Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Lil Pumpkin

What's fall without a pumpkin? Well, no fall at all, I suppose!
 

 
 
On a random Tuesday night, Puff and I realized we better get on it or all the good pumpkins would be gone. We like to go to a local church that spreads all the pumpkin options all over their lawn, so you feel like you're in a pumpkin patch. Last year, Bimmer had just learned how to sit, so it was super easy to get lots of cute photos of her.
 
 
 
This year? Not so much. She was too busy rubbing all the pumpkins, walking around, pointing at people and passing cars. There were no "Bimmer + pumpkin = smiles" photos at all!
 
Thankfully, we managed to capture a few cute ones...
 


 
 
The cutest thing about Halloween this year, versus last year? Bimmer can talk. And she has decided that anything and everything associated with Halloween (including pumpkins) she would call "Boo!"
 
How can you argue with that?
 
One night when Puff was in Michigan on business, I decided to let her decorate one pumpkin with stickers. I was proud of myself for letting go my OCD for wanting everything to be perfect. I'd say her little attitude shows how proud she was!
 
 

 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All's Fair in Love & Cookies

I've written about it before, but the draw of deep fried chocolate chip cookie dough is always worth a trip to Columbia each fall for the SC State Fair.
 
 
 
It just so happened to work out this year that we were traveling back from Charleston after a wedding (HERE) and we needed to stop in Columbia to drop off Kimhead. So the four of us decided it was a perfect time to take Bimmer back to the state fair for the second time.
 
 
 
Since having the baby, my plan of attack at the fair has drastically changed. I used to walk around, check out all the games and watch people on the rides. I used to meander for hours and snack on anything and everything that looked interesting. Now? We're lucky if we're there over an hour. Especially this trip... Bimmer is very much an independent toddler who did NOT want to stay in her stroller. (It actually prompted me to buy her a leash. Updates on that once we've used it!) So, with a baby in tow, we checked out some animals, ate a quick lunch, watched the carousel, and then dove into that cookie dough.
 
 
 
Bimmer is such a smart cookie. (Pun intended.) She bit off the top of the fried goodness, creating a hole to get straight down into the dough, and then just licked out the center. It was pretty much the cutest and most hilarious eating adventure we've had so far. I was strangely proud of her.
 
Maybe next year, she'll be old enough to ride some rides!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust

Most of my crew has already bit the dust and gotten married. It had been awhile since one of my longer-time friends had tied the knot, so I was super excited to be invited to Lisa & Dustin's wedding. The fact that it was in Charleston helped my excitement.
 
Puff and I made the drive down late on Friday evening, so we could spend the entire Saturday checking out the town for Bimmer's first visit. (Well, the first visit outside my stomach. I had a girl's weekend there when I was just 5 weeks along!)
 
 
 
We checked out the market, had lunch at Fleet Landing. And then topped off our afternoon at Kaminsky's for some desserts. Bimmer even got to tip back a cold one when the cute bartender topped off her sippy. She was totally flirting with them too. (Is she my daughter or what?!?) The bartenders were even talking about how they wanted to pose her with her arms propped up on the bar with a shot glass. Don't worry, she fell off the barstool when she was done with her drink. She's never allowed to drink again.
 
 
 
That night, Puff and Bimmer headed out on their own (since the baby wasn't invited to the wedding) and I hit the ceremony with Kimhead and Rach.
 
 
 
Yes, I wore that same dress to Jenn's wedding back in Hilton Head in May. That dress was expensive... gotta get some use out of it! Ha! Bimmer and Puff had a nice time too playing on Folly Beach looking for shells and falling head first into a giant saltwater puddle.
 
 
 
The wedding was absolutely beautiful.... good company, great music, a yummy candy bar, and my favorite, a photo booth! Wishing these guys all the love in the world.
 
 
 
Even if he is a Steelers fan.
 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blessings

There are many occasions wherein I find myself wishing I felt comfortable divulging to the internet community what I do for a living. I swear, it's a super awesome and cool job that would definitely lend itself to plenty of interesting posts. However, in order to keep my job, I am not willing to compromise. I can't do it. I can't post about all the fun stuff and cool people that I come into contact with every day.

Now, it's not always glamorous. Some people probably think it is. It has its perks. Just like any other job. Some weeks are way better than others. And this week, was one of those weeks.

