Friday, January 30, 2009

Columbia Bloggers Right Up My Alley!

This morning, like all others this week, I woke up extra early to work on my thesis without distraction from the kiddos. Yet, it just wasn't in the stars today...Nate woke up not long after (at 6:05!) and Jules was up shortly thereafter....what's a mom to do? So instead of huffing and puffing about it, I accepted their company and decided to just get the day started. We ate breakfast, fed the dogs, and while they played with their kitchen set and watched "Clifford the Big Red Dog" I tried to get some work done.

The only problem is that I don't focus very well when there is any noise other than my fingertips typing away or any other ongoings in the same room as me...I know terribly inconvenient. I get too distracted, (if I ever went to the library in college it was simply to socialize as I never was able to get anything done!). So, I decided to stray and started researching things to do here in Columbia. I was so excited to find a few other blogs that are right up my alley!

I am really excited about one in particular as it seems we have a lot in common. The Columbia Foodie appears to represent so much of what I was hoping to find here in SC when we moved here a few months ago. Not only does she explore and write about some of the areas best and worst restaurants, she also focuses on healthy, sustainable eating, offering a wide variety of recipes and ideas to try at home. In addition, I was psyched to find a whole bunch of information about local (mind, body and soul) events like updates on local farmers markets, where to practice yoga for free on National Yoga Day, and inspiring ideas like volunteering at local organic farms. I love this blog!

Others I found included, Visit Columbia, where I can find a whole array of events going on in Columbia like the recent South Carolina Book Festival. I also found Live Columbia, which focuses on a promotion of city living. Despite my living in the burbs of Columbia, this site still offers great recommendations of things to do downtown.

And this last one, Columbia, SC Runner, is just one more motivator to get my lazy butt back running and into some area races (just for fun of course!).

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Documenting Life

My friend Teresa recently inspired me to begin documenting the year through photos. I know this sounds like something we already do, but her method is a bit more dedicated. She actually purchased a program or kit through Creating Keepsakes magazine, called Project 365. Because they apparently sold out of the program and because we are already nearly into February, I have decided to do something similar on my own accord.

The goal is to take a photo each day of something, anything that has impacted you. It could be positive or negative- as Teresa mentioned, she has photos ranging from an amazing sunrise to a stack of diapers and wipes!

This year, I plan to take the photos and decide on the best one or two from the week, write a caption or two under them and eventually publish them to a printable book on shutterfly or snapfish. I'm really excited about this. I'll let you know how things continue to go.

These are a few of my favorites from this week!

Oh the torture of having to watch that squirrel from inside and not be able to chase him down!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Full Speed Ahead

As I mentioned, one of my greatest priorities for this year has to be finishing my (sadly neglected) Masters thesis. So after setting up a six month timeline in which to achieve a finished 60-70 page paper, I am doing my best to get things rolling. With much encouragement from my husband, last night I set my alarm for 6 am in attempts to get some work done on my thesis before the kids woke up. Despite the 11 pm bedtime and one 3 am awakening from Nate, I still got out of bed, had some coffee and got to work. I actually got in about an hour and 15 minutes before the kiddos came in needing morning hugs and breakfast.

Not so shabby for a let's just see how the rest of the week goes-maybe we'll start aiming for 5:30am?!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Learning About Sustainability Through Friendship

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit out of sorts, I still had the remnants of a head cold and my thoughts were blurry, and my body still achy. I couldn't accomplish much and was feeling guilty about it. I decided to push on and take the kids outside to play and instantly felt better. It really is amazing how a little fresh air can make all the difference. Then I went to get the mail and found something from my good friend, Casey, (my best friend while growing up in Maine, whom I mentioned a few posts ago). Knowing about my recent quest to learn more about and practice sustainable living, she had taken the time to cut out a newspaper article regarding an extraordinary bakery near her home. Although the shop, Beach Pea Bakery, specializes in an assortment of breads, cakes, sweets and sandwiches and is well known for all of these, the article focused on a different topic. Instead, it brought to light the incredible achievements of the bussiness's green restauranteering and commitment to sustainability. By simply making an all out effort to buy their supplies locally, compost 100% of their food waste, use alternative packaging of all sorts (made from corn or potatos) and a whole plethera of other green methods. I was both astonished and greatly impressed by the dedication of the bakery's owners to maintain such a high quality and Eco-friendly establishment. Through their efforts they also encourage and educate customers and suppliers alike to not only pursue the same way of life, but to expect it.

Two thoughts began to weigh on my mind.

1. I was so touched by Casey's thoughtfulness to help continue to educate and motivate me about sustainability....

2. I couldn't help but begin to think that if this bussiness could overcome the challenges associated with living greener, and surge ahead despite them, then certainly my family could as well.

So, thanks again, Casey, you really made my day!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Era of Public Service

Sniffle...sniffle...uggg...Winter colds are making their way through our house, one slow bug at a excuse my slow week here!

