Friday, July 26, 2013

5 on Friday: My weekly wrap up


I can't believe it's Friday again! I am so glad, but this week just flew by! I worked all week in Mom's office and Cameron was kind of a grouch...I think the combination of starting to walk and teeth caused our poor boy to have some pains!! Thankfully, he's back to his usual self and got a new Baby Einstein video, so he's happy. :)






1) Facebook: I won't complain about a free service that let's me keep in touch with friends, brag about Cameron and promote my Arbonne business, but really? Those ads just kill me...I'm glad I got to give my two cents. :)




2) Chad and I went and put a lock on the "Fence of Love" in Portland...it's oh-so-cheesy, but we've been wanting to do it for awhile!




3) We just had to make a major repair to our poor Lani, the Land Rover. Ole girl is not cheap! Thank goodness for 2nd (and 3rd jobs)!

4) We are doing some more catering this weekend, and our friends, Sarah and Katrin are going to watch Cameron! This is the first time someone other than my Mom has watched him! They are so great with him and he LOVES them! 

Sarah's birthday brunch in February...he loved her way back then! ;)


5) I went to Target the other day (shocking, I know), and came across their Feed collection...it was picked over, so I didn't get anything. I was so sad!! I wanted a new tumbler, bag or something. I love the concept, the design, everything! I'll have to do a little online shopping!





Happy Weekend, everyone! It's supposed to be beautiful, so hopefully we can spend a few hours at the beach!! What are your plans?!

xoxo
Jess

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guest Post: Making Your Family Vacation Fun



Today, I have Kendra Thornton sharing her tips on how to make traveling with your family FUN. (I mean, that is the main reason we travel, right?!)



A little about Kendra: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have mixed my excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to my own home with some of my unique recipes and sharing some of my personal traveling tips. Enjoy!


I always love taking a family vacation because it's a great way to get away from life’s daily stresses. Life can be downright stressful and aggravating sometimes, so it's nice to know that we can go away for a week or so and just enjoy being with one another. One way that I help my vacation to be as stress-free as possible is by doing lots of planning ahead of time. When you prepare your entire trip well in advance, you'll notice that it cuts down on the stress and hassles that normally come with the annual family vacation.





1. Make Up a List and Check it Twice
You really need to plan your trip well in advance in order to ensure things go smoothly. I normally start planning my trips weeks, or even months, in advance. You can use of apps like Packing Pro to help keep you organized when figuring out what to bring. This helps to prevent confusion and frustration when you’re departing. You might even find that planning the trip ahead of time saves money when it comes to the hotel.

2. The Right Hotel That Everyone Can Enjoy
The best tip for having a stress-free vacation is to find the right hotel. Before my vacation every year, I do research on the hotels in the area that we will be traveling to. I compare prices, accommodations and locations to figure out which place is going to be the one for us. Because I have kids who get bored easily, I also tend to look for hotels with swimming pools or arcade rooms that they can make use of while we're there. I used Gogobot to sift through this great list of Orlando hotels and found a continental breakfast that my whole family loved. A quality in-hotel spa is also a nice touch that both you and your husband can enjoy. Remember that you need to relax on the vacation as well.

3. Pick a New Place Every Time 
It's cute to visit the aquarium that you've been going to for years, but these things can get boring both for you and your kids. I'm finding that we have a lot more fun when we pick places that we've never been to before. If your kids are older, get them involved when planning out the vacation and see what they'd like to do while they're with you. Take your budget into consideration before planning on doing anything. Remember that most places have an entrance fee that needs to be paid before you can enjoy the attractions.

4. Bring Cameras, and Lots of Them 
One of the worst things that can happen on a family vacation is that your camera stops working, leaving you unable to take great family photos for the album. Before you get going on your family vacation, make sure that you pack an extra camera. This will ensure you can make the family memories last a lifetime. When you get home, take the cameras to the local photo store and have them developed. If you have a digital camera, make sure that you bring plenty of batteries with you.

5. Make the Car Comfortable for You and the Kids
Traveling by car is normally a lot cheaper than getting airplane tickets, but it can also be quite uncomfortable. Transform your car into a mini home and make it comfortable for everyone, including yourself and your spouse. Bring along pillows, blankets and a cooler filled with delicious snacks to keep everyone entertained. You might even want to invest in blinds for the car windows to make it easier for the kids to sleep. This is sure to make the trip a lot more fun and comfortable, especially if you'll be traveling for a long time. Just make sure to lock the car doors every time you go in somewhere if you bring expensive gadgets along for the ride.

You can find Kendra on Twitter, or you can visit her website!

What are your best travel tips?


Friday, July 19, 2013

Cameron: 12 Months - A YEAR!

I don't even know where to begin except to say holy smokes, this year has flown by!!

