May 31, 2010

A Long Charleston Weekend


B and I just got back from a long, lovely weekend in Charleston, our first away from Mac. Friday we drove down to Columbia to drop him off with my parents. (Wait 'til you see the pictures my parents took of him; there has never been a happier boy!) The next morning we rose with the sun to tell Macky goodbye and sneak off to Folly Beach.

After a full day on Folly, B and I spent Sunday in downtown Charleston. We started with a breakfast at the marina and ended with the gorgeous wedding of our friends Heather and Ben.

If you've ever seen the Citadel's Summerall Chapel or a reception at Lowndes Grove, you know what a treat the evening was. Add dozens of wonderful Clemson friends and it was a night well spent!

A mid-blink picture, but a stunning backdrop!

Every last detail was perfect!

Sorority sisters with the bride


B snapped a pic of my baby bangs trying to stay incognito - much appreciated!


Today we celebrated Memorial Day with more time in Charleston and a delicious lunch with old friends at Rue de Jean. Not traditional "burgers and hot dogs" American fare, but yummy all the same!

After a slooooow trip back up I-26 in the rain, we picked up Mac and headed for home. Now the baby's in bed, supper's on the table (late) and we're off to begin another week.

Hope you had a moment today to be grateful for the many sacrifices of our armed services and their families. Happy Memorial Day!!

May 27, 2010

"I Can Do ANYTHING Good!"

Now here is an attitude worth emulating!



Aren't there days when we need to say this to ourselves? Or to one another? I could give you a bulleted list in half a second of everything that makes you fabulous. Seriously. Try me.

But as for me? I'm staring at unfolded laundry, curtain rods and window treatments that need to be hung, clothes waiting to be packed, closets that could use organizing, unwritten emails, unaddressed invitations and a mess of baby bangs.

Today's the day to tell myself, "I can do ANYTHING good!" Adverbs be darned.

Now I'm off to get to it! If I copy her positivity, could I get this little doll's hair, too?

Miss Attacks

My mom, a former preschool teacher, has a special name for just about everything - usually a cutesy one. Some of them are Southern colloquialisms; others are uniquely hers. After decades of hearing these phrases, I toss them about in conversation as though everyone knows what surcies and eskimo kisses and miss attacks are.

Today, though, I am experiencing something that can only be explained by its Mom name, an absolute "miss attack."

As Erin alluded to in her post yesterday, many of the closest friendships we twenty-somethings have are with friends from a very specific time in our life. Women we met in college, grad school, our first job, the newlywed years. These particular seasons are such intense, change-filled times that we bond deeply with the friends we make at that point. It's an intimacy hard to recreate with people we meet casually, outside of those moments in our lives.

The trouble comes when life moves you and your close friends a bit apart, when you're no longer in a cozy apartment with four sorority sisters or sharing a cute house with another new grad roommate. What do you do then, when you need your best friends right next door, not two states away?

Erin's right, you can add friends and meet couples who expand your social circle as time goes by. Those friends are invaluable, people who add you to their invite list even when a baby keeps you off the scene and come over for quiet dinners when life slows down.

But when having a "miss attack," you realize how irreplaceable each close friend is in your life - how God seems to have hand-picked just the right people for you. And how very much you wish you all lived on the same block again, sharing a pool, carpooling to the Fresh Market for jelly beans and swapping gossip magazines. (These days it might be Southern Living and Parents magazine, but the idea's the same.)

Today I'm missing a very dear, very pregnant friend of mine and wishing I could be one lounge chair away, chatting mindlessly about Gossip Girl, what her sweet boy will look like and how quickly I can get her another glass of lemonade.

What gets you through a miss attack? Skype? Marathon phone sessions? Last-minute airplane trips?

May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Life Lessons

Lesson One: If you start making crazy faces, Mom usually puts down the camera.


Lesson Two: When naptime's over, your blanket buddy also makes a great snack.



