Wednesday, April 24

Welcome to Holland.

Most of you know that Devin & I are in the process of adopting a baby.  While I don't really want this blog to start chronicling every detail of the process, it is a HUGE part of our lives right now.  Leaving it off wouldn't seem right.  Kind of like Zack without Kelly.  Or chocolate without peanut butter.  McDonald's without their amazing diet coke.  Therefore...proceed with caution in this post.

We had to attend an adoption class last week as a part of our homestudy.  I haven't had to go to a class since college.  So... Let's go back 10 years & discuss what class was like for D&A in college.  Being that we were both education majors, we had some overlapping classes.  Picture this:

Dev: Arrives to class 10 minutes early.
Abs: Arrives 10 minutes late.

Dev: Wears jeans, & a freshly ironed shirt.
Abs: Wears sweatpants & whatever shirt may have been on the floor.  50/50 chance for make-up.

Dev: Supplies on the table: Leather bound notebook, pens in every color, matching folders.
Abs: Has to ask him for a pen, may or may not have her homework.  

Dev: Raises his hand for every question.
Abs: Talks to the person next to her.  

That pretty much covers it.  They say opposites attract & they are right (whoever "they" are).  Now, I consider myself a very organized, thought-out person & I think DC would describe me as that also....but he also calls me his little free spirit.  But hey - free spirits can be dang good teachers.  Just ask all 8 classes of kids I taught how to read.  #AEIOU

I found that nothing had changed 10 years later when we found ourselves back in class.  I went to get coffee, he sat us in the front row.  He had his notebook, I had to dump out my purse for a pen.  His eyes never left the speaker, I got elbowed for texting.  But man, do I love my little rule-follower daddy-to-be.  

The class was great & we are learning a lot about raising an adopted child, dealing with issues that may arise & just how to parent in general.  I'm thankful that we are discussing things ahead of time.  Because I know our world is about to be ROCKED.

The speaker started out by reading an essay called "Welcome to Holland" & I found my eyes filling up with tears the entire time.  I think it describes my feelings perfectly about this whole process.

Welcome To Holland
By: Emily Perl Kingsley

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?!" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! 
I'm supposed to be in Italy."

All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.  So you must go out and buy new guide books. 
And you must learn a whole new language. 
And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... 
because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things....about Holland.

This is my Holland.  And it's just about ready.
(artwork by my kindergarten class.  otherwise known as the coolest thing I have ever laid my eyes on.)

Friday, April 19

CDF (coffee date friday)

If we had coffee today, I would tell you these 5 things...

* three of my dear college girlfriends launched a fabulous website on what it means to be a whole woman. Check it out....its full of life.  I was honored to be their first guest writer.  LIOB, ladies!

* I went to the gym for a class this week & was the only person who showed up.  Which meant an hour of pure misery free personal training.   The instructor is 6 months pregnant, with Jillian Michael's body (are you getting a visual?)  Insane.  If that didn't motivate me to hold my plank a little longer, I don't know what will.  

* I love flowers & would happy to get some delivered every week for the rest of my life.  I don't care that they eventually die.  They make me smile. 

* our kindergarten class pet, Jake The Tadpole, went to pond Heaven this week.  I got to school in the morning & he was belly up.  After avoiding eye contact with the kids for as long as I could, I finally had to break the news.  The gasps lasted for a solid minute.  Heartbreaking.  If you happen to be out in a creek this weekend & could snag a new Taddy for me, that would be great.   

* today is my 31st birthday.  I get to be queen for the day forever.   Even though 31 sounds uneventful, I am super excited for what is in store for me this year.  Hopefully it will involve snuggling a person that is 2 ft tall.   And big, fluffy cupcakes.

What 5 things would you tell me if we had coffee?

Tuesday, April 16


"We're going on cation" as my sweet nephew called it.

Otherwise known as Spring Break to a 3-year old.  The sand is brighter when looked at through the eyes of a little boy.  The ocean is bigger.  The waves louder.  The smell...that's the same though.   There is nothing quite like the smell of a sea breeze.  Throw in some dead fish after a storm though, aaaaannd not as nice.  You win some, you lose some.

Here are some of my favorites from the week.  Dinners out, dinners in, glorious seafood, twin tots, game night, Easter Sunday.  And, the beach.  I'll see you next year.  That's a promise.

Behold.  The cream of the crop.  Two screaming kids, one that looks like Michael Jackson, and two adoptive parents-to-be.  It's enough to make our social worker crumple up her report, toss her clipboard & run for the hills.  (please don't!)  We really are good with kids.
Just not when they are hungry & ready to leave the house.

