turning 30 {updated}

[Updated 8/13: The giveaway is live HERE.]

In 6.5 weeks, I'll officially say goodbye to my 20s, and begin my 30s. A new decade, full of all new adventures, challenges, and fun. I honestly can't wait. For some people it is one of those big deal birthdays, something to be avoided and ignored. Not to me. I'm excited to close a chapter on an amazing decade of my life and see what the next one holds. In my 20s I started blogging, finished college, started working in "the real world," went to China, got engaged, bought a house, got married, visited 10 states, went to Ireland, went to Mexico, got 5 of my tattoos, redid much of our house, and had a beautiful baby girl. That's a lot of amazing stuff.

I'm looking forward to so many more amazing things in my 30s. Thirty isn't scary, its exciting!

In celebration I decided to have a big giveaway and give you presents for my birthday! So here's your official introduction to the A New Decade! Giveaway:

In the second half of July, and the first week of August I'll be doing some reviews to introduce you to my awesome sponsors and tell you about what they are giving away in honor of my 30th birthday. Then, the week of my birthday I'll go live with a big post spelling it all out and giving you lots of options for entries to win some great prizes.

There will be shoes: 

An awesome children's baby(doll) carrier:

And some sweet dryer balls for greening your laundry routine: 

I hope you're as excited for this as I am!

Updated: For extra (early) entries, grab my button and share it on your site (be sure to come back here and post a link in the comments)! Or tweet about it with hashtag #NewDecade30


things are happening

I can remember if I mention this, so I'm just going to assume I didn't, but we now have a "4 year plan" for our house. Meaning, if we can do it sooner, we'll move, but definitely by 4 years from now, our house will be on the market and we'll be searching for a new (hopefully "forever") home. Woo! And we're taking a big step for that now, working on moving our mortgage to a new lender, which will mean a lower rate, more of our payment every month going to principle. It will mean about the same payment every month, but putting us in a better place when we do go to sell since our payoff amount will be much lower. I'm pretty freakin psyched.

I should also have my student loans paid off by the end of this year or beginning of next year, which is pretty awesome too.

Its so easy to get caught up in day-to-day squabbles, so it feels really good to set goals together and take these concrete steps towards them. I'm hoping that we'll actually be able to make a move before 4 years, but knowing that we have this plan in place is a big weight off.

Other things that are happening... c25k day 2 is done, and it felt good. I love how I feel after I complete a workout. Its easy to forget that when life is getting in the way, but I'm so glad to be putting this time into my health again. I'm glad for my 4-legged running buddy too. Daisy already gets 2 walks a day with Trav, but I've been swinging by the house for the second half of my "run" to pick her up (I leave right when they get back from a walk, so I let her have the first half to drink water and cool off). When I start running, she's ecstatic! (Really Mama, we get to go fast?! - Fast, of course, being relative.) Man does it give me a lift, and a great burst of energy to finish off strong. How could you not get a smile on your face, when your pup is practically doing a combination bounce-skip next to you? I can feel her beaming. Lol. I think having her around will be a big boost to my "training."

I'm also working on something for the blog that I'm pretty excited about. Namely that little blurb that's been sitting in my sidebar for a month or so now. "Upcoming Giveaways: - A New Decade! Birthday Giveaway, mid-August (already have three great sponsors!!)"  I'm really excited about this. I'll be doing some posts in July leading up to this, but its a few things I love and I can't wait to give them away (if you like shoes [Ahnu], babywearing [Red Charlotte], or if you do laundry [Wooly Rounds], I think you'll like it too! And one more sponsor I'm confirming now.). Seriously, its going to be awesome, and I hope you enjoy it!

On that note... things are happening at work too! So I better get on them!


wordless wednesday {pretty little things}

Won a pretty necklace from Adventures in Babywearing... which just so happens to go perfectly with this sundress (which has a brown tier, a teal tier, a greenish tier, and another brown tier). Perfection. I'm glad she decided to part with it!



