Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Nashville + Asheville Trip: Part One

For those looking for more Nashville recommendations, I also blogged our trip there last year.

The goal of our trip was to spend some good old quality time with Ben's college roommate, one of our best friends, Collin. And we sure did achieve that goal! We also got in some sweet time with Meredith.

We had an early flight out of Love Field, about an hour from our house. We left at 4:30 am, making my wakeup call about 3:30. Eek! By the time we got on the plane for our 7am flight, it felt like we were almost in Nashville! 

We got in lots of playing and cuddling on the flight. :) I've gotten questions about Beau's armadillo pajamas. They can be found here, and are one of our favorite brands for him. They make me think of when he was a cuddly newborn. 

Our first stop straight from the airport was Five Daughters for a delicious donut. I got maple, and Beau enjoyed a bit too! Yum!

We then popped into Draper James. If you've ever been in there before, they always offer you a glass of sweet tea. I don't like it, but they gave us one anyway so we had one extra glass. While I was in the dressing room Ben poured it into Beau's sippy cup and let him go to town. I was horrified when I came out and it was so funny how all of the other ladies in there were cheering Ben on. Needless to say, Beau was in heaven. 

The last time we visited this spot I was at the start of my third trimester, and there's my cuddly baby posing on the couch. Really Sweet! In case you hadn't already noticed, the head tilt is his signature "Mama is taking my photo" pose. :) 

A sweet photo outside of the store.. REESE WITHERSPOON herself actually liked this photo on Instagram. Life goal achieved!!

After that we stopped by the Belmont University campus to check it out. We walked around and explored for a little bit and Beau napped in his stroller. It had already been a really long day for him!

I loved finding some beautiful Magnolia Blooms!

The boys then dropped me off at The Pharmacy to meet Meredith and Chandra. We missed a pic of all three of us, but Meredith pointed out that we always forget to take photos together so we made sure to get one! 

These two photos are actually from the morning in 12th South. I set Beau down to take his photo with the hydrangeas, and he immediately started trying to eat them. Oops! The rest of the night we just spent some sweet time together. We went back to Collin's house and rested, ordered in some hot chicken for dinner, and let Beau wind down from his crazy day. 

By 7:30 the next morning we were on the road to Asheville. On the way there we stopped at Cummins Falls State Park. The goal for Ben and Collin was to find a spot to cliff dive (spoiler alert: it was not here) and I just wanted to enjoy the beautiful nature of Tennessee. Beau's only goal was to enjoy the carrier, his favorite thing. 

The majority of the hike was along the riverbed. Super out of my comfort zone. :) Four years ago I would have refused this hike altogether. I like trying new things much better now. It's not worth being intimidated. 

Collin was snapping pics the whole time and got a huge kick out of me crossing the "deep" part of the river. Ben's theme of the hike was forgetting that Collin and I existed and going ahead with Beau, haha! I will be honest.. hiking through the rocks with Beau made me super nervous. I was confident in Ben but I'm a mama and it just made me antsy. That being said there were literally children of all ages doing the hike themselves. There was a family with a baby a little bit younger than Beau when we reached the waterfall and their baby was literally napping on a rock. That totally erased all feelings of feeling like I was an adventurous gal!! 

We made it to the falls.. and this little guy was all tuckered out! :)

Ben and Collin climbed up the falls, and of course got the whistle blown on them a few times. I just sat with my feet in the water and cuddled our boy. 

I captioned this on instagram, "no swim diaper, no problems" because I had left the swim diapers in the car. Shortly after this photo, adventurous family offered us an extra one. Haha!! The water was pretty chilly, but Beau enjoyed it and I loved encouraging him to try something new. 

His favorite part was snuggling his Daddy and Uncle Collin!!

Ben was passionate about getting a photo that showcased Uncle Collin's man bun. Yikes!!

These girls got in trouble by their mom for coming and getting in our photo.. haha! 

I love these boys and the precious life we have together!

The next 3+ hours were spent in the car driving to Asheville. Right when we passed the state line into North Carolina, right in the middle of Smokey Mountain nothingness, Collin realized we had been so deep in conversation that his car was on E. Cue ants in literally all of our pants, because we had no idea how long it had been. Soon after we pulled into Hot Springs, NC