With how busy Kyle's past school year has been, we were way past overdue for a little family getaway this year. When I asked Kyle where he wanted to go for a trip during his short one week break from classes, his response was somewhere where we could just relax and not have to feel pressured to do anything if we didn't want to. I honestly couldn't have agreed more, so after some thought we decided to take a trip down the south-eastern coast and road trip through Beaufort/Hilton Head, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Neither place is an overly large or busy city and both have much more of a relaxed, beachy/coastal vibe to them, which is exactly what we were looking for, and it seriously could not have been a better time spent. We played on the beach, ate ice cream while walking along the waterfront, and spent a day exploring Old Town Savannah seeing buildings and history that were older than the actual country. We never rushed anywhere, kept our activities minimal and simple, and really just tried to take things slowly so that we could fully enjoy the area, and more importantly, each other.
One of my favorite things about our family trips is the chance that it gives me to see my husband and baby in a new place and learn things about them that I didn't know before. One of Kyle's favorite parts of the trip was Chippewa Square in Savannah. From the moment we'd chosen our destination Kyle had put it on our list of places to visit because it was where the Forrest Gump bench scenes were filmed. I agreed and made it our first stop in Savannah, but once we were there realized that the reason Kyle has always loved Forrest Gump so much and the reason he was so excited to see the actual place was because it had always been one of his late Grandpa Terribilini's favorite movies too. It may sound silly, but I felt extra glad that we'd been able to take the trip there because it gave me the chance to learn something new about Kyle that I hadn't before, and now when he asks if we can watch Forrest Gump for date night every few months I'll understand more where it's coming from and more readily agree. 😉
As with any family trip, there were unexpected things and learning experiences that we had the chance to deal with along the way. It rained a LOT during our trip, and although I'd expected some rain, not even our jackets were enough to combat the torrential downpour that we received at certain points during our stay. It was also a whole new experience traveling with an excited toddler as opposed to the sweet little five-week old baby that slept through our whole trip last year in D.C. She was full of energy the ENTIRE trip, and so badly wanted to be able to walk around and touch everything that she possibly could. She kept herself up way past bedtime every night, and getting her into her carseat now is still a fight after making her sit in it for two - nine hour drives within a week's time. 😬 As with most unexpected adventures though, we learned that the best way to handle them was to not stress out and to just take things as they would come. Emery got her naps while driving to and from destinations, getting home took longer than expected because we kept stopping to let her out to get her wiggles out, and like already said we kept our schedule while exploring super flexible to allow for a toddler's explorations and unforeseen rainstorms. I feel like our flexibility helped to keep stress levels low and enjoyment of the journey high, making the memories one's that we'll always cherish.
Also, one last note of learning for myself and anyone else with naturally curly hair traveling to the south - just don't even bother trying or stressing over the mane. My hair was straightened on day 1 of our travels and within 24 hours it was back to it's naturally curly/frizzy state thanks to the humidity. HATS. That is the only solution. Or at least the easiest one in my opinion. 😜
Overall this was definitely a trip for the books. It gave us all the together time and fun that we needed to get us through another year of dental school and nannying, and we're already looking forward to the next time that our family can take another adventure together!
North Carolina: Biltmore Estate & Surrounding Shops (It is pretty expensive to actually see the Biltmore Estate & Winery, so we basically just drove as far in as we could without paying)
Before Emery was born, I felt so sure of two things. The first was that my darker traits would most likely dominate in the making of our child, giving me a little "mini me" when I found out that we were having a girl. The second was that given Kyle's naturally analytical, more serious nature (as opposed to my somewhat flighty, loud crazy self) would assure me the position of being the "fun" parent. You know what I'm talking about; the parent that your baby is ALWAYS excited to see no matter what, the parent in the relationship that the baby will actively reach for and crawl to for playtime, and the parent who can virtually do no wrong in their child's eyes. The funny thing about pre-baby assumptions is that they're usually wrong, and these two assumptions of mine were no exception. Our daughter came out looking exactly like a miniature female version of Kyle, and although she likes me plenty, Kyle definitely takes the cake when it comes to the "fun parent" title. While pregnant I thought I'd be upset at loosing in the race of genes and affection from our daughter, but the second I actually saw Kyle become a father the day Emery was born, I knew without a doubt that I'd give the win to him any day of the week. With this year being Kyle's first "official" Father's Day, I thought that I'd indulge a little bit and let him (and all of you reading) in on a few things that Emery and I think make him such a wonderful dad. So, without any further adieu, here's our little list of love for our favorite guy. ❤️
5 Things Emery & I LOVE about Kyle (or Dada - still working on getting Em to say it)
A very happy Father's Day this weekend to all of the dads out there, and especially to our sweet Kyle. We love you dearly and really do think that you're the best!
