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Rex: Male Model

28 Feb

img_20170221_175556“Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?” – Derek Zoolander

Last Monday night I was getting ready for bed when my friend texted me about LalabuBaby wanting newborn models. Because I was a model for a midwifery magazine ad with my parents when I was three days old, I thought I’d give at least one of my sons the chance at the same type of stardom.

Newly joined to Instagram, I figured out how to DM them a super cute picture I had recently taken of Rex and some basic contact info. After a little back and forth, I agreed to bring my sons the next day, completely unsure of what this adventure would entail.

Tuesday after lunch and my six week postpartum appointment, I wasn’t sure why I had agreed to go do this. It was looking like rain, and we had just gotten back from Ohio, plus the baby had basically been crying since we got home. We figured he was either going through a growth spurt or thoroughly expressing himself after being in a car seat for four days straight. However, I had made a commitment, so I got the boys in the car yet again and trekked into town. We made it to their office in Old Fourth Ward only five minutes late.

When I approached the door a very nice woman came out and told me filming was running late. I could only go in if we would be absolutely silent. With a four year old and a new kiddo I knew that would be impossible, so we went back to the car to wait. Walter played on his Leap Pad, and I nursed baby Rex. Soon they were done, and we headed back in to wait some more. Turns out they just wanted newborns on call, to work as possible stunt doubles for the model and her newborn who were really doing all the shots. At this point I was genuinely wondering why I had bothered to leave my house, but I decided to wait it out so that I could get the free $75 baby-wearing shirt they had promised.

Two other new moms were there. One was a first time mom with a 5 week old boy. She and her husband own The Big Fake Wedding, which was really interesting to hear about, especially since I love all things wedding. The other mom had a 5 day old boy, one of a set of twins, the other still in NICU at North Fulton, even though he was ready to come home. I was super impressed that she was there. She had brought her husband as well, and they also had a two year old girl at home. It didn’t take long for all of us to start talking, and it was a great, albeit brief, new mommy support group. It made the whole trip worth it.

Right when we were about to leave to avoid rush hour traffic, they asked if anyone could spare their baby for a few. Rex was just finished nursing and happy. The other boys were either nursing or sleeping, so Rex went to makeup… just kidding. I put him in a white onesie, and he got to be the baby model in a video showing how to get a baby in and out of the shirt. When he started fussing after a couple of takes, it was time for us to go.

We were parked in the neighboring church parking lot. The car next to us had its windows open and the three occupants were in there drinking beer and smoking some wacky tobacky. I had to ask them to shut their windows before we got close to the car because the smoke was billowing out around my car, which they did of course. Walter didn’t mention it if he smelled anything funky!

Gotta love in-town Atlantans and random experiences.

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Chalktoberfest

10 Oct

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This weekend was just one of those insanely gorgeous Atlanta fall weekends with the perfect temperature and breezes. We had a relaxing Saturday morning in the backyard and walking the dog, then we headed off to Chalktoberfest in Marietta Square.

It is by far my favorite street festival that I’ve been to in Atlanta. Not too crowded, a great cover band, food trucks, awesome chalk artists, a long row of craft beers (which I will partake in next year), and clean and cleverly painted porta-potties (these were important for my six month pregnant belly).

chalktoberfest-1We sat and played for a long time on the shaded grass in the middle of the Square listening to the band and watching the sun flicker through the trees. We brought sandwiches to eat, but others had full-on picnics and camping chairs. Good ideas for next year.

img_20161008_150658280Some people had barely started their chalk drawings, but others were well on their way. They were pretty amazing to see, even unfinished. Next year we’ll go on Sunday so we can see the completed works!

img_20161008_150840485_hdrI especially loved anything with folded cloth. There were three streets on the Square filled double sided with groups doing the chalk art. I had been hoping to see those really cool perspective chalk drawings, but they were pretty much just fine art replicas. Still, pretty incredible.

img_20161008_151913556Walter finally found what he was looking for! This was his favorite chalk drawing.

img_20161008_161040772Their loot from the Soda Pop Candy Shop store. Dave said it would have been his dream store when he was 12 years old (though his enthusiasm didn’t seem diminished 20 years later!). There was an entire wall of taffy, so much so that Dave took pictures so he’d know what they were eating once we got home. I was, meanwhile, looking around the Local Exchange next door, which is definitely more my kind of shopping experience. Marietta Square is awesome and we’ll be heading back often, festival or not.

