5 for Friday ~ I disappeared AGAIN!

Hi there!  Gosh, I’m so so so bad about keeping up with posting during the school year!  2017 has been quite a doozy so far, but I’m thankful to have faced some challenges together and come out the other side.  Nothing crazy major…just logistics situations.  Let’s jump right in to five things on my mind this Fri-YAY!

{ONE}

CHILDCARE

I don’t think we really knew completely how challenging it would be to live away from family.  Our closest actual “family” members are about 1.5 hours away.  Then, there’s some 2 hour people and then more like 3+ hour away peeps.  We’ve had some logistics issues pop up this year so far that includes the stomach flu, ear infections, and one very awful daycare upset that resulted in a big disappointment and the necessity to immediately find a new place for Miss Helen.  😦  I am so thankful for my mom and sister who dropped all their plans to come over and help us out.  They are busy, working gals, but they made us a priority.  I hope to be able to help them out one day…like one day when I’m not totally out of leave with two small ones who like to pick up all sorts of fun, unique germs each week!  🙂

{TWO}

Holden’s 5th Birthday

Our little boy is five!  How did this happen?!  Words can’t describe how thankful I am that God sent that little boy to us 5 years ago!  I do not have a doubt in my mind that God uses him to refine and shape parts of me that are kind of ick and help me to rely on Him more.  I pray that I can be the mother that God needs me to be to Holden.  I tell Holden all the time that God gave me the most important job, to be a mommy to him, and that I try very hard to do a good job.  I want that little boy to be fully prepared for whatever work God has for him on this earth.

He had a super fun gymnastic birthday party with his friends this past weekend.  That boy gets 110% sillier when he’s around his school buddies!  I love silly little boys (+cool girl!)!  Holden is very much looking forward to his family party this weekend, and we are too!  Many people are coming from out-of-town to celebrate with us.  This is a real treat and a gift itself to have everyone visit us!

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The Mr. was there…he was just taking all these great pictures!  Love the guy with the “dad cam!”  😉

{THREE}

Career Changes

Whew!  This is a big one!  There are MANY things up in the air with my job and the Mr.’s job.  I should begin by saying that I’m thankful we both are employed with no reason to think that will change.  The real issue is that the where of my workplace (and kind-of the Mr.’s too).  We are exploring a few options, but no one plan seems to be jumping out as the “DO THIS!” option.  I’m waiting for my burning bush….anytime now would be great!  🙂

I’ve been working at the same school for ten years now.  There is a certain comfort that comes with this situation.  Also, there are relationships forged and connections made that really make me a bit sad to lose.  However, there’s something to be said for a clean slate, a starting over.  Not to mention…I’d LOVE to be closer to home!  My drive is about 30 minutes with good traffic.  Thankfully, I *typically* have pretty good luck with the traffic. Whatever option I/we pick requires a change in childcare.  Again, back to #1.  Driving me crazy since the beginning of February!

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Image from Pinterest

{FOUR}

Summer Planning

This is about the time I start planning our summer trips, activities, special events, etc.  I like to maximize the “fun-ness” of our summers off.  I’m hoping to add a summer outdoor pool membership to our weekly summer fun.  I do love the beach, and I still want to go a bunch.  BUT it would be so much easier for me to take two kids to the pool vs. the beach.  I’ve found a pretty inexpensive option about 15 minutes away from home.  Although it’s not as close as I thought, I think it will definitely work!  We are also planning lots of family visits.  I really hope we can do a little one night trip for the Mr. and me.  I have yet to spend the night away from Helen.  I’m totally OK with it, but I do feel like it’s easy to let marriage fall by the wayside now that there are two.  You people with 3+ kids…I’m amazed!

{FIVE}

New Hair-Do

I confess that I have been seduced by how pretty long hair looks on other people without considering how it looks on me/goes with my life.  I feel like I’m being choked by my hair RIGHT NOW!  I so want a hair cut!  I’ve got an appointment one week from tomorrow.  I’m so excited!  I want to have a few inches cut off.  I’m thinking of a longish bob???  Right now, I’m being indecisive on the bangs.  Thinking about trying it without and seeing how I feel…

I also know I’d like to incorporate more curl into it vs. the stick-straight look.

