Brew of the Day

19 10 2015

For the first time in years, we found ourselves with a free October weekend! October is usually filled with celebrations of fall – festivals, craft shows, races, and out-of-town trips, but we ended up having the whole weekend to explore the peak of foliage in our town. Normally, I would have been running my favorite half marathon, the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon. But sadly, the race featured a great white on their medal this year, and alas, I have a huge phobia of all things sh*rk – it’s no joke. So no trip, no race. Getting over endless sickness made us also postpone plans with friends to make our annual trek to what would have been a cold, crowded, windy apple orchard.

Instead, I stumbled across an ad for a local craft festival that featured all things vintage, handmade, and shabby chic – of course we had to check it out! (We loved their brick-and-mortar store, too!) From there, we walked around downtown, checking out a beer shop, grabbing a coffee, and poking in lots of small local businesses. It was so nice to chat with the owners of each shop – from boutique baby clothes to fair trade stores. So much better than big-box stores!

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E always insists on “coffee water” whenever I get coffee anywhere. It’s just free water in a to-go cup but I’m sure moms of toddlers everywhere are giving him the sidelong.

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After a full day of gallivanting and an impromptu family photo shoot in the woods, we stumbled upon a pumpkin sale benefitting the church that does so much outreach for my school community – we decided to spring for one of their pumpkins this year instead of a wagon-full from another local patch. Our pumpkin came from New Mexico!

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My husband and I both returned home remarking that Saturday had been one of the best days we’ve ever had!

Despite our week of sickness and sleepless nights, we didn’t want to miss out on a single gorgeous fall day (fall is so fleeting!!), so after church Sunday, we headed out on a scenic drive, stopping only for fresh kettle corn and breathtaking overlooks. We originally wanted to hike, but we were just too tired.

We visited my favorite trees on our way out of town.

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Gosh, my boys have changed since the last time these trees were red:




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We continued our scenic drive and climbed all over the mountain rocks! I took pictures in every possible light.

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Fall-themed blogs are my favorite kind to read – thanks for cozying up to read along with me!


Pumpkin Scales, Pig Races, and Pink Skies | Very 1st Field Trip!

14 10 2015

Despite a little one at home whose temperature was flirting with the 104-degree mark, I took a personal day from work to accompany my 3-year-old on his very first field trip. The trip was to our favorite farm, but I still wanted to be there to catch all the sweet moments! As a teacher, I won’t always be able to do this, but this milestone was really important to me and was so worth forking over one of only 2 precious personal days we get each year.

But first, a look-back: last year’s and this year’s trip to the farm:

Back Home on the Farm 2014 2015

The morning sky promised a perfect fall day on the farm:



Listening intently to his favorite preschool teacher, clutching the brown bag lunch he wouldn’t let me hold.


Digging for potatoes and exploring the new kiddie play area!







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He found the best vantage point on the hayride up to the pumpkin patch!



The entire class rode the carousel twice… it was a long ride… and fast…



Front row seats for the pig races.


Finally getting to eat his lunch. We capped off the day with a zillion trips down the 40-foot underground slide, everyone’s favorite attraction. 🙂

And just like last year, he slept in the car all the way back.

Normal Day Treasures

6 10 2015

normal day

The sun is back. It’s been a long time since we have caught even a ray of it! Today can pretty much be chalked up to a perfect “normal” day. I thought a lot about how grateful I am to have a generally positive attitude, as I was pulled in a million different directions at work while my sons were away from me at daycare. I began to look for the treasures hidden in the day, reflecting on each one as its own silver lining. I hope to collect these thoughts later in my journal of blessings (inspired by Ann Voskamp).

The fog settling over the valley was so pretty during my drive to work this morning. Stumbling over my words as I tried to explain fog to my 3-year-old.


My 12-month-old waving goodbye to me from the comfort of his teacher’s arms. A tear-free transition. Finally.

Arriving to work 10 minutes early and using the time to walk a prayer circle behind the school. Still in awe that I get to work in such a beautiful place.


And feeling blessed that at my new job, I get to be a full-blown counselor. Almost 100% of my time is spent directly with students individually, in small groups, and in the classroom (I log my hours in NoteCounselor after school every day). When I’m not directly with students, I’m talking to their parents or conferencing with their teachers, also direct hours. It makes for busy days, and my principal has begun to exclaim, “You came back!” after some of the most eventful days.

Getting a handwritten card from my principal, just thanking me for being at the school and being a positive light.

Having one of the most respected teachers in the school, the one who never speaks when I teach in her classroom, seek me out in my office later just to say, “Thank you. You have such a calm and soothing voice for the kids, you talk to them in such a way that they have no choice but to want to follow your directions.”

Me: an awe-struck puddle on the floor.

