Family Summer Trip to NYC!

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I can’t go too many months before I get the itch to get back to New York. Stevie is up there almost weekly for work so we talk a lot about NYC as a family - we have a bunch of great books (this one and this one are our faves), and it helps the boys understand where he spends time when he’s working. It also has helped us create a fun bucket list of places to visit and explore! Which is just what we did as a family a few weeks ago. We loved taking the boys up there for a few fun days in the city and I just I love sharing with them all the things I appreciate so darn much about that wondrous place. In case some of you are planning a trip or curious about what to explore with your kiddos, I wanted to share!


A quick note: If you think traveling with kids in NYC is absolutely terrifying and insane - I promise you it’s neither. Like anything else with kids, it just requires some planning before the trip and some grace & flexibility during the trip. Believe me, our travel times aren’t without challenges and moments of frustration. But I truly love traveling with these boys - we have so much fun together and make such sweet memories as a family! It’s definitely worth the work and the sometimes frustrating moments that are inevitable. Definitely let me know if you have questions. Okay, on to the pictures and recs!

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Central Park and Washington Square Park were our jam this time around. We were in Central Park every single day - I don’t know how people live in the city without getting into some green space every day #suburbanthoughts. It’s so grounding and green and SO BEAUTIFUL. The trees are magnificently old and feel like they have endless stories to tell. I just love it. We also love Bryant and Riverside Parks but didn’t spend any time in those on this particular trip.

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Things to do in Central Park with kids:

  • bring a frisbee and run/play freely on Sheep’s Meadow

  • explore the 10+ playgrounds (some with splashpads - if you’re visiting in summer, bring a towel!) Our faves are the Diana Ross Playground (westside), the James Michael Levin Playground (eastside) and the Heckscher Playground (just north of Central Park South).

  • see a show at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Puppet Theater (seriously, these shows are SO incredible!) Puppetry feels like a lost art (kind of like tap dance?) and I love that this form of puppetry is still celebrated here.

  • grab lunch at Shake Shack at 77th & Columbus Ave. and walk your lunch into the park. We like to eat on the big rocks that overlook the lake :) Yum I want another Shackburger right now…

  • walk from the Bethesda Fountain down through the mall (a gorgeous tree-lined pathway)

  • play on the Alice and Wonderland statue on the eastside of the park at 75th street. It’s really fun for the kids to climb and it overlooks a pretty little pond and it’s just such a peaceful reprieve.

    We didn’t get to sail boats or do a horse carriage ride yet (two requests that we couldn’t make happen this time!), but those are still on our list!

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A tower of blondes.


I wear my Blanqi supportwear every day - if you’re pregnant, you have to check them out! Made walking around the city so much more bearable, especially since I tend to carry big, heavy babies. My favorites are the maternity tanks - an absolute must for any pregnancy! I wear one everyday, either by itself or with layers.

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Juice Generation!! It’s become a family fave.

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^ The BOB Double Stroller that has endured a lot of abuse over the years traveling with us - it’s still rocking!!

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We took the boys to get cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery in SOHO! It was so much fun sharing a sweet treat there. I honestly have no idea how we were able to snag some because when we used to live here, the line was LONG and they would sell out first thing in the morning. But they were SO GOOD. I can’t remember what the flavor was - they change it monthly but whatever it was, it was GOOD. We also really like the DKA and Everett chose some kind of Nutella bread and he chose well. Haha I’m so proud.

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New buildings going up all the time!

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We explored two museums on this trip - first, the American Museum of Natural History (Daxton is REALLY into dinosaurs right now), which we have spent a lot of time in on multiple trips. They really loved it this time and the dinosaurs wowed them more than ever. Haha I love this age. And we also visited The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which was awesome! It literally has a space shuttle on the ship. Like, in every direction, this is a dream museum for boys.

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I forgot to mention that we found an EXCELLENT pizza place that is completely kid/family-friendly called Patsys Pizzeria - if you are looking for something on the upper west side, you will not be disappointed! I can still taste the goodness.