I got to work with the most amazing client. I would be lying if I said I had been looking forward to it going into this week... I've worked late most nights and spent my Saturday here. (Still here, but taking a mental break to write this ::waving::) And it was big. Like, super big. Not just in importance to my company, but big as in, well, just BIG.

So, at the end of last week, I got this email from my client. For all the shitty clients I get to deal with regularly, sometimes you just get a rock star who makes you feel amazing. This week, this client did just that. I cannot wait to work with her again next year...

"In case I haven't told you enough... thank you so much for all you do and have done for us. I know we are a big group with lots of moving parts, but I just want you to know how truly grateful I personally am for you and how much our group as a whole has to thank you for making it happen. Really... just wildly grateful. Our team is praying for you as we all prepare for next week, and it is my personal desire that of all of the clients you have, we can somehow bless you the most."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Enough Already

I had a different post planned to go up today or tomorrow, but it will just have to wait. Because the universe is at it again. I posted a month or so ago about how Bimmer and I were trading sicknesses and I was just overwhelmed.

It got better.

For a little while.

This past weekend, I ended up with pink eye. Yes.... pink eye.

Plus a sinus infection and an ear infection. Sore throat? Check. Cough? You bet.

Puff had a business trip this week. I have a huge client in at work. I had a gut feeling this would happen.... Bimmer got sick.

Daycare called me at 3:30pm today and I had to go get her. A temperature of 102. This also means that she can't go back to daycare tomorrow.

Puff's still in Michigan.

My big client is still in tomorrow.

I'm shit out of luck.

No family here. No friends who don't work. I was on the verge of a panic attack and let everyone at the office know I was about to fall apart.

However...

All these ladies at work (who work for a Christian organization) have been praying for me for days. They told me so... in a meeting. In an email. In person. Via text. And somewhere along the way, those prayers must've worked a little bit. Because miraculously, our nanny is off her normal job tomorrow.

Bimmer has a doctor's appointment in the morning (she keeps pulling on her ear, so even with tubes, I'm suspect there may be an infection) and then I get to go into work, the nanny gets to come here, and Puff flies home in the afternoon to keep the baby in time for my evening work obligations.

I have my fingers crossed everything goes OK between now and then.

But c'mon, universe. I've had enough. I'm taking the hints.... cherish every moment, plan well, and only have one child :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kiddie Culture

As I mentioned recently (HERE) my parents were in town visiting from The Fort, so we wanted to make the most of their trip and make it fun. So we decided to spend the next day in Greenville.
 
I had heard wonderful things about brunch at The Green Room, and it didn't disappoint. Like, seriously, probably the best brunch ever. Puff got raspberry cream cheese stuffed French toast, my dad got eggs benedict, and I had some fabulous French toast made on brioche. Bimmer got to try bacon for the first time. Seeing as she swung it around, giggled, and then rubbed it all over her face, I'd say she likes it.
 
I would insert a photo here, but I've been too damn busy to get them off my phone!
 
From there, it was a quick walk over to The Children's Museum of the Upstate. I had been debating for awhile the best age to try it out, and we figured it was time. (We are anxious to try the one in Columbia next!) Needless to say, Bimmer loved it.
 

 
And of course Puff had to take her to the car related stuff first!
 
 
 
The little grocery store was a definite hit. I'm pretty sure she could have stayed there all day long. She kept taking Papaw fruits and veggies. She brought me poptarts. I think she's on to something.
 
 
The Teddy Bear Clinic area definitely has me wanting to get her a doctor's kit for Christmas! She kept taking her own temperature in her ear too. So sweet!
 
 
 
We saved the water table for the end, which was a wise idea. I knew she would absolutely love it, and that's a vast understatement. She splashed so hard and dumped buckets of water all down the front of her. My dad had to buy her a new shirt! Yup - no mistaking it.... Bimmer is a water baby!
 
Anyone else know of any good children's museums? From what my parents said, it was way better than the one back in The Fort. (Which surprises me, since Greenville is such a smaller city!) Anyhoo... it will be interesting for me to watch over the years what stuff at museum interests her versus what does now. I think she was just excited to have stuff scaled more to her size, and to be able to run and play and not get told "No!"
 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Say Cheese!

I take a lot of photos. Like, way more than anyone ever should take. Poor Bimmer probably feels like the damn paparazzi are following her all the time. I blame my mom, since she took a lot of photos back in the day. I have bins and albums and boxes full of photographic evidence of my childhood. So not having photos of Bimmer just seems impossible. (Wish I could say the same of the MIL. I don’t even know if a baby photo of Puff exists!)
 