Missing lunch to facilitate the toughest small group of them all, and seeing the boys’ tough exteriors begin to crack as they slowly trust each other. Finding a pocket of 10 minutes afterward to eat a bowl of hot soup and a full-size Hershey bar.

At car rider duty, a parent sincerely telling me, “It’s so nice to see a smiling face every single day. Thank you.”

Staying after school to coach a running club, running alongside a new coworker who is exactly my pace, and finding out we grew up in the same hometown.

My 3-year-old, after spotting me at daycare, running toward the gate with open arms, not yet too cool for such affection over Mommy or for falling head over heels to hug me.

Finding a free book for the boys in our mailbox: “Llama Llama and the Bully Goat.”

Wolfing down leftover Greek dinner my husband made last night before leaving the house one last time for the evening.

Driving through my favorite canopy of trees today…

…six different times.

The first and sixth trips with cups of hot coffee.

Opting to let my hairdresser straighten my hair before I left. (I ALWAYS leave the salon with wet curly hair.) Laughing with her about the 3 wiry white hairs I found on my head this week.

Teaching my 3-year-old how to play a board game before bed. How to roll a die. How to take turns and play fairly.

Watching his excitement as he taught his daddy how to play the same game while I watched, nursing the baby to sleep.

Trying on pretty Stitch Fix items, debating what to keep and what to send back.

Finding quiet time to blog and do laundry.

Grateful for my decision to cloth diaper as I hung them to dry. Looking forward to having a new friend over next week who wants to learn about cloth diapers.

Thinking about the 5 cute little cloth diaper pails, lined up all in a row at daycare.

Being able to answer my toddler when he asked, “Mommy, are you coming to the pumpkin patch with me and my class?”

“Yes, Mommy is coming.”

I’d rearrange the world for you. 

Countdown to Halloween | Scary pumpkins and 300 sorority girls…

21 10 2014
The Chronicles of We

Linking up with Sweet Turtle SoupThe Chronicles of WeCocktails & Carseats, and Tickled Pink for Countdown to Halloween! Today I’m recapping some fall trips we’ve made as a family. 🙂 We’ve visited a pumpkin patch and our local fall craft festival, and we added two festivals over the weekend.

On Saturday, we spent the day at our Christian radio station’s fall festival. Our plan was to stop by, drop off a food donation, meet the sweet DJs, then head out to visit a local farm. Our toddler wasn’t interested UNTIL we started leaving and he pointed back at the face painting tent and said, “I want to do that.” So we figured we’d wait about 10 minutes in line, get his face painted, order from the food truck, then finish out the afternoon at the farm.

UMMM… TWO AND A HALF HOURS OF WAITING IN LINE LATER… his face was painted, the food truck was gone, the festival was over, and the farm was going to close soon. Luckily we had friends waiting in line with us! We drove through Chick-fil-a on our way home, he fell asleep (thus ruining the face paint), and we called it a day!

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I think it was supposed to look like the skin being pulled off and a pumpkin was underneath…

After church on Sunday, we made it to the farm, which is considered an “agritourism” destination and is an attraction for field trips, families, and apparently, as we learned on Sunday, sororities. There were at least 300 sorority sisters there. They waited in line for hours at the one food truck, had a chapter meeting, then left. A lot of them also got little pumpkins. (We look pictures.)

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We spent the day riding trains, visiting the animals, sliding down a 60-foot hay bale chute, braving the longest, fastest  carousel ride EVER, visiting “Pumpkin Hollow,” playing in a corn kernel pit, gallivanting on the playground, eating yummy snacks, and watching pig races. The only thing we skipped was the corn maze because after everything else, our oldest was ready for a nap. Plus, last year, the corn maze took us 2 hours.

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Baby’s first official ride. If you don’t count Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, BTMR, et al. at Disney while I was pregnant.


I wish we could do these things year-round!

oh hey | five on friday

10 10 2014

Happy Friday! I am loving every minute of my maternity leave! I am so lucky that my boys seem to be on the same sleeping schedule. One day, they both napped for 5 hours (in separate rooms). Another day, they both slept in til noon! But when they’re awake, we’ve enjoyed getting out and about to take advantage of the fall weather.

Also, I’m linking up with darciaprilchristina, and natasha for their Five on Friday Fall Giveaway!

Five on Friday Fall Giveaway


one | This little guy turns 2 weeks old tomorrow! I’m doing a variation on the monthly sticker onesies that I used for his big brother and using this tree scrap (with rings) for size perspective.

2012 - 2014 E and S just born

two | I love having friends over to meet the baby! And one of my friends set up a Take Them a Meal site for us, so we’ve been blessed to have a handful of meals dropped off in the evenings. I’ve been reading Blue Eyed Bride’s 31 Days of Breaking Bread series, which has also given me a simplified perspective on entertaining guests and putting people at ease in our home.

