Tag Archives: fall

Wrapping Up October 2013

Another month has come and gone in 2013. I can hardly believe November is tomorrow, and before I know it 2014 will be here!

This year has flown by so fast (which I’ll save for another post another time), but before time slips away from me I wanted to take a few moments to share some of my favorite memories with you from this month. As I look back on the last 10 months, I honestly can say that October has been the biggest point of transition for me; both professionally, internally, and as a mom.OctoberRecap10

 

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I’ve seen the most change come from Baby Z as he turned 9 months old. His personality, abilities, and teeth are now all finally coming through! The next few months as he turns 1 year are going to be exciting, and I can’t wait to share these times with you!

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I’ve also reached some highs and lows when it comes to Dallas Moms Blog. Owning your own business is an emotional roller coaster to say the least. One minute you’re sailing through with amazing ideas, generating revenue, and loving life, and the next moment you’re questioning everything you’ve done. Thanks to some kind words from my husband and friends, I’ve taken time and stepped back and modified my business objectives and believe everything’s now heading back up.

With everything that’s been going on lately with my business and the boys, it would be unusual if my marriage remained unchanged through it all. Tim’s been having a stressful time at work, and my work habits haven’t been easy on us as a family as we try and figure out how to fit my Work-At-Home lifestyle in with my career as a Stay-At-Home Mom. (I only have so many hours in a day!) However, I believe we had a sense of renewal last weekend when we attended Family Life’s Weekend to Remember in Oklahoma City. An event I’ll have to save for a whole other post because I have so much I want to share with you about that weekend. But just know it was Good. . . with a capital G!

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As I said, I’m now feeling like my life might finally be starting to come into alignment.  Juggling 4 different hats has been difficult, but with some great tips, great boys, and a husband by my side, I’m really looking forward to the end of 2013 and the beginning of a whole new year!

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Flyakite

Welcome November!

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September at the Dallas Zoo

This time last weekend I would have said the weather couldn’t have been anymore perfect with a high of 92 and a slight breeze. But then today happened! It is absolutely GORGEOUS outside today and just in time for the first day of fall tomorrow! 

At the time, we decided to take advantage of the weather being below a 100 degrees and headed out to the Dallas Zoo.

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It’s kind of odd, but looking back on pictures I can sometimes feel the weather that took place that day. It’s really nice to see bright, sunny pictures and not have memories of being drenched in sweat. 

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For a long time Dallas residents would have told you to skip the Dallas Zoo and head to Fort Worth, but over the last few years, Dallas has really stepped up its exhibits and I once again love taking my boys there. Of course, each time we go we focus on different areas of the zoo. There’s no way we’d be able to tackle the whole thing with a toddler and an 8 month old, so we have to come up with a plan.

We headed towards the birds and koala walkabout and then afterwards headed to “Africa” for the giraffes, cats, and elephants. The Little Man was convinced he wanted to see Alex. (His name for all lions.)

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What’s your favorite place to visit at the Dallas Zoo?

You can see our past Zoo trips here, and watch how my boys have grown!

Monkey See, Monkey Do – June 2012

First Trip to the Zoo – April 2012

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Sunday Night Shenanigans

After dinner tonight, we came home and were admiring our growing leaf collection out of the driveway. 

Normally people might rake them up, place them into trash bags, and put them out on the curb for bulk trash, but tonight, we had a better idea.

At 7:30pm, we started raking. Tim went as far as bagging, then walked them into the backyard and began dumping. . . .


After a terrible morning that started with an unexpected ear infection at 4:00am, I love that we can end the day on such a fun memory. These are definitely the moments that make all the bad parenting times worth it. 


And, now thanks to my husband, we have a “playground” in the backyard tomorrow to enjoy this beautiful December Texas weather! 

Have a Candy Overload?

It’s November 1. Halloween is over
Our pumpkins survived and weren’t smashed in the street.

Amen.  

I don’t know about you, but this week leading up to Halloween has been more exhausting than I would have expected Thanksgiving or Christmas to be! 

One . . . activity . . . after . . .another! 

Trunk or Treat – Mother’s Day Out – neighborhood get-togethers. 
(And 2 year old molars making an appearance!)

