Posts Tagged ‘family’

Ballet and Seaside Sunsets

30 Days of Thanks. Day 5: thankful for time to unplug to enjoy little moments and big beauty

Tuesdays have quickly become a frontrunner for favorite day of the week. I know it’s hard to beat a relaxing Saturday or a lazy Sunday, but lately our Tuesdays have involved pink tutus, buns, ballet slippers and adventures in Seaside. Emery’s Itty Bitty Ballet classes take place at The Studio in the heart of Seaside. While she’s in class, I get to take a time out to grab an Amavida Coffee, browse Instagram, Pinterest or (more often) peek in to watch the class. These little ballerinas are adorable!



After class, we could easily wander over for a Frost Bites sno-cone, yogurt at Dawson’s, mac n cheese at Barefoot BBQ or a quick trip to the beach. It’s literally across the street. With the fall-back time change, we have just enough time to cross over to one of Seaside’s gorgeous pavilions (see more here and here) and make our way to the top of the dunes to see the clouds and water undergo their daily transformation.




While I like to soak all this in…AfterBallet-SeasidePavillion9

…my excited little ballerina is just as fun to watch.AfterBallet-SeasidePavillion2



Here’s the view from the West Ruskin Pavillion looking east toward Bud & Alley’s…


…and the gorgeous view looking west toward the Pensacola Pavilion and Watercolor in the distance.AfterBallet-SeasideView

Inspired Mommy: @KatherineMaries Instagram

KatherineMariesToothFairyKitBack in my college sorority days, I had a craft collection that even Martha Stewart might be a little jealous of. From scrapbooking and paddle-making to decoupaging, DIY artwork and personalizing EVERYTHING, I kept boxes upon boxes of supplies for random projects that might pop up. I even kept it up after college until my now-husband helped me move out of my apartment and much of “craft collection” mysteriously went to the dumpster. I returned to my old crafty self for a short period during wedding planning but since then all I seem to have time for is a metallic gold Sharpie (on a good day).

You know how browsing Instagram can lead to clicking one profile then another then another until you’re so far down a photo rabbit hole, you’re not sure how you stumbled upon an account? Well that’s how I found the most adorable Instagram. Katherine Marie’s page is everything a mom with even a hint of craftiness might want for sharing afternoon activities, girly fun, educational lessons and special moments with her kids. I’ve picked out a few of my favorites, especially the more girl-focused ideas, but you really have to browse the whole account to get the full effect. This woman is amazing. She has four kids from age 1 to 13, is a professional photographer and STILL finds the time to put together these incredible activities that I’m sure her kids will remember forever. It’s seriously a cuteness overload, and, for me, these images serve as a little inspiration to take extra time, even when it seems like there is none, to create a special moment just for Emery. After all, adorable crafts or not, it’s the little moments that turn into big memories.

Three Things

Okay, it’s actually six things and really, they’re all the same thing. I dare you to guess. It’s sweet Emery! She has been a ball of energy and personality lately and I am eating up every bite I can. She is fast approaching her second birthday and this “almost 2″ stage has been so fun. Here are a few things I’m head over heels for these days and please read all the way down for one of the best pictures ever.

1. Rainy day gear. Emery insists on her rain boots (naturally!) and one of her fun jackets. “Need mah hoodie mommy,” she says. “Mommy put mah hoodie on mommy. Mommy.”

I’m not usually known for getting out of the house early, but I try my best not to be late so she has a few minutes to break dance and splash in the puddles.
2. Break Dancing Yes, I said break dancing. I’m not quite sure where the girl gets these crazy moves, but she is a wiggler, shaker and stomper. There is so much movement for such a tiny little person! It’s pretty funny to watch and definitely a dance that is not truly captured in a photograph. I’ll have to work on the video version.
3. Books, books, books! Before dinner, after dinner, before bedtime, past bedtime. Anytime is a good time to read, according to Emery. She has a growing collection of books that she likes to flip through on her own or pay very close attention to when Hunter or I read to her. She knows some of the stories so well that she skips ahead to tell me what’s going to happen before we even get to that page. I love that she is a book worm, just like her mama.
4. iPad Games Now I know not everyone is a fan of too much time on the iPad, but the games we play have made such a difference in Emery’s vocabulary and interactions. She loves flashcards, matching games (Articulation Station), Build a Bug, storybook apps (Goldilocks and the Princess and the Pea are her favorites), Old McDonald and even the TBS laugh track app. I have to unlock my iPhone or the iPad but Emery knows what to do after that and even knows to stay within her “Emery” folder. She turns the pages herself, repeats words and numbers and giggles right along. She’s really learned so much! I can proudly say that she can sing the alphabet all by herself and count to 9. Sometimes I play with her, sometimes I just watch in amazement.

