Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chloe Grace: 11 Months Old

Getting an 11 month old to sit still for pictures is quite the feat! Each month has gotten more challenging, but with this busy, wiggly little girl, I was lucky to get a few! It's hard to believe that this is the last month that I'll have a BABY! She's grown so fast right before my eyes. 

I thought she was on the go last month, but this month she's lightening speed! {And I'm sure next month I'll think she's even faster!} She's finally taken to crawling and can motor around wherever she wants! At first I didn't think she'd crawl much because she cried the entire time she did it. Turns out crawling isn't so bad after all. She does prefer to walk through. Crawling gets her from one object to another. She usually pulls up and uses toys, furniture, baby gates, wall, whatever she can get her hands on and then walks around that way. I've learned that you can get quite a few places in our house without actually letting go of something. Who knew? I pretty much feel like these days I spend the majority of my time following her around and making sure that she doesn't hurt herself.

This last month her personality has come through even more! I have a very expressive baby girl! The faces she makes are hilarious even when she's not trying to be funny. This month she found her "scrunchy nose face" which we have deemed her "stank" face, and she does it to everyone. It was even more hysterical when she did it all day and night at my sister's wedding. This little girl has so much spunk and knows how to get exactly what she wants. She stubborn like her daddy and determined like her momma that's for sure.

These days Chloe is mostly wearing 9-12 month clothes. She still fits in some of her 6 month onesies and shorts. I think she has a shorter torso and long, long legs like her momma! She's quickly growing out of her 9 month footie sleepers and moving on to some big girl jammies! She still has 6 teeth, 4 on top and 2 on bottom. She's been drooling and gnawing on everything again lately, so I think that some more are starting to work their way in. This last month Chloe learned how to wave and she likes to wave at everyone now! She also learned how to feed herself with a spoon! Such a proud momma moment for me. She's learning something new every single day. I try to work with her for 30 minutes to an hour each day on colors, numbers, letters, animals and other important things. I love watching her little mind work and figure things out. She's absorbing so much so fast.

This months firsts:
  • First trip to the beach
  • First time to attend a graduation
  • First time to meet her Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Ole!
  • First swim lesson
  • First wedding rehearsal 
  • First time to be a flower girl!
  • First time to wave intentionally
  • First Father's Day
  • First time to feed herself with a spoon

 My Darling Chloe Grace,

Somehow we are entering your last month of babyhood and I'm not sure how I feel about this! I love watching you grow and learn, but I'm sad my tiny baby is growing into a big, strong, independent little girl.

This past month was a doozy! You were out of your element and routine for nearly the entire month. You were sleeping in your pack n play in the hallway while your Aunt Charlotte was here. We ran around everywhere all month prepping for the wedding, and you spent a lot of time at Nonna and Grandpa's house while Momma helped Aunt Em. It was rough, but you took it like a little champ. Your sleep was off for a bit, but you're back in your rhythm again now.

We started swim lessons this month and you're doing great! Your love for the water definitely shows. The only thing you don't like is when momma gives you to the swim instructor! You're getting a little bit clingy these days and have some stranger danger, but that's okay. You'll get used to her soon. You're favorite part of swim lessons is when we sing songs and do moves with the words. We're still working on blowing bubbles in the water, but I know you'll get the hang of it soon. Practice makes perfect!

You debuted in your first wedding this month! You were a flower girl in Auntie Em's wedding and a darn cute one I might add! Your daddy helped you walk about halfway down the aisle before he scooped you up and carried you the rest of the way. As always, you were the star of the show...until Auntie Em walked out from the doors! You did so great at the reception and got to hang out with so many different people while mommy danced the night away. Thank you for being such a flexible baby. Life is so much easier because you can go with the flow!

I'm so proud of the little girl you are tuning into. You seem to be leaning something new every single day. I'm looking forward to your last month as a baby, but remember, no matter what, you'll ALWAYS be my baby.

I love you forever,

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birth story 1 | birth story 2 | one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten |

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Four Fun Facts!