But that’s now all in the past!

Now the only thing reminding me of this week of chaos is the candy that sits way up on the shelf out of eye shot of my toddler; who can apparently sniff it out like a dog. 

My doctor gently reminded me on my appointment Tuesday that this is the season of “weight gain” and being in my third trimester I need to really watch what I stick in my mouth, so once the lights went out on the front porch, I was instantly Googling what to do with my leftover candy. 

It honestly made me a little excited at what I found, so just in case you’re like me and desperate to find another use for the candy besides eating several pieces a day for the next month, 
here’s some options.

Reuse:
Rather than begin that slow march to see the bottom of your candy bowl, use it all at once for family events or upcoming holiday parties. Here are a few recipes I intend to try with my leftovers: 

Butterfinger Delight
by Taste of Home
Milky Way Cake
featured on Pioneer Woman

Making it Fun:
Not only do I have leftover candy, but I have leftover mason jars from last Thanksgiving that would make this activity super easy and inexpensive! Who isn’t always looking for easy gifts?  

Owl Candy Jars
by Club Chicacircle
When In Doubt, Donate:
Soldiers’ Angels is an organization that sends care packages to soldiers overseas. Simply mail your candy to the following address, and they’ll take care if from there! 

Soldiers’ Angels

Halloween Care

1792 E Washington Blvd

Pasadena, CA 91104


Or, you can take your left over candy to one of these dental offices and donate it to Operation Gratitude; a program that sends care packages to troops overseas. Here’s a few Dallas locations you can call and check in with, or click on the link above with your zip code and find a location near you! 

*And the best part about donating. . .it’s tax-deductible!*

Family Dentistry of Plano

6300 Stonewood Drive Suite 210

Plano, TX, 75024

Phone: (972) 596-3555

Frisco Dental Associates

8715 Lebanon Road Suite 300

Frisco, tx, 75034

Phone: (972) 335-2201

Primadental
4043 Trinity Mills rd ste 101

Dallas, Tx, 75287

Phone: (972) 306-2121

iSmile Dental Care-Richard Ragnell, D.D.S.

1320 Village Creek Suite 100

Plano, TX, 75093

Phone: 972-732-1818
What do you normally do with your leftover candy? 


Halloween or Bust!

Now that we have a kid (and more on the way!), I’m rediscovering all of these holidays that were beginning to loose their appeal. For example, Halloween

Just two years ago, I remember almost giving up on the festive fall activity because it seemed like it had lost the awe and excitement. We’d been spending large amounts of money buying candy to pass out, only to have 20 kids appear at our door and a large number of them were teenagers who didn’t even take the time to dress up. (Not to mention the $15 pumpkin that had been smashed Halloween night which was supposed to have supplied our pumpkin desserts through November!) After that, I was almost ready to be the Halloween Scrooge and turn out the lights at our house on Halloween night. 

Then we had the Little Man. . . 

I did my best to reignite the Halloween fire in me by over-participating in festivities with him last year; from Trunk or Treat to Baby “Boo” Camp to pumpkin play dates. We did it all, and it was fun!! Although the trick or treaters were once again slim pickin’s, it made it worth it to have a memorable family time leading up to October 31. 

When this year came around, the Halloween anticipation was building!

I’d picked out matching skeleton outfits for the whole family. I once again purchased pumpkins and had already planned out which Fall Festivals we’d be attending! Well, let’s just say with each event that passed, I was becoming more discouraged that anything Fall related was going to be a success. . . which all lead up to last night’s Trunk or Treat. 

He woke up from his nap on “the wrong side of the crib” and when we tried to gently place his costume on him, the kicking and screaming began. How could I have thought that I’d be able to do anything fun with a “2” year old?? 

By the end of it all, I’d pulled his costume off, sat down on the couch, and decided we weren’t going. It wasn’t worth it. After a few minutes, Tim talked me down from the ledge and baby-stepped me to Trunk or Treat.

Once we got there we started with the costume. . .then added the vest . . .and about 2 minutes into the “trunk or treating” we were able to add the hat. . .

