These hot summer days

I heard it snowed in Glacier National Park this morning.

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Oh these days are hot. These days are humid. These days are also filled with adventure and stories about the deep blue sea.

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We had out toes in the sand, again. Somehow, despite my longing for crisp mountain air, I desire the smell of salt lingering in the wind, almost to call us back to the water. After five years, the emerald waves that brush over the white sandy beaches have finally made it’s way to my resistant heart, and I begin to yearn for the warm gulf water to embrace my north loving soul.

My daughter, on the other hand, has been a child of the sea since the day she was born. When we park our little blue car in the parking lot parallel to the beach, I hear Aspen scream, “beach, mama! Beach! Oh, thank you mama!”. As I wrestle her out of her carseat she leaps to the ground and takes off running to the expanse of turquoise waters, at which I call for her to slow down and wait for her mama.

She was born of salt water and sunshine, with little fear of the subtle swells ahead. She is the modern day Moana. Her love for digging her toes into the sand and bathing out in the sun while I read a book about ships that have crossed the restless seas have sparked my own euphoria. Her curiosity as a cownose ray swims against the waves, entertaining themselves as they surf in the shallows is overwhelming, and her excitement as she picks up another shell while digging through the sugar white dunes reminds me to find equivalent excitement in my own life.

We are so different, yet the same. And I think that is why we have each other. What I lack, my daughter has an abundance of, and vise versa. My little sapling is more like a little starfish, but that’s okay, as long as she is my (and Scott’s, of course!) little starfish.

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Our weekly library finds – part 1

*subjected to be edited at the end of the week (Sunday) to give a review of the books*

My favorite day of the week is the day we get to go to the library. Normally, that day is Tuesday. But since we just got back from practically a two month long vacation, this week has been more about catching up on house hold chores, which includes but is not limited to: cleaning, dishes, yard work, laundry, scheduling doctors appointments, emailing, marketing, and trying not to lose my sanity. Unfortunately, this rather crazy schedule has postponed our weekly trip to our beloved local library until Thursday. The blessing is that Aspen and I both love to read beautifully written and illustrated stories, which means that we will be done with our books by Monday, and we can presume our weekly routine next week.

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At the library, Aspen firsts goes to the puzzles in the kid section. There, she begs me to sit down and work on animal matching and numbers with her. Once she becomes bored of the puzzles, she makes her way to the computer to “play” (haha-she’s two. Moms and teachers know why I’m laughing) an educational computer game. This is when I make my break and am finally able to look through the books and select five that I believe are either exceptionally well written, or has something to do with the curriculum we are studying that week- meaning books about Apples as we learn about the characteristics of the letter “A”., etc. When she becomes bored of her computer game, she joins me, and I let her pick out a few books that she specifically would enjoy reading throughout the week. Typically these books are at random, and have pretty illustrations on the cover.

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One of my greatest joys in life is being able to get lost in a book with my daughter. As we read these tales, she holds my hand and listens attentively. She asks questions, as any toddler would do, and stares at the pictures as I read the words below them. She has such a passion for learning and reading, which ignites my own passion for learning and reading. My daughter is a true inspiration to me. Her constant ability to feel and wonder makes me aspire to be like a younger, care free version of myself. One who, too, wants to explore the world through all the senses, and come back to the mother whom allowed them to do so.


This weeks library finds list:

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen *edit: this is such a freaking cute book! Perfect for the little in your life that has a hard time settling down to sleep*

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus PFister *edit: This book is a classic. I don’t know why I don’t own it?? Anyway, every child should be read this beautifully illustrated book at least once in their childhood, if not more*

When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant *edit: I would classify this as a living book. It is such a wonderful little story about spending the summers in the Appalachian Mountains with their grandparents. It was so lovely and reminded me of our summers in the Colorado Rockys with my own family- I honestly may put this on my amazon order list*

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin *edit: such a sweet little book for younger babes, but honestly Aspen might have outgrown it! She had a hard time staying captivated, although I had not*

Curious George visits the Library by Margret ReyH. A. Rey *edit: The Curious George Series is another series that I fell most children love at Aspen’s age. I mean, George does live a pretty exciting life!*

Fancy Nancy: Aspiring Artist by Jane O’Connor *edit: There are two things Aspen loves right now: Fancy Nancy and painting. This sweet little book made her so happy, and she regularly asked for it throughout the week*


I also want to mention that, although I write beautiful and kind words about how much Aspen appreciates books and going to the library, that does not mean she is always perfectly behaved. She is still a toddler, and acts as such. If you ever visit the Mary Esther Library on a Tuesday around 11am, you will most definitely hear a few screeches and belly laughs, as well as the occasional sassy fake cry. It’s all just part of the game and the learning experiences.