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All Hair Images from Pinterest

Well, that’s what’s up with me!  Here are a few fun pics from the past few months.  🙂

Have a great weekend!

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Massanutten Fun!

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Water Park ~ Holden and I had so much fun!  I pray I remember how scared I was when we both went down the big grown-up slides side-by-side when I’m 85!

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Helen and I at swimming!  Love her sweet serious face!

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Waiting for big brother at gymnastics!

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at her new daycare – We are SO thankful to have found a wonderful, loving lady who takes excellent care of our sweet little one while we are at work.  Here she is having fun while Mommy is at work!

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Always pretending to be a billy goat!

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Home Depot Builder

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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

Moments on a Monday and April Goals

It’s hard to believe that it is the end of March {almost} already!  Time has really flown by this month!

Here’s a random of H inside one of his birthday presents…

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It was so chilly today and yesterday.  I totally recycled my church outfit into my Monday work outfit.  Does anybody else do this???

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Leggings and long, warm sweaters = Comfy but not very springy attire!

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I totally rock the “I’m a nine year old” hair-dos all the time.  I once had a student come up to me and say “Mrs. Leatherbury, we’re twins!  Our hair style is the same!”  Now, I teach third grade.  That info makes this statement a little more funny, don’t you think???  😉

My sister came to visit yesterday afternoon due to some work obligations in the area.  It was so nice having her in town, and it makes me a teeny bit nostalgic as I think back to when she was attending college just a hop, skip, and a jump away at Old Dominion.  We did some crafting with H, went for a walk {purely to meet her FitBit goal, I think}, enjoyed some red meat :), and talked a bunch.  So thankful for my sister!  I’d be even more thankful if she’d move closer to us though.  Just saying!  Before her arrival, H and I attended Palm Sunday service at church and got these little treats.

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I’ve attempted Hot Cross Buns in the past {See post here.}  However, these were light, yeast-y roll in nature.  That is a whole different kettle of fish!  Having to have things “rise” and have some type of chemical reaction like you do with yeast breads makes me very nervous!  These were provided by church and hit the spot with coffee a la Wawa picked up by the Mr.

I can happily report the only after school obligations I have this week are an allegedly “brief” grade level meeting on Wednesday followed by a giant peanut butter Easter egg and assorted mini eggs pick up from a local church.  These are some Easter treats for some boys I know who like their sweets.  It feels so good to have a little less on my plate at work and a nice week long spring break waiting in the wings!  To top it off, we are expecting some temps in the low 70s here tomorrow. Hallelujah!  We caught a little sunshine and sand in our shoes this afternoon.

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This was part of the birthday plans.  However, the chilly temps kept the kids from playing in this kiddie pool of sand that had “buried treasure” in it.  H and the Mr. had a good time uncovering bugs, necklaces, play money, etc.  Love this afternoon light and just being outdoors!  Hopefully, our spring break week will have a few warm days in it.

As we look forward to April, I wanted to check in with my March goals…

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I actually did pretty good this month!  I did get a hair cut.  Still growing my bangs out, but I’m loving the longer length.  I had a massage.  Unfortunately, it was ick.  We did visit the Chrysler Art Museum. I honestly haven’t increased my yoga practice.  I have tried to incorporate more stretching into my workouts.  I did the stretches below for runners after my longer run {6.2 miles} yesterday.

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See full info here.  Sequence/Article by Carly Sippel

We’ve been doing pretty good with meaningful Easter activities.  The Resurrection eggs have been great for really having a discussion with H about Easter, Jesus, crosses, palms, donkeys, basically anything related to the holiday.  He has had lots of questions and enjoyed the little book that comes with the eggs.  We also did just some fun stuff like playing with our Easter eggs in the tub, making sun catchers {thanks for your help, Aunt D!}, and dyeing eggs.  I’m looking forward to some more fun stuff this upcoming weekend.

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H and I did the cross – It’s a little tie-dye look!

I’d really like to make these resurrection cookies with Holden one night this week.  We’ll see!  If you’d like to see some more ideas that I collected on Pinterest, just click here to see my “Spring” board.

Here are my goals for April…

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Number 1 may have to wait until more towards the end of the month if this chilly days keep popping up on our local forecast.  Maybe number 4 too…

Do you have any goals in mind for April?

