traveling/packing tips for the holidays

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

gaga and me at christmas circa 1991

my 1st christmas!
Growing up, I only had a handful of Christmas mornings at my house.  Every single year my parents would pack us all up, presents and all, and head to VA so we could wake up at my Grandparents house with all of my cousins and aunts and uncles.  I have some of the best memories of sleeping on a big pallet in the dining room with my cousins, while trying to listen for Santa coming down the chimney downstairs. 

I didn’t realize what it took to get me and my sister up to VA for Christmas.  I mean, hellllooooo Santa Clause?!?  A year ago I found out my dad would drive half the 6-hour treck and meet my grandfather, who would drive half the treck as well, and give him our Santa presents, days before Christmas.  Then they would both drive home.  All to make sure that my sissy and I had Santa to wake up to on Christmas morn.

my cousin and i with my grandparents one summer

That’s dedication and love right there.  While we won’t be traveling this holiday season with G (thankfully both of our immediate families live in Wilmington!!), we will be traveling with her in the future to see my grandparents.  And we just took her on her first vacay for Matt’s 30th birthday.  So below I’ve compiled a few travel tips I have for those of you who are making a drive or flight somewhere.  My travel tips are really limited to getting to the destination.  Once, I’m there I usually find I’m stuck with wrinkled clothes that leave me looking like I just threw everything in a suitcase 5 minutes before I left!  Nothing is more frustrating, I tell ya.  Especially when I spend hours packing for my family.  Luckily, Paul Fredrick has compiled some tips on how to stay fresh and stylish while traveling – so for those tips go HERE

My simple travel tips:

Pack in categories.  I am the packer of the family.  I pack myself, my husband and now my baby.  So when I am packing I like to go in categories – that way I don’t miss anything or anyone.  I start with socks and undies usually.  And I pack those necessities for each member of the family.  Then I go to PJ’s.  Everyone’s PJ’s are packed.  Then I go to day outfits.  You get the picture.  It helps me stay organized.

Verify your packing with person you packed.  There have many a times when Matt and I have reached a destination only for him to be disappointed that I packed “that shirt” for our nice dinner, or “those shorts” to play golf in.  I try to keep tabs on what my family likes, but I’m only human.  So once I have packed everyone, I force my husband to spend 10 minutes listening and viewing what I have packed him.  That way he can make any changes he likes and everyone’s happy.

Pack and then unpack.  OK so I have a secret.  I ALWAYS over pack.  I know, I know.  Big surprise.  But one thing I can’t stand is taking more than I need.  It’s extra to carry, and extra to wash when we get home.  So once I pack – I usually revisit my packing and eliminate unnecessary items.

Travel playlist.  Matt and I looooove making playlists for trips we go on.  To be honest, we have been kiiiiiiiinda slack on that lately but I think I need to revisit it.  It makes it so much fun to listen to our mix in the car, and then years later when the same mix pops up – or a song from that list – it brings us back to whatever trip we took. 

And well – those are my simple travel/packing tips my friends.  Pretty basic so that is why I recommend you hop on over to check out these fabulous tips at Paul Fredrick!

And if you love these tips you will LOVE these dress shirts for the men in your life.  These are on my hubby's Christmas list for sure!

Happy Travels!


Friday, November 22, 2013

found via Pinterest here

so true.  this has been a week i tell ya.  you know, one of those weeks that tests you a bit.  not a bad week per say, because when you have a tiny lady who wakes up smiling at you (even if she is waking up 1,057,345 times a night) you can't have bad weeks.  but this week?  well let's just say i'm glad to hang this one on the shelf.  and let's just say this is one of those weeks when i needed my mama and daddy more than most, ya get me?  so bring on the weekend!  happy friday!  may your weekend be filled with the ones you love and tutus of course.


a 30th birthday in pinehurst

Monday, November 18, 2013

A few weeks ago - October 13th to be exact - my sweet, handsome, huz turned the big 3-0.  So we headed to Pinehurst, NC for the weekend to celebrate with the other birthday boy of the weekend - Matt's twin brother, Brian.  Pinehurst, twins and wives boast an all-you-can-dream-of weekend for these two.  We played some golf (well they played golf), ate some, drank some, watched some football and just had fun.  Here are few pictures from Pinehurst # 2 Course.

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finding my "groove" as a stay-at-home mama

Friday, November 15, 2013

As you already know, I have decided to stay home for time being withmy little angel.  I am soooo excited to have this opportunity and I never want to take it for granted.  Since my little princess was born there have been easy days, and days that are a bit harder.  This is all due to the lack of sleep, me not knowing what I’m doing as a mama, me being overwhelmed with duties and well – life.  Whether you’re a stay at home mama or you work 60 hours a week, all moms out there know how hard it is to keep a house in order, feed the people that live in it, love and nurture those people – oh and take care of yourself.  And so I have had to sort of find my groove if you will. 

Between months 2-3 of little G’s magical life, I was in sort of a funk.  And this was even after I had decided to stay at home!  I mean – how ungrateful right?  I found myself walking around kind of waiting for Georgia to wake up.  I didn’t know what to do with myself while she was sleeping.  Sure – the house was a mess and laundry was sky high but it’s like I was too overwhelmed to know where to begin.  Luckily my mama lives close by and she helped me sort of get a routine going, and I have found – for me personally – a routine is necessary.  SO here are some things that have helped me.