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Days along the Emerald Coast + beach reads

Yes, we are slowly preparing to transition to the north within the next year or so, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop loving our days along these beautiful emerald waters. I am currently reading the book “How to Raise a Wild Child” by Scott Sampson from Dinosaur Train. I have always had a passion for raising my child outside, but since diving into this very well written and informative book, my passion for raising a wild child has only grown. My goal isn’t just to spend time outside, but to spend time in the wild. In places that men (and women..) do not control. I mean, parks and splash pads, and amusement parks and walks around the neighborhood are nice (really they are, I’m not being sarcastic, I promise), but there is something so thrilling and satisfying about exploring out of mans realm- to experience God’s beauty as it was meant to be experienced.

Florida does have some beautiful nature trails, but during these hot and humid summer days, we tend to choose the beach for our wandering. During our beach days we typically play in the waves, collect shells, drink coconut water, walk to the point where we can no longer see the houses and condos, build castles out of fine sand, and I always manage to bring several books with us on our journey to read over the sound of small waves crashing into our snowlike sands.

 

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Yes, my mountain loving soul longs for the days where we pick wild huckleberries and spend our evenings baking them into a mouth watering pie. I long for the times I can take Aspen to the creek and watch tadpoles swim upstream, and to admire a full grown moose tromping through our yard on a crisp autumn morning. But honestly, I know we are where we are meant to be right in this moment. I do not plan to rush God’s plans for us. This is something that has been so hard for my heart to come to terms with- to be patient and enjoy the slow and steady moments of the present- but knowing and having faith that my little family and I are in God’s caring hands always steadies my constant dreaming and planning.

 

In other news, today’s beach reads were:

Eric Carle’s “A House for Hermit Crab” and “Good Night Beach” by Adam Gamble. We also practiced our numbers today while counting the seashells we collected.

MOMMY AND ME SESSION with Mandie Medeiros Photography + weaning

Warning: if you’re sensitive to moms nursing past age 1, redirect now to Mandie’s website here 

View More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspenView More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspenView More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspenView More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspenView More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspenView More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspenView More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspenView More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspenView More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspenView More: http://mandiemedeiros.pass.us/sadie-and-aspen

Mommy and Me sessions hold such a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s because I used to be the one behind the lens, maybe it’s because it captures such a beautiful essence of motherhood, or maybe because it’s just a lovely time to get updates photos of mommy and baby while they look put together. No matter the reason though, mommy and me pictures are incredibly valuable and the perfect gifts for moms on Mothers Day.

Aspen and I had such a great experience with Mandie Medeiros Photography. She was easy to talk to, great at communicating, funny, knows her shit, and is a hybrid photographer (which is freaking awesome and rare around here). If you’re looking for a local photographer, I highly recommend her. Her website is here

*Also, I never intended to breast feed this long. Three years ago, I said 6 months was my goal. Then it went to a year. THEN it went to 18 months. Now, we just hit two years and honestly, I loved each and every second of it, but I feel like we are both ready to let go of this time together. Breast feeding is such a cool, nutritional, empowering, and incredibly humbling experience, and I have zero regrets of holding out this long. I know some find it odd that she’s two and just now weaning, but honestly, it worked really well for our family. It was convenient, and Aspen and I loved that special time together where I was able to provide for her from my own body. Anyway, long story short, we are now beginning the weaning process, and although it makes me so sad (that’s the last thing that links her to infancy and giving it up hurts my heart), but part of me also wants to rejoice and say, “HELL YES, FINALLLYYYY!”.*

Park walks and a recap on Easter

Friends in the north, I’m apologizing in advance for the warm pictures. If it’s any consolation, the humidity has hit and there is no hiding the sweat.

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WHAT A WEEK! Am I right, or am I right? I hope you all had a lovely Easter spent with loved ones, good food, and long lasting memories.

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We spent the holiday hunting for eggs, going to a memorable church service (those in the area- if you haven’t gone to a service at Momentum, contact me so we can go together!), feasting with great friends, going to the beach while the littles had their first real swim on the season, and later on had an impromptu moms night out (nope, definitely not sharing pictures from that (; )

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Overall, we had such a fun Easter. It is a complete game changer when you spend the holidays with an awesome and absolutely adorable toddler, good friends, delicious food, and nice weather. We are so fortunate to have met the people we have met, and to be where we are now. In other news, Aspen and I are finally settling into a routine since Scott’s departure. This is helping so much with mine and Aspen’s sanity.

