Lakeside Picnic.


It's been a weekend staple for us - riding around our little town on the golf cart (there is more golf cart road mileage here than actual street mileage), and finding parks to picnic in. With Stevie switching job positions last month, he is gone a lot more these days, so the weekends have become even more precious to us. These boys love time with their Daddy, and I am struck by just how important he is to them. To all of us!

We have an ongoing joke, me and Stevie. We've had several occasions in our life together where we are walking down a pier, walking down a beach, or in this case, having a family picnic... and random people just invite Stevie onto their boat. It's happened more times than I can count. On this particular day, we decided to picnic near the local lake and someone was getting ready to load a boat onto their truck. Stevie said to me, "I'm not sure he can do this by himself, I'm gonna go see if he needs some help." Well what to you know, of course the guy invited Stevie for a ride on his ski boat. So what did we do? Loaded up our humans and went on a quick lap around the lake! I know what you're thinking - why would you go out on a boat with a stranger?? It's a super safe area and we know people who live in the neighborhood (plus there were other people in close proximity out on their boats), so we felt good about it. Our boys loved it! It was all of 10 minutes and then we were back in the grass, eating cherries and pickle potato chips and watching the birds flock over the water.

I love when spontaneous things like this happen - it's one of the reasons I loved living in NYC. There was always something unexpected happening, always impromptu musicians on the corner or people waiting in a long line for a hot treat or some amazing exhibit showing at one of the zillion museums. I remember riding on the subway and realizing that the gal sitting in front of me was a famous actress. I just love that crazy city. I miss it terribly, although I am glad I'm not raising my kids there. Luckypalmtree sent us a few goodies from the new NYC collection and I thought, "This is my chance to match my boys while they still think it's cool." I know that the time is coming when Everett will realize this is a very dorky thing, to match Mommy, so I'm gonna milk it while I still can. He shares my love for New York, and begs to read books about the city all the time. Our favorites are A Walk in New York and In New York, he especially loves all the buses and tall buildings. He wants to ice skate at Rockefeller Center, because that is a page from one of the books :) Anyway, all this NYC talk has me itching to take another trip before summer ends - school starts in a month for this little boy and I want to soak up all the summer fun before routine strikes again! Although I admit, a little routine will be nice. If only I can get Daxton to agree to one, AKA not waking me up 3x a night.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! xx

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Beltline Brunch & Play.

I admit, I've done a poor job getting into Atlanta and exploring. Since I've grown up here, I just don't make time to keep exploring. Stevie and I do such a great job exploring other cities, because it's an adventure! But when we are home, I tend to hibernate a bit more and just enjoy my immediate surroundings. Like my backyard and the golf cart paths :)  But every time I go into the city I am reminded how close it is and how we should just do it more. Because the food is better, you guys. It just is.

I've been feeling a little insulated at home. A little baby-fried. I love being home with my kiddos but we are so in it right now, up to our neck in bottles and swaddles and no sleep and OUR MEAL TRAIN ENDED. So basically there hasn't been anything to look forward to (have I mentioned how much I loved my meal train? I can't even talk about it anymore. Because I get too sad that it's over.) But all that being said, we were due to have some good old fashioned FUN. So last weekend we trekked into the city and met our friends the Hunts for brunch in Inman Park, right along the Beltline. Everything at Parish was soooo good (hence the "food is better in the city" comment) - if you go, get the Croque monsieur, the cranberry french toast and the corned beef hash. It was SO GOOD.

Like seriously, I need more.

Then we walked the Beltline, found a playground and a water fountain (two musts when you're a parent with wiggly little people) and chowed down on King of Pops popsicles. I'll admit, the weather was still slightly chilly for popsicles, but we are beckoning spring onward, so it felt like our duty to have King of Pops. :)

I can't believe how BIG Everett has gotten. I remember holding him just like I'm holding Daxton these days, a little baby in my arms. I remember trekking into the city with him, along with my monster stroller and basically everything we own, just for a few hour stint in the city. I can't believe that time is over. I can't believe I am doing this again. I can't believe I made another baby and he's here and he's so big and beautiful. It's true when they say it - everything with kids goes by SO FAST. It feels so challenging when you're in the thick of it, but then you blink twice and maybe move once or twice and suddenly your baby is a toddler and you have another baby in your arms and its like - what happened? Are we really a family of four?! Wasn't I like, just living in NYC and going on auditions and doing whatever I wanted with my time? Oh the wonderful selfish years.

