Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween from...

...my little monster!


Since we're off in London today, we won't be trick-or-treating around our neighborhood. Luckily Chloe and I already did that at Disney World with Julie! We were the cutest, friendliest monsters around. I did pack our costumes just in case we find some fun festivities in London!

And just because she was the cutest, tiniest Snow White, here was my little Chloe last Halloween!



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Friday, October 28, 2016

Guess What?

Hey y'all, guess what? I've been busy this week. Guess why?

In about 12 hours I'm flying across the Atlantic. 


With a toddler. 


By myself.


Guess what? I'm kind of scared and a little nervous. Y'all may remember my rough experience on our way back from Nashville. It's been our only bad flight out of 8, but I'm pretty sure I'll never forget it. We're flying out at night, so I'm hoping she'll get some sleep on our long journey. Cross your fingers and say a prayer for us pretty please!

Guess where I'm going? 


London!

JP is heading there for work to meet his new boss and team. Chloe and I decided that we wanted to go too! JP is taking a couple of vacation days at the beginning of next week to explore with us. Then Chlo and I are on our own doing all the fun little kid things in London. Let me know if you know of something fun we MUST do!

Here's to London and traveling around the world with a toddler! If you want to see our adventures, follow along on Instagram!

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Monday, October 24, 2016

One Thousand

Five years, 10 months and 8 days ago, I sat down at my desk in my new home in Pittsburgh and typed up my very first post on this blog. I had no idea what I was doing, and I definitely didn't realize what this space would become to me.


Today I am posting my 1,000th post. ONE THOUSAND! This blog of mine has come so far over the past almost 6 years. I wouldn't do it if it wasn't for y'all. The awesome family, friends, random strangers, internet/blogging friends that have supported me along the way.

This blog is so much more than a blog. It's a place for me to document my life. It's a place for me to vent. It's a place for me to share my love of writing. It's a place for me to show off my pictures no matter how good or bad they are. It's a place for me to be me.

This blog has been with me since we adopted our little Maggie and lived in Pittsburgh during our first year of marriage.


This blog has been with me for our move from Pittsburgh back to Houston where we bought our first house.

This blog has been with me through football seasons, adopting Moose, and traveling around the world.


This blog has been with me from my career change and struggle to find myself.

This blog has been with me for the birth of my baby girl.


This blog has been with me from race training to half marathon to marathon to running again post baby.


This blog has been here for me through thick and thin.

I love what this space has become. I love being able to look back on it and smile. I love each and every one of y'all for reading it.

So here is to 1,000 more posts in this space of mine. Who knows what else it will become over the years. No matter what, I know it's here for me.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

To the random stranger...

Yesterday I was walking with Chloe and was almost hit by a car. By far the closest call I've ever had and the most shaken I've been. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you already saw my post and read the story. If you don't follow me...then you should! But here's the background story:

This smiley girl and I had an interesting morning. We walked to Whole Foods for breakfast before heading to the park. On our way to the park, we were nearly hit mby a car. Luckily it was only a close call, but it was so close that I had to run out of the way of the vehicle to not get hit. I was shaken and upset. What bothered me even more is that not one person checked to see if we were okay. There were several cars that saw what happened and everyone was too busy trying to get to work to even roll down their window and check on the mother pushing her baby in a stroller. The car that nearly got us didn't even slow down. I'm pretty sure she will never know that she almost hit us. I guess what I'm getting to is be careful when you're driving and watch for pedestrians! As a runner and walker I try to watch for them, but even I am careless sometimes! Also if you see something happen or even almost happen to a pedestrian, Check to see if their okay!
A photo posted by Amy Gougler (@acgougler) on

As I walked away from this incident, I was definitely upset about the lady who will probably never even know that she could have seriously injured me and my child. I was even more upset about the fact that not a single person checked to see if I was okay. There were several cars at the stop light. Someone could have rolled down their window even. But no, everyone was too busy and worried about getting to work to comfort the mom walking with her baby. It's moments like this that make me disappointed in the world around us. Disappointed in people. Disappointed in God. Why are you letting this happen? I don't try to be disappointed in God, it's far from His fault. But sometimes it just feels like it is. In moments like this, I try to turn things around. Think about the good in humanity, not the bad. Instead of dwelling on the rude and hateful people in this world, focus on the good people that go out of their way to make their friends, family or even a random stranger's day brighter.


