Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bush Family Vacation: Gulf Shores

What's become our annual beach vacation with Patrick's parents came to a close last week. We've gone with them to Gulf Shores/Orange beach at the end of the summers for at least the past 5 years. I'm happy to report that it was a fantastic week with no ear infection for Owen:)

Most mornings we headed out to the pool after breakfast. The condo (Pelican Point) had a baby pool that Owen really enjoyed after some initial coaxing. Isn't he just the cutest in his little swimsuit and hat? Of course, he had to carry his own bucket with him too.


He was obsessed with pushing the elevator buttons.


 I also couldn't resist snapping more pictures as he marched out to the pool like a big boy.



The big pool and the puddle jumper I purchased were pretty much a no go. Patrick and I did manage to get Owen in the big pool for a good stretch but it wasn't until the very last day. Honestly, I'm kind of okay with having an almost two year old that doesn't want to jump head first into large bodies of water.



When Owen would get tired we would head back up to the condo. I would bathe Owen while Patrick fixed lunch. We purchased a booster seat for the trip and it was definitely worth it.


After lunch Owen would go down for a nap. Since Patrick's parents typically like to hang out in the condo or on the balcony in the afternoons, Patrick and I were able to head out to the beach for a few hours in the afternoon. It was so nice.



There was one morning that we decided to take Owen out to the beach. While he did not like the ocean, playing in the sand was a hit. We took the same small baby pool with us from last year to fill up with a little water. We both noticed how much more space he takes up in it!




We eat out every night when we go on this trip. Some of our favorites include Doc's, Oyster House, Shrimp basket, and Fisherman's corner. We tried out a couple new places this year- Fishers Upstairs and Fishers Dockside. We took Owen with us to the more casual dockside restaurant and then Patricks parents kept Owen for us so that Patrick and I could go out and enjoy the nicer upstairs restaurant. We really enjoyed both new restaurants. You can check out their website here.

We had fun showing Owen the boats at the marina after dinner at dockside.



We also enjoyed walking around for a bit after dinner at the Oyster House.

Looking at the fish.
Becoming more and more independent...

We also took Owen to a playground that's just down the road from Docs. It was a really neat place. Owen isn't quite big enough for it yet, but he still enjoyed it. I didn't get any pictures though. They are all on Patricks phone.


It was a great week to disconnect from the world and enjoy our family. We could tell that Owen was exhausted by the end of it. His patience was zapped and he'd lose it over silly things. Thankfully, he slept a good bit of the way home.


We got back Friday afternoon around 2:00pm. I had just enough time to unpack, rest for a little bit, and get ready for work. I had a great weekend at work with some really sweet patients and great deliveries, but I'll admit, I'm exhausted! Then I got hit with a stomach bug Monday afternoon that lasted until yesterday. I'm hoping today goes better!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Calling

"The place that God calls us is that place where the world's deep hunger and our deep desire meet."
 - Frederick Buechner 



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cinnamon Bun Shake

I have yet another shake recipe to share with you today. I've been having some fun with my shakes and I've found that I enjoy mixing things up by changing the flavor every few days. It keeps me from getting bored. I'm almost out of my vanilla powder now and I'm thinking I might try a different flavor next time which will mean new recipes to explore.

Cinnamon Bun Shake:
1 scoop of vanilla powder
1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 graham cracker
3-4 pieces of ice
Cold water as needed
Blend and enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Beach time!

We are chilling at the beach this week with Patricks parents so I've got the blog on autopilot. Actually, it's been on scheduled posts for a week already because we spent last week with my family. I've been looking forward to these two weeks. It's nice to reconnect as a family after a crazy busy summer and it's also great to unplug for a while.

testing out the beach gear a few weeks ago.
I'll catch up on comments (if there are any) and such when I return home. I'm also thinking I'll have to make a post on beaching it with a baby. Babies are great, but they definitely throw a wrench in the normal vacation routine:) Let's just pray that Owen doesn't get an ear infection this year!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Birth

"The miracle of birth is always a miracle. It is a God thing. Every single time."
-Ruth Haley Barton

I couldn't agree with her more. It doesn't matter how a newborn baby enters into this world. Whether it's a quick labor with no drugs, a long induction with epidural, or emergency cesarean under general anesthesia, birth is a complete miracle. I get to watch little miracles happen just about every weekend. I love my job.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stitch Fix {my first fix}

About a month ago I signed up for something called Stitch Fix.

