Friday, May 30, 2014

I Love Being a Mom

Happy Mother's Day!
We actually were flying out to Florida on Mother's Day, so any and all activities had to take place early. The only thing I really wanted to do was to have hibachi. I'm not pregnant, but daaaaaamn was this mama craving some of that goodness!
We walked to a little local bakery for some homemade bagels and muffins for breakfast. Bimmer even brought along a baby of her own, since she's such a good little mama to her dolls.
Puff got me two cards (one super sappy, the other inappropriate) and then also got one from Bimmer as well. My gifts included a blouse from J.Crew, a t-shirt that Bimmer will probably never be able to wear (see pic below) and a lovely necklace that he had custom-made on Etsy with Bimmer's name on one charm, her birthday on another, and her birthstone on another. (And a late-comer after we got back from FL of some adorable seersucker pj pants that were embroidered with my monogram.)
(It reads "I'm the reason my mommy is now a MILF"
While it wasn't a crazy planned out day, I figure the rest of our lives are that way. And just getting to spend quality time with my growing baby girl was all I really needed for Mother's Day. Although, I may try to plan something much more elaborate for next year, now that I know what Puff wants to do for Father's Day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

4 Years Strong

While we were gone in Florida, Puff and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary! It is hard to believe that we have been together so long!


That's the first picture of both of us together. We had just gotten back from a date to the flea market. Yup... we're rock stars like that.


We are coming up on 6 years of being together total, but four of sharing the same last name. It has been my longest relationship ever (his too) and while it hasn't always been rainbows and unicorns, it's been pretty fantastic.


I am lucky to call him my husband. I am proud of myself for fighting for our relationship when it got rough. I was so set to run at one point. Not because I didn't love him, but because I got scared. We are meant to be together. We created a family together. Every second I spend with him is worthwhile.

Every year since we've been married, we have celebrated our anniversary by getting gussied up and heading out for a nice dinner. And in true fashion for us, we split the bill. We also do cards, but no gifts. I just want something sweet that he has written in that I can stash in my yearly scrapbook. Something to prove he loves me, right? Ha! I also make him pose for a photo in all our fanciness.

Year 1
Year 2 - About to burst with Bimmer any day
Year 3
Year 4 (Can you tell Puff has a certain wardrobe he likes? Ha!)

Even though we celebrated a month early this year, it didn't jinx us! (That's what happens when you have to figure out babysitter schedules!) We are in an interesting place in our marriage right now. We are just calming down with the whole "introducing a baby" phase and now we're battling the inevitable "do we have another baby" phase. But it's good. And I'm content and happy. Bimmer is happy. Puff is happy too.

It's a nice place to settle in for awhile.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer Vacay: Sarasota

We've been back in the real world now for about a week. And let me tell you... it's difficult. Not that vacationing with a toddler is a day at the beach. Even when you are literally spending the day at the beach.
Our trip consisted of half a week in Sarasota, Florida, and then the second half in Clearwater. Be prepared for two long posts about our adventures. Don't worry... I'll save the actual flying with a toddler info for a completely separate post to come. (I figure some of you are anxious to hear how that all went!) So let's get this party started....
The first day was mostly spent traveling, so our biggest accomplishment was heading to dinner. We were staying in downtown Sarasota, at the super nice Hyatt Regency Sarasota. (Thumbs up on service, price, location, etc.) Lots of people had recommended dinner at Phillippi Creek, which is just south of downtown and was a quick and easy drive. Once you are actually in the restaurant, you don't even notice that you are adjacent to a major 4-lane roadway.
However, for all the hype, it wasn't our jam. The service was spotty and the tables were dirty and on top of one another. The daiquri had so much rum in it that it was virtually undrinkable. The rice had mushrooms in it - how random! (I sent it back, and will say that the herb potatoes were supurb.) Puff ordered stone crab, which we knew wouldn't be cheap, but it was market price and our dinner ended up being waaaaaay more expensive than it was worth. I would hate to see what that place is like in busy season!
Monday's mission was to enjoy the super awesome pool at the hotel. Bimmer is such a daredevil when it comes to water... she will jump and splash and swim under waterfalls. I love that she is such a water baby!

That night's dinner excursion took us down to Siesta Key (maybe a 25 minute drive) to the Daiquri Deck. They have a few locations, but this seemed to be more our speed. They had a huge open-air deck that let all the breeze blow right through. The service was good and the food was really good, which was not necessarily expected from a place that had been recommended to me by someone who had just gone there for drinks. Speaking of which, FYI - they only can do strawberry without alcohol. Since we're not huge drinkers, we just had them not top the drinks with extra alcohol and they were perfect.

