Monday, November 28, 2016

Lately: November 2016

Hello and happy post Thanksgiving back to reality Monday.

Lately, things have been a bit crazy. We've barely been home and when we have been home, we've been going, going, going nonstop!

We spent the beginning of the month in London.


I got home just in time to go out and vote! I'm choosing to keep most of my opinions to myself on the election though. Let's just say that I pray that our nation comes together. More love and less hate!


I also got to visit with Ashley and see the tiny baby Waite twins when I got home! They were born on November 3rd, and I'm already absolutely in love. I can't wait for Chloe to meet them soon. Luckily they only spend a few weeks in the NICU and they're home now!


I spent the day with Ali and we dared to venture out to the Houston Nutcracker Market with our babies in tow! I'm so glad we did because I got some really cute Christmas decorations and gifts for Chloe!


Then we spent the next two weekends in College Station for some Aggie football and family time.


All of a sudden it was Thanksgiving! We were back in College Station with all of our family. First we had an early Thanksgiving lunch with JP's grandparents at their assisted living facility.


Afterwards we went back to JP's parents' house for Thanksgiving with his family and mine!


Once we were stuffed to the brim with turkey and potatoes, we went to the Aggie football game which I'd honestly rather not talk about. On the plus side, my dad got to go to the game and the Aggie band looked fabulous.


Luckily we were able to spend a pretty low key weekend at home after all the craziness of the last month. On top of the traveling, football and holidays, we have another really big, exciting life event that we've been focusing all of our spare time on. I'm not quite ready to share, but as soon as I'm ready, y'all will know! That being said, my posts here will probably be a bit sporadic for the rest of the year. Kind of like they have been the last month. I can only split my attention so much and I don't want to stress myself over getting posts up. I'll still be around though. A post here and there plus there is always Instagram!

Now go off and have a wonderful Monday!

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Thankful: Blogging

How on earth is Thanksgiving this week?! It's hard to believe that the holiday season is truly among us. The last two months have been a bit of a whirlwind. I've been traveling like crazy and while I'm home, we've been working on something pretty BIG for our family. Putting all my time and energy in to this has made time fly. Hopefully I'll be able to share more with y'all soon!

Until then, I thought this week would be the perfect time to reflect on some things that I am so very thankful for. When trying to decide where to begin, I realized that the most perfect place to start is with blogging itself.


I've talked before about what blogging means to me. This space has been a place for me to vent, share, create and brag. I can share recipes and crafts that people actually want to try. I can share life stories that people actually want to read. I can ramble on about life and people actually care. Sometimes I don't realize how special that truly is.

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut and think that no one want to read my ramblings. That's kind of how I've felt lately. I can't seem to put my thoughts into words. It's also felt daunting to plan ahead my posts, edit all my pictures or to create a new content. I hope that this week and remembering how thankful I am for this space will encourage and motivate me again.


I'm so thankful for not only this little corner of the Internet, but the bonds that I've made through blogging. I've been blessed to meet many of the faces behind the blog over the past several years. When I moved back to Houston, I became involved with many girls in one of the Houston Blogger groups. Back when I lived in Pittsburgh, I stumbled upon and followed some Houston bloggers. Connecting with them online was one thing, but meeting them in person was another! My first time to meet many of them was actually at Pinot's Palette! 


Over the past few years, I've made friendships with many of these amazing women! Some I only see about once a year and some have moved away, but thanks to blogging and social media we've stayed in touch! Having a group of women with similar interests, values and life views is a blessing.

These women have taught me and encouraged me over the years. They not only supported me in my quest to change my blog and my career, but lifted me up, gave me ideas and checked in throughout my journey.


This blog has allowed me to share my journey through life with so many. Over time, I've realized that in sharing, I've helped, supported and lifted up so many. I try not to just share all the good, sometimes you have to share your struggles to help others. Sharing my struggles before quitting my job and changing my career was important to me. I couldn't come out and say exactly what was going on, but in sharing my feelings, I connected with and encouraged others. Sharing my struggles with my stomach problems and the journey I took to find out what was wrong helped other young women to do the same. They realized that they weren't alone with this sort of embarrassing issue and sought help. 

