Graham is Seven Months Old!

27 weeks – Hanging with Papa Sam

27 weeks – eating avocado

27 weeks – Lunch with Daddy at the beach

27 weeks – Beach trip meeting Aunt Brandy and the girls!

28 weeks – Celebrated Daddy’s first Father’s Day

28 weeks – Eating carrots

29 weeks – True Covid kid – your first trip to the grocery store

29 weeks – Getting pretty good at sitting alone

30 weeks first Fourth of July

30 weeks – Graham loves hats!!

Seven months with you! What a joy! You continue to be the happiest baby around and are just so much fun! You had croup at the beginning of the month. We are lucky we caught it early and got on steroids for a few days, and had no issues at all with it. It is good to see you building an immune system but tough to see you get sick! Mom and Dad both caught your germs and ended up on medicine too! You are eating one meal a day at the table with us. You are Mr. Independent who wants to feed himself, and make a huge mess, so we are limiting it to once a day. You eat squash, carrots, avocado, and sweet potato. Sometime this month you started sleeping like a big boy, we don’t rock you to sleep anymore you’re able to put yourself to sleep in your crib! I’ll miss rocking you to sleep at night but it’s great to see you sleep on your own! We had two trips to the beach this month, probably our last of the summer. We celebrated Daddy’s first Father’s Day this month. He was sick so we let him celebrate in bed all day! At 28 weeks you started doing the cutest backwards butt scoot. You aren’t crawling yet but you are able to get around by rolling and scooting. You can sit pretty well unassisted now, you topple over after a bit so we are still close by. We celebrated the Fourth of July at the beach this month also. It’s always been a special time with lots of celebration going on at the coast, but for the second year in a row everything was cancelled because of Covid. Town was pretty quiet, and it was just us. We did continue our family tradition of dressing up in patriotic attire. We are looking forward to the years to come when it’s safe to celebrate with everyone again. It is so special to continue years of traditions with you! We love you big little one!

2020 Year in Review

2020. What a year. What a ride. Because (fingers crossed) there will never be another year like this, here’s how our 2020 went down. While there were many lows and many unexpected events on this roller coaster of a year, we were fortunate to have many highs too.

January 3 – My last day at my job. I left work and went straight to get our Bertie girl.

January 6 – Started my new job. Beyond excited to have finally found a new opportunity using and learning new skills, and very hopeful for the future with the company.

January 17 – Bertie’s first trip to the beach

January 25 – Belated friends Christmas celebration. Everyone catches the flu and unbeknownst to us it would be the first and last friend gathering of 2020.

January 31 – Recover from the flu just in time to road trip to Morgantown, WV for the weekend. Bertie’s first night in a hotel. Front row seats to the basketball game.

February 18 – Fly to Destin, FL for training for my new job. My only air travel of 2020.

February 28 – Old Crow Medicine Show concert. Preceded by champagne and oysters and good times with friends. The last supper of 2020.

March 6 – Travel to the beach for the weekend. Blissfully unaware of what is happening in the rest of the world. Bertie’s first time in the sand.

March 10 – Travel by car to Macon, GA for my new job. Due to the rise in cases of Coronavirus my company has now issued a travel advisory for all employees so I’m unable to fly. To be honest, I shouldn’t even be there based on the travel restrictions issued, but my manager seems to think the rules don’t apply. While in Georgia the world seems to take a turn for the worst. COVID-19 is now rapidly spreading and we have no idea what’s coming. My last meal in a restaurant for months is at a Zoe’s Kitchen in Macon. My last trip to the gym in 2020 is also at a hotel gym in Macon.

March 17 – Last day working in the office. The world had changed almost overnight. We are now starting to realize we’re in a global disaster, but with a barrage of information both reliable and not so much, we don’t know what to believe or how bad things truly are.

March 20 – It becomes apparent we’re going to be on lockdown. We stock up on groceries and plan to be in the house for a few weeks.

Sometime in late March – The new job I had been elated to start has turned out to be a disaster. The lady I’m supposed to report to has died. My new manager is awful. After working from home for several weeks I’ve had no communication from anyone at the company about anything. As 2020 is taking a turn for the worst so is this job.

April 1 – I am convinced I am pregnant but refuse to take a pregnancy test on April Fool’s Day.

April 3 – I confirm my suspicion. I am pregnant. I am all. the. emotions.

April 17 – I am furloughed from my new job. In a short month the job has become almost intolerable. I love the work, but the people are miserable and I’m honestly relieved to have a few weeks away to come up with a plan.

