Nashville with Ben and Abby!

posted on: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Abby's birthday was a few weeks back and as her birthday present this year I drove us down to Nashville to spend the long memorial day weekend with our brother, Ben. It was just the three of us  and we had such a good time catching up and spending time together. Ben may beg to differ as he slept on a futon the whole weekend and spent a lot of time driving us around and waiting in food lines with us, but I wouldn't have changed a thing ;). 

Not even close, haha

We hit up the Saturday farmer's market at the Factory in Franklin and stocked up on doughnuts from Five Daughter's Bakery and peaches from the Peach Truck. We also got to take our time and walk through the factory, ducking into antique shops and lingering in store windows which is something I almost never get to do with three kiddos in tow. It was a nice break that I so appreciated. 

Just be prepared for lots of food pics because eating is top priority when in Nashville

oh hey, breast pump.


We tried Two Ten Jack for the first time this visit and it was SO GOOD. The brussel sprout appetizer, the chicken wings and the ramen were all incredible. I doubt you could go wrong with anything on this menu.

Also, while I'm reviewing food I should mention that we drank a LOT of coffee while we were in town and I think I discovered my new favorite. The cuban coffee at Crema was holy perfection. I woke up this morning thinking about it and it pains me to think about how long it will probably be until I have another one. You're too good, Nashville. Too good.

We also had brunch sunday morning at Prima, where Ben works as the bread baker. And let me tell you we were given the five start treatment by the staff. (They must like him or something ;) We got to sample all of the breads and pastries he has a hand in creating and got a behind the scenes kitchen tour and got to see where all the magic happens. It was very cool, and VERY delicious.

Later that night Abby and I braved the heat and waited in the epic walk up line for the sunday night singer/songwriter show at the Bluebird Cafe. It's first come first serve and sells out every single night so we got there about two hours early and were about 15 deep in the line. By the time the doors opened I couldn't even see the end of the line and I sweating bullets from the 90 degree heat. BUT it paid off because we got a little two top right at the front edge of the stage and had a perfect view of the show. It was a pretty cool experience and felt very authentically Nashville. I'm so glad we did it. 

And there we have it, another Nashville visit is in the books. Made even better by all the brother/sister bonding time. I miss you already, Ben! Thanks so much for hosting us!

Until next time!

The state of things

posted on: Thursday, May 26, 2016

I am sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of unfolded laundry and an empty suitcase that still needs filling. The boys are using my phone to watch minecraft videos in Weston's room and Ever is walking around with her baby doll shushing it and patting it's back. Downstairs I can hear the sound of men working in our office, finally fixing the wall and ceiling damage from a leak that we've been procrastinating over for months. They need me to pick a paint color. Shit. "Just paint it all white", I say. I've just gotten off the phone with the freight company who needs to reschedule the delivery of materials for our new kitchen floor. The driver was here earlier today and didn't have the right equipment to get it off of his truck, so I watched him drive away, my beloved slate tile still buried somewhere inside. So close, but so far away and dangit, I was really looking forward to unboxing it and pulling out some pieces to ogle over and fondle today. But whatever, I've waited this long...what's a few more days? I still really need to pack that suitcase because I'm leaving for Nashville in the morning for a long weekend visit with my brother. (But not before stopping by a client's house to supervise a delivery on my way out of town). And now the boys are hungry and we're meeting some family for ice cream in an hour and a half so it will have to wait. By the time we get home it will be baths and stories and bedtime and packing after the sun goes down and the day will be gone. This life is good, but full. And a little out of balance right now. So I'm just doing the best I know how to keep the babies fed and the clients happy and birthday cards mailed and the toilets clean and mostly trying not to drop all the balls.
Let's be honest, some balls have definitely been dropped.
Nashville pics soon, I hope?


posted on: Saturday, May 7, 2016

So we went to Florida! This was the vacation Josh has been wanting to take for years with the kiddos. We all know his first choice for every vacation is always, always, always the beach, but this one was sentimental. Josh's grandmother took him on many vacations to the gulf side of Florida growing up and those vacations to the beach with her are some of his favorite childhood memories. So, this was the year our own little family got to have that experience. We stayed in a condo in Naples right on the beach and Oren and Ever got to ride on an airplane and see the ocean for the very first time. Lake Michigan is great, but it's just not quite the same as the real deal - salt water - warm waves lapping at your feet - ocean. Plus Wes was so young the last time we took him to the ocean that he doesn't really remember it, so it was kind of like the first time for all of them. 

All three of them loved the beach and pool, but Oren was especially fond of the hot tub. And when he wasn't in the hot tub he was out karate chopping the waves as they rolled in. Like legitimately trying to bare knuckle brawl with the ocean the entire time. 

Having a condo instead of a hotel room was perfect for this kind of family trip. The in-unit washer and dryer were a highlight for me. (And coming home with two suitcases full of clean clothes was the true cherry on top). Naples was nice, lots of snow birds and big money in that city. But they also have a really cute zoo that the kids all loved. We fed giraffes and boys got to take a camel ride. I won't name names but one of them was having the time of his life and the other was mostly terrified of falling off.

We spent most of our week without much of a plan, just lots of swimming and naps and hanging out by the pool. But we did take a couple of day trips, and one was a day in Everglades National Park. We started the day with a private boat tour through the thousand islands. I think this was the highlight of the whole trip for Wes and Oren. They loved the boat ride and we got to see a dolphin feeding near the coastline and we even had a sighting of the elusive manatee! Then we stopped off at Marco Island and we got to get out and go shelling. The boys brought back buckets of shells and sand dollars and our guide was super sweet about helping them identify shells and find the good ones.

^^^ that's a manatee nose! ^^^

We continued our adventures into the Everglades but first we had to make sure to stop for smoothies at Robert Is Here which is an amazing fruit stand on the outskirts of the park that Josh and I first discovered thirteen years ago the last time we visited this area. It's still standing and as delicious as ever.  

Then we got into the park and our camera promptly died. Please enjoy these three iPhone photos I was able to scrounge up. But hey, at least we got a photo of a crocodile.

The other day trip we did was a day in Miami, which I absolutely LOVED. We squeezed in as many sights as we could handle before we landed at the beach and let the kids run wild. We had a delicious seafood lunch in Little Havana at La Camaronera  before we made our way over to Calle Ocho and got to glimpse the tables of first generation cuban immigrants playing dominoes. Wandering around the park and sipping sweet cuban coladas was a highlight for me. I could have stayed all day. 

We also drove around Wynwood Walls a bit and stopped for some photo ops in front of just a few of the gorgeous murals. There was so much to take in, that I feel like we barely scratched the surface in the time we had there.

Finally, we headed out to Miami beach for a dip in the Atlantic and believe me when I say, we took in allll the sights along the way ;) Miami would be so fun sans kids. Josh and I can't wait to go back on our own some day. I did force the kids to walk along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue for an Emily directed architectural walking tour. They were thrilled by the experience as you can imagine, but I couldn't get enough of all the art deco hotels and neon signage. This city is SO good. I needed way more than a day. We finished the night off with an amazing cuban dinner at Puerto Sagua --- fried pork chunks and oxtail stew y'all.  MIND BLOWN. What a way to end the week.

Thanks for having us, beautiful Florida. We sure hope to be back soon. 

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