You know, some days I wake up and wonder how I've managed to blog for 5+ years. More importantly, how I've managed to pique people's interest and keep them coming back for that long! {Y'all are seriously the best.} As bloggers, we kind of just put ourselves out there for people to love, hate, judge, whatever. I originally thought that only family and friends would read this. But it's become so much more for me. It's neat to realize that people are interested in you, your life, what you have to say. No matter what fashion. If it's negative, then they're wasting their time. {Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.} If it's positive, that's flattering! {I'm still just shaking it off over here.} I realize, I'm the same way. I'm so interested and fascinated in the lives of my readers and the people whose blogs I read. Over the years friendships have formed. I've met several blog friends in person! It's really neat when you sit down and think about it. I'm lucky to have found a place to pursue my passion of writing without having to conform to anyone's standards. I can share my love of fitness, pictures of my baby girl, recipes when I pretend I can cook, whatever I want really. I love this space, and I love y'all for coming back day after day to read my ramblings.

Now I want to take a step back and just do something fun! I saw my Aunt Ginny post this thing on Facebook the other day and I thought it was a great way to share some fun info about me and maybe get some back from y'all! I want to know more about you to you know :) I've added some extra categories and some fun facts at the end of each!

Four places I've lived:
1. Ft. Stewart, GA
2. Centreville, VA
3. Pittsburgh, PA
4. Houston, TX
**Fun Fact: I've lived in 9 different cities and in 16 different apartments/homes including college and temporary living when our house sold so fast in Plano!

In our backyard at our home in Centreville, VA. Centreville is near Manasas,VA and is just south of Washington D.C. I lived there from age 2-8.

Four things I love to watch:
1. Anything on HGTV
2. Dance Moms
3. Pretty much everything on TLC
4. Game of Thrones!
**Fun Fact: I'm bad at watching TV. I like to watch shows that I can multitask while watching which means I can't pay too much attention. I have binge watched one show and that was Game of Thrones because my husband wanted to catch up. To me, binge watching is watching 2 episodes in a row. More than that and I'll go insane.

Four places I have visited:
1. Barcelona, Spain
2. Bogota, Columbia
3. Niagara Falls, Canada
4. Lillehammer, Norway
**Fun Fact: You probably already figured this out, but traveling is my favorite thing to do. I love exploring and adventure. JP and I have traveled somewhere new to celebrate each anniversary instead of giving each other gifts!

La Segrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain! We went to Barcelona on our honeymoon and again for our 3 year anniversary as a stop on a Mediterranean cruise!

Four things I love to eat:
1. Peanut butter on pretty much anything
2. Ice cream
3. that weird? I really love chicken
4. Broccoli, my favorite carb
**Fun Fact: These really are my favorite foods. I'm kind of weird. If there was a number 5, I would put cookies. Yes, any kind. I try not to discriminate against cookies.

Four favorite drinks:
1. Water...and a lot of it
2. Wine...also a lot of it. Color and type vary by day.
3. happy drink. Cold brew is my favorite.
4. Grape G2...when I need some electrolytes
**Fun Fact: I don't drink soda. Every once and a while I'll have a Sprite or a Ginger Ale for my tummy, or Fresca with white wine for a spritzer. I stopped drinking them a couple of years ago.

Coffee helps me get through my 4:30am alarms! Another fun fact...I have a weird obsession with water bottles, cups and mugs. They make me happy.

Four names I go by:
1. Amy
2. Ames
3. Amy Cat
4. Cat
**Fun Fact: My middle name is Catherine and I love it so much. When I was little and played house or school, I always pretended my name was Catherine. That's where Amy Cat and Cat come from.

Four favorite strength exercises:
1. Lunges!
2. Squats
3. Cobra push ups
4. Dead bugs
**Fun Fact: I really do love lunges. Every few months, I make my class lunge the track. It's 0.2 miles long. We lunge one leg, do some upper body exercises in the corners, jog a lap and repeat until we're back at the beginning. They love/hate me for making them do it.

Four favorite cardio exercises:
1. Running! Duh.
2. Cycling...usually in a class setting, but since SF I really want a bike!
3. Burpees...I have a love/hate relationship with them.
4. Long walks with Chloe and the pups
**Fun Fact: One of my favorite things to do in the morning is go on long walks with Chloe down on the Buffalo Bayou trails. Sometimes I'll through in some run intervals depending on the weather. Then we circle around to Whole Foods for coffee and sometimes a breakfast treat. It makes me happy just thinking about it :)

Four places I shop:
1. Target
2. J. Crew
3. Lululemon
4. Kohl's
**Fun Fact: I live in workout clothes. The whole personal trainer, get paid to workout thing helps a lot, but I probably wear spandex more than I care to admit. I also love a good deal. Shopping sales makes me a very happy girl. I splurge on my workout gear since I wear it so much!

