Saturday, September 14, 2013

OBX Family Vacation: Day 1, 9/14

AND we're off. Car packed, kids in, and gassed up. This is our first trip in the van and I'm truly in love with all the space was have. What's really funny about this photo is that it after I posted it on Facebook, a number of my friends commented on the number of Vera Bradley bags they saw. I publicly displayed my VB obsession... ;)

So our plan for the day was to drive down to Eastern NC to visit with Justin's grandfather, Daddy-o, his grandmother, Honey, have dinner with the boys' godfather, David and THEN finally head to Justin's mom and step-dad's to spend the night. Well, we did it all! The boys were awesome. They have always been great travelers. I know, we are super lucky. 

The boys enjoyed running around the farm at their Daddy-o's. They also loved picking grapes and eating them right off the vine. Jake, Daddy-o's dog sure was happy to have two little boys to chase too! When we got to Honey's house, she took them to the back bedroom where the got to play with toys that their Daddy and their Nina played with. They surely do not make toys like that anymore. 

We headed to Greenville to meet up with David and it was at prime dinner time. We decided to go to Buffalo Wold Wings because, 1. It's loud and the kids can just be kids, and 2. They didn't have much of a wait! Again, the boys were awesome. They are well and played their favorite games on our iPhones while the adults ate their dinners. 

At this point, they are tired, I am tired, Daddy is tired too. As we drove to Chris and Art's, everyone but Mommy fell asleep (I was driving). When we arrived, we got the boys in the house, got them changed and put them to bed without any fuss. It was awesome. 

Everyone got a great night sleep and are ready to head to the Outer Banks!

I wave the White Flag!

Okay, okay. I know it's been a LONG time since I blogged and I didn't come close to keeping up with my gratitude of the day posts. I often bite off more than I can chew. I can't help it. I come from a long line of multitasking, always involved mothers- especially my beautiful mom. 

I am still incredibly grateful for many things everyday- but I'm just not going to write about it every day.

However. as we drive down I-95 headed to North Carolina, I am inspired to blog about our family vacation. So, for the next week- you can expect some great stories, beautiful photos and the hilarity of vacationing with 2 2-yr old little boys. 

Stay tuned~  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 13, 7/13/13 "Music"

OH my--- I had a whole plan in my head to write about music yesterday (7/13) and I fell asleep before I wrote. :( Better late than never,  right?!?

As most of you know, I am a music therapist by trade and started my career in end-of-life care with my post-graduate internship at Mt. Area Hospice in Asheville, NC. I found almost immediately that end-of-life care is where I needed to be in my career. I loved my time in Asheville and learned SOOOO much in 7 short months. My career has taken many twists and turns since then, but music continues to speak throughout my life.

This weekend, I have the pleasure of working with 14 MT-BCs (board-certified music therapists) in Newark, DE, co-teaching the Hospice & Palliative Care Music Therapy Institute. Yesterday, I presented about the needs and clinical problems of the dying in hospice care. Well teaching the group about the death vigil, I chained 4 songs together-- On The Wings Of A Dove, The Water Is Wide, Peace Like A River and One Day At A Time. The purpose of chaining songs together is to allow the music to continue without stopping and it provides a support presence to the dying patient and their loved ones who are present. I don't know what made me put these songs together, I never have before. I moved myself and actually relaxed while singing these songs all together like this.

What did I learn from this? I cannot forget to keep music as a center point in my life. I also need to find a musically outlet in my life. Any ideas???

Friday, July 12, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 12, 7/12/13 "Super Husband"

I would be remiss if I didn't recognize my husband for being the incredible man he is. I could not ask for a better partner in life. 

Justin and I balance each other in a way that truly only God could have brought through. I am a right-brained, creative/artistic type and Justin is  left-brained, analytical/literal type. I have always thought that between the two of us, we make up a full brain. Right?!?

Justin is always supportive of me in anything I do. (Well, aside from shopping...) He helped me get through grad school while working full time and planning our wedding. He was my absolute rock for me when my mom was killed just 4 shorts months after we got married. He did whatever I needed him to do and held my hand through all our fertility treatments and the birth of our sweet boys. We knew that by having twins, it was always going to be an all-hands-on-deck situation. Justin is an awesome dad. He loves to spend time with the boys playing, watching sports and he has become quite good at taken them both out to run errands. (I think he loves the attention that all the women give him!)

Since I don't know how to slow down and have 3 jobs, Justin is a key person in my  success. All I have to do it tell him when I'm going to be on-call or when I have a class to teach and he's ready and willing to be home to relieve the nanny or spend the day with the boys. 

Sometimes with all he does and juggles along with me, I think he needs a Super Hero cape- "Super J". 