May 24, 2010

(Trying to Stay) Totally Lost

This is me today:

Last night, LOST ended its run on TV and (hopefully) tied up loose mythological ends for its faithful fans.

Bradley and I were not among those rabid fans tuning in Sunday night. We're dying to watch the finale, to be sure, but haven't yet. So I've been sporting LOST-blinders today, tuning out of Facebook and Twitter to keep my mind spoiler-free. I literally averted my eyes once today to keep myself from ruining the undoubted surprises to come.

I love the rush of a spoiler, the idea that I know something before I'm "supposed" to. I ruined The Sixth Sense for myself by learning the secret ahead of time - and have been hooked on spoilers ever since.

B prefers to fly blind and, as his faithful LOST-watching partner, I'm respecting his wishes so I don't blurt out any game-changing details. I signed on to do this for one day; we'd watch LOST's finale tonight, Monday night.

Just a moment ago B called to let me know he'll be coming home late. Really late. Not-going-to-watch-LOST-tonight late.


My gut tells me to wait and watch the finale with him, but this nail-biting suspense is about to make me lose my mind!!

Is the finale worth these virtual blinders? Can you get my husband home now so I can press play before my mind concocts a crazy LOST conclusion of its own? (Aaron marries Ji-Yeon and Walt officiates?!)

Help!

May 21, 2010

If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird

If Noah and Allie can't be together, I'd say Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams make a pretty cute substitute, wouldn't you?

Ten years ago I loathed her (character) on Dawson's Creek, but she grew on me in later days and, obviously, has my heart now as a single mom to the late Heath Ledger's little girl.

And Ryan? Well, hasn't he always had our hearts?

(I love you, B. I do. But you know how I feel about that movie...)

May 20, 2010

Make Mine a Monogram

In addition to my recent medallion obsession, I've renewed my lifelong love of all things silver and monogrammed. Unlike the polka-dotted plates of yore, they're timeless!

To be fair, we have polka dot plates to complement our fine china. Perhaps what I mean is that my bachelorette pink polka-dotted plates weren't timeless. Or just that B thought it was time to let them go. Ahem. Whatever.

If I had my way, we'd have everything but monogrammed pots. (Slight exaggeration. Only slight.) A few of my favorite silver monogrammed keepsakes?

Mint julep cups; they're for more than just Derby day. Isn't everything a little fancier when what you drink it out of is monogrammed? Or try arranging a few hydrangea blossoms in a julep cup for a sweet, simple pick-me-up. They make great hostess gifts or little thank you presents.


A silver tray looks beautiful displayed in a dining room, but it looks even more gorgeous carrying orange juice and freshly scrambled eggs to a girl in bed!. This bedding even looks a bit like ours. All right, Mac....get to scramblin'!

Breakfast Tray

A silver monogrammed charger dresses up even the most basic table. My favorite heirlooms are those with initials on them - it does help, of course, having the same last initial now as I did in childhood... Twice the usable monogrammed gear!

Charger

You won't need a charger under this beautiful monogrammed china! Yes, I said it. I love monogrammed china. To some it seems excessive, but I love its formality. As my dad said, "Well, we'd never forget at whose table we were eating!"

I'd probably only put our last initial on it, to up the heirloom factor, but I've had a love affair with this china for far too long. Time for me to own a place setting or two! Is it odd to think about your grandchildren inheriting your china? Would a simple S make it easier for future Mrs. Smiths to use this at their table? Helps me justify my "heirloom" purchases... They're not heirlooms yet, of course, but will be in time!

China

I'll drink a toast to just about anything, but I've also seen a champagne bucket used to collect mail on an entry table. A clever way to get everyday use out of a pretty wedding gift, don't you think? Certainly makes the bills look a bit nicer...

Champagne Bucket

Is anyone else as hooked on monograms as I am? I've managed to tame my urges these last few years, perhaps tricking Bradley into thinking my addiction was cured. With no visible change in my initials since marriage, I'm pretty stocked up on my everyday monograms. Time to think about some heirlooms? Here's hoping my grandchildren like to slap their initials on as many things as I do!

