25 December 2011

Happy Holidays

from our family to yours! 

22 December 2011

Words of Wisdom

"Certainly one of the most important requirements for learning how to cook is you also learn how to eat... Finally, I do think that the way to a full and healthy life is to adopt the sensible system of "small helpings, no seconds, no snacking, and a little bit of everything. Above all - have a good time! Toujour bon appetit!" ~ Julia Child

I believe the reason why so many people love Julia Child is because she makes it looks possible for a normal person to cook something amazing. But it was more than that, she was real. She was not afraid to simply be herself. She did not allow mistakes to dominate her life.

My husband gave me Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas. There will be ridiculous amounts of cooking going on when we get back from the holidays. Yum!

01 December 2011


- watching Santa Claus is Coming to Town... by myself... don't judge. Did you know that Fred Astaire narrates? I didn't. 
- really need my glasses, you know so that I can see the computer screen and tv without scrunching up my face, but am too lazy to get up and get them from the other room. Pretty sure this laziness has resulted in at least one or two additional wrinkles in the last year or so. 
- it kinda smelled like snow tonight when I took Bailey out. Snow is not at all in our forecast anytime soon. 
- i think weatherman are kind of dumb. no offense. 
- i can't wait for the weekend. 
- i need new jeans. 
- i have NO idea what I'm getting the Hubs for Christmas. Ideas? 
- i really want to see Happy Feet 2. 

Feel free to share your current random thoughts. Or Christmas gift ideas for a has-everything-he-wants husband. He's addicted to sports if that helps. 

A Magical Time of Year

Caitlyn wearing her Santa hat. 

There has been a lot of talk around here about the magic that is Christmas. While I look forward to starting new traditions with Caitlyn,  there are quite a few that I am looking forward to including her in.
To name a few:
- picking out and trimming the tree
- singing Christmas carols in the car, in the store, at home...ok, pretty much anywhere
- taking her to The Nutcracker Ballet. My Mommom first started taking me when I was very young. I have a dream that Caitlyn's first time will also be with my Mommom in attendance.
- The Candle Tea and Moravian Love Feast are two of my favorite holiday traditions. They are both low key and remind me that the season is about cherishing and appreciating your family and friends. As a kid, I loved the sugar cake, Moravian coffee and beeswax candle that I would get. As an adult, I love all the same things plus carols accompanied by an incredibly old organ, dressing up for the Christmas Eve service, and the familiarity of it all.

I hope during this time of hustle and bustle that you and yours find a tradition that helps you savor the season. What are some traditions that you have?

02 November 2011


Guess who has a new header? This girl! B,  from Thriving is Elegant, made it for me. Seriously, what would I do without that woman? I'm loving it! Thanks, B!

28 October 2011

Guest Post: The Tale of the Unintentional Working Mama Turtle

Happy Friday! Today, I'm guest posting at Thriving is Elegant aka my person

Guess what peeps, she is here to talk about being a working Momma. This woman is my working mom hero. She does it all wife, mom, work and still finds time to do the diy projects that she loves. I barely get a shower every three day. Without further ado, The Tale of an Unintentional Working Mama Turtle

(Papa Turtle, Mama Turtle and Lil Turtle)

First let me say that I think “working mom” is redundant.  All mom’s are working moms. I only use the term because it shorter than works-in-a-cubical-during-the-day-mom.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me introduce myself. I’m Mama Turtle. My husband gave me my nickname when I was pregnant and would get stuck on my back on the couch. Then, from the moment our daughter was born, she had amazing neck strength and looked like a turtle stretching her neck out. So, that’s how we became Mama Turtle and Baby Turtle.

I never set out to be a working mom, but that is the situation I’ve found myself in. Just like everything else in life, it has its joys and its challenges. I’ll start with the challenges because they are usually more fun.
(B packs all these bags EVERY day. Oh my!)

The Look of Pity and Her Evil Twin “I don’t know how you do it.”: Ah yes! You run into a friend  who hasn’t seen you since the baby was born. They ask you if you’ve gone back to work and when you reply, they make this sad little noise laced with pity and just a hint of judgement. Then, when you respond that it’s actually not been as bad as you expected, they say, “Well, I just don’t know how you do it.” I always want to reply with, “Well, it’s quite easy actually seeing that I don’t really like my kid or spending time with her.” But instead I politely reply that we make it work while imaginary daggers shoot into their eyes. And as I walk away I shout in my head, “SUCK IT, JUDGEY!”

