Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from Down Under!

Wishing everyone near and far 
(especially all of our family and friends)
 a very Merry Christmas!

We love you!
And Happy Birthday Baby Jesus!
 photo signature_zps3a65d335.jpg

Friday, December 19, 2014

Toddler Talk - Chapter 1

Sir Baby Bennett is no longer baby babbling away, but rather toddler talking. From the most hilarious renditions of a story he is certain he is telling (which I can assure you could only be understood if you speak Mandarin) to simple one word repeats of whatever he hears, he is always keeping us thoroughly entertained and ALWAYS ALWAYS talking.

I decided to keep a list of funny Bennett-isms as they unfold and today I wanted to share that list with you. Bennett is saying PLENTY of words, and most of them sound like what they actually are and/or are easily understood. However, here are some of our favorites that may be a little more coded.

Bennett 17.5 Month Toddler Talk - Chapter 1. 

  1. WORD [n. fill in]
    • noun
      • fill in
    • Examples
      • fill in
  2. Pippy [n. pip-ee; Bennett terms: PIP-EEEEEEEEEEE (squeal)]
    • noun
      • Airplane
      • See also, the most miserable travel duration for Bennett's parents
    • Examples
      • Waiting on runway for airplane to take off - Bennett looks outside window to see other airplanes waiting to take off/landing/taxing - (high pitched squeal) "PIPPYYYY!!!!!!!" "DADA PIPPPYYYY" "PIPPYYYY!!!!!!!" - repeat 100 times
  3. Caccow [n. cah-cow]
    • noun
      • Cookie
      • See also, the only thing Bennett will eat
    • Examples
      • Repeatedly runs himself into pantry doors, screaming "CACCOW" until treat is received
      • Receives cookie/crackers, etc boyishly grins, tucks in teeth and runs away ... taunting Maggie
  4. Mo [n. moh]
    • noun/Pro-noun
      • Maggie (our dog)
      • See also, every dog in the universe
    • Examples
      • We pull into driveway, Bennett excitedly says "Hi Mo!"
      • Bennett wakes up in the morning/walks downstairs - see Maggie - "Hi Mo!"
      • We're on walk in neighborhood, neighbor is walking their dog - "Hi Mo!"
      • We're shopping for birthday cards, card has clever dog on front - Bennett points: "Hi Mo!"
  5. Coocoo [n. koo-koo]
    • noun
      • Clock
      • See also, his way of saying hello to PaPaw and GoGo while on face-time
    • Examples
      • My parents have a Cuckoo Clock and they wind the hands so the birdie will come out to say his magical "Coo Coo" so Bennett can sing and dance, alas - Every clock we see = COO COO
  6. Bagh [n. bah]
    • noun
      • Basement
    • Examples
      • Bennett stands at top of stairs and points while repeatedly screaming "Bah" and insists we change scenery to go downstairs and play with another set of toys
  7. Propel [n. pro-pel]
    • noun
      • Pretzel
    • Examples
      • See number 3 above ... this is plan B with the cahcow fails.
  8. Bay [n. bay]
    • noun
      • Baby
    • Examples
      • Every stroller we see is holding a baby. Bennett politely waves, "Hi BAY!" -- you'd think he was Beyonce or something :)
  9. Hot Dog [n. hot dawg; Bennett terms: hawt dah]
    • noun
      • Mickey Mouse
      • See also, something Bennett eats for lunch
    • Examples
      • I turn on TV - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is screening - Bennett points and yells "HOT DAH!"
      • We get into car, Bennett sees iPad (where Mickey Mouse Clubhouse shows are pre-downloaded) - Bennett points to iPad and growls "HOT DAH!"
      • Bennett sees TV remote - points at TV - screams "Hot DOG!" - insisting I turn on Mickey Mouse clubhouse
I can't wait for Chapter 2, in hopes we can begin to add full sentences :)  Until next time, see ya real soon!
   photo signature_zps3a65d335.jpg

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Today Is The Day

It's finally arrived ...  The day we make our voyage to the land down under! Here's where we're headed: Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne.

I don't think I got a wink of sleep last night because I was so excited and equal parts terrified to fly that long with little man. Please say a little prayer for us that things go a little better than this:

I'm starting to think these parents really did have the right idea. Maybe I wouldn't have as many enemies after the flight had I just stepped up my Pinterest game.

