Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Last day of Daycare

Today was Emma's last day of daycare.  She moves on to Pre-K at Westminster School next week.  While I am so excited for her new class, and the new friends she will make, it is definitely a huge day for me, filled with 4 years of memories.  Primrose School was great to us...and Emma made some really good friends and had some wonderful teachers these past few years.  It's certainly the end of an era for me, and her.  I can remember vividly my search for a daycare (at the last minute) with a newborn.  I knew when I walked into Primrose that it felt right.  I watched her grow from room to room (they move up about every 6 months), and adjust like a champ.  Her wonderful teachers taught her things that I know I would have failed at.  And the stacks of art and papers that Emma brought home still fill my home and heart..I can't seem to throw any of them away:)

Emma's first day - August 22, 2012

But as we transitioned to part time (3 days a week) 2 years ago, I began to notice that what once seemed like an awesome deal (for both of us), was turning sour.  Being part time was great, and still is, but it has it's challenges.  I constantly feel like I am all over the place - trying to do everything in half the time.  And Emma was only at school 3 she was missing out on the other 2 days.  And then, her 2 buds moved schools this past summer.  Emma has been home with me for the past 2 summers (for June and July) and I have to say, it was the best.  I was calmer, more focused on her, and my house was in order.  We had time for fun things, and time for "life" things that have to be done.  When we transitioned back to daycare this August, Emma really wasn't feeling it.  She was in a larger, new class, with new teachers and a lot of new kids.  And her old buds were not there.  She complained every night before the next day of school, even would sob about it.  I picked her up one day 2 weeks ago and she was in tears and didn't want to return.  I know nothing terrible happened, but I think she really just didn't like all the change and chaos.  I don't think she really felt a part of the class.  She's been glad for her "last day" and is excited to start a new because she only has to go until lunchtime:)

Emma's last day - August 31, 2016

It's bittersweet for holds a lot of memories, and some regret as well.  I don't know if regret is the right word, but I do lament the fact that I feel like daycare raised my child for 2 years.  I was a weeknight, weekend parent.  Someone else (probably more qualified!) was with my baby all day.  When I went part time, I was fully aware of the challenges of having a child all day long, but was excited. This time is precious.  She will have the rest of her life to be in school, and right now I want to savor every moment I can with her.  She needs social interaction and learning, but for now, 9-12 is just right.  My sweet Emma will start kindergarten next year....cue the tears!

You can read about Emma's first day of daycare here:)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Life lately...

I am way behind on blogging...but honestly, I feel like my blog posts would look like this...

I just feel like I'm drowning these days.  Between working 3 full days a week, and being gone every weekend, I am struggling - physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I don't do chaos well...I like to have my house in order and a plan for the week ahead.  I do better than most when I have to let it go, but it really got me this week.  So, if you're reading this, and you think of it later...say a small prayer for some peace and productivity this weekend.  It's our first weekend at home in 4 weeks, so I have a list a mile long....but I am also looking forward to DOING NOTHING tonight.  

Last week I had to drive to New Bern for traffic court...and man, it was an experience.  First, let me say how humbled I was to be there.  There were some people who go to court dates and know other people there because they're there so much.  And people there with so many charges and jail time ahead that it made me sweat.  Thankfully, I showed the clerk my up to date registration and she dismissed my case.  But not before I waited in the courtroom for over an hour for the judge to even show up, and then another hour while they went through people requesting continuance for their cases.  And let me end by saying I was in the actual courtroom...not waiting outside.  I was literally 20 feet from the judge and was paranoid about getting up in front of everyone and having him lecture me on driving a vehicle with expired registration:)  (Because that's such a heinous crime....insert major eye roll)

I celebrated by hitting up the New Bern accident really because I was in search of gas.  And then a trip to Bojangle's for a sausage biscuit.

I picked up this devotional that I had seen on Pinterest....not sure yet if it will be good, but I'll give it a try.  I bought it on the cheap from the Raleigh Micit group.

Emma and I have lunch together every other week after the gym.  I love these times together.

She was particularly silly this day and had some funny faces for her smile. She insisted the bag and her leftovers be in the case you're wondering.

