June 30, 2013

June's Family Picture

It came down to the wire, but I actually managed to get a picture of all three of us before the month ended.  We decided to have a little picnic today after church so I grabbed the camera and tripod and figured I'd give it a whirl. My tripod + remote + timer skills still need work, but I'm getting better. At least you can't see remote in this month's picture.

 June

Maybe next month we'll actually look at the camera! Actually, next month that should be very feasible because we're doing a bit of traveling with family so hopefully we can have someone else snap a picture or ten for us. Then in August we're having family pictures taken (I'll be 36 weeks pregnant so they'll also be maternity pictures). Come September we'll have baby sister's arrival so I guess the real challange will start in October when I try to capture our family of four

To recap, here is our growing collection of 2013 family pictures:

May

April

March

February

 January

June 28, 2013

Say 'Hello' to the New Van

On Monday, we bought a minivan. After months of serious consideration and years of daydreaming, it become clear that the most logical next vehicle for us would be a minivan. As recently as February, I was still hung up on the idea that we would be getting an SUV. But as the end of our lease approached, I was able to hear the arguments for a minivan with clarity. In the end, I just resigned to the fact that in this season I will be a minivan mom. It should be known, that after driving the Fit, my beloved little hamster-looking car, I have very little shame about what I drive.

To be honest, it took about 4 hours and I fell in love the van. And Cole loves the van. It was designed to make parents' lives easier and it already has! Cole can climb in and get in her car seat independently. I know once baby comes I'll be all the more grateful for doors that open with the touch of a button.
Once we decided to go the minivan route, Peter and I settled on the Honda Odyssey rather quickly. The car shopping experience was relatively painless.  With all the resources available online, I was able to determine a fair price before even beginning a dialogue with dealerships.  We started by going to the dealership partnered with Costco and getting the Costco price. Once knew the Costco price, I didn't need to visit another dealership until we were ready to purchase. I emailed six dealerships in the area and asked for their best price for the year, color, and model I wanted, I also included all of our desired add-ons. As prices came back, I handled all negotiations through email. The process became very cut and dry. In a matter of days, I had a price below my target so we were ready to purchase.
As much as I wanted to fight the move to a minivan, I didn't. It's just too practical. For what it's worth, she's in the shop right now getting a roof rack. My one stipulation for the minivan was that if  I'm going to drive one, it needs to be as sporty as possible. I suppose a roof rack will help that. 

June 26, 2013

The Grass is Greener Where You Water It

Last week, I realized that I haven't put up an updated yard post since December. Well man, oh man, did the spring rains help! Our sod has taken root and is flourishing. The yard is thicker than ever. We've tried to treat our backyard with some TLC this year which is quite opposite to our previous efforts. All things considered, the yard is looking better than ever and our house is safe from tree damage. It's good news all around.

September 2012-Prior to the tree work



June 2013

Cole really wanted to come outside while I was taking these pictures. This girl is a hoot!

June 24, 2013

June 21, 2013

Around the House

While it may seem that Cole and I are always out and about,  we do actually spend time at home. And this week, we've spent more time at home than usual due to a little bug with lots of symptoms I don't want to bore you with.
Back in December, as we invested a pretty penny into our backyard,  I could never have guessed the use we'd get out of it. I knew the dogs would like the new yard and I figured Peter and I would enjoy the patio from time to time but I had no idea that Cole and I would spend hours on the patio every single day. The girl just likes to be outside. And that is fine with me!

June 19, 2013

CSA

As I've mentioned before, we decided to sign up for a CSA this year. CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture. Essentially the way a CSA works is that in the beginning of the season you pay a lump sum to the farm which gets you a weekly stipend of fresh produce for a set number of weeks. We're very fortunate to have a farmers market in our neighborhood, which is where we pick up our weekly share from Delta Sol Farm. We opted to go with a half share, though with the way we go through produce I'm fairly certain we could put away a full share without too much effort.

One of my favorite things about being part of a CSA, aside from the fact that we are supporting the farm directly and know exactly where our food is coming from, is that it forces us to try new dishes. While I couldn't get into chard or kale chips, everything else has been a hit! We've added chard (sometimes kale) & tomato pizza, spinach quiche with green garlic, and potato salad with dill to our standard rotation.  Our CSA has brought us out of a produce rut by providing us with fruits, vegetables and herbs we may not typically buy. 

If you're in the Memphis area and at all interested in joining a CSA, you should seriously consider Delta Sol Farm. Brandon, the farmer and owner, and Ben, the farmer manager, are really kind and down to earth. You can find them every Saturday at the Cooper-Young Farmers market. Stop by and say hello! (For you East Memphis folks there is also a Delta Sol CSA pick up at Hog & Hominy on Wednesdays.)

Recently we attended a Potluck at the farm! Members of our CSA are encouraged check out the farm so when we were invited to a CSA Potluck we knew we had to go. We met a ton of people in the CSA, most of whom live in Midtown Memphis too. Brandon set up a shade for everyone and a whole bunch of chairs. We packed a blanket and some yeast rolls to share. There were two tables full of food and homegrown flowers.


We took a tour of the farm which was fun for all of us. Clemson has a huge agricultural community but being that I spent my days in the College of Business and Behavioral Science,  I'm a rookie to all things farm related. It was so interesting to learn about the relationship between the sheep, pigs and land. Just as we expected, Cole had a blast! She got to be outside, drink from mason jars, play with a dog, climb all over things, and just generally act like a big kid.




Most folks were more creative than I was when it came to their shared dish. I just stuck with tried and true favorite. Who doesn't like salt, butter, and bread? Here's hoping the recipes for the dishes that people brought get around.

