Friday, February 28, 2014

Her sweet face...

......has kept me going this week.  For reasons I won't mention publicly, the past 2 weeks have been particularly hard for me.  I am wrestling with some upcoming decisions, and it has really taken a toll on me emotionally.  But despite this, Emma never fails to get a smile on my face.

We kicked off last weekend with dinner at Carolina Brewery...we have been going there for years and years...and love to get the nachos and share them  (and drink their beer!).  I'm sure Emma is yelling for "another round" here.

True to his nature, my dad is teaching Emma how to "pull my finger."  The classic farting joke from elementary school...smh.

Don't one is actually farting....Emma jut thinks it's hilarious to yank on grandpa's finger!

Saturday was Emma and Mom day, since Brent was working.  One of my sweet tutors, Jess, gave Emma this gigantic coloring book.  After a trip to Walmart for more washable crayons, we dove in to a morning of coloring.

I also got Emma her very own ladybug plate and utensils.  This is sooo corny, but it has been so neat to watch her learn how to feed herself.  She gets so excited when she does it on her own:)

Clearly, someone else thinks it's nap time....

Sunday afternoon, Emma's friend Nash had his 2nd birthday party at Playnation!

BIG slide...

Brent will kill me when he sees this photo......Love you babe!

Emma is getting to be such a big girl!

"Life is just a tire swing...."

Nash's uncle Clint...and our dear neighbor!

Sweet Brittni - and Emma was way more interested in what the kids were eating than taking a picture.

First taste of cheesy puffs!!  Success!  She couldn't pop them in her mouth fast enough!

And her first cake pop!

Tuesday evening, I had had a particularly hard day, so my dad stopped by to cheer us up!

He is sooo silly!

Emma loves to plop herself down in grandpa's lap.

Three generation selfie

Once again, the ladies at daycare have made me feel inadequate as a mother....side braids into a high pony tail.  Don't look for this from me.

Google has these things called "Awesome photos."  I don't know anything about it, but once in awhile there will be effects in my snow falling on some of the snow pics from last week, or this progression of giggles!!

Even at my worst days, my most greatest accomplishment is being Emma's mom.  She loves to yell my name whenever she needs anything.  It's like her version of "help, except it comes out "MOM!"  It rarely gets old, even as annoying as it can be when I hear it every 5 seconds.  I have come to realize that at the end of the day, my family is what makes me "tick."   I can live with emails not being returned on time, or papers not being graded....but if I go to bed feeling like I have cheated Emma or Brent out of the love and attention they deserve, I have lost.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Besides being totally obsessed with Emma....I will also confess that I have a complete and total obsession with this company.  I am not sure how I even found out about them - I think a friend of a friend on Facebook posted a giveaway on their wall, and it has been downhill ever since....

Recently, they mentioned me on their Facebook page.  I was thrilled...and also horrified because I would have done such a better post had I known that!!! Ha!  (I have mentioned them in several posts, see here, here here, and here.)  I was really glad to have someone other than family and friends acknowledge my blog.  I love to blog, not just to document our family's life, but also for me and my creativity.  I also hope others gain something - if it's just a minute of relief when they realize someone else is going through the same things they are, or they are inspired with a new product or place I mentioned here.  That being said, I was just really honored that someone else recognized my work.  I really do love this company's products, and would never promote a business I didn't feel 100% confident in.  I am really excited for this super-mom/business woman for pursuing her dreams - I know it must be a challenge to juggle it all, but she does it with style...and she's from NC!!!

A screenshot of their post.....

After seeing this, I decided to take inventory of all of my Haley and the Hound pieces....and I was slightly embarrassed/proud?!?!  I promise I'm not a "show-off" - I honestly just want to show you the awesomeness that I have found with their clothes.  I obviously have a lot of their signature tunic tops, but they make the most adorable children's dresses, and women's tops and dresses.  I love their bold prints, preppy details, and unique style.  These are also very reasonably priced, and if you know me at all, then I didn't even need to say that.  They are easy to care for (machine washable and dry), are comfortable, and can easily be dressed up or down.  I wear them to work a lot and ALWAYS receive compliments.  I like to describe their pieces as somewhere between Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and Elizabeth McKay...are you in love yet?!?!

These are the "tunic" style, but I would describe them as the perfect length.  They are not long like a tunic you might wear with leggings.  They are perfect with skinny jeans, or shorts.  They look fabulous with long necklaces or plain with large gold hoops.  The bright colored ones I wear mostly in spring and summer, but I have worn the black and white all winter.  I wear a small, but could do an XS if needed.  The nice thing about these tops is that the are so forgiving in size - you don't have to have the perfect fit for this top to look awesome on, and feel comfortable.