It was 7:30 in the morning on a Sunday, and as I heard my daughter's whines and cries of "mama" through the baby monitor I groaned and remembered the days when my only alarm clock on the weekends was sunlight through the curtains and my hungry stomach ready for breakfast. I nudged Kyle to see if he would get up and bring Emery into our room, and he made the joke that she was calling for me, and to be glad that she at least knows how to say my name (we're still working on the whole "dada" thing 😉 ). I rolled my eyes and then got out of bed to go get Emery, and couldn't help but smile when I opened the door to her bedroom and saw her immediately light up and start bouncing and squawking excitedly at my arrival to take her out of her crib. I brought her into bed with Kyle and I with hopes of having us all go back to sleep for a little bit longer, but quickly gave up on the idea once I realized that Emery was up and ready to party, and making it clear by bouncing and crawling over every surface of our bed. I thought again back to mine and Kyle's pre-baby days of sleeping in, but this time I smiled because I knew that the way that things are now bring so much more happiness than sleeping in late on a Sunday morning. Life as a mother brings SO many challenges, but the blessings that it carries far outweighs any sort of frustration or struggle encountered along the way.
I had a friend/small shop owner pose the question in a Facebook group, "What is your favorite part about being a mom"? As different mamas posted their individual answers to the question, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of love that I could see each of these women had for their children. It also made me think long and hard about what specifically I love most about being a mom. There's obviously a million things that could be added to that list, but the more I thought about the question, the more I realized just how much value the knowledge of it's answer holds. So in honor of Mother's Day this weekend, I decided to sit and write a message to my one sweet daughter about my absolute favorite things about being her mom. I write the letter for her, in hopes that she'll one day look back and read about how much she's always been loved, but I also write for me, so that on those days when dreaded "mom guilt" steps in and I feel like I'm not doing nearly as well as I should be, I can look back and read and remember all of those most important things that bring me so much joy, and I feel like that will make all of the difference.
A very happy Mother's Day to all of my fellow mamas out there, whether you're a mom of two, ten, one, a mom-to-be, a mama with angel babies, grand-babies, and anything in between. I love you all dearly, and think that you're all amazing for all that you do. Enjoy your day for you!
em's shirts, snail print shorts, snail print dress: c/o ahoy amigo (use code SIMPLYPETT to save)
raindrop bow: sapling + knots (use code SWEETEMERY to save) | hat+ denim shorts: target
blue gingham bow: saywer & sloane | floral headband: little ms kays | moccs: rad moccs
If there is one thing that could be "defined" as one of my character traits, it is that unless my livelihood depends on it, I will choose fun over work pretty much every single time. Some might consider this a flaw because when there's lots of fun to be had, a lot of the work (cough cough, housework, grocery shopping, blogging, etc....) tends to get pushed to the side. Although those things have most definitely taken a backseat this past month, as I go back and reflect on what I spent my month doing, I don't regret choosing fun one single bit. H (the little boy I nanny for those just checking in) got a new little sister, so while he gets to spend time with his mommy and new baby for a few months, for the first time really since Em's been born I've been able to really experience what it's like to be a stay-at-home mom to just my one sweet little girl. We've been incredibly busy - we went to Utah to visit family, pulled an all nighter for a year's worth of free pizza, tried frozen yogurt for the first time (for Emery at least... heaven knows I've had my fair share of the dessert 😜 ), had Emery's first Easter, go on walks several times a week and are constantly outside and on the go with friends and Kyle when he's free from school. With everything that's been going on, I've found that I have very little time for things like social media and just media in general, and I'm surprised at just how OK I feel about being a little bit detached from it all. For memories sake I've still taken/posted plenty of pictures (big Chatbooks fan over here), but it has been so cleansing to just take a step back from everything else and live life simply for the sake of enjoying it in that very moment just how it is, and to not have to worry about what everyone else in the social media world is doing. For the first time ever I feel like