He had no idea what this event was, but he began to realize every car he went up to would give him a piece of candy. Although it took a little bit of warming up. . . 

He finally got into the right mood!

By the end of it all, he had no idea he was even wearing a costume (or hat!) He ran, danced, and had a great time; which means mommy had a great time! 

I’m going to accept the fact that this was probably our one good Halloween event for this year, but that’s okay! I’ll take it! 

Return to the Dallas Arboretum (2012)

This morning, we headed to the Dallas Arboretum for a playdate with our church friends. It’s been such an awesome morning, I honestly wasn’t even going to take pictures. I didn’t even know how long we’d make it once we arrived! 

The Little Man had been up since 6am, and although started his day in a great mood, he quickly went south by 9am. It took every ounce of will-power in my body to get him in the car and drive over. 


Once we arrived, he seemed to be having a good time! His favorite thing to do was climb. Climb up the hay bales, climb on the pumpkins, and attempt to climb over fences. So, it’s no surprise that most of my pictures were of him looking down when I did decide to pull out the camera. 

His other favorite activity was searching for corn they had hidden all throughout the patch. They were all different sizes and colors, and the perfect thing to carry around while exploring. And of course, what do you do with corn . . .

I don’t know how I did it, but I did manage to get him to sit for about 2 seconds and captured a fairly decent picture. I was pretty excited to capture the moment so that we can now have pictures from the Arboretum pumpkin patch both years since he’s been born! (Here’s his from last year!)

Do you have any pumpkin patch routines or traditions? 

Plano Balloon Festival 2012

 Having kids makes you do the strangest things! If you’d asked me 10 years ago if I’d ever spend my Saturday morning at a pumpkin patch 45 minutes outside of town or end my day watching hot air balloons take off, I would have said you were crazy. But when you become a parent, this intrinsic desire to see the “wonder” in your child’s eyes takes over, and you’d do just about anything to capture a smile. 

. . .including spending your precious Saturday at a pumpkin patch and hot air balloon festival. 

I will admit that once we’d decided to go to the Plano Balloon Festival this weekend, I started to get pretty excited about it. I’d read all about the event on Dallas Moms Blog, and loved the idea of doing something completely different! 

If you haven’t been before, here’s a brief run down of the event. 

Who knows? You might find yourself in my shoes next year choosing the Plano Balloon Festival over Addison’s Oktoberfest too!

The event runs Friday-Sunday. There are two daybreak launches on Saturday and Sunday mornings starting at 6:30am, and there are two evening launches on Friday and Saturday night starting at 6pm. There’s a final launch on Sunday evening at 6pm, but one of the highlights of the event is the “Balloon Glow” and this doesn’t occur Sunday night. 

Although I’ve heard the morning launches are a lot less crowded, we chose the evening event so that we could watch the fireworks after the last “Glow” on Saturday night. 

The festival lasts all day with inflatable rides for kids as young as 2, lots of festival food, vendors, and exhibitions. We arrived Saturday at 5pm right before the Parachute Exhibition. 

When we arrived, the crowd wasn’t terrible, and we decided to park at the Collin College Spring Creek Campus ($10/car) since we had a lot to lug into the event. You are allowed to bring your own food and beverages (Warning: this is a no beer / wine / alcohol event!), so we decided to pack our own sandwiches and buy dessert from some of the vendors while we waited for each activity. 

There are lots of places for families to sit. The closer you get to the balloons, the more you’ll sit on an incline. We decided to sit right near the rope that separates the crowd from the balloon field and we had to sit at a 45 degree angle the whole time. There’s a large hill with flat space (and shade), about 500-700 feet away from the field with a pretty decent view too. 

The balloons began to start to inflate around 5:15pm and kept our 18 month old entertained for a good 45 minutes until they began taking off at 6pm. 

Once the first set of balloons took off, a second round of balloons came in at 6:45pm. These were the character balloons and took a lot longer to inflate. 

Don’t get too excited when you see these! They won’t be launching, but they make the “Balloon Glow” that much more exciting! 

