Charleston Part 1

I’m struggling to make it through this week of work!  I even had to bail on a commitment this evening due to just general crazy busy-ness!  Last Thursday, I {along with my sister and mom} traveled on down to Charleston, South Carolina.  My little sister is planning a December wedding.  After a late arrival, we headed to downtown Charleston on Friday morning.  The city is so beautiful and just full of history!  We did have a bit of a rocky start due to a few glitches, but it was hard to stay upset for long in such a pretty setting.  A nice lunch in a beautiful courtyard followed by a dark chocolate-covered Oreo will definitely perk me up!

Our first exploration was in Jacob’s Alley – a uniquely overgrown cemetery that is open to the public.

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We had lunch on Friday at 82 Queen.  I had the grilled chicken salad.  My mom and sister had “fun drinks.”  This is the “Charleston Sparkler.”  So pretty!

IMG_1418 IMG_1421Here’s my sister at 82 Queen.  It is the site of the after-ceremony celebration! 

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This is the actual room that we will be celebrating Mr. & Mrs. (Lewis-) Byrd in!

IMG_1425The picture above is the courtyard where we had lunch.  Isn’t it an awesome view?!?

After lunch, we explored the city.  


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The houses are insanely perfect! I love all the character and gardens open for public viewing.  I had to take a picture of the famous “Broad St.”

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This was the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist located right on Broad Street.

The house below is the John Rutledge House Inn.  Love the pretty ironwork!

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The picture above is of Rainbow Row – so aptly name for their colors!

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A beautiful, private home garden that we were able to peek into {legally!}.

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We walked to our happy hour and dinner spots by way of the Waterfront Park.  It was so peaceful with such a pretty view.

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IMG_1436 IMG_1435 IMG_1434Happy hour was at The Griffon.  I knew of this place by way of a “pub tour” that the Mr. and I joined back in 2012.  I had absolutely no drinks on this pub tour besides water.  I had just found out that I was pregnant with little H.  The first people we told about the pregnancy were the folks on our pub tour!  They were just kind of like “Why would you come on a pub tour and not have one single drink?”  LOL!  We had to let the cat out of the bag to explain!

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This was my dinner at SNOB {Slightly North of Broad}.  The idea behind the name is that some people are snooty about going “above Broad” or north of Broad Street.  Like everything is better below Broad!  Therefore, the restaurant is only “slightly” north of Broad Street.  Get it???  🙂  I had duck and loved it!  I have to admit that I didn’t like the savory, tomato-y sauce.  I prefer sweetness with my duck.  The asparagus was cooked perfectly, and I have no idea what that lump is.  However, it had goat cheese in it which made it good enough for me!

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After dinner, my sister and I made a quick stop in Philadelphia Alley.  This was the former sight of duels way back when.  Now, it is just a pretty little alleyway.

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I also captured the pretty cross against the sky as we ended day 1 in Charleston.

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It was truly a busy, sometimes a wee bit stressful, and fun day.  I’ll share day 2 very soon!

Happy hump day tomorrow!  I’m so, so, so looking to a weekend at home with my two favorite (make that 3!) guys!

Natalie

Beachin’ in April

Hi friends!  Whew, I’m glad Monday is behind us!  My day was full of testing {for kids not me} and getting behind in my lesson plans.  I know…it takes great skill being as it is only Monday, but I’m officially behind with in about three areas.  No biggie.  So much to do in those busy hours!  We had a fabulous weekend here.  The Mr. creeped around in the woods looking for turkeys, and H and I enjoyed a playdate and a picnic lunch.  Who had the better Saturday?  Hmmmm.

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Sorry for a million and one pictures, but it was a gorgeous day.  It had to be documented.  Also – It is important to note that Holden doesn’t mind rolling around in the sand.  I truly hope this holds true for him.  I believe in being content at the beach with sand coating you.  I mean, I don’t intentionally roll in it.  Sand happens.  Love it.  Embrace it.  I know some people {Ahem…the Mr.} who have a little “no sand is good sand at the beach” mentality.  I just don’t get it.  Glad the little man is taking after me on this topic.  😉

We relaxed the rest of the day, ate brownies, and had a weird but good dinner {scrambled egg, toast with olive oil, carrots, popcorn}.  Holden is so much fun and such a blessing.  I’m so thankful for him every day.  However, I’m ever more aware of it as he grows older.  I truly enjoy his company and his never-ending conversation.