Four favorite animals:
1. Dogs
2. Giraffes
3. Elephants
4. Otters
**Fun Fact: I'm obsessed with animals. I've had a membership to the Houston Zoo for 4 years now. I love going out there and just walking around on a nice day. I took Chloe for the first time when she was just 2 months old!

Now I want to hear from you! Give me some of your answers to these questions!
Any random info that I missed that y'all want to know?

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Travel Tuesday: Adventures in San Francisco!

Beware of picture overload! I took so many pictures and it was hard to choose which ones to post. Today I FINALLY want to share with y'all our adventures in San Francisco! We decided several months ago to plan a 30th birthday trip for my amazing husband JP! Instead of throwing a party, we saved our money for something we do best, travel!

We left Houston at 6:00am on Friday, May 20th and were in SF by 8:30am! It took us a little while before we dropped our stuff off at our hotel, but by 11:00 we had rented bikes and were off exploring! There are TONS of bike rental locations in SF for self guided or tour guided tours. We opted for the self guided option because we wanted to see things for ourselves at our own paces.

It was a crazy windy day, but the sun was out and we could see the entire Golden Gate Bridge! I hear it's usually covered some by fog, but we got to see it all! We rode our bikes from Fisherman's Wharf to The Presidio and Chrissy Field where we stopped for some awesome pictures!

We kept riding on to Fort Point. It's an old Army fort that sits at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. Since both of us have parents and grandparents that served in the Army, we really enjoyed looking around the Fort, reading and seeing what conditions and life was like there during the Civil War era. The views from the Fort weren't too terrible either!

We could see Alcatraz off in the distance, waves crashing upon the rocks and the gorgeous architecture of the bridge from below. The civil engineering nerd in me LOVED this! {Some of you may not realize, I studied civil engineering for 2 years before switching to and graduating with a degree in industrial distribution.}

After visiting Fort Point, we had quite a hill to ride up before we could actually cross the bridge. As JP and I took off, we decided it was every man for himself! Since I teach cycling class once a week, I had at least built up some sort of stamina for a climb like this. My goal was to make it to the top without stopping, and I did it! JP hasn't been on a bike since he was 10 and he was only a bit further behind me. It was definitely a workout and this personal trainer loved it!

Riding across the bridge was a little on the interesting side. We had to slow down quite a bit and watch out for all the dumb people that pay zero attention to their surroundings! I may be a hyperaware person, but man some people are oblivious. If a bike is coming at you and you have plenty of room to step aside, you may want to do that right? There were several occasions I thought there was impending doom, but I managed to dodge them. JP ended up getting off and walking towards the end. We made it though!

After the bridge, we got to cruise downhill straight into Sausalito! We rode around a bit and found some bike parking where we stopped and talked to the attendants about where to eat. Then we were off to The Seafood Peddler for a super fresh seafood lunch!  

Oh my goodness y'all. I had the Salmon Mediterranean Salad and it was to die for. Granted I was pretty hungry. It was a late lunch for us since our bodies were still on Central time. I'm still convinced it was amazing regardless of how hungry I was that day. The salmon was cooked perfectly. The ingredients were light and fresh. The decor of the restaurant was adorable! Not to mention, it was very reasonably priced. It was a great recommendation by our bike attendant friend.

After stuffing our faces, we walked around the bay to see the Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model. We're nerds and like things like that! It was a HUGE model of the entire bay laid out in an airplane hanger. It was free to walk around and self tour or you could pay for an audio guide. There were plenty of videos and things to read to understand everything without the guide if you ask me.

The Bay Model was a great way for us to escape the elements for a little while and still be able to explore and enjoy Sausalito! It was a crazy, windy day and a bit chillier than we expected. While we were dressed appropriately, that wind will still get you!

After spending about 20 minutes viewing and learning about the Bay Model, we walked back to the main street for a little shopping before taking the Ferry back across the Bay. We decided to take the longer ferry ride down to The Ferry Building to get a little extra time back on our bikes. This allowed us to ride all the way along the piers. The Ferry Building is Pier 1, to the left are all of the odd piers and to the right are the evens. We were headed left and passed by Pier 39 and headed on down back to Fisherman's Wharf where we returned our bikes after several hours of exploring! It was one of my favorite things I've done on a vacation and HIGHLY recommend it!

