Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Work Week Wears

What I wear to work is a funny thing for me. In the spring and summer, I love it because I can wear dresses or skirts every day, but in the fall and winter, it's a different story. I don't have to wear a suit every day, but I do like to look professional. Occasionally, if we're filming a commercial and I know I'll be walking around all day, I'll wear skinny pants with flats, but for the most part, I stick to pencil skirts (J.Crew is my favorite) with tops and dresses (Tracy Negoshian is my go to). I also love wedges, so I wear them almost every day. The things below are what you can typically find me wearing each day.









How do you dress for work?

I'm linking up with Sarah today!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In the home of Old Bay

A few weeks ago I had to travel to Baltimore for work. Kevin was able to go along with me and work remotely. We spent four full days in Baltimore and while I was in a conference most of the time, we were still able to have some fun (time away with my husband is always fun!).

I had to be in town on Sunday as the conference began early on Monday, so we did what any other couple would do, we hit the road at 4:45 AM to make it Baltimore in time to see the Orioles play at 1:30 that afternoon. We allowed ourselves some extra time, but managed to make it to our hotel by 11:30.

The drive up was pretty uneventful. I drove straight from our house to Richmond where we stopped to refuel and pick up breakfast. Thankfully, we missed all of the DC traffic and besides some rain that slowed traffic down on the DC/Baltimore Express Way, we had a great trip.

We got to the Baltimore Hilton about 11:30, stored our luggage, and went to the Orioles' game. We were staying right across from Camden Yards which was really cool.



We walked around the ballpark and picked up lunch before going to our seats. Kevin had a barbecue sandwich that he said was worth the $10 he paid for it and I had a hot dog because I can't go to a baseball game without eating a hot dog.

Our seats were great. It was cool watching them prepare the field for the game, too.



The game itself was pretty uneventful. Markakis hit a home run to start the bottom of the first inning and that was the only run scored the whole game. They were playing the Mariners, so we got to see Cano which was cool considering he's one of the highest ever paid players in the history of Major League Baseball. Brad Miller from the Mariner's is a Clemson grad, so it was cool to see him, too.



After the game, we picked up a few souvenirs for our babies and then went back to our hotel. We got settled in and then walked down to the Inner Harbor which was about two blocks away from us for dinner.



The Inner Harbor reminded me a lot of Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach. It had the same type of stores and restaurants, but nothing that was purely "Baltimore." We walked around a while and ended up eating on the patio of the Cheesecake Factory. I'm not one to ever pass up cheesecake. And yes, we took a slice back to the hotel with us.

During the days, I attended the conference while Kevin did some work. Monday and Tuesday nights were similar to Sunday. We walked down to the Inner Harbor, had dinner, walked around some, and went back to the hotel. On Tuesday night, we ate at Pickle's Pub which is right across from Camden Yards. Kevin had a delicious looking crab cake sandwich while I tired the barbecue sandwich. We also got to see another lighthouse. This one is very different from the ones we have down South.



One day while I was learning, Kevin took a tour of Camden Yards. He said it was really cool. He got to walk out on the field, go into the dugout, see trophies, see the jumbotron control room, and a few other neat things. I thought it was pretty cool that they still had the information from the game we watched.



My conference ended Wednesday afternoon. We had a really late lunch and rode a water taxi to Fort McHenry. I really wanted to go to the National Aquarium, but the taxi didn't get us back in time to make it. We enjoyed walking around on our last night in Baltimore and finished the trip with another good slice of cheesecake!






As a side note, this is Meg Ryan's apartment from Sleepless in Seattle... in Baltimore.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Snapshots of our weekend + a race recap

Our weekend started off nice and hot (by hot I mean the heat index was well over 100 when I left work at 5) with the first soccer practice of fall. I was so proud of our boys at their practices! This is the first year they're playing on different teams and it was cool to see how they each did.

Kevin is coaching the younger team and has Kaden. I'm also out there to help him out. I help by keeping the kids in line, throwing the balls back, and doing whatever he tells me. Soccer is not a sport I'm too familiar with, but I definitely know more now that I did when K.C. started playing three years ago!