So last week I read THIS post over on Heather Drive, and this week I get to post my own. I've been thinking for a while that I really need to change something up around here. Weight-wise, things are fine, but in terms of fitness, energy, overall feeling... well, something had to change. I've been trying to eat well, but that's not enough. Heather's post gave me a little push, and last night I took the first leap.

See that picture, with the check mark next to week 1, day 1? Yup, that's my check mark.  :-)  I did my first run last night and it went well. I pumped myself up by saying it would be easy, I do lots of walking... but a little voice was nagging that I haven't been doing nearly as much lately, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it.

Well, I did it. It definitely got me sweating, but at no point did I think I couldn't finish. Its such a little step, but I'm pretty proud I took it... and I'm putting this out there to make myself accountable to all of you, to encourage myself to see this completely through. E is starting as well, and I love having a long-distance running buddy. Encouragement for either of us is definitely welcome. 

Beginning last night actually worked out perfectly, too. I had the most beautiful weather to start this little experiment with.

Here's hoping I'll be back in 8 weeks with a great recap post!


philly get together weekend

Gwen and I (and Trav!) had the best time this weekend. It started off with another swim lesson:

Then began a big Philadelphia get together weekend! Ms. E and her wife A came down with their 3 kids, plus a friend and her wife and daughter from NY, plus 3 friends with their 4 total kids from DC! So including us there were 9 adults and 9 kids! We also had 2 other friends join us from Jersey on Saturday.

First we met at Franklin Square Park. It was cute, and it had a carousel! 

Gwen made friends with K and Gillian.

Going for a ride with her new friend Gillian.

We split up for a bit while we headed home to try to get Gwen to nap... no dice! Just too much excitement. After that we headed to their hotel for some swimming and talking.

Then an impromptu pizza party in one of the rooms.

Pizza box doubles as a toddler table for Gwen, Rosebud and Daisy.

We didn't end up getting home until almost 9! Oops.

Sunday Gwen and I met up with everyone at the zoo nice and early (Trav stayed behind since he wanted to get some stuff done, and he had tennis in the afternoon... he didn't want us to have to rush to leave). It was super humid, and pretty hot in the sun; but we still had a great time. All the kiddos kept playing musical strollers. I loved watching all of our kiddos interact with each other and with the other adults. There's nothing like having 8 moms to watch over you!

First pony ride!

Holding hands with her new friend, Gillian.

I'll have to wait for the other ladies to put their pictures up before I can share more. The cutest picture was one that I didn't get on my camera... one of all the kids together!

We left the zoo around 2:30, and Gwen was asleep by halfway home. She proceeded to take a 2 hour car nap, and went down VERY easy for bed that night. I think we could both use a weekend to recover from our weekend! But it was so wonderful, and I can't wait until next year to do it again.


today i am...

Today I am...

- hot! I'm so ready for this heat wave to pass.

- excited! For the weekend and all the fun it holds (swimming class, and friends coming in to play!).

- wistful! Looking back on those days when summer meant that school was out and you had three glorious months of no homework. It meant camp and pool time with my Babs and reading as much or little as I wanted.

- cautiously eager! I downloaded the couch to 5k app. I'm planning to start Monday.  ::gulp::

- having trouble waiting! Three weeks until Cape Cod, seven and a half until my 30th birthday!

- so glad that its Friday! Seriously! 

What are you feeling today?


perceptions and judgement

Gwen had a great time at the baseball game on Sunday. But the extra inning, was about one inning too many. It was partially my fault, I didn't even realize what time it had gotten to be. I didn't realize that by staying for that inning we would be leaving just before our normal dinner time and not getting home until just after our normal bedtime. I wish I had, we would have left after the regular game play, and maybe we could have avoided some of the tired, overly sunned crying that occurred. I wish that Trav hadn't thrown out her, not touched for an hour or so, uneaten french fries. Parents know that the 2 year old will remember those 5 fries and want them when its time to leave.

