Monday, June 30, 2014

The Epitome Hike

I finally made it to Lula Lake Land Trust but not without some setbacks. On Saturday we planned a family hike, because we got word that the trails were open (they only open a few days out of the month). We had a plan and were headed that way, until Burl heard about a hike and said, "I want to stay here with my daddy and do Legos." It was so sweet and pleading (and John wasn't feeling 100%) that we decided to leave the boys at home and hit the trails. 

Here's how things went: We choose the shorter, more direct route to the falls. However, I forgot Fern's shoes and she was in flip flops. Even though she wanted to walk, the dirt and rocks that kept hitting her toes in the flops were too much for her. Oh, the drama. She wanted to be carried, so I carried her. Then, I forced her to walk. Then, I carried her. There was a pattern. Until I ran into a friend who was at the end of his hike with his baby on his back. We exchanged a few words and next thing I know, he was taking his baby backpack carrier off his back and let me have it. All the glory in all the land!!! My friends helped me get Fern in the pack and off we went. 

Eventually she was happy and jovial again. I ran into the wives a little bit later who gave us juice boxes and leftover goldfish and all was right in the world again. (Well, she was still feeling to shy to come out from hiding for a picture.)

It wasn't until we were alone by the water, getting our feet wet, that she was back to happy again. She asked me to sit on the rock next to her and take my shoes off like she did. She could have stayed in the spot for a long time, and honestly I wanted to stay much longer as well. We called it a day and headed back, and I was able to point out a patch of ferns. I even picked one for her, because I'm a wild rule breaker.

Our hike at Lula Lake was anything but flawless and easy, but it was a great example of hiking with toddlers. It will not stop us though.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Local Happenings

I can't help but share these Chattanooga happenings: 

I just learned about the Peach Truck that travels around small towns and sells delicious peaches out of their jeep. For locations/More of their story and blog. I'm hoping to catch them today or Monday in my town! (photo cred here.)

I came across this gorgeous wedding that took place at McDonald Farms, a farm I grew up going to as a child when they hosted our church's picnic. One of favorite shops and florists, The Clay Pot, helped with it. Photography and photo cred: Jac & Heath. Click on their link for more amazing pictures!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my city for its amazing outdoor scene, but I also love its cute split-personality. We're the biggest small town you'll find. Read a little bit more in Southern Living's most recent article on us. 

Some Hootenanies by Ten Bartram just released. These are two sisters who I actually know. They're tall, they're cute, and they have a great sound. Even though I don't know how to talk about music, I can say these two things: it's good windows-down-summer-anthem music and the first line of the whole CD is "Mama kicked us out the, See the beauty, it's ready to be explored." So there, the music is perfect.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Toddler Dinner Guest

Burl asked me, "Mama, can we invite one of my good friends over to eat dinner with us without them parents?" That's the four year old version of asking if he can have a friend over. I couldn't say yes fast enough! I've been anticipating this for a while, but I didn't know that it would start this early. What I really wanted to say was, "yes! Any of your friends are welcome anytime! I'll feed anyone! Please," 

It was so sweet to see Burl have a friend over for ninja practice, indoor hide-n-seek, rowdiness, and of course, dinner. I just love it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

This Week's Menu

Once again, I'm sharing my menu. For years, I shared it on Sundays, and now I post it on Thursday or Friday. I'm currently on the Whole30 food program, which always does two things for our house: adds a lot more fruit and vegetables to our groceries. There are currently so many of my favorite foods in season right now, and I'm enjoying such a wide variety. Here's what I'm making this week:

Dry rub ribs, sweet potato fries, cilantro slaw
Chicken tortilla soup
Almond butter "pancakes," sausage
Roasted brussel sprouts, horseradish carrots, sweet potato fries, roasted cauliflower

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Baby Pools At Suck Creek

"Wasn't the water a lot higher when we were kids? I never remember it this low." "Yeah."Instead of the white water that swept us away as teenagers, the water at Suck Creek is so low that it creates these small, calm blue holes that are like natural baby pools. On Monday, Daniel and I took the kids and his dog for a little adventure (as well as reminisced the days when our dad took us to Suck Creek).

Creekin' is right up my alley when it comes to toddler adventures: free/easy/short but still fun/full/stunningly beautiful as well.

Once again, my two favorite things about adventures with kids happened: I let them venture out a little more from under my mama-wings and allow them more independence; and I was surprised by how capable and willing they are to try new things. (And you'll notice that leaving my mama-wing involves wearing floaties because water-duh.)

As we were packing up to head home, Burl said, "this is a fun time we've had today."
I heard that.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Remnants Of A Pool Party

As the rain hit the late night pool party, I had to stop a take a few pictures. The remnants of a beautiful party are sometimes more exciting than the pre-party setup. The story is in what is left behind.

Friday, June 20, 2014

This Week's Menu

Every Sunday for a few years now, I've posted my weekly menus on my blog, but lately I've found it difficult to make my way to the computer on Sundays. During my little blog break, I thought it would be nice to switch my weekly menus to Thursday or Friday. I don't have exotic menus or elaborate recipes. I simply like keeping a record of my menus (for several different reasons). 

Tomorrow I'm starting Whole30 again. I am not a fanatic of the diet or think that it's the ultimate way to live, but I'm on this food journey to get to a healthy weight and a healthy place with food and sometimes I rely on Whole30 to help with that. I'm not sure that's the best way, but I'm struggling on how to live with food. I'll write more about that later, but for now just know that my menus will have a ton of fruits and vegetables in them. Here's what I'm planning on making:

Easiest fish tacos, cilantro lime brown rice, spicy greens
Veggie soup
Veggie night: homemade sweet potato fries, grilled okra, steamed lemon broccoli, bread
Tuna salad lettuce wraps, cantaloupe, chips
Burgers, grilled corn-tomato salad

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pen To The Paper

Fern walked in the den wearing her glasses and carrying her notebook and pencils. She started writing and told John, "I'm gonna be a mama."

At home one day, Burl brought me leftover valentines and asked if he could send them to his friends. He asked me to write a letter to each of them. One of the letters is pictured below; the other said something similar but included, "thanks for fighting with me." He's learned to write his name, so letters are one of his new things.

John pointed out that they're doing this because they see me do it. It's true-I've been journaling since I was a child and I write letters almost daily, so naturally these small events thrilled me.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Day & Summer Night Outside

Recently, someone told me that I had good kids and that I was good mom. Most of the time, I'm comfortable saying this about myself (and my friends), but it felt affirming to hear someone say it to me. That will never get old. Here are a few pictures from some random play with Burl and Fern. Below a few of the pictures are quotes from our toddlers:

"It's grey boot time!" -Fern as she puts on Burl's old tennis shoes 

"Wow, I can see the whole world from up here." -Burl as he climbs 3 feet off the ground 

Burl explaining things to Fern 

She needs to be right by Mama when the lawn mower is running

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Whatever Goes Family Photo

I will always and forever cherish these roughhouse pictures that I take. During John's birthday dinner in the backyard, we were wild and sweaty and hyper. Because I'm obsessed with self-timer family photos, I gathered everyone to take a picture and celebrate the night. I love the face-cover, the tongue, the wild hair, and all the sweat. In my opinion, it beats out a staged Olan Mills picture every.single.time.