Monday, September 30, 2013

Epic {for Canon} Weekend : Day 1

Craig grew up doing all sorts of outdoor activities: camping, hiking, canoeing, get the idea.  I, on the other hand, grew up dancing ballet, dressing up my dolls, and building pet stores in my bedroom.  Talk about a difference of childhoods.  I have never been camping, let alone canoeing or any of those other "outdoorsy" things. We, however, live in an area with access to all of these types of activities.  Oh yeah, and we have a boy. That means I am overruled when responding to "What you do want to do today?" with "I'd like to style the house" or "Let's find a cool spot in the shade to take pictures!".  Usually a look of utter confusion, followed by disdain comes from both of their faces.  Hmph. Boys.

So when Craig mentioned that he would like to canoe down Cold Water River, which is only half an hour from our house, I am sure he half-expected me to turn it down immediately.  I, however, will try just about anything once so I agreed.  {I mean, fine, initially I was all "ew bugs, snakes, alligators, and spiders?  uh, no."} BUT I realized that I had to try it since my husband enjoys it so much.  Besides, it would get Canon out of the house {and I could take pictures!}.  It wasn't until I was reminded that my camera could very likely get wet that I began to suspect that Craig had suggested this trip solely for the purpose of no pictures.  Little did he know that I could take my phone in a ziploc bag and get plenty of halfway decent {oknotreally} photos of our adventure.

Yes, the water looks like sweet tea.  No, you probably shouldn't drink, though it did look really clear and clean.

We didn't tell Canon what we were doing, mainly because he didn't know what canoeing was, but also because it is fun to surprise him with a new experience.  We went with some friends of ours who happen to have two boys of their own, so Canon had someone to pal around with throughout the day too. 

The river's path has several embankments for you to stop, rest, and play for a while.  We stopped three different times for the kids to run around and so we could all snack and drink ourselves happy.

I spent most of the trip {actually on the water} scanning the banks and river for snakes and alligators.  I must have said something one too many times because Canon decided to yell to our friends in their canoe to "Watch out for alligators!  They are in the water!" - about 50 times.  Craig was not the happiest person on the planet.  He said I was going to give Canon a complex.  I told him that I just wanted our son to live - with both of his hands.  You're welcome honey.


The day was spent relaxing and having fun with our friends.  Not a moment was spent worrying about what's to come.  No talk of stress.  Just fun times rowing down the river. 

Crossing over the bridge on the way home.

I learned a lot this weekend. Nature is a stress-reliever.  Who knew?! {Apparently Craig since he suggested it, but don't tell him I said so.} I'll admit - I was a bit of a girl on the trip.  I mean, a spider actually ended up in the boat RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY KNEE, but I didn't scream or capsize us, so I am going to take it as a win.  Also, I wore tennis shoes and socks, much to the dismay of my husband who couldn't understand why anyone would wear that on the river.  To my credit, I was thinking that the soles would provide more traction on the boat {I was right}, so I am going to go ahead and put another 'W' in my column for that one too.  Then there was the whole "not bringing my bathing suit" thing, but really who wants to swim in sweet tea?!  {Apparently everyone but me}.  Whatever - I didn't freeze my booty off in the icy waters of COLD WATER RIVER.  {Man, I am really racking up points here.} At this rate, I think I can call myself the victor of the day and a total expert in this whole one-with-nature thing. I can already tell that Craig is going to start coming to me for outdoor activity advice.  It's ok, I won't rub it in his face. I'm too much of a lady for that. 

P.S. - If you are near the area and are interested in this adventure, check out Black Water CanoeBonus: Children under 12 are free.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Curveballs are not my favorite

And then the curveball came at my face...

Yep, that happened today.  Figuratively speaking, of course.  I don't actually play pro baseball any baseball.

As we were going about our lives today, something happened.  I won't go into specifics, but suffice it to say that we weren't expecting it to happen.