The Dreaded Firsts: I think one of the hardest parts of being a working mom is knowing that no matter what you do, you will miss out on some of those firsts. The first time she crawls, the first time she walks, the first time she lodges something in her nose (Have fun Grandma!). Thankfully, having been a working mom for the first few months of my life, my mother (our nanny) understands this frustration and has thus far kept any firsts to herself allowing me my delusion that that-time-she-did-it-on-the-weekend was in fact the first time.

Time Itself: Ah, Father Time, you giant pain in my … well you know. No matter what we do, there is never enough time. You work 40 hours a week, but that doesn’t include your lunch hour which makes it 45 and then your hour and a half commute every day which makes it over 50 hours a week away from the house. And that’s on a good week with no major traffic accidents or extra projects. And because of our hectic schedule I have to be in bed by 9-ish or I can’t function. So by the time I get home in the evenings, I have approximately 3 hours to spend with my daughter, plus feed myself and her, get ready for the next day, and attempt to maintain some sort of order in my house. Oh and did I mention that my husband go to school 4 nights a week? Yeah, Father Time can SUCK IT, too!

The Mommy Guilt: I think “mommy guilt” is the one universal challenge that every. single. mother faces. For me the guilt manifests in a couple of ways. First, I worry that she will think I don’t love her and that’s why I leave her with Grandma every day. I soothe this fear by buying her expensive toys which she discards in order to chew on the packaging.  Additionally, because I have so little time with her each week, any time I take to myself away from her comes riddled with even more guilt. Yeah, Mommy Guilt, you can SUCK IT too!

But it’s not all bad.  There are some advantages to be a working Turtle Mama.
(Is there anything cuter than a baby in a carrier?)

Peeing Alone: I figured I’d lead with the biggest advantage of being a working mama. :-)

Adult Interaction: I do enjoy having conversations with people that do not involve itsy-bitsy spiders or the phrase, “OMG! How did you get poop THERE?!” Granted most of my conversations are about work and highly uninteresting, but I’ll take uninteresting over that annoying spider any day. (I mean, really! How many times does he have to get washed away before he hitches a ride on the elevator? He’s not so bright.)

Time to Oneself: Granted the majority of my day is consumed by work, I do get a lunch break and the occasional slow day to spend as I see fit. I’d like to say that this time is spent contributing to the betterment of mankind, but most of it is spent blogging, screwing around on Pinterest, or shopping for the next expensive packaging for Turtle to chew on.

Appreciation of Family Time: I’m not saying that stay-at-home-moms don’t appreciate their family time, I just find myself especially grateful for the time I have with my daughter.  It’s like Christmas comes every day at 5pm, and that look on her face when I come in the door in the evenings makes my heart melt along with all the guilt and worry.

So what are some of my tips to other working Mama Turtles?

Good Child Care:  Find child care you trust! Whether it’s a family member, an in-home child care provider, or a rocking day care, knowing your child is being cared for while you are away makes all the difference.

Organization: I cannot stress enough the importance of organization.  In our house Google is king! We use Google Calendar to share activities and appointments.  We have bill spreadsheets along with lists for things like chores and groceries in Google Docs, giving by husband and I a joint place to keep track of things since we only really see each other Friday-Sunday.  I cook on the weekends and freeze stuff in individual servings for lunches and dinners throughout the week.  I also do a lot in the evenings so that our mornings run smoothly.

Letting Go: You know what? My house is far from immaculate.  I stopped taking the weekly pictures of Turtle I swore I’d take the whole first year right after returning to work.  I had to forgo my goal of making all of her baby food in order to retain my sanity. And I can’t get very much done during the week because around 7:30 or 8:00 pm I stop everything I’m doing to feed and then play with my Turtle, dishes and laundry be damned. And I’m totally ok with that. … Most days.

A Good Carrier: I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything without my Soft Structured Carrier (I have a Boba but the Ergos are good as well as many other brands).  I can put her on my back in the mornings and get us packed up and out the door.  Then I put her in it when we get home in order to get stuff done around the house.  I love being able to “hold” her and still get a few things done.  We truly wouldn’t be able to survive without this.

Friends:  I also wouldn’t be able to do this thing without the support of my friends and family.  They let me voice my frustration, cry on their shoulders, and celebrate over my accomplishments.  They remind me that life is hard for everyone and keep me focused on what’s important.  Which leads me to my final tip.

A Good Attitude: Life is hard for everyone. No exceptions.  The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it and even though this isn’t were I thought I’d be, I’m choosing to water it right here where I am, as a Working Mama Turtle.

