Wednesday, September 2, 2015



Having spent over a decade of my childhood overseas with the Air Force, my family got used to missing our relatives that lived stateside. While this way of life might not sound ideal to some, it's the only normal I've ever known. Annual visits were chock-full of memories and inevitably led to tearful good-byes. It never got easier, and I've learned it never does. So when I agreed to carry on with this lifestyle by marrying into the military, I knew distance from family would be part of the package. I just didn't realize that adding a baby to our brood would make those good-byes THAT much harder. 

Suddenly I understand what my parents went through each time our family would come and go. I can't help but think about all of those video cassette tapes filled with family footage that would be sent from Europe back to Iowa every few months so our relatives could watch my sister and me grow.  Aside from the occasional visit, it was the best way for us to stay connected. Thankfully, technology has advanced quite a bit since the early 90s (Yikes, and our perms!) and there are oodles of creative ways to for us to stay in touch with our family as Max gets older. 

While I adore FaceTime and picture/text messages, I wanted to find other fun ways for Max to become familiar with his family near and far. In my search to bring our loved ones to Swell Rio, I've found that Pinhole Press' customized book of names and faces is a fantastic tool. We have the book with us at all times and while I'm not sure he knows anyone in the pictures just yet, I'm certain that repetition and time will make each individual grin recognizable.

Happy Wednesday, m' dears! How do you like to stay in touch with your loved ones?

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015



It's only Tuesday and I'm already really pumped about the upcoming holiday weekend. Anybody with me?! It's not as though we have anything crazy planned, but the idea of spending four days together as a family has got me feeling all sorts of giddy. So while I try my best to stay focused and just get to Thursday (Two. More. Days.), I should probably share a few of my favorite details from this past week. There were a handful of moments that left me feeling grateful. Hmm, where should I begin?

  • What's a girl to do when her husband's working late on a Friday night and the babe is sound asleep? Excitedly whip up a gin cocktail and spend the evening in the company of Iris Apfel. That's exactly what she does! Squeeeeeeeee! And just as I'd hoped, the documentary was as delightful as I imagined. If you haven't seen it yet, you MUST! I guarantee you'll fall madly in love with the rare bird on a whole new level you didn't even realize was possible.
  • Sometimes you just have to load up in The Rig, drive to the nearest small town, and try a new pizzeria. Even if the pie wasn't much to write home about, it was a fun way to shake up our weekend shenanigans. Not to mention, Max certainly enjoyed the people watching and garlic knots—both of which are really good signs he's definitely our kid!
  • On really long days when I find myself counting down the minutes until nap time, I cling to little details that bring lots of comfort like bright morning light, breezy walks around the neighborhood, and a quiet afternoon spent tidying up the house. These moments can easily get lost in all the fussiness and repetitive no's, so it's best if I make a conscious effort to look for them throughout the day. Much like a scavenger hunt, it keeps me focused and helps conquer the crazy.
  • Since Max is a 22-pound wrecking ball, it's rare the nursery—or the rest of the house, for that matter —looks orderly and pristine. In ten short months, I'm still learning this is okay. It's how things should be. Ha Ha! But after cleaning his room one morning, I was overcome with feelings of joy and nostalgia. Last year at this time, I was adding the finishing touches to Max's room. I guess I never dreamt we could have so much fun together or that we'd make the kind of memories we have in this small space. Don't get me wrong, I still love when pillows and toy bins are in their assigned spot, but his room is so much more than just that. I hope he loves it just as much as I do!
  • Remember when I said that my primary goal last weekend was to dust off my mixer and bake these chocolate chip cookies? Well, I actually followed through and made them for Flyboy to take to work. The recipe is insanely good, and I can totally see myself making them again and again. In fact, it was probably a good thing I got them out of the house and FAST because those bad boys didn't stand a chance unsupervised with my unruly sweet tooth.
  • Last week, we were told that a mystery package was on its way to Swell Rio and it would be addressed to Max. The contents of the box would include something that every Texas boy should own. Our interest was immediately piqued and we began throwing out obvious guesses such as cowboy boots or a belt buckle. We never realized that it would be a miniature truck. Obvi! Since Flyboy put the contraption together last Tuesday night, we've had a blast pushing Max around the house and neighborhood. We've found the babe is very serious about keeping his hands at ten and two and he won't hesitate to lay on the horn if he has to. Aw, they grow up so fast... 
  • Oh. Em. Gee. This kid is such a busy body. It's becoming increasingly hard to get a good shot of him because he's always on the go. I honestly can't wait until he gets to the age where I can bribe him to sit still for ONE little photo. Thank goodness for a fast shutter speed! On a mother's note, while browsing my camera roll for a picture or two to share on the blog, I couldn't help but notice how much Max's recent hair cut makes him look so grown up. Stahp it. Right now. What's next? College? Dating? Please excuse me while I go bury my head in a pillow and get all Ramotional.