 
Why am I reminding you of this tidbit? Well, because I’ve had a few people question me what I actually DO with all those photos. So I thought I would share my process.
When I turned 18, my parents bought me a Pentax SLR film camera to replace the Olympus point and shoot I had been using for a few years. (Lovingly referred to as “Penis Cam.”) It wasn’t until into college that I started to use it almost exclusively. I’d only throw a P&S in my purse when heading out to the bars. Did I *really* know what I was doing with an SLR? Nope. Do I know any more now than I did 13 years ago? Not really. I don’t claim to be a pro. I am totally far from it!
So why did I need an SLR? Well, the reality is that they just take better photos. And having the option to switch out lenses is pretty awesome. So when I realized film was going the way of the dinosaurs, I begged and pleaded and scored a Pentax digital SLR for the Christmas of 2006. I chose to stick with Pentax (versus opting for a probably better Nikon) since the lenses I already had for the film camera worked on the digital. (News flash: This camera is now on its last legs, so I'm in the market for something new!) For Christmas 2007, I got a new digital Olympus point and shoot that was waterproof. Because sometimes you just need to submerge your camera.
  
 
I still use the SLR on a mostly “auto” setting, especially when handing it off to strangers to take photos of the family. The fact that it is from 2006 means it’s already outdated, and some of the larger memory cards don’t even fit into it! The Olympus bit the dust on our honeymoon in the Cayman Islands when it accidentally got opened in the ocean. We were able to salvage the photos on that card (thank God) and I bought another version of the same camera as a replacement.
 
(Gratuitous pre-baby bikini photo. Aww... I miss it!)
 
Between these two cameras (and now, actually the camera on my phone ends up being my go-to during the day hanging out with Bimmer when she’s doing something cute) I have captured a TON of images. Right… so what do I do with them? First, I upload them to my laptop as soon as possible. Having them just on the card in the camera worries me to death! I organize into folders on my desktop to start.
Photos almost always go through an editing process. Not anything super fancy… but they get rotated and then I use the software that came with my Olympus to crop and adjust color, if necessary. Why not use Photoshop? Well, I did pay to have it on my computer when I got my laptop in 2011, but I have yet to have time to figure out how to use it! Maybe one day.
From there, they are immediately uploaded to my Smugmug account. (No, I don’t share it publically, but if you know me, you can ask me for the link.) I pay $40 a year to have an online photo album that has unlimited space capacity. That means that no matter how large the file sizes are, I can upload them and not worry about running out of space. I totally pimp that site whenever I can!
Being OCD (with photo storage being my #1 focus) I have the site set up into 7 categories. Yes, the fact that it’s not an even number bugs me, but hopefully when baby #2 arrives in a few years, I can even it out again! You know that kept me up at night before creating that seventh category! So… the categories are Bimmer, Travel, The Fort, Family & Friends, Events, Holidays & Birthdays, and Other. Then within each category are the albums, in chronological order from the most recent to the oldest. Bimmer’s category has albums like “Homecoming” and “First Birthday.” Family & Friends has albums with times my parents have visited SC or reunions with my college girls. The Other category is always divided into seasons. Within those are lumped all the random, miscellaneous photos that don’t need their own album… hikes to waterfalls, photos of the house and yard, and random pics of Bimmer.
All photos are labeled to the best of my ability. But let’s be real… even with my OCD, if there are 10 photos of Bimmer being cute on a random afternoon, just the date is labeled on the first photo. The first photo after that series, of the next topic, will then be labeled as well. I do have a small bit of leniency on that. (Although my mom did not… every photo from my childhood is labeled on the back and I still have to label any prints I mail to her of Bimmer!)
So, to this point, the photos are stored on my laptop and on a pay website. But that’s not enough. Nope… I want to make sure I have these suckers backed up. Especially when I remember that I just retired my desktop computer a year ago and had thousands of photos stored on the hard drive there. I would DIE if my hard drive on the laptop went kaput and I no longer had the photos. (I delete the memory cards as needed once all the other steps of my anal retentive photo storage process is complete!)  Right… well, I then take time to put them all on an external hard drive. I don’t get to do this as often as I would like, but to date, I am caught up.
 
My shelves of photo albums & boxes. There's also a bin in my closet!
 