I love you, honey. Thank you for being you!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 11, 7/11/13 "An Attitude of Gratitude"

Today, one of my co-workers mentioned that he was grateful for my gratitude blog and how much he enjoys reading it. I was humbled by this. I'm so glad that friends and family are reading my blog and are enjoying it. 

My hope in writing these ditties is to really remind myself that even the small, unexpected things in my life are things to be grateful for and acknowledge those things. 

It's really about adopting an attitude of gratitude. Listen, I'm not suggesting that I don't bitch or complain, because I do. But by committing to this blog (and those who read it), I'm thinking and examining all day, "What will show itself to me today?"

If you're reading this blog, thanks! I hope it is meaningful for you. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 10, 7/10/13 "New Babies"

I have a number of friends who are pregnant or have had new babies in the past few weeks. I love seeing those pictures of that brand new baby in their newborn hospital cap. 

It certainly gives me baby fever. For now, I'll just have to love on all these little bundles and keep that fever in check!

Congrats to all the new mommies and daddies! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 9, 7/9/13 "Pitch Perfect"

I am in love with this movie! I have a new found obsession with it. The music is really good and the comedy is great!

My cousin, Catherine and I watched it today and while we were watching, I texted a few of the one-liners to my friend, Gina (who is equally obsessed). Of course, she texted back. 

It's movies like this and shows I like that allow me to sit and park my brain. Between my kids, husband, jobs (yes, plural) and just life, my wheels are turning constantly. Sitting down and watching a funny movie or ridiculous realty show gives me a chance to turn off the motor and get a little lost. I think it's almost a defense mechanism. At my "full-time" job, I am dealing with very intense, emotional stuff. I need that down time. 

Pitch Perfect does that for me. :-)

Monday, July 8, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 8, 7/8/13 "Coffee"

After such a great, relaxing weekend... I needed this to jump start my day. 

I <3 Coffee! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 7, 7/7/13 "Laughter"

All my men and I had such an enjoyable, relaxing and fun weekend with our wonderful friends in the country. I could have stayed for at least another week! (Although, I think we would have had to get more wine!)

Throughout the weekend, there was laughter coming from all corners of the house- adults and children alike. Sometime the adults were laughing at the children! 

There is something so gratifying about laughing. And to listen to little ones giggle, it can be magically. 

Thank God for laughter!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 6, 7/6/13 "Leisurely Adult Lunch"

Cheers! I had the opportunity to enjoy an adult beverage with my husband in the middle of the day today. This is a priceless activity when you are the mother of twins. 

While the boys took their afternoon nap (or were supposed to be napping), Justin and I headed into Purcellville to grab some lunch at Magnolia's. We had done this the last time we visited Uncle Dave and Aunt CJ and Justin still talked about how amazing the burger he had was. So we went back and basically recreated our meals. Justin had his smokehouse burger and I enjoyed an amazing poached pear and spinach salad. But the cherry on top was the dessert; Yup, that's right, wine and dessert at lunch! ;-)  

It was great to sit and have quiet time out at a restaurant with my husband. We love our boys and adore the time we spend with them but we cherish these rear moments to be out as a couple. 

When you become a parent, your whole purpose in life changes and of course, so do your relationships. It's work being a parent and its even more work to be a couple. We try to be conscious of when we need these times to be "just us", making sure we are purely defined by our kids. 

Today I'm thankful for adult beverages and couple time with my love. <3

Friday, July 5, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 5, 7/5/13 "Old McDonald"

Late this afternoon, we packed up the boys (and half of our belongings, it seems) and headed to VA to spend the weekend in the "country" at my Uncle Dave and Aunt CJ's house. They have a beautiful home that sits back from the gravel road, in a wooded area. We love coming to visit. It's like a going to a fabulous B&B, but the price is right and the company is far superior. We spend usually spend the weekend eating fantastic food, drinking wine and enjoying each other's company. (BTW, tonight for dinner it was Cornish Game Hen, Grilled Sweet Potato, and Fresh Mixed Green Salad straight from the garden... DELISH!)

When we left the house this afternoon, I actually had to wake Parker up from his nap because he played and chatted to himself for a good hour-plus after we put them down for their naps. I was for certain that Parker would have gone back to sleep at some point during our almost 2-hour drive, but he didn't. He  talked  the  entire  way!!

We just before we turned into town, Parker sounded like he was singing. When I asked him what he was singing, he just giggled and kept going. It took me a minute to realize that he was singing "Old McDonald". I started to sing along with him and he grinned from ear to ear. It was the best feeling! And not to mention, so damn cute. The e-i-e-i-o part comes out more like, "eww-ee-eww-ee-o". Too much for this mama's heart to handle. 