Sometime in late April – With no communication from my new job and no clear end in sight for the furlough (and now knowing I’m expecting a baby and the situation with the pandemic is worsening) I ask for my old job back. Friends this is why they tell you not to burn bridges. You never know when a global pandemic will hit and you will be thankful just to have a job.

April 27 – My first big girl house is sold. After being on the market for less than 48 hours in the height of lockdown I received an offer. A few weeks later we go to the closing, and just like that, I’ve sold my first home I bought for myself.

May 4 – The first doctor visit. Beyond relieved to see that our little nugget is thriving. Still feeling all of the emotions.

May 15 – After nearly two months in the house and going absolutely crazy for a change of scenery, we hit the road for West Virginia prepared to tell Sean’s family our big news. On the way we call and FaceTime my family members to let them in on the secret.

Sometime in late May – Things finally start opening back up. What started as a two week “safer at home order” has now surpassed two months. I’m finally able to go back to work part time at my old job. With millions of people out of work I’m thankful to have the chance to go back to work.

May 22 – We decide to brave it and head for the coast for Memorial Day. With the car loaded down with food and essentials we make it with no issues. While we can’t venture out much, it’s wonderful just to be somewhere besides our own house.

June 3 – We go back to the doctor to check on our nugget. Everything looks perfect and we elect to have genetic testing done. We will be able to find out the gender early from this testing.

June 5 – Our trip to the coast the previous weekend went so well, we decide to do it again this weekend. This time we celebrate Sean’s birthday with our friends at their house in South Carolina. We spend the weekend by the beach and the pool and enjoy takeout from some local spots. Because I’m still not working full time and Sean has some extra time off we extend the trip and head to our beach house for a few days. While Covid has upended everything, it’s nice to have the extra time to relax.

June 8 – We’re in the car driving to pick up takeout for dinner and the nurse unexpectedly calls with our test results. She says the genetic testing came back perfect and that she has the gender. I put the phone on speaker, and in the most uneventful way we find out we’re having a boy as we drive down the road. We’re both elated to find out he’s healthy!! We spend the evening eating our takeout and calling family and friends to share the news!

June 26 – Having not seen friends in months we head back to the beach to meet up with my college friends. Over the past weeks it’s become clear that socializing outdoors is much safer, so we spend the day on the beach with them.

July 1 – Back to the doctor to check on the nugget. We have our anatomy scan that confirms he’s a boy and he’s healthy!

July 2 – We head back to the beach to celebrate the Fourth of July. What’s normally a rowdy weekend, with the town full of tourists, a huge festival, partying, and fireworks turns into a quiet weekend on the deck with just the two of us.

July 24 – We go back to the coast for the weekend. I’m now halfway through the pregnancy and we’re ready to make our news public.

July 31 – We close on the beach house. While it’s been in my family for years, and we’ve had the good fortune of being able to enjoy it basically whenever we want. It is now ours. And this feels good. To be honest the beach house has been a huge part of our sanity up to this point in 2020 and I can’t imagine not having this safe escape this year.

August 4 – Four days after closing on the house a Category 1 storm comes ashore. We did nothing to prepare since we’ve made it through Category 5’s with no damage. The storm spun off a water spout that came onshore as a tornado and made its way directly up our driveway. We were fortunate to have only a huge limb across the deck, but the town saw more damage than I’ve seen in 20 hurricane seasons.

August 28 – I am 25 weeks pregnant and celebrate my 36th birthday by going out to eat at a restaurant for the first time since March.

September 21 – We celebrate our first wedding anniversary with P.F. Chang’s takeout and Gigi’s cupcakes at home.

October 3 – We celebrate the baby Zoom style with Sean’s family. The perk of the Zoom celebration is that the family from across the world gets to join us.

October 8 – Back to the coast! We stay several nights and decide this is our “babymoon.” It’s not the trip to Hawaii we imagined, or even the back up trip to Arizona or Colorado we thought would be possible when covid first hit, but we’re thankful to still have a healthy nugget and a happy place to get away to. We enjoy our second meal out at a restaurant since March. I can’t believe it has been nearly a year since we were at our favorite beach restaurant, and we’ve essentially missed their entire season this year.

October 24 – We celebrate the baby with our friends at another Zoom shower along with a drive by shower. We had hoped to have a small celebration in our backyard, but with everything opening up cases are rising and it’s just too risky. Luckily we found a way to celebrate somehow!

October 29 – Hurricane Zeta comes ashore at the Gulf Coast and makes its way north. Because it’s 2020 they’ve run out of names for the storms and started using the Greek alphabet. It’s nearly November and we’re without power for almost two days from a hurricane.