Last weekend, I went to the lake for a tournament.  I didn't ski, but we had a blast anyway.  Kelsie and I always send each other selfies when we are judging slalom on the towers. 

Then her sweet mom, Val, came to keep me company.  I love this woman and her wisdom.

We stayed at this historic farmhouse in Gates.  It;s absolutely beautiful and quiet, and I may move there.

We came back early Sunday for a birthday party at Bull City Gymnastics.  Emma's new friend, Jane, invited her - they will be classmates this fall at Westminster.  I was so excited, and so was Emma.  I am really looking forward to Emma and I both forming some friendships this fall with her class.

Nofo at the Pig called and told me they needed more jewelry (they had sold everything!), so I have been busy trying to create and make.  I am way behind on my jewelry lately.  I have made a ton, but haven't updated my etsy shop or promoted it much.  It's been frustrating because once I make something, it seems like everyone else is doing the same exact thing.  I am constantly trying to think of ways to be unique now and find my creativity in making something that others can't get elsewhere.  I know at first, I loved to re-create what others had done, because I liked making it instead of paying a fortune for it.  But now, I really want to focus on being my own best version:)  I also know this will be my only livelihood and creative outlook soon:)  
I love these new vintage glass bead and wood bracelets. I promise to spend some time on it and update on here next week.

With all the stress I put myself under, I feel like I have been the WORST mom ever.  Emma has been whiny the last few days, and I have NO patience.  So I yelled and got mad, and really needed a timeout myself.  I went to bed for 2 nights in a row crying, feeling like a failure and overwhelmed with grief and worry that my behavior had hurt Emma psychologically (cue preggo crazy hormones).  I read this this morning, and realized I had been trying too hard...and it's not humanly possible to be everything.

And yes...I know it's not May 12...I worked in this book sporadically last year and am going through missed days this year.  Perhaps God knew last year that I would need this today:)

Monday, August 15, 2016

25 week update

I have really steered away from talking too much about this second pregnancy, partly because I was "hiding" it for a bit, and also because I think life just goes on as normal with the second.  Sure, you're excited, but I already have a little one to care for, swoon over, and snuggle:)

How I'm Feeling
This pregnancy has been different from the first, in many ways.  For starters, I did have a lot of morning sickness.  I never actually was "sick" ([partly because I was paranoid about that so had some meds filled right away at the first sign of nausea).  But I wasn't feeling that hot for the first 3-4 months.  
I am happy that has gone away now, and I feeling more normal.  I am more sore towards the end of the day (middle of my back, top of my belly), which scares me since I am no way near huge yet.  I'm also really tired lately, mostly around 2-3pm.  I didn't experience the wave of exhaustion in the first trimester, like I did with Emma.  I guess it is hitting me now.

What I'm Craving
Fruit and water.  With Emma, it was red meat.  Wow, I wanted some steak and a burger bad with her.  This time, I can't get enough fruit...and cheese.  I am loving the Pepper Jack cheese from Harris Teeter right now.  I'm trying hard to fuel my body with foods that will add proteins and veges, and trying to steer away from carbs.  I recently have been lowering my gluten intake too (gluten free oatmeal and pasta), and I can tell a difference in how I feel.  I also am trying to decrease my sodium.  I had a ton of salt in a meal one night, and was wrecked the next day. Like, I was dehydrated and had to pull over driving because I was blacking I am really watching it now.
As for water, I still love Smart Waters...and try to drink as much as I can, but not after 6:30pm.  The bladder struggle is real.....way more this time than I remember with Emma.

What I'm Doing
I am definitely trying to live life normally.  I have been working out 3 times a week and love how I feel.  I had to drop to twice this week after starting work, and I can tell a big difference in my attitude and physical state.  I'm just not as happy:(  I usually do spin (although the hour long class is too much for me, so I've resorted to cycling on my own), and TRX.  I love, love TRX.  There is only one class that fits my schedule, but I can do it anytime on my own at the gym.  
With Emma, I didn't work out AT ALL.  I may have gone walking like 3 times total.  I gained more weight than needed, but it was winter, so I didn't really care too much either.  I've been much more conscious about my body this time around...partly because I am healthier now, but also because I couldn't hide all pregnancy in leggings and baggy sweaters!
I've also been skiing about every other week.  Nothing too strenuous....and it's certainly not as fun to "take it easy" on skis.  But it is good to get out there, get wet, and stay involved.  I plan on continuing as long as my belly allows:)