As we were leaving the park, with a sobbing, then tearfully yelling toddler in my arms, I was thinking a lot about the thousands of observations, and flash assessments we make everyday. We make them about everyone we see. Its part of human nature to want to understand what someone is doing and why, so our brain fills in the gaps between was we see and what we assume is there. Most of the time, its benign enough, but plenty of times (and seemingly especially when it comes to parenting moments), its rather harsher.

Seeing Gwen at that moment one might have judged me for bringing a child to a game she clearly didn't enjoy (she actually loved it until about 5 seconds before we left), for denying her a balloon... I mean, just give her a balloon (we did, she didn't want it, then she did, then she didn't... then I'd had enough and we were out of the stadium, and unfortunately she did again), for not seeming to care that her daughter was yelling (I was remaining calm for both our sakes, but knew talking to her right then would only aggravate the situation), or for not just shutting her up (really?!). Here's the thing, I'm guilty of judging other parents too. I don't think you can ever completely turn it off, though I've always tried my best to. The further I get into toddlerhood, the more I have those humbling moments, the more I realize that those parents are surely also just doing the best they can.

As I sit here sweating through this triple digit first day of summer (well that did come in with a bang, huh!), I anticipate many more over-sunned, tired from so much fun days. I hope I can meet them with grace. And I hope those watching won't judge me or my daughter too harshly. I promise my gaze will be sympathetic from now on.


semi-wordless wednesday {swimming and nerdiness}

From this weekend's swim class:

The nerd in Trav couldn't resist teaching her a new phrase:


tasty tuesday {summer cool down}

With the weather getting warmer and warmer (high 90s tomorrow and Thursday! yuck!), its fun to come up with little things to help cool you down. This weekend, I was watering our little garden and picked a sprig of spearmint that I wanted to use in a drink. I remember this yummy granita lemonade that I had a few times at a local restaurant, so I decided to make my own.

If you can make lemonade, you can make this... and it is so yummy.

Find your favorite lemonade recipe. I used a good sized sprig of mint for one serving, so grab enough mint for however many servings you are making. Combine mint leaves, lemon juice, sugar, water, and ice in a blender and pulse until smooth.

This is the perfect summer treat!


take me out to the ball game...

This weekend was quite the busy one. Good, but busy busy busy and tiring! Saturday was Gwen's first swim class, then dinner with Ro and the girls (Pat is away). Casey is getting so big now, and running all over the place. She never stops which means all my pictures look like this:


Sunday we headed up to the Lehigh Valley for a baseball game with my parents for Father's Day. We saw the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Gwen's first baseball game!

We got lawn seats so Gwen could move around a bit, and we could all sprawl instead of being confined to a seat. Definitely the way to go.

Gwen helped Nonnie and Papa with putting on some sunscreen.

And enjoyed our lawn seats.

We took a break to hit up the little playground then have in the ball park!

Then watched some more.

We stood at the fence for a bit to get a closer view.

And even got a picture with one of the Iron Pig mascots (that's Ferous).

She was so excited to go see him, but decided he was a little scary close up!

It was a gorgeous day for some baseball.

Gwen really did amazing with a LONG game (one extra inning). She was very tired by the end and had a bit of a melt down as we were leaving, but otherwise had a great time. Boy did it tire us all out though... I was in bed before 10, and Gwen went down very quickly and slept straight until 6:15.

I think I need a quiet work day to recover from my weekend!


my little fish...

First swim class today.

She's going every Saturday for 4 weeks.

She loves it so far, and she did great!

Hopefully it will give us some building blocks we can practice and expand on when we got to the pool at Ro & Pat's, or in the lake at Cape Cod.

Best of all... it tired her out so she went down for nap easily and took a good one.

Now this tired mama is off to bed! Big day tomorrow too.