Roomie Summer 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

You probably see me mention my roommates a lot. Obviously they are not my current roommates (that would be weird.) but they were my grad school roommates. Actually, they were gracious enough to take me in when my intended roommate got a job in another state and left me roomie-less. At the time, these girls and I weren't very close. They make fun of me now because I tried to impose a "no junk food in the house" rule (poor girls) and I learned later that it was an easy decision to give me the master bedroom with my own bath cuz all the high maintenance tendencies. Whoops. I'm so glad that they put up with me though, because that turned out to be THE BEST year of college and was the beginning of an AMAZING friendship. After grad school, Rachel and I lived together for two years in a cute little apartment in an old Victorian on the edge of knoxvilles historic district. Katie introduced me to Brian, because she "just thought" I would like him. These girls are my people. When we were younger (cuz we're old now), we had big adventures like camping in the bush of Kenya. Now Rachel and I are married with babies and Katie is the most amazing, commited advocate for her ELL students and now we have different adventures. When I moved to St. Charles, we started "staycationing" together. We'd get together at someone house and just be together for a week or so. It's been awesome. But now that I'm (temporarily?) back in the area, we decided to take advantage of our July together and cram as many fun adventures as our crazy schedules would allow. I even made a cheesy calendar. I wanted to take a moment to archive some photos here of those adventures, so without further ado: Roomie Summer 2016

Swimming @ Panther Creek
We're not QUITE to the point where we get to sit back and watch our kids play together, but this was still close. It's crazy that a few years ago, our idea of a good time was traveling to whatever new place we could think of, and now we're totally entertained just by watching these three goof balls SIT IN WATER. Seriously, though.

Also, this is an outing I COULD NOT have done without Katie. How do you take a baby who doesn't walk and a toddler who runs EVERYWHERE to a POOL?! I need one of those kid leashes.

Knoxville Zoo
The next item on our summer itinerary was the Knoxville Zoo. Why is taking kids out to have fun so much more work on the parents than the kids? This was exhausting, but still very sweet. I felt like such a grown up. Is that weird?

The Muse, Knoxville
This place is so cute and perfect for our littles! And I could have just melted watching them all of my favorite people play together.

Of course, while the kids are fun and all, we also needed some grown up only time. So we worked into our schedule a girls night and a grown ups night.

Have you been paddle boarding? SO. MUCH. FUN! Highly recommend it!! I don't, however, recommend paddle boarding on the lake as a storm rolls in and getting caught in the torrential downpour and high winds. Only us. Good times.

After we barely escaped lightning electrocution in the lake, we had dinner at the marina restaurant. Being with these girls is therapeutic. I could have sat all evening and caught up.

After this evening we decided we need to be more intentional about getting together. Story of our lives, right? Hopefully we can stick with it, because it's legitimately good for the soul.

I don't like baseball. Neither does Brian. But Katie suggested Thirsty Thursday at the Smokies game and of course it doesn't take much to convince us! I'm not sure Katie even knows what sports are (although she assured me baseball is her favorite), but I will forever be grateful that she recommended this outing. The three of us sat and gabbed the entire game. I watched ONE play. That's not an exaggeration. It wasn't even a good one (I'm pretty sure I would have done better than Mr. Third Baseman). While we chatted, the guys talked about whatever guys talk about, in between beer runs, and it was everything summer should be.

If You Want A Magical Morning

Sunday, July 24, 2016

If you want a magical morning, go for a walk in the woods. Seriously.

Last September, Beckett and I started Tot Schooling together. Tot School is whatever a momma wants it to be, but basically is themed "units" that help us to focus on unique vocabulary and skills that we may not get to in our regular day to day. Basically, it's an excuse to peruse Pinterest for new cute activities and to buy new books that fit our topic. :) It's also an opportunity for my teacher self to share new ideas and products over on my #TeacherMom blog and Facebook page

This week we're talking about bugs, so this morning we decided to trek through our favorite path at Panther Creek State Park. This path was a favorite pastime when Brian and I were dating, but has been severely neglected since we've had kiddos.

We took our bug equipment so we could search out some critters. Both kids had a total blast exploring their surroundings. I think Beckett could have stayed in there all day. He was all boy! Climbing rocks and jumping off and over things. I LOVED watching him! I probably would have been able to stay longer than the hour we did if I weren't carrying a hefty baby!

