Becoming A Stay At Home Mom

If you had told me ten years ago that I would end up being a stay-at-home-mom, I would have just laughed and thought you were crazy. But there you go. I just recently put in my notice at the job I've held (and generally enjoyed) for the past four years and as of May 1st have officially become a full-time stay at home mom. I'm definitely feeling like I'm struggling with this decision because, while I feel like it's the option that makes the most sense for me and my family, I also just never pictured myself as the Suzy Homemaker type, you know? I mean, I only learned how to cook properly five years ago. Before that I was famous for having made my mom grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner one night when my dad was out of town and burning both then attempting to strain the burnt pieces out of the soup. But I'm also really happy about this decision. It's what my parents decided to do when my sister and I were little. Brian and I talked about it and basically decided that we only have one guaranteed chance (because we're not sure if we will have a second child) to raise a baby and we don't want to squander that opportunity just so we can afford a couple extra toys a month. I still haven't told a lot of people yet, because I almost have a sense of shame behind the decision; like I'm giving up and deciding to take the easy road instead of continuing to work. Part of that, I think, is because a couple of the friends I have told I turned in my notice at work have then said "where are you going instead?". I know they mean well, but it also kind of subtly hints that perhaps the idea of being a full-time mom isn't quite "job" enough, so I must have found traditional employment elsewhere. Bah. This is definitely rambling, I know. I'll keep you guys posted on how this new part of my life goes, I'm excited and apprehensive and nervous and all the feels. Wish me luck!

Capturing Playtime Through Her Eyes…

This week on my photo adventures with Natalie, I tried to capture the adorableness that is her playtime. We've set her nursery up in our new house to be baby proof (we think) so she can play with anything she can reach. IMG_4547 Recently a good friend of ours sent our baby girl a set of wooden blocks with laminate pictures of letters, numbers and various other things for her to learn. Needless to say, she's a big fan of them. IMG_4549 They live sprawled out on her floor and she spends most of her time sucking on them and banging them against each other. IMG_4556 It's also helped to encourage her to start crawling. That's right, my little baby girl has finally started learning how to crawl. It's more of a creep at the moment, but she's definitely on her way. Sniff, sniff. IMG_4548

Warning: Baby At Play.

IMG_4407 Baby Natalie is getting so big, you guys! She's so much more fun than when she was a newborn... IMG_4490 Don't get me wrong, the newborn stage was adorable. It was the sweetest thing when she would fall asleep in my arms, or the first time I knew she was really looking at me. But it was also so so hard. You give so much of yourself to a newborn and they can't even give you a smile in return. IMG_4451   Now, though, Natalie is just starting to get to the point where she wants to roll around and play. She loves playing with toys (obviously!) and she has just recently discovered how to play peek-a-boo. IMG_4428   One of her favorite things has been having kissing battles with her daddy. She'll lay on the ground and Brian will go in and smother her with kisses and she just laughs and giggles. It makes my heart melt.   IMG_4411 I need to get better about taking more pictures of her, I feel like she's gotten so much bigger since I last took really good photos.   IMG_4442 Luckily, since we moved, we now live practically across the street from a wonderful park. Brian and I have started taking her out to the park in the jogging stroller and taking turns while each of us run laps on their jogging trail. We finish it out, assuming she hasn't fallen asleep, by playing on the swing set. IMG_4449 She absolutely adores the swings. She laughs, giggles and grins. The happiest of babes.

Hiatus, a.k.a. moving is hard.

Hey guys! I'm gonna be coming back from a brief hiatus in the very near future. Turns out when you have a family vacation and then have to pack up and move back to back it makes it hard to get back into the swing of things. Go figure. But fret not, I'll be back soon!

Family Day – Paynes Prarie Hike

We went for a hike on La Chua Trail a week ago as our first family hike. It's funny because, as a kid/teenager, I pretty much hated it when my parents would suggest that we go on a hike.   IMG_4027   As an adult, though, I love hiking. It's pretty much the best thing ever. I don't really like to exercise just to exercise (which Brian is totally down for) so hiking is a great way for me to exercise without hating it. Unfortunately, in Florida, hiking can pretty much never include actually mountains or hills or even a slight incline. You also have to hike in the morning or there is no chance that you will not fry to death in the heat (even if it's the middle of January). IMG_4038   Anyway, we had an awesome time walking about. La Chua trail is a three mile hike, round trip, and there's TONS of wildlife to see along the way. The best parts were when we'd see tons of alligators and whoever was holding the baby would get nervous and the one with the camera would get excited. IMG_4083   We even had a very sweet couple offer to take a photo of our family out on the trail. Everyone in a picture! It's a dream come true! IMG_4097   We met a mom out on the trail when we got to the observatory and got to talking, she's apparently a local photographer. I'm a member of the La Leche League facebook group and, luckily, so is she! A few days later I happened to post to the group and she commented on the picture saying she thought she had met me out on the trail and that she had snapped a photo of us as we were walking back. So cute. 10920960_921990301168692_5764924804175867320_n