Are you beginning to think all we do on vacation is eat? Well, yeah, that's fairly accurate.
Tuesday morning, we headed over to the Mote Aquarium. I didn't have super high hopes for it, since I knew it wasn't huge and we have been to some other, better, aquariums before. However, it turned out to be just the right speed for Bimmer. She loved running around to the tanks and peaking in. She learned the word "jellyfish" and kept calling all of the fish by that name. The separate building with the dolphin was a disappointment... it was one lone dolphin just literally sitting in one spot. Travel Tip: Lots of aquariums and zoos have "exchange" programs where you can get discounts into other zoos/aquariums with your membership card. So, I packed ours from our local zoo. And it ended up getting us in for FREE! That's a savings of $40+ and it made us not feel so bad about splurging on lunch and a few gift shop items.

That night, our stomachs took us out to Anna Maria Island to visit the Rod & Reel restaurant. (I would link, but they don't have a website that I can find.) We had taken Bimmer there when we visited back when she was only 5 weeks old and the food was so delish, we had to return. This time was no exception... Bimmer even scarfed down a crab cake! Who knew she liked them? The only gripe was that the outside patio had no air circulation at our table, so all three of us were literally dripping sweat. So, we just ate fast. The service was good and the food was awesome. Don't let the scary pier fool you!
Our last morning in Sarasota was the big shabang. (That's a technical term.) As we prepped for our trip, we kept talking with Bimmer about what we would see and do. We talked about swimming and the beach and seeing fish. And then we would talk about seeing flamingos and she would always add "And goats!!!" She was so set on seeing some flamingos and goats on this trip. We were bound to let her down. However, Sarasota Jungle Gardens was prepped for the task. Bimmer must've known something we didn't... because in addition to all the gators and parrots and reptiles, there were flamingos (that we got to feed!) and sure enough, goats. It kinda sorta made my day when we rounded that corner and Bimmer screamed "goats!" because I knew she was just over-the-moon excited. Never mind her freak-out when they got close enough for her to touch!

Traveling with an almost two year old isn't always easy, but it is so fun. I have traveled all my life and while, yes, I have my stresses and wishes for a nap, etc. when taking Bimmer on a trip, I always love having her with me. She just makes it better. Travel, and life.
**Sidenote: Our time in Sarasota was also split between time with visiting my mom, who has MS, in her assisted living facility. It was a bittersweet time for me. It is difficult to see your mother in that state to begin with, and then it is also very difficult to watch her interact with your 2 year old who doesn't know her and doesn't understand. While I am not trying to sweep that part of our vacation under the rug, it is just not something I care to elaborate on at this time. I am grateful that Puff and I are able to travel to her, since she cannot travel to us. I am thankful Bimmer has a grandmother who loves her so much.**

Friday, May 23, 2014

Two Years Eve

This weekend marks Bimmer's second birthday. She's such a big girl. I know this because if you ask her if she is a baby or a big girl, she emphatically screams "BIG GIRL!"

Oh.... I have such baby fever.


Bimmer has grown and blossomed into such an amazing person. She is bright and beautiful. She is the light of our lives and all those other cliches. Every last one about your children is totally true. She brings me more bliss than I could ever have imagined. More love than I ever thought possible.
It's hard to believe this was a year ago. She has quite literally doubled since this photo. She amazes me every day with the things she has learned. I love watching her become a little person. Her personality is so distinct. She is sweet, yet a little bit sassy. She definitely knows what she wants. Oh, the joys of being the mother of a daughter.
I have probably said it before, but I will say it again until the end of time... I do not know what I did in this life to deserve to be entrusted with hers. I am blessed beyond words.
Happy birthday, Bimmer. I love you baby girl.
I love you big girl.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

OOTD: Vacation Style

I hate to harp on the whole "Operation Summer of Sexy Mom" thing, but since we just got back from a week in Florida, I feel the need to share what I packed. (Yes, be prepared to see more of these outfits actually on me in upcoming posts about what we actually did on our trip.) I made a conscious effort to pick out outfits that were more put together than I normally would have packed. That meant, no random t-shirts with gnomes on them. And since we were traveling, I had to be mindful of my shoes as well. I *hate* to take too many shoes when we travel.

Let's get into the nitty gritty....

Banana Republic shirt, Vineyard Vines shorts

Blouse from a local boutique, J.Crew chino shorts (my fave!)