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“Cleaning fossils” at the American Museum of Natural History. They were cracking us up. We found the Discovery Room this time around and it is honestly such a perfect place for kids to get hands-on! So often, museums can be a bit boring because they can’t actually touch anything, but this is a dedicated space that is for kids to use their hands and discover! They dusted away at fossils (pretend ones), used those fossils to build the structure of a dinosaur, pet little live critters (I’ll admit I was grossed out), used a telescope and microscope, you name it! It was really fun to see their minds at work in a new way. I HIGHLY recommend visiting this room if you come to the museum.

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We got mildly addicted to Juice Generation a few years ago and now we basically go as much as possible whenever we’re in the city. “Get Ur Green On” is my favorite juice!

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The Alice in Wonderland Statue in Central Park! We had never been there before but they LOVED climbing it! It looks out over a beautiful pond - would be a great spot to bring a book and read for a bit. That wasn’t really the case for me, but if you were alone it would be splendid.

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Everett really wanted to visit “Town Square” (Times Square), and we didn’t have the heart to correct him because it was SO CUTE. So off to Town Square we went. Haha for like 10 minutes. Then we left again because oh, it’s so bright. It’s one of those places that you HAVE to go to see a show, but otherwise you don’t really want to be in that mess of lights and sounds.

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^ My dream is to one day see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular here!

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To make things easy, we usually stay at a hotel close to Central Park. Our favorites are The Warwick (where we stayed this time around) but if that one is sold out or if the prices are crazy, we like The Hilton NYC Midtown, which is located just across the street. Honestly, it’s just nice being able to walk the kids into the park everyday, so this location works well for us. Also there’s a Starbucks on the way from our hotel into the park #priorities. But there are SO many trendy, cool hotels everywhere - I’m always filling my bucket list with new ideas!

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There you have it! We had such an amazing trip. I loved watching the boys light up at so many new experiences this time around. They have been so much littler in the past when we’ve taken them to NYC that I have just made all the decisions about where we eat and what we do, but this time around they had opinions! They wanted to walk more, which I’ll be honest, terrified me at times, especially when we were close to lots of street traffic. But just like anything else, it took a little practice and learning and we were all finding our rhythm as a family exploring the city. And all their suggestions and ideas were so much fun to make happen. Except when Everett insisted we ride the subway and I watched Daxton basically lick one of the subway poles while we were riding. I felt like I was in slow motion yelling, “NOOOOOO”, but thankfully, somehow, he didn’t get sick after that. Ahhhh I don’t even want to think about it.

We had so much fun! I also put together a little IGTV episode about our trip, you can see it here. Do you have questions? Have you ever taken your kiddos on a city trip? Did you/they like it? Would love to hear from you!

The fastest weekend in Mobile, Alabama!

We spent the quickest, most refreshing weekend in Mobile, Alabama! My bff Natalie and her husband Darin operate a Chick-fil-A there (if you live in Mobile, go see them! 3244 Dauphin Street!), and I really wanted to visit and see her life there. We have grown up together and remained close since we were 12 years old. She's one of my oldest friends and the dearest kind of soul - she listens so well and keeps an incredibly open mind about things, which is something that is a rare treasure in a friend. She always gives a balanced opinion and sound advice, and has been a steadfast friend through the ups and downs that the years have brought. Over the past year, I think I had more surprise Amazon deliveries from her than I ordered for my own family - because she knows that gifts are my love language. What a thoughtful, generous, loyal gem of friend she is. And I'm not an idiot; if you have a friend this good, you hold onto her for dear life! I am grateful grateful grateful for her sweet self.

Everett fell head over heels for Miss Natalie when he was a baby. He always looked at her with these big puppy eyes and would actually stop crying when she was near him (which is more than I can say about myself - oh, the years of crying Everett...) So he was super amped to visit her. He loved her cats.

We had grand plans to explore Mobile over the course of the weekend, perhaps even trekking over to the blessed town of Fairhope (a southern treasure, and most certainly worth the drive if you ever get the chance!), but it ended up pouring rain the whole weekend. Which you know what? Was kind of wonderful. Her home is on the water and is the kind of place that has that dreamy, lived-in, warm southern charm. A brick archway, woven rugs, distressed furniture and carefully chosen antiques - her home should be photographed! It's truly a wonder. I loved curling up on her soft couch and clutching my coffee cup and listening to the rain fall while catching up on everything going on in her heart. Our husbands wrangled my children (and a few cats) while they played ping pong and talked dude things.