November 1 – We celebrated our Bertie girls first birthday!

November 5 – My coworkers surprised me with another shower for baby boy! It was really special since it was the only real “party” we got to have for him!

November 7- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are finally announced as President and Vice President elect. I cry buckets thinking about what this means for little girls everywhere!

November 10 – I have surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma from my forehead. Keep it coming 2020. Skin cancer are you serious!? Wear sunscreen friends.

November 16- At 36 weeks pregnant I am offered a new job. I cannot believe it.

December 6 – Our baby boy, Graham William, is born. He is the spitting image of his daddy and perfect in every way. We are so lucky to have had this bright light to bring us through 2020.

December 22 & 23 – Christmas comes early this year in the form of a COVID vaccine. Sean got his the 22nd, and I got mine on the 23rd. I cried happy tears getting my shot!! We waited all year for this and to be among some of the first to get it is a huge relief! It seems fitting that my first solo outing with Graham was to get my shot!

December 25 – We celebrate our first Christmas with Graham! He gives us a Christmas miracle and sleeps well the night before. We enjoy our day at home, with just the 3 of us and of course Bertie. We’re in the thick of the newborn phase so we have boxed macaroni for Christmas dinner!

December 31 – Graham goes on his first road trip. We ring in 2021 at the coast with steak and lobster takeout from our favorite restaurant and drink champagne we brought home from France. Graham sleeps through dinner and I don’t know of a more perfectly 2020 way to end the year than at our favorite place, reminiscing about past trips and celebrating what’s to come for our new little family of 4.

I am looking forward to 2021. While 2020 was a tough year for everyone I feel so lucky to have had the greatest joy of all to close out the year! Wishing you and yours a better 2021!

Hi from Quarantine…

wearing a mask and face shield in 2020

It’s been awhile since I checked in around this corner of the internet. WOW! Has 2020 been a weird year or what?!?!

Here’s a quick update on what’s been happening in my neck of the woods this year.

We got a puppy on January 3rd. She has been the absolute best thing of 2020 so far.

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

I started a new job on January 6th. I did all the training and traveling and all. the. things. for the job from January until March. The job had not been at all what was promised and honestly turned out to be sort of a dumpster fire. On March 18th I came home to work from home and have basically been in social distancing mode ever since. A couple weeks after working from home I was placed on temporary furlough, and with the job really not shaping up to be what I had hoped, I asked for my old job back. I was beyond lucky to have left on a good note and I was offered my job back. I do not take for granted how many people are absolutely not in this same situation now.

For about the last five weeks I have been working one to two days a week at my old/current job. As things *hopefully* get better I will be able to work in person in the office more and more. Right now things are still a complete mess where I live and only getting worse.  As a side note, if you are someone who is opposed to wearing a mask in public I would like to know why you never protested having to wear shoes into Walmart?

I have painted almost my entire house. Planted a garden. (It’s mostly dead now but who’s counting?) Gone for MANY walks. And eaten all the junk foods! But y’all I am OVER. IT. Don’t get me wrong I’m still mostly staying home and following all the rules, but I sure wish I didn’t have to anymore.

full moon over the ocean

full moon

cocktails and a full moon

fourth of july fireworks with a full moon

egret in the marsh

In mid May we started to feel comfortable traveling by car to our beach house again so we are VERY lucky to have had the option of changing scenery. It’s obvious that we aren’t alone in needing a new view as I have honestly never seen so many people at the beach. We are able to find a place to keep to ourselves when we go out on the beach and have avoided going inside bars and restaurants so we feel like we are being responsible.

I feel beyond lucky that 2019 was our epic year. We did so much travelling last year and even had a destination wedding go off without a hitch in the middle of hurricane season in Jamaica. I can’t imagine what we would be going through if 2020 had been the year for all of that. I feel for anyone who has had to cancel big trips they planned for months. Planning a wedding was a true nightmare in best case scenario so I feel for you if 2020 was your year!

I had hoped to use all my new found free time catching up on last years trips and photos here on the blog, but we’re officially four months into quarantine and I’m just getting started. Honestly, it just felt so depressing looking back at photos of us travelling and having the time of our life when going to the grocery store now feels like the closest I’ll get to a vacation this year.

#WanderlustWednesday

siesta key beach florida

Siesta Key, Florida

#SiestaKey #SummerDaze #SunnyFlorida

Visiting Hilton Head Island in the Fall

Okay, gather round closely, because I’m going to say something controversial here. Are you ready for it?