Welp, here goes nothing! I hope to check back in sometime soon.

 photo signature_zps3a65d335.jpg

Monday, December 15, 2014

Merry Christmas {Card}

Christmas Cards are always one of my favorite parts of the Holiday Season. I love scouring the sites for the perfect card and agonizing over which one I think best fits that year.

Here's a little review of our cards in years past:


(I couldn't get the Tiny Prints site to give me the correct version of the card, s
o I had to pull from the archives to get a picture of this guy!)


And the big reveal for this year's card ...
2014 - Front

2014 - Back

I just love Christmas cards! Can't wait to hang all of our loved ones on the fridge! Merry Merry!
 photo signature_zps3a65d335.jpg

Friday, December 12, 2014

Giddier Than an Elf

Tis the season to start lusting over items you'd love to see under your tree. While my Christmas will be spent on the other side of the world, I can't help but play the "what do I want for Christmas" game when I have a few minutes to browse the interwebs. And after my worrisome post yesterday, I need a little something to lift my spirits!  So, here's a little Friday fun linking up with some of my favorites.

AKA - a few items that I would make me giddier than an elf in candyland :)

December Wishlist

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

So many goodies!  That mug, story of my life. Those earrings, make me happy just looking at them. That sweater, SO cozy. That robe, agh I love a good robe. That Kendra Scott necklace, hello beautiful. And those wine glasses, well - those are just the best thing ever.

 photo signature_zps3a65d335.jpg

Thursday, December 11, 2014


I recently shared some big news about our family moving to Nashville, TN. I said I hoped to have clarity once the weekend was through (we were heading down to look at houses and I believed we'd find one). We didn't find one, we're still searching and our Realtor just called.  An offer was made ... we accepted and the process is moving forward.  We'll be under contract by midnight tonight and assuming everything goes to plan we'll be up and out of here starting our new life in Nashville in 30 days, if not sooner.

Shane is working late tonight, Bennett is preoccupied with snacks and an episode of Mickey Mouse because quite frankly, it's the only form of parenting I'm capable of right now.  I want to call my parents, but they're on the other side of the world and it's already tomorrow or the next day or something like that and of course service is spotty, so no answer.  So, I turn to my blog. My online journal and anyone out there who's interested in hearing what little ole' me has to say. So many thoughts are swirling in my head.

I keep going back to a conversation I had a few weeks ago with a girlfriend of mine, hey Caroline, and explaining all of the feelings running through me surrounding this move.  Feeling a little embarrassed at the number of emotions I shared, I sent one of those crazy emoticon faces I use entirely too frequently in an effort to make myself sound somewhat more sane. She assured me she'd have to check my pulse if I WASN'T feeling all of those emotions and somehow, in some weird way, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Additionally, I was frolicking in blogland and stumbled upon this entry from Loves of Life. I smiled at the time and thought hmm, that's nice to hear it's not just me going through it. But I just re-read it and it helped to put me at a great ease ... or an "eerie peace" as the other Katie put it. Bottom line, they're right.  Feeling everything I'm feeling, although extremely overwhelming, is normal and I shouldn't be ashamed of it.  But, I'd be lying if I told you my mind wasn't wandering and asking myself over and over a thousand questions.
"Are we doing the right thing?" 
"Will we regret this later?"
... and I always answer with "How will we ever know if we don't try!?"  

Jonathan Safran Foer said it best in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, "Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living."

That's exactly how I feel, I need to try this and live that life. I'm sad, I'm happy, I'm anxious, I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm worrisome, I'm a little heart broken, I'm fearful, I'm eager, I'm ready, and yet I still feel a pull to stay.  I feel each of these feelings daily. Some days are more positive, others not so much. It's just for lack of a better words: A LOT.

The feelings aren't new to me. In fact, they're sort of a feeling of comfort for this wanderer who can never seem to keep her feet in any one place for too long. But, since this is my blog ... and my space to share what's going on ... I'd be lying if I didn't say, this time it's different. This time it's not just about me. This time, it's my family. It's all of us. And most importantly, it's ten tiny cookie covered fingers and a grin that could melt the Grinch's heart that make it all feel very different this time.