At exactly 7:50pm, there wasn’t a single breeze in the air, so they decided to let the audience come out onto the balloon field during the “Glow.” (I don’t think this is a rare occurance; however, depending upon the weather each year, balloons may not launch or allow you onto the field if the weather isn’t stable.)

At exactly 8pm, the announcer began a countdown from 10, and on 1 all the balloons fired up their flames and lit up their balloons all at one time! 

If you want a way to memorize your child (or yourself), this is it!

If you miss the first “Glow,” don’t worry! For 20 minutes, the announcer will begin the countdown again at various times letting you know that the balloons are about to “Glow” again. Sometimes they’re a constant glow and other times he calls for a “Twinkle” where the balloons will all twinkle like stars. 

And if you’re like us, you’ll appreciate the multiple “Glows” because it took almost all the whole time for us to get a decent family picture!

I’m not sure if this is an event we’ll attend every year since our family will be changing often in the next few years; however, it’s definitely something I can see doing again in the future! If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly event for your toddler, I would highly recommend giving the Plano Balloon festival a try! 

It’s Almost Time!

There are exactly 30 days until I turn thirty

I’m so thankful that I’ve been keeping myself busy otherwise I might find myself sinking into depression. I don’t know what it is about turning 30, but it’s something I’ve been dreading for a long time. 

When I turned 26, I had a slight meltdown. 

At 30, I feel like there’s an enormous amount of . . .expectation?

I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I find myself back back in my early 20’s saying “What am I going to do with my life?” Is this my purpose? Is this my career and aspiration? 

I hope so, because it now feels like my time to figure out who I want to be and what I want to do is over. I’m living the life I’m living now, and there’s no turning back! 

After all, I’m 30!

For those of you who have been following along with my Thirty by 30 list, here’s how I’m doing! 
I’ve got a few more things to cross off, and most have already been scheduled on my calendar! 

I’m not sure if everything will be accomplished by October 18th, 
but I’m definitely going to try! 

18 Months (a few days early!)

Well, it’s been awhile since we had any professional photographs taken of my Little Man, and although 6 months doesn’t seem like a long time, he’s practically a different kid from his 1 year photos!

I had to resist the urge and re-tighten my wallet to avoid paying more money to have his 18 months pictures done, but I desperately wanted to capture the moment. So, I grabbed my camera today and headed to the Arboretum

It was as perfect as you could get. The weather was great! The sun was shining! There wasn’t a crowd, so I could photograph wherever I wanted! But what I didn’t account for was, well. . .my son’s age. I honestly don’t know how photographers do it. 
He refused to sit still, and would move the moment I tried to get in front of him. 

This was about as close as he wanted to be to me;
which as you can tell, isn’t great for photos. 
And just when I think I have him cornered, there’s always something else to see or look at.
Like the statue of a little girl holding flowers. . .
clearly she has a baby in her tummy. 

Or you could imitate the statues too because that makes a great face for a photo. . .
After over an hour of trying to avoid the glass Chihuly exhibits and get just one good shot, I ended up with a few that I am some what happy with. 
(Even if the lighting wasn’t the best.)
   
So, if you’re a photographer, I’d love to know. . .
How do you entertain an 18 month old during your photo shoots?!

Texas in the Fall

I’ve been so busy the last few months that I’ve hardly had any time to stop and even notice what season it is. October came and went with a blink of an eye. Thanksgiving is next week! I’m even already moving into December with emails coming in for holiday parties and Black Friday ads. Everything feels like it’s moving at high speed. 

Heading home from an errand this morning, I was completely taken off guard when I saw the most beautiful fall-colored tree. I wasn’t on a major street, so I pulled over and took a picture. I had one of those moments like you’d see in the movies where everything around me stood still. And as I watched the tree in the wind, I couldn’t help but just take it all in.

In that instant, I regained a moment of clarity, and reminded myself of where I was. It’s November, and Fall in Texas. I’m thankful to live in a state where the (slightly muggy) 80 degree weather allows me to go outside with my son and enjoy the Fall colors that God has given us.

If you haven’t taken a moment to go outside lately and look around, I suggest you do. You’d be surprised by how much beauty you pass each day. 

Do you have a favorite spot to enjoy nature?