Kaden was really aggressive and fast during one of the drills. I think the fact that he's one of the older kids on the team is good for him. He's really stepping up and working hard.

Thankfully, the boys practice on fields side by side, so I was able to watch K.C. some, too. He did a great job from what I could tell!



After practice, Kevin and I had our weekly date at a local place. I love it when we walk in and they know to give us extra ranch without even asking. We typically go to this place after every ball practice. It's also my favorite pre-race meal, and considering I had a race Saturday morning, it made perfect sense to go there for chicken sandwiches.

When we got home, our neighbors who have recently moved, were at their house. It was nice catching up with them.

I don't know what got into me, but I was in a cleaning and organizing mood Friday night. Needless to say, I cleaned out a good portion of our closet. I didn't take any pictures, but I should have. We have a large walk-in closet as it is, but I'm shocked by how large it really is when it's straight and the twenty or more excess, empty shoe boxes are gone!

We also stayed up later than we have in a long time Saturday night and it was so nice!

We had an early morning Saturday. I had a race out of town that started at 8. When the alarm went off at 6, I tried to go back to sleep. I even sleepily asked/told Kevin it was ok to miss the race. He, my constant encourager/cheerleader, said no, so we got up and went to the race.

When we got there, a friend told me to be prepared to race because there was a girl from the high school's cross country team running who runs in the 19s. I was in the "win the race, but don't go all out because it's a million degrees" mindset. Needless to say, that changed.

I started out on the second row which is odd for me. This girl (who was an awesome runner) stayed side-by-side for the first half mile or so. At that point, I didn't know if she was starting strong and pushing me to see if I'd slide or if she was running with fuel left in her tank. I decided not to take a chance and sped off. I stayed ten or so yards in front of her until sometime on the second mile. At that point, we went into the full sunshine (the rest of the course was mostly shaded). I looked behind me with about half or a quarter mile to go and saw that I had a large lead. I didn't want to let up, but I also didn't have to worry about her sprinting at the end.


I finished the race in 20:47 which is slower than I normally run, but for the temperature, I was really happy. It was also the best race I've run in months.

I had a fresh peach after the race which was a welcome change from the typical banana, and Kevin and I talked with our friends until the awards ceremony. I'm partial to trophies and medals (mostly because my boys like them), but at this race, I won a facial from a local spa. I haven't had a facial before and I'm excited about it!

We were home from the race by 10 AM and decided it was a good time to do some yard work. I may have had to ask my husband exactly how to do it, but I weeded a flower bed while he pruned our palmetto trees. We did some work inside after that and were able to mark a few things off of our to-do list.

My mom has been asking me to clean out my childhood closet for oh, about two years, so Saturday seemed like a good time to do that. We went to my parents that afternoon and visited. I also cleaned out two totes full of things to keep and about four giant trash bags full of things to donate. I didn't even begin to touch things like my boxes of third grade memories which I'm sure are full of papers and spelling tests.

Kevin helped my mom cook dinner and it was delicious. My husband is becoming quite the chef!

Kevin's parents had us over for lunch after church Sunday. We enjoyed visiting with them before going home to do a few things around the house.

My little chef helped cook our entire dinner last night. He loves being in the kitchen with me and I love it, too.



After we played, Kevin and I each took one child to work on upcoming school work. Kevin and Kaden worked on reviewing letters while K.C. and I went over his spelling words.



The boys have been asleep by 9 each night since school started and I don't really know what to do with myself. I don't want to jinx it, but I hope it continues. They're getting a good night's rest and we're having an hour or so to chill after they're in bed. It's nice.

I have to brag on our big boy: This morning, when I walked into our bedroom after I took a shower at about 6:30, K.C. was up and dressed. He had gotten up, come downstairs, and gotten dressed, then, he went back upstairs and woke up our sweet baby boy.