5. Feigned Annoyance Sometimes I think this girl is 1 going on 13 the way she looks at me with these pitiful, frustrated or just plain annoyed looks on her face. She actually rolled her eyes at me the other day! I say, “Smile, Emery!” and she just stands there like “Take the picture already, lady.” I think I’m gonna be in trouble when those adolescent years finally make their appearance.

6. Last, but certainly not least I love Daddy-daughter time. Not only does it give me a chance to sit back and take a breather but watching the interaction between Emery and Hunter just melts my heart. A big, strong manly man becomes a princess, a puppy, a beauty parlor client or a T-rex rodeo rider — whatever Emery wants. I love that I was able to capture this sweet moment at the park. Now that’s what we call a framer!

Sunset Fishing

What’s better than spending a relaxing weekend with your honey? Spending a relaxing weekend with your honey on the water, watching sunsets from the boat, spotting dolphins and catching our dinner. Ahh, happy day!


Three Things

Some days are so crazy and some weeks so busy that there’s seems to be no time to pause, reflect or even stand a chance at making it all the way down that lengthy to-do list. Throw in the annoying head cold that everyone seems to be passing back and forth and, well, it gets a little rough. It is these times especially that I have to force myself to take a breath, look forward to the light at the end of projects and stop and smell the roses (or in my case, the salt air). Three things that I am thankful for this week:

1. Five minute trips to the beach, even if it’s just to stand at the top of the boardwalk in the cold wind and take it all in.

2. An extra cup of coffee in my snazzy new home-made mug.

3. An extra snuggle, smooch and tight hand-hold from this little bundle, who always smells so fresh, mumbles absolutely the sweetest things and is turning into such a little lady. (Notice the must-have baubles and the obligatory tiny pinky in the air.) She is my heart!

Now, if that extra dose of caffeine will keep up the momentum going until her second birthday, I’ll be GREAT!


Life Tastes Good

Life is busy. Days are chaotic. The “To-Do” list is never really done, is it? As easy as it is for me to get wrapped up in reports, action items and project statuses, I have to force myself to slow down long enough to enjoy the tiny little treasures of moments. These amazing, simple snippets are really what make it all worthwhile. When I stop to enjoy things like masterpiece sunsets, fresh-from-the-dock fish, raindrops on my face, Saturday morning bacon, infectious giggles and the feeling of a tiny, sticky hand holding mine right after plundering in the neighbor’s grape vine, I have to admit Life. Tastes. Good.
Hope you’re enjoying every precious bite!

life lately + the giveaway winner!

There has been so much going on lately, that I’ve fallen asleep on the couch, laptop open on more than one night this week.  It’s been a whirlwind, but in a good way. It’s real life, to be honest. First, let me tell you about my pride and joy. Miss Emery Lynn has given us so much to smile about with her sweet personality, gibberish conversations and at 10 1/2 months old, HER FIRST STEPS! I was sad I wasn’t there to see the first steps in person, which I suppose is a risk for all working moms, but I was thrilled that our babysitter got it on camera.