Alright, enough of my rambling. How the heck are YOU??

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Friday, August 28, 2015


Let's get right to it, shall we?
Here's what made me feel all twitterpated, smile contagiously, giggle uncontrollably, etc.

  • Cheers Matchbox // The Social Type has the most darling variety of paper goods. Dots and gold foil? I'll drink to that!
  • Bindi Tassel Necklace // In an effort to ease back into the blogging bit, you know I've got to include some sort of tassel or pom-pom. Right?? It just wouldn't be a Friday Love List without them included.
  • White Rim Lacquer Tray // This may or may not be on its way to Swell Rio, and I have a gazillion different ideas buzzing about in my head as to how I might use it. A splash of orange is ALWAYS necessary.
  • Dot Life via Lucy Halcomb // Fellow snail mail enthusiasts, you're going to want to take my advice on this one. Follow Lucy's account on Instagram. Don't waste another second! Who wouldn't love to receive something this pretty?!
  • Harbour Stripe Duvet Set // Stripes. Scallops. And what about that signature Kate Spade green? Hubba hubba.
  • "It All Just Clicked" 4X6 Photo Album // I've printed oodles of pictures of Max and they keep accumulating in my desk drawer. Perhaps this adorable photo album is just the inspiration I need to give our beloved snapshots a home??
  • V-Neck Cardigan with Embellished Pockets // You want to know how I know that the old J.Crew is back? The latest style guide. Yep, that's right! A slice of Parisian perfection. It reminded me of the good old days. Not that I ever lost hope. Now way. There's just been so much buzz about the store letting down its fan base. I believe it's all about the classic cardigan. The bejeweled pocket details are beckoning. Now bring on the cooler weather por favor!!
  • Bennett Crossbody Bag // I will admit I have problems collecting throw pillows and scarves, but I will never admit to hoarding accessories. It appears that J.Crew likes to encourage my "hobby" by introducing me to its latest bag style. Of course they had to make it in this fabulous spearmint color. OMGooooodness! I'm hooked.
  • Crystal Flower Earrings // Can't you just imagine these on your ears? Feminine, sophisticated, and a whole lotta sparkle.
  • End-Of-Summer Bucket List // As Labor Day nears, don't forget to check a few of these fun activities off your bucket list.
  • Fox Baby Body Raglan // Even though it's so stinking hot in Texas, I can't help but look ahead and dream about Max's fall wardrobe. This onesie with some chinos and cute kicks have got me swooning big time.
  • Wooden Camera // A certain half-pint in the house is obsessed with my camera. Snap happy is the best kind of happy.
  • Breton Stripe Napkins // How is it possible that Max will be one in 1.5 months?? Time to start the party planning.
  • High Brew Coffee // I saw this at the HEB a few weeks ago and learned the company hails from Austin, TX. My interest was piqued, so I grabbed a few cans. I totally blame it all on the cute packaging. It's tasty to (cowboy) boot!
  • Milk Bar's Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies // If the only thing I get accomplished this weekend is baking these cookies, I'll be proud as punch. It's time to dust off the mixer and lick the bowl clean. Wouldn't you agree??

As always, thank you kindly for stopping by. Cheers to a snazzy weekend, m' dears! Make it count.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015


Brace yourselves dear readers, today's post isn't written in the typical Thursday Thoughts format. Gasp! Okay, now everybody take a deep breath with me. Still there? Alright. I guess I just feel the need to deviate from the ol' routine and tell you about my Guardian Malaysian—a stranger who deserves an entire post devoted to his kindness. Now where should I begin...

When I initially booked our flight to Omaha, I knew the itinerary was going to be a little bit wonky. You see, from San Antonio we were set to fly all the way to Charlotte, North Carolina. From there, we'd hop on another plane and head to Nebraska. Nothing about our flight path made sense, but at the time it seemed like a doable way to save a penny or two. Never again, I tell you.

In the days leading up to our departure, I tried my best to mentally prepare for this trip. I reminded myself to keep a sense of humor and stay hopelessly optimistic. All I needed to do was just get to my family in Iowa. The rest would be cake. So when the day came and we kissed Flyboy good-bye at the San Antonio Airport, I knew I was in for an adventure. Ready or not, here we come.

After breezing through airport security without any hiccups, we got settled at our gate. I spent the next hour trying my best to wear Max out. Veteran moms said this was key to traveling, so I hopped to it. I quickly learned that letting him crawl and teeter around while simultaneously keeping an eye on two bags is easier said than done, but we survived. Thankfully it was only a matter of time before our group was called to board, and that's precisely when our trip got... fun?

As soon as we arrived at our seat, Max's disgruntled level was turnt up (because ours go to eleven...). I figured the fussy factor had something to do with the warm temperature on the plane. No biggie. While I got the babe out of his carrier, situated our bags, and strategically placed snacks and toys in the seat pocket before us, I glanced around at the passengers in our area. How did we get seated by a bunch of business men? Couldn't we be seated by a nurturing grandma or something?