However, I can't let the week pass by without commenting on Tuesday's amazing political events. As I watched the torch of power passed from one President to another, I couldn't help but feel a strong sense of pride awaken in my otherwise frustrated and bitter views of our former administration. As I listened to President Obama's speech I heard ideas and goals that I haven't heard in a long time. His talk of "public service being a privilege," and restoring the White House to the "people's house," solidified my thoughts of him being more than a change for this country- it encouraged me to believe that our government will be working with the people once again, not behind closed doors. I discovered a re-vamped White House Web site too, one that is loaded with valuable information for all of us- including a new BLOG....Out with the technologically challenged and in with the technologically savvy!

I hope that all of you too, feel a tremendous sense of hope this week as our new President makes his first attempts at restoring the democracy and ideals our forefathers worked so hard to create.

Peace, Kate

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Southern Snow

Forgive my absence over the last few days, I have been spending time with my mother, visiting us after spending six weeks in Germany, and my sister, Krista, up from Savannah. How wonderful it has been to just sit, talk, remember and laugh. I am so thankful to have been able to spend so much time with so many people in my family over the last two months...

Yesterday afternoon the weather forecasters all appeared in a state of disbelief at the impending snow storm making it's way toward the Columbia South Carolina area. People watched in amazement as the forecasters warned of heavy snow, dangerous roads, and icy temperatures. We awoke this morning to hear of the cancellations of area school and government offices, and upon our first glance out the window saw that we had been absolutely inundated with snow...

Okay, just kidding! This Northener had a good chuckle over all the fuss!
All of my complaints over the last months of the out of season warm weather have been hushed today...what a joy to sit and watch the snow fall upon my yard and see my children's expressions as they touched cold, wet snow for the first time ever.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sustainable Living-Baking Your Own Bread!

A few weeks ago my childhood friend, Casey impressed me with a whole list of ways that she and her husband stay true to Eco-friendly living. Her actions involve buying local foods and products, and incorporating a more sustainable way of living into their life. One of the suggestions she offered is to make more of my own foods, specifically breads! So today, I gave it a try and was greatly impressed by the quick and easy recipe and equally so by the taste! I made a simple whole wheat loaf and added a little oatmeal. I encourage you to give it a try!!!
Thanks Casey! I look forward to trying more recipes over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chocolate Love

Today it is cold. Okay, I live in South Carolina, so it isn't really c-o-l-d, but it is 40 degrees (merely a warm spring day where I am from up North!). The kids and I took our walk and returned with chilled hands and red noses.
We walked into the house, past the pantry and I had some inspiration-Hot Cocoa! No instant stuff, so I melted some baking chocolate, added some milk and presto....

How sweet it was to see such pure happiness!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Starting Over

At 34-years-old I can't help but feel as though the years are beginning to drift by faster and faster. In the past, moving to a new location always brought with it a feeling of adventure and excitement at all of the possibility surrounding a new community, activities and people yada, yada, yada. Don't get me wrong, this recent move was also full of adventure (in so many different ways...) but it's also gotten a bit more challenging- now that there were six of us to move (two kids, two dogs) and now that I am 34-years-old. Really, I'm just ready to stay someplace for the long haul now.

So, here I am, finally unpacked, becoming familiar with the area and looking to the next phase of settling in- meeting people.

I haven't ever had too much of a problem with this, but this time around it seems a little more challenging. I'm tired, and frankly, I just want to fast forward to sitting in my kitchen, glass of wine in hand, chit chatting with friends about our husbands or how frustrated we are about not having a finished thesis yet (okay, that would probably just be me...). Point being, it seems to get more and more difficult to meet people as you get older, unless you want to set up three play dates first, or think of excuses to knock on a neighbor's door.

It might have been easier for me to do this had I not HAD to practically charge through the door of a neighbor's house a while back.... Did I mention that I accidentally dropped a painting onto the pipe behind the toilet of one of the bathrooms a few weeks ago? Yes, I did. And did I forget to mention that it burst, and water (what seemed to be a million gallons a minute) began gushing out, and did I mention that I had no idea where the switch to the water main was located? So I, water soaked jeans, heart racing a million miles an hour, ran to her house barefoot, two toddlers in tow, water following me out the door, and frantically begged her to help me. She did, and all was fine again, but what a way to introduce myself....

By the way, I'm crazy Kate, your new neighbor, it's so nice to meet you! Would you like to come over for a glass of wine?

Friday, January 9, 2009


My pleas of desperation and prayers for magic sleeping dust have been heard and answered!

Both Kids Slept Through The ENTIRE night after going to bed at 8:15 PM!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Getting Them To Sleep!

Two weeks into the new year, and I am finally beginning to put into action some of the goals I am setting out to accomplish this year....

Perhaps ending all procrastination should be at the top of the list?

Seriously though, among the hundreds of goals on my list, two of the most important ones are getting my children to bed at a reasonable hour and then, THEN, getting them to sleep through the night- in their own beds.

If you are a first time mom with a baby, please read this carefully, I BEG OF YOU, do not give into your baby's every cry in the middle of the night, do not rock or nurse them to sleep, and by all means unless you are planning on doing the whole co-sleeping thing with your child (which I am not against if it works for you) then don't let them get used to having your warm snugly body next to them as the fall asleep and wake up throughout the night!

