Wednesday, October 1, 2014

{day 1} in a small city


So you've decided to visit Charleston...GREAT! 
Now, what are you going to do when you get there. 

That's a great question. 

Because of where Charleston is located, we experience all four seasons. We have a HOT summer, a COLD winter, and a pretty mild spring and fall. Honestly, if you were to visit, right about now would be the best time. The weather is typically pretty mild, some sunshine, and the leaves on the mountains (some call them hills...depends on what you're used to) are bursting with gorgeous color. I'm going to do my best to give you a well rounded look at our city, so I'll share things to do throughout the year.

Let's start with those hot, dog-days of summer. 

You could visit one of Charleston's free swimming pools. 
Yes. I said, "free"! It doesn't get much better than that. 


The City of Charleston owns and operates 4 communities centers that are free to the public. Each center has a weight room, small cardio room, rooms available for parties/classes/etc, and a pool. 
Over the summer we took advantage of this several times. Sometimes the pool was really crowded and others times it wasn't. It all depended on the day. 


They even offered swimming lessons this summer. For $10 your child could participate in one week of swimming lessons. The above picture is of Hubs and our littles waiting for their first day of swim lessons this year! 
Honestly, the lessons weren't that helpful. 
G-man was terrified of the instructor (the swim cap is what it was...I think). 
E did well once she warmed up but really learned to swim better as the summer went on.



We really enjoyed taking advantage of these pools this summer. 
All the pools have a baby pool area. The shallow end of the pools are no more than 2.5 feet deep which means Little E can stand! That is a big relief when trying to take 2 littles to the pool when neither can swim very well. She felt so independent being able to touch the bottom of the pool! And I felt comfortable with her swimming basically on her own. 

You can take your own food/coolers which is really helpful for those of us with dietary restrictions. 

Another huge bonus? 
Its free! 
I know I already mentioned that, but any of you tried to take a 3-year-old and less than 1-year-old to the pool? Its hard work. Once you get there and get everyone ready to swim its time for snack and nap! 
My favorite part about it being free was that I didn't feel like I had wasted money when everyone started melting down after we had only been there an hour. We could just pack up and leave without any guilt of wasted money. 

So, next time you're in Charleston (between Memorial Day and Labor Day), check out the free pools! They are definitely worth your time! 


Did you know this is {day 1} in a 31 day series?!?
I'm linking up with The Nester and others in the Write31Days challenge!
Go check out the other blogs and check back here tomorrow for another "day in a small city"





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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

#write31days

For the last 5 years, The Nester has done a blogging series and challenged other bloggers to write for 31 days on some particular topic. It happens every year in the month of October. If you have been reading for any amount of time, you'll know that I participated last October with  "in my shoes". 
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Basically the posts were about my daily life as a mom of a toddler and a baby. Really, it wasn't super thrilling, but I did manage to complete the challenge of writing every day for 31 days! And interest isn't necessarily the point (at least not for me); completing the challenge was the point.

This year I am ready for the challenge yet again! 

I'm not straying too far from my roots on this one. Sticking with things I know...and know well. 
Here's this year's blog button...
*drumroll please*
..........
......
...



Yep. There ya have it! 

This year's 31 day series will be all about living in a small city. 
While we live in our state's capital city, it is a small city...a very small city. I really used to hate that and wished that I lived some place larger with more to do, more excitement, but I have really grown to love our city and I want to share some of its fun places and activities with you! 

Most (if not all) of the things I share will be family-friendly places and activities. Some of them will be *free* things to do in and around Charleston. Everything is relatively inexpensive (depending on how you go about it). If you're ever looking for a small city to visit, maybe Charleston is your place. There are lots of fun things to do in and around the city. Stay tuned to see for yourself. 

Check out the official Write31Days website to read more from bloggers participating in the challenge this year! 

Look for #write31days on Instagram and Twitter!




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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WIWW

Welcome to another week of 

I'm excited about this week's outfits because I finally found a pair of jeans! Girls, I have been looking for a good pair of jeans that fit me correctly, are straight leg but not too tight around my calves (hate that!) and still fit will in the waist and rear end. A couple of weeks ago when we were on vacation we went outlet shopping and I finally found a pair! When I tried them on it was instant love. I knew that no matter the price I was going to purchase them. Great jeans are basically priceless...especially when you've been looking for a while and trying on every pair in sight...and you are picky (like me). 

So thank you, GAP, for having great jeans!