I just might have a little musician on my hands. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 4, 7/4/13 "Freedom"

This afternoon, as I sat on my patio while the boys played with their water table, I looked up toward the sky and this was my view. 
What an amazing sky, right?!?

I love the 4th of July! It's one of my favorite holidays. I have always been a "Team USA" kinda a girl. Don't even get me going about the Olympics! 

So anyway, while sitting outside, watching my babies play, I couldn't help but think about what a blessing it is to be an Americian and how thankful I am for my freedom. My maternal great-grandfathers both fought in WWII; one losing his life for that freedom that I cherish. I've had friends and other family who have joined the military as they were called to serve and protect this country and those who aren't able to help themselves. 

My hope is that people remember what the 4th is all about; not just hot dogs, beer and fireworks. 

What did you do to give thanks today?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 3, 7/3/13 "Sweet Sleep"

I'm keeping this one short and sweet tonight. I took this photo of the boys just a few minutes after 10pm when we arrived home after spending a great day in Frederick with my dad and celebrating my Aunt Suzanne's birthday with my mom's family. The boys love being around our extended family and of course thrive at the opportunity to be the center of 15 people's complete attention. 

Usually by 10pm, they have been asleep for a good 2 hours. They were troopers to the very end. It was a very quiet ride home with only sounds of two sweet little boys snoring. I'm quite impressed that we got them out of their carseats and into their cribs without any fussing. They both quickly curled up and snuggled back into their sweet, sweet dreams. 

What is it about babies/toddlers sleeping that is just so precious??

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 2, 7/2/13 "Forgiveness"

While taking a walk on the treadmill today with my good friend, Gina, she was being very hard on herself. In the past year, she has been diagnosed with, treated and survived breast cancer. During that time, she also continued to work full-time and start new cupcake business. I happen to think she's an incredibly strong and determined woman.

While we were walking, she was talking about the number of steps she had already taken (as tracked by her fitbit) and how much more she needed to meet her goal of 10,000 per day. Like I said, she's determined. For the last several days, she has reached her goal and she told me that she couldn't believe she haven't been moving like this always. She was really being hard on herself as to why she hasn't adopted this habit earlier in life. I kindly smiled and congratulated her for reaching her goal. I told her not to be hard on herself and not to look back, but to look forward and keep it up! Forgiveness. 

Listen, I am the queen of beating myself up; constantly questioning decisions and choices I make. Also like Gina, I was disappointed in myself for not adopting a healthier way of living before now, but I have forgiven myself and am looking forward. 

Today I'm grateful for forgiveness. Did you forgive yourself today?

Monday, July 1, 2013

6 months of Gratitude: Day 1, 7/1/13 "Exercise"

This morning around 7am, I received a text message from my co-worker, Erin that simply said, "9:00 elliptical?" You see, my company is so awesome that we have a small gym complete with shower facilities so I'm able to work out whenever I can spare the 30+ minutes to do so. That's awesome, right?!? 

About 2 months ago, I decided it was really time to get serious about making healthier choices and getting active. I made this known to all my co-workers who would listen. The way I see it, the more people who are aware of my goal, the more I must stick with it. A few even choose to jump on this bandwagon with me. Erin was one of them. 

Each week, we make a work-out plan for the coming week; taking in to account our on-call schedule, my childcare schedule and other various barriers to our workouts. I don't know about you, but I am more faithful about exercising when I have a buddy; someone to talk to, bitch to and even count done how many minutes, even seconds left in the work-out. 

Today, after I sprinted the last 5 minutes on the elliptical, I felt great. I took a huge sigh of relief that my work-out for the day was done and then I noticed a big smile on my face. Even dripping with sweat in the very hot and humid gym- I was happy. 

Today, I'm grateful for exercise- what it does for my body, mind and spirit. 

What are you grateful for today?

Sunday, June 30, 2013


I'd like to think of myself as someone who knits. Now, understand that since I learned to knit close to 3 years ago, I haven't even come close to finishing anything....... 

It all started when we went on vacation in the early Fall of 2010. Justin and I had just found out we were pregnant, we didn't even know if it was 1 or 2 or, gulp, 3 babies in there. We went to the Outer Banks with my dad and friends and as with any good beach vacation, I brought along some reading material. In addition to my newly purchased, "What To Expect When You're Expecting" pregnancy book, I brought along a book I had found of my mom's, "The Friday Night Knitting Club." (By the way- I had started this novel during our LAST vacation the previous year in the Outer Banks!) So, as we enjoyed our leisurely vacation, I read my books. When I finished "The Friday Night Knitting Club", I told Justin that I really wanted to learn how to knit. 