Our little girl has grown up so much right beneath our nose. She seems so much more mature and giggles all the time. She waves bye-bye and acts like she’s telling hot gossip when I hand her the phone. She’s even gotten her first tooth, actually two on the bottom, which she will not let anyone see under any circumstances.
Two teeny tiny teeth inside

Our little E took her first under-the-weather trip to the doctor recently, and all she wanted to do was cuddle. It was the sweetest and most pitiful thing. She definitely knows how to turn on the sad faces. 
She and I spent one or two weeknights engrossed in iPhone education (her with flashcards, me with anything social media) while Hunter watched Swamp People or Whitetail Adventure or whatever outdoors show is on this time.
We went to the early service at church, followed directly by brunch and mimosas. 
We spent a lazy afternoon rocking on our front porch.
I redecorated my sad little space at work with a punch of gray and white chevron, thanks to our office poster printer. My co-worker Kelli says I practically own this pattern. Yes, it is now everywhere in my life. 

I spent a gloriously warm lunch break at the beach catching up on celeb fashion.

I attended a fabulous Girls Night Out at Marlin Grill hosted by the lovely Jessica Proffitt of Proffitt PR, which deserves its own post that I promise I’m getting to. I had so much fun, I went back the next night for an FPRA get together involving much-need white wine.

Here are some of my very favorite PR lady friends. Aren’t they lovely?

I pulled over on the side of the road the other day to snap this pretty picture of one of our coastal dune lakes in South Walton. It was so gorgeous, I just couldn’t resist.

I <3 South Walton!
I got a lunchtime mani/pedi on Valentine’s Day in the sweet shade of Dutch Tulips, perfect for Cupid.
We spent a perfectly cozy evening at home on the 14th with this little Valentine helping me cook dinner and Hunter make dessert. 

It wasn’t wild and crazy or over-the-top, but it was real, just like the stream of photos above and just what Valentine’s Day is really all about. This is what life is actually like. There are fabulous moments and sweet moments, frustrating moments and breathtaking moments all rolled into one short time. There are moments you feel like you can’t change another diaper and moments you feel like snuggling with your baby and your hubby under a blanket are all you could ever need in life. There are moments you raise a glass in celebration and moments you throw a burned dinner in the trash. There are moments you argue over silly little things. There are moments you fall asleep on the couch on Valentine’s Day with a baby in your arms and wake up to your husband putting you both to bed, kitchen clean, laundry done and iPhone charging. There are moments you pick tiny pieces of soap out of the shower drain and moments your husband whisks you away for an impromptu slow dance across the living room. (Yes, this truly happened). There are times you want to throw up your hands and times you say, “Wow. THIS is a pretty sweet life.” And that’s what it’s all about, right?

Finally, after all that mush, I’m sure you guys are slightly nauseous and ready to know if you are the proud winner of my very first giveaway! The long overdue winner of the J. Crew iPhone case giveaway….. drumroll please….. according to….. is…. commenter #4, sharlander who said:
Well living in Seattle has me addicted to my Starbucks app! I’m now a gold status member since June 2011, it allows me to check my balance, see how many stars I need until my free drink, where I can find the nearest Starbucks and if I ever find myself without my card I can pay for my latte with my phone. Hands down my favorite!”

Thanks, everyone for commenting and as always, thanks so much for reading along with my scattered chatter. You guys are the best!

green acres

Have I mentioned we live in the country? Some weekends are decidedly more  ”Green Acres”-esque than others. Even though we’ve been here for a few months, adjusting to the ways of country life is still, well, an adjustment. Our house is surrounded by grass, trees, rolling hills, doves, robins and deer. We have hunting dogs with names like Bo, Luke, Daisy, Tacoma and Crockett.

These guys live down the road.

The nearest store stocks everything from milk, bread, butter and Frappuccinos to corn feed, diesel and cattle guards . Instead of white sand and turquoise water, the vibrant hues in our lives come from green grass, golden fields, blue skies and blue jeans. (Though we still get plenty of the aforementioned color fix from the south end of the county.)

Family time is important as ever. The laid-back, feet outstretched, head in the grass moments, are full of pure relaxation and happiness. My girl is happy. My husband is happy. Life is good.

