Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Field Trip: Chattahoochee Nature Center

When we moved to Chicago two years ago, I was so starved for culture and adventure, that I dragged the kids on little trips and outings every chance I got. I traveled hours just to experience all that great city and metro area had to offer.

Since moving to Georgia, we haven't been as adventurous. I think, maybe, I don't expect to find anything that could measure up to Chicagoland. We moved here three months ago, and we still haven't ventured into Atlanta yet. Scott and I both believe it will be hard to live up to the Windy City.

Even so, we have found a few interesting spots in Georgia. In Atlanta's outskirts, there are a lot of nature preserves and opportunities for outdoor activities. One of the first spots the kids and I explored was the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell which sits on the Chattahoochee River, not too far from where we live. It's a great little spot with plenty of paved walking trails and a plethora of animals to observe. While we were there we caught a little show by a wildlife expert and we delighted in "catching" butterflies in the butterfly tent.

In the summer, the nature center hosts summer camps and also kayaking and canoeing trips on the river.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Munch: Ray's on the River

Moving to Georgia--we knew we would be itching to try all the great southern fare---from barbeque to grits and fried catfish. Admittedly, southern food is not the healthiest, but you have to indulge in local food occasionally right?

A great little date night restaurant we found is Ray's on the River in Sandy Springs. This restaurant, which is worth dressing up for, is situated along the Chattahoochee River. Scott and I went for a date night, and after dinner we walked along a little path overlooking the river.

My favorite part of the meal was probably the appetizer: goat cheese pimento fritters. I absolutely love goat cheese, and southerners seems to apparently obsessed with pimento cheese. It was a surprisingly delicious combination.  We split a huge salad and a side of creamed spinach. For the main course Scott opted for trout and I couldn't resist the shrimp and grits, which were amazing.

Shockingly we were too full for dessert, but I'm sure we'll try to save some room next time.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Field Trip: Hillcrest Orchards

Right next to my elementary school in Maryland was an apple orchard. So, every fall, there were field trips to the orchard. As a class, we would tromp over in our rubber boots, swinging wicker baskets and we would pick apples. Then, sometime that week the class would make apple sauce.

I kind of forgot about those crisp, fall elementary school days picking apples. But, I had some flashbacks this weekend as Scott, the kids and I picked apples at Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay. It was our first time apple picking and we had a blast. Julie and Johnny ran up and down the rows of apple trees, carrying their bags of apples. They made sure to pick the very best, and were excited each time they found a winner.

Apples aren't the only fall southern fun we found at Hillcrest. There were pony rides and bungie jumping, hayrides, and a huge inflatable bouncy pillow. And there was plenty of food--everything from apple cider donuts and apple fritters to pulled pork, corn dogs and chicken on a stick.

We'll definitely be back next year. I can't believe it took us this long to go on an apple picking adventure.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sorry if you feel neglected Baby Girl, but I promise we will love you

I'm almost 30 weeks pregnant. In about 8 weeks I'll most likely be delivering our baby girl via C-section.

And, we just bought our first baby items on Sunday. Two outfits. Receiving blankets. A soft toy and a rubber duck. (Kids begged to pick out something for baby.)

That's it. That's all we have purchased for our little girl.
No crib. No changing table. No diaper genie. No rocker. No adorable matching sheets and blankets and d├ęcor.

Our unborn baby has been a little bit neglected I guess.

Rewind 9 years and about 10 months when we found out we were pregnant with our firstborn Julie. We couldn't keep away from Babies R Us and Pottery Barn Kids. Crib was purchased 3 months into the pregnancy, and as soon as we found out "Girl!" we went all out. I couldn't pass Gymboree, Baby Gap or the baby girl section of Target without buying something. Scott painted her room bright green, and I spent months decorating her little "Under the Sea"-themed bedroom. I diligently wrote all my thoughts and milestones in a pregnancy and baby book, and pasted the little sonogram pictures on the pages. I read stories to my pregnant belly and Scott sang and talked to her at night.

