I had the opportunity to attend a Christmas concert last month that was in honor of my friend, Christine. She passed away in an arson fire on Ohio State’s Campus 19 years ago at the age of 19 so on the 19th anniversary, it was decided it would be the grand finale and I knew I just had to be there. Seeing her amazing family, being there with my immediate family and catching up with the old crew from high school brought happy tears to my eyes. We will always share memories of Christine and it went without saying how grateful we were all able to be there, hug each other in person and enjoy an evening celebrating our girl during her favorite holiday, Christmas. There truly was a feeling of holiday magic in the air and no doubt Christine’s spirit was all around us. Not to mention, it was a good reminder of how precious life really is, which people so quickly tend to forget in their day to day lives. Don’t take it for granted.
This. This right here is exactly why I’m okay saying goodbye to glam temporarily …this little guy, covered in peanut butter, bananas and french toast at breakfast this morning and the only thing he wants to do is hold my arm for what I’m guessing is additional comfort but it’s something we enjoy almost every day. Are my clothes typically covered at the end of meal time? Usually, but it’s just he and I and it’s the absolute best.
Cheesy? Yep! Should I change it? Nope! You would be as excited as me too if you saw your very first humpback whales this past Spring off the coast of Maui!
This particular work trip took me to this destination right in the middle of whale season and they worked in a whale watching expedition for us on the front end of our stay and safe to say I’m officially obsessed with these amazing creatures.
Did you know they travel back and forth from Alaska to Maui every year which ends up being around 3,000 miles? Did you know there is nothing for them to eat in Hawaii and that they play, birth, mate and then go back to Alaska to eat in the Spring? Did you know the babies only stay with mom for a year? Follow me for these sporadic whale watching facts.
This month has become an extra special one for us because it’s the month (St. Patrick’s Day to be exact) that I received the call from Shady Grove to tell us the amazing news that our fresh embryo transfer stuck.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember thinking that I’ll just let it go to voicemail since three phone calls before this one was only to say, we’re sorry, again, no baby. The phone rang and I let it go to voicemail. Then I checked my phone, assuming they had left a message but no message. A couple minutes passed by and they called again so this time I couldn’t help but answer. It was my nurse and doctor and he said, “We only call together when there’s good news …Sara, you’re pregnant.” I started to cry and couldn’t stop saying thank you over and over again. Once Mike and I had a moment alone, he gave me this sweet, little St. Patrick’s Day onesie in our few quiet minutes of celebration so the girls wouldn’t sense anything (even though a whole new set of nerves came into play for me). We couldn’t believe it and still look at our rainbow baby like how are you real?!?
There’s something to be said for the luck of the Irish and our Irish angel, Grandma Carol, who was no doubt smiling down on us with her Irish eyes that day.
I don’t know about you but I’m someone who likes to keep, edit and revise an ongoing travel bucket list and this one has been on the list since we moved out east. This summer, we finally pulled the trigger and made it to the beautiful Nemocolin Resort in Pennsylvania.
It’s almost like I strive to have a “locations on demand” Rolodex saved in my notes for immediate family vacation spots, extended family vacation spots, couple vacation spots and girlfriends vacation spots that I can pull out at a moments notice whenever the travel bug strikes, which is usually often. This particular spot is such a unique one too because I feel like it could honestly fall under each of these categories. It literally has something for everyone.
For only being there for 2 nights and 3 days we managed to get in seeing the wild animals, playground, ice cream parlor, a lot of time on the pool slide, merry go round, putt putt golf and I feel like we barely scratched the surface. Not to mention, we didn’t have to leave the property once. Also, if you’re a fan of architecture, I highly recommend checking out Fallingwater on the way out of town!
(I don’t know about you but I personally can’t think of anything else but this song when it comes on in the movie, Love Actually)
I always get a little bummed once Christmas is over, decorations are put away and there aren’t any continuous Christmas songs on the radio, until February rolls around. I don’t know if it’s the pretty colored king cakes, all the fun Valentine’s or the plethora of chocolates (especially after I had a very dry January, cutting out alcohol, dairy and sugar) but it definitely helps put me in a better mood. You can certainly feel the love in this household.
