Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chickie Treats & Peeps Pops

Today was the Easter egg hunt and Easter party at HA's school. I had to figure out what to contribute for the party and then what favors to send for the kids. In HA's class, there are several other Moms who seem to be big Pinterest fans as well. This makes it more difficult for me when I am trying to pick what fun Pinterest ideas to use. I also kind of try to pick what I think won't be the most "popular" but that I love. Welcome to my Type A AND over analytical brain world!! For the party treat, I chose these precious little chickie(/duckie) pretzel treats. I used my magic Wilton Chocolate Pro of course. I had to practice on about 5 before I got it right, but once I did, they were super easy. I just spooned in the melted already yellow Wilton candy melts into the regular-sized pretzels. I cut orange Starburst jelly beans in half for the nose, and added mini chocolate chips with the point down for the eyes. I completely overbought on the yellow candy melts, so looks like I'll be making more of these for the party at Wren's on Saturday. Guess I'll just add them to my [mental] list. : ) For the favors, I broke my own rule for doing things I didn't think someone else would choose. I will be not in the least surprised if I find out that another Mom sent in the Peeps Pops. They are just too easy and quick to do. I broke my rule, because I am still exhausted from the trip. I was so tired that I gave into myself against my will. Now that, my friends, is tired! I spent entirely too long in the ribbon aisle at WalMart trying to decide on ribbons. They were low, and I pretty much didn't have a selection (in my [unrealistic] opinion). HA was thrilled with what I chose which is all that really matters anyway! Next up this week is my hubby's birthday on Friday and the Easter fun at Wren's on Saturday late afternoon!

Also, I'm trying to figure out the Bloglovin', so follow me on that, please! I learned about it through my friend Laura, and it is the absolute BEST way to keep up with reading your favorite blogs! Esp when reading them on your phone which is the only way I get a chance to! If aren't on it yet, go sign up. It's worth the 5 minutes it takes!! So sign up and then follow mine. That's your homework. lol

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~Nattie B (You know, I have a fun signature, and I keep forgetting to set it up. lol!!)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Coming to America (but not with Eddie Murphey)

Well, we have finally made it on the plane! Drug our luggage over two blocks to the Metro station going up and down several flights of stairs. Took Metro blue. Changed at Metro pink. Got to airport check-in only to be told that our flight was overbooked and that we were on stand-by. Evidently that is completely okay to do in Spain (overbook international flights). If we hadn't gotten on this flight, we would have had to wait overnight. No one would have wanted to deal with me if that had happened!! On the flight over, our luggage was lost and sent on the wrong plane. We did get it late that night, but my little brother & his wife's bags were somehow sent to Venezuela, so they had several days without theirs! We booked American Airlines with our connector flight being on Iberian. Long story (not completely) short, don't take Iberian if you can help it. But, we are finally on the plane and headed to Nashville via Chicago. My playlist? Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter by Lisa Patton. It's a book on audio. I've read it before, but I just love it. It makes me laugh out loud! If you are a Southern Belle (yes i believe that deserves caps), ESP those from the Memphis area, it is a MUST read. She has another book out as well, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

The Spain trip was a success, but I just cannot wait to hold my girls!!! I decided to take this first flight (almost 9 hours) to read 'a desirable residence' by one of my absolute favorite contemporary authors, Madeline Wickham. Her pen name is Sophie Kinsella, and she wrote the Shopoholic series. The long flight also gives me a chance to blog. I was having withdrawals while we were gone. Instagram, too!! I'm obviously addicted more than I realized. Oh well. It could be worse. :)

My parents (mainly my Mom) and my sister Ashley kept the girls while we went on our overseas adventure. I do not think it is even possible to convey to them my deep level of gratitude and appreciation for what they did!!!!! Especially the fact that my sister already has two kids to take care of let alone adding a 4 yr old and 8 month old to the mix. To top it off, they all travelled to our house late last week in order for HA to not miss school pictures and two consecutive soccer games!! I was informed on the phone last night that they have also now cleaned my entire house even though I specifically asked them not to when the idea was brought up a few days prior. I mean WOW!!! Saying thank you just doesn't feel like enough. I was able to get a couple of small items while on the trip for 'thank yous,' but I will need to figure out at least a little something more. Chris is in the financial world, and he is extremely tight with money. So I won't be able to get them something really big like I would if it was just up to me, but I know I can figure out something. I do have a few ideas, but please feel free to share your ideas or something you have done before. I'll go ahead and tell you that I refuse to do a gift card. With their personalities, the gift card will end up being used on or for someone else not themselves. :)

My next post will we written in the great US of A!!!!