One of Those Perfect Days

9 Oct

Friday was a really glorious and fun day. A friend turned me on to Goldstar, and it’s quite great to buy cheaper tickets to an event you want to go to. I saw the listing for Disney on Ice, and I thought that Walter and I would probably enjoy that. So I bought some seats.

I debated with myself if I wanted to drive down there and park at Philips Arena, but I truly despise navigating through downtown and trying to find (and then pay for) parking. Walter had never been on a train before, so I opted for us to ride MARTA as part of the all-day experience. I knew he’d enjoy the very long escalators at the stations too, and I wanted to stop at Dua Vietnamese for lunch on Broad Street after the show since we’d be in the area. It’s our #1 favorite restaurant; Dave and I used to eat there 3-4 times a week when we attended GaState.

img_20161007_101209He thought maybe the train was never going to leave the station.

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He drew a map of the tracks and Five Points station where we’d be transferring. He was also very interested in what MARTA does and does not allow to happen on the trains.

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I didn’t take any pictures while we were there, mainly cause it was so awesome I never pulled my phone out. I loved the show, and Walter never took his eyes off the rink (except to stare at the colorful whirly toys that kids around us had). I love when Walter enjoys himself like that.

Afterward we walked from Philips Arena to Dua, which was only about half a mile away. I love walking through Georgia State campus in the early fall because it reminds me of meeting and falling in love with David in the fall of 2008 and all the fun we had in college together. Dave met us at the restaurant, where the bun bo hue was fresh and as delicious as it’s ever been.

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We rode with Daddy back to his office, then continued on to our car, where Walter fell asleep on the way home. I was jealous. It was a great day for a great boy.

What do you mean summer is over?

13 Aug

It’s still hot as the dickens out there. It’s only mid August. I’m just getting into the summer swing of things… and yet school has started all over Atlanta and apparently summer is over? I’m not ready! I thought summer was at least supposed to be three months long!

Luckily we decided to homeschool Walter this year, so we can really do whatever we want. Since we moved and many of his friends just posted their “back-to-school” photos, it’s a new ballgame (thank goodness baseball isn’t over yet). We’ve got to find a new groove. I signed us up for Atlanta History Center’s first Homeschool Day of the year on Monday in hopes of not just learning a bit about Georgia’s history, but finding some new friends we can play with during the week and who can teach us a bit more about what homeschool looks like in GA.

Meanwhile, we have lots of fun on our own and with the friends that aren’t quite school age yet or are not in daycare. Despite the hole in W’s tongue, this week we went to LegoLand, swimming at Mimi and Pops, and on two big hikes.

IMG_20160810_144304466This kid was so happy and excited to be at Legoland, it really warmed my mommy heart.

IMG_20160812_140654603We finally tried out Lullwater Park and after getting lost for a bit in very hot weather, we found the waterfall. We took off our shoes to climb around in the water but I was a bit dismayed at all the broken beer bottle glass Emory students leave behind.

IMG_20160813_125431888Sope Creek, my new favorite place in Atlanta, especially since we’ve gotten the hiking bug. There were several other people there swimming and playing in the creek, and some guys had trapped a bright orange snake under some rocks. David freed him even though we couldn’t figure out if he was poisonous or not. And then we left!

IMG_20160813_134332750After a short hike to the creek, the Paper Mill ruins are quite a climb but so cool to explore. If you know to avoid the poison ivy, which is everywhere.

IMG_20160813_134523670_HDRSo. Much. Love

(Don’t) Bite your tongue! Walt’s first Urgent Care visit

9 Aug

Sunday night we were almost about to leave for dinner, and I mean mere seconds from wrapping up our obstacle course playing on the couch and heading out the door, when Walter fell head first into our (luckily soft) ottoman and nearly bit through his tongue. There was a loud thud, crying, and a lot of blood, and I immediately took him in to the bathroom for his father to help me examine him. It took us a minute to locate the source of the bleeding, and seeing the giant gaping wound in his tongue, there was no choice but to get in the car and head to the nearest urgent care.

I have nothing but good things to say about the WellStar Urgent Care on Roswell Road in East Cobb. The staff, nurses, and doctor were all amazing. They checked him out immediately to see if we needed to head to the hospital, then saw us quickly after we registered to check him out further. The amazing thing about even fairly severe tongue injuries is that they are rarely sewn up, especially in young kids, and usually the biggest thing you have to worry about is infection — and of course the soreness of the healing tongue. They gave us an antibiotic prescription, and upon hearing that he refuses to take the white liquid medicine, worked especially to find a pharmacy near us that sold chewable antibiotics (which is not as common). We were sent home with instructions to go to Scottish Rite if the bleeding didn’t stop in a couple hours. They would need to sedate him and give him a couple stitches if that was the case.