To the random stranger on the plane who told me that she knew I was a great mom:
Thank you for boosting my confidence in my ability to navigate this crazy journey called motherhood. It's far from easy. Thank you for making me feel good about myself in a stressful situation. {Luckily Chloe was pretty good since her previous flight experience was a nightmare.} Most importantly, thank you for going out of your way to tell me this. You didn't have to say a word, but you chose to and it made this momma's day!


To the random stranger who gave me her Mickey ears:
Thank you for being so kind and generous! I told you that I loved your Nemo/Dory themed Mickey ears while washing our hands in the bathroom. I left the bathroom and joined Chloe & Julie then you came out and offered them to me! You made them yourself and were leaving the parks that day, so you didn't really need them anymore. Thank you for making my day because of your kindness.


To the random stranger who works at Disney gave me a free cupcake:
You rock! Thank you for being awesome and making my last day at the Disney parks super awesome! I was totally eying those chocolate/peanut butter Darth Vadar cupcakes, and then you gave one to me...for free!


To the random strangers who encouraged me while running on the beach:
Thank you for making me feel like a rockstar that morning! I had laid in bed contemplating whether or not to run. I didn't really want to get up, but decided to do it since I was awake anyway. Thank you for encouraging me and telling me I looked fabulous. It made me feel fabulous. I was definitely glad I got my bootie up thanks to your compliments and these views.


To the random strangers who played with Chloe and I at the park:
Thank you for being as outgoing as I am and not afraid to let your kids play with us. So often we're at the park and other people come and act as if no one is there! Thank you for interacting with us and encouraging your children to help Chloe and play with her. It made her time at the park better and it made my hear so happy.


A big thank you to the random strangers out there that are kind, offer compliments, help others and go out of their way to just be a good human. You help me to remember that there are good people out there amongst the bad. I only hope that people see me as one of those good people.

Today I challenge everyone to go out of their way to make someone else's day. Maybe even a random stranger. You have no idea how much you could help someone with even the smallest compliment!


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Monday, October 17, 2016

90+ degree October days...


Holy hotness! Y'all it's been too toasty in Texas this year. Apparently there were two really nice weekends with cool mornings and highs "only in the low 80's." But of course I was gone for both of those weekends. The first weekend I'm back home and have outdoor plans its sooooo hot! Not just warm, it's hot. And humid. Good ol' Houston "fall" weather.

Don't worry, we didn't let the heat get the best of us! We started our Saturday taking Christmas card pictures and meeting Santa with Meeker Pictures, the photographers that shot my sister's wedding! Sneak peeks will come a little closer to Christmas. After pictures and a nap for my little, we hit the local pumpkin patch!



She ran right up to all the pumpkins as soon as we got there! It was super cute and fun to see her reaction. She went right up to the "Chloe sized pumpkins" and grabbed the most perfect, round, flawless pumpkin I've ever seen. You'll notice that it's in all of the pictures because she carried it around the rest of the time we were there.



Mom and I brought Chloe to this same pumpkin patch last year on a random week day. She was absolutely adorable and so tiny, but clearly had no idea what was going on. I love seeing how much my girl has grown and learned over the past year. How did my baby get so big so fast?



It was definitely worth going out there on a weekend this year because there was so much going on, but it wasn't too crowded. There was a bake sale, BBQ, face painting, a silent auction and they had local dance companies come out to perform! Chloe loved watching the dancers and listening to the music. She even did a little dancing herself.

I'm a sucker for themed photos especially if I can actually get one with the whole family! They had a cute little set up for pictures, so I had to get one of our little fam.



And how could I not get a sister picture while we were there? We kind of like each other...a little bit.

Overall, despite the heat, we had a great time outside at the pumpkin patch. I'm looking forward to real fall weather now. I know I'll miss the heat and I'll be ready for summer again come February/March, but it's time for the holidays to start. I'm ready!