-Nattie B

The 7 Dwarfs

If I were to be one of Snow White's dwarfs right now, it would be Grumpy meets Sleepy combined with Dopey. Grumpy? Because I'm tired of all of the traveling and over ready to be home (yes, I'm still on the first of the two flights)!!! Chris is currently afraid to talk to me, bc I'm being so grumpy. The foreign stewardess just walked by offering "cafe" (AKA coffee), and my response (once she was past me and couldn't hear) was "no, I'll take someone who speaks English and my house." I didn't even say please. Lol Sleepy? Because we have been going non-stop for 10 days all over Spain & Morocco and that includes 6 airline flights, 2 buses, 1 train, 2 ferry rides, the Metro, a few taxis, and a 6 hour time difference. Dopey? I have major flying anxiety, so I have to take chill pills to be able to fly in the first place. At least we are close to landing the first (and longest) flight. Then it will just be a couple of hours in Chicago, and we fly home to Nashville!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mrs. Ricky Bobby

Just call me Mrs. Ricky Bobby. Too bad I don't look like Will Farrell's character's wife in Talledega Nights! For all of you European travel lovers, you are most likely familiar with the Rick Steves travel guides. We have used his guide books on our last two European vacations. They are packed with great tips, information, and helpful hints. In his books, he always has lots of 'walking tours' you can do self-guided and still learn lots from just reading his brief synopses. We usually do most of those. That way we can learn info on some of the smaller "less" important sites we don't want to pay to learn more about. This trip, Chris has been the one to carry around the book and narrate as we walk to each location, so we started calling him Little Ricky. The 'Bobby' comes from his love of baking cookies. Yeah you read that right. (If you know Chris, it's pretty funny!) He loves to make two kinds: chocolate oatmeal and peanut butter. It's always good when he gets hungry for a cookie!! A long time ago we started calling him Bobby Crocker. Bobby as opposed to Betty. So this trip he decided to deem himself Ricky Bobby. About two days later, I finally caught on. I may be a bottle blonde now, but I've got all of the stereotypical qualities sometimes. Okay, okay. Most of the time.

-Nattie B

Jesus and the Easter Bunny

Late yesterday afternoon after our down time, we headed back out in Granada. (Right now we are on the bus from Granada to Madrid. Current playlist? The Black Keys.) We went to the Royal Chapel. I was really excited to go, because it is where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel are buried. It also housed some of their precious personal items including one of her crowns (what girly girl doesn't wanna see a real crown?!!), their clothes, her prayer book, etc. In the adjacent room to the chapel was where the artifacts were housed. They had quite a few pieces of their personal art collection. All of the paintings were religious in nature with many showing the crucifixion and Jesus's beaten, bruised, bloody, and emaciated body. As I looked at one after the other, I was overcome with emotion. I so rarely think of ALL that Jesus endured on the road to our salvation. Even at Easter time. I mean I think about it, but it doesn't always quite register as completely as it should. I remember the first time I saw The Passion of the Christ movie. It had the same affect. When I have these realizations, I'm overcome with gratitude and unworthiness of my life and my salvation. I also feel guilty beyond belief. Guilty that I don't keep that feeling of gratitude at that deep of a level more. I feel as though I am a very grateful person in general, but this particular feeling is different. It's indescribable. I can only say that I feel it all the way to my core. I felt guilty that what I had done in preparation for Easter was way more about the Easter Bunny than it was about Jesus. In fact, it was only about the bunny. And to think how much I had tried to explain and remind HA that the real reason for Easter was Jesus not the bunny, the whole while not truly processing it myself. I want to watch The Passion of the Christ movie before Easter. I'll have to tell Chris so he can hold me to it. As hard as it is for me to watch (bc it tears my heart what He endured for us), I think it is necessary for me. It's necessary for me to get to my core what Easter really is about. Then maybe while I'm reminding HA it really isn't about the bunny, I'll get it, too. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that I'm not still going to have fun with the bunny part. I don't think there is a thing wrong with that. I'm just going to keep in my heart AND mind why the bunny part is even there to begin with.