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Brownie chowing.

In other healthy news, I started on my odd morning beverages on Saturday morning.  I had apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp.) and lemon juice in hot water followed by a green tea.  I’ve read lots of benefits of apple cider especially for those with diabetes.

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I also made a rather thick green smoothie using frozen spinach to make it icy.  I’m no great smoothie maker, but I do always use Greek yogurt, a banana, and spinach.  The other items change.

Sunday – H and I did an early morning walk, enjoyed homemade wheat biscuits {with the Mr. too 🙂 }, and attended church.  I went to the gym and did a couple of returns while H helped the Mr. in the yard.  Yard work is not my forte.  I’m cool with it.  I think I get it from my mom.  Non-gardeners unite!  😉  If you grow it, I’ll cook it!  Good trade?!?!?

Monday Afternoon…

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These pictures are from today.  Holden is finally brave enough to attempt these swingy pole things.  He was a little scared/unsure of them over the past several months.  However, he saw some bigger kids racing across them today, so I guess he was inspired.  What a big boy!

How’s your week going?

I’m so excited about my upcoming trip with my mom and sister to Charleston, SC.  Getting ready to make dinner reservations for Friday night right now!

Have a great week!

Natalie

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!  This week was not too busy, yet it seemed to go by so quickly!  Let’s jump right in to five things on my mind…

{ONE}

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Sorry for the blurriness.  This article in a recent Parents magazine was sharing that antibacterial soap may not be as fabulous as first thought.  In particular, one ingredient, triclosan, is being picked up in the bodies of pregnant moms.   Yikes!  Here’s the FDA’s official stance, but I think regular soap, hot water, and some scrubbing may just be the safer bet.

{TWO}

I’ve been hit or miss with my journaling/quiet time.  I am usually flexible with myself wether it happens in the morning or the evening.  Well, I’ve been a little TOO flexible with myself and missed a lot of days this week.  I got up a little earlier this morning to take the time to read some of the blogs I follow for some encouragement.  Here are my favorites:  Love God Greatly, A Holy Experience, and The Better Mom.  All these sites make regular posts (some daily) and can provide that accountability that we all need at time to spend time with your Bible and in prayer.  I also really like the short devotionals in my Jesus Calling book.

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{THREE}

Switching things up – I’ve got some plans in the works to change up how I do things like my workouts and diet.  I’ve been doing a lot of research on some different options.  It’s going to be a hard shift as I am super habitual, but I’m excited about it too.  I’ll share more about all this later.

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So…the Mr. joked on my jean jacket yesterday and told me it was so 1990s/1980s.  What the world?!?!?  I love my jean jacket!  I put this picture on Instagram and got confirmation that it’s A-OK and he’s clueless when it comes to ladies’ fashion.  😉

However, I did notice that I absolutely HATE my new, thicker eyebrows!  I’ve been working on this project for weeks.  By working, I mean getting lots of professional waxing (to curb my over plucking) and dealing with lots of brow strays.  All for nothing!  This picture showed me that I just look better with thinner brows.  How’s all this info treat you?!!?  Completely trivial, I know.  If you’ve ever attempted to grow out brows, you know that the struggle is real AND now pointless!  Tweezers, here I come!

{FIVE}Birthday-Cake-Candles

All the April birthdays!  Happiest of birthdays to…

  • my friend, Katey
  • my sister-in-law, Sarah Beth
  • my sister-in-law, Brookie

Wish I could see all these ladies more often, and I’m slightly jealous of their spring birthdays!  What gorgeous flowers blooming everywhere!

Happy {almost} weekend!