So here's the thing.  I can stress and worry over it or I can choose to accept it and move on.  So, although very delayed today {my apologies for that}, I give you:

Friday Favorites

1.  Good friends that help me forget about my day - even when they don't realize they are doing it.

You guys have no idea how much I needed that tonight, so thank you. {Collective:  awwwww.}

2.  This guy

I mean, seriously.  Is this guy for real?!  {I'll go ahead and answer that for you.}  Yes. Yes, he is. His name is Sam Robson and he has a whole lot of talent {even more talent than hair, which is pretty amazing! Just sayin'}  Do yourself a favor and check him out.

3.  How I like my house to feel when Canon is spending the night with his grandparents

At least that is what Craig says, but I think he is just being dramatic.  

4.  This is real life.

I'm not going to name names, but there was actually a discussion tonight as to whether man spanx actually existed.  I did the leg work for you and found them.  You're welcome. 

5.  Mellow Mushroom Pretzels

Man, these things are good.  In fact, I wish I hadn't thought of them because, of course, now I want some. 

6.  Lastly, I will leave you with this to ponder for a while.

Deep thoughts, dude.  Deep thoughts...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's just one of those days

I hate those days.  You know the ones.  You can't decide what to wear, so after standing in your closet for 20 minutes staring into nothing you finally give up and throw on the same tired pants and shirt that feel like they mold to your body because you wear them so often.  {Run on sentence much?} After finally figuring out your wardrobe, you can't decide what to pack for lunch because nothing sounds good so you throw another can of soup and some crackers in your bag and dread lunchtime.  You get to work and begin droning away {that's my new term for being a drone at work} until your mind wanders to your blog. Suddenly you panic - what the heck are you going to write about today?!  Of course, you could have been a good little blogger and had posts lined up but nooooooo.  You prefer to fly by the seat of your pants and wait until the last minute to do everything.  {Case in point:  your morning so far.} 

So what do you do? You complete a list that has been circling the blogosphere for a while now.  Sorry readers, I went there today.  I hope you come back tomorrow in spite of my apparent laziness and first world problems.

And yes, I do realize that they are definitely first world problems.  {Self, repeat after me:  You are blessed beyond measure to have clothing, food, a job, and a computer so stop complaining.  Yes ma'am.}

So, just in case you were ever wondering, here's me.  Well, sort of.

making : excuses for myself instead of actually buckling down and getting things done.  i am good at that.

cooking : up ideas for dinner tonight. {har har}

drinking : green tea.  it is good for my soul and tricks my mind into thinking i am not quite as hungry as i really am.  at least that is what i wish it did.

reading : Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell.  it's the story of a guy who travels through time and meets back with all of his "selves" every year on his birthday.  this particular year, the self that is only a year older dies, even though there are older "selves" present.  he, of course, embarks on a quest to figure out how that is possible and how to stop his death from occurring   really an interesting read, but you have to pay attention to the characters in order to keep up.  love it so far.

wanting : to take a trip to Antarctica.  i just found this expedition ship, with National Geographic photographers there to show you how to take the best pictures and i am chomping at the bit to go!

looking : forward to selling our house and moving to the next chapter of our lives.  {sidenote:  need a house in Pensacola, FL?  we've got just the place!}

wishing : i could hurry up and get to the weekend already.  it is going to be epic {for Canon}.  i can't wait to spill all the details!

playing : with Canon is pretty much my favorite thing ever.  we had so much fun last night being silly and i found a new tickle spot that had him in fits.  i am already dreading the time in which he is too cool to hang out with me.

wasting : precious time on drama is just that.  wasteful.  cut the crap and live your life.  no drama mamas allowed.

enjoying : the deals on today.  specifically, this sweater is beckoning me.

waiting : somewhat patiently for the lottery to come through for us.  seriously, let's do this.

liking : blogging.  i mean, really, it's just fun.  i don't know why i didn't stick to it sooner.

wondering : what is the answer to life?  oh wait, i remember.  it's 42.

loving : my new ring.  i actually feel stylish wearing it.  that doesn't happen often.

don't mind the fingers.  have you ever tried taking photos of your hands?  it's really awkward.  i'm not looking at you, hand models.  you can put your hands down.  figuratively speaking, of course.