June 17, 2013

Earth, Wind & Fire

On Saturday night we saw Earth, Wind & Fire Live at the Garden. Peter put his name in to get tickets through work and won! The seats were unbelievable. The typical Live at the Garden experience involves packing a picnic and throwing down a blanket in the lawn then watching the show on one of the two screens. It's really very pleasant.  However, the tickets Peter got were in the table section and included access to a food and drink tent. It was unreal! We were just four tables from the stage. As for the show, Earth, Wind & Fire was a blast. There are three original members still performing but their energy level is on par with, if not greater than, the young guns who have joined along the way (and I'm not the only one who says so!).


After the show, we went to Alchemy for a bite to eat and some drinks. It's worth noting, not just because everything there is delicious, but because it's a bar friendly and accommodating to the nondrinker. When I asked the waiter if the bartenders would make a mocktail for me, he replied, "Certainly. What would you like?" Apparently Alchemy has over 30 purees and can make dozens of delicious combinations with them. Additionally, the bartenders will gladly adapt the drinks on the cocktail menu. Having been to a handful of bars without creative drink menus and even less creative bartenders, it was a refreshing change of pace for this expectant momma.

June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

We're crazy about dads in this house! And are abundantly blessed by the fathers in our lives! I'm so proud and humbled to be on this parenting journey with Peter, a man who seeks to teach our daughter about the love of our Heavenly Father every single day.

June 13, 2013

On The Agenda

Our house is a bit disheveled at the moment.


We're converting the guestroom/playroom into a big girl room for Cole. Converting the room is turning out to be a bit more involved than it initially seemed and somehow the project is taking over our entire house. Here's the working list of tasks to be accomplished:
  • empty the closet in the playroom
  • relocated the items in the closet to other closets throughout the house and the attic
  • repair a bracket on the attic stairs so they are functional
  • relocate the items from the shelf in the playroom to the living room
  • move the shelf in the playroom to our room
  • consolidate the clothes in my dresser to fit in Peter's dresser
  • paint the big girl room
  • move my dresser into the big girl room
  • get the twin beds out of the attic and assemble 
  • outfit the big girl room with new window treatments 
  • find headboards, footboards, and accessories for the big girl room
  • childproof the big girl room
The plan is not to force Cole to move into her new room before baby sister arrives. Of course, if she shows interest we'll encourage the move. As it is, we have a bassinet and pack n' play that little sister can sleep in for months so Cole won't be asked to give up her crib prematurely. Stay tuned for more updates on the room.

June 11, 2013

For A Tuesday

I meant to get this post up yesterday but, I did not. Just a few thoughts from the weekend.


1- Our weekend was full with loads of grown up activities: cleaning the house, tidying the yard, detailing the car. Just lots of cleaning in general. We did manage to spend some time outside which was lovely. 

2- Cole developed a new routine this weekend. After waking, she now likes a bit of alone time with her books. We'll greet her then she'll ask for books and take 10-15 minutes to peruse her in-crib library.  It's very endearing. You've got to respect the introverted child who needs a bit of me time before taking on the world.

3- This weekend I received my first purchase from Very Jane and I learned about Brickyard Buffalo. I'm not a shopaholic but these websites are trouble! Are you familiar with the sites? If I just introduced you, you're welcome and I'm sorry.

4- Finally, I read this opinion piece on Loving the Midwest that was in the NYT on Saturday and found it wildly relatable. While many of the details are different, the range and sequence of emotions is quite parallel to our lives in Memphis. You could replace "St. Louis" with "Memphis" in the following excerpts, I'd be none the wiser: 
For one thing, it’s so easy [living in St. Louis]. If I complain that I had a hard time parking, what I mean is that there was no space waiting for me directly in front of my destination and I had to drive another 50 feet to find one. If I say a restaurant is hard to get into, I mean that when I called on Thursday, they had no reservation open for Saturday night at 7:30... My husband’s commute is 20 minutes in “bad” traffic and 10 minutes otherwise. 

WHAT I like best of all is that the size of St. Louis means we now run into people we know at the playground and the post office and the farmers’ market. In several instances, we’ve developed friendships after we bumped into the same people in more than one setting — the mother and son duo my daughter and I took a baby music class with, then saw again two years later when the children were in the same preschool, or the couple we met through my college classmate before we all happened to move onto the same street. 

June 8, 2013

The Ball Game

Peter got box seats to the Redbirds game on Thursday night through work. Initially, we didn't know whether spouses could attend so we didn't arrange for a sitter. When we heard spouses could go we decided to forgo the sitter and take Cole to the game. It was her first baseball game and she loved it! It certainly didn't hurt that we were in a box so she could roam or that there was a boy her exact age also with our group she could play with. She got a bit of a hotdog with some ketchup as a second dinner which seemed appropriate.

As we were leaving, Cole found the in ground speakers. Upon the discovery, she paused then decided to dance. To our amusement and the amusement of a handful passing strangers, she bounced to a few songs before we headed home. It didn't hurt the music was both catchy and familiar.

June 7, 2013

Photography for Friends

One of the benefits of owning a decent camera and being a hobbyist photographer is that, on occasion, friends will invite me along to snap pictures of significant events in their lives. Last Sunday I was honored to take pictures of Will's baptism at a gorgeous church less than a mile from our house. Will is the first grandchild on both sides of his family so everyone showed for the event. He was such a pro!


Last weekend I also snapped some family pictures for my dear friend and neighbor who just welcomed her third baby girl.  If you can believe it, the wee babe is just nine days old in these pictures. Doesn't that sweet girl just looks like she belongs?!