Natalie

Spring in Staunton

I hope this Sunday is treating you well!  I’m currently listening to lots of yard machinery busily working away.  It seems like everyone in our neighborhood is thrilled to have some outdoor chores.  Our son, Holden, was very upset to have to pause his outdoor play to take a nap.  His sad, little cry-cry voice was saying “I want to spray the ants!  Daddy and me were going to spray the ants!”  Good grief.  We got back around lunch time today from a few day stay in Staunton, Virginia.  The Mr.’s sister, aunt, and uncle live there, and we only get out there a couple times a year.  I try to time these trips around when I have a break from school to make the traveling easier.  We were blessed with pretty nice weather with the exception of some stray storms on Friday.

We arrived Thursday night after a busy day of packing, washing clothes, cleaning, and food prep.  Holden did some crafting, playing, and helping {a smudge} while I worked on getting ready for our trip!

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I’m loving the new organizational caddies that I got for our pantry.  Very good prices at Ross!  {i.e. so glad I didn’t go to Bed Bath & Beyond}

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Mr. Little Man helping with lots of errands including quite a grocery store trip this past Wednesday.

Friday – We rose and shone and headed down to Natural Bridge, Virginia {just south of Lexington}.

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He loved the long house!

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The waterfall that was at the end of our hike…

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Selfie!  🙂


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We loved being with Auntie Brookie!  Don’t let H’s face fool you!  He was getting a little sleepy from riding with Daddy.

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I just love this picture!

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There was a little inside play area that H really enjoyed.  In fact, we had to have a little time out there to help us remember that no matter how fun something is when Mommy says “let’s go!” we need to GO.  😉

After our big time at the Natural Bridge, we had a little picnic of chicken salad and other snackie items that I had packed up.  Our picnic was cut slightly short when a line of storms came through the area.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and just enjoying each other’s company.

Saturday – We played at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton.  We’ve visited this park a lot, and it is always so much fun.  It is also a very pretty park.

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We enjoyed lunch with the Mr.’s aunt and did more relaxing in the sunny weather that afternoon.  H’s aunt prepared a delicious dinner, and {best of all} I had a very minor role in it!  I chopped the broccoli!  Ha!  It was so nice to have someone cook for us.  Truly a sign of love!

We headed back home right after breakfast this morning, but we did stop to let H see the valley below at one scenic overlook near Charlottesville.

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I think the second picture looks like H is giving a “thumbs up!”

In regards to my crazy “to-dos” over this spring break, here’s how I did:

business

  • Pay bills 😦 – sort of did
  • Register for swimming lessons for H – found out I can’t do this yet!  ha!
  • Return to Gymboree & Old Navy – did it!
  • Wash and vacuum car  – so did NOT do this
  • Move rocks from front flower bed to backyard – getting ready to do this now
  • Clean house – DID IT!
  • Pick up new watch band for the Mr. from Fossil {the man is hard on his stuff!} – no new watch band for him 😦
  • Grocery shop – Check it off!
  • Make chicken salad – YES, a little too much garlic, but it was tasty!
  • Bag up any and all things I can get my hands on to take to Goodwill  – 3 big bags gone
  • Hair cut for H {I can’t believe he’s ready for one again!}
    – He is a shaggy dog!  This one will happen this week.

Fun

  • Work-out every day – I’m planning runs on Wed., Fri., and Sat.  I’m also planning a yoga DVD on Wed. and gym work-out on Thurs.  {Yes, I include this in “fun.”}. – didn’t do this – I did finally do the Pure Barre DVD workout that I’ve had for over a year!  I also worked out with my sis-in-law at her gym over the weekend.  🙂
  • Play date for H {waiting to see what friend of H can do this one!} – We had no takers on this.  Apparently, we are unpopular, or people are just as busy as we are.
  • Visit Color Me Mine or perhaps the trampoline park again – We went to Cloud 9 once, but we didn’t do another visit or the pottery place.
  • Park Visit – Visited park in Staunton!
  • Visiting Auntie Brookie and all the fun that entails! – Had so much fun and can’t wait to go back!
  • Walking Roscoe the Doggie-doo every day – Totally did NOT do this.  We had some rain a couple very busy days.  We did take a walk on Mon. and Tues.  He was outside with us practically all day yesterday.  He’s a well-loved doggie do.
  • Journaling daily – Yikes!  Didn’t happen.  Did manage about 3 days.
  • continuing to read American Wife {just started last night} – Read some on Friday while the Mr. and his sister were at a gun store – so not my thing.
  • Invite neighbors over for dinner {This one is easy!   It would be for the following week or weekend!} – Our neighbors were out of town, and I didn’t realize it!  This will be a “to do” for this week.