Okay, so I also have to share this little king cake-related story. This year, we got our king cake from a local bakery and since I didn’t see the traditional baby Jesus in the middle of the cake, I just figured they had ran out or something. No biggie. Well we cut into it that night and while I was eating mine, I bit down on something and was honestly freaked out it was something horrific that had accidentally slipped in because it was very hard and inside a very soft cake. Anyway, once I finally spit it out, I realized it was the baby Jesus! Naturally, I felt like the worst human being in the entire world (enter catholic guilt) but on the plus side, the girls enjoyed adding him to their babies collection and all was well. So the moral of the story is to keep an eye out for the baby Jesus when eating a king cake.
A few things I learned or was reminded of from the past pandemic year would be:
You can still be adventurous in a global pandemic, thanks to local treasures we were able to get to like Cascade Falls, Downs Park and our annual day trip to St. Michaels.
You can still have a hint of glam if you revisit an old highschool hobby of jewelry making from the comfort of your own home and essentially make your own accessories.
Getting creative took on a whole new meaning. For example, turning our backyard into a mini water park. We had slides, pools, water guns, splash pads, water tables and the girls had an absolute blast.
The power of perspective was always big for me but this year, having a roof over our head, food on the table and my families health spoke volumes.
The old age saying that family and friends is everything, especially rang true last year.
Oh and more of a reminder but don’t forget to double check total quantities on your insta cart. That may have been more of a personal lesson learned but just the same, let’s just say I learned it.
All that said, I’d love nothing more now to get back to things like school in the classroom, trips for business and pleasure that involve an actual airplane and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t enjoy a concert or a Broadway show sprinkled in there as well. Please and thank you, 2021.
In these covid times, we knew we wanted to get a trip in before school (or some version of it) started back up in September so we decided to head down to our family’s place in Seabrook, South Carolina and it was exactly what the doctor ordered. We were warned that the home was under a massive renovation and we could only occupy two rooms, a full bath and back porch but that is how badly we wanted to get away and looking back, it was one of our best vacations yet.
I loved our daily routine of avoiding the crowds so we were up at dawn for a beach walk at sunrise, fitting in some sort of adventure over lunch and closing out the pool in the evenings, which we literally had all to ourselves one night. My husband even scheduled our first family foursome of golf and I totally understand the addiction now!
One thing I would highly recommend is getting to a plantation when you are down there next. We visited Boone Hall Plantation with the girls and was blown away by all the history. Plus, if there are any Notebook fans out there, it was where a few scenes from that movie were shot, which was an added bonus. Not to mention you can’t be more socially distanced on a 700+ acre property. It was the perfect way to temporarily escape our global pandemic reality.
Since I was unable to see a lot of the people I normally would this spring and summer, I started gifting some of my bracelets in the hopes I could be with them this way, around their wrist, making sure they knew I was thinking about them regardless how far apart we were. For example, a highschool graduate in our neighborhood who has been our babysitter since we moved here or a good friend who recently had her first baby out of state or a cousin who recently got married and a wedding I was crushed I couldn’t be at, since it involved flying. Anyway, I am hopeful the second half of the year will be better than the first but if not, I will also have some new arm candy creations of my own to remind me I was able to express to so many loved ones how much they mean to me through this fun hobby of mine.
Let me preface this with I know we all have had to cope differently throughout this whole ordeal but I am someone who has to be productive if I’m essentially told I can’t do the things that would normally make me productive on a regular basis and need to find new things to make me productive in this new normal so if I had to sum up how I’ve needed to unplug from homeschooling, housework, emails, cooking, cleaning and more during Covid I would have to say it’s through the three B’s …beads, baths and baking. I picked up an old hobby that I used to do in highschool while making mixed tapes so my pedicure could dry and that was jewelry making. I noticed a bracelet style that was trending and a retailer that made them but that I personally did not want to pay the price for so started making for friends and family and it became a very much needed distraction from all things global pandemic. These are some of my creations.
When I say baths I do literally mean soaking in a lavender bubble bath but also just any sort of self care whether that is a face mask or teeth whitening strips or a body scrub. I am still very aware that I need to stay healthy to do all the things a mom needs to do on a regular basis but especially now since I’ve added homeschool teacher to my hat rack. Have I mentioned teachers are my hero? Because they are.
I am also a very detailed, thorough, process-oriented kind of gal which baking requires a lot of. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a major sweet tooth. We’ve made everything from chocolate chip cookies, zucchini muffins, homemade peasant bread, carrot cake muffins and easter egg brownies to name a few. Let’s just say my waistline and I haven’t exactly been seeing eye to eye since quarantine started but I blame all my baking inspirations that I follow on instagram like Ina Garten, Giada and Cupcakes and Cashmere. Hope everyone is hanging in there!