Exercise Power Hour!

Yandy2.jpg

The weather around here has been whack. It warmed up about a month ago, and then the temperatures decided to plummet back into the 30's like a big fat April Fools trick. It's almost Easter and I fear my grass shall never been green again.

So even though it's been stupid cold (sorry, my New England friends, but seriously, people live in the South to be able to enjoy spring temperatures when it's actually spring, which it is now, so I have no idea what's going on) - but, we've been going outside anyway. Every day after the boys wake up from their afternoon nap, sometime in the 4 o'clock hour, we high tail it outside and move our bodies. I've started calling this exercise power hour, because even though it's not exactly enjoyable temperatures (and my flowers haven't bloomed so there's no yard decor going on), it's still so important to move and play and get some fresh air. For their sanity and mine - cabin fever has gotten real around here these last few weeks and we all need the sunshine, even if it is still bathed in winter's chilly breath.

Yandy4.jpg
Yandy3.jpg
Yandy4.jpg
Yandy5.jpg
Workout Plank2.jpg
Yandy6.jpg
Yandy12.jpg
Yandy13.jpg

I decided to start giving Everett some exercise pointers. I taught him how to do squats, lunges, push ups and planks. And since he loves to run, we sprint in between these sets and really get our blood pumping. And it's been SO much fun! Daxton just toddles around and watches us, but I actually picked him up the other day and squatted with him for extra weight and GOOD LORD. I could only do 3. That kid is hoss.

Yandy14.jpg

My activewear was sent to me by Yandy.com and I chatted about the line over on 5 Minutes for Mom. Check out the post I wrote about why moms should never apologize for living in their activewear! Because for real you guys. It's my mom uniform.

Happy Friday to you, friends! xx

Summer Garden Update.

garden1 copy.jpg

We did this thing.

And we might have gone a little crazy.

We had to remove a few trees in our yard. We had a birch tree dying in our front yard, and some red tips rotting behind our mailbox. So when we had the arborist out and got a quote to remove them, we started doing this terrible thing where we dreamed about what would look reeeeeeeally good in place of those trees. Which led to dreaming about what shrubs should go around the new trees and which mulch would look best and perhaps adding a few stones here and there to pull everything together... and somehow we had concocted a full front and back yard landscape plan. All from sitting on our front porch and drinking beer and getting mosquito bites.

Stevie and I are extremely different. We plan differently, we execute our days differently, and we often have these ridiculous arguments over whose way is "more right". But this thing about landscape and outdoor beauty, for some reason, combines our forces in a really agreeable way.

So we just pulled the trigger and went for it.

I often hear people talk about how they fixed up their house before they moved, and by the time they finished the projects, they had fixed up their home so well that they didn't want to move anymore. We don't really want to move anytime soon, but we both really love grass and trees and flowers (and birds and bird feeders and bird watching...), so we decided to invest in some long-term perennials this summer that we can enjoy for many years to come. I can't say that we will live here forever (I truly don't know what the future will bring), but I am loving our outdoor space more and more with each season, and I feel really excited about spending this summer outdoors. Now that I'm not knocked up and trying to avoid potentially zika-infested mosquitos :)

What we did:
We added a pink dogwood tree, a white dogwood tree, a Japanese maple tree and a smattering of blueberry bushes and encore azaleas and knockout roses. We threw in some hydrangeas for good measure and camelias because why not and lorapetalum because we NEEDED them and some geraniums because yeah. Stevie rebuilt part of our fence that was falling over and added a stone walkway because he's my hero. We topped everything off with dark mulch and lined the entire yard with flagstones and oh yeah, we threw in a couple of pallets of pansies because he just had to have them. And like I said, it was so much fun agreeing that I couldn't say no to such things.

So here we are. Spending our mornings drinking coffee in our rockers on the front porch, gazing out on our grassy knoll and our evenings grilling burgers on the back porch, gazing at the wonder of our little Eden and it makes me happier than last year's squirrel-infested tomato garden ever could (they ate ALL my tomatoes, those little rascals). We are enjoying the updates of our home without an impending move ahead of us. And we are well on our way to creating my dreamy English cottage garden (which is the master plan). Little by little, it's happening :)

What are some of your favorite perennials? I know it's not very millennial of me to share about landscape-such things here, because it seems like most people my age aren't into landscape, but I just looooove it. If you're a crazy plant lady, tell me what you're dreaming of planting in your yard!