Whew!  What a busy break!  I must say I’m so ready for summer, and this break was a wonderful tease of what’s to come.  Summer to me means a more relaxed schedule, time to focus on home, travel to see family and friends, and more outside time.  Can’t wait!  9 weeks to go!

In regards to summer, what are you most excited about?

Any favorite “spring” activities?  I can’t wait to go strawberry picking!

Natalie

Spring Break 2015 {Goals & Plans}

Hi there friend!  Today is Day 2 of no work for me!  I must admit that it feels WONDERFUL!  I love having the freedom to see where the day may take us.  Today, it took us to Cloud 9 trampoline park in Chesapeake.

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We made the short drive over to be there for our “flight time” at 9.  Let me tell you that jumping around at a trampoline park is a work-out!  The first visit found me wearing a cute outfit.  Not so this time!  I did a quick shower after hitting the gym this morning, and we were off in work-out style wear again!  Holden had a blast jumping into the foam pits, throwing the soft balls all around {some at me!}, and just jump, jump, jumping!  There are baseball goals, a rock wall, trapeze swing, foam pits, balance beam, tire swing…you name it!  For $8, an adult plus one kid bounces for an hour.  This is the 6 and under hour Monday – Friday from 9-10.  Highly recommend this place!  We played for our hour of time and then visited a Ross store over in Chesapeake that was close to Cloud 9.  I found some sandals to replace my very worn out brown gladiator sandals, organization bins for our pantry, undies {I just hate spending money on these items!  Shouldn’t undies and toilet paper just be free!?!?!}, and sheets.  I have some buyer’s remorse about my sandals as they weren’t EXACTLY what I wanted.  However, they were pretty close, and they were $14.99.  Can’t really beat that!  I check Target and Wal-Mart’s sites for better style and/or price AND nothing.  I don’t really take the time to shop too much these days, so I knew if I didn’t get the shoes that I’d be in a style pickle once work starts up again.

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After a quick stop at the grocery store for salad bars salads and fruits plus a California roll to split, we enjoyed lunch on the deck with the Mr.  Ah, spring break!  I’m greatly aware that the days are ticking away so quickly, so I thought it would be a good idea to focus in on what else I’d like to do this break.

Business

  • Pay bills 😦
  • Register for swimming lessons for H
  • Return to Gymboree & Old Navy
  • Wash and vacuum car
  • Move rocks from front flower bed to backyard
  • Clean house
  • Pick up new watch band for the Mr. from Fossil {the man is hard on his stuff!}
  • Grocery shop
  • Make chicken salad
  • Bag up any and all things I can get my hands on to take to Goodwill
  • Hair cut for H {I can’t believe he’s ready for one again!}

Fun

  • Work-out every day – I’m planning runs on Wed., Fri., and Sat.  I’m also planning a yoga DVD on Wed. and gym work-out on Thurs.  {Yes, I include this in “fun.”}.
  • Play date for H {waiting to see what friend of H can do this one!}
  • Visit Color Me Mine or perhaps the trampoline park again
  • Park Visit
  • Visiting Auntie Brookie and all the fun that entails!
  • Walking Roscoe the Doggie-doo every day
  • Journaling daily
  • continuing to read American Wife {just started last night}
  • Invite neighbors over for dinner {This one is easy!   It would be for the following week or weekend!}

Now, I realize this is WAY TOO MUCH to accomplish on what remains of my break.  However, I think making lists and such really helps you focus on what you want to do/have to do and helps you use your time wisely.

How do you feel about list making?

I think some people find it too constraining, but I definitely find it soothing.

Natalie

Easter Weekend 2015

Hi there!  Boy, I’m one tired turkey!  We had quite a big weekend visiting lots of family and enjoying lots of tasty food.  We saw all of H’s grandparents on the Eastern Shore this past weekend.  I even got a nice “dinner date” with my mom.  We never are together without Holden or my dearly loved little sister.  Although I love them both, it was nice to pretend/be the only child for a meal and some dessert!