Stitch Fix

For those of you who don't know, Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service for women. For $20 you get 5 items shipped to your door. You have three days to decide if you will keep any of it. The $20, which is a styling fee, goes towards anything you keep.

I decided to try it out because
  • I have never really liked shopping for clothes. I have to be in the right mood and I have to know exactly what I'm looking for. Add Owen to the mix and you can pretty much forget about it.
  • A lot of my staples have worn out. I had to throw out a pair of jeans at the beginning of spring because they had a hole in them. Unfortunately, the same fate has been true of a lot of items. At least I know that I wear what I have! I wear it until it's worn out.
  • I wanted to explore a bit by branching out from my normal stores (Old navy, Banana Republic, Loft, Target) 
I had first read about this service when I was pregnant with Owen and remember reading through several different random blog reviews. I knew it wasn't the time to jump in on it, but decided to file it away for later. Well, I guess this is later.

I went online, filled out my personal style profile, and selected my "fix" date. I was so excited when my fix arrived. 


I told the stylist that I'm planning on going to the beach so I asked her to keep that in mind for this fix. Lillian (my stylist) included a little not for me. I thought the note was a fun personal touch.


So the first item I tried on was the shorts with the tank top. I will apologize now for not having pictures of myself in the clothes. Patrick was in Belize and I haven't trained Owen or Hurley to take pictures yet;)



I immediately knew that my stylist nailed my style and I was keeping the tank top. The jury was still out on the shorts. Then I threw on the open cardigan to get a feel for it.


These pictures are totally awful and I'm sorry. However, I loved the cardigan. Like I didn't know it was possible to love a cardigan this much. It is so soft. At first I thought it would be silly to spend so much money on a cardigan when I can buy basic items like cardigans at old navy or target. I took it off and decided I'd think about it.

At this point in the process of trying everything on, I nixed the shorts. I have a ton of shorts and I wasn't crazy about the color/pattern.


From there I moved on to the dress which was really cute when I put it on.


However, I decided that I have several dresses that I haven't even worn yet and this one was fitting a little snug through the chest. This is when I decided I'd probably keep the cardigan. Why not?

The last item in my fix was a tote that my stylist thought I'd like for the beach.


I should have taken a picture of the actual bag. It was solid navy and just not cute enough for me to want to carry to the beach. It also seemed a little pricey considering that it would end up with sunscreen, sand, water, and crushed cheerios/snacks all in the bottom of it.

Overall, I'm happy with my first fix. I walked away with two new items that I really love. I had a lot of fun waiting on the fix and trying on the items. It was nice to try things on in the privacy of my own home. The process is convenient. The items were shipped to my door, I had three days to decide what I was keeping, and then I just had to drop the returned items in the mail in the prepaid package that is already provided. Friends, I'm doing this again.

I should also mention that if you keep all 5 items, you get a 25% discount. Anything you don't wish to keep gets placed into the bag with prepaid shipping that's provided in the box. After that, you go online and "check out." During the checkout process you have the ability to provide feedback on items you didn't keep so that your stylist can better understand what you like. 

Interested in trying it out for yourself? Click here and I'll get referral credit added to my account.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Vanilla Frappuccino Shake

This recipe requires some room temp or cold coffee which requires a little planning ahead or just some leftover coffee from the pot you made this morning:)

Directions
2 scoops vanilla powder
1 cup room temp coffee
1/2 cup almond milk
1tbs pure maple syrup
a good bit of ice
Blend

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lakeshore Trail

Through a complete accident (meaning, I forgot the BOB was in Patrick's car) I ended up running with Owen at the Lakeshore Trail a few weeks ago. I had forgotten how awesome this trail is. It is really shaded from the sun which keeps it so much cooler than the other parks I've been running at. Plus, it took me back to my Samford University days.