Yes, it is true, I did all of these things and worse I am sure with Nate. By the time we had Juliana I had learned a bit more and might I add, thank God! She slept like a dream for the first 18 months of her life, really.

Then I made a fatal error and encouraged Nate to head into Juliana's room in the middle of the night instead of mine and Pete's and sleep in the spare bed in there. This worked great for me, I had a brief hiatus from little taps on my shoulder from Nate at 1 then 2, 3, and 4 am asking if he could sleep with me. But you guessed it, my attempts to get Nate out of our bedroom only disrupted Juliana's once peaceful and non-dependant slumber. Before I knew it, Juliana needed someone next to her in the middle of the night to fall back asleep!

Then we moved, and blah, blah, blah, craziness set in and routines went out the door. Bath tonight? Ugh, too tired from unpacking, how about tomorrow morning? Naps occurred at noon and 5 pm on the couch, or in the car (it seems we were in the car all the time). Usual bedtime became 9 or even 9:30, sometimes 10 pm!!! I know, I know go ahead and open your mouth in shock at me.... I am a horrible mother.

But now things are settling down. The move and unpacking are behind us, the holidays are gone and alas, the last visiting relative headed home yesterday (until my mother visits in two weeks (which we are very excited about!!). So desperately craving routine we are....

My plan:

-Earlier dinner for the kids (even if it means the kids have to eat before Pete and I, as Pete might be working late)

-Bath time every night (I think it is relaxing for them and it is a good way for them to wind down- plus, who doesn't love kissing their child goodnight on the head and inhaling lavender or apples?)

-Story time every night -two books

-Bedtime for now 8:30 and eventually 8:00 pm.

We have been making a great effort over the past week or so now and so far things are going fairly well. I still have late night/early morning visitors (sometimes Nate, sometimes Jules) but I am hoping that in all good time, this too will change. Each time I get a nudge from the kids I get out of bed, pick them up, take them back upstairs, tuck them into bed, give a swift kiss and leave. (Okay, so this is my ideal plan- the real truth is that sometimes, just sometimes, I do lay down or sit with them for a quick minute or two...but I am working on it, I promise!!).

All in all, I am feeling better about this whole mess and hopefully, within a few months time we will all be sleeping through the night and feeling the benefits!!

Any recommendations for things that have worked for you and your children?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gaining Perspective

How Kara and I usually communicate! (so nice to have her here in person!)

My sister Kara is here from NC visiting for a few days. Her arrival comes at the end of long string of family visitors over the past few weeks. Last week as we talked about her stay here, she asked, are you sure it won't be too much after having so many other people there before me? I really did think about it, but I also quickly responded no! I knew that Kara's visit would be different. Although I wanted the house to clean and presentable (this was her first time seeing it) I also felt a little more relaxed about it. Our first day was spent playing with the kids outside, her watching Nate and Jules for me so I could run an errand, and our visiting with a childhood friend. There was no pressure to run off and see the sights or keep every minute entertained. We just did what we did and it was great. We talked, I talked, and Kara did a great job listening.

Her presence here has also helped me to realize a bit more perspective on what I want and need to change in my life. In the past year she has mustered up so much enthusiasm and motivation to dedicate everything she has toward a major transition in her life, and from this, I take great strength and motivation toward my own actions of change. In the days and weeks to follow I will share some of these challenges and goals with you and hopefully we'll all be able to help each other!

Once again, happy new year....
Love, Kate

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hope, faith and love in 2009

With the start of the new year, I, like everyone else, seem to be contemplating all of the challenges I faced in 2008 and what needs to be done differently in 2009. Yesterday my horoscope prescribed some serious soul searching into how I can stop putting everyone else first and start figuring out to get my own needs met. I can't help it though, it makes me happy to put others first... but I do see the importance of better taking care of myself, so I can better take care of others. The horoscope also encouraged me to make a priority once again any major project I had been putting off (can we say...THESIS?). Anyway, I have a lot to put back into action and a lot of soul searching to accomplish over the next few weeks.

In addition, the past few weeks have brought with them many family members to visit with us in our new home in SC. Although it has been a bit chaotic at times, it has also been lots of fun to spend so much time with people we don't get to see very often. This past weekend, along with a visit from Pete's father (Western NY) came a visit from one of Pete's aunts. Her recent move to Charlotte, NC came as a welcome surprise to us, as we now have more family nearby. It was wonderful to get to know this incredibly wise, and interesting woman. She is at a point of great transition in her life right now and it was exciting to hear her talk of the great possibilities surrounding her. Her quest for self realization and bettering her health and spirit have inspired me.

In 2009, I know I not only need to get back to my thesis, eat better and exercise a little more, but I also know I need to spend some time with my partially abandoned spirit. This blog was created in attempts to help me become a better person so that I could be a better mother, wife, friend and member of's time that I put that back into focus and start figuring out a game plan...

Hope, faith and love,