LOFT blouse, J.Crew shorts

Boden tee, J.Crew shorts

Gap tee, J.Crew shorts

Old Navy blouse, Lily Pulitzer shorts

Lily Pulitzer tank, J. Crew shorts

It felt really good to be more "put together" than usual. (I did take a necklace for each outfit, but forgot to take pics when I was packing!) I didn't feel schlumpy or like I could embarass my husband and daughter with my clothes. It was a strange feeling. But a good one! One I definitely hope to continue from now on!
Note: You seriously need to go over to J.Crew Factory and snatch up these shorts! (Amongst other things.) The beauty is that you don't have to go to an actual outlet, but can order online! And they run sales all the time - like right now, a lot of stuff is 50% off! As for the shorts, I always do the 3" chino and they're selling for $34 right now, which you can't beat for the quality! Especially with all the awesome colors they have. I also own aqua and khaki and am dying over the "dark papaya" and "festival blue" colors they have now. Dammit...I shouldn't have clicked on my own link because now I need to go shop!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dumpity Dump Dump

Whew! Did you miss me???

Puff, Bimmer, and I just spent the last week in Sarasota & Clearwater, Florida, visiting my mom and spending some family time at the beach. While we regroup and unpack, here's a little photo dump from April. Don't worry... there will be plenty of trip updates to come!
 She was fine on the horse when it was still, but then it started moving...

I think this is a pretty clear testimony to the fact that I take way too many pictures, especially in one sitting. Oh, but Bimmer is just too cute not to!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Meathead

I wouldn't believe it if I wasn't there myself to witness.

April 16, 2014.... Gail had a session with a personal trainer.
Read HERE about my struggle with my weight loss and my exercising plateau. It was time for something to change. And I figured a trainer would be the kick-start and motivation I needed to get in a few serious workouts before bikini season was upon us! I was super nervous to even schedule it (yes, it took about 3 trips there to work up the nerve to ask about getting on the schedule) but I did it. And I was going to go through with it.
Let's just say, I knew I was out of shape, but had no idea! Most of my first session was letting Trainer Mike figure out my strengths and weaknesses. Let's just say I can rock the crap out of some elliptical time, but squats are my new worst enemy. We focused a lot on him showing me how to keep my body in line correctly while doing exercises and some moves that I can do at home to work on overall strength. I did some dumbbells and realized just how much weaker my left arm is than my right. I liked the arm workout with the cable weights. And I even didn't hate the pull-up moves I did with the straps. But oh, those squats. And those horrible "get-ups" as he called them from the floor. My thighs were so wobbly when I left, I was afraid it might not be safe for me to drive home!!! And oh, the next day. Going down stairs was like rubbing my bare feet on shards of glass. Shooting, horrible pain.
But I did it. And I lived through it. And I made a very strong suggestion that our next session be more ab-focused. Yup, I needed my abs to be in shooting, horrible pain the next week. I even paid for the next two sessions. Nothing like a little monetary donation to entice me to keep my appointment.
Going into the second session though, I was petrified. I was no longer so timid about the whole "where do I go? who is my trainer?" anxiety that I had the first time. Nope... I was remembering distinctly the excrutiating pain I had the week prior where getting up from the toilet elicited an audible OUCH. What would this session have in store? Thankfully, it was a lot better. Yes, we did those dreaded "get-ups" and some squats, but we also did different arm exercises and we got down on the ground for me to do some ab work. Oh, my horribly weak and flabby core. However, I was proud of myself that when we did planks, I held them for 30 seconds. It's the small victories with this task, for sure!
I don't intend to keep the trainer up long term... that shit is expensive! But it's a step in the right direction. I just wish I would have bit the bullet earlier in the year to be ready before the weather was warm! Stay tuned... I'll post in a month or so on my progress!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sexy Mom Update

Operation Summer of Sexy Mom is in full-swing. Although a more appropriate title may be "Operation Summer of Mom Who Doesn't Look Like a Broke College Student."
Minor detail.
I've been making a very conscious effort to dress in outfits that are more appealing, put together, and age appropriate, especially during outings when there would be photo ops. Case in point...

My most adventurous is the night I wore leggings out in public without a tunic/dress over them. First time ever! Go me! Way to be trendy... like a few years too late! (Don't worry Kimhead, my cardigan was long enough for my ass to be covered. We're not getting too crazy over here!)
Baby steps.
And since I am a huge fan and promoter of my (fashion) saving grace, the Mix & Match Mama, I broke down and bought a pair of wedges that she was hyping. Since she had steered me so well in the camo Toms, I thought I couldn't go wrong with her insistance that these were the best wedges ever.
I haven't worn them too often, but let's just say I am a believer. The first time I wore them (outside of trying them out to walk around the house) was a work day, and I actually kept them on from about 7:30am until after 3pm. That's a major deal for someone who HATES breaking in shoes! And for someone whose heels normally come off before lunch. Can't wait to sport them with some shorts and show off my inner fashionista!!!!
I will update again sometime in a month or so to see if I'm still going strong. Posting keeps me accountable... so thanks for your support!