Our poor kid was calm by this point but I think in a state of tired delirium from all the crying and pain. So was I. I felt so helpless that I didn’t stop the injury from happening and scared that recovery was going to be awful. We spent the rest of the night replacing the gauze in his mouth that was saturated with blood and saliva and watched TV — the greatest remedy for all ailments! We tried to get him to eat ice cream (doctor recommended) or some Tylenol, which he refused. Eventually he passed out and held that last piece of gauze in his mouth until morning, when he came into our room and I pulled it out and he spent several minutes dry heaving. I thought he would vomit from the blood and saliva consumption and the fact that he hadn’t eaten since lunch the previous day. But he didn’t, thank goodness, and after a few more TV shows — I would have fed him ice cream and let him watch TV for a week — he was already bouncing back.

He was hungry — soft foods only — and eventually got tired of TV and wanted to play. Even though the wound was still open, he said it didn’t hurt anymore. How was that possible? If I had that wound I would be on a morphine drip! But his spirits were happy and he spent a good portion of the day talking (with a lisp) about the hole and all the blood the ottoman made in his mouth and asking if we remembered him going to the hospital where the doctor looked at his tongue. And he kept sticking his tongue out to show us the “lid” on the hole! Dave had thankfully stayed home from work to help me, not knowing what the day after would look like. Even though it was surprisingly good on Walter’s part, I was emotionally very fragile and very glad for the support.

It’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to a kid, but when it’s your kid, the baby you love more than anything else in the world, when they are in pain, it is searingly bad.

Onwards and upwards, to see what the next day will bring!

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Cuddling with my very strong and brave little boy, as he napped 24 hours after the incident.

 

Taking another graceful step into my 30s

26 Jul

When I have little or no expectations, I generally find that my experiences are usually that much better overall. In terms of my birthday, I always love it and feel like it should be a special day, but I still don’t try to put too much emphasis on it or I can easily let myself down. This birthday was one of the best.

We had a relaxing but productive weekend where Dave and his dad worked on a large home project of mine (moving the washer/dryer out of our unfinished basement), and I did work too while Walter designed with “modeling play” and drew pictures. He’s getting ever more creative and inventive with art and building toys like magnatiles.

Sunday we did a few more chores and met my parents for a quiet but lovely birthday dinner at Hearth, which happens to make the best pizza in Atlanta. Yum.

IMG_20160724_185827494He loves his Nini and Grandpa!

On the way home David pulled off into the Sope Creek parking lot, and we took an impromptu dusk-time hike to the creek. Even in flip-flops it was a nice walk to a pretty creek, and being able to be closer to nature is one of the reasons I love living a bit more out of the city. I definitely want to take Walter back there as soon as I can.

IMG_20160724_201925916Perfect way to end 31.

Monday, my actual birthday, was tubing day! I’ve been tubing down the Cartecay River with friends every year on or around my birthday for 12 years in a row now. It’s amazing to have seen the changes over the past decade, when the river drop in was barely attended by a tubing guy, to last year, when it was so crowded we had to park in an additional field and were constantly surrounded by other tubing enthusiasts. So I decided that from now on, due to the popularity that I suppose will be ever increasing, we will tube on weekdays. In college it wasn’t difficult to get friends up to Ellijay on whatever day I chose, but we might have to plan more in advance from now on, since as adults we usually do the adult thing of 9-5. There were still a few people on the river, but it wasn’t crowded, and it really is the perfect way to recharge for the upcoming year. Nothing but water and trees and sky.

IMG_20160725_181640A picture taken in the same spot every year. We had a blast just the three of us, but the Cartecay is so wonderful, we love bringing as many friends to experience it as we can. And soon Walter can join us too!

This morning I woke up to easily find a long gray hair among my locks… beautiful sight! Thanks for the birthday present, universe. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Summer Shenanigans

14 Jul

We’ve been having some fun this summer! It’s all Walter, all the time… as it should be!

IMG_20160618_181933Walter’s first movie theatre experience: Finding Dory. He liked it so much he says he wants to go see it every day. He’s not one for moderation yet.

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Learning to throw water balloons with daddy in our new backyard. I love that you can’t see any other houses in this photo.

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Lunch dates with mommy and the chips of course. Don’t be fooled, they tasted stale.

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Doing art projects like learning to work with “paper ma-clay”.

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Enjoying the new exhibits at the Atlanta History Center, especially the architectural model of Atlanta. He wants to build an exact replica at home.