What I'm Wearing
This is a challenging one....with Emma, I longed for a bump and couldn't wait to fit into maternity clothes.  This time, I hid it as long as I could.  I loathe most maternity clothes. Who makes these things anyway.  I feel like everything screams, "I have just given up."  And I am not one of those people that can just wear 3 things for 9 months....that's just stupid.  No, we don't need to go crazy and buy a  ton of clothes, but I do care how I look (because I FEEL better about myself).  I've really tried to get as much wear out of non-maternity clothes as possible.  Going up one size, looser fitting tops and dresses, and elastic waist or drawstring pants are all great alternatives to maternity wear.  Plus, you can theoretically wear them again, or sell them easier at consignment:)  I am fitting into some full panel pants and shorts, and demi panels are getting a bit tight around my lower belly.  I'm very thankful that flowy seems to be in lately.  I'm also embracing the tighter maternity dresses, and since I have somewhat maintained my appearance, I feel ok wearing them:)  
Bottom line, whatever I've purchased this time around, I've tried to make sure it was (1) cheap, and (2) something I could wear again, or (3) sell easily.  Most of my maternity wear from the first time was winter and work related...also not in style anymore:( 

Pretty much a rollercoaster, like the first time.  It goes in waves - some weeks better than others.  I've learned that if I am having a really "up" few days, than I need to brace myself for the "fall."  Undoubtedly, this always happens.  I am way more patient with Emma, and am working on it with everyone else:)  I have a lot of anxiety about the next few months, and what things will be like.  With Emma, I was naive...blissfully unaware of the realities of having another child.  This time, I know what's coming...and while Emma was an easy child, I know this next one may not be:(  So I am bracing for anything and working on just staying calm, enjoying simple things, and trying to just enjoy every moment (no matter how good or bad it is).

What Emma thinks..
Emma is surprisingly very excited about being a sister, and daily comes up with things she wants to teach her, do with her, do for her, etc...  She loves to hug and kiss my belly and "says" she can't wait to share her stuff with her and have bunk beds.  I know this won't last, and there will be challenging days ahead.  But for now, she's pumped..she's even offered to go with me to the hospital to have the baby while Brent stays here to get the room together (and build bunk beds).  I'm savoring every moment with just her...and trying to assure her how much she is loved.

Bump pic...a comparison:

Admittedly...this is the only bump pic I have taken...and I'm not that jazzed about how I look...but whatevs.  I blame the photographer....:)

Here's atoalmost being in the third trimester!!

Read about my 25 weeks with Emma here:)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Valle Crucis!!

Last year, some of Brent's wonderful customers offered their mountain house to us in Valle Crucis.  We were reluctant to use it, because we didn't want to be a burden.  But this summer, I told Brent we needed a mountain trip.  I was over the humidity and the beach just seemed sticky and sweaty to me.  So, we took them up on their offer and MAN, what a wonderful weekend.  This post will be pretty photo heavy...but it doesn't capture the fun and peace we had up there as a family.  All 3 of us had been looking forward to this trip for quite some time.  Emma had been packing for 2 weeks (and when I say "packing," I mean she had packed bags and bags of toys, hair accessories, a bathing suit, one pair of pj's, and stuffed animals), and Brent has been planning fun things for weeks.  I was just excited to get away and relax.  
We knew nothing about the house...only that the family called it a "studio" and it did not have a TV (what??????!!!!)  As we neared closer, we were getting lots of emails about the place with words like "barn," "kayak," "pond," and "tubing on the river."  We were expecting a little cabin, and instead drove into an absolutely beautiful cabin nestled right on the Watauga River on it's own private pond.  There was not a house in sight, or a road. is our mountain trip....our hearts were so full to be together, relax outside, and make memories with Emma.