I didn't really think much more about it until Justin mentioned that he had seen a  Groupon for a knit shop in Baltimore, offering a beginners knitting class at a reduced rate. I told him that sounded like fun and was reminded that my best friend, Jenn had also mentioned that she would like to learn to knit. And with that, 2 Groupons were purchased and Jen and I were set to take the 2-hr, 2 Saturday "Learn to Knit" class in December. 

The 2nd weekend in December arrived and I was ready to knit. I had never even held knitting needles in my hands, so I was REALLY a beginner. As I waddled in (now almost 20 weeks prego with twins), I remember seeing wall to wall yarn. I loved it! I've also been a fan of fabric and craft stores. This one was just for yarn; beautiful, vibrant, luxurious yarn. We say down at the table and got our baggy that held 2 bamboo knitting needles and a ball a yarn in the color we had chosen ahead of time. (Mine was purple, for the Ravens!) As the teacher and owner of the shop showed us how to hold the needles, get ourselves started and how to do the all-important knit stitch, I was a bit overwhelmed. But, I kept up and all of a sudden, I was knitting! Unfortunately, about 30 minutes later, the teacher began talking about a purl stitch and demonstrated what that looked like and had us practice. Well, for this prego, it was a bit much and I happily went back to knitting. The 2 hours past quickly and it was time to pack up and head home. The teacher encouraged us to practice each day until our next class. 

When I got home, I was so excited that I was being crafty and went to demonstrate to Justin what I had learned at knitting class. Well, between the knitting, the purling, and the hormones, I couldn't complete one damn stitch. I was hysterical. Ranting and raving about becoming a mother and not being able to knit and that knitting was supposed to be relaxing and I sure as hell wasn't relaxed! Poor Jus... He took to the phone and started texting and emailing some of the women in his office who he knew were knitters and sent out a SOS. I didn't read any of these messages, but I'm sure they read something like this, "HELP! My pregnant wife has lost her mind and she's hysterical because she can't knit!" While Justin went reaching out for help, I turned to YouTube. I found many videos that demonstrated the very basics of knitting. After many views of one particular video and a couple dropped stitches, I GOT IT! I was so proud and went on the knit more for the rest of the evening. That was the only practice I did before our next class. 

When Saturday rolled around, it was time to head to Baltimore for our 2nd class. I had planned to tell the teacher that while I appreciates learning other stitches, this girl was sticking with the knit stitch, nothing more, nothing less. The 2nd class was far more successful than the 1st. I even learned how to cast on. I left the class feeling accomplished and prepared to continue on my merry knitting way. 

In the next months and 2+ years, I continued to knit on my 2 little samples from that class. It wasn't until this past Spring when I had to pleasure of attending a ladies knitting weekend that I started a real project. During retreat at a truly spectacular home in Northern VA, I decided that I was indeed going to be a knitter. And if I was going to be a knitter, I needed a project, so I started to work on an infinity scarf. I love scarves! (As many of you know, I have a self-professed scarf problem...) I also knew that it would take me some time to really get this done with my overly business life, that a nice infinity scarf would be fabulous to have in the Fall and Winter months; at this rate, I could totally have it done by then. 

Here's where I am now with my scarf. 

I have a ways to go, but I LOVE it. It's going to be amazing!

Knitting really is what I wanted it to be; fun, relaxing, creative and just for me. I needed something in my life that was just for me. I must say, I think Justin gets a little excited when he sees me pick up my knitting bag, mostly because he knows I'm going to be quiet for about an hour, but also because he knows it brings me joy. 

What do you do just for you???

Friday, June 28, 2013

Well, a lot had changed in my life since May 2010 when I started this blog...

As I sit and write this, my twin 2 year old boys are sweetly sleeping upstairs. I can very proudly wear that "mother" hat now. :)

Here I am again wanted to write about my life, my experiences and my thoughts... in my spare time. HA!

Something that I wish to focus on at this time in my life is gratitude. Yesterday, one of my awesome co-workers at The Living Legacy Foundation, presented an in-service on Mindfulness-- really being present in your life, work, etc. She talked about recognizing things you are grateful for and how naming these things can help you to be present. Each day, I can likely rattle off 20 things that I am grateful for-- my faith, my husband, my boys, my dad, my family, my job, my friends, and the list goes on... But, I want to address the less than expected things/events I'm grateful for.

So, beginning on July 1st, I'm going to post each day and share what I'm grateful for on that day. I'm calling it "6 Months of Gratitude". I know every day that I wake up and take a deep breath that I have been blessed. I want to put this in print and see just where it goes. Enjoy ya'll.