-Nattie B

P.S. They didn't allow photos in the chapel or exhibit, so I can't attach a photo of the crown! I was so upset when I saw all of the "no photos" signs!! But, unlike a couple of ppl I'm traveling with who shall remain nameless (you know who you are), if I'm told not to take photos, I actually don't. There's something in me that just won't let myself. I'd feel way too guilty.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Break Time

On a break. We went to the Alhambra this morning. Super cool!! It is just insane the details and to think of the hard work that went into each tiled floor, into the intricately carved ceilings and just all of it. We finished then grabbed a bite for lunch. Then it was break time. I think most people are napping so we can stay up late. They don't eat dinner until around 10 pm local time. As soon as we were on break, I started trying to call Ash (my big sister) to talk to the girls. Problem? I did the math wrong, and it wasn't even 8 am there yet. Geez Natalie. I never was good at math but that's another story. We have wifi in the lobby, so I chilled down there for a bit. I ended up going into planning mode. Planning for HA's school's Easter egg hunt and party and for the thing at Wren's. I was on Pinterest and forwarding pins via emails. I was done and headed up to take a hot bath (my way of relaxing ) when I get an email from Wren saying she had just gotten 17 emails from me and for me to "go explore Spain or something." LOL!!!! Bath is done, Chris is napping, and I'm blogging while listening to the Twilight soundtrack. Makes me happy and relaxed. In just a few we are headed back out for the night. Talk soon!

-Nattie B

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

We're on a train right now headed to Granada, and I have The Black Keys playing. I have mucho time to kill, so I finally have time to blog.

I love trains in Europe. We are traveling from the south to the north today, and out the window is a gorgeous, endless scene of trees (including orange and fig), little white-washed villages and bright sunshine. (Yes, I'm sporting my pink glitter wayfarers. But of course!) we are having a really good time, and everyone is getting along. Hey! This IS a family vacation. We all know they either go one way or the other. I'm not even sure if I ever said who all was going on the trip. Guest List as follows: Chris, myself, Judy (his mom), Jerry (his dad), Kevin (little brother), and JoEllen (little brother's wife of only a year and a half). This is JoEllen's first family trip period. Ever. Not even a weekend getaway prior to a 10 day European vacation. Would be interesting to know how she thinks the trip is going. I'm pretty sure I get on her nerves. But I digress.

Yesterday we were in Tangier, Morocco. Our guide, Aziz was the bomb! We saw all of the highlights of Tangier (old & new cities), and we rode camels. I swear I thought I was going to fall off!! And leave it to me to have that happen. I AM the one who broke my arm in a candy machine! (Long story) I luckily didn't fall off nor did anyone else. And I don't even have a phone photo to post on here. I forgot to take pictures with my phone, too until a little over 1/2 way into the tour. So I apologize in advance for the lack of pics, but I'll give you what I have.

I'm very excited about Granada. Elise Ann (BFF in Atlanta) said it was her favorite town she visited in Spain. JoEllen has been here before, and it was one of her favorites, too. It's a small town that I think is going to have a similar feeling to Siena, which is my fav town in Italy. It is low-key but still a little modernized. (For example, we will have wi-fi.) I think we are just going to walk around this afternoon, but tonight is hookah time! Yay!! We (me, C, K, & JE) went to a hookah bar in Barcelona one night and had so much fun. And in case you are wondering, no there wasn't anything illegal happening there. Just mint and grapes. Chris has a pretty bad cough, so he most likely won't be participating tonight. Tomorrow is the Alhambra. It's one of the most famous things to see in Spain. Can't wait. If you aren't familiar with it, google it just so you can get an idea.

After Granada is our last city, Madrid. We are winding down the second half. Ready to see the girls!!!!! HA is like her Daddy, so she isn't much of a phone person, but she was impressed Mommy rode a camel. She said, "Wow! That's really cool, Mommy!" My thought? When did she get so big?!! I bet it's going to feel like Collins has grown a lot since she's already growing so fast what seems like every day! I have so much to be excited about for when we get home, too! Chris' birthday, the Easter thingy I'm helping Wren throw, Easter itself, belated celebration of Bashty's birthday, and Ker's visit!!! I'm such a lucky (=blessed), lucky girl!!!!!