hoping : to one day be able to stay home and take care of Canon, while selling photographs on the side.  sounds like a dream to me.

listening : to my iTunes library is like a box of chocolates.  you never know what you're gonna get. {case in point, i just went from Bombay Dreams to Alicia Keys to Cirque du Soleil to Michael Buble to John Mayer and who knows what's next.}  i'm just living the dream, guys.  don't hate.

marveling : at the amazing world we live in.  seriously, how cool is it that you can travel the globe and not see the same thing twice.  and man, i want to see it all.

needing : to break free from the monotony of my days.  no, i am not dramatic at all.

sowing : seeds in our son that will hopefully reap major benefits in the future.  we are trying to instill in him a desire to do and see and experience so much that he never wants to stop learning about the world around him and the people in it.

smelling : fall.  well, not exactly.  i am wishing i was smelling a pumpkin spice latte or salted caramel mocha. somebody get on that.  stat.

wearing : the same tired expression i have on every weekday. ho hum.

following : Jesus is hard, but the end result is worth it.  amen and amen.

noticing : a trend here.  these prompts force me to dish out way more detail than i thought i would give on this blog. i kind of like it.

knowing : and doing are two different things.  walk your talk. are you listening, self?

thinking : about the bad in this world is exhausting.  instead, try adding some good today.  let's see where that leads you. 

bookmarking : all of the blogs on bloglovin' that i can't get to yet.  man, i love that site but it sure makes me feel like i am behind!

opening : a bag of jelly belly jelly beans is like opening my heart.  you want to know me, bring me the beans.

giggling : about that last sentence.  it makes no sense, but i think that's why i like it.

watching : hulu, netflix, and amazon prime shows makes me feel like i am so sneaky.  i mean, i can watch this stuff all day and don't feel like i pay nearly enough for it all.  {note to hulu, netflix, and amazon prime:  i do not want to pay more for the services, so please don't bump up my fees. thanks guys!}

feeling : like it's time for a cup o' joe.  lunchtime always makes me drowsy. also feeling like i overstayed my welcome with this list.  

If you read all of that, thank you.  Bless you.  I will share my jelly beans with you.  You can have all of the buttered popcorn ones because they are nasty because I love you.  You're welcome.

Have a great Thursday and I will see you back here.  Same place, but probably not the same time.  I lose track of time.  What can I say?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wanderlust : Pittsburgh, PA 9.8.13 - Day 4

As we awoke on our fourth day in Pittsburgh, the city was beginning to feel familiar.  The day before, we walked so much that we were starting to get our bearings on the location of major landmarks.  Of course, day four was also the day we were leaving.  Isn't that always the case?  You get used to something just as it is ending.  Our flight was set for the afternoon, which gave us the opportunity to sleep in one last time, take our time getting breakfast, and say goodbye to this gem of a city that we were just starting to get to know.

Craig had heard about a little cafe around the corner from our hotel and was anxious to check out their "fantastic espresso".  Did someone say caffeine?  Count me in!  Forgetting that it was actually Monday, we were surprised to see that we were the only patrons in the approximately six table restaurant, City Cafe.

In Tuscaloosa, AL, City Cafe is this amazing little restaurant that makes the best {and, thankfully for students, cheapest} "down home cooking" that you can find, outside of my grandmother's house.  At any given hour, you could find countless students from the university there {Roll Tide!}.  Naturally, I was expecting the same kind of atmosphere {even though I know that it isn't a chain and they certainly don't have a monopoly on their name}.


City Cafe in Pittsburgh, PA is a tiny, charming cafe in the midst of this urban setting.  There were live plants, beautiful artwork, and just two employees that we came in contact with - one of which, I suspect, owns the place.  And, oh the espresso.  It was delightful, as was the rest of our food.  Let's just say we left fat and happy.

"Levonmade" is the drink of choice anywhere we go.  Naturally.

Comparison of size apparently starts at a young age for boys.  It never stops, does it men?

This french toast was to-die-for.

I believe Craig was trying to convince me that he needed to grow a mustache.  His demonstration did absolutely nothing to put me in the "pro" column.  Sorry 'stache. You're a no-go.