Growing up, my immediate family and I were very close (still are) and although we lived two hours from our closest extended family .. my parents did their best to make sure we also stayed close to them as well. Additionally, I am so fortunate to be born to parent's that have a love for travel (hello Christmas in Australia!), entrepreneurship, seeking new opportunities, and even more so, I too have been granted the same feelings to love those very things as well.

However, being close but not too close, always seeking the next adventure, and the ability to pick up and go when and how we wanted ... I fear has boxed me into a category of life only few understand. It's a weird place, and hard to explain. But it's a feeling that I'm unsure will ever truthfully be shaken from my core: I seek change and willingly accept it, probably too frequently.

But, it's been a part of my being since I can remember. As a child my family moved five times. In middle school, I changed schools (twice) on my own accord.  In high school, I changed schools on my own accord (don't even get my friends started on this topic ... it's still a touchy subject).  In college, I studied abroad (twice) in both Italy and London. Since Shane and I have been together we have moved twice, changed jobs and had a baby. None of this is necessarily out of the norm and change is inevitable, but with my track record it seems to find me more frequently.

Don't get me wrong ... like I said, I'm thankful. I love this life, and wouldn't want it any other way, I truthfully mean that. Furthermore, I am beyond grateful for the lessons my parents have taught me. But now, I too am a parent, and I view things differently.

And with this move, the uproot, the change (that we are choosing to say yes to) I can't help but wonder whether my lifestyle has created an expectation for change and newness in my brain. Has it somehow made me hard-wired for starting over periodically? And if so, do I want that for our kids? For them to turn into people who need the stimulation of picking up and beginning anew every so often? Could I be damaging him (them hopefully, someday ... no this is not an announcement or read between the lines about being pregnant ... but there are plans for more at some point), somehow, with this?

And then, after I think about all of that and play every scenario over and over again in my mind ... I remember, we're his parents. We promised to protect him and show him the best life in the ways we know how, and right now this is our way. This is the path we've chosen to take, and plan to do so with our best foot forward. People do this everyday. It's going to be okay. It's an adventure. A fun one we're doing TOGETHER. We have one another and will grow from this. Nothing is permanent and change is inevitable.

So from here on, we're looking forward ... and we're smiling because this is going to be awesome.
 photo signature_zps3a65d335.jpg

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bennett's Christmas List

I mentioned last week that Bennett visited Santa in New York City. What I didn't mention was what he asked Santa for. Toddler toys for toddler boys aren't a challenge in our household. If they have wheels, sound like Mickey, or can be thrown/leaped upon/climbed on etc. it's a sure fire bet it'll be a winner.

With that being said, here a few items I can bet little man wouldn't be upset about if they landed under the tree.

Bennetts Christmas List

 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 |

  1. 30" Personalized Bean Bag - because what kid doesn't want a bean bag? And added bonus it's personalized. Hello childhood staple.
  2. Personalized Woodwork Bench - I love this for so many reasons. It's personalized, it's adorable and it doesn't look junky. Plus little boys go crazy for this stuff. 
  3. Chuggington Wilson Carry Case - my child LOVES Chuggington and we're getting a rather large collection of train cars. Here's the perfect place to pack em!
  4. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD - Mickey + Bennett = LOVE. Enough said.
  5. Kid Trax Ram 12-Volt Battery-Powered Ride-On - or any ride-on car for that matter. This one may be a little too "advanced" for sweet B right now ... but I have a feeling come Spring he'll be ready to give her a try.
  6. Personalized 2-4 yr. Bath Robe - are we seeing a pattern here that I love personalization? Okay, so Bennett may not love this one ... but mommy does :)
  7. Melissa Doug Upright Piano - this little number was on sale at HomeGoods and I was a sucker. I'm going to hate myself for buying this later when little man is repeatedly banging on the keys ... but it's so cute and I know he'll love it because DUH it makes noise!
  8. Trucks Roll Book - Bennett loves books. Bennett also loves "twucks". I think you can connect the dots.
  9. Tickle Monster Book - this just seems so fun! Reading and tickling. Both of these are regular nightly occurrences in our household so why not formalize the combination?!
If you've got a toddler and are looking for some ideas ... shop this list and call it a day ... Merry Christmas!
  photo signature_zps3a65d335.jpg

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Land Down Under

The countdown is officially on. We leave to spend Christmas and New Year's in AUSTRALIA in
9 DAYS! 
Holy excited/terrified to fly with Bennett/can't wait to see my momma/explore/travel anxiety!