Beyond that, I have just started the project of burning the photos on to CDs as well. I have all the digital photos from my desktop (so, 2004 to 2011) burned already. I haven’t gotten to the ones on my laptop yet, since I don’t know how to use the burner!  And then those are labeled with a Sharpie and put in chronological order in a CD binder. My intention is to store that in a fire-safe box. Just gotta find the time to make that happen.
So, there you have it. My ridiculously insane process for photographs. Ones from my phone are emailed to myself and then uploaded to Smugmug as well. Not to mention that I make a scrapbook for each year and so my favorites are printed to be used there. (I just upload to Walgreens since it’s quick and cheap and close to the house.) I also make Shutterfly books of Bimmer's professional photo sessions, plus a book for "Project 52."
So how many pictures do I take? I think I took 20 something rolls of film when I went to New Zealand back in 2005. As for digital… Well, last I looked, the count on my photo site was 25,954 photos. (And that's just really since 2007!)
That’s not unreasonable, is it? ::insert smile::

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

American Pickers

Nothing says fall to me quite like apple picking. So, the first weekend in October, with my parents in town visiting from The Fort, we did just that.
 
Even if I don't really like apples.
 
 
 
I wanted the photos to feel like fall, so we all dressed accordingly, even though it was about 80 degrees. Living in South Carolina will do that to ya! We tried out a new orchard this time that I had never been to before, Justus Orchard, in Hendersonville, NC. It was cute, but we got there later than I would have wanted, so it was super crowded. We're talking busloads.
 
My favorite thing was the cow train that was pulled behind a tractor.
 
 
 
And yes, the entire family went for a ride.
 
 
 
 
By the time we got around to apple picking, we realized that all the trees close to the front were picked over, and it was getting so hot, I was getting sick. So we faked it, took some cute photos, and then bought pre-picked apples in their store! Shhh...... don't tell anyone!
 


 
 
I'm still upset it was too hot and too crowded to stop and eat a fried apple pie. Oh well, maybe next time! I just always want Bimmer to have these kind of adventures and never miss out on anything!
 
Happy picking! Back with more fun fall adventures soon!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Sweet Beach Life

You already (hopefully) read about the first part of our end-of-summer vacation HERE for our few days in Savannah. After we left there, we hit the beach. I have a love affair with St. Simons Island, Georgia. It's just a place that has a special place in my soul. (I even have a Celtic cross tattoo that was inspired by visiting the Wesley Gardens on the island.) We really just spent lots of time sight-seeing, playing on the beach, and eating good food. (The Crab Trap and CJ's Italian were the best food we had the entire trip!)
 
So, really this is just a photo dump of some of the cool things we saw and some of my favorite beach photos of little Bimmer... my beach bum!
 







 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Georgia on my Mind

Our summer vacation in mid-September was long overdue. I was ready. More than ready. I always second guess my decision to travel during shoulder season, but I am reminded every time of the perfection that accompanies it. We spent 2 1/2 days in Savannah and 2 1/2 days in St. Simons Island, GA. There were no crowds. No waiting in line at dinner. We had the beach to ourselves.

Here are a few of our favorite things....
 
 
 
Even though I had done a River Cruise in Savannah before, it was many moons ago, and I was anxious to take Bimmer on her first boat ride. She enjoyed it, until her fever came back. (Poor kid had been sick the 3 days leading up to our trip!) The weather was perfect, the breeze felt amazing, we got a good view of River Street, and Bimmer can check "boating" off her bucket list!
 
 
 
Savannah really is a walkable city. Even if the map looks intimidating, with all the squares and blocks, they're really short and it's very doable. However, with the baby, we decided we wanted to get the lay of the land and also pack in some history. So we opted for a hop-on-and-off trolley tour of the city. Bimmer loved it (since she loves all forms of transportation) and actually was pretty well behaved. She liked looking out and pointing at things along the way. Disclaimer: Make sure you have the most up-to-date map. Somehow, we ended up with a map that was a few years old, so some of the stops had changed! And since the city doesn't allow them to mark the stops with anything other than a standard bus stop sign, it got a little confusing!
 
 
 
When we asked the front desk of our hotel where we should go to eat with a baby, they immediately told us The Pirate House. I was skeptical... it sounded super cheesy. We tend to steer clear of anything that's too touristy in the way of restaurants. But after we drove past it on the trolley and learned all the cool history (oldest building in town, tours of the place, shanghai pirates, etc.) we decided it would be worth the risk. And it paid off. The service was phenomenal, the food was better than average, and the pina colada was perfection. We even took a short history tour around after dinner with a lady dressed as a pirate. Pretty cool!
 