May 18, 2010

Une Petite Histoire

If I were twenty years younger, brilliant and French, I'd like to believe I'd be something like this little dreamer. And have her vivid imagination, captivating manner of storytelling and wide, wonder-filled eyes. Utterly adorable.

I stumbled upon this video while reading an expat's blog. Press play and see if you aren't glued to your screen waiting for the ending of this bound-to-be-on-the-big-screen fairytale!



I can't decide if she's going to look more like Audrey Tautou or Audrey Hepburn when she grows up!

There's something infectious about a tiny thing speaking "baby" French in such a fast, furious and fantastical way. (Yes, fantastical is a word. I thought I invented it some years back but Merriam-Webster corrected me.)

Almost makes me want to raise Mac in Paris. But we'd miss Bradley and Blue too much... You know they're Yankee Doodles through and through.

Think I'll go dust off my French textbooks now! Elle est tres mignonne, n'est-ce pas?

May 17, 2010

For the Love of Medallions

Every few years I fall in love with a particular pattern and online window shop it to death. I scrounge the internet and interior design catalogs 'til I've seen all there is to ogle. Know what I mean?

Several years ago it was damask and toile; my little house was covered in it. B was imminently relieved to be rid of all that black, ivory, pink and sage green once my "single girl" bedroom was no more. (Sniffle. Also, RIP to my much-loved pastel polka dot plates that were retired to the Nearly New Shop. The sacrifices we make for love!)

Lately I've been on a medallion kick and am poring over catalogs and staring at fabrics that pair these intricate designs with a simple background.

I'm no interior designer (oh how I wish I were!) but I know what I love when I see it. The problem lies in integrating new elements I love into our home; that's a continual process for me. I envy you girls who can whip up a pretty room, culling professionals' ideas, mixing in heirlooms and adding your own creations for a DIY home with signature flair. Teach me your ways!

In the meantime, with the exception of some window treatments, I have avoided clicking "buy" while filling my online shopping carts with medallions galore.

That doesn't stop me from looking 'til my eyes cross, though. Here are a few of my favorites:


Do you fight the urge to fill your home with variations of one pretty pattern? Any new favorites to share?

May 11, 2010

Ten Ways You Know You're An Adult

1. It takes you an hour to plan your grocery shopping expedition. Coupons? Check. Grocery List? Check. Baby Bjorn for sniffly, must-be-held baby? Check.

2. You never run out of paper towels or toilet paper. I'm not sure what would happen if you did; it's too terrifying even to contemplate.

3. You have paperwork files for your car insurance, life and disability insurance, health insurance, utilities (tax write-off for new business!), flex spending account receipts (what's up, weekly pediatrician's office copay?) and social correspondence. And sorting through it's exhausting.

4. You draw up your menus and schedule excursions a week ahead; there's a planner on the fridge so your husband can keep tabs on things. But he still asks that you text him a reminder so he doesn't leave you stranded with a sleeping baby, late to calligraphy class. Not that that's ever happened....

5. You are insanely proud to tell your insurance agent, when he calls for information to update your account, that you've paid off your car.

6. You plan to drive that thing 'til the wheels fall off. Leave the shiny new cars (and their payments) to the sweet young things!

7. This could present a problem if you plan to have more than one child, as your car is so full of baby gear and dog hair that it's currently a challenge to go any further away than church. (No, it's not time for a Swagger Wagon! Though that is a pretty sweet video...)

8. You buy a food processor and whip up a batch of baby food.

9. Your baby doesn't really like it. By "doesn't really like it," you mean he gags at every spoonful. Nothing's made it down the hatch yet. (Perhaps broccoli wasn't the best choice for our first homemade attempt?)

10. Your disposable income goes to Ballard Designs and Home Depot, not the local manicure salon and spray tanning business. Sure, you're pale and unpolished - but your house'll look great, right?