We went to Hilton Head Island, and we didn’t love it.

It was fall, so it was off season, which may have affected our experience. But y’all I don’t know what all the hype is about.

We stayed at the Marriott SurfWatch property, which really couldn’t have been nicer. We had a really nice room with a view of the ocean. The rooms are actually more like condos, with a full kitchen and living room area. I think they would be great with a family. The resort had really nice pools and a beautiful beach area. Even in the fall we found that the water was still warm enough for the outdoor pool. There was a beach bar with good drinks and decent food. The resort is also conveniently located to grocery stores and other things on the island. I think our mistake was leaving the resort property. We like to go out adventuring and check out the local restaurants when we visit somewhere new, and this is where things went downhill.

We headed out to see the famous Hilton Head lighthouse. The lighthouse is in the Sea Pines Resort community. We didn’t realize we couldn’t just drive right up, the community is gated, and they charge an $8 dollar (cash only) fee for a day pass. They advertise this as a luxury gated golf resort, and while there were some gorgeous homes it was mostly condos that were built in the mid 80’s and nothing special.

We finally made our way to the lighthouse and found a bunch of kitschy t-shirt shops all selling the same thing in the area. For an additional $4.25 per person you can climb the 90 foot lighthouse and take in the view (and another t-shirt shop at the top). We opted not to do this, instead walking around and checking out the scene. We drove around the resort area and checked out several different shopping spots and restaurants hoping to find something less cheesy, but no such luck. We did make our way onto the beach here, and it is beautiful. The beach is wide with plenty of room for running and playing, so that’s a pro!

We ended up having lunch at Fishcamp on Broad Creek after leaving the Sea Pines area and doing some driving around the island. This was probably our best find of the trip. The atmosphere was great, we sat outside, the weather was perfect and the food was good.

Based on the recommendations of several people we made a dinner reservation at Il Carpaccio. I’m not going to go into to much detail about this place, because some people clearly love it, but we left. After they served our bottle of wine and salad. We paid for it and wasted a full bottle of wine. I have never ever left a restaurant after placing my order. EVER.

We found ourselves in the parking lot of the restaurant starving and with no plan for dinner. OKKO, a hibachi restaurant was close and seemed like a safe choice, so we went for it. The food was standard hibachi, good but nothing special. The family at the table with us were locals and they told us about the Purple Cow Bakery next door, so we picked up a slice of cake on the way back to the hotel. We figured we had earned it. It was really good cake, which we obviously ate for breakfast the next day.

After returning to the hotel, we discovered what was probably the best part of the trip. The island has what appears to be very strict lighting codes, so when you’re out at night it is super dark. When we ventured out onto the beach at night, we realized this made for the BEST stargazing. We sat out on the beach for a long time enjoying the fact that we could see so many stars.

The next day we ventured out looking for some other things going on on the island, and mostly found more t-shirt shops. We decided to abandon looking for the fun spots on the island and head back to our resort to just hangout. We rented bikes from the resort and rode down the beach and had a great time. We spent the afternoon at Sea Salts, the resorts beach bar, watching college football and eating. We had planned to venture out for dinner again, but after striking out so many times, we decided to order Carraba’s take-out, because it was right at the entrance to the resort, and at least there would be no surprises.

While the beaches at Hilton Head were beautiful this really just wasn’t our scene. We loved the resort, and had we gone in with a different mindset of just hanging at the resort and relaxing instead of trying to explore somewhere new, this may have been an entirely different experience.

Here’s the thing… I think if you planned to golf all day there may be a lot for you here. If you have a family and you plan to stay in and cook, there were plenty of nice resorts with big pools and beach access and you would never have to leave. Sometimes hanging at a nice resort and stargazing is just what you need, so it definitely isn’t all bad.

However, there really is not much in the restaurant scene, which is probably one of our top things about going on vacation. Hilton Head is VERY commercial with all the chain restaurants you can imagine and a huge outlet mall with ALL the stores. Obviously, this sounds perfect to many people, or it wouldn’t be such a popular spot. So to each their own I guess.

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Have you been to Hilton Head? What did you think? I’d love to know!