I need a “house routine” as in – I clean on Thursdays and do laundry on Monday and Wednesdays – that way I don’t get overwhelmed by everything on one day. For some people this is too much structure, for me it is extremely necessary.  I also love having a clean house Thursday night and for the whole weekend.

I get up and put on clothes 4 out of 5 days a week.  For a while I was LIVING in my pajamas.  Day in and day out – and let me tell you there is nothing wrong with this at first.  New mamas – take the time you need to rest and recover – but it was time for me to get moving a little and I found it hard to be motivated when it was 5pm and me and Georgia were both still in our PJs. 

I schedule outings with friends every week.  Maybe a walk – maybe a lunch date.  Something.  I need adult interaction.  This is difficult for me because in some ways I am kinndaaaaaaaaaaaa a recluse.  At first it was because I had a bit of anxiety when I thought about taking G out by myself – I mean what if she poops all over me at Chik-fil-A (oh, wait she did that already), or has a temper tantrum in the middle of Target (yep, checked that one off the list too)?  If it were up to me I would stay cozy in my house with my baby all day, every day.  Only I’ve realized that for my personal well-being I need to get out.  Luckily I have amazing friends with babes who invite me for walks or coffee and if/when G has a meltdown – well that’s OK too. 

I read this post by Britt – and basically I try to do everything on her list.  It helped me to gain sanity and realize I wasn’t the only one struggling with this.  So thanks Britt J

Time with Jesus.  HELLO?! This one should have been obvious right?  But I’m sort of thick-headed at time and it just wasn’t.  I need time to sit and be still.  I need time to pray.  I need time to read my devotional.  That is how I recharge.

And last – I hold myself to a standard of GRACE not perfection.  I have that print in my living room as a constant reminder that I’m not perfect – not a perfect mama, not a perfect wife, house-keeper (in fact, I’m pretty terrible at that one) and not a perfect cook.  But I don’t beat myself up.  I do the best I can and I hold my baby and my husband close at night – and that my friends, is happiness.

my decision to stay at home

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Today is a day I’ve had on my calendar for months.  It is the day I was supposed to return to my job.  My job that I loved.  But instead, I’m playing peek-a-boo and encouraging tummy time.  Funny how things change. 

I made a career move last November.  I landed my dream job.  Truthfully, if I could draw up a job in my brain it would be the one I had.  I was working with students and a population that I so dearly love, and the people I got to work with were amazing.  I was on a fantastic team and we were making so much progress in our students’ lives.  Little did I know when I took that job, I was pregnant.  Now I’ve mentioned my miscarriage on here before, so this pregnancy was a biiiig surprise.  The best kind of surprise – but still a surprise.  Fast forward to a few months and I suddenly had to deal with the maternity leave paper work, blah blah.  I mean, I was going back to work.  Why wouldn’t I?  I loved my job. 

So I had everything in order to go back to work November 13, 2013.  Then July 30, 2013 happened.  And my baby girl was born.  I still thought I would go back to work after that.  I mean I immediately started pumping to store up milk for G when I went back.  To be honest, I didn’t give too much thought to staying home until her 2 month birthday.  That’s when it kinda hit me.  That I only had a few more precious weeks of staying at home.  For some moms, staying at home is their dream, and for others, they need to work – for financial and personal reasons.  I wasn’t really sure where I fell into that category.  And I’m still not sure I fall in either category at all.  Maybe I’m somewhere in the middle?  But what I do know is my heart changed when I realized this day was getting closer.  My heart longed to be home right now.  Honestly, I was somewhat surprised.  As I said before, I absolutely LOVED my job.  And it was super risky of me to give up such a position.  Questions were racing through my mind and I’d be lying if I said they still don’t pop up every now and then – will I ever find a job that I love like that again?  How could I leave a job after only being there a few months?  What will my co-workers think?  Am I throwing in the towel?  Should I go back for a little while and then make a decision?  And to be honest I don’t have answers to a lot of them. 

But even still, I felt the pull on my heart.  So Matt and I sat down, realistically looked at our options and prayed.  I am so grateful that we concluded that I could stay home for right now.  So it’s official.  I am a stay-at-home-mommy for the time being.  And I never want to take it for granted.  As hard as it was to walk away from such a great opportunity I am doing what I’m supposed to do what now.  And it feels good.  Good to know this was a decision that came with so much thought and prayer.  And so grateful for the support from my family, especially my husband - because this stay at home mommy thing - well it's the hardest job I've ever done.  The most rewarding - but still the hardest.  I'm still trying to find my groove if you will.  G and I have started really working on a "routine" and we are learning to manage our time better.  

So there it is - a lot has been going on over here to say the least.  Thank you for listening sweet friends!

Oh and more about being a stay at home mommy and finding happiness on Friday.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand you can check out my guest post on the lovely Chloe's blog - Beyond Blessed.

the cutest bunny baby there ever was

Friday, November 8, 2013

For Halloween this year we decided to hunker down in our newish home and hand out candy to our neighbor trick-or-treaters!  G decided she wanted to be a bunny - a pink one at that - and so it was.  A sweet first Halloween for our baby girl.

some more from G's 3 month photo sesh

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I mean I can't get over how big my baby girl is getting!  Looking through her 1 and 2 month photo shoots I am blown away at how well she is sitting and holding her precious head up!  She is just too much for my heart I tell ya.  Anyway, here are a few more from her photo sesh.  Quite the model don't ya think?

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