Baby girl’s first Christmas…

It was a really nice quite Christmas around here, perfect for baby girl's first one. My aunt came to town and we relaxed at home with all of new goodies all day. I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas as well. =) I'm going to leave you all with a few photos from Christmas Eve/Christmas because, in this case, a picture is worth a thousand words. I'm definitely still learning how to use the camera, especially how the different lenses work and how to focus properly so these aren't perfect, but they give you a good idea of how our Christmas was. Merry Christmas! IMG_3888 IMG_3889 IMG_3892 IMG_3893 IMG_3895 IMG_3896 IMG_3897 IMG_3901 IMG_3904  

I made popovers, woah.

So, if you guys happen to remember, I went on a giant cooking spree way back when I first started this blog (in it's current form) in 2010). You see, I had recently moved to Arkansas to be with my then-boyfriend, but soon-to-be-husband and what else is there to do in Arkansas? Nothing, that's what. And so began my great cooking journey where I tried to teach myself how to cook and bake (turns I enjoy the latter more than the former) by meticulously making the recipes in Joy of Cooking. I particularly enjoyed making items that are not, generally, home made anymore due to the ease with which they can be purchased (dinner rolls, croissants, chicken stock, etc.). Since going on maternity leave I have been trying to reignite the fire for cooking and baking I used to know and I've been moderately successful. I have recently discovered that Alton Brown's show Good Eats has made it's way to Netflix, which means I can now begin binge watching it to my hearts content. I have a particular love for Good Eats because it's basically the Bill Nye of cooking shows and makes me think of how my grandfather would teach cooking and baking if that was ever his forte. Now with that huge amount of back story completed, on to the popovers! The other day I was watching Good Eats while getting some housework done before friends came over for early Christmas. This particular episode focused on, you guessed it, popovers! Now, I'm going to be honest, I know what shape a popover is but I don't recall ever actually eating one. They also seem incredibly intimidating because of aforementioned shape. How does that even happen?! But Alton (because let's be real, I'm on a first name basis, clearly) made it seem incredibly simple so I decided to jump in and give it a whirl.

IMG_0616.JPG TA-DA!! I did it! Success! These were later served with delicious Blue Bell vanilla ice cream (my fav) and fresh sliced strawberries. Yum yum yum.

Thrift shop find and date night with the hubby!

So I know this isn't a super great photo of it, but I found the coolest dress at our local Goodwill the other day. Generally I don't spend too much time looking through the dresses at Goodwill because, at least around here, they charge $7+ for any dresses. Yikes! Especially considering most of the dresses you find are from Forever21 and similar big box stores where the dresses retail at $15 or so full price. Nah, bro, nah. Anywho, I happened to be walking past the nightgown/pajama area and spotted this gem hiding among the dated 80s polyester night gowns and rejected holiday flannel.

IMG_0613.JPG Again, sorry for the fail photo, the dress is currently in my laundry pile or I would try to take a better one. I can't quite tell how old this dress is, but based on the material, shape and pattern I'm guessing it's from the 60s? I checked for a tag and it appears to have been shredded/lost all it's print a long time ago. BUT! I can just barely make out the upper edge of a circle that I'm pretty sure is the Ladies Garment Worker union logo, which is generally a good sign that a piece is true vintage and not a replica. I completely adore the colors, a beautiful rich blue that almost leans teal that is accented by splashes of white flowers and stripes in burnt orange. There's a couple small gold metallic accents sewn on, as well as a bitchin' oversized diamond zipper pull on the front. It came with a matching belt that you can see in the photo, but when I wore it I paired it with a navy blue patent leather belt instead. The best part? While it's a little bit too big for me, if I belt it appropriately it gives a beautiful shape which means I don't need to alter it at all! Yay! In other news, hubby and I ventured out on our very first date without our baby girl a couple nights ago (thanks Shelly!) IMG_0610.JPG

We had an awesome time, especially because we got to show our support for a friend. IMG_0609.JPG Our friend Andy recently joined a band (The Melting Funk Pot) where he plays the trumpet. This was their first time playing a venue, a local bar called The High Dive. They were incredibly great - their band features an eclectic mash-up of instruments. Viola, keyboard, trumpet, bass, bongos, drums, guitar, and for a couple of songs maracas and a tambourine. They played primarily original songs, but they did grace us with an excellent cover of Michael Jackson's Billy Jean (and our friend even harmonized on some of the vocals, talent!) I finally got my keyboard working on my iPad again, so I'm hopeful this means I may post more lengthy blog posts every now and again. Till next time!