes, we change her, and done. The only…not great…thing is that she has a training potty in her room, and she likes to pull out the bowl and show me that she went potty. Even if I’m in another room. Even if that room is across our house from her bedroom. Even if she spills the contents of the bowl while walking across the house to show me. *sigh*

We’re struggling a bit more with the big girl bed. She sleeps in it and absolutely loves it, so that’s good. The issue is getting her to actually SLEEP at night! Her average bedtime has been around 10:30 and it is negatively affecting everyone. I’m really hoping getting back on a school schedule and not taking marathon afternoon naps will help with this.dsc_0412

Celine is really into clothes now, and typically goes through 4-5 outfit changes per day on the weekends. She’s very opinionated about what she wants to wear – dresses are her #1 choice, always – and has a favorite dress (her “green dress”) that must be clean and available at all times. She frequently puts on her princess dresses as well, and her Rapunzel braid I made out of yarn for her Halloween costume is on its last leg. It’s cute, but she has a lot of clothes in her closet that are neglected!

She can open doors now, which hasn’t really affected anything but thought it was interesting to share. She uses this skill mainly to open her closet door and select a dress to change into.

January/February goals

Although I made some New Year’s resolutions, I wanted to take them month-by-month in hopes that they would be easier to accomplish. Here’s how January went:

  1. Eat better
    1. Success! Just regular calorie counting, not drinking, and a dash of dark chocolate and Halo Top ice cream.
  2. Exercise 3+ times per week
    1. I was running a bit in December but wasn’t super committed. Now that I have a non-running weight-lifting routine, it’s made it easier for me to work out multiple days per week. I worked out between 4 and 5 times per week in January and it felt great! I have a nagging thing happening in my right leg but it’s not too bad…hoping I can just work through it.
  3. Organize our files
    1. Whenever we get important mail that I need to file, I just toss it on top of our filing cabinet. Once a year, I go through, open all of the mail, and sort it to be filed. It’s an annoying task but getting everything filed and out of the way makes the organization-obsessed part of my brain very happy. Plus I found the prescription card I was complaining Expedia never sent me, so…win-win!
  4. Start Celine crafts
    1. I’ve already started planning Celine’s birthday in mid-March, and there were two specific crafts I wanted to do for her party. One was unicorn headbands, and I finished those mid-January (they are really easy!).
  5. Finalize 2016 photo book
    1. I am FAR from completing this goal, but I put a decent dent in it. I think I’m up to Louise’s birthday, so early May.

I’ve made new goals for February:

  1. Exercise 3+ times per week
    1. Still want to keep this going. My friend Carlie had a resolution last year to run a 5K every month, but it got derailed by her second pregnancy. I think I’m going to co-opt that idea – Michael and I ran the Hypnotic Donut Dash last weekend with the girls in our double stroller and it was a good time!1-31-17-donut-dash-21-31-17-donut-dash-31-31-17-donut-dash
  2. Finish Celine birthday crafts
    1. The other craft I wanted to finish for Celine’s party are mini unicorn pinatas – similar to the pinatas I made for Louise’s first birthday party. They’re a little trickier than what I did for Louise’s party but I think they’re going to be ADORABLE.
  3. Finalize 2016 photo book
    1. I really need to get this done so I can move on to my 2017 photo book and stay up to date with Celine’s year 3 and Louise’s year 5 books. It’s hard to motivate myself but I just have to power through!
  4. Girl room updates
    1. Both Louise and Celine’s closets need a cleaning and clothes-organizing. There are piles of clothes and shoes everywhere I need to put in bins or lend to people!
    2. We need to do a couple of little things to Louise’s room: add box springs to her bed, and re-hang her canopy that fell down.
    3. It’s also time for Celine to move to a big-girl bed! She’s been trying to climb out of her crib which her pediatrician says is the harbinger of change. We have a toddler bed but we’re just going to go for the regular bed. I have an idea of how I want the room to look, but I want to see how the bed we’ve selected looks in the room before I pull the trigger on anything else. The good news is we can finally move the sideboard into the dining room!

Fall goals

Now that things have settled down a bit with the new jobs and the girls in school, I’ve started thinking about what I want to accomplish before the end of the year.