Emma woke up Thursday morning and had a slight fever...odd...but I shrugged it off, pumped some Advil in her and off we went on our day.  I was not letting anything stop us!  Brent was getting off work around 2pm, and we were to leave after that.  Emma and I went to the grocery store to stock up on snacks, lunch stuff, and other essentials.  Our goal was to do as much there as possible and not have to go out for food.  
Emma's fever went down, but then spiked again in the afternoon right before we left.  We gave her some tylenol for the ride there, but unfortunately it didn't help at all.  For some reason, Advil just works better for her.  We left about 3:30 - way later than I had hoped, and hit major traffic in Winston.  Emma woke up because of it and was pretty pitiful the rest of the way.  Right before Boone, we hit major fog...the worst fog I had ever been in.  Brent was driving, and we barely were going 30 mph.  Emma was in the backseat moaning "are we there yet???!!!" and I was panicking because I felt like we were in a creepy Halloween times.

We rolled into Boone and picked up a pizza to go at Capone's - I definitely recommend it! It was delicious:)
We got the Valle Crucis about 7:45pm and Emma was DONE.  It was all we could do to get some milk and Advil in her, and set up her bed.  She fell right asleep - like within a minute of being tucked in.  Poor thing - we were so worried that maybe we were being selfish dragging her all the way up here when she didn't feel well.  
But we tried to make the best of it, because this is what we rolled into when we got there....

It was we walked into a spa retreat.  Everything was over the top - from the house itself, to the gift basket waiting for us, and the towels and chocolates wrapped up all nice.  I seriously felt like I was dreaming. Brent quickly poured himself a drink and we commenced to our pizza and porch rocking in the cool, mountain air.  I snapped a was a long day and Emma had been sick....but we were there and she was resting.  We were both praying hard that Emma's fever would break....because I knew she would have an absolute blast here if she felt herself.

We checked Emma's fever a few times overnight, and thankfully it was going down.  By morning, she seemed to be her happy, carefree self and we were sooooo relieved.

I made us breakfast and we ate on the porch overlooking the pond.  I had gotten Emma and Brent some small surprises for the trip, so we opened them:)  Emma got some cute travel lotions and soaps (she LOVES lotions, perfumes, etc...), and I had gone to Great Outdoor's end of summer sale and to get Brent some much needed clothes:) 

Seeing Brent so relaxed with his coffee, and Emma snuggled up with him was such a relief.   

Emma was super pumped about the pond and ducks and fishies, so we got dressed and headed out.

We passed by the barn....

and headed to the dock on the pond.

This is the view of the house...the pond is directly behind me.  Not. Too. Bad.

Brent got to take Emma fishing...a dream for him.  Every dad dreams of doing these childhood things with their kids...making the same memories that they did with their dads...he was in heaven all weekend.

We walked all the way around the pond.

And Emma caught a small fish.  She was excited...but did NOT want to touch it.

I decided it was so nice out, and it had warmed up enough, for us to put our suits on and head back out.

Emma and Brent caught another fish - this time, a catfish! 

But, a rain cloud moved in, so we all retreated to the porch.  I took the opportunity to fit in some reading and relaxing at the window seat...

And then, my sidekick joined me:)

We decided we would get dressed and head out for some lunch and maybe some gem mining.  The rain actually cleared as we made our way into Boone.  Of course, Emma HAD to eat at a Jersey Mike's......

We decided to try one of the gem mines on the way up to Blowing Rock...thinking Emma would probably enjoy it.  She's really into collecting and organizing these days....

She had a good time finding rocks...and honestly didn't care what they were...she kept ALL of them (even the small, worthless ones).

After that, we headed into Blowing Rock.  I thought some ice cream at Kilwin's might be a good afternoon snack:)
But, unfortunately, the rest of the High Country was also in Blowing Rock - holy smokes! I had never seen so many people....we had always visited in the winter, so it was "dead."  I was actaully turned off by the amount of tourists...I can't even imagine.  We managed to find a parking spot (because once I have ice cream on the's happening).  But as soon as we got out and started walking....the rain came again.  So I raced to get ice cream and Brent and Emma picked me up.  I ran into some friends from church (small world), and they snapped a pic to send my parents.  I did get my ice cream ($5 later - ???!!!!!), and we drove back to the house.  We vowed never to go into Blowing Rock on a summer weekend was awful.  I hate crowds:)