Some people I have never and will never meet, but I'm happy to be a part of their lives and include them in mine. The number of lives I touch and the number of people that have touched me through blogging is something amazing. It's a small world we live in these days thanks to the Internet. I'm proud and thankful to have my little corner of the web and will continue to share in this space. Some months I may have more to share than others, but I'm always here.

I'm not sure if this post made total and complete sense, but getting words of this page has been a struggled the past several weeks. Today I just let my thoughts and feelings flow. Just another reason why I love this blog.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Travel Tuesday: Cancun, Mexico


Earlier this month, I took a mini getaway to Cancun with some dear friends from high school to see our friend Jaci get married! Nicole and I decided to leave our babies at home with their daddies for some much needed R&R. Plus it gave us so much time together to catch up one on one.


We arrived at our resort NOW Sapphire Riviera Cancun on Thursday afternoon. Naturally we hit the beach and the bar as soon as we got some food in our bellies. We spent a lot of time at the beach and enjoyed relaxing, reading and spending time out in the sun. Aside from the wedding itself that's about all we did. And it was perfect. So let's talk a little bit about the resort itself...

Beach: It was beautiful and clean with clear blue water. There were constantly employees out cleaning up seaweed that washed onto the shore, coming around asking if we needed anything to drink and making sure we were comfortable.


Decor: It was beautiful! There were water features all throughout the resort. The decor was tropical and tasteful, and felt luxurious.


Size: The resort was big, but not too large. It was a nice walk to get from one place to another without seeming like anything was too far.


Activities: There were plenty of activities offered throughout the resort. We didn't partake in many of them because we were interested in spending as much time relaxing as possible. There was a children's area, gym, pool activities, kayaking, paddle boarding and more. They also offered a variety of excursions for an additional fee.


Pool: It was HUGE and gorgeous. There were plenty of lounge chairs in and out of the water. The pool bar was large and usually had quite a few people hanging around. The bartenders did a great job manning all the people ordering drinks without making anyone wait too long. The activity staff around the pool also did a great job of getting people involved with dancing, playing volleyball and participating in all sorts of games. They also had some small touches like the kayak that went around periodically handing out fruit on a stick!



Now on to what I consider the important part, the whole reason we were in Cancun...Jaci & Mike's wedding! After spending a day at the beach, we got all dolled up for the festivities.


The wedding ceremony was held on the beach at the far end of the resort. Jaci looked absolutely STUNNING! Her dress fit her like a glove and her hair and make up were perfection.



The ceremony was short and sweet with personal touches. They had a friend officiate which made the occasion even more intimate. After the ceremony, Jaci and Mike had everyone gather together for a group picture on the beach. It will be so special to have a shot with everyone who attended the wedding!

After that, Jaci and Mike were off taking pictures while we enjoyed cocktails on the patio deck where the reception would take place.


The reception was a blast. We ate. We drank. We danced. We partied. Just the way a wedding should be.


After the reception, a lot of people went off to the resort night club for the after party, but Nicole and I decided to head back to our room and hit the hay.

I woke up early the next morning and decided to go for a run on the beach. I was awake, so why not!


The trip was just what I needed. Relaxing and beautiful. Besides the wedding itself, there was nowhere in particular we needed to be and no rush to get anywhere. Nicole and I travel well together. We've always been able to do things together and separate with no problem at all. I guess you can do that when you've known each other for 16 years and lived together for 2 years in college.

I'm pretty sure I need another trip like this sometime in the relatively near future. I mean, Cancun is only a 2 hour flight and there are plenty of well priced resorts! Maybe I'll bring JP and Chloe along next time.


Now I'm going to pretend I'm spending today at the beach when in all reality I have a dishwasher to unload, dogs to walk, a toddler to chase after and a house to clean...
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Monday, November 7, 2016

Guess Who's Back?!

Back again. Amy's back. Tell a friend. You're welcome. A little Slim Shady for your Monday morning. If that doesn't brighten your day just a little bit, I don't know what will!

But seriously, I'm back! Back home and back to normal life. The last week was absolutely amazing. Some people thought I was a little crazy for taking my 15 month old toddler overseas to London, but it was one of the best decisions! We did so much together as a family. It was such special time that I'm so thankful for. Since I had Chloe with me, I did things that I probably wouldn't have done without her. I took in much more of my surroundings. I went more slowly. I appreciated more of every day. Pretty special if you ask me.