The differences between a first and third pregnancy are astounding. Sometimes I forget I'm pregnant. Seriously. Despite my bulging belly, that is way bigger than my last two pregnancies, I kind of forget. During this entire pregnancy, I think I have taken one picture of me showing off my bump...or basketball to be more precise.

It's not that I'm apathetic about being pregnant. I actually love being pregnant. I love my big round belly and eating all the ice cream I can stomach. I love feeling our little baby move and squirm and dreaming about what she will look like and what kind of person she will grow up to be.

But, this time around I just haven't had time to cherish all those prego moments I love. With two kids, a packed schedule, freelancing deadlines and a move 800 miles away, this pregnancy has slipped away.

Thirty weeks have passed and I can't tell you when I first started to show or when I first felt the baby move. That's a little scary to me, considering I know how quickly time passes in mom time. I've been a mom for nine years now, and I can't explain how that happened. It really doesn't feel like that long ago that I was dressing up my first little baby girl in a pumpkin outfit and singing her endless songs I made up just for her. I remember calling her "Little You" because that's just what she was--a littler version of herself and how true that has proven to be. And, I clearly remember rocking my second little baby--the one I thought would be my last. I rocked him and held him like I never wanted to let him go. He's still my snuggly little guy who loves his mommy.

Here I am waiting for my third to come along and I don't want to rush this. So, I'm going to take it a little slower. I'll wait for her little movements and talk and sing to her...just like I did when the other two were in my belly. She may be the last little one to arrive, but she's going to be so special to us too.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's Me Again---Volunteer Mom

This year I have officially become the "School Mom I knew I would become".
In years past I barely set foot in the school because I always had my little Johnny and who wants to chase a baby/toddler/preschooler around the classroom during storytime? Life was super busy between entertaining my little buddy and also freelancing as much as possible. 

Well, for the first time in 8 years, I actually have full entire days to myself. Both kids are in school, and though I'm busy with unpacking our new house and freelancing, there's still a lot of free time.  Of course there are days where I fit in a manicure or read a book for a couple hours.

But, my time is fleeting. In about 10 weeks, my life will take on a whole new craziness when our little girl arrives. I want to make the most of these days and do things I know won't be possible when baby comes.

So, I've been spending most of my days at the elementary school. I volunteer at the library and make copies for the teachers. I read books to Johnny's class at storytime and I volunteer as the mom helper in Julie's class during science lab and social studies projects.

I'm at the school so much that I actually know every child's name in both classes. If you look at the class list of names, that's pretty impressive. Trust me.

And the other day a little girl asked me "Why are you here so much?"

I probably should have been embarrassed. But, I just smiled and said "Because I like you guys."
She then wanted to sit next to me for the rest of the day.

Besides, who can resist this face all excited to see his Mommy at school? Now, that's time well spent if you ask me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Too cool for mom

"Can you stop walking me to the bus stop?"
That came from Julie. Age 9. A very new age 9 I might add.
"It's just embarrassing."

I knew this would come at some point, but not two months into third grade.

I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised. Julie has never been overly attached to her mama. Separation anxiety?? Not for this girl. On her first day of preschool, (not even 3 years old), Julie simply smirked and waved goodbye. Not a tear to be had. Even as a toddler, Julie didn't seem to mind when Scott or I left for her with grandparents for the weekend. And when planning an upcoming camping weekend for Brownies, she requested I not chaperone.

What the heck??

I can't help but be a little offended that she wants to be rid of us so soon. Are we that embarrassing? I  admit that some days I walk to the bus stop in sweats and flip flops. But, I'm not that bad am I?

I guess I have to come to terms with this new phase in tween-hood. I'll try to keep my distance sometimes...
But, unfortunately Julie will have to deal with her mom at the bus stop. My baby Johnny still wants me there and I'm not giving that up just yet.