I've gained a better understanding of what #childhoodunplugged really means, and I have a higher motivation to expand that from Emery to myself and try to live my own life a little more "unplugged". Summertime is quickly coming, and along with the warmer weather and summer festivities is Emery's first birthday and the realization that my sweet little girl will soon be a toddler and no longer a baby. These years are so short, and everyday I want to do my best to make sure that I'm soaking them in as much as I possibly can. So expect to see more messy knees and hair, comfy summer clothes (these cute ones from Ahoy Amigo are literally perfect for babies/toddlers), and probably lots more pictures of things like ice cream and outside walks and playdates, and other "typical" life as we know it types of pictures/posts. Since those are a few of Emery's favorite things right now, I fully intend to enjoy them all with her and give her the best living-in-the-moment, "unplugged" summer & childhood that I can. ❤️
Dear Sweet Mama,
I'm writing to you today to share a short story in hopes that maybe you can relate; so that if you ever find yourself in a similar state of mind or situation, you can find peace in knowing that you're not alone and that you're doing a good job. I heard a statistic that stated that as a parent, one is able to feel higher emotional highs and lower lows than ever felt before having children. Since having Emery I've been blessed with experiences to feel those highest highs, but this last week has shown me what some of those darkest, lowest lows feel like, thus the point in my writing this story....
You see, this last week my sweet baby girl got sick with croup. Although I now know that croup is actually very common in young babies and toddlers, I didn't fully understand it at first, and in my mind my daughter had caught an illness equivalent to polio. The doctor in the emergency room made it sound like Emery's cough was no big deal (which was frustrating because the only reason that we went to the ER in the first place was because a doctor on the phone had told us to go in just in case she had croup) and I felt completely helpless because everything that the doctors were telling me to do to help the cough I already was doing with no success. All I knew for certain was that Emery had an awful cough, that it was the worst at night, and that somehow it had to be my fault that she was sick.
There were so many times in the middle of the night that Emery would wake up coughing and crying, and after calming her down and getting her back to sleep I would lie awake in bed unable to relax because I knew that another coughing attack was only a short 30 minutes to an hour away. It was during those dark hours in the night that I experienced some of those low points mentioned above, and the heavy sense of guilt and self-doubt was almost unbearable. I spent my nights blaming myself for taking Emery out in public too much, letting too many people hold her at the family Christmas parties, and wondering if she would have even gotten sick had she still been on breastmilk as opposed to formula. No matter the scenario I was always in the wrong, and the negativity combined with the lack of sleep wore on me phyisically, mentally, and emotionally.
Now that Emery is finally on the mend and I've had a chance to reflect on the situation with a more clear mind (and after several gentle reminders from my forever patient husband) I've come to learn an extrememly valuable lesson. Occassionaly as a parent, bad and/or scary experiences are going to happen with my children. I'm absolutely positive that there will be more colds, scraped knees, and possibly even another trip to the ER in my child's future and that is OK. It is not my fault, everything will turn out well in the end, and ultimately as long as I'm doing my part to love and take care of my child as much as I can and in the best way that I know how, then I am doing a good job as a mother, and guess what mama, SO ARE YOU. In fact, I bet that you're even doing a better job than you think. Society puts so much pressure on us as women and mothers to be "perfect", and even with how heavy that societal pressure is, I still feel like in many cases it's nowhere near as bad as the pressure that we put on ourselves.
So relax a little bit, go hug your babies tight, and know that you are an amazing woman and mother. If you feel like it, once you've been able to convince yourself of that insanely important truth, go tell another mama you know that they're doing an amazing job too. Despite how much happiness it brings, momming is definitely not the easiest job in the world, and I deeply believe that it's made a little bit easier with support from loved ones and friends. Thank you for letting me share my story with you, and know that I very much consider you a wonderful friend. ♥︎
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.