The sunniest spot on the whole trail.
I had also forgotten how long it is. I think it's 6 miles. I'll be going back at some point because I think it was worth the drive.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Truth

"Always tell the truth, but don't always tell it."

My mom and I had a brief discussion about this a few weeks ago. It made me laugh. I think she said it's something that her mom or granny used to say. I'm pretty sure those two had a lot of funny sayings. This statement is very true. Just because you know the truth about something or someone doesn't mean you have to go around and share it. Good thing to keep in mind I think.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

28 before 29

I've always been a goal setter. I like to have to-do lists and love the feeling of crossing things off. Maybe some of you remember my silly little goals for my 25th birthday? I didn't accomplish everything on the list, but that's okay. I did some of it. I'm 28 years old today and since this will by my best year yet (every year is), I'm making yet another list.

28 before 29

1. Read the entire Bible start to finish. There is a reason this is at the top of the list. I'm fairly certain I've read the whole Bible but never from start to finish. I'll confess that I have a bit of a head start on this one but I wanted to list it anyway. I'm currently in Deuteronomy. I'm using a Bible app with a 90 day plan. I'm just wanting to quickly read through it. I don't care to stop and pause and have lengthy quiet times with it right now. I just want to take a few months to go cover to cover.

2. Take a spin class. I've heard it's a killer workout and that it burns a ton of calories. I'm not so sure how my boney tush with like it, but I'd like to just try it out once. There is a new studio that just opened close to me and I'm hoping to give it a try soon.

3. Blog more consistently. There have been times that I've severely neglected this blog. I feel like I've been on a roll lately and I'd like to keep it up.

4. Try new clean recipes. Patrick and I have been on a clean eating kick this year. It's been great, but sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a rut. I want to force myself to try new stuff.

5. Explore more of Birmingham. Since I finally made it to the Birmingham Zoo this past year (you can see that post here), I'd love to explore more of what Birmingham has to offer. I know that there is plenty more that I haven't seen (i.e. Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Museum of Art, Red Mountain Park).

6. Think about expanding the family. Eek! We're not getting any younger and, since we know we want more than one, I guess we better get to work pretty soon. Please Lord, no summer babies though! Thank you.

7. Give more. This is kind of vague I realize. I truly believe that we are blessed to be a blessing. Patrick and I have finally been giving consistently to the church this year thanks to automatic withdrawal becoming an option. We are currently praying and thinking about giving to some different missionaries we know. However, I want to make a more conscious effort to be more giving with my time and not just my money. I'm not sure how this will play out, but it'll be something to think about.

8. Be a better friend. I'm not a great friend. I'm just being honest here. For years I was too independent for it (really just too hurt) and now it seems that I get too busy. I want to be better about checking in with my friends and even visiting them. Do you here that Casey Farrah Reed Lynch? I'm coming to see you sometime this year. It's happening. I gotta meet that sweet baby girl of yours!  

9. Get a pedicure. I bought brand new nail polish back in May so that I could paint my toenails before summer. I thought for sure I'd get it done. Nope! These toenails haven't seen a bit of polish in almost a year now. 

10. Date Patrick more consistently. Patrick and I go out to eat every Thursday for our "date night". Only problem is we take Owen more often than not and we go with friends. Now I love Owen and our friends, but I think we should probably do better about taking time as a couple (especially if #6 works out). I'm thinking once a month would be a good goal.

11. This goes along with #10. I want to make a date night box. Sound sketchy? It's not, I promise! If one of us hears about a new bar or restaurant that we want to try I want to drop it in the box. When date night is coming, we reach in, grab a note card, and that's where we go. I feel like it'll help us get out exploring.

12. Read. I want to get through at least 6 books this year. I will take suggestions. Currently on my list is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

13. Finish the basement renovation. This includes painting those darn bookcases. We will have this done before I turn 29.

14. Hardwood floors in the guest room. While we are on the subject of home renovation, let's talk about what else needs to be done. When we got hardwood floors when I was pregnant with Owen, we didn't finish everything. We left the guest room because we needed a place to shove everything. We just couldn't move everything out of the house so the carpet stayed in one room.