I bought the grey and cream print one, and the paisley print, this past fall and LOVE them.  They looked great paired with cream skinny jeans and tan boots.  The navy and white print is a staple... and looks great with white jeans and colored flats.

The red floral is the Allie, and I have not worn it yet...only because I am waiting for some warmer weather!  The turquoise and orange top is an older style that I snagged at their store, and it is the quintessential summer top with white jeans and gold jewelry.  The tunic on the right is sooo cute for fall and spring because it has so many different colors.

The sleeveless tops are older styles, but she has some awesome new ones on her website...that I hope to buy soon:)  The Parker dress is also still available and is so classy.  I feel like a million bucks when I have this thing on.  For reference, I wear the XS in the dress.

Of course, Emma has a ton of pieces too.  They are dresses now, and when she gets bigger will become tops.

Not a good picture, but Miss E sported one of her dressed this past weekend at the new Bass Pro Shops that opened up near us.

And when she tried to walk out of the NC Aquarium last fall with every stuffed animal known to man...she was in her Haley dress.

Pardon my facial expression here...but this is the other dress I own..and it's on sale NOW!

Mommie & Me:)

When this sweet girl turned one last June, she was sporting her sailboat Haley and the Hound dress!

I'd say she likes it...."good choice, mom!"

Haley and The Hound has launched her new website, and has some awesome new products - including more cute tops and new tote bags and clutches.  

If you are in Morehead City, I strongly recommend stopping in - she has a lot of other cute things in her store, and a lot more choices in her clothing line.  Her staff is beyond friendly...and you'll literally spend hours in there trying to decide what to get (only because you want EVERYTHING!)

I am dying to go to check out her new things...and stock up for summer with some new sleeveless tops!!  I think a day trip may be in order soon!!  

Happy Shopping - it may be cold outside, but these bright tops make Spring feel a bit closer:)

Monday, February 24, 2014

How I manage chaos...

I am a huge fan of a day planner...I even make my students get one as part of their grade in my course!!  I believe strongly that writing it down and staying organized with a calendar is essential for success in academics, but also as a professional, or just to remain human.  There is also a lot of research out there proving that the act of writing it down (as opposed to typing it in an electronic version) is more beneficial for memory.  I have used a day planner since I was a sophomore in highschool, and I am constantly searching for new and better planners.  Nowadays, you can find a planner to fit almost every any pattern or size you like.  My new personal favorite is one that I have sort of pieced together from a variety of sources......

First, I love the miniBinder from Russell + Hazel.  It comes in fabulous colors and can actually fit pages from its own line and from Daytimer or FranklinCovey.  My main complaint with some of the other cute options (Lilly Pulitzer's, Erin Condren's, Whitney English) is that while I LOVED their designs and colors, they were not a refillable binder.  They were every sense of the word, to me.  I can't add, take away, or customize at all like I wanted, when I wanted.  I can punch holes in almost anything and add it to my Russell + Hazel binder.  I can add my own dividers and tabs where I want them, and that is key for my success.  I am not knocking these I have tried them and did like them...just not as much as I like having my own options (come on...I'm a girl...I got to be able to change my mind every once in awhile and switch things up!)

As you can see, they come in a regular notebook size, and a mini.  I prefer the mini so that I can tote it around with me.  I love the new zig zag patterned one on the top right!

There are monthly tabs for easy future planning.

You can choose either weekly or daily sheets...and they do not come dated.  You have to date them yourself...which is a good thing for saving money and customizing...and a bad thing if you hate having to take the time to do that.  I kind of like it because I can switch between weekly and daily views depending on how busy I will be. 

This is my actual planner...I have the gold linen metallic minibinder, and these super cute large rubber band thingies (official term) that keep it together.  I love LePens, and also Stabilo colorful pens.  There's an awesome pen store in Chapel Hill, Office Supplies and More, that sells THE BEST selection of pens.  EVER. 

The rubber bands help keep other loose pieces of paper secure, although you can buy clear plastic pockets to stick on the inside of the binder.  I also made my own INFO sheet awhile is so much prettier than the generic ones where you fill out your name, contact info, etc....  I just created a word document and printed it on thin weight scrapbook paper.

I use some old Daytimer plastic page protectors to keep other loose papers organized.....and photos like this one of my beloved Daisy:(

I love one side of the weekly page is the week, and the other is blank space for general notes and planning.