Having a "missing my early twenties" moment. Wouldn't go back for anything but, man, I could do without the paperwork of adulthood for a day or two!

**Update: Baby food attempt #2 was a success! Sweet potatoes trump broccoli any day....**

May 10, 2010

A Marvelous Mother's Day

My first Mother's Day was absolutely perfect. Saturday afternoon Bradley and I got to Columbia, spent some time with my parents and pretty much handed Mac off for the weekend. That little boy didn't know what was coming! I've never seen anyone kissed so much.

Brooke with burp cloths for Samuel and Selah

First on my agenda was a baby shower for my precious friend Brooke and her twins-to-be, Samuel and Selah. I've known Brooke since we were girls and doubt I've met anyone as well suited to be a mom! And two babies at once? Brooke's going to be in hog heaven.

Brooke and my best friend Kristen are both due in late July, just one day apart! Though the Turner twins will probably come a little sooner than baby Wynn Watson, I'm overjoyed to welcome three little bundles this summer.

Brooke, her bump and her Bible study girls

After years of calling myself a "crier," a friend's mom told me at the shower that God blessed me early on with a tender heart; it must have been compounded by motherhood. I love that! Way more flattering than just feeling like an adult crybaby. Brooke's shower was so filled with joy and excitement that I was misty-eyed from the moment I walked in. These babies are deeply loved already, just like their mama.

Me with Samuel and Selah's Aunt Liz

Brooke's sister Liz hosted my baby shower last August, had her own sweet daughter in February, hosted Brooke's shower this past Saturday and will be hosting another for a friend next weekend. She's an expert at this by now!

Me and the mama-to-be

After the shower, B and I grabbed dinner and a movie for the first time in ages. Appropriately enough, we saw Date Night - and both loved it. I could not enjoy Tina Fey any more! The only other movie we've seen since Mac arrived was It's Complicated, a big letdown for me and definitely not what you'd call a man's movie. I was excited to find a film we could both laugh through!

Sunday morning we went to church with my family and introduced Mac to many of the people who watched me grow up. My grandmother and her husband drove up for service and then we were joined by my aunt, uncle and cousin for lunch. It was a big ol' family time!

Mac playing with his mom and Mimi

I won't share any deep thoughts about my first Mother's Day or the tremendous amount of love and admiration I have for my mom - if only because I couldn't do it justice and I don't want to spend an evening boohooing over my laptop. Suffice it to say that there were hundreds of prayers of gratitude said this weekend for good friends, a loving husband, a wonderful mom and our precious baby boy.

Whatever you did, I hope y'all had a fabulous Mother's Day weekend, too!

May 8, 2010

Emma Style

I've been a "Gleek" for nearly a year now, ever since the preview of the series premiere episode aired last summer. Glee's resident lovelorn sweet pea, Emma Pillsbury, always looks adorable -prim, proper and totally feminine. I'd love to switch wardrobes with her!

From Fox

Though some might consider her fashions a little schoolmarmish, I find her combination of ruffles, bows, cardigans, pins and pencil skirts to be absolutely endearing. She has a very buttoned-up, vintage feel and mixes in pretty, old-fashioned accessories in unique color combinations.

If I lived off of a (television) high school guidance counselor's budget, I would clean out her closet and jewelry box in a flash. (Glee's wardrobe department must be betting on the audience's total suspension of disbelief, because most public school teachers are not dressing like this....)

Take a peek at a few of my favorite Emma ensembles:





From Polyvore

From Polyvore

Emma is a girl after my own heart, a lover of cardigans in every color. I'm inspired both by her monochromatic outfits and her distinctive flair for pairing shades. (And by her, obviously I mean the talented team of stylists who prepare her looks.)

Mad Men's Joan Holloway and Betty Draper are on vacation 'til August, but Emma Pillsbury has filled their high heels quite nicely. I'm loving this stylish guidance counselor's look.

Do you have any TV style icons? Are you a cardigan fan, Emma lover and closet Gleek too?