I am usually a hard-core traveler, eager to see (and eat) as much as possible that is local and charming. But this was a different trip, a time to revel in the goodness of a well-worn friendship and feel at home with the heart of my dear girl.

I will say that when the sun came out for a few hours, we had the chance to wander through the famed Charles Phillips Antiques, a local dealer that imports his goods from all over Europe. It was mesmerizing, being taken back in time and surrounded by thousands of flourished french doors and heavy steamer trunks, cases of glass bottles and stacks of letters from World War II. Every item is steeped in history, emanating stories from a past age. It was rather intimate, rifling through someone else's jewelry boxes, torn recipes, tool bins and office supplies. I was overwhelmed by the experience, and found myself tearing up as we walked to our car to leave. I couldn't even buy anything, I didn't know how to choose. It's definitely the kind of place that you want to visit if you're furnishing a house. But bring a trailer on the back of your car, this stuff is amazing.

I'm feeling more and more like myself everyday. My postpartum experience this time around has really challenged me, and I am grateful that people like Natalie have been patient with me as I've come back to myself. Spending such a rich time with this girl who is truly family to me made my heart happy. It's a rare thing, to have a friend this good. If you're reading this and one of your dear girlfriends comes to mind today, send her a text or a quick letter in the mail! Who doesn't love hearing from their dear old friend, just for the heck of it? Lots of love to all of you today, friends! xox

Shop The Post:

Unfortunately my romper is sold out and my kimono is past season, but I linked to a few similar styles :)

A Weekend in St. Augustine.

That view. With all its softness and familiarity and yet -  it's never the same. The cerulean blue sky whispering to the teasing peach, melting into an ombre ocean. The steady mercury tide, measuring predictably in and out like the beat of my heart.

There is something about seeing the ocean after such a long time of not seeing the ocean. That view somehow washes me with calm, a reassurance that everything is just as it should be. There is no second-guessing by the sea. Only acceptance and an overwhelming sense of love.

The salted air and the birds of paradise and the glossy foliage - they just do my heart a whole lot of good. I find that a visit to the ocean costs a lot less than a counseling session (well, that's probably debatable if you're asking Stevie), but the outcome is often the same for me. It untangles all the wiry emotions that have bent their way around my brain, creating confusion and chaos and anxiety. But at the very first sighting of the sea, my lungs fill with deeper breath and something I've been holding on to for far too long is released, and I am always freed of it's tangles.

It's a very good thing we have, me and the ocean.

I come from a long line of ladies who love the ocean and consider a visit the same as therapy. My mom, my sisters - we all have a love for the tide, the shells, the humid breeze, even the messy matted hair. Chances are if you're reading this, at least half of you can relate. Nothing I've shared is profound or new or novel - it's simply true. God created wonders on this earth for us to seek out and enjoy exploring. Proverbs 22:5 says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and it is the glory of kings to search out a matter." I like that verse so much. I love this place endlessly.

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We visited my sister and her amazing family a few weeks ago in St. Augustine. This little city holds so many special memories for me and Stevie because we honeymooned here (almost ten years ago!) We came down here once when we were dating early on, with a group of people, and it's where I realized I really loved him. Something about this place always makes me feel so much peace about where I'm at in life - I always get reassurance that I am doing exactly what I should be doing.

We did all the things on this trip - walked the downtown (favorite shops are Red Pineapple and Sea Glass), ate the best popsicles (the Hyppo Pop!) and did what most parents of a oodles of children do - eat at home. There are sooo many awesome restaurants in St. Augustine, but in this stage of life, we didn't dare try to take ours out to dinner with us :) My bro-in-law Brad took us out on his boat to a deserted island, where we had a lunch of barbeque sandwiches and mac n cheese. I'll be honest - I felt like quite the fish out of water. I've been on boats a lot before, but it made me realize that we aren't native boating types - the first moment Brad started driving the boat, both of my boys started howling and Everett literally threw his body on the ground of the boat shrieking. Me and Stevie just looked at each other like, "Ummm this is bad." Thankfully we got both of them to calm down, but it just made me feel like our family is so suburban. Haha oh well. We are.