And because I can't brag on one without the other, Kaden walked into school all by himself (K.C. was there of course) today. They encourage us to let our kindergarten children out in car line the second week of school, so today, Kaden had to walk in on his own. I was so proud of him. I may have teared up watching my hearts walk in side-by-side. I'm going to take a picture next time.

There you have it, our weekend!

Runners: How do you feel when you slow down in the summer due to heat?
I have a love/hate, mostly hate, relationship with the fact that the heat makes me slower. I'm used to one speed and I don't like it when I'm giving more effort for less speed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Today, I thought I'd share some things I'm thankful for. You'll have to excuse the picture-less post.

1. Cooking dinner with my husband. We cooked dinner together on Monday night and it was fun! WE made sausage stuffed mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and steak with fresh mushrooms and onion. It was good and I think we should do this more often! (Don't you, KT?)

2. The boys having a great first week of school. I'm really thankful that the boys have had a great first few days of school. They haven't had homework yet which they're enjoying I think, but they're having so much fun at school which really sets the tone for the whole year. Kaden particularly enjoyed PE yesterday. He was so cute telling us about it last night. 

3. Quiet time. If there are any other parents reading this, you understand what I mean when I say I'm thankful for quiet time. I absolutely love the chatter of our kids and the noise that comes with raising a family, but I had forgotten how much I really like a few minutes of quiet. I've had a few minutes of quiet most days this week whether at lunch or in the car and it's really recharged me. And besides literal quiet time, I'm thankful for time with the Lord each day. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying following a plan to read thru the Bible this year. 

4. On Demand channels. Kevin and I rarely watch shows when they come on TV, but there are a few shows we like to watch. I'm glad we have OnDemand so we can watch these anytime we want, well, unless Time Warner decides to not cooperate.

5. A routine. I love a routine. I love a schedule. I love knowing what we have to do. This could explain why my love for a paper calendar is so strong. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing things randomly, too, and summer is awesome, but I'm thankful for the routine we're back in now that school has started. I'm a creature of habit - although not as much as my five year old - in some aspects it seems.

What are some things you're thankful for today?


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Things I've Learned

When I first started this blog, I called it "The Things I'm Learning" because I'm really learning about many things these days. Lately though, I've been thinking about the things I've learned in my 28 years. Today, I thought I'd share some of these things with you.

1. You make your own happiness. You can make a conscious decision to get up everyday and be happy or be miserable. I've gone through some really dark days and in spite of those, I choose to be happy and find the good in life.

2. The more you do, the more that's expected of you. By nature, I'm a giver. I rarely ask for help (I think I must subconsciously think it's a sign of weakness). I do things because I like to. But, when you're the person that's always giving, that means there are many who are always taking. Don't give too much (and yes, this totally contradicts the fact that I've always believed you can't out give. I've changed my tune.)

3. The more you do, the less you're appreciated. It's true. When you're always, do, do, do, the less you'll hear a "please" and "thank you." When you're constantly doing for others, they tend to expect it and when people are accustomed to certain things and expect them, the less likely they are to thank you for the things you do.

4. Running is cheaper than therapy. My running shoes may be the most expensive shoes in my closet, but they've saved me no telling how much money. I run when I'm happy and I run when I'm sad. When I'm confused about something, a run always helps. There's something about that running cadence that clears my mind, realigns my focus, and shows me what's inside.

5. There's no excuse for bad manners or bad taste. I am shocked at some of the things people do and share on social media. Private things are meant to be kept private. Our next generation is growing up with their parents over-sharing and over-telling. Yes, I know I'm a blogger, but I try to keep private things private. My following is such that I feel like I can share our life.

6. Every girl needs a good pair of heels and a nice purse. I've not ever been a bag person and I'm pretty simple when it comes to jewelry, but lately, I've realized that if you're going to splurge on any accessories, you should splurge on a nice bag and a good pair of shoes.