-Nattie B

The first pics are in Africa (yes the French fries that were ridiculously amazing!!!), and the few others are the ones I took while riding the train. Those are fig trees.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ET Phone Home

Okay, so first of all, we have had little to no wi-fi. Thus why you don't have ANY posts from me post arrival!! And my Instagram? Nada!!! Ahhhhhhh But I CAN do this (since I have no choice). The absolute worst part was that our pre-planned FaceTime conversations with HA and Collins weren't connecting. Talk about one upset (sad, crying & pissed) Momma!! I couldn't even text them. I. Was. A. Mess. We finally figured out we could get a strong enough wi-fi connection down the street outside of a Starbucks. Thank goodness since my 'I'm just going to put on my (pink sparkly wayfarer) sunglasses so no one knows that I'm crying' mentality wasn't working. The waded up tissue from constantly blowing my nose was possibly a small giveaway. In the end, we got it all worked out, and we got to talk to and even see our sweet girls!!! Collins was a bundle of all smiles, but HA was too busy having fun to give us much attention. : ) long story short, I owe my Mom and sister Ashley BIG TIME!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

FIrst World Upper Middle Class Problems

Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!! That is a frustrated/my back hurts/my shoulder is sore/i need to get up and move ahhhhhhhhh. I know. I know. First world "upper" middle class problems (FWUMCP) complaining about needing to stretch while on a flight to Spain for vaca. Yes. I know how ridiculous that is! :) Now the "FWUMCP"... That's a new one my friend Dev and I came up with the other day. Okay, we are currently on plane #2 (JFK to Madrid) of 3, and according to the ever present fact screen on the tv in front of me, we still have an hour and a half left. (By the time it lets me 'publish' this we will be there.) It is a 7 hour flight that we were supposed to sleep on since when we get to our destination (Barcelona) it will be 9:40 a.m. with check in not until 3:00 p.m. If I'm blogging, I'm obviously not sleeping regardless of the SLEEPING pill I took!! I crashed for about an hour n a half. Better than nothing. But now it's still dark on the plane, and I've run out of things to do. I have Kings of Leon (KOL) blasting in my earbuds (which always makes me smile!), but evidently the more I play Temple Run the worse I get. I've almost resorted to playing one of HA's American Girl Doll apps where you see how many snow ones you can specialize in a specific amount of time but decided to blog instead. Sorry since I really have nothing to say. Hahaha! Guess it is time for me to get back to chewing my barely-there fingernails and staring at the Pinterest app hoping it will magically work...

Talk soon. AKA flight 3 of 3

-Nattie B

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Amazing (Grace) Life

Here I am on an airplane seated next to my hubby of almost ten years. He's reading a book about the Governor character from The Walking Dead, and I just put down my Lucky magazine. Florence + The Machine is blaring in my earbuds, the sun is bright and gorgeous, and my ears aren't even popping too badly from the high altitude. All I can think as I sit here knowing my babies are going to have a blast with Mah Mau & Pop, my sisters, and their cousins is how incredibly blessed I am. And not just because I am headed on this trip of a lifetime to Spain with Chris, Judes, Jerry, Kev, & JE! And not because I have fun Easter party coming up with Wren. A d not even because Ker is about to be here for a long visit. It's because I have so many friends and family members who love me and adore my sweet girls not to mention God's unconditional love for me that I never have and never will deserve!! I feel so blessed and genuinely happy in my life. I just pray that I can bring a little joy to those I love so dearly, both family and friends like they do to me!! I pray that I can use the amazing life that God has so graciously bestowed upon me to bless others and help them to have the happiness I so feel!! To God be ALL the glory!!!!

Well, that got deep out of nowhere folks! Lol Guess it was just really on my mind. Well, we are almost finished with flight 1 of 3. We will have a couple hours at JFK before heading to Madrid. Geez I hope I can sleep on that one!! We are basically flying all night and will eventually arrive in Barcelona at 9:30 a.m.ish. Thank goodness for sleeping pills...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In the Middle of the Niiiiighhtt

Like that old Billy Joel song from the '90s, but instead of it saying in the middle of the night I go walkin' in my sleep, I'd have to change that to bloggin' in the dark. I was sleeping so great, and then Collins woke up. Now I can't get settled back down. I have so many random things going through my mind bc of the trip. You know things like:
What am I going to wear on the plane?
What snacks am I going to get to take?
Will I ever finish packing?
I need to clear the pics on the big camera and on my iPhone.
Should I get a new book to read?
I need to call the dr about my prescription change.
Have to pick up my pants at Nordstrom tomorrow.
Getting stitches out, too.
I need to finish the itinerary.
What am I going to do about an Easter dress?
I should be sleeping...and so on and so forth! Starting to think I'm going to have to go take something to be able to go back to sleep.