Friday night--I hosted a personal shower for a good friend in our back yard. Its feeling like Fall here and the weather was perfect! 
Jeans--GAP (curvy straight)
Top-- Marshall's
Sandals-- Forever 21


Sunday-- Church and Gender Reveal party for our neighbors

Jeans- (once again) GAP
Sweater- GAP
Scarf- Pick Your Plum deal last year


Today! Wednesday--no real plans today. Regrouping at home and maybe a few errands

Jeans-- Express
Tshirt-- Target
Scarf-- jersey infinity scarf my mom made a while back
bare feet which might be covered with socks or house shoes soon! Its seriously getting chilly here and I'm loving it...but my toes a bit cold. :) 

I'm excited for the next few WIWW posts because now that its getting to be Fall I can finally pull out some of my cooler weather clothes that I haven't worn in a while and scarves! I love scarves!









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Monday, September 8, 2014

a few simple words from a stranger

Is it just me or does anyone else find motherhood difficult at times? Come on...I know it isn't just me! 
I am finding more and more how difficult it can be in the fast paced world we live in. No one wants to slow down and savor the simple moments of life (and I'm right there with them. This isn't a "holier-than-thou" post). 

I started reading Hands Free Mama a couple of weeks ago and even after one chapter its challenging me. 

So, I determined to remove myself from the cyber-space, social media world for a little while one day and go out front to play with my littles. Nothing fancy. We took a ball, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles. The day was gorgeously sunny with a nice breeze that made the bubbles float beautifully through the sky. I sat on the side walk blowing bubbles while E-lady squealed and chased after them and baby G-man stood on his wobbly legs smiling happily at the sight. I imagine he really wanted to run after his sister and the bubbles but those wobbly legs wouldn't let him quite yet. As I sat there, I was struggling with fully enjoying the moment of simplicity with my kids--but the fact that I was struggling meant I was trying. It had been a long day and really, blowing bubbles for 15 minutes for kids to chase gets old pretty quickly. 

It was then that I heard a voice telling E to chase the bubbles. I looked up to see a runner across the street with her dog. She had stopped to watch my kids playing. The first thing that ran through me was discomfort. Who was this lady who was watching my children from across the street? And why is she talking to us...we don't know her. She yelled again, "Blow some more bubbles Mom!" I definitely felt strange and uncomfortable at this point but I blew more bubbles on command. After a few more seconds of watching me blow bubbles so my kids could laugh and chase them she said a few simple words that blew my mind:

"Thanks for giving me a reason to smile today!"

*exit uncomfortable feeling*
*enter shocked feeling*

Then she and her dog went off on their running way. 
Had I heard her correctly? 
My 15 minutes of bubble blowing while my giddy children squealed, smiled, and chased bubbles had actually caused her to smile? Gave her a reason to be joyful? 

The simple act of putting down the phone, logging off of FaceBook, throwing chores and house work to the wind, and going outside to blow bubbles with my littles really impacted someone else's life? 

Wow. 

I wasn't even really sure how I felt about that! 

Her words were affirming, encouraging, reassuring.
Those 9 words said a whole lot more than what they originally seemed to say. 
They said: 

"You're doing the right thing! You're loving your kids! This bubble blowing is important!

You know what else they said?
"It really is the simple things that we all crave. We think we like busy, crazy lives, but when it comes down to it the things that bring us joy (make us smile) are the little things...the things that slow us down...the simple things in life. And we (as a society) think we love busy-ness, but really our hearts crave simplicity." 

The words of the stranger that originally made me a bit uncomfortable become words that have echoed in my mind over the last few weeks. They have encouraged me in my hard momma moments when I am discouraged and struggling with the things that life with kids bring to me. They've also made me realize just how much I desperately needed to hear encouragement. How often do we go throughout life and not even stop to encourage someone? Yeah, we might think they are doing a great job but have we told them? 

If I needed those words, then I know I'm not the only one! You need them, your girlfriends need them, the mom at the grocery store who looks exhausted and just plain done needs them, the mom at the grocery store who looks like she has it all together needs them!

I think we sometimes feel that if we compliment someone, tell them they are doing a wonderful thing, it somehow makes us feel that we aren't...we fall so quickly into comparison. So, we just refrain from saying anything when really we are called to "encourage one another and build one another up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). 

I've been challenged to speak truth, love, affirmation to those around me in life. And girls, I'll admit, I'm not good at it. I have to really think before I speak and sometimes search out what I can say to uplift someone else. I have to take my eyes off of me and actually see what someone else is doing well. And that's not easy, but its necessary. If I need the encouragement for myself (essentially daily), then I need to begin the movement of verbal affirmation in my sphere of the world by doing it for others. Let's all do it together. Speak love to one another. Encourage one another. 

You never know how much one short sentence will actually communicate to the one to whom you speak it...or how it will impact her to impact those around her. Its a domino effect when we use our words to build up. So stop just thinking good thoughts...speak good words. And let the wave of encouragement sweep over you and those around you...it might just become a tidal wave. 


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Friday, September 5, 2014

InstaFriday--Beach week!