7. There is no such thing as a crash diet. I see so many people who are literally trying to exist on little more than water and vegetables in the hopes of getting "skinny." Conversely, I see so many people who are looking for the easiest way to lose the most weight. I am not a health expert and I haven't ever had to consciously watch my weight, but I can tell you that to stay healthy, lose weight, and maintain your weight, you need to live a healthy life. This means getting rid of sugary drinks, desserts everyday, and fast food and putting in the effort to sweat. We're only given one body and it's important to protect it.

8. Little things and paying attention to details matters. I like little things and I like to pay close attention to little details. I think it shows we care.

9. Quiet time is crucial. All the time. It's a lot easier to talk about carving out quiet time for Bible reading and prayer than it is to do it, but it's so worth it. I don't feel right when I don't spend time with the Lord. If I miss a day or two reading my Bible or intentionally praying, something feels off. I wouldn't neglect spending time with my husband, so why should I neglect spending time with my Savior?

10. Saying "no" is not a bad thing. I don't want to be a "yes" woman. I've said yes to way too many opportunities over the years. Being involved in many things is great, but doing that because you don't want to say no or let people down isn't. It's important to find your place and say yes to only those things you feel confident committing your time and energy to. When you say yes to everything, you're saying no to to many things, and often times, those things are the important things like family.

11. You can't do everything well. Our society tells us that we can do it all, but really, we can't. We can try to do it all, but we're not going to be able to do it all well. It's more important to me to do the things I do well than to do everything. It's taken some time for me to start saying no, delegating, and not sweating the small stuff, and I know I'll always be a work in progress, but it's so freeing to focus on doing those things I'm most committed to well.

12. Invest in yourself. You can't be the best person for you, much less your husband, children, friends, and career if you don't invest in yourself. I firmly believe that we have to take time for ourselves to be the best we can be.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Snapshots of our weekend

We had an awesome weekend.

The boys stayed with their grandparents on Friday and when we went to pick them up, my FIL had cooked dinner. That definitely made for the start of a good weekend!


Bedtime can also be known as reading time for thirty minutes or so. K.C. and I are almost finished with our first Hardy Boys book.



We had an early morning on Saturday. I had a race that started at 7:30. There was also a kids' run which the boys did. Sadly, I didn't get to see them run since it took place at the same time as my race, but according to Kevin, they ran fast. K.C. finished first and Kaden was second! I also won my race. I got a visor and an umbrella as my prize. You can see they were both claimed pretty fast! 


I had to work a few hours on Saturday after the race. When I got home, we helped my sister get some of our furniture from the attic to move to her new apartment.



After that, I ran out to pick up Nana's birthday cake and came home with these treats for my guys. 


Shark Week is a big deal at our house!






On Saturday night, we went out to dinner for Nana's 86th birthday and then everyone came to our house for cake.


We taught Sunday School and went to church yesterday. We had a covered dish meal after the service. The boys enjoyed playing with their KK and Mia!


Finally, we had a first day of school picture rehearsal.



Monday, August 18, 2014

The first day of school.

Today, our boys start kindergarten and second grade and I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday that Kaden started 3K and K.C. started real school (kindergarten). This past week has been a mix of emotions for me. I typically do pretty well keeping things under wraps, but I've been a little off this past week just thinking about how fast they're growing. I'm so proud of our children and can't wait to see what this year has in store!

We were able to meet their teachers last week and I believe we hit the jackpot. We requested specific teachers for them and even though Kaden didn't end up in the class we initially wanted, I think his class will be even better. They both have extremely enthusiastic teachers which makes me happy.

All summer long, we've been working with the boys on various things. Kaden has been practicing his letters and K.C. has been reading books to us and sharpening up his math skills. He's definitely left-brained.

K.C.'s first grade teacher was great and he loved school, so we're not worried about him in second grade at all. He's really excited that he'll have science as an actual subject this year as he loves it.

Kaden (and K.C.) went to an awesome preschool, so the only concern I really have for him has more to do with being at school for nearly seven hours a day because that's different than the four hours he's used to (and our baby likes his sleep!). The things he has to know by October of this year are things he had to know in the middle of 4K.