Teeth: 8
Weight: 20 lbs 8 oz
Height: 30"


Health: You have been such a healthy boy with the exception of a persistant cough. Dr Vogt has put you on allergy meds before bed (just Zyrtec) with the hopes of allowing us all some more sleep. It's been working well most nights, but it's just not going away!

Social: We took a trip to Seabrook Island, SC mid-June, and you were the perfect traveller, of course. We had lots of delays, and some tears, but overall, you were a saint. You loved the ocean and the pool. We went on some bike rides and sometimes you liked it and sometimes you didn't. You didn't sleep well in the crib we rented, so naps were in the car or the stroller, and I had to rock you to sleep at night.

Toys: You still love anything that makes noise and sings to you. You've started to dance when your toys play music and have learned how to make your toys make noise! You love your wooden blocks, your walker, balls and your water table.

Sleep: You still go in stretches of waking up between 4:30 - 6:00, but we have been good about letting you cry to sleep longer! You are napping twice a day: once around 9/9:30 and again around 1/1:30.

Food: We are still experimenting with you, and you still like your basics: carbs, yogurt, applesauce, oranges and crackers. You have also taken to baby chicken sticks, but I want to try to make our own chicken dinners for you. We have stopped the bottle except first thing in the morning and at bed time. You are still taking formula in the sippy cup, but we are trying to switch to milk! So many changes!

Personality: You are changing by the second. You are a cuddler now, and I couldn't be happier!! You love to give kisses, and you kiss all of your stuffed animals as well as anyone who puckers up to you! You also give amazing hugs and have become sort of attached to me, which is fine by me, except you cry now when I leave you at day care...talk about heart wrenching (even though I know you're totally fine 2 seconds after I leave)! You can blow kisses, you shake your head and say "yeah" to every questions we ask, which is adorable, and you are a complete ham with strangers. As soon as someone makes eye contact with you, or God forbid smiles at you, you are their new best friend! You are like a celebrity by the time we leave restaurants!!



blowing kisses


You are still not walking, but have taken about 8 steps on your own...you furniture surf like crazy, but still prefer to crawl long distances. ;)


You, my love, are amazing. Every little thing you do grabs my attention and puts an immediate smile on my face. Even a little, tiny movement can make my day because you are, slowly, becoming a little boy. Your mannerisms aren't those of a baby anymore. AMAZED is literally the best way to describe how I feel every second of every day.




You are a happy baby and you have added nothing but happiness and laughter to our lives over the past year. I cannot imagine my life with you, Cameron. I love you to the moon and back!!

xoxo
Momma



5 on Friday: Life Edition


Man, oh man, has this blog been ignored!! I cannot believe it's already mid-July! Since I have been such a slacker, here's a quick update on our life in 5 bullet points to join one of my favorites, Darci. :)



1. I got myself into some pretty serious credit card debt (let's just say it was 5 digits, and I could have bought a new car with that money) in college/post-college and decided to consolidate it all in Spring 2010. Since then, I have been paying a hefty bill every month, but I've never been late and my debt was going down pretty quickly. I am happy to say that it is PAID OFF as of last week!! It was such a relief to make that last payment, and we are certainly thankful not to have that bill every month. However, we are not debt-free yet, so we are still chipping away at other stuff, but this was a biggie!!

2. Our summer has been jam-packed - a trip to Seabrook Island, Cameron's birthday, 4th of July, Elizabeth's visit and babyshower, visitors from Maryland, and now we relax...I am looking forward to post-dinner walks in our neighborhood, cocktails on the porch and lazy beach days while Cameron is at daycare (shhhh).

3. I am not too sure what to think about the Trayvon Martin case. Well, I do know, but I'd rather not get into a debate over the internet. I am not a fan of guns, and I am fairly sure he would not have been murdered if Zimmerman had a knife instead of a gun. And I'm fairly sure that getting punched in the face doesn't warrant a gunshot. But that's just me. Just sayin...

4. Onto brighter news...Cameron has been suffering from an awful cough since mid-June. The doctor gave us some allergy medicine to use, suggested a steam shower before bed and a humidifier to break up the congestion. Well, a steam shower before bed during the summer isn't too appealing to me and our humidifier is somewhere with our Christmas decorations, so we stuck with the allergy medicine. This worked OK, but we weren't satisfied. We finally went back to the doctor on July 5, and they did a chest x-ray. What they found was bronchitis!! Poor baby...he was prescribed a Z-Pack and was completely healed in 5 days. Thank the Lord. (There's so much more to this story, but that is a whole new post on its own).



5. Chad and I have started catering with his friends who own White Apron Catering. Talk about good money and a fun time!! Back story: Chad and I met while both working at a restaurant and have since run two restaurants together. I don't think I would want to get that involved together again, but this has been fun! And, it's a great way to pay down our debt fast!