Thankfully, the rain had stopped by the time we got back and we hit up the Mast General Store - both the original and the Annex.  Emma walked away with $25 worth of candy (insert eye roll here), and Brent and I found some cool coffee mugs and a cool travel wine cup.  
Our plan that evening was to go to the Valle Crucis park to hear a bluegrass band, so we changed, and I packed us a picnic dinner.  But when we got there, the ground was soaked...soaked so bad you could barely walk.  We had a tarp and a blanket, so we would probably be ok...but then we heard that the concert had been cancelled due to all the rain...which was actually fine by me.  So, we did something better...we took our picnic to the dock at our pond and fished instead.

It was perfect...I can't even describe the happiness Brent and I both felt.  Emma was having a blast sitting with us, fishing, helping, and taking in the scenery.  The weather was beautiful - a small breeze, just cool enough to need a sweater. 

Call me hormonal...but these moments were so precious.  So simple, yet filled with so much joy.

Emma even caught a huge catfish!!!  Brent had to help reel it in and wear it out too:)

Emma thought it was the best thing ever!  (But still didn't want to touch it!)

All I could think of all evening was how lucky I was to share this moment with them, to be here in this beautiful place, enjoying nothing but each other and God's creation.  It will go down as one of the best nights for both Brent and I.

We finished our night with a fire in the outdoor fireplace, roasting marshmallows for smores.  It was perfect:)

 Saturday morning, we woke up to fog...but Brent and I sat on the porch and drank our coffee before Emma awoke.

This was our buddy for the weekend...a sweet cat names Grey Grey who has a lame leg...
Emma was in heaven petting on him and loving him and looking for him every time we went outside.  

Emma wanted to do some more gem mining (insert another eye roll), so we went to one closer to us before you get into Boone.  This place was more expensive but the bucket of rocks/dirt was enormous.  Emma lucked out with some awesome stones here.  

 Of course, we then had to go back to Mast General Store to get some sort of jar or bucket for all her rocks (another eye roll), and Emma was intrigued by this weaver on the porch.

We got back to the house, and visited the sweet family who was letting us stay at their cabin.  They live across the river, but also own an awesome refurbished silo barn right down the road.  I didn't take any pictures, and I hate that..because this place was awesome.  The old silo was completely redone - on the bottom is a bar (holla!) and then a spiral staircase up to the top where you can sit and enjoy your drink with 6 other friends.  Amazing views...and no details in the barn left undone.  Think Fixer Upper meets This Old House meets complete awesomeness.  Next visit, I'll definitely snap tons of photos.

 The weather was gorgeous, so we decided to take the boat and kayak out.  Emma snapped this photo of us...which was pretty good! And I'm secretly glad that her finger is covering up most of my belly:)

And of course, I snapped a selfie with my man:)

We took our bluetooth speaker with us everywhere..and it was awesome.  Emma is just as content to sit and sing country songs as I am.

I went kayaking......

and loved getting some exercise and being on the water.

The pond and views around it are stunning. 

Saturday night, we ate at Over Yonder in Valle Crucis...and it was amazing.  Several people had told us to eat there, so we went early (6pm) without reservations and took a chance.  We lucked out.  The Grilled Pork and Beef meatloaf was to die for...not heavy at all and had so much fresh flavor.  And the prices were so reasonable.  It's a must when you're up there.

Sunday morning, we used some of the art supplies that the owner had left for Emma.  Kathy is an artist herself and uses the upstairs loft as her winter studio.  I did have to fight the inner control freak in me and let Emma use her own artistic license...but she was very proud of what she made.  We are already planning on hanging it on her wall:)

She is an amazing artist....and I hope to one day add some of her work to our walls.  

I can't begin to explain how incredibly generous and sweet this family is to offer us one of their homes, and be so kind and gracious.  I can't thank the Reece's enough for this gift.  I love the picture below...because it shows the peaceful view we enjoyed all weekend long.  It's been hard to come home (I may have cried when we left), but I am renewed and have a better appreciation for the simple things in fishing, reading, being outside, and family.  Hope everyone has a fantastic week:)