  1. Exercise
    1. My sister and I ran a half marathon in 2007 and it really helped us both get in shape. In fact, I can’t remember a time I was more proud of my body than when I ran that half marathon. We’ve been throwing around the idea of running another one, even though we’re significantly older and have significantly more post-baby weight on us. We found one in Dallas in January that might be the perfect fit so I think we’re going to go for it. If I could get in half the shape I was the last time I will consider it a success!
    2. I’ve started running in the morning, which I love except for the fact that it’s in the morning. I am NOT a morning person, but being able to run when it’s not 100 degrees outside and getting it over with before the day starts are two major benefits. I know I’ll move to evenings the second it cools down, mainly because I love running with the girl(s) in the jogging stroller.
  2. Diet
    1. Michael and I have both not been doing a great job with our diet, particularly when it comes to alcohol. We decided to cut back on alcohol intake; specifically, not drink during the week unless there is a specific event. It’s helped us feel better every morning and reduce our daily caloric intake.
    2. I also have been monitoring what I eat which has helped. I am on semi-permanent birth control called Nexplanon which makes most women gain weight, and I’ve definitely seen the scale creep up. I’m adjusting my diet to hopefully counteract this. I also might be removing the Nexplanon soon…#spoileralert #butwhatamIspoiling #morekidsornomorekids?
  3. Travel
    1. Now that I’m with Hotels.com, my travel bug has increased dramatically. The company encourages travel (of course), and there are some serious travel perks. We’ve managed to fit in two trips to the Lost Pines resort this summer, along with Pensacola and Massachusetts vacations with family. Ideally we’d hit up New Orleans again (we’ve been for Juliette’s baptism, Mardi Gras, and a summer wedding so far) before our Christmas trip, but there’s also an event in Austin in early November I’ve been playing around with attending.
  4. Read
    1. One of the benefits of traveling more for work is that I get to read SO MUCH MORE. It’s kind of amazing, actually. I am so excited to finally get caught up on some reading…I’ve already added eight or so books to my Goodreads account.
    2. I’m stuck on Wolf Hall currently because it’s interesting but not a page-turner, and it’s over 600 pages long. I’ve made it over the halfway hump though so hopefully I’ll finish it soon because I want to get started on The Nightingale!
  5. Personal time
    1. It’s been kind of crazy lately, however, Mike and I have done a really good job of making sure we each have personal time (either alone or with adults) so we don’t go crazy with the kids. He and I both can tell, especially with me, when we feel overwhelmed or when we don’t have enough time to recharge.
  6. Documenting
    1. This blog is mainly a journal for me to remember things, versus something I post for others to see (except family members). So much is happening with my girls right now, but I need to do a better job of documenting, because it goes by so fast (cliche alert!).
    2. I put together a photo book for each calendar year, along with a separate photo book for each year of Louise and Celine’s lives. I always procrastinate and then am overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do to complete the books at the beginning of the year. I haven’t started my 2016 book yet, and though typically I try to complete one month of their lives each month, I haven’t started either of the girls’ “Year 5” and “Year 3” books, even though they’re both almost halfway through their years. I would really like to put a big dent in the 2016 book and get a few months knocked out of each girls’ books in the next month before the holidays hit.

Mozzarella making

I was doing research a couple of weeks ago on something Michael and I could do for our anniversary (it’s in two months but, you know…I’m a planner), and I came across an article that had “8 fun dates to do in Dallas.” I realized we could branch out a bit in our husband-and-wife time and maybe do some unique things. The first one that stuck out to me was mozzarella making! I mentioned it to Michael and he immediately started making jokes about “a-makin’ the mozzarell,” so I figured he was on board. I reserved a time and off we went today to Deep Ellum to make some mozzarella.

It started off with an introduction from the woman who started Mozzarella Company, Paula, along with a tour and some fun facts about cheese.
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We started out by making ricotta, which is basically milk and lemon juice. Mike was one of the burly, strong men recruited to help carry the milk.
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We juiced some lemons and poured it into the boiling milk, and…voila, ricotta!
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We scooped the ricotta out and had a taste.
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Then it was mozzarella making time!
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We ended the experience with a cheese tasting of the other wines they make, with wine. We also got to leave with the mozzarella, ricotta, and two other cheeses we made.  All in all it was a really fun and different experience!

Llamas

About a month ago, my mom emailed my brother’s girlfriend and I asking when we were available in June for a ladies’ day. We found a Saturday we were all available and she then let us know that she signed us up for a LLAMA WALK. I did not know those existed but was very intrigued!

The place we were going was very close to my parent’s house, so we met there and headed over. I was imagining we would each get a llama but we ended up rotating among the six they had.The guide was very nice and gave us a lot of information about llamas (Mike called them “llama facts”). The main one I remembered was that llamas are pregnant for a year, and male llamas basically impregnate female llamas every chance they get, and llamas get pregnant basically every attempt because they spontaneously ovulate. Being a lady llama seems pretty stressful to me!

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
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