And here's one more from last year just because she's tiny and hilarious...


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Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall into Favorites: Chocolate & Pumpkin Spice Chip Cookies


Hey, hey happy Friday! Is it just me or did this week fly by? It seemed to get away from me. I was definitely productive since it was my first full week at home in several weeks! After hopping around from Orlando to home right back out to Cancun and home again, it's nice to know I'll be here for a while. When traveling, I always miss the comforts of home. My own bed. Lounging on the couch. Cooking in my own kitchen. Speaking of cooking, I have a funny story for y'all...

A few weeks ago, before I started traveling, I had this urge to bake. Really I just wanted to use my stand mixer. It's been sitting pretty in the corner of my new kitchen for months and months just begging me to use it. I finally obliged. Chloe was down for a nap one Thursday, so I blew the dust off {literally there was some dust on it...gross} to make some delicious cookies! We were having people over on Saturday which meant I wouldn't have to eat all the cookies by myself. Perfect time to bake if you ask me!


A month ago Influenster sent me a Back 2 School Vox Box with all sorts of goodies and coupons for some awesome back to school items. One was a coupon for a free tub of Country Crock buttery spread. I usually use Irish butter, but I always keep a buttery spread in my fridge as well. Since I had been itching to use my stand mixer and my Vox Box came with a make it your own cookie recipe from Country Crock, this seemed like the perfect thing to bake! I love cookies and pumpkin spice. Go ahead, call me basic. I can't help it. I really do love it! I bought a package of pumpkin spice chips from Target and finally had a chance to use them. Clearly everything was falling into place for me!



Ingredients
Wet ingredients
1 cup Country Crock
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

Mix-ins
3/4 cup pumpkin spice chips
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Sprinkles!

Directions
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 375*F
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. I used my stand mixer, but you don't need one! An electric mixer would be your next best option followed by a manual whisk.
  3. Stir in dry ingredients until blended. The dough will be soft and creamy. {See my picture above!}
  4. Add mix-ins into the dough until every spoonful of dough has some of the delicious sprinkles, chocolate and pumpkin chips!
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto an uncreased baking sheet about 3 inches apart. If you want, you can add additional sprinkles on top of the cookies.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges of the cookies are lightly golden.
  7. Let your cookies cool and ENJOY!


The cookies turned out delicious! Everyone loved them especially Chloe. I think she got her Momma's sweet tooth. I'm already wanting to make them again! Maybe I can half the recipe. I certainly don't need 4 dozen cookies hanging out in my kitchen. I will eat wayyyyy too many of them! Or maybe I'll come up with a new recipe to use the rest of my pumpkin spice chips. I guess we'll have to see what I can come up with.

I'm just looking forward to being home this weekend. We have Christmas card pictures and game night and the rest is just hanging out! So have a wonderful weekend y'all!


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Monday, October 10, 2016

I'm still here...

 

Oh hello there! You're probably wondering where I've been. Unless you follow along with me on Instagram, then you may know that I've been hopping around the U.S. and Mexico! Okay, just Orlando and Cancun. But back to back long weekends with a crazy week in between. I've got a bit of catching up to do this week.

But let's just take a sneak peek at my travels!



First stop Orlando! We had a blast at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party dressed up as Monsters! Mike, Sully and little Boo.



We spent four days with Julie and hit each of the parks. Chloe did such a great job and had a blast! Of course I'll post more pictures and give more details when I get my act together.


I got home Sunday night from Orlando and took off Thursday morning for Cancun!


I was there for my friend Jaci's wedding! Nicole and I decided to leave our girls at home with their daddies and have a nice, quiet girls weekend. It was perfect. The wedding was gorgeous! We danced the night away and had an amazing time with friends from middle school/high school.



The weather was perfect. It was sunny the whole trip except for a little rain on our final morning!


Again, I have more pictures and details, but no time to share today! This is just a glimpse at all the fun I've been having! Now I'm off to work...it is Monday after all!


Happy Monday y'all!

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