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It's Friday and I'm typing this from our condo looking out over the beach while drinking a Starbucks latte that Hubs surprised me with this morning. I'm so not ready to go back to "real life" tomorrow. Vacation has been so wonderful...a much needed break for our family. 
Here's a glimpse into our week! 


My littles love the sand! 


morning snuggles...cable tv...and gf waffles
perfect vacation morning :)

putt-putt! 
Ladies, in case you didn't know, putt-putt with a toddler and a preschooler is not for the faint of heart! 
Little E did much better than last year and G-man was our ball retriever. He loved his job! 

Papa surprised Little E this morning too...her favorite from SBux--hot chocolate!

this one just sums up our week.
love seeing Hubs with the littles...they adore him and he's so much fun with them!

this girl kept telling me she didn't need a nap...so this is what Little E looks like when she's not tired at all ;)
Baby G-man cheesing it one morning
love him!

all covered in sand...the story of our lives this week! 
so much sand! 
and I hate sand on my body (yuck!) but I've had to get over it this week.

I actually finished my book! 
Craziness! 
Hubs was really good about letting me sit down while he entertained the littles for a bit here and there. The beach isn't quite as relaxing as I remember it being when I was in college. No more just laying there for hours, falling asleep, or going for long walks. Our trip consisted of playing with littles, feeding littles, taking them potty, washing sand off of everything multiple times a day, making treks from the beach to the pool...but I did manage a couple of these relaxing moments and I'm so thankful for them. 

And so tomorrow, its back to reality. 
Better get off here and enjoy my last morning of vacation!
Happy Friday!






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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WIWW


Hey ladies! 
We're on vacation this week.
Hubs took Little E to the pool and G-man is taking his morning nap, which means I have some quiet and a cup of coffee and the laptop! 

So who wants to see what I've been wearing lately? 
Honestly, nothing spectacular. But I think that's part of being a momma. Thankfully I have gotten dressed each day. The take-a-picture part is the part I don't usually remember to do. 
These are over the last couple of weeks. I remembered twice in 3 weeks! Ha!

Shopping with a friend one evening. Been a long time since I have actually gone intentionally shopping for myself. It was fun! And I scored a couple of cute things for Fall which I'm really excited about. 

Tank--Old Navy (Gabriel Brothers find, I think)
Cardi-- Mossimo (found at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago)
Black Shorts-- clearance at Ann Taylor Loft last month

I think I wore my red braided sandals which I know I've posted pics of before.
Necklace is old...had it since high school I think but I still love it. Its a staple in my accessories.
Not even sure what I did this day. I assume running errands and prepping for vacation. 

Same black shorts as above. Really, the $10 I spent on them has already been well worth it! 
White Tee-- Target. Just recently bought it when I realized I didn't have a plain white t-shirt that I liked. How did I live so long without a white t-shirt?!? I feel like my mom always had several and always said it was a wardrobe staple. So yeah, I might be turning into her. :) 

Necklace-- bought in Uganda 4 years ago while we were there and I still love it. Unique and colorful addition to the simple black and white. 

Thanks for checking in!
Now, I'm back to my regularly scheduled vacation!
See you here in a few days for InstaFriday!

I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy today! 
Head over and link up with us if you'd like!






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Friday, August 29, 2014

Insta Friday

I've kind of fallen off the wagon (so to speak) the last couple weeks when it comes to InstaFriday....but I'm back today with a glimpse into our life from the last couple of weeks. 
Thanks InstaGram for helping me keep track of our daily events ;)


This was a couple Saturdays ago at our church's neighborhood cookout. 
Baby man got his face painted and ended up with facial hair...just like Papa's!

Little friends. 
Love these two little ladies.

Peach cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese icing I made for
my friend's baby shower. 
Let me just say...baking with both dairy and gluten was SO much fun! Just makes life a little easier and I enjoyed every second.

Faith and family night at Appalachian Power Park! 
It was a rainy day but we still ended up being able to watch some baseball.

Just chillin' in the back yard.

E was able to attend a free kid's yoga class this week. 
Can you tell she's in love?!?

Thanks Chick-Fil-A for a fun night! 
We enjoyed dinner and a carriage ride at fairy tale night.

So, we didn't do official preschool this year, but some friends and I got our kiddos together and did a simple preschool class. We will do it twice a month. The kids loved it and I think the moms had fun too. This is E's "first day of school" picture. She was SO excited!

and  this is E modeling this coming seasons latest trends.
Do you have your tiara and rain boots ready for fall? You'll need them to be in style around here!

And yes...its that time of year again. 
The time of year when my whole family wears kelly green on Fridays...and Saturdays.
When you can hear my girl screaming "Go Herd!" at the top of her lungs and my baby man throwing his arms up saying, "Touchdown!".
Its football season. 
Prepare to see a lot of green and white if you're following me on InstaGram ;)







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