Much to my dismay, Max's discontent nature came out to play. The crew had yet to shut the door of the plane and my child was putting on a Broadway style production. In that moment, I wondered if it was too late to just get off the aircraft and abort this entire operation. The introvert in me hates being a spectacle and it felt like all eyes were on seat 9B—the one with the screaming baby and rattled mother. In my attempt to ride out the storm, I nervously smiled at the passengers seated around us. I tried my best to quiet Max. Nothing worked. I fished through both of our bags presenting the unruly babe with every novel toy and snack in my arsenal. How could I possibly exhaust all of my tricks before take-off? This 2.5 hour flight didn't look pretty.

Now, in the past I've always avoided making eye contact with other passengers on the plane. I'm not big on small talk and I inevitably get seated next to a really loud and chatty person. But with a baby in tow, you have no choice but to get friendly and fast. I figured the gentleman seated next to us pretended to be asleep for a reason. Heck, I would avoid us too! Unfortunately for this "snoozing" stranger, Max opted to introduce himself by kicking the man's elbow. Fabulous! Overwhelmed by my kid's awful demeanor, I immediately apologized. I felt terrible and never expected my look of embarrassment would be met with a warm smile.

The gentleman went on to entertain Max with lots of grinning and cooing. Amid the flailing and crying, the two of us attempted to have an adult conversation. I learned the father of four was visiting the U.S. from Malaysia and was on a military business trip to learn English. He explained he has a baby girl at home and asked if he could hold Max. Desperate for help, I emphatically agreed. Stranger danger no more! But after ten minutes of Max bucking and sobbing, my Guardian Malaysian admitted defeat and returned the gem to me. On the bright side, things began to improve. Perhaps those silent prayers were starting to work?? Um, not so fast. That brief glimmer of hope was interrupted with intense grunting and a foul smell—definitely not the sort of relief I'd asked for.

GM: I think your baby has poop.
Me: I think you're right. I'm just waiting for them to turn off the seat belt light.
GM: I can help. (Presses button to alert flight attendant.)
Me: Oh, thank you...
GM: They say you can go.

I grabbed the diaper changing necessities and we made our way to the back of the plane. I glanced at the other passengers as we walked by and the results were mostly mixed with gracious smiles and annoyed glares. I tried not to think too much about us being THOSE people, and I had a really good feeling about this diaper change. Certainly it would do the trick! 

When we finally returned to 9B with clean drawers, Max and I were welcomed by GM who was sporting two thumbs up. Who doesn't love a splash of optimism? I certainly appreciated it. Unfortunately for us, Sir Maxalot was back to his old tricks.

GM: Here, I hold baby Matt again. 
Me: Okay. Are you sure? (Call him whatever you want. You can have him. Honestly.)
GM: Come here baby Matt.

As I passed "Matt" off to GM, I glanced at my watch and realized there was still another 1.5 hours left to this flight. How could I possibly survive any more? I didn't expect the day would be polka dots and Skittles, but I never thought it could get THIS bad. Overwhelmed and fighting the urge to cry, I bent over to pretend I was pilfering through my bags. In that moment of despair, I needed a second to myself. I stared at my disheveled totes and suddenly heard singing. Where in the world was this coming from? 

GM: So silly. That's Malaysian hymn. You no understand. How about something American?

"She's got a smile it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories...
Oh, oh, oh
Sweet child of mine..."

Yes, the Guardian Malaysian was in fact singing Guns 'N Roses to my baby. I couldn't help but giggle inside. I suppose this was just what I needed to regain my composure. I looked over at the seat next to me to find GM quite literally rocking out with my relentless 10 month old, and I smiled. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment or this man's eagerness to help.

People love to tell you how a baby changes you and I guess they're right. I'm not someone who warms up to strangers or accepts help. But on that particular flight, Max pushed me out of my comfort zone in countless ways and I'm oddly grateful. I don't even lift the arm rest for family, but when GM insisted it be done so Max could sprawl out on our laps, I agreed. How's that for change?!

If you survived all of that rambling, PLEASE tell me a little bit about YOU today.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015


It appears Max does not understand my desire to get back into the bloggie groove this week. Oy! So while he does his best to boycott his afternoon nap, just imagine me stubbornly scrambling to put some sort of snazzy post together. Thankfully, this fabulous assortment of lifestyle necessities from Sideshow Press delivers BIG time. Did somebody say jackpot?! After drooling over the shop's newest curiosities, I have this crazy desire to purchase a desktop bell and these cocktail coasters. Also, have you ever seen a sweeter set of toothpicks?! I want it all. Somebody book me a one-way ticket to Charleston and stat. I think I found my happy place.

Have a swell Wednesday, m' dears!

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