Here's the situation though. We went looking for bugs and BOY DID WE FIND SOME. I thought I was more prepared for this. Guys. Bugs are gross and I'm not afraid to admit it. I thought I would be able to suck it up and show Beckett how to make use of that critter thingy, but alas. I failed miserably.

If those little stinkers would have just jumped into the critter case when we asked them to, we would have brought home this bad boy. Maybe when Dad is back in town, we can try again.

The ants were much better behaved. Beckett just sat his bowl down (because we take snacks everywhere, obviously) and they just helped themselves right in! Perfect opportunity to make use of our cool new magnifying glass. 

I loved this morning. And the kids and I desperately needed a magical adventure like this after a very exhausting week. 

We'll definitely continue heading out to our new favorite adventure spot. Lucky for us, we have a couple more months of summer weather and then a beautiful Tennessee fall to look forward to!

So we live in Tennessee.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Have you been keeping up with the whirlwind that is our life? If you have any clue what is happening right now, please fill me in as soon as possible, because I'm lost. 

Just kidding. (Kinda).

Brian and I were talking today about the fact that we really aren't good at keeping up with this blog. The problem with that is the blog is more for our own sake than yours. I don't keep memory books or journals (though I did both before I had kids) so if I don't start writing things down, Facebook will be our only true record of things. UNACCEPTABLE.

So here I am trying to figure out how in the world to organize my thoughts and prioritize what should and shouldn't be said in an effort to keep our memories logged in one place..

Quick recap on what's happening right now: Three years ago (fall 2013) we moved to STL with the intention of launching a second branch of the company Brian worked for (LEP). Instead, we arrived and got an email that they changed their mind about that situation and instead we'd be jobless. And also 7 months pregnant with a brand new mortgage on a completely gutted house. Fast forward to the spring of 2015: We receive word that things at LEP are not looking good (there's been an arrest, rumors of embezzlement, and impeding bankruptcy). A few months later, Charlie is 2 weeks old and we sign the purchase papers for the company, pack a few things and movecation to East TN. The plan was to stay for 6 months. We're going on 10 months and don't have plans to leave any time soon. (More on that soon).

So we've been business owners for about 10 months and WE LOVE IT. Brian spends a LOT of time at work, and there are still a lot of frustrating issues we are working through (including lawsuits), but overall things are going really well. We are blessed with an incredible team of 19 employees who are loyal and hard working. We sincerely enjoy working with them. 

While my main job is stay at home mom, back in the fall we decided I was losing my ever loving mind and needed a bit of a change. So now I get to go into the office part time to help with various projects and initiatives. It's the most ideal situation a Business owner/SAHM could imagine. I have nearly 100% flexibility (with the exception of the small issue of child care!) on the amount of time I spend in the office vs. at home. I've even been able to attend some conferences! I love being part of the team and helping Brian figure out what in the world we're doing (cuz, you know, neither of us have owned a business before). And the rest of the time I get to play mommy!

Out of the office, we are staying VERY BUSY with travel. We've traveled almost every week since mid-may and have a combined ELEVEN trips planned between now and November. It's no wonder we can NEVER keep up with the laundry!

The kids are doing really well, all things considered. Beckett is still not potty trained and Charlie is still not sleeping through the night, but we're working on both! Beckett is suddenly talking much more which has been a TON of fun! He loves to learn and he loves his baby sister. Charlie is A SASSY PANTS. Guys, I can't even say that enough. But she's smart and sweet and I look forward to watching her grow up!

So the big looming question is WHAT IS OUR PLAN?! We really don't have a solid one. We have talked A LOT recently about the game plan, but haven't made a solid decision. How long do we stay? Do we rent our house or sell it? Do we finish the renovations from afar? Do we stay in this little temporary townhouse or rent something bigger? Do we buy a second home in Tennessee? 

 I can tell you that right now we are taking things one day at a time. Long term, the goal is to put management in place here in Morristown and move our family back to St. Charles. First though, we will commit as much time as necessary to living and working in Tennessee. We feel pretty good about that. We love our people here, the culture, the weather, the views. We are happy here, but don't worry friends! It's just temporary! (We think.)

We'll keep you updated.

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