Any fun April Fools Day tricks up your sleeve?

Hope you had a good start to your week!  A parting thought for you…

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Courtesy of Instagram – Be a nice girl.  🙂

Natalie

5 for Friday

So sorry I’ve been silent Suzy on here this week!  This one has been quite eventful and very busy.  I’m very thankful that we made the switch over with Daylight Savings Time.  Despite all the craziness of the week, it has been an extra treat to feel some warm sunshine, wear lighter jackets, and take the dog for a walk at 5:30 with the sun as a companion too.  Here are five things on my mind this Friday…

{ONE}

We continued with Holden’s family party as planned on Sunday and had a great time!  I served chicken and beef burritos, veggies & dip, tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, and  black bean & corn salad.  The sweetness afterwards was a cake that I made following a Real Simple magazine recipe.  It was such a good party that I have only one picture.  That’s how you know it was good, I think.  🙂

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Thank you so much to friends and family who attended!  They braved potential contagious illness {H was sick on Friday evening with a stomach bug.} to celebrate with us.  He got so many nice gifts.  H selected Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles thank-you cards.  We got a “thank you card” date planned for the weekend.  🙂  Can’t believe my big boy is 3!  This brings me to number dos…

{TWO}

About two hours after everyone left, I was enjoying the sunshine on our back deck and got feeling a little funny.  I was soon running to the bathroom with that terrible “mouth watering” sensation that usually precedes an unfortunate loss of the contents of your stomach aka I puked.  A lot.  For hours.  Like 3 of them.  Good gracious!  It’s amazing how quickly illnesses can make us all feel like a kid again in a not-so-good-way.  I actually had the thought, “I want my mommy!”  I was achy and nauseous all evening and into the next day.  Sleep was not my friend that Sunday night either.  Monday brought me a smoothie and chicken noodle soup without any work.  The Mr. and I felt absolutely terrible that we exposed all our loved ones to this bug.  I felt especially bad as I had prepared all our food for the day.  I’m very happy to report that no one else got sick, and I think enough time has passed to safely say that we are good!  Definitely going to retell H the story of his third birthday.

{THREE}

In an effort to fight off illness and enjoy these nice spring days, I stopped off on our way home at a local park with H.  It’s almost like we’ve become moles in our homes this winter.  H spotted some spring poking up through the ground.

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Very happy to see this!  I ordered Holden a gardening set from Amazon.  I plan on including it in his Easter basket.  He loves to carry tools in his hands and always wants the same thing his daddy has.

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I also ordered the ball below for backyard kicking.  Here’s the link.  It’s a little more pricey than the balls at Wal-Mart, but I’m thinking it’s a little heavier which will help H with kicking.  Plus got to build up those throwing muscles right?!?!

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{FOUR}

I made these Banana Oat Bars for dessert last night since I had two practically rotten bananas.  I hate, hate, hate to throw food away {minus all the food I tossed after I was well enough to stand – I just couldn’t look at that burrito in the same way again!  Possibly ever!}, so I thought this would be perfect to use up the bananas.

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I modified the recipe in these ways…

  • replaced shredded coconut for the same amount of chopped toasted almonds
  • replaced date sugar with the same amount of local honey
  • added about a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon

The Mr. likes decadent desserts, so he was not too impressed.  He said the bar seemed better suited as a breakfast food.  Guess what?  Good idea!  I’m having one for breakfast today.  🙂  I’m easy too please and enjoyed the sweet treat before bed.  They are quite hearty.

{FIVE}

The bar recipe came from this book…

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My mom gave me this book, and I dug it out when I was feeling a little better on my sick day.  Admittedly, it put me to sleep {I took a two hour nap!  WOW!} after about 30 minutes of reading, but I think it was more to do with the fact that I slept only a couple of hours the night before.  Dr. Fuhrman is very adamant about his plan, the commitment required, and the results you can achieve through it.  Overall, it was a good wake up call.  Since I’m thin, I sort of discount some things like “Well, I can eat one and half desserts…it’s OK.”  Or…”I need to snack.”  “I can salt.  I don’t have those medical conditions requiring me to watch my salt intake.”  “I deserve this little candy pick-me-up or dessert every day.”  Good gracious!  I’ve gotten a little over the top with using food as a tiredness solution or as a treat to myself.  I need to rest when I’m tired and treat myself with other things i love like time alone, a massage, reading time, or baking something healthy.  The primary purpose of food is to power us through our days.  Yes, we should usually enjoy it, but I find it really helpful to think of it as fuel.  It is also helpful to think in terms of Holden. Would I want Holden to eat 4 pieces of candy before lunch….heck no!  What am I doing?!?!?!  Good reality check.  I think it is partially about retraining our brain and partially our tastebuds.

