Friday, July 25, 2014

Books I've Read

At the beginning of the year, I made a goal for myself to read one book per month (at least). I have always loved reading, and usually have a running list of books I want to read. Let's face it though, being a working mom and chasing around after an energetic two year old little boy don't leave much time for reading. Sometimes at the end of the day I want nothing more than to watch Real Housewives of Any City and vegetate on the couch. I've surprised myself though and actually kept up with my goal, so I figured I would do a little recap of the first six here on the blog.

Calico Joe by John Grisham

Great Read. I highly recommend it to any baseball fan or sports fan in general as it combines the love of the game, history of the sport, and a fictional characters all in one.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book was just so-so for me. I heard a lot of rave reviews, but it just didn't keep my interest the way I had hoped. I think part of it had to do with the age of the characters, and part of it just didn't seem believable to me with the whole trip to Amsterdam/author situation. It was just alright to me.
Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle

I might be the only person in the blog world that hasn't read Melanie Shankle's blog, but rather I was first introduced to her through this book. And loved it. I found myself laughing and nodding my head the whole way through. Totally related to this crazy ride of motherhood and felt like she was writing the words of so many mother's thoughts and hearts. Would recommend and read again.
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

Another so-so. It didn't grab me the way all of Elin Hilderbrand's other books have. I liked it, and enjoyed the story line well enough, but it wasn't one of my favorites from this author.
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

I'm a big Nicholas Sparks fan and always buy his books when they come out. Partly because he's an NC based author and his books are too, but he's just a great story teller.  I really liked this book. I liked that it took place in a different region of the state than the coast. It's placed just up the road from where we live, so that was neat knowing what the area looks like in real life. I like that it paired two totally opposite worlds- art and bull riding, but told two great love stories. As always, Nicholas Sparks is a must read for me.

The One and Only by Emily Giffin

Again, a huge fan of this author. I feel like she's a total girls girl, relatable, and a great writer. I've read all her books and this one was not my absolute favorite compared to her first few, but definitely a great read. The story line is a little different and I've heard people have some strong opinions on it- but despite the situation that takes place, I found myself still liking all the characters and rooting for them no matter how unconventional the relationship may be. I'd definitely recommend this one.

So there you have it, my first six books of the year. In addition to these six, I also read/participated in a women's bible study with Esther by Beth Moore- it was great, and I highly recommend it if anyone is looking for a bible study currently!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

the joys of potty training

Two weeks ago, I decided to start potty training Landon. He's been showing some interested for some time, and I really wanted to train him over the summer while he wasn't in preschool and I could have the help of my mom and mother in law since they are watching him this summer. I also wanted him to be mostly potty trained by our beach trip in mid August, just so I didn't have to pack diapers or worry about changing sandy diapers on the beach. 

I decided the weekend of July 4th would be the best opportunity, because it was a three day weekend and I would have more time to focus on it versus a regular weekend. Friday we went to the pool and a baseball game, so we really didn't start until Saturday. I made no plans for the weekend other than staying home and running to the bathroom every 30 minutes. 

I stocked up on undies, pull ups, and M&M's and we just stopped using diapers cold turkey. You like how I said cold turkey as if we were addicted to them or something? The truth is, we were. Every parent is. We complain about changing dirty diapers and how nice it will be when we don't have to spend that money each month, but then as soon as we start potty training we start to miss them. Running errands is not so simple anymore, there are more messes and accidents to clean up than we care to admit, and frankly, its just downright hard to potty train a child. 

The first week was rough, I will be the first to admit. There were accidents every five minutes it seemed, and I felt like I was back on an inpatient unit at the hospital wiping hineys and cleaning up puddles of peepee. Our biggest struggle was getting him away from his toys to go potty for two seconds. He simply didn't want to stop what he was doing to bother. 

I read tons about the "three day method" of potty training, and thought that maybe by day 3 he would have it down pat. But the truth is, he didn't, and it took a lot longer. Kudos to all the moms out there that it worked for, it just didn't for us. We took the route of using regular undies during the day, and pull ups during nap and nighttime. Also, if we were out for several hours or driving somewhere outside of the immediate area, we wore pull ups- just to avoid a mess in public. I have also continued using swim diapers simply to avoid any Code Brown's in the pool, if ya know what I mean. It would be my luck that the day I stop using swim diapers we have to evacuate the pool. :)

Two weeks later, we are pretty much accident free. We still haven't ventured out much, but thats just because our weekdays are mostly work and then home to eat/relax/play outside. Landon does GREAT at home, in a controlled environment where the potty is close- but going out is a little trickier and he sometimes doesn't remember to ask to go potty. It's a process. It's by far the hardest transition/milestone we've made so far. I have no tips or tricks to offer any other moms on how to potty train, other than once you start, you have to keep going with it and be consistent. And be patient. 

sunflower fields

I've had the itch lately to just get out and do something. I know that sounds totally random, and very vague, but I just feel the need to experience something. Deep down I'd really love to take a trip somewhere exciting and new, I've even gone so far as to research some dream destinations that I hope to one day visit. But traveling simply isn't an option right now, so I decided to experience something local. North Carolina is an amazing state in that in just a few hours you can be at the beach or the mountains, and in the middle? Well that's where we live, and there's no shortage of activities here either.