Monday, May 5, 2014

You Think You Know Me

One of my few regular splurges is a trip to get a pedicure. I only get once a month (and sometimes slack in the winter toe-closed months) but it's my time to take a break from work (because, yes, I always go on my lunch break) and I get to indulge in a little pampering, along with some trashy reading. Yup... without fail, I always pick up an US Weekly or an OK! Magazine to read. Nothing hard-hitting. Nope... this is prime-time for fluff!
There is a page in one of those where they interview a star and talk about 25 things you may not know about that person. Well, since you obviously care equally about ME and say, Carrie Underwood, I thought it only fitting to give you a little run-down of a few things you may not know about me. I'll spare you 25 though... today, you'll learn 10. Trust me, I'm sure that's quite enough info for one sitting.
1) I only like to write with clicky pens. Blue at work, Black at home. I even have clicky highlighters.
2) I hate Dave Matthews Band. You have never seen someone change a radio station faster than me when that crap comes on. (Phil Collins is a close second in hatred.)
3) When I pick up Bimmer's food off the floor (piece of sandwich, Goldfish crackers, etc.) I throw it out the back door into the yard. I'm an unconventional bird-feeder.
4) I have to wear sunglasses almost any time I am outside, even if it's just barely sunny. Puff makes fun of me for this all the time.
5) I bite my straws when I drink.
6) I really like armadillos.I wish I could make them trendy like owls. (My prediction is hedgehogs are the next owls.)
7) I want to own leopard print shoes, but don't think I am cool enough to pull them off.
8) My favorite number is 8. Thanks to Troy Aikman, of course.
9) Whenever Boston's song, "Peace of Mind" comes on, I crank it as loud as possible and play air guitar. My dad does the same thing.
10) I only get my hair cut and colored twice a year. I still drive back to The Fort to see my hairdresser, because I don't trust anyone in SC.
Do you have any random facts about yourself that you'd like to share?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Hippity Hop

Since Bimmer's daycare is affiliated with a church, it was a given that she was going to be off on Good Friday. Puff's company was also closed, but I lucked out having a day I could use to be off, so it became a family affair for our own little three-day holiday weekend! This worked out fabulously, because it meant we could give Bimmer her Easter basket a day early, and not have to worry about rushing to get to Atlanta to see the MIL.
Puff said I went overboard, but the only real splurge were the $18 ABC magnets that I had picked up at a cute store in Asheville back in February. Notice we skipped any snacks or candy. It looked full enough as it was. Plus, this will probably be the last year we can get away with that kind of omission.
Saturday morning, we hit the road bright and early to get to Atlanta. We had big plans for the day. We were taking our animal-loving toddler to Zoo Atlanta. However, Mother Nature had other plans. The forecast that had been 70s and sunny just days earlier, suddenly veered left and was in the 50s and rainy. We made the best of it by swinging by Ted's Montana Grill for some yummy burgers (and to-die-for onion rings).
From there, we opted for a stop at the Fernbank Museum as a rainy afternoon activity. It's a natural history museum and Bimmer enjoyed the taxidermy, dinosaurs, and the nature-themed play area on the top floor. It wasn't anywhere I would rush back to visit, but it was most definitely less crowded than say, the Georgia Aquarium, would have been.
That night, we sweet-talked the MIL into watching Bimmer for us so Puff and I could have a date night! With no hard set plans (yes, you can pick your jaw up from the ground) we went into downtown Decatur to check out some cool shops and then had dinner at Cafe Alsace. As little miss picky eater, I would have never agreed to going there unless I had been totally full from Ted's and in need of dessert. Sadly, the dessert was a let-down (who wants rhubarb pie or a pear-mango tart? I wanted a big ol' gooey brownie!) so we won't be venturing back there any time in, well, probably my lifetime. But Bimmer had a great time with her grandma and that made me so happy! (Just means she won't be hesitant to keep her again for us!)
Easter Sunday, church was on the agenda. But not until after I put Bimmer in her brand new dress and Puff left his coffee within reach and she managed to pour it down the front of her. Thankfully, it wasn't hot, and we had an hour to figure out what to do... lots of Tide-sticking and blotting and hair-drying happened. I could still tell there was a stain, but it wasn't horribly noticeable. She lasted halfway through the church service before I had to take her out, but that was OK by me. When we got back to the MIL's house, we had a little photo shoot and egg hunt to keep Bimmer busy while the MIL cooked.

All told, it was the best visit we've had with the MIL in a really long time. Bimmer was super excited to see her and hang out with her,and while she isn't my favorite person in the world, to see Bimmer so happy is all that mattered. It was definitely a good weekend.... until we got back home (a several hours drive from Atlanta) and realized we had left our suitcase at the MIL's house.