I’ve also been doing more running this week.  It’s so great to be healthy again that I’m just on a renewed fitness kick!  I ran 3.1 miles in about 22:50ish minutes.  My last mile was under 7 minutes!  Speedy!  I ran intervals my other gym day doing about 25 minutes overall varying my speed from 6.5 to 9.5 mph on the treadmill.  I also put up the incline on a few of my lower speed recovery portions.  That is, until my shins started to complain, “Woman, we don’t have hills here!  What are you doing?!?!?”  I’ve been so inspired by Janae at the hungry runner girl.  Her runs/race times are amazing!  I’m not contemplating any races in the near future, but if you’re beside me on the road or at the gym, the answer is yes.  We are definitely racing.  Ha!

A few questions for your Friday…I’d love to hear your answers!

  • What are your favorite {non-food} treats for yourself?
  • Are you planning to enter any races/events this spring?  If so, which ones?
  • Easter basket ideas?  For kids?  For significant others?  For fur children?

Have a wonderful weekend!  We’ve got rain on the way for tomorrow, but it’s in the 70s!  Hip-hip-hip HOORAY!  Can I go dance in the rain?!?!?!?

Natalie

Three Years

Today marks three years that I’ve been a mother.  What a crazy ride so far {especially in the last 24 hours!}!  I confess to not having “love at first sight” with my little guy.  This blonde hair, blue-eyed boy did not steal my heart at first cry.  I felt quite inept, unsure, and detached when little H was born.  Thank goodness he didn’t hold it against me.  Over the course of the first six months of his life, I fell madly in love with him.  However, I had no idea how much it would increase each day I’m a mommy to him.

I’m ever so thankful for this little blessing named Richard Holden.  We couldn’t imagine our lives without him.  He truly is the greatest gift ever!  His questions, smart responses, energy, attention to detail, all boy-ness, sweet voice, and just general wonderfulness are almost more than this mommy can bear to behold on a daily basis.

Today we celebrate three years.  We celebrate just the three of us {+the dog}.  The family we are all on our own.

Now, this is partly by default.  We decided back in January to do an at-home birthday party with friends from both H’s at-home daycare and church preschool.  In total, it was about 16 invitations going out.  The Mr. and I talked it up!  “Your friends are coming!  etc.”  After much prep and planning, we worked on assembling food, crafts, and decor yesterday afternoon and evening.  I had a funny, motherly intuition at dinner last night that H didn’t look well.  I brushed it aside, and we continued with our evening.  H woke up at 9 o’clock with a “tummy/throat ache.”  After a potty break, water, and “medicine,” he was back to bed {the medicine was a spoonful of vanilla yogurt}.  We were busy congratulating ourselves on our hard work and admiring the full party set-up when I noticed a text on my phone from another parent.  Her son who had been planning on coming to the party had to be picked up from our mutual daycare today due to a stomach bug i.e. vomiting.  Fan-tas-tic.  I knew without a doubt that we were in big trouble.  Then, the waiting game began.  Starting at about 11 P.M., Holden got sick to his stomach until about 4 A.M.-ish at pretty regular intervals.  Good gracious.  We did about 10 loads of laundry – changing them almost as fast as he could make them dirty again.  Nothing like an all-nighter to remind you how young you are NOT.

So…we did the grown-up thing and contacted all the parents via text or email early this morning.  Big bummer.  H was aware that plans had changed and was disappointed that his friends, Aunt Dee, and Moochie wouldn’t be coming over today.  I kind of just wanted to wash my hands of all the party craziness, but his disappointment definitely spurred me into action to come up with an alternate plan.  Basically, today will be our fire drill for our next attempt at H’s birthday party.  Here are some pictures from all our party prep.