We spend our days literally working or playing. When we’re not at mamas work, we are at the beach, at a friends house, or at home playing with blocks and coloring. We wake up around 6am, eat a healthy breakfast, spend a few hours at work, go home to cuddle and/or take a nap, clean up the house, run errands, spend time outside, then come home to dinner and a movie before getting ready for bed. These are the good days, and i’m trying to soak them in. We won’t be here forever. We will move (eventually, hopefully), Aspen will grow, our friends will continue on, and our current will become past, and our adventures will become memories. This is a reminder to myself, as well as all who may read this- love your moments. Even the unbearable ones. Someday they will only be pictures in our heads of what life used to be like. So cherish them, hold them for another moment longer, and release them with a smile of content on your face.

THANK YOU again to Pink Blush Maternity for collaborating on this post. Guys, If you have not checked out their motherhood line, you are missing out. This dress can be found here .

As a side note, that hat was gifted by my grandma after she decided it wasn’t to her linking anymore. It’s now one of my favorite accessories. Somehow handed down “vintage” items are always my favorites. 

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Coconut and Blueberry smoothie

Get ready guys, because nutritious eating/drinking is my JAM! And I’m about to be sharing quite a few recipes with you in the next couple of months. To kick start it all, I’m sharing a delicious *toddler approved* coconut and blueberry smoothie recipe.

coconut blueberry smoothie

Coconut is my favorite flavor EVER, and Aspen loves Blueberries. So this combination just made sense.

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In a blender add:

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup of frozen blueberries

1/2 a banana

1 Tablespoon of unsweetened shredded coconut

1 scoop of an organic and plant based vanilla protein powder (I used Tone It Up Protein)

Blend it all up, split with toddler, and enjoy! 

 

Let me know your favorite smoothie flavors in the comments!

Surviving Tourist Season on the Emerald Coast

There are so many wonderful things about living in a Spring Break town. One of them being, you don’t have to leave when Spring Break ends… #Ilivewhereyouvacation BUT… there are also some negative aspects to this, like you know, Spring Break itself. With our Spring and Summer holidays approaching, we will be expecting a lot of out-of-towners and vacationers, making traffic on our beloved 98 unbearable, beaches over crowded, as well as a lot of trash left behind.

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After living on the emerald coast for five years now, I have come to find out that there are a few things that could help keep the locals and transits from losing their minds with all of the tourists vacationing to our gorgeous beaches.

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OUTFIT DETAILS: Dress- sold out, similar here // shoes 

  1. MORNINGS WILL SAVE YOUR SOUL. Set those alarms and get that coffee ready to brew first thing, because this is the most helpful tip I have under my sleeve. Why? Because let’s face it, most vacationers are vacationing. That means ignoring their alarms, and getting some extra rest in the AM. So, while they sleep, we play. Anytime I need to run errands to Destin or Pensacola, I leave bright and early and get there when the shops open, otherwise I am stuck in traffic for hours (literally). It’s hard to do, but it is worth it. This tip doesn’t just work for traffic though, it is also helpful to get to the beach early. Typically, the only people at the beach before 10AM are older couples and beach runners getting in an early run before it gets too hot. Either way, getting out before the tourists do will be a life saver this season.
  2. Fill up on gas, incase you get stuck in traffic on a shopping trip to the mall (No, I’m not kidding..)
  3. Keep snack in your car in case you get stuck in traffic and get hungry.
  4. A friend mentioned that getting groceries via Publix Delivery or Walmart pick up is very convenient on the days it’s too difficult to get out and about early.
  5. Save your travels for the weekdays. The weekend traffic will be unbearable.
  6. Noted by a few local realtors: Saturdays are the #1 condo turnover day, which basically means that everyone is leaving town then. So this will be the worst day to drive, but best day to go to the beach because, well, everyone is driving back home.
  7. Ask for local pricing. I have heard through the grape vine that some businesses will raise their prices during tourist season, and that asking if they have a local price is never a bad idea.
  8. More than likely, our lovely tourists will not take as good of care of our beaches as we do. It is such a great idea to bring an extra trash bag on your beach outing just incase you see a few pieces of trash near by.
  9. Join in the fun. Seriously though, the amount of fun things that the Emerald Coast has for entertainment during vacation season is absolutely crazy! There are concerts, movies at the beach, community BBQ’s, fun runs, and so much more! So although the crowds might not be your favorite, acknowledging that once the crowds leave, so does all of the outdoor entertainment might help make the glass look half full.

I hope these tips help you this Summer, and hang in there. The rest of the year these gorgeous beaches are ours!

