Santa Monica Pier

We're still recovering from our travels to Los Angeles with two small children, but we had a blast and can't wait to go back (maybe without the kids or when they are a little older). Traveling on a plane with little ladies who are not fond of sitting still is rough, y'all!

Traveling to a different timezone is rough too. Jet lag + long car drives (hello! LA traffic) meant my girls took many naps in the car. Completely acceptable when it gives momma a chance to relax in the parking lot while the little ones sleep.

This trip was all about the wedding (my sister-in-law got married to a great man that my oldest daughter just adores), but we still had plenty of time to explore the city and eat lots of great food. Seriously, LA has some super delicious restaurants. You might have to search for the good ones (I think there are more restaurants than there are people), but Esther from Adventures with Esther & Jacob has a fantastic list to start you out.

Esther's list definitely came in handy and one of the restaurants we dined in was unexpectedly featured in Food Network Magazine this month. We're so on trend. Lol.

Before stuffing our bellies with that trendy restaurant, we drove to the beach… which I could have lived without. This was our second time to the Santa Monica pier. The first time was a couple years ago, in the fall. The summer season brought lots of tourist, as expected, but also lots of trash on the beach. I was not a fan.

Neither was little bit. Ellington, on the other hand, had a blast. We only coaxed her to leave the beach by offering up a trip to the amusement park on the pier. She had a blast riding rides as well. As we stood in line for the ferris wheel, I had a brief second where I thought we just might be crazy for taking our 1 year old and 3 year old on a rusty old ferris wheel. Once we all jumped in an saw the amazing views, I knew it was worth it. Winsley didn't really appreciate the awesomeness (we later discovered that she had been sick the entire weekend… oops), but Ellington requested 5 more rides on the ferris wheel. She is definitely my little adventure seeker.

You were good to us, LA. We will surely be back to enjoy all that Los Angeles has to offer and continue eating our way through California. Any suggestions for food or fun around LA are welcomed and encouraged!

a letter to my 25 year old self

Dear Quinn,

It might be hard for you to wrap your head around, but in 5 short years you’ll be a full time stay at home mom with a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Those two little ladies will bring you more joy and more worries than you ever thought possible. It sounds great, doesn’t it? You don’t have to go to work everyday! No more workplace drama and meaningless customer complaints. Just relaxing and playing with your kids everyday. Oh, man. I wish you knew…

Yes, watching your children learn and grow each day is incredible, but it is also a lot of work. Work that has no 15 minute coffee breaks or end of the day cocktail hours with coworkers. This will just be a different stage in your life, no better or worse than before, just different.

While I’m sure you are having a blast down in Alabama and your stubborn tendancies will not likely take any of this advice easily, I wish you knew...

Shopping is one of our favorite things to do. Finding that adorable new dress or perfect pair of trendy shoes brings us joy, but I wouldn’t waste your money on fancy things. Pretty soon, you’ll be comfortable reveling in the moment wearing one of your 4 or 5 go-to mommy uniforms. Something that isn’t necessarily trendy, but fits you and your style + is comfortable throughout the day and makes you look pulled together when you feel like a hot mess.

While we’re on the subject of wasting your money, lets talk a little bit about how much money you’re spending eating out. Birmingham surprisingly has some amazing cuisine, it’s true, but there is simply no need to eat out every single night. Trade that in for cooking at home the majority of the time. That condo kitchen may be tiny, but spend a little time in there and learn how to cook a few recipes until you are a master chef (or at least have a handful of recipes memorized). You’ll thank me in a few years when you suddenly realize that it 4 o’clock and you have yet to plan dinner. You will easily be able to pull from your catalog of tested recipes instead of reaching for that store bought pizza at the back of the freezer.

You're not going to want to hear this one, but I strongly encourage you to take a look at your bank account. You are making a lot of money (compared to the zero you’ll be making as a stay at home mom) and it doesn’t look like you’re saving much, if any. Why not skip the bars this weekend? The amount of money you’re spending on alcohol will shock you in 5 years! (Also, in 5 years you’ll get drunk off of just 2 glasses of wine and suffer a horrible hangover after 3.) You are probably thinking that you’ll have plenty of time to build up that nest egg and you’d rather have fun now, I wish you knew...

Here’s a thought. If you insist on wasting your money, waste it on something good. All of the money you’ve wasted on clothes + restaurants + bars in your early 20s could have paid for many trips off your bucket list. Waste your money on experiences now as those experiences will be much different when you have kids to consider. Then, when you look back on the days as a newlywed, you’ll think less of the wasted money and more about the experiences you shared with your new husband.

Money will not bring you happiness, but having a little cushion of it will bring you much comfort when you are not the only one you need to support. I know it’s hard to look towards the future now, during your first real moment of independence. I’ve been there, I know. I also know how stubborn you are and that you’ll probably decline this advice with a bit of know-it-all attitude, but I just wanted you to know.

In the end, it will all turn out alright. You and your husband will work through the hard bits and live a comfortable life (even if you’ll still be paying those student loans off until eternity!). In five years, everything will be different. Not better or worse, just different and you’ll love every bit of the journey (even the hard bits). Trust me, I know.


Your 30 year old self

Waiting on the snow...

I'm taking a snow day today. We are expecting at least an inch or snow in NC. May not sound like much to my northern friends, but it is a massive amount here in the South.

Seriously, the whole city usually shuts down for a few flurries. An inch? An inch could mean closings for days! I'm clearly exaggerating, but not really.

In my blogging absence, I'll leave you with cute baby picture. 
On the left is Ellington's first snow (February 2012). On the right is Winsley's first snow just last week (January 2014).

I rarely compare my two girls because they are so different, but I just couldn't resist this cute side-by-side of their first snow experiences. Adorableness.

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