15. Landscaping. I'm ready to have some bushes in our front yard again. We don't need to get fancy, but I'd like the basics back. I'm willing to pay someone to do it. 

16. Host more. Homes should be filled with love and laughter. Patrick and I would love to open up our home more to friends and family. We're thinking about having people over more regularly- like trading in a Lindo night once a month for some Mexican and margaritas at our place.

17. Start a college fund for Owen. Pretty self-explanatory I think.

18. Run a 5k. Since I've been training with my C25k app, I should probably plan on running a 5k at some point. It doesn't have to be a race. I'll be happy if I just do it independently. However, I know some runners that might want to join me. Could be good to have some company and accountability.

19. Get another stamp in my passport. This could be a tough one. I'm really not sure if it can be done this year, but I'll throw it out there anyway.

20. Go for a hike. This was on my list last time and I don't think we did it! This can probably be done pretty soon. I'd love to take a Thursday to hike somewhere as a family. Maybe we'll just hit up Oak Mountain State Park since it is like two minutes from our house.

21. Take time to tell my family how much they mean to me while they are still here. I'm not trying to be morbid. I just want to do something small for the people in my life that matter most. I want them to know that I see them, that I appreciate them, and that I love them.

22. Make a rainy day box. Patrick remembers having this as a kid. There was a box that contained toys that he and his brother could only play with when it was raining.

23. Go on vacation with Patrick. It doesn't have to be big. We usually do this every year, but it needed to be on here as a goal. We missed taking a trip as the two of us in 2013 because Owen came along. We need to get it in before I'm breastfeeding another babe.

24. Clean out our closets and donate. This is also something I usually do every year, but it's especially bad right now. I have no idea why, but it needs to be done asap.

25. Keep the herb garden alive. I've been doing pretty good since I planted my herbs (post here). I'd love to keep them going and even add to them.

26. Get clean(er). Like I said, Patrick and I started eating a more clean diet towards the beginning of this year, but I know that I can do better. We started drinking black coffee, switched our bread, and buy all natural peanut butter. However, I'd like to start cutting out alcohol and even more processed items.

27. Develop my style. My closet is sort of all over the place. I'll be honest, I'm not a shopper and I never have been. Shopping for clothes is not something I really like doing. Now that I have Owen, I'm even less inclined to head out to the stores. My wardrobe is suffering. I need to take some time to replace items (like my favorite skinny jeans that got a hole in them) as well as add to what I've got.

28. Practice Sabbath rest. I'd like to protect Thursday even more. I'd like to keep my phone off (literally off) most of the day. I want to find a way to set the day apart as it should be. I'd really love to figure out a way to get grocery shopping done on Wednesday if at all possible. I'll also say that I think this day should be more about what we do with the extra time provided by eliminating a lot of buying, selling, and technology.

I think this will be the last time I make a list this long. It was hard work coming up with that much. Maybe I'll stick to 5-10 items from now on.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Shake

This has been my favorite shake thus far. It is so delicious.


Directions:
2 scoops vanilla powder
1tbs all natural peanut butter
1/2 of a frozen banana
1 cup almond milk (add some cold water if it's too thick)
3-5 pieces of ice
as always, blend and enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sweet Boy

I was sitting on the couch today watching you play with your toys when you suddenly needed me. I don't know what prompted it, but you came running over to the couch with your arms up saying, "help!"


I scooped you up onto the couch next to me. You laughed. Then you leaned in and kissed me on the cheek. I laughed. Then you kissed me on the other cheek. After that you were off again to play.


You are a sweet boy and I love you so much.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Life through my lens

It's been a fun and busy summer. This is the point that I start to breathe easy and think we did it. We welcomed Patrick home from his last out of town trip for the summer last Monday night. On Thursday (Patrick's off day), we took some time to play at the park.

Welcoming home daddy from Belize
Breakfast picnic in the park

Still in his PJs

Getting ready for the creek

He loved it.

I love him.
splashing
playing in the water.