Sometimes it’s not about where you are or what you’re doing, but more about being with the people who mean the most to you and making every moment one that you can sit back, relax in, and drink in, donkeys and all. 
P.S. Is it me or does Zsa Zsa’s shirt look a bit like this season’s J. Crew button-up? :)
via TVland

woods and water

Some weekends start with a bang and are so action-packed you can hardly catch a breath cramming in one thing and another before you realize it’s 10 pm Sunday night and you have accomplished exactly NOTHING. (Maybe that’s just me?) Luckily, this weekend wasn’t like that at all. It was laid-back, relaxing, and full of adventure, yet still, those two wonderful days rolled by at a pace just lazy enough to enjoy before it was all over and Monday starts calling.  
It was a mix of white sand, sunshine and salt air Saturday as I was hubby-free and baby-free at the beach, followed by dirt, trees and hunting dogs on Sunday as Emery and I accompanied Hunter on a day of deer tracking. The weekend was the epitome of life lately. Mixing in my beloved beach days and South Walton fun with Hunter’s country days and good ol’ boy ways. As different as they are, they seem to work. They offer a welcome variety and one side totally helps me appreciate the other, so that I’m able to get caught up in the scenes, the sounds, and really living in that moment. Let me tell you, it’s a wonderful thing.

Emery and I woke up with the sun (she is her father’s child, after all) and rode down the driveway to get the newspaper. Yes, people still get newspapers delivered in the country and Emery absolutely loves to take an early ride to pick up the paper (even if I’m more likely to read it on my iPhone).

After a morning of a bit of housework and playing with Em’s new Christmas toys, Hunter’s mom picked up my sweet girl and left me to relax with peace, quiet and no diaper changing for the day. It was just perfect. Even in January, it was 70 degrees, sunny and breezy. I couldn’t have designed a better day myself.

Where was I off to? I headed straight to Seaside and stopped to shop at the Farmer’s Market. It is one of my 2012 resolutions to eat more veggies, after all.

I grabbed lunch from my friend Abby at Barefoot BBQ. I’d recommend any of the Airstream trailers in Seaside for a bite to eat, but the BBQ truck is definitely my favorite.

Hey, Abbs!

After lunch, I went straight to … where else … the beach! It was only the first Saturday of the year, but it seemed like the first day of spring break. I sat back, closed my eyes, and enjoyed every single moment of the warm, sunny day and the water twinkling in the background.

There’s something about digging your feet in the sand that instantly degrades your stress level. It didn’t hurt that the beach was all dolled up with its finest on display. The sun, the water, the sand, the clouds – everything – was just perfect.

Instead of camping in the woods like he usually does, Hunter surprised me by coming home last night, just as I was making my way in from the beach so we could have a little date night while we had a babysitter. He actually said he missed my cooking (can you believe that?!), so we decided to stay in, cook at home and watch a movie from the couch. It was completely relaxing and just what I needed.
The downside to agreeing to ride along and hunt with him is the 4:30 am wake up call. We woke up earlier than any normal person ever should and hit the road to the hunting camp. We picked up Emery from Hunter’s mom when we got there, got situated in the truck and watched all the excitement, listening to the guys talk at light speed on the radio and racing down dirt roads. Most of the day involved driving around, watching for tracks, releasing dogs, listening for dogs, picking up dogs, and doing this over and over and over. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait, but still fun to see my hubby in action.

Emery loves the doggies!

This little girl thinks she can drive. Sorry honey, not until you’re 15 and even then I’ll probably have a heart attack.

Please excuse my appearance below. Did I mention I woke up at 4:30 am? Ponytail – check. Sweats – check. I can handle  my normal morning routine anytime after 5:30, but an hour earlier means all that goes out the window.

My Hunter man didn’t score a big buck this day, but lucky for us, we have PLENTY of quality organic venison in our fridge and freezer.
Now, here we are, Sunday night, back at home, baths complete, PJs on, stories read and ready for bed. After a fun, leisurely weekend, it’s safe to say, we’re relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to face another week. Monday, here we come!

southern snow

Living The Pioneer Woman-esque life in the country has its perks. One major plus: pretty pastoral views from dawn til dusk of rolling green hills, tree tops, winding roads, brilliant sunshine and open fields of grass and cotton. I drive past this particular patch of Southern snow every day, but today the early morning sun was hitting the fluffy blooms in such a beautiful way that I found myself pulling the car over, plopping Emery on the grass and snapping away on my iPhone. Just another day in the country… 

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