Hiking up to Amicalola Falls!

Guys, it was harder than I thought it would be.

A lot harder.

Ascending to the top of Amicalola Falls is no simple feat. This 729-foot waterfall is nestled atop a cliff in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and is considered the southeast's tallest cascading waterfall. While my little family was enjoying a mountain getaway in Ellijay last weekend, we decided to hike up to the Falls that I had previously heard so much about. I knew it would be strenuous, especially with a toddler in tow, but we were just crazy/enthusiastic/high on mountain air to gleefully attempt such a feat. And while it was obviously worth is and totally beautiful, I will say that it wasn't easy. Okay, it was downright hard. There, I said it.

Stevie wore Everett in a hiking pack (ours is from REI and is no longer available but see similar here) and I wore a Camelbak (similar here) with all our snacks, water, and of course the camera, and we found ourselves seriously huffing and puffing to get to the top. The 2.1-mile trail begins like a normal hike and then turns into a series of steep, winding staircases that lead you to the top of the falls. I didn't do a great job of photographing the actual stairs (because those were the moments that the camera stayed put away, because well, I was wheezing for the life of me), but now I really wish I had a shot of those rickety stairs that looked like they were leading up to a forest of Heaven. It was quite an experience, climbing those 600-ish steps. Everett did a zillion times better than he did the last time we hiked (thank goodness!), so at least his kicking and screaming wasn't an issue this time around. But even though the trail was seriously challenging, my two boys were happily chattering, singing songs and making animal noises the whole time. Stevie asked Everett about the sounds that really obscure animals make, like giraffes and zebras. Who even knows? But Everett made up some really hideous screeches that he found thrillingly entertaining and proceeded to die laughing and then make more of the same sounds. These two are just peas in a pod these days.

This pack stands up on it's own, even with a kid inside! Such a great gift that we got from our buds Travis and Liz :)

We found a crazy tree. What could possibly have caused it to grow like that??

The pinnacle of the hike was getting up to the falls. However, it was crazy crowded at the top (we are talking swarms of people, children, dogs and trail mix), so we didn't manage to get a good family pic of the three of us at the top. It was actually kind of claustrophobic. But we decided to continue the hike up above the falls and managed to take in this view:

Getting to see this sweeping view of the valley below from up above the trees was incredible. Watching the eagles soar at our eye level was a little eerie and wondrous all at once. We stood there for a long time, drinking in the view and enjoying the lack of swarming hikers. It's moments like these that I'm reminded of just how GREEN the state of Georgia is. And I don't really mean eco-friendly green, I just mean GREEN green. It's the greenest, leafiest, kudzu-iest state.

This is kind of a bad photo of us, but I still love it because this was when we finally reached the top of the mountain and Everett and I plopped down in the middle of the trail and ate fruit snacks. Which he calls "fruit sans". I love how he carefully watched me dole out each bite would immediately demand, "more!" before he even finished his bite. He's something, that little guy. Also, his hat plus tank top just kill me. I bought him more of these tank tops this week.

We came, we hiked, we conquered. It was an awesome experience, one that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in hiking to a gorgeous view and can handle the 600+ stairs that lead up to the falls. I'm sure Stevie would agree that without a toddler on your back screeching "duck sounds" at the top of their lungs, this gig would be much easier to accomplish. But then, what's the fun in that? :)

P.S. - If you into other hiking/camping adventures, check out the time we went glamping with our toddler, and the time I road-tripped and camped across the U.S.

An Afternoon in Cozey7 + Giveaway! (CLOSED)

I've got my hands full these days. My 19-month-old son Everett is busy. Busier than ever. He's exclamatory, opinionated, hilarious, and recently - he's slightly frenzied about the next time we're going outside. He always, always, always wants to play outside. With the polarizing weather that's come to our little town this winter, it's been an interesting experience, teetering between making my son happy and staying comfortable. Because I don't necessarily always want to be outside. It's been cold! But he always wants to be outside - playing on his swing set, running around the yard with his football and especially his new favorite - making mommy play basketball. Because he can't dunk (yet). My game has actually gotten pretty good.