Friday afternoon I decided to take a drive to Salisbury. I'd heard about a sunflower field there and figured I would take a drive and see if I could find it. So I did, and 15 minutes away I found one of the prettiest places I've seen in a while. Several acres of gorgeous yellow sunflowers just begging to be photographed. I pulled over on the side of the road and grabbed a few shots from my car, but noticed "no trespassing" signs, so that was as close as I could get. :(

Afterwards I visited a great road side stand and stocked up on local peaches, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and even pimento cheese. One of my absolute favorite things about summer is the farmers market and road side stands. Fresh, local, homegrown produce is in abundance and we frequently have dinners that are fruits and veggies only. Its cheap, and healthy, and delicious.

This morning, I decided to go to our local Farmer's market and see if they had any fresh flowers. When I got there, I noticed a stand for the farm where we pick our strawberries each year, High Rock Nursery. They had huge huge sunflowers in buckets, and were only $1 per bloom. I purchased 7 blooms to use at home, and asked them if they had more at their farm. The guy there said they did, so afterwards I drove over to the farm and asked if I could take some pictures of their sunflowers. They are the nicest family, and have one of the neatest places- I always joke with John and say that I wish they would hire me because I would be in hogs heaven getting to pick blackberries, blueberries, and corn every day.

It felt good exploring, getting outside, and enjoying the beauty that is literally right down the road from me. Sometimes I feel like I need to travel to experience, but the truth is- there is so much to see and do right here around my home. Living out in the country has its perks, thats for sure!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

pool days

Growing up, I remember practically living at the pool near our house. I remember waking up, watching Saved By The Bell and eating our breakfast, and then packing our bags and cooler to head to the pool. We would spend all day there, sometimes even staying out there for dinner. We knew all the lifeguards by name and they knew us. We would build forts out of the lounge chairs and play Shark in the deep end of the pool. Break time seemed to last forever and swim time seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye.

From as early as I can remember we were involved in swim lessons. Our summers were spent in water of some sort, be it the pool, beach or lake. Once I got into high school, I started looking for a job and decided to become a lifeguard. During summer break I spent Monday through Friday 8-5 (and sometimes later), lifeguarding on the lake for summer sailing and wake boarding camps on Lake Norman. I loved every minute of it.

Thanks to my childhood, I knew before we even had kids that I wanted them to be little water babies. We joined the local pool and go to the beach every chance we get, and thankfully Landon loves the water. Lately, every Friday night, and Saturday and Sunday afternoon are spent at the pool. These North Carolina summer days are insanely hot and humid, and its so nice to be able to pack our pool bag and snacks and go swimming. Every time we are there I can't help but think that we're forming Landon's summer memories. I laugh now because the lifeguards seem so young- but as a kid they were what we looked up to and wanted to be like.  I can only hope that Landon looks back on his childhood and has sweet memories of going to the pool and soaking in the goodness of summer.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bald Head Island | Part 2

Since my Bald Head Island Part 1 post clearly didn't have enough pictures in it.... :)

Whenever we go to the beach each year I try and pack a nice outfit for Landon to get some shots of him. Its good to see how he grows each summer and its also nice to update some of the frames in our house. I say its good to update the frames, but in reality I haven't done that since he was 8 months old. Maybe one day...

Anywho, here's a few more pictures from our trip, Landons "nice" pictures, and some IG ones also.



Bald Head Island | Part 1

I think I just need to come to terms with the fact that 2014 is the year that I completely slack on keeping up with my blog. That said, I'm determined to document our lives and keep this blog rolling as a memory keeper for my family!

Last week we packed our bags and headed east to Bald Head Island, NC for a few days of vacation and some sunshine. My sister in law, brother in law, niece, nephew and mother in law were already on the island a few days prior to us, so we drove down to meet up with them and enjoy a long weekend of beach fun. Our first trip to Bald Head was for our 2nd anniversary weekend, and we loved it. If you have never been and are looking for a North Carolina vacation I would point you there (of many places). The beauty of Bald Head is that you cannot take your car with you, which in a way forces you to slow down and soak in your time there. There are golf carts, bikes, or boats as your forms of transportation and you arrive there by passenger ferry.

Every time we visit Bald Head I am reminded of what a beautiful state we live in. The lighthouses, the beautiful beaches, and the old towering oak trees hanging over the roads are some of my favorite things about this state.

We left Wednesday after a half day at work, ate dinner in our favorite coastal town of Southport, NC, and then hopped on the 8pm ferry over to the island for 3 full days of sand and sun. It was glorious. My soul needed some sunshine, gorgeous blue water, and sand in my toes.  Landon thankfully is a great beach baby and absolutely loved playing in the sand with his shovels and trucks and jumping waves with John. He is so fearless about the ocean, as he is with most things in life. And while the mom in me holds my breath praying nothing happens or no creatures with fins appear, the other side of me absolutely loves that my little 2 year old has this sense of adventure and freedom. Me? on a good day, I may wade out to waste deep in the water. But its not long before the fear of crabs, jellyfish, or worse creeps into my mind and I high tail it back to my chair in the surf.

Our days were slow and easy. We slept in, ate breakfast and made our way over the dunes to the ocean each morning. Ate lunch under the tent, dug holes in the sand, and watched our babies run free on the sand. Mid afternoon we would head home so the two little boys could nap, and we would ride bikes or swim or shower and relax some more. We would eat dinner and then hop on the golf cart to explore the island, play on the beach for a few more minutes, grab some ice cream, and then head home for bedtime.

It really was a beautiful three days on the island, and as always it was hard to come home. After one last lunch at the Provision Company, we loaded up the car and started home.

Warning- there's a ton of pictures. I take tons of pictures on our vacations and had a hard time deciding how to post these. So there will be a second post! Enjoy!

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