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July 4th sparklers! Our neighbors were shooting rockets off all night. Definitely going to join them next year.

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Getting our swimming legs at a neighborhood pool with friends!

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Having a great time with cousins visiting from Miami! I had to bribe him with M&Ms to get him to sit down for the picture.

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This picture makes me laugh because he had a blast at the Botanical Gardens, especially going through the scary jungles with Nini.

We’re living like it’s Downton Abbey

4 Mar

This is multi-family household living at its best, just without Nanny. Or Carson & Mrs. Hughes.

Here’s what happened: my husband bought an expensive house during the real estate bubble of ’07/’08, right before he graduated college in 2009, during the recession. A + B = C, and C hasn’t been good for us financially.

College had delayed his transition from the Marine Corps to his career in his late twenties. I graduated college at the same time as him (but mid twenties) with my second degree, didn’t find a full-time job, didn’t get in to graduate school, and then became a stay-at-home-mama, which was my dream anyway. Meanwhile, my husband worked hard to pay the mortgage, while we watched many others get rewarded by buying foreclosed or cheap houses because of the recession and at one point getting huge checks from the government for being first-time homeowners. We have been the definition of “house poor” for the last 7 years, even though we lead really, really good lives. No denying that fact.

So in order to sell our house, we have moved in with my in-laws near Chastain Park. Oh how terrible! No, not really. It’s pretty awesome.

At our house, the floor needed a good sand and refinish. Our realtor recommended it. Our cousin, who’s the best real estate agent in Birmingham, said to do it before it goes on market. It’s not the most expensive reno job, it must be done by a professional, and it can totally change the look of the house.

I’ve been wanting to change the color for years anyway.

So I finally spent the last of our savings, touched up the paint (again), cleaned it up real nice, positioned the furniture just right… and now we pray we get some money back from the money pit that has been home ownership for us so far.

We moved in with parents so we can stage the house — and not live in the poly smell immediately post-floor refinish. I won’t have to battle the dog hair, kitty litter box, Walter messes, and my type-A cleaning personality all while keeping a house show-ready. We can also take our time to find the right house for us when it comes time to do that.

I have never been more excited to go shopping in my life. I’ve never had the opportunity to pick a house before. My husband bought our current one a year before we met.

So we’re in our thirties acting a bit like we’re in our twenties… but hey, we’re Millennials, so we’re allowed to do that, right?

IMG_20160224_192426Perks: Pop reading bedtime stories to his grandboy in what used to be The Serious Business Room for twenty years but has recently been changed by Walt to The Crossword Room (note WSJ crossword on end table).

Ladies Night Out 2-2016Perks: Ladies Night Out with the Sistas of the Pour at Terra Terroir

 

Today is the Day

3 Mar

A couple weeks ago I spent a very, very cold day moving most of our house into my dad’s bonus room. Well, three very nice gentlemen Stevie, Scott, and TJ did all the heavy lifting. I had a cold too (probably from Stress), and I was totally deceived by Weather.com’s prediction of 50’s weather. It was 30’s out there, with wind, and I was foolishly dressed. But at least the freezing rain held off til everything was moved! I’m pretty sure it was 70° and sunny the next day. Thanks, universe.

It was one of the final steps getting our house on the market for the third time in two years. And this time, we’re not kidding. We’ve worked tirelessly since last summer (intending to stay): fixed up the house, painted, stained, moved, decorated, etc etc etc until now it is stunning. And we finally came to the non-changing conclusion that we have to get out of our mortgage, for better or worse. Even though we will miss our sweet home and the neighborhood immensely.

Eight years of home ownership and two years in the making, we present to you our very beloved in-town home in the amazing East Atlanta neighborhood of Ormewood Park (going live around 5pm today). Click on the photo link to see more:

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Ladies Book Club

8 Dec

It’s been fairly transformative to be a part of this neighborhood, women-only, book club since this summer.

The last book we read was My Life in France by Julia Child — though written by her great-grandnephew. Who is a fantastic writer. He made me fall in love with Julia. WWJD: my new motto.

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Julia married “late” in life, but to a fantastic man who whisked her off to Paris where she learned to love food and become an expert cook and then an international bestseller and beloved TV star.

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Paul Child: photographer, wine lover, graphic designer,  and lover of the world.

Julia and Paul Child

And a new dear friend Hannah, among others, brought her to us, and then threw us a dinner party with all Julia recipes — it was all Julia, all night! A beautiful night in a beautiful home with beautiful people.

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And our goody bag was a fondue package which I shared with Dave and friends at a game night later in the week.

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Sharing just makes everything better.