Those are gone.

But! That's why we trek into the city and play, because even though all my years going forward will be consumed with meeting everyone else's needs and making sure they're happy and healthy - this mama wanted a day in the city, and that's what she got :)


It was just a really, really good day.

P.S. - Recommendations for other family-friend restaurants and activities in the city are so welcome! I want to do more Atlanta things as the weather warms up - any suggestions?

P.P.S. - I'm running a giveaway for another few days over on my Instagram, gifting one special mama with some must-have postpartum products from Earth Mama Angel Baby - don't miss it!

P.P.P.S. - I'll be helping host an event at the Peachtree City Banana Republic this Thursday evening, 2/23 from 5:30-8pm and I would love it if you came out! There will be bites and drinks and pants (the promoted item of the evening :) I'll havemore details for you on my Instagram tomorrow :)

The 6th Day: Holiday Dates.

Holiday Dates.

Oh the holidays. There is so much fuss over shopping and presents (it's a little out of control these days, isn't it?) that sometimes we can miss out on the most important part: spending quality time with our loved ones. I know I am susceptible to this. I get all frazzled and hung up on finding THE PERFECT GIFT for all the zillions of people on my list. That I forget. To just enjoy those sweet people.

How to combat the crazy? One thing that Stevie & I try to do every year is go on one really special Christmas date. In years past, we've gone to listen to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, gone to see the Rockettes, gone to see a broadway show, gone out to a pizazz-y dinner, depending on where we lived at the time - we've just tried to do something snazzy and memorable. And these dates are memorable. I remember walking home from our date last year - the snow was so beautiful in New York that we decided to walk (instead of take the subway or a cab) 28 blocks home. I still remember it. It was dreamy, everything laced with a bit of frosty sparkle, following along the edge of the park the whole way. These moments are the true "markers" of the Christmas season, for me.

This year, we did things a little differently. We decided to have a "day of fun" and go out to brunch alone and then have Everett along for the rest of the day. Thankfully, our dear friend Lena watched the babe while we enjoyed a baby-free brunch at Sun in My Belly and then we three walked through the Paris on Ponce market and got all kinds of inspiration for our (somewhere in the future??) home. It was really a sweet day. We tired out a LOT easier than we normally do, and ended up back home way earlier than we planned, snuggled in our pjs. Must be all the lack of sleep we're experiencing this year :) Oh, Everett.

Pumpkin Latte. I'll take two please.

How rad is that wall? We couldn't resist playing in the color.


Yeah, I tried on the vintage hats. Don't judge me.

He found the chair of his dreams.

Somebody got sleepy.


I'll admit, enjoying a baby-free brunch only made me want to do it again. So Stevie and I are attempting to squeeze in one last Christmas date before the holiday is at our doorstep... I've heard The Optimist in Atlanta is a good spot. Any other suggestions from you hip in-the-know-it-alls?

What's on your list for some holiday fun time with your love? A date? A night in? A day on the town? Most of all, I hope you're taking the chance to enjoy the memories. You only get this Christmas once!

The 7th Day: Holiday Lights at The Atlanta Botanical Garden!

^ Doesn't that look fake?? It isn't! ^

Holiday Lights at The Atlanta Botanical Garden!

You know what makes the holidays special? Family. You know what makes the holidays even more special? Doing holiday-ish things with your family. You know what makes those holiday-ish things with your family even more special? Hot hot beverages.

So happy.

Enter the Spencer family annual walk through the Holiday Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (I say annual because it's something we aspire to doing annually :) We had SO MUCH FUN. We laughed a lot. Gazed in wonderment. Perhaps belted out a few memorable Frozen tunes at peak moments of bliss. Perhaps confused other light-onlookers as to whether or not we were some kind of odd flash mob/circus act hired (rather curiously) by the Botanical Gardens to create a flurry of shenanigans for the people to join in on. Like those children who went screaming towards the Olaf -like Snowman show (because we might have done it first...) Like the DJ who was so excited by our slam dancing to his mad skills that he turned up his scratching (so LOUD) and we had one of those "me and the DJ!!!!"-moments. Until my baby woke up. And woke me up from my dream of being Jennifer Lopez in a club. Having a moment with the DJ. I threw him the deuces. And then motioned towards my little wailing baby with my swaddle cloths, as if to say, "THIS ISN'T A COME HITHER DANCE WITH SCARVES. These are swaddle clothes. I have to rescue him from the misery of your loud tuneage. Yep, that's spit up. Oh wait, there's a bit here in my hair, too."