#WanderlustWednesday

Southport, North Carolina

#happyplacebythesea #intracoastalwaterway #hurricaneflorence

Hurricane Florence has devastated the entire eastern part of North Carolina. While there is significant damage to the area, we think our beloved happy place has been mostly spared. Bridges and roads in to town are flooded out, so we won’t know for sure until we are able to visit. In the wake of Hurricane Florence here’s what you can do to help:

  • The Carolina Panthers have teamed up with Visit North Carolina and Discover South Carolina to show their support with these #Careolinas shirts with all proceeds benefiting relief efforts
  • The Shop Forward released Carolina Strong shirts with all proceeds benefiting relief efforts
  • Help The Red Cross. Find a blood drive near you here. Make a donation to the Red Cross recovery efforts here. Sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer in NC or SC here.
  • Support the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Florence relief efforts
  • Donate to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund here or by texting FLORENCE to 20222.
  • Register with the state of North Carolina to be a volunteer. They are urging people not to self deploy to the area, instead register and let them know how you can help so your skills can be best used. Check here for other volunteer opportunities in North Carolina.
  • The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina supports some of the hardest hit areas. Give to their efforts here.
  • The Diaper Bank of North Carolina is in need of supplies. You can donate to them here or purchase items from their Amazon wish list.
  • Check this article for a few other organizations you may consider helping, and some important reminders to think about before you donate to any unfamiliar groups.
  • Remember while many people are in need of material items, water, medicine, and non perishable food, cash donations can help ensure that organizations are able to purchase those items which are in the highest demand. They can also be purchased locally which can help to stimulate the local economy. Only donate material items to those organizations which are specifically requesting you do so.
  • To find the latest on power outages, road conditions, and storm cleanup in North Carolina.

 

#WanderlustWednesday

Glass beach Kauai hawaii

Glass Beach

Kauai, Hawaii

#hanapepebay #seaglass #hawaii

  • Happy National Carousel Day! Here are the 6 best places to celebrate! Because we need another fake made up holiday to celebrate….
  • The best tips for solo female travel. Where would you like to go on a solo vacay?
  • So just what is jet lag and what can you do about it?
  • Apparently “nacation’s” are trending. I don’t think I’m ready to jump on board with this trend.
  • Singapore Airlines is set to launch the world’s longest commercial airline flight in October. New York to Singapore – 19 hours!! Luckily the seats looks much better than the average commercial flight.
  • Who doesn’t love a good festival. Here are 10 small town festivals that are worth traveling for.

Summer Can You Hear Me?

Anyone else feel like this was the longest winter of their LIFE? I’m a summer lovin’, flip-flop wearing, beach days and sunshine girl! Summer is by far my favorite season. With the warm weather FINALLY making an appearance it seems like summer may actually be on its way. Without further ado…. my favorite things about summer.

ONE. I am lucky enough to live a short drive from the beach. The beach is my happy place, and I am looking forward to many weekends spent by the water this summer.

TWO. Wearing allll the summer things. I do not like winter clothes. Never have, probably never will. Give me all the bright colors and flip flops.

My Post (3)

romper / top / dress / bikini / sandals / earrings / sandals / straw bag / earrings

THREE. With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer I look forward to long walks through the neighborhood to wind down the day. It so nice to be able to de-stress, spend some time outside, and get in some extra exercise. Win, win.

Asics

FOUR. Besides weekends at the beach I have a few trips already planned this summer. I always look forward to summer vacations when the weather turns warm. I’m excited to share all our summer travels with you!

img_3207-1.png

FIVE. My final favorite thing about summer is being able to have cocktails outside on a patio, roof top, beach, or porch. I have been very into the Aperol Spritz since the weather turned warm. It tastes better with a side of sunshine. What’s you favorite summer cocktail?

summer wine

#WanderlustWednesday

Watching Planes land at SXM from Sunset Beach in St Maarten

Sunset Beach, St. Maarten

#chasingsunsets #watchingairplanes

  • Every time I hear this song on the radio I think of sitting on Sunset Beach watching the planes land at SXM
  • Would you go on the worlds longest cruise? 254 days. I. Would. Not.
  • Pack your bags and head for Alabama to check out America’s best restaurant. The James Beard Foundation annual awards were announced Monday. Check out all the other winners.
  • The most epic road trip.
  • Learn to shop like a royal.
  • Add these rainbow mountains to the bucket list.

 

#WanderlustWednesday

hawaiian sunsets

Hawaiian sunsets… is there anything better?
#hawaii #sunsets #daydreams

  • May 11 is National Public Gardens Day, gardens across the country will offer free admission.
  • Searching for all things travel sized? This company might make it.
  • This is politics we can get behind….literally. Bipartisan legislation to prevent airlines seats from shrinking further.
  • Get paid to travel the US all summer and promote booze. Dream Job? I think so.
  • All your airline booking questions answered by the experts.