Let's not forget my instagram faves.  Man, do I love The Gram.

I can't wait for my next "cation."  I hope that it has something to do with a Gondola, on a street of water, with a man wearing black & white.

Where is your dream "cation"?

Thursday, April 11


Happy Spring, everyone!

I hope you enjoyed some guest posting last week.
Thanks to Jenni, Max & Kelly for helping me out!
Stay tuned for a re-cap on my "cation" to the beach (as my uber-adorable nephew called it!).

In the Carter house, Spring means grilling out, bike rides in the neighborhood & open windows.  Which one is the lie?  Open windows.  I hate light & even in the middle of summer, you will find me with all of the shades drawn hiding within my gray & brown walls.

Less light = less my wrinkles will show.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

During Winter Break, I decided it would be fun to make a Christmas Bucket List  And, success!  We completed everything.  Now, sleeping next to the fire & staying in our PJs were both completed while we were sicker than a dog with the flu, but nonetheless...still completed.

Now that spring is here, I thought we could rekindle the bucket list - spring style!
I came up with five, & Dev came up with five.

What things would you add to your Spring Bucket List?

And look what $3 at Kroger can buy you...instant Spring.

Friday, April 5

GUEST POST: What does this button do?!

Hey there! Happy Friday! :)

My name is Kelly, and I'm a wife, momma, and photographer. I blog over at Life at 319.

Abigail asked me to blog some tip for photographing your children, so that's exactly what I'm going to do!

A little background info: When I first got my "nice camera" I had absolutely no intention on turning my hobby into a business. I bought an DSLR camera just to learn how to take better photos, and had high hopes of figuring it out before I had kids. After all, what momma doesn't want to take a million photos of her kid?! Anyways, just a few months later I found out I was pregnant with my son. Once he was born, my love for photography took off. For the most part, I'm self taught. It was a lot of trial and error, and my son was always my subject, much to his dismay. I kept testing out different settings, and just figuring things out. After a while some friend started asking me to photograph their kids, and it just kind of snow balled from there. Now I'm the owner of Kelly Gibbs Photography, and am loving every minute of it!

Since my love for photography started with my own son, I wanted to offer you 5 tips for taking better photos of your children:

1. Treat yourself. Buy yourself a DSLR camera. I know they can be pricey, but if you have a point and shoot, you know that it doesn't move quick enough to capture your busy 2 year old. Most likely, you have a lot of blurry photos. A DSLR camera's shutter is so much faster, and will be perfect for photographing your busy kids!
 photo WW_14S_zps60a685e2.jpg

2. Get OUT of automatic mode. This is not easy, but will make your photos so much better. There are lots of things you have to know for shooting in manual mode. White balance, aperture, ISO, the list goes on. But I promise you, making the jump from automatic to manual will save your life! Ok, maybe not save your life, but it will make your photos sharper, more vibrant, and just gorgeous. I would strongly recommend the book, Mamarazzi to help understand your camera better. That book was so helpful when I was starting out, and breaks down the different components of shooting in manual.
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2.Go all natural, baby! That's right, turn off that flash and find yourself some natural light. I am 100% a natural light photographer. If I need to take a photo indoors, I find a window. If it's night time and there is no light, I bump up that ISO. Don't have much natural light in your home? That's ok! Go get yourself a prime lens. I recommend the 35mm f/1.8 to get started. This baby is great in low light, and is a steal at $200!
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3. Search for the sun! When photographing your kids outdoors, make sure to look at where the sun is. If it's the middle of the day, and the sun is intense, don't take a photo of your child in direct sun. Trust me, no one wants blown out faces! Instead, find a shady spot. Under a tree and next to a building are great places. If you're lucky, and the sun is close to setting, by all means put your kids in the gorgeous, golden sun. You won't be sorry.
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5. Make memories. A lot of parents I talk to really struggle with getting their kids in the "perfect pose" for a photo. Take the stress away, and pull out your camera during the most mundane part of your day. Photograph your little boy shooting a basketball. Grab your camera when your little girl is spinning in her princess dress. These are the memories you want to capture and the ones you'll want to remember when your children are grown!
 photo 2WW_7S_zps3a61ef0c.jpg

Photography takes practice, but it's such a fun hobby! I hope these tips have helped you! Have a great day! :)

Wednesday, April 3

GUEST POST: M is for Maxine

Hi! I'm Maxine and I write about random nonsense over at MAXOUT.