We decided to shower off and rest up for just a bit before going to dinner. We decided to hit up a local restaurant in Fisherman's Wharf that was recommended called Cioppino's! It was just a few blocks away and we heard their seafood was on point. I'm pretty sure it would be hard to get bad seafood in Fisherman's Wharf!

We figured it was best for us to get their signature dish...the Cioppino! It was a delicious assortment of seafood from fish and crab meat to calamari and shrimp to muscles and clams all in a light tomato based broth. Plus we got to wear some pretty sweet bibs.

Even though we were stuffed to the brim after eating most of the Ciopinno, we had to end the day with some ice cream...because vacation. You always end vacation days with dessert. That way you know you're getting the perfect ending to a fabulous day!

Saturday we woke up early and headed out to Sonoma Country for all the wine fun which I'm saving for another post. So we're going to fast forward to Sunday!

Since we have a habit of getting up earlier than needed, our Sunday morning started early a walk around Ghirardelli Square before jumping on the trolly!

A cable car trolly ride was an absolute must in our books. Since we arrived early, the line was short so we only waited about 10 minutes! We met a sweet family while in line and were able to help out and take pictures for each other.

The trolly ride was a great experience. We were able to see all around the city and enjoy the crazy hills without having to walk up and down them. We took the Powell/Hyde line from Ghirardelli Square into the Financial District.

We got off at the end of the line and walked down Market Street back to the water where we ended up at The Ferry Building and a cute little farmer's market! We grabbed coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee and walked along the water to Pier 39.

Pier 39 was definitely a happening place. I'm glad we arrived earlier because later in the day it was insanely packed. We walked through some shops and explored before visiting the sea lions! I could watch them all day. They were so funny to watch as they were playing and fighting on the docks. Some of the sea lions were not having playtime and some were just itching to pick a fight. We stayed and watched for quite a while because I was in awe. I just love animals.

We grabbed some fresh fruit and savory crepes for a light lunch before getting ready for our Alcatraz tour! For the tour, you meet at Pier 33 to take a ferry cruise to the island.

Once you get to the island, they briefly go over what to expect. You have all the time you want and need to explore the island. Everything outside of the main building is self guided exploration and inside the actual prison is an audio guided tour that comes with the whole experience!

It was so interesting and it was JP's favorite part of our trip! Seeing the old buildings and reading about the stories was fascinating and put you right back into the 40-60's.

The views of San Francisco weren't too bad either!

While from a far the island looks like nothing but rock, once you're on it, you'll see so many gardens with flowers everywhere. It's such ironic beauty on an island known for one of the most well known federal penitentiaries.

Did y'all know that Alcatraz Island is also home to the oldest lighthouse on the west coast?

We decided to do all of our walking around outside before heading into the actual prison itself. I'm glad we decided to do it this way. It allowed for some pretty awesome build up before going in!

We got tons of great pictures and learned so many fun facts. The audio guide is actually recorded by 4 former guards and four former inmates. It's interesting to hear things from both perspectives. Plus their accents take you right back to the 50's-60's!

We were on Alcatraz Island for a few hours before we took the ferry back to mainland. We walked around Fisherman's Wharf some, picked up a few souvenirs and then went to our hotel to get cleaned up for dinner!

We went to Zazie and loved it! We heard it was amazing for brunch/breakfast, but we opted to go for JP's official birthday dinner celebration.

As always, dinner was followed by dessert at the Ice Cream Bar which was just down the street! It was set up like an old fashioned soda shop and it was to die for.

We finished our trip Monday morning with a 3 mile run along the water, with a pit stop to see the sea lions again, and ended it walking up some hills to see Lombard Street!

Our final hoorah was a delicious brunch at Pat's Cafe! It was around the corner from our hotel with rave reviews that didn't disappoint. I had the chocolate peanut butter pancakes topped with fruit and I wish I could eat it every single day!

San Francisco was amazing and I can't wait to go back some day!

If you made it to the end of this, I'm impressed. Thanks for sticking around, reading my rambling and looking at ALLLLL the pictures. This isn't even half of the ones that I took!

Have you been to San Francisco?
What is your favorite part about the city?

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