This new season of frolicking outside for hours a day has left me with the curious task of attempting to properly dress Everett to keep him warm enough for all the 40-degree weather play. When Cozey7 reached out to me about trying out the Trailhopper, I pretty much looked to Heaven and gave thanks. After browsing the Cozey7 site for just a few minutes, I had a dumbfounding feeling that this product was the answer to so many of the problems that we have encountered with our little guy. For example, when he was a baby, he would gladly sit cozy in his stroller with a blanket wrapped snug around him while I jogged (okay, walked) outside to get some fresh air. However, as he has grown into the toddler stage, his signature move is to strip off the blankets (and hats, mittens, even shoes!) in his stroller. One day I felt like passersby were looking at me like, "What a bad mom, taking her son outside and so under dressed!" That may or may not have been true - but he has been under dressed all too often. Because he's getting opinionated about what he wants to wear and not wear.

Until now, that is. The Cozey7 Trailhopper has been the answer to our cold-weather problems. Not only does Everett love putting it on (because he knows it means he gets to play outside!) but it's extremely thick and durable, so he can be as rough and tumble as he likes and I don't have to worry about his clothing. It's made of a performance-grade Polartec fleece, and the feet fold up and down to adjust the size, allowing him to wear it for as long as possible before switching to the next size. Surprisingly enough, I did a little research and there is almost nothing like this on the market - unless you want to dress your kid in a full-on snow suit. I love that my son can wear this as a final layer over his normal clothes and enjoy the toddler life most abundantly - he's worn it camping, during the Snowpocalypse, and even riding around on the golf cart (because in our town, there is more golf cart path mileage than actual road mileage). We've been testing this product for months now, and I must say - I'm a believer. I wouldn't share this with you if I weren't. If you're an outdoorsy family (or if you aspire to be!), this outwear layer will be just as important as shoes and a hat. Check out a few pics of our little guy in his Trailhopper - and scroll below for a promo code and to enter a giveaway to win one for your kiddo!

Everett is wearing  the Trailhopper,  C/O Cozey7 in frost blue.

Everett is wearing the Trailhopper, C/O Cozey7 in frost blue.

Check out the Cozey7 site to learn more about the mission to educate parents on getting outside with their children, browse the product line and economical subscription box options, and learn more about the amazing mother-son duo that run this Colorado-based startup. When placing an order, make sure to use the code oykristen to get $5 off! And follow the instructions below to enter to win a Trailhopper in your choice of size/color for your little one! The giveaway will run for a week and the winner will be notified via email on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Good luck, friends! And happy adventures to you :)

Many thanks to Cozey7 for hosting the giveaway. Other than being gifted this product to try/use, I was not compensated for this review. The opinions represented are entirely my own. See my Advertising Disclosure for more information on my product collaboration policy.

Around Our Yard.

I can't get enough.

Our yard and my garden and my baby walking all around, I just can't get enough of it. These days are getting good and better all the time. Moving this past month was kind of rough and I was getting overwhelmed with all of it, but finally, things have calmed down and most of our stuff is in place. We still have a zillion little projects, but I'm not going to let that stop me from living in the moment. Because these moments are so sweet. Everett is walking and talking (you know, baby babbling, but still) and he makes himself crack up laughing and he tries to eat my mums and he's wearing JEANS. I could just die. His little diaper butt all squished into these Levis is just the end of the earth fun for me. This recent weather is pretty much bliss and I've been the cheesy mom as I followed my boys around the yard with the camera. We've had so much fun breathing in the autumn weather and relieving our skin of summer's humidity. And thankfully, Everett still thinks my camera is a novelty so he's letting me over photograph him. At least for now.

IMG_6086.jpg
IMG_6127.jpg

Ahhh I am reminded each and every day how blessed I am for these two twinner souls.

Do you have any grand plans for the fall? Tell me all the things you plan to do now that Autumn has hinted that it's just around the bend. Any festivals, activities, or getaways? I am always up for suggestions.

Happy Friday, friends! Hope your weekend is the grandest!

P.S. - Enjoy these internet papers so your desktop can dress up, the Anthropologie fall housewares line is making me swoon, and I'm actually starting to read this book this weekend. Ridiculously excited, since I haven't read anything but parenting books and the bible in a year. Oh sheesh, I hope I remember how to vocationally enjoy a book.