Anywho, let’s let the pictures do the talking!

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How cool were we!?!?!?  I snapped this picture of our first prom together back in 2000.

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My delicious fruit salad at Janet’s General Store Cafe in Onancock, VA

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Cute breakfast dates!

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Clearly, I liked the fruit salad that was massive.

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Holding back the egg hunter prior to the “go” signal

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Egg Hunt at Eastern Shore Yacht & Country Club

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After our busy day, we headed up to my parents’ house.  If you look closely you can see some of my favorite peeps in the picture above.  There are a couple doggies there too.

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Easter Basket Fun

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Love this picture!  Especially love Aunt DD’s face in the background!  Ha!

IMG_1259the Lewis family minus the Mr. and Uncle Mikey
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My loves

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Shrimp Salad on Croissants

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Morning Mutations aka Teenage Mutant in nature!

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To round out our weekend, H and I took a mega walk in the sunshine this morning.  We checked out tractor tracks, looked for egrets, smelled wild onions, learned what a “ditch” is, stuck our hand in some creek water, watch the classic children’s show “Sesame Street,” lunched on fruit and grilled cheese aka H’s favorite, and played with a sweet friend.  What a great weekend!  I feel so blessed to have so much joy in my life and so many people to share my life with.  April’s been a mighty fine month already!  AND today is Day 1 of official “I’m on spring break and not at work” week for me!  Hip hip hooray!

Natalie

5 for Friday

It’s the day before the start of Spring Break 2015, and I’m beyond excited!  H and the Mr. are off tomorrow for lots of man stuff. There is power equipment involved and something gross called “corn beef hash” that H calls “corn beef bash.”  I would be more likely to call it barf but to each their own.  Here are 5 things on my mind…well, mostly on my mind is spring break!  Ha!

{ONE}

Easter! – I’m so looking forward to all the festivities!  H is doing an egg hunt on Saturday.  I’m hoping to do a few more fun Eastery things with him on Saturday as well.  Sunday means church, flowering of the cross, Easter basket fun, plus food and family.  Not to mention, we get to celebrate our Savior and the all-encompassing love that His death and resurrection symbolize!  I mean, let’s keep it real.  That IS what it is all about.  Sorry Mr. Easter Bunny!

Here’s a link to a youtube video that I watched with Holden on Wednesday to help explain the reason we celebrate!

{TWO}

Shrimp Salad – I absolutely love shrimp salad in the spring and winter!  I think it is the perfect accompaniment to a buttery croissant or crusty roll.  I plan to make this for Easter lunch with lots of sides.  Here’s the recipe I like.

Here’s another similar recipe from Tide and Thyme – an Eastern Shore blogger!

{THREE}

Nice weather! – We’ve had a couple of great days recently.  Holden walked all the way to the park with Roscoe and I.  This is about a one mile walk there and a one mile walk back.  It did take us quite some time, but I was so proud of those little, non-whiny legs!

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{FOUR}

Although I have been running more, I took this week off.  I tend to go a little overboard quickly.  I’m excited to go for a run tomorrow afternoon.  This will be the first trail run I’ve done in forever!  I’m so looking forward to it.  The weather should be awesome, and I’m charing my iPod for some peppy tunes to come along the way with me.  I saw this awesome prayer for runners…

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Courtesy of Instagram

If you’d like, you can follow me on Instagram here.  

{FIVE}

Shredded coconut! – I’ve been making up my own cookies as a “treat” each night.  These cookies are very loosely called cookies, but they include peanut butter, dried cranberries, shredded/sweetened coconut, a splash of milk, and (or leave out) a dash of cocoa powder.  I mix up all ingredients and put in microwave for about 30 seconds and then toast in toaster oven to make the coconut just slightly crunchy.  Kind of bizarre, I know.  Here are some more “normal” recipes with shredded coconut!

Paleo No-Bake Cookies

5 Ingredient Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Chewy Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Hope your Friday is fantastic!

Natalie