-Nattie B

Here are pics from today!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Are We Even Gone Yet?!

I started it off that way, because I know Friday's post will most likely be "are we there yet?" WIDT?

HA to school.
Target to return a dress that I bought a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely loved it on myself in the dressing room (and my mom did too) but hated it when I tried it on before putting it in the suitcase yesterday.
Headed home, and thought to myself when I got in the car and saw the time how quickly I had gotten Harper to school today. I was proud of myself until I later realized I had yet to change the clock in the car!!! Oops!
Dropped off a little happy for my sister-in-law at my little brother's school.
Collins went down for a nap.
Got ready.
I started packing. Tried on outfits and packed those that I liked. I easily became overwhelmed while packing, so I moved on to other things.
Worked on a little surprise that I'm doing for Chris.
Had to wake up Collins and was still late to my cardiologist appointment!
Had an echocardiogram.
Received an amazing report!! All praise be to God!!!!!!
Got gas at Sam's, and then picked up HA from school.
Dropped off lavender pants to be hemmed at the cleaners.
Cooked dinner. (You will notice I never cleaned up, and I can count on one hand how often that happens!)
Watched Sophia the First on the iPad with HA.
Put HA to bed and took over an hour nap myself!!
Watched RHOBH.
Hoping tomorrow is more productive!!

-Nattie B

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Oscars, Just Call Me Sally & Good Friends

So I just finished watching the Oscars late last night. Can you tell me how it is that a girl who used to host Oscars parties complete with themed food and our own ballots becomes the girl who just finished watching the Oscars almost two weeks late? Kids. That's your answer.

Last night I went to dinner with a friend named Chrisie who is an old coworker from the job I worked at previous to having Collins and getting my major and completely unexpected postpartum cardiomyopathy (heart disease). We ate at California Pizza Kitchen, and I ordered the Pear and Gorgonzola pizza. Have you ever seen the movie When Harry Met Sally? If you have, I'm Sally. In fact, a best friend of mine in college even nicknamed me "Sally" for my ordering habits. I enjoyed my pizza with no greens (remember I hate lettuce or leafy greens) and had them drizzle honey on it as well as bring a side of honey for dipping. It was delicious!! We also hit up Nordstrom, and I showed her that you don't have to spend a lot of money to shop there. There, Anthropologie, J Crew, & Banana are a few of my favs, but that doesn't include my two of my favorite brands like Lily and Tory Burch. But anywho...I digress...

Today was HA's first soccer game of the Spring season. She wasn't into it at first, because she has a cold and didn't feel good, but she got more into it as the game went on. She scored a goal or two, so she was happy! After the game, the girls went back to Judy's, and I ran a few vacation errands with one of my close friends from college, Laurie. I. Love. Her. No, I adore her! Her genuine calmness and sweet nature are (I would say infectious, but I highly doubt I could ever be completely described as calm), well, they are calming and make you feel at home. I can share everything with her without ever feeling judged. Love you to the moon, Laurie!!!

Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads some of these?!

-Nattie B

Friday, March 8, 2013

Panic Mode!!!

Okay folks! I'm pretty much in panic mode it's moment! There are plenty of things that need to be done. Okay, there are a lot of things that need to be done before one week from today!!! And did I mention I'm panicking?! I haven't blogged because I figured there was no reason to share the panic to spread the panic. And I'm not going to list off everything that I need to do between now and then because I will panic even more! Lol On a positive note, I did just find out last night that I get to ride a camel!! Yes, you read that right…a CAMEL 🐫 in Morocco!!! There has also been another recent discovery of possibly being able to make a bullfight in Madrid the day before we leave to come home! I mean seriously?! Can we say FAB-U-LOUS life of...!! I am one excited and extremely blessed girl who doesn't deserve that fabulous life I am blessed to lead. And not just the exciting vacations, but even more so the amazing family and friends that God has so generously blessed me with!!! I am always so grateful !!!!! Anyone have packing tips they'd like to share??!!!

Pics are from yesterday and today. HA started soccer for the spring yesterday. She has new boots that she's in love with that her grandaddy bought her. She even made me take a picture of the bottom of them!! (Soooo my kid!) First spring game is Saturday!! The chevron infinity scarf I purchased using part of my Valentines Etsy gc from Chris! I love it!!! I'm taking it to Spain, and Chris said I could wrap it around my head in Morocco! Lol