I use my old Daytimer pagefinder to keep my place on the right week.

Another view of the weekly page.
I LOVE the erin condren pen's less than $5 and sticks to any page I want it to.  I have had mine on for almost a year and it has yet to fail me.

So...there you have it.  In case you are looking for a planner system, I strongly recommend this one.  You can find a great selection at The Container Store.  And, because it is so customize-able..if you stop using it, you can pick up again without having to buy a lot of extra pages since they are not pre-dated!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pigtails, snow, and love......

I love Emma's daycare - I love walking in after a long day and seeing my beautiful little girl with pigtails - God knows I need lessons when it comes to doing this gal's hair.

I am also thankful for work - because they decided to close last Wednesday.  I got up and went into the bathroom to shower as normal, and already had a text saying WPU was closed for the day (even though there was no snow yet).  I was relieved and really just glad to be able to go downstairs and enjoy my coffee on the couch before Emma got up.  I won't go on and on about how "it could have been me" stuck on the roads for hours trying to home and pick up Emma if I had gone to work that thank you, bossman, for sparing me that traumatic event.  I did take the storm warning seriously though, because it really looked like there was a chance for something white or frozen to come our way.  Of course, we went to Walmart for all last minute supplies (and Valentine's goodies for Emma's classmates).  "Mal-mart" is now a new word for Emma...and she yelled it the whole way there.......

The snow started falling while Emma was napping, and boy, did it come down fast and hard.  After only an hour, it was really bad.  We live on a hilly curve, and I knew there would be some entertainment for sure behind our house.  I was secretly wishing I had a babysitter just so I could pop a bottle open, drag a lawn chair out, and just watch.... There were cars the middle of the road, in the ditches, trying to go up the hill, trying to go down the was really bad.  I went out there a few times while she was napping to see if people needed anything, as they were just getting out and walking.  I watched 3 cars come down the hill and hit the others that had been is such an awful sounds to hear.  I also gave up my Snuggie to an old lady with a walker who was walking home.  Don't ask me why she was out by herself...and Brent was disappointed that we no longer owned such an iconic fashion piece...but I slept better that night knowing she at least had a thin layer of fleece goodness around her as she trekked home.  Here are some snapshots from the afternoon....

A neighbor sent this to me - this is a shot that a stranger posted on facebook looking up our hill...

Brent took this on his way home...if you look close, you can see the 15 cars abandoned up the hill.

Despite the chaos, Emma loves a sled ride.

For Valentine's day, my mom came over and we made cookies, then headed out for some shopping.  I decided not to go to Southpoint, as I knew it would be crazy there with people trying to escape cabin fever.  We decided to head back to Chapel Hill to Puddle Baby boutique and University mall.  I found Emma 4 pairs of shoes (yes....I bought my 20 month old 4 pairs of got a problem with that?!)  Granted, they were all 50% off or more....and that doesn't happen often...and she does need them.  I even erred on the larger side.  We got a candy orange slice at Southern Season (and I treated myself to a milkshake) and had a blast.  

I made these goodies for Emma's classmates at school...partly because I am going for mom of the year, and partly because I didn't do Valentines last year and felt so dumb when Emma had gotten some treats from the other kids (mom fail)...I filled them with foam stickers, bubbles, and either bracelets for the girls or toy cars for the boys.  I figured that was better than candy...since I didn't know each kid's dietary restrictions.  Emma and I made foam Valentines with stickers from a kit we got at Target...which she loved doing, and I wrote each child's name on them.  The picture isn't great, and they aren't Martha Stewart worthy, but I was pretty proud of myself for pulling off anything remotely close to Pinterest.
We are contemplating ripping up our downstairs carpet and doing we went shopping for rugs and flooring.  Emma loved Capel I knew she would.  She is a professional small rug rearranger if anyone needs one.....
An, if you need rugs, Capel has great deals.  We bought 2 rugs for the living room and are currently fighting it out to see which one wins (personally, I don't think Brent stands a chance on this one....)

She is getting so big lately.  Last night, when we got home, she climbed up to the dining table and sat there while I (we) ate a bowl of cereal (my snack of choice).  It's amazing how they really do change overnight - all of a sudden you notice them doing things you hadn't before. And, again, please notice her pigtails - stop. the. cuteness. right. now.

Emma insisted that her "amimals" not only be present for her dinner...but snuggling with her while she ate.  

She is such a sweetheart and loves any kind of animal...real or stuffed!
We don't have any big plans coming up - which is nice, and I am learning more and more how much I miss this kid while I am at work.....sigh:(