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three | While my husband was home last week (on baby leave), our family visited a local pumpkin patch. This one is really fun – you can load up a whole wagon for only $25! I’ve heard they sell out fast, so we went early in the season and on a weekday to avoid the crowds. Worth it. Recap here!

Pumpkin patch 2014 - 2

four | Wednesday, I took my boys to run lots of errands and do some Christmas shopping. I had both in cloth diapers and wore my newborn in a carrier. (3 stores in 3 hours.) That night, I attended a major Board of Supervisors meeting about whether the aging school where I work will be getting a new facility. The meeting was 3 hours long, and the baby slept in my Boba 3G for the entire meeting with just one bout of sleepy giggles and one squeaky hiccup. It was fun to see my coworkers again.

10-8-14 downtown shopping

five | Every month, I recycle 10 ink cartridges (that I purchase in bulk off eBay with my in-laws) and get $20 to spend at Staples. This month, I intended to pick up more fabric cube bins for toys in E’s new toddler room, but they don’t carry them anymore. One of the managers offered to sell me some cubes that were part of furniture floor models for $1.99 each! I wish I had bought all of them, but I only got 4. And here is the before/after, which will probably last about 5 seconds:

10-8-14 toddler room

Linking up for Five on Friday with Darci, Christina, April, and Natasha, and oh hey, Friday with Karli and Amy

Painted Pumpkins!

12 10 2013

After our tractor ride to the pumpkin patch a few weeks ago, we came away with three small pumpkins and one larger one to carve. Tonight we sat down to paint the smaller pumpkins!

Pumpkin 1

E labored carefully over his pumpkin and loved dipping the brush into the paint, but we had to watch him closely after he stuffed the wet brush into his mouth (obviously while I was taking advantage of a photo op, below – mom fail!). Luckily after the taste of acrylic paint and the hoops it took us to clean it all out, he didn’t try it again.

Pumpkin 3

Pumpkin 8

I finished the last two pumpkins, which are now adorning our dining room table. I started out playing around with masking tape, fully intending to make a chevron pumpkin, but let’s be honest. I didn’t have the time or patience for that. Plus my table runner is already chevron, leftover from E’s nautical 1st birthday party. So I found a much simpler design on Pinterest (of course) for one of them, leaving the stem natural though, and just freehanded the other monogrammed one. That just leaves one still to carve…! 🙂

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Pumpkin 4

Pumpkin 5

Pumpkin 7

Fall on the Farm!

7 10 2013

Last weekend, we went to a local apple orchard with friends (recap here!) and also visited a (new-to-us) farm for the first time. It was perfect way to kickoff the autumn season in September!

This farm will have to become a new family tradition, at least while E is still a toddler – there were so many fun things to do and explore that were geared toward wee little folks! When we arrived, we checked out the general store, then hopped onto the flatbed of a tractor for a hayride up to the pumpkin patch! E marched right into the patch and grabbed a perfect little round pumpkin off the vine (?). He carried it all over the patch – he was so proud of it!

Pumpkin 1

Pumpkin 2

We picked out a few other small pumpkins and rode back down to the store. After depositing our pumpkins in the car, we ventured back into the farm to visit the horse and the donkey. E loved them! We were also able to sit in the bleachers and watch a few piglet races.

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There were also pretty gardens that created a gorgeous backdrop for pictures, and a giant 60′ slide-tunnel with a 20′ drop carved into the hillside. Sitting on burlap mats, we ducked into the tunnel and – whoosh! Away we went. E did it with each of us, and I think he had fun!

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There were all kinds of playgrounds and even a wooden train to climb through, so we let E run around in those for a little while. He loved collecting large green tree nuts and handing them out to other kids.

Pumpkin 4

It was getting late, so we finally made our way to the corn maze and selected a toddler-themed scavenger hunt from a large selection of “choose-your-own-adventure” inspired routes. We were in the maze for about 45 minutes! I held a long piece of PVC pipe with flags on it so that the workers (who looked like lifeguards on their tall posts) could monitor our progress. We all really enjoyed the maze, and about halfway through, I thought to turn on my RunKeeper app to see what kind of crazy route we were making as we went in what seemed like endless circles. Although, I’m proud to admit, I think I did a great job blindly navigating the maze, as direction-challenged as I am! I followed the cues and found all the correct passport markers, in order.

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When we finally emerged, we headed back up to the barn for one last carousel ride! The indoor carousel was hand-painted and built in 1942, I believe. We were the last family there, so we had the whole carousel to ourselves. E has ridden the one at Busch Gardens, but this one was a little too fast for his (or my!) liking, and it went on for about 10-15 minutes! We all felt sick afterward, and E was in hysterics. It felt like the crazy boat ride from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie! We had even contemplated jumping off, but the attendant had gone out of his way to allow us to ride after he was technically closed for the evening. After that, we selected one last pumpkin from the farm and headed home, happy and tired!