Aug 11, 2017

Just Fork Over the Money for the Shuttle and Other Thoughts from Edel '17

I was very grateful to be able to attend the Edel Gathering in Austin this past weekend. Tim valiantly  and seamlessly held down the fort at home while I flew out to meet my sister and sister-in-law for a girls' weekend. We were all able to leave a day early (Thursday) which was the best decision- having that extra time to relax, explore the city, and do everything at our own pace was SO nice. 

Knowing my flight was arriving first, three hours ahead of my SIL, and several hours before check-in at the hotel, I thought I'd be adventurous and venture out to at least one thrift store to kill time. (I did some Googling beforehand and it looked like only one was in reasonable walking distance to the hotel.) And I thought I'd be frugal and take the public metro bus (only $1.25!) since I wasn't wild about shelling out the $15 for the Shuttle bus, or $30+ for a taxi- who cared if the ride took a little longer?


YOU GUYS. I have never said so many prayers in a row to St. Michael and my Guardian Angel in my life! As soon as I boarded the bus I knew my carry-on and I stuck out like a sore thumb.
The people behind me were dropping the F-bomb like the word "the", many a disagreement was being shouted for all to hear, and at one point the guy in front of me was discussing his being out on parole with the girl across from him. 
We drove through and stopped at super-shady areas of town, and after about an hour made it to the transit station- a roofed area with some benches and vending machines covered with bars. I had NO idea where I was. My brief discussions with the driver and info lady at the airport led me to believe I'd be within walking distance to the store, but after studying the (super confusing!) bus maps several times, I realized I still had a ways to go. I seriously considered walking out of there instead of waiting for another endless bus ride of unpleasantness, however this "station" was surrounded by highway and I knew the only way out was by bus (also, gotta love people smoking all over when there are no-smoking signs all around)! Edel felt like such a distant event; some hazy dream in another lifetime. After about a forty minute wait, the bus I needed to get me close to the hotel (forget my crazy plan!) arrived and we slowly made our way into town. I actually missed the stop I needed, as on the map it looked like there would be one more stop even closer, and felt the biggest sense of dread and despair when the bus crossed a bridge heading away from the city! I was going to be riding these buses forever! I immediately pulled the cord to get off at the next stop and began my trek back across the bridge, suitcase in tow.
 I don't mean to sound like some privileged snoot- but I was completely out of my element through all of that. To spend my days mothering four young kids, leaving the house mostly for the grocery store, library, post office, and the like, and then suddenly find myself on some crazy trajectory, then standing alone at a rough-looking bus stop in a city utterly unfamiliar to felt like I was in some movie!
Image result for it smells like mushrooms and everyone
I had a Buddy moment

Anyways! I eventually met up with my SIL (the bus escapade ended up being over two hours), then sister, and that first night we walked around for a bit and found a place to eat. The next day we slept in as much as we could, found a place for brunch, did some more exploring, a little shopping, and spent some time at the hotel pool. It was kind of funny because there were (several?) bachelor and bachelorette parties at the hotel that weekend and the pool was packed. And here we were- moms of young kids, so far removed from that scene, just swimming in the middle of the groups. :)

 The first night of Edel was the Crazy Shoe Party- and there were for sure some crazy ones! It was fun to see all the creativity and gather with ladies from all over the map.
 Before they announced the winners we ran out to a nearby bridge packed with spectators to glimpse the bats that fly out every night- apparently there are 1.5 million that fly out from under the bridge every night! It was quite a sight and there was such a pretty sunset to boot!

After the winners were announced back at the party we headed out again in search of dessert. The Italian place we went to had such a great sounding menu that we went back the next morning for brunch (give me all the Eggs Benedict). Austin for sure has no shortage of great places to eat!
The next day was the main event. We perused the vendors after check-in (so many wonderful artisans! It was a whole group of awesome Etsy shops gathered in one place- be still, my wallet.) (I'll try to list and link them later), and then listened to a great talk by The Evangelista (The Waiting is the Cross text version HERE!), had some more free time to visit vendors, had a snack of scones and fruit, and took advantage of the free back massages.
The next talk by Angie Neumann of the Catherine of Siena Institute about Charisms really, really hit my heart (Charisms are gifts used for others that you receive at the moment of your baptism, everyone has 2-6, always for the benefit of others, extraordinary effectiveness, help you to avoid burnout, etc.)  I would love to learn more about them and discern what mine are!

That evening we walked to St. Mary's Cathedral for mass, then went back to the hotel for the evening dinner, talk, and festivities. Dinner was one of those meals where everything was SO incredibly good and each dish had a different spin on its "usual" preparation. Mary Lenaburg was the keynote speaker and did a phenomenal job. After that was dancing and karaoke, which admittedly we didn't stick around long for, but we did do the photo booth and laughed like we had had more than one drink each (moms gone wild). And we got a selfie with Jen- she took it!! She and Hallie are just pure awesomeness.

We all had 7am flights the next morning which was a literal rude awakening after a weekend of fun.
Also, the theme of strange transportation continued with our Uber ride to the airport:
A younger man picked us up, and seemed nice enough until he began talking about how he didn't like Waco. "They have anti-pornography billboards", he said. "Who does that? What is this, the 1920s?! They spent money on that- there are homeless men sleeping below them, why don't they just give the money to them?!" While I agree that it's important to help the homeless, us three girls were floored at what we had just heard! None of us knew what to say, and we couldn't believe that he went on an anti-pornography rant in front of three women!  I just said silent Hail Marys and was so very thankful when we arrived at the airport minutes later. I have more to say about that but Jenny hits the nail on every head.