I feel like we have been talking about this trip FOREVER. I haven't really talked about it much on my blog except for that one time I thought about purchasing a hiker backpack.  For inquiring minds, we never pulled the trigger.

But, now we're almost there, close to a week away and I couldn't feel less prepared. Says the girl who has traveled abroad enough times for this to be an old hat. Ha!  Traveling with a toddler for 24 hours makes me feel like such a newbie. Hell, we've even had Bennett on an airplane nearly 15 times and I'm still Googling what are the best snacks to bring?!  I plan to spend the majority of my week researching all {but not limited to} there is to know about traveling with a toddler. Good grief!

Anywhoodles, I plan to take some great shots and recap some awesome points of the whole trip ... but for a little teaser ... here's what's up to bat and what you can expect to see:

First Stop: Sydney In Sydney I hope to sing opera at the famous opera house in Sydney Harbour, put on bikini and catch some rays at Bondi Beach, drink some Australian craft beers with the hubs, enjoy the botanical gardens, and set the tone for what it's like to be an Aussie.

Followed By: Cairns In Cairns (pronounced Cane I think!?) I hope to watch everyone else scuba dive the great barrier reef (I'll look through some goggles but the ocean ain't my thing), take the skyrail, check out some nearby islands, visit the rainforest, whitewater raft, tandem skydive (sayy whaaaaa), bungee jump, and fish. Because I'm an outdoorsy type you know :)

And finished off in Melbourne In Melbourne I hope to visit some wineries and drink some vino, ring in the new year, kiss a kangaroo, check our the Eureka sky-deck, buy some yummy food at the Queen Victoria Market, and discover the city and it's famous lane ways.

I'm so excited I can't wait!  Catch ya later blokes (or something like that).
  photo signature_zps3a65d335.jpg

Friday, December 5, 2014

The City, Santaland and Central Park - Part 4

As promised, the final chapter of our trip to NYC. I realize four posts dedicated to a short 4-5 day trip is extremely uneccesary, but I had so many pictures and picking and choosing what and what not to include was entirely too much work. So we get all of them. Deal with it. Catch up on post 1 / post 2 / post 3 here. 

NYC - DAY 5 & 6

Saturday started with a little nap for Baby B, vacationing is hard on a toddler I tell ya! Following by an absolute MUST visit to Macy's to laugh at all the crazies and really feel a part of it all. Plus, we wanted to visit Santaland of course!
I'm fairly certain he is rolling his eyes and sticking his tongue out at me. Most likely while thinking "Is she serious?! Another picture?! Get it together Mom!"
In all honesty, it's overwhelming and probably not worth it ... but walking into NYC Macy's during the holidays just really brings the magic.

He loved SantaLAND. Santa however, not so much :)
And after all the excitement Santaland had to offer ... we landed into a full fledged toddler meltdown in the middle of the extremely over crowded NYC Macy's that just moments before seemed so magical.

We wrapped up the night with some long-lost friends (HI LEAH!) and an awesome dinner with wayyy too much wine at Smith and Wollensky.
And then Leah took us to a swanky NYC club (that looked like a ginormous living room) ... and after the cab ride called it quits with some street falafel.
Sunday morning we headed home (BOO, HISS). But not before scampering about Central Park with the wee one!
Say cheese you tiny little monkey!
And chowed down on the most delicious food truck waffles.
Explored the Home Alone tunnel!
And hummed and hawwed at the beauty of the city.
Said hello to all of the ice skaters at the rink!

Played on the big rocks! (this is a near heart attack and should likely be avoided when you have an adventurous toddler by the way -- take it from me)
Took in some more of the sights.
Then said hi to the horseys.
And tipped a street performer for our final farewell.
And for the final farewell, we really, really took everything in :) - The crispness of the air, the smell of food vendor hot dogs and slightly toasted pretzels, the sounds of the horns, the hustle and bustle of the people zipping by, the chinging of the pedicabs, the clicking sounds of the horses hooves, and the feeling of my family surrounding me in one of the greatest cities of all.
That picture shows me what life is all about ... because in life: New York is ALWAYS a good idea. And what I love most about my life are the people I get to share it with. 
 photo signature_zps3a65d335.jpg