May 7, 2010

Seven Months

While the rest of the world celebrated Cinco de Mayo, one Mac Smith celebrated something equally worth toasting: his seven month birthday.

Macky in his celebratory birthday bath. We know how to do it up right!
Please note the clearly-not-inherited-from-Mom eyelashes.


I feel like it was last week I was finding the words to express what half a year with our baby boy had meant. And now we're flipping the calendar once more. Wow.

The last month has been filled with little, long-awaited milestones: sitting, scooting and saying "Da da da da da" to the delight of everyone in earshot.

I know the next month will be filled with just as many sweet moments, but I'm going to stop saying I "can't wait" to see what they are. I can wait. I'm not rushing any of this; I'm soaking it up. His giddy splashing in the bath, the pitiful opening of his mouth between bites like a hungry baby bird, the furious kicking of his legs from sheer excitement when his dad walks in the room.

My favorite time of day is also the hardest: putting Mac to bed. He's always in such a happy mood, his tummy full and his face beaming. The coos and grins make it hard for me to put him down, to say good night. I always do, and another morning and another day always comes. Guess that's how we got to seven months, right? I wish I could make those nighttime minutes last longer.

Tonight I'll put him down and wonder how much faster the rest of his first year could possibly speed by. Then I'll start daydreaming about a machine that stretches twenty-four hour days into long, slow months. Wouldn't I make a fortune??

Happy, happy seven months, sweet Mac. We love you!

May 6, 2010

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer, an annual day of observance when Americans are asked to turn to God in prayer and meditation.

There is always so much to pray for, so many things bigger than us and so much evidence that this world is broken. (Have you watched the news lately?) It can be overwhelming.

Yesterday I listened to dozens of people on the radio sharing their prayers for our nation as we prepared to observe this day. I was moved and uplifted by the knowledge that our prayers aren't alone; we are joined by the hearts and thoughts of others as they pray for our country and its people.

Here's what's on my heart today:

  • the health and well-being of our families and loved ones
  • the healing of those who are sick or hurting
  • the relief efforts in the Gulf, Nashville and Haiti
  • the safety of our nation from threats here and abroad
  • the safety of our troops and the peace of their families here at home
  • the uplifting of those who have lost jobs or homes
  • the encouragement of people who are in the "waiting room" of life, whether for a job or a baby or for anything else that seems impossible to find
I love that we have a National Day of Prayer to remind us of the importance of coming before God and sharing what's on our hearts. More importantly, though, I am struck by what a privilege it is to come before Him any time for any reason. To have a constant ear and source of comfort whenever we need it.

I read this verse hourly, for a while, when I was pregnant; I posted it so that reading it became part of my daily routine. It's ingrained in me forever, I think, due solely to the number of times I found strength and peace from its words.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:6-7 (emphasis mine)

What a reminder of the power of prayer and the peace that comes with it. I hope we can all feel that power and peace today. Happy Thursday, all!

May 3, 2010

Menu Monday

Our to do list this week is pretty full: errands, company, class, cleaning, packing, Mother's Day preparations and work stuff. It's not a week to wait until the eleventh hour to plan dinner.

Making a menu is the one thing that saves us from eating cereal or sandwiches for supper six nights in a row. I've been there; I know from whence I speak.

Here's what'll be on our table this week:

Monday:
Mom's cube steak and mashed potatoes (I'll serve these with anything; they're my one specialty.)

Tuesday: Breakfast (Bacon and eggs and grits, oh my!)

Wednesday: Grilled mahi mahi and steamed vegetables

Thursday: Orange sauce pork chops and couscous

Friday: Spaghetti bolognese

Saturday and Sunday: Mother's Day in Columbia. I'm excited to see family, enjoy home-cooked meals, have a dinner date with B and soak up a little girl time at a friend's baby shower. In the spirit of full disclosure, I expect to eat at least a dozen petits fours.

What will y'all be cookin' up this week? Any favorite recipes to share?

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