I missed my family but all-in-all it was so great to have some prolonged girl time and three days away from home.
I hope Hallie & Jen continue to host Edel events and that many more women are able to go!

Edel 2015 recap here!

Jul 30, 2017

The Closest I'll Get to Monochromatic {My Sunday Best}

I've often admired bloggers who have posed in entirely pink/ white/ denim/ what-have-you outfits and have made it look effortless but every time I've thought I could possibly make a monochromatic outfit work, I lose my nerve and end up changing before I leave the house looking like a flamingo.

Don't mind the horrible mess!
I don't wear this skirt as much as I'd like since I don't have a red or olive top that matches and the background is cream. A few weeks ago I found this cardigan at a thrift store and decided I could be sartorially gutsy by putting this outfit together. ;)

We went out for a short hike and playground time today at a new to us park- the weather is so beautiful and much welcome after a few rainy days. It was so nice to have some family time- the weekends seem to fill up with so many "need-to-dos" and just fly by!

Linking up with Rosie. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Jul 28, 2017

Stuff & Nonsense {7QT}

Linking up this day with Kelly (who has taken care of all your homeschool fashion needs)!

The calendar is about to be flipped to August which is still SUMMER! (CAPS-ING for you, retail people!)
I read something by Shauna Niequist the other day in which she shared her absolute love for summer and I completely concur. Give me all the hot weather and sun for as long as possible please and thank you! (Especially when I think of how much blessedly easier it is to leave the house when kids don't need to wear layers upon layers and things like a sock on each foot.)

It's been a good summer so far- not too busy or too lackadaisical- but I have to mention that Tim went out of town twice for multiple days each time, and I think I'm still recovering from both.
I am not good at solo parenting.

Also, I came across this in our front yard as I was about to pull some weeds:
Harmless, but not my most favorite part of the summer, either!

That aside, here's some things we've been enjoying lately:

I know I've mentioned this recipe before but it is just so delicious! The crumb topping perfectly offsets the zesty-tart base, and for me it's the perfect summer dessert. :) It calls for ramekins but I've used an 8x8 pan for it and it turned out fine.

I love how dense and not overly sweet this turns out. Also, you definitely need to add the drizzle on top!

I just finished Jenny Rosenstrach's How to Celebrate Everything and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a library loan, so I'm hoping she has a lot of the recipes on her blog!

I also completed Big Little Lies recently (after having to return it and go back on the wait list for several weeks) and liked it! I think What Alice Forgot is my favorite of Liane Moriarty's, but this was definitely a page turner.

I started My Lady Jane but didn't get too far before I decided to return it to the library. I think historical-fantasy-fiction just isn't my thing! (But it does have loads of high ratings and I wholeheartedly appreciated the dedication: "For everyone who knows there was enough room for Leonardo DiCaprio on that door."😂)

Evie loved Prairie Girl and the (first?) two Noisy Village books. She's also been holing herself up with some of the Boxcar Children titles.

I just finished reading aloud All of a Kind Family and The Children of Noisy Village to Audrey and we both really liked them. They both give such fun and distinct accounts of different time periods and cultures, which I loved!


I wouldn't recommend all of the episodes, but The Royals was both an interesting and entertaining documentary. Good for the interim until (if?!) The Crown comes back on Netflix.

Also, Tim and I have been enjoying Madam Secretary, per Jenny's blog recommendation. (You tell them how it is, Téa.)

For all the fans of The Sound of Music- how about this shirt?!

Have a great weekend!

Jul 11, 2017

And then she was one.

Almost a month ago we celebrated Cora's 1st birthday!
Time is such a funny thing- to be honest, I was really looking forward to her becoming one. Not that I wanted to wish her babyhood away, but the previous six months had been rough and I was more than ready to hit an "older" milestone. Between night wakings (that were increasing instead of decreasing!), so much teething, and several rounds of  respiratory sickness, I felt continually exhausted and just couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. She is no longer nursing and is now sleeping through the night- Hallelujah!

Over the last couple of months she has started standing on her own and cruising, babbles a lot, and her personality has become so big- it's amazing how fast babies change! I feel like overnight she switched to almost-toddler mode and now everything is moving so quickly.
(For example: she hadn't been able to scale the second stair of our sunken family room until one day a week or so ago. A few days after that she scaled the entire flight of stairs to the second floor while I was busy with the older three- God is so good to give us Guardian Angels!!!)

She really has been such a jolly and sweet little babe. She loves her pacifier and being sung to. When Tim comes home after being gone at work she fusses if he doesn't immediately pick her up. For (what felt like) the longest time she wasn't interested in solids until one day she was! Same thing with her bath- she wasn't a fan for the first several months but it was like a switch flipped and now when she hears the bath water she makes a beeline for the tub. She is our first to seek out open toilets and splash away (oh child, if only you knew how gross). She has a penchant for reaching for everything on my dresser and nightstand- and promptly tossing it on the floor. When she smiles really big she has the toothiest grin and I can hardly handle it! She loves diving into soft things and giggling while being tickled and "caught".  Her eight-year-old cousin M loves to hold her and it so sweet to see that bond spanning the age gap. If she's getting into something she shouldn't and Tim or I use an admonishing tone she starts fussing and sometimes bursts into tears- all I can say is: temperaments!

On her actual birthday we opened presents, and I went all out with store bought cupcakes. ;) And I inadvertently picked up a gluten-free pack.
But she loved it!

We had some family over for a little party the next day. Evie and Audrey were occupied all morning not cleaning their room, so Heidi got to be my cake decorator helper. :)

It was so precious- when cake and singing time came she suddenly became shy and clung to my sister, wanting to be held.
We love you, Cora Juliette, and hope you had the happiest of first years!
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