I'm thankful for the good foundation both of our children received in preschool and I'd like to think we do a good job with them at home. There's always room for improvement (my Type A personality is continually wanting to do more and more), but I think we do a good job. We spend at least 30 minutes and usually closer to 45 reading with them each day. We also work on things they've learned in the past. I'm a big believer in doing more than just the four things they have to do for homework each week, so instead of doing four of the eight choices, we typically do six. The more the better in my opinion.

I loved school and I'm thankful our boys have that same outlook. I always want learning to be fun for them.

After church yesterday, we had a first day of school picture dress rehearsal. The boys weren't home with us this morning for their first day which I'll admit has led to some sadness for me, so we improvised and took pictures yesterday afternoon.


They picked out their new L.L. Bean book bags earlier this summer. Kaden chose an orange camo book bag and K.C. got red. We also got them matching lunch boxes. They each have their name embroidered on their book bag and lunch box, too.

I always write them notes in their lunch boxes, so since I couldn't do that for the first day, I put their notes in a pocket in their book bags and showed them where to find them so they could read them today. We also sharpened a few pencils, sent in a pencil sharpener, snack, and some change. We turned their school supplies in last week at open house, so they didn't have to carry anything with them today other than lunch.

They had a great morning going into school, so that makes me happy. I can't wait to talk with them later today to see how much fun they had!

This year, it's my prayer that they'll each have a good year. I pray that they'll love their teachers (God has already answered our prayers by giving them good teachers), be leaders, have a thirst to learn, want to do their best, and make good friends. 

I'm praying these verses over them this year, and I urge you to do the same for yours!

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.
Isaiah 30:21

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
Isaiah 48:17

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Refreshment

14 days. 2 weeks. That's how long we've been gone. 

If you've noticed, I haven't been around these parts lately.

Two weeks ago, we spent an awesome week at the beach with our family. We left on a Saturday and got home on a Saturday.

Kevin and I were home for a total of maybe 12 hours before we hit the road again. I had a work conference in Baltimore and he was able to work remotely, so we made the most of the week. After days full of meetings, we spent a few days in Washington, D.C. and had a blast.

Those two weeks were awesome, but at the same time, it felt nice to pull into our driveway at 5:30 PM Sunday.

The past few days have been pretty busy getting back into a routine, but through these days, I feel really refreshed and motivated.  Time away will do that for you, it seems.

Throughout the time we were away, we were really able to totally unplug for the most part (with the exception of my work conference of course). We spent our days on the beach or in the inlet soaking up time with our two babies for a week, and for the next week, we spent our days enjoying our time together. It's always nice to have that time away to really connect.

So now, as we're settling into a routine that will soon include two elementary school kids (where does the time go?) and the start of church and extracurricular activities, I'm savoring that time of refreshment and renewal.

I can't wait to fill you in on our happenings of late and look forward to being a blogger again.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Beach Week Part 2

I'm not going to say I didn't intend to take a blogging break because I feel like a broken record saying that, but we have been having so much fun that I haven't taken the time to sit down and blog.

We spent last week on vacation at the beach with Kevin's family which reminds me I didn't ever finish the recap of our first beach week. That said, I'm going to share part two of our first beach week today so I can give you (or really, just give myself) a recap of this past week.

If you'd like to read my first recap on Saturday - Monday, click here.

We were blessed with gorgeous weather, which we were so thankful for since a tropical storm came through while we were at the beach last year.

On Tuesday, we spent most of the day on the beach.








After playing on the beach all day, Kaden helped BeBe and Nana make some brownies.






After dinner, we went to Sam's Corner. The boys love going to the arcade. Kaden loves to do the candy claw and pinball and K.C.'s favorite thing is the baseball game. He hit over 25 home runs and won a stuffed animal! He picked an orange lizard.

On Wednesday, we decided to go out in the boat and down to the point. While we were there, we saw some horseshoe crabs that were washed up. Kevin and the boys rescued them. We (my dad and Kevin) also caught a skate which is similar to a sting ray, but it doesn't sting.




On Wednesday night, we took the boys to Family Kingdom.