That's all for now!! Happy Friday!!

xoxo
Jess

Thursday, July 18, 2013

4th of July Weekend: Lobsters, Baby Shower and a Getaway




4th of July weekend was a little crazy for us, but oh-so-fun!!




On Thursday, the 4th, Chad had to work, so Cameron and I headed to the lake with the Glasers. Elizabeth and Mac were home, and it was so good to see her baby bump!!!









Hello, baby bump!! 






On Thursday night, we headed to the Eastern Prom, which is a section of Portland. They always block off the neighborhood to cars, so it's a great family event where we can BBQ, drink, play games and walk around. I was obviously having too much fun to get any pictures except this one!!





 On Saturday morning, we go to shower Elizabeth and Brooklyn with lots of pink!! It was such a beautiful brunch at the Black Point Inn.






Saturday afternoon, Chad and I hopped a ferry to Chebeague Island and left the little man behind with my mom. I won a free night at their Inn (I don't want to type their name because it was not a good experience!) and we were looking forward to doing nothing. We did nothing, that's for sure!! We found a seat with a view and a breeze and didn't move for about 4 cocktails! :) We loved the view and the company was unbeatable! ;) We did miss Cam, but we also enjoyed our time together.





Before Elizabeth and Mac headed back to Vegas, we snuck in a dinner at Street & Co, which was delicious, as always!!





I think the 4th of July is my favorite holiday...it's always full of friends, family, food, drinks and sunshine (hopefully)! This year was so much fun since Cameron was able to enjoy it - I can't wait for the rest of our holidays this year!!

xoxo,
Jess



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Vacation Part I: Seabrook Island, SC

Would you ever turn down a free trip to the beach? I almost did, but I am soooo glad we ended up going!! My mom rented a condo on Seabrook Island, SC, which is about 45 minutes from Charleston, and invited us to come. Now, Charleston is one of my favorite cities in the US, but I was feeling so overwhelmed with the end of the school year, Cameron's birthday party, visitors and everything else summer was throwing at us, that I felt like I needed that week to be home to get stuff done.

Then I had my last week at school and decided that what I really needed was a week at the beach. :) So, we booked our flights, packed our bags and Cam and I were off to SC for 6 days.

We had access to the beach, the pool, bikes, shops and more...it was such a wonderful week and my mom took Cam a lot so I could actually relax (and get some sun).

Our trip started off a little rough with delays on the tarmac and Cam not wanting to go to sleep, but he finally did and everyone around me was such a huge help!! (It's amazing how helpful complete strangers are when you are travelling alone with a baby! I was stunned.)


Ready for take-off

Passed out at the airport

Good morning, South Carolina!

Morning yoga

Stanley the Sea Turtle

Waiting out the rain...we did a lot of this while we were there!

One of the many beautiful homes on the island

Nap time by the pool

Relaxation mode

Beautiful sunsets

Charleston...Loulou was a saint to go in the water with Cam!

Lunch with CJ

'
Cooling off at the airport

Keeping entertained during one of our many delays




As you can see, Cameron had plenty of attention and we all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. It was such a nice start to our summer together, but we did miss Chad while we were gone!!

P.S. Stay tuned for a guest post on travelling with kids...I'm sure we could all write our own post, but some extra help is always welcomed! 





Monday, July 15, 2013

Cameron's 1st Birthday Party


It's a good thing babies only turn one once because this party was way too fun to plan and execute!!! 

We start thinking about Cameron's party months ago, naturally, and finally decided on a simple theme that wouldn't be too expensive or too hard to pull off; we wanted to have fun, too: An all-American Backyard Lawn Party!! The end result was perfectly perfect - there was delicious food, cold drinks and lots of fun games for babies and adults!



THE INVITATION:
The design of this caught my attention immediately, so I contacted Michele, who was wonderful to work with. She changed just a few words to make it our own, and they were in the mail as soon as I got them!

Courtesy of Michele at michelepurnerdesigns



One of my favorite decorations was this sign. We ordered it on Etsy, had it printed at Staples and used spray adhesive to attach it to a foam board.
Courtesy of Erin at prettiestlilthings




These pictures are soooo out of order, so I apologize.

































Decorations: Instagram collage, balloon garland, birthday poster, tacky 4th of July garb ;)
Favors: sand pails filled with snacks, water, blowers, bubbles, sunglasses and a hat
Beverages: lemonade, vodka, beers, water, blue solo cups and red/white striped straws
Food: crab cake sliders, pulled pork sliders, pepperoncini pasta salad, watermelon, pre-rolled silverware
Toys: ball pit, water table, cornhole, wiffle ball, crawl-through school bus, sand box


My cousin took more pictures; I can't wait to share them!!

xoxo,
Jess

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