After finishing breakfast, we took the long way back to the hotel to squeeze every little bit of sight-seeing in that we could before having to leave.

 Thanks for a lovely stay, Pittsburgh.  We thoroughly enjoyed your sights and were pleasantly surprised with all that you had to offer.

*Note:  On my home computer these images appear bright, but on the monitor that I am currently using they appear much darker.  Please let me know how they appear to you, as I need to know how to adjust in the future.  Thank you!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wanderlust : Pittsburgh, PA 9.8.13 - Day 3

First of all, I should mention that at the wedding reception Canon proved to be every bit my son that I hoped him to be.  He was out on the dance floor every second that he had the chance.  He danced to every song and loved every second of it.  He definitely made his momma proud.  Of course, I was dancing with him so no pictures but the memories are priceless. I don't think anyone slept harder than he did that night.  However, when we awoke the next morning, he was ready to start the day with the same energy that he had displayed the night before.

The newlyweds hosted a brunch the morning after the wedding at their apartment so we headed over to check out their digs.  They live in a super cute complex that boasts a delightful courtyard, filled with brightly-colored flowers and scrolling ironwork gates. {Phew - adjectives, for the win!}

This flower was so amazing, because it was so vibrant that the picture seems almost fuzzy. I actually converted this photo to black and white, just to see if it really was out of focus and found that the detail was there, but the red was so bright that it almost loses the detail of the feathery goodness.  Your eyes shall suffer because I like it.  Sorry.  Sort of.  {Not really.}

Kurt mentioned that the complex was built in the 1940's and it shows. Character just seeps from the plaster walls, arched doorways, and tiny fireplace.  There was a such a cozy feeling {and I am fairly certain that it wasn't just the eleventy billion people smashed into their living room}.  However, that many people in one place generally tends to raise the heat - and I am extremely hot-natured - so I ventured outside with my camera.  My purpose, of course, was to find Canon who had wandered off with his great uncle. {I was only a little distracted by the nature, as evidenced above.}  I found them playing at one of the complex gates where Canon informed me that he was the "Duck Keeper" and could only open the gates to let ducks in, but no one could go out {thanks, Ronald, for entertaining him {and yourself, I am sure}}.  

Ronald was pretending to be a "duck" so that the "Duck Keeper" could let him in.

 After leaving the crowd, and with a promise of dinner with the happy couple later that evening, we left to explore the Pittsburgh Children's Museum.  We initially planned to take the free shuttle that our hotel offered to the museum, but didn't realize that all shuttle service is shut down for the two hours before and after a football game.  Sidenote:  We are not NFL fans, so we didn't realize that this day was actually the season opener for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  They were playing at home and the whole city was decked out in black and yellow to root on their team.  With the shuttle service down, and taxis unsure that they could get through football traffic, we began to walk.  We didn't realize how long it took to get to the museum {about 30 minutes on foot}, and I am glad we didn't because we probably would have missed the experience of the museum.

Walking across one of the bridges on our way to the museum

This wall maze was a huge hit until...

See, I was boasting about how cool Canon was for getting in and immediately climbing all the way to the top when I heard crying.  Panicked crying.  My boy had gotten all the way to the top of the maze and found that there was no way out.  He couldn't figure out how to get down and was scared that he was stuck.  I went up the stairs {because adults can't even fit in this thing} and began to talk him down when this boy of about 8 came to Canon and offered to show him the way down.  Thank you, Jesus, for sending that saint our way.  His mother explained to me that he was the "little brother" in their family and always wanted to be a "big brother", so he was playing that role.  He played it majorly well!  Kudos to that kid - and to his parents - um, get on that.  He is going to be a great big brother!  ;)

I was so obsessed with this display, you will see more angles below.  I couldn't stop.  Sorry in advance.


After spending several hours playing in the exhibits, we left to meet our family for dinner.  Canon fell asleep on Craig's shoulders on the way back to the hotel.  Exploring really wears him out.

It wears my brain out trying to remember what we did - and this was only 2.5 weeks ago.  Does that mean I am getting old?!  

On second thought, don't answer that.