We even had an overlap evening where my younger sister Rachel and her husband Chuck came in town, so all of my siblings and spouses were together. It was the first meal the six of us had together without my parents also being present and it was wonderful! We all felt so hilariously adult, having our adult chit chat about our lives.

Stevie and I escaped to the beach and played around with Everett at sunset. Daxton didn't love the March wind that was in all its glory, so we had to make our oceanside visits brief. But we savored every moment and of course I'm already making plans for a return visit. Is it just me, or do you always need just one more day when you go to the beach?

Thanks Kara and Brad, for letting us invade your space and sleep in your children's rooms and fill your house with our clutter and noise and snacks aplenty. Love you to the sea and back.

P.S. - Similar orange kimono here, jeans here, essential oil diffusing bracelets here, essential oil diffusing necklace here, sandals here.

Weekend in Ellijay, Georgia.

We spent Memorial Day weekend on an unexpected trip! I got a wonderfully welcome phone call on Friday evening at 5pm from a dear friend, Dana, letting me know that her mountain cabin was available for the weekend, and she invited us to take advantage of it for the holiday! Best call ever. Stevie and I eagerly packed up Everett and a car load of groceries and headed a few hours north of Atlanta for a weekend in the foothills of the Cohutta Wilderness. And I have to say, it was the best thing we could have done with our weekend. We needed a little family getaway together, to regroup and reflect on the year so far. It's been a busy and surprising one for us, so it was nice to slow down, drink it the gorgeous mountain views and spend time together.

Ellijay is a cozy mountain town with quaint shops and country eats surrounded by apple-laden farms. We enjoyed barbecue at Bigun's BBQ (get the pork plate and the mac and cheese!), fried muscadine and peach pies at Panorama Orchards (I should have doubled my order because WOW), pizza at Bunk's on the Boardwalk (where we ate outside and Everett learned how to play corn hole), and we hiked up to Amicalola Falls, which I will share about in a separate post.

These few pictures are so dear to me, because the moments are far and few between these days that my busy son will actually slow down long enough to snuggle with me. Yeah, maybe I had to play an Elmo game on my phone with him to keep him interested in lounging with me, but I still got to kiss his sweet hair and hold him tight in my arms for more than a few seconds and it felt SO GOOD. This little boy is just my sweetheart. I'm so lucky to be his mom.

Also, the Elmo phase lives on in this house. It's happening in a big way over here :)

One of my favorite parts about the weekend were the lazy mornings we spent on the porch, overlooking the southern swells of the Appalachians. Stevie and I rocked in the chairs, sipped on English Breakfast tea and watched the sun bend around the skyline, which had a quick way of warming the day for us. Everett jumped, hopped, threw sticks and was the picture of boyhood, bored to death with our morning routine and begging to "go outside" (which we technically were) or go in "the white car" (which is his favorite). We finally gave in when the humidity arrived, and got on with the day. But those almost-silent moments one the porch are still sealed in my memory.

We found this crazy perfect wall in downtown Ellijay. It was so intricately patterned with patina and aged layers of paint that it was almost too perfect (if there is such a thing), but we had fun frolicking around because we were on a pizza high. Or maybe it was the mountain air.

There are zero pictures of us as a family from the weekend because either me or Stevie were taking the pictures, and we didn't ask another person to take a group pic for us (what were we thinking?) But oh well. That's just real life, right? I look forward to the day when my little man is big enough to snap a photo for me. Oh the wonder that will be. But Ellijay, goodness, thank you for sharing your mountain top of peace with us - we could have stayed much much longer :) And thank you to Dirk and Dana for sharing your marvelous abode with us! We loved it!

I hope your Memorial Day weekend was wonderful, spent with your loves, remembering those who have served our country and celebrating the start to summer. It's going to be a good one, friends.