PS- This time of year is also the perfect time to go on a mountain getaway. We typically go to Northern Idaho to escape the crowds and heat. More on that soon!

 

Feminine LWD + Easter basket ideas

Everyone knows the LBD (little black dress) is something fierce. But this feminine loving mama is quite fond of the less poular LWD (little white dress) as well.

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This gorgeous dress is PERFECT to wear to Spring events like Easter, baby showers, and garden parties.

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And as a side note, taking pictures with my little minion is my absolute favorite. I promise the excitement and love in our eyes is NOT posed. This is how we feel/look/react to eachother 90% of the time (unless she’s in trouble or I’ve spent too much time editing pictures and she’s irritated with me)

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EASTER. Easter is coming up, and I will be the first to admit it is my favorite holiday. Christmas had always been the winner for me, but the past few years Easter (and it’s true meaning) has grown more and more on my heart. I love the spring time weather, the florals, the “everything is new” feeling, the femininity of it all, and the concept that we are all reborn through the resurrection of Christ. It’s such a beautiful and true concept that has touched my soul so much since becoming a mother that I cannot help but celebrate the spirit of Easter all year round. And let’s face it, the chocolates and light dresses are an added bonus.


This year, Easter will be a little different for our family. We will still be doing a community easter egg hunt, church service, and an eater basket filled with swim suits and beach towels, but unfortunately, we wont be celebrating it with Scott. It’s always hard on our hearts when we have to go a holiday without our dad and husband, but we know that there is a reason for each season in our life, and that we need to embrace this one, as well as all others in the future. I’m a firm believe that a positive mentality will always outshine a negative circumstance. So that is what we will do. We will embrace the seperation and use technology to our advantage, as well as look forward to the day we are together for an easter celebration.

ALSO, because I know people struggle with coming up with things to put in Easter baskets other than chocolate, I wanted to make a few suggestions:

I personally do a beach/ Summer themed basket. It typically includes a swim suit, beach towel, sunscreen, and beach or pool toys. Another idea is a garden themed basket. It would include seeds, soil, spring based books, and mini shovels and maybe rain boots. I also love the idea of an exploration basket. This one would have a magnifying glass, ant farm, books on bugs, animals, and plants. It would also have a sun hat and hiking boots.

Whatever you choose to pack in your childs basket, have fun with it and remember to include the true reason behind the holiday.


This year I am wearing Pink Blush for several ocassions. It’s hard not to when their dresses are catered to motherhood and femininity. One of the several ocassions is Easter and my good friend Shelby’s baby shower. This one in particular is such a light weight and detailed dress, and really ties into this years victorian revival trend.

*What are some things you all have planned for Easter?*

coastal vacation look with Pink Blush

Plan on taking your family on a coastal vacation without leaving the states this year? Down bellow I have a list of beach side towns along the emerald coast that are worth your visit.

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Shop My look: Dress // Sandals // hat


I’ve lived on the emerald coast for five years now. In the past five years I have done my fair share of venturing to near by towns and exploring what they have to offer. Today I’ll be writing about the few I think are worth the visit.

The three larger and more touristy cities along the emerald coast are: Pensacola, Destin, and Panama City. But between these cities are numerous smaller towns that are equally worth the travels. Among these are: Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Okaloosa Island, Miramar Beach, and the 30A towns. The cheaper of these would probably be the first three: Gulf Breeze, Navarre, and Okaloosa Island. These destinations might not have the ziplines and shopping malls of the bigger cities, but they are only a short drive away. These towns instead, offer a much more laid back and slow paced feel, allowing you to have a truly relaxing vacation.

Some hotels worthy of your stay:

Portofino Island Resort on Pensacola Beach

SpringHill Suites by Marriot on Navarre Beach

Palms of Destin Resort in Destin

The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach

Grand Panama Beach Resort on Panama Beach


Thank you to Pink Blush Maternity for influencing this post

 

Family time in Seaside

Guys, I freaking love my life.

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My life is far from perfect. I have really bad days, I get frustrated with my daughter, mad at my husband, make a terrible meal, cry myself to sleep, and ocassionally feel like I’m falling into a black hole like any other normal person out there. But I also feel on top of the world and in total bliss while raising such an easy going child, a hubsnad that goes out of his way to please, cooking bomb ass meals, and frolicking in the grass in a coastal town. Life is rough, and life is great. We all go through so many emotions just on a day to day basis, but please, even on the Black Hole days, remember how much you really love life, and how much life really loves you.


This dress was thrifted (for $8!) but you can find a similar here and here. My sandals can also be found here.