I don't know what your family is like, but I bet they are insane in their own way, too. Isn't every family? Some are better at putting on a proper face, but all families, no matter how composed (publicly or otherwise) are pretty insane. We gladly accept this fact and probably revel in our familial personality archetypes a bit too much. But it's fun. Joking with my family. Is something I missed these past few years while we lived away. Thankfully, my husband has joined right in on the fun and is getting excessively good at his zingers. My dad has been teased, put in his place, and proud of Stevie all in one fell swoop of a joke. Which is how you reach son-status (in his book). This evening was one for those kinds of books. We just enjoyed each other so much and it made me incredibly thankful for my crazy sweet kin.

Something about those lights. Makes you feel that magic inside.

Is it just me, or does this totally look like Olaf's parts? You know, when he comes apart?

I just felt like it was Olaf and all his friends.

Aren't these the most tubular photos you've ever seen? SHE'S LIT UP. But not like that.

Isn't my sister the prettiest. If you're in the market for the perfect woman, I'll be conducting several rounds of interviews on her behalf. Contact me directly. K thanks.

These two.

That's the Christmas magic. Right there. Don't miss it.

Sometimes they're a little too bro-tastic for my liking.

The famous lady with all the hair.

My baby was with us. But he slept like a baby. It's uncanny - why won't he do this at home?!

I'm gonna need to marry this guy all over again. HE'S SO BEAUTIFUL IT HURTS.

It's a Marvel.

If you're in the Atlanta area, wandering through this light show is one of the raddest things you can do with your family at Christmas. Hands down, my favorite addition to the "annual" Spencer family Christmas traditions. Happy 7th day!!!

The 11th Day: Holiday Fun at The Georgia Aquarium!

The 11th Day of Christmas: Holiday Fun at The Georgia Aquarium!

It's a double-post kind of day! I don't love posting blogs on Sundays, because that's our family day (we kind of take a social media strike), so today I will post the 11th and 10th days of Christmas posts!

Got guests in town for the holidays? Or are you looking for something to do with your kiddos while its friggin' freezing outside? If you're one of my Atlanta homies, you have got to take a field trip to The Georgia Aquarium. Seriously. First of all, IT'S WARM INSIDE. And of course, the fish are cool, too. And maybe, just maybe, the aquatic mystique will work on your baby and they will sleep in their stroller the entire time like mine did! (Now you see why I'm recommending this - all you new mamas, go, go, GO! You can't run fast enough!)

We visited a few weeks ago with friends who were in town from London (doesn't it sound fancy to have friends from London? THEY ARE FANCY.) and we were excited to show them and their sweet little girl Atlanta's fine aquarium. I had no idea how much our baby (only 3+ months at the time!) and their little girl (14 months) would enjoy the whole experience. I mean, I just thought that Everett might be too little to really grasp any of it. However, both of the littles especially loved the Dolphin Tales Show - they were completely engaged during the entire 30 minutes of it! The exhibits are awesome for kiddos of all ages (um, hello, we loved it), and there is a lot to see so it is definitely a full-day activity.

My personal favorites were the beluga whales (so peaceful, it's like watching a ballet), the otters (I think that's my spirit animal), and of course, the gigantic whale sharks (they will grow to be as big as a bus!) The area that was most enchanting to me was the stroll through the Ocean Voyager exhibit, where you literally experience what it's like to be a tiny fish in the great blue sea. Sitting in front of that incredible window, just watching the whales sail by - well, there's nothing like it. Absolutely nothing. We sat there for a long long time, quietly, just taking in the engulfing view.

Just a note, the Georgia Explorer exhibit is closed for repairs until early 2015. But I promise, it didn't cramp our style.

// This. the.whole.time. //

// Miss these three so much already. //

// "Say Cheese, Everett!!!" Hi response: "Zzzzz..." //

// We found Nemo! //

This is definitely an excellent family day date, special enough to warrant a visit on the holidays. And right now, the Aquarium has really turned itself into a celebrating oceanic affair! From SCUBA Claus to the underwater Menorah, there are some really special holiday-themed exhibits and events taking place, which the littles will adore. And you will find yourself secretly digging, too.

Have you visited the aquarium during the holidays before? Let me know if you take a trip and comment back about your favorite exhibit!

And be sure to check back later today for another gift guide! Xox