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Isn’t he a sweetheart?!?!?  I know this is such a first wold problem, but I hate to see him disappointed.  He did take it in stride, and two friends dropped off presents for him.  Here’s hoping that the Mr. and I make it through the night without any mishaps of our own!

5 for Friday

It’s hard to believe that it is already Friday again!  This week flew by!  I actually was off on Wednesday due to an early life crisis that was unleashed by a combination of a runaway dog (Exhibit A:  Roscoe) and a daycare glitch (Exhibit B:  no power at the home daycare).  I handled all these things well…yeah right!  However, I did live through the week, and I happily was able to get a lot of work done this afternoon to make up for the day off.

Moving on to a more positive 5 for Friday:

{ONE}

It is also hard to believe that just three years ago we were getting ready to receive the best gift ever…our son, Holden.  His birthday is coming up this Saturday, and we are so looking forward to celebrating with his little friends, our friends, and family.  He started off the fun with mini cupcakes for his preschool friends which I picked up at Wal-Mart’s bakery.  Tomorrow means another treat for his daycare friends.  I found this post on Pinterest.  Here is the direct link to the website.  I adapted the fruit to just strawberries (very sweet and cheap ones at Wal-Mart this week!!!  I bought 2.) and used popsicle sticks instead of straws.

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photo from Trish at Mom On Timeout

Here’s my way less photogenic version.  Very yummy though!

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I’ll share more of H’s birthday celebrations as they come together (kid party – Saturday, family and friend party – Sunday).  I was able to conqueror this massive shopping list this week, so I *think* I have everything I need minus some press and seal stuff which is for a craft.  There’s always something I forgot!

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Can you tell one of the parties will have a Mexican theme??

{TWO}

I got lots of goodies in the mail today from Old Navy plus one from Nordstroms as well.  The Mr. had given me an Old Navy gift card for my birthday, and I finally used it!  Here are my purchases…

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I love the color of this dress.  I have been looking for a nice bright pink dress for two springs now (yes, I’m counting this as officially now being spring.  We are in March despite the sleet happening outside.).  This one at Nordstroms is perfect!  Very comfy too.

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Old Navy workout pants that were a little too baggy that I think I’ll be returning.

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New plain-Jane black flip flops!  Now, some warmer weather to wear them!

I also got the white cardigan pictured with the dress from Old Navy.  Much nicer material than I first imagined with the price tag.  I am returning a sports bra that was too small {It does happen people…a bra too small for yours truly}.  I’m debating about some white matchstick style capri pants that felt a little too snug for both professional and social wear.  Still debating about these…

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See website here

Holden got this cute “H is for handsome” t-shirt…

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Link here.

{THREE}

I also finally got a hair cut this week.  It had been way back before Thanksgiving since my last cut.  I got some sideswept bangs that I immediately regretted.  I asked my stylist to blend the growing-out version with my other layers and style my hair with my current middle part.

Ta da!

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Looking way, way casual to be out in the uber-chic Town Center.

{FOUR}

Smoked Salmon…aka lox…aka “Nova?”  Whatever it is, I love it.

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I got this from Bagels N More in Town Center, but I have to admit the quality has declined since this local bagel shop combined with a local bakery, Bliss Bakery.  You gotta get your salmon where you can though.

{FIVE}

Just a funny…

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muscle-building

Photo Credit: Websta

Also here.

Click here for more “Fit Girl Problems.”

Have a happy weekend!

Natalie

Belated Birthday Wishes

It was the Mr.’s actual 30th birthday this past Thursday, and I confess I was not super celebratory.  I’m blaming it on our previous weekend’s sneaky plans that you can read about here, and I’m thinking first week back to school in 2015=a grumpy me.  Grumpy me usually thinks about myself, woe is me, I have so much on me, why is this the way MY life is going…blah.blah.blah.

So…in an effort to make amends, I’d like to wish my husband belated birthday wishes through this cyber spot.  He is without a doubt my other half, my best friend, my biggest supporter, my political opposite, and a wonderful dad.  I’m ever so thankful he was born thirty years ago as of January 8th.

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Despite my grumpy self’s occasional whine internally and externally this week, I’m so happy to share this life, our life with you.

Love you.

Natalie