 
 
On our last day in Savannah, we ventured a little farther outside the city limits. Those who know me well, know I am a fan of cemeteries. I know it's a bit weird, but they just fascinate me. Or well, super old ones with tons of character fascinate me. So, even though I had been there before, I knew I had to swing by and spend some time in the Bonaventure Cemetery.
 
 
 
It's where the "Bird Girl" statue from the cover of "Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil" was, before being moved to a museum since people were flocking to see it. I just loved strolling up and down the dirt paths, taking in the beauty of the live oaks covered in Spanish moss. Word to the wise.... pack some bug spray! I ended up with about 30+ bug bites!
 
 
 
Oatland Island Wildlife Refuge was a nice way to kill a little time, but I'm not sure I necessarily recommend it. There were a few cool exhibits (birds of prey and bobcats) but lots of things were off exhibit and if it's at all hot and humid, it is not the place to be. Bimmer seemed to like it though and was super excited when she got treated to some chocolate milk for the first time!
 
All told... our stay in Savannah was really nice. Even though I have been a resident of South Carolina for 13 years, I actually prefer Savannah over Charleston. There's just something about the downtown that I prefer. Maybe it's all the squares with the trees. Who knows. Regardless, I'm very happy I got to spend some time there with my family and show them around town. I'm sure we'll be back someday!

Monday, October 7, 2013

There is Such a Thing as Toddler Style

I must always put this disclaimer at the top of any blog post that discusses any sort of fashion, but please note that I need a fashion over-haul, I am fully aware. I am not a fashionista. I get my weekly dose of fashion advice from Joan Rivers.
 
That being said, I've noticed a lot of blogs recently with posts about how to dress your baby girl. And I check out a lot of them. And then I want to smash my head against the wall because no child should ever be dressed like this...
 
 
 
And for the love of Donatella Versace, please stop putting your daughter in anything smocked. Oh yeah, and your boys too. You know that makes them gay, right? (Or not. But seriously. Stop.)
 
So, with the change of seasons, I have been a mad woman on a shopping spree for Bimmer's fall wardrobe. It's kinda pointless though, since we wear shorts into October and long sleeves aren't really a necessity until after Thanksgiving here. But, let's not forget, deep down, I am a woman, and sometimes a woman just needs to shop.
 
I'm not going to pimp ridiculously ugly brands with lots of mix-matched patterns. Nor am I going to tell you that it's OK to put your 3 month old daughter in a 12 month sized top and call it a dress. Most times, it won't fit, and it will just look stupid. What I am going to tell you, are some of the cute things I've scored for Bimmer for this fall and point out some other things I would love if she was a smidge larger and could fit into a 2T.
 
Carter's is always a go to for me. Here are a few of the fall staples that Bimmer will be rocking paired with some skinny jeans or leggings...
 


 
 
 
A few things I didn't buy, but think are pretty stinkin' cute...
 

 
 
Old Navy is usually hit or miss for me in the adult section, but they have some pretty great kid's clothes. And with the sales they run, who can beat it?
 


 
A few things I managed to resist, but I'm not sure why...
 
(I totally went a few days ago and bought a gray/teal short-sleeved version of this)

 
 
Boden is a new one for me, and I snagged some end of summer sales and took a chance ordering stuff for next year. I just can't resist the little bit of originality that is coming with these items. It's not stuff every other kid is going to have here in the states. Especially in SC.
 
 
 
If I were more sure of how their sizes run, and if I hadn't already been on a massive shopping spree, these would look adorable in her wardrobe...
 

 
Now, come next year, when Bimmer is in a size 2T, we are going to be in some serious trouble, because then we'll be able to shop at Crew Cuts and Vineyard Vines.
 



 
 
All in all, my only rules for dressing Bimmer? I want her to be comfortable. I want it to be something that will go on and off easily. I need it to be something that will wash OK. I have also learned that darker colors and patterns are better for sending her to school, since she gets so dirty eating and playing on the playground. We're in a stage where a lot of white doesn't make sense. And in general, dresses don't make much sense either. I've not gotten her any for fall/winter and don't really plan on it. A denim skirt with some leggings will get her through any "occasion" that we have on the books that requires a skirt.
 
Maybe in the spring, I'll have her do a little fashion show. Man... who would have ever thought I would become THIS mom?