I fully intend to really post about traveling internationally with a toddler. The dos and don'ts since I figured out quite a few of them. Today I just want to share a brief recap of my trip with pictures from my iPhone. JP has my Nikon and won't be coming home until Friday, so the really good pictures will have to be shared another day.

Saturday
We arrived in London just after noon. It took a while to clear customs and meet up with JP. {Yes, we flew separately! He had to fly British Airways for work and I had enough miles on United for free tickets!} Then we took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station and the Underground to Waterloo. After getting settled at the hotel we walked around a bit before having our first British meal...fish and chips. Then it was off to bed to get ready for our trip!


Sunday
We went on a Muggles Tour of London and it was a BLAST! As a huge Harry Potter fan, it was super awesome. The best part is they also hit key British landmarks and facts that weren't actually HP related as well. It was a well rounded, great tour. Our guide, Hannah Weasley, was great. I have to share all the pictures from my camera later on! We ended the tour at none other than Platform 9 3/4!

We started our journey at London Bridge! 
And ended at Kings Cross Station

Monday
We ventured out to London Tower! We started with a tour from one of the Yeomen Warders or Beefeaters. In case you're wondering, there are only 37 of them and they're the Queen's guardians of the Tower of London and are responsible for guarding the Crown Jewels. They must have a minimum of 22 years of military service to even apply for the job. Once they are selected, they have the job for life. They also give tours of the Tower and do an exceptional job of explaining the bloody history of the tower!



We captured a wild Chloe and put her out to view in the menagerie!
Tuesday
The day that will forever go down in infamy. The day that JP an I had norovirus in London and spent the night throwing up our guts and the day in our hotel room feeling worse than we had in years. Not only that, we had a toddler to take care of and entertain over 5,000 miles away from anyone we know. It was a rough day. Chloe just wanted to go outside, so eventually we were able to walk down to the grocery store to buy some Sprite and crackers. Then we kept going just to stay out of the room for a bit longer and found a park for Chloe to play. She had the best time while we were just trying not to vomit or pass out.

It turns out the restaurant we ate dinner at on Sunday night had a norovirus outbreak. In fact, they had to shut down because hundreds of people ended up sick! What are the odds that this was the one place we decided to eat?


Wednesday
We started feeling a bit better, but still didn't feel great. JP had to actually go to work, so Chloe and I went on an adventure. We started with a quick trip to Buckingham Palace, which Chloe slept through completely. Then we went on to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. We found Princess Diana's Memorial Playground and stayed there for a few hours wandering about. We also fed the ducks and pigeons, walked around and spent the whole day outside after being cooped up the day before. I think the fresh air helped a lot!




Thursday
We went to Harrods! You can't go to London without wandering around Harrods for a little while. We looked at all the beautiful things and refrained from buying things we didn't need. After Harrods,  Chloe needed some more time at the park, so we wandered around some of the gardens. Later that day we went to Trafalgar Square before meeting up with JP for his work happy hour!




Friday
We were pooped from several buys days in a row, so we had a quiet morning before heading out to Hamleys Toy Store! Seven floors of toys galore! Chloe absolutely loved it, and let's be honest, so did I. Chloe wanted all the stuffed animals and baby dolls, but we ended up getting her a Hamleys Beefeater Bear since she met a real Beefeater after all!


I swear she's happy. She was watching some of the toy demonstrators and was mad that I wouldn't let her go play right that instant! 


Saturday
Our final day and JP finally was able to rejoin us! We spent all day at London's Natural History Museum! This was something I was really looking forward to. I love museums, but I've heard that this one is amazing. Plus it was great for kids. Well the tales lived up to our expectations! We had the most wonderful time. Of course, my favorite exhibit was the Dinosaurs. I've loved dinosaurs for quite some time. I don't know where my obsession came from or where it officially started, but I just love them. Luckily I've been able to share this love with Chloe. She loves them and can even tell you what sound a dinosaur makes! Again, most of my pictures are on my camera and I'll be sure to share the best ones and tips for visiting the museum later.




Sunday
Time to go back home. It was a slightly overwhelming and exhausting day, but we did it. Chloe has proven to be a great little traveller and I am so proud of my girl!

Overall, our trip was nothing short of amazing. We loved spending time together exploring a city that we love so much. I can't wait until we get to go back again! JP will be returning in February, but without his girls. We still have so much more to see, so I know we'll be back again!

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