You can call me Max though.

When Abigail asked me to guest blog I immediately responded "A is for Absolutely!"

This girl is fun and stylish! but I don't know why I'm telling you, you obviously know how A is for Awesome she is.

Side story: when I first started following her, I thought the "abs" was "6 pack abs." Thankfully it wasn't because that would've been weird.

Since A is for Abs, I thought I would do a M is for Maxine today. Original. I know. But follow me here, I may be on to something...

M is for million. No, sadly, I'm not a millionaire. However my name goes perfectly with it. Max-a-million or maximillion, I never understood the different spellings. I always thought the A looked better. Million has made my life so much easier. I used it in every class officer election in middle and high school and it's given people a name to call me other than maxi.... ahem... don't finish that.

A is for Anchor. I'm no sailor or a sorority girl, but rather a news anchor. I've been sitting behind a news desk for the past 2 years, before that I was a reporter. It's no secret that I love my job but it's also challenging at times (like most jobs) I wouldn't change my career path for the world.

X is for xoxo. (crap, there just has to be an X in my name) that's how I sometimes sign my letters. that's all i have for that one.

I is for Instagram. aka the new facebook. is it me or is everyone else annoyed with facebook? No... I will not like your post just so YOU can get a puppy. Dumb. The filters hide my dark circles and make me look tan... you can't hate on that.

N is for News. obviously, my life wouldn't be complete without the news. I'm obsessed. I wake up and read the headlines (first celebrities, then actual news) #priorities

E is for eating. Y'all, I eat a lot. Since starting CrossFit I probably consume 3 times the amount of what I used to eat. I also run. I don't necessarily always eat healthy (as I'm stuffing a reeses egg in my mouth) but I eat clean as much as I can.

What does your name stand for? Head on over to my blog, and let me know!


Monday, April 1

Guest Post...SPRING BREAK 2013!

Meet Jenni. 

This lovely lady is the director of The Happy Bod...a holistic based company based out of LA.  She & her actor husband live in LA with their two kitties.  Yes, I said actor.  I'm hoping that Bryce will be on SNL one day and get me tickets to the show....pretty please! 

Jenni also doubled as my roomie in college.  Sometimes Most times I didn't pick up my clothes & our room was a mess.  Sorry, Jenni.  Sometimes she and I would get lazy and park at the President's house on campus if we couldn't find a parking space.  Sorry, Prez.  Along with being roomies & sorority sistas we also were on the dance team together & enjoyed shakin' it like a polaroid picture. 

Read her advice on staying healthy over spring break!

SPRING BREAK 2013- wooooooh! Am I right?

Slow down one quick second, party people, and let's talk about staying healthy while you're on vacation!

On-The-Go Snacking
·         Stock your purse/hotel room with real food, portable, healthy snacks like nuts, fresh fruit and hard boiled eggs to avoid eating junk on the plane, or from the mini bar or vending machine.

Staying Hydrated
·         Planes have EXTREMELY low humidity - so prepare by drinking extra water the days leading up to your trip, and drink 8 oz of water every hour during the flight (bring
·         your own filtered and reusable water bottle so you don't have to flag down the flight attendant every time you need a refill!)
·         Avoid salty snacks and alcohol while flying.
·         Start every morning of your trip with a large glass of water.
      Dehydration is the biggest cause of vacation bueno!

Healthy Eating & Drinking
·         Don't forget to eat a healthy breakfast that will keep you full and ready for long days of fun! In a continental situation look for toast with peanut butter, scrambled eggs and a side of fruit instead of sugary pastries, syrups and cereals.
·         Opt for red wine with your dinner instead of fancy mixed drinks like margaritas and piƱa coladas (120 calories vs. 350+ calories).
·         Remember you can indulge in fabulous local cuisine and still use a little common sense- fill half your plate with produce, and look for foods in their natural state.
·         Heavy and cream-based foods will only make you too tired and sluggish to have fun after dinner!

·         Bring a foldable yoga mat, lightweight running shoes or an exercise band to make working out possible during your trip.
·         Exercise first thing when you wake up so you have the entire day ahead of you feeling refreshed and energized.
·         Enjoy potential local exercise options like beach walking or salsa dancing!

Happy spring break, you crazy kid! Have fun and be safe out there!

About The Happy Bod
Jennifer Wissel is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Director of The Happy Bod. She works with clients to make small adjustments in diet and lifestyle that have big impact on their overall health and wellness. | (310) 868-8204 |