03 October 2011

Fabulous Fall

I'm currently sitting on my porch enjoying a cup of tea while Bailey sunbathes at my feet. It's a good moment. I have always loved fall. The crisp air, the clothes, pumpkin recipes and this year I'm loving the fall colors. I'm not normally a fall colors type girl, but here I sit in an orange blouse. If I could, I would throw some orange pillows on our couch along with a coordinating throw. What has gotten into me?

I'm trying to soak up every good moment right now. They have been few and far in between lately. There is a lot going on right now, and it's been a little more than I can handle. I'm on a "bring it on" kind of person so this feeling of being overwhelmed has been as hard to handle as all the changes that are going on.

I'm trying to learn to let go, appreciate the small moments, and just breathe. How do you cope with major stress?

06 September 2011

My Person

I have a person. Do you have a person? Do you even know what I'm talking about? I find the term bff a little too grade school for me, but I have a great person!
B and her adorable daughter

When we first met, B and I were dancing at a conservatory in Florida. It sounds a lot fancier than it really was. We bonded over missing our home state, parent issues, our love of dance, and random other things that 16 year old girls love. But things happened in our lives and we went years without talking, I thought of her often but was really too stubborn to get off my high horse and try to find her. Luckily, B found me. After a few awkward exchanges and a little prodding from Adam, we were soon like peas and carrots again.

While we really were great friends in high school, our friendship as adults is something I cherish more than words can express. We have bonded over planning our weddings, photography, sushi, and now our baby girls. Did I mention we got married within weeks of each other and then three years later had daughters within three weeks of each other? Both of which were not planned! Told you we were close.

She keeps me grounded, listens to me complain gush about my husband, and helps me stay current. Let me tell you if it wasn't for this woman, I wouldn't know about things like Pioneer Woman, Pinterest, Zulily, etc. You get the point.  Oh and I wouldn't have this little blog. But she does so much more than help me navigate the interwebs, she reminds me that I am a strong woman. She is proud of the woman that she has become and doesn't apologize for who she is. She inspires me to be an even better version of myself. We bond over the "crazysauce that is our families." But more than all that, B is one of the few people that I can and will say anything to. Thanks to technology, aka text messaging, we talk almost everyday. Which is great because there are days that despite living in the same state, it feels like I live on the other side of the world. I really don't know what I would do without her.

It's B's birthday so head over to her blog and wish her a Happy Birthday.

P.S. She has a great blog. Check her out here.

10 August 2011


We've been doing a little of this: 

1 & 2) Adding some finishing touches to baby girl's room
3) Pinning Adam at his Airborne School graduation. He now jumps out of perfectly good airplanes as part of his job. Oh my! 4) Adam kissing his girl for the first time in three weeks.
5) Someone might have been watching TV 6) This is Bailey's "I'm a neglected dog" face. Don't let her fool you, she is still quite spoiled.  

27 July 2011

Without children...

I was reading this article today. The article is about the current child-free movement. There are airlines, restaurants and hotels all over the world that are declaring kid free areas. As a new parent, my first response was outrage. How dare you discriminate against me because I have a child! But then, I started reading some of the reader comments which made me think rationally instead of defensively.

Here's the thing, not that long ago, I was one of those "please take out your screaming child" people. Now that I have a kid, I'm still a "please take out your screaming child" person. There is a time and a place for  kids. You want to take your kid to the movies then take them to a child/age appropriate movie. You want to go out to dinner - great - but if your kid starts screaming take them outside. I know I only have an almost 6 month old baby, but this is the way I was brought up. We were not allowed to throw tantrums in public. We knew that restaurants, malls and other public places required us to be on our best behavior.

So at what point did well-behaved children become an anomaly instead of the norm?

23 July 2011

Support Warren Golf Tournament

On Monday, I had the privilege of being the photographer at the Support Warren Golf Tournament. Warren is a four-year old boy with cerebral palsy. He was born completely healthy with no complications of any sort. When he was 11 months old, Warren suffered a brain hemorrhage resulting in multiple strokes and permanent brain damage. It has been three years since his injury to include three brain surgeries, but the following are some of the challenges he continues to face: no speech, blind, poor muscle control resulting in the inability to sit up or walk, and a feeding tube. Warren has been accepted into a stem cell facility in Mexico. The doctors will take stem cells from Warren's bone marrow and place them in his spine. The hope is that the stem cells will repair the damage from the strokes. 

I cannot begin to say what an honor it was to be part of Monday's tournament. The outpouring of love for Warren and his incredible family was amazing. Warren and his family are truly an inspiration. 

Just a few photographs from the day:

22 July 2011


On Monday while I was taking pictures, Caitlyn was

doing a little of this,

made a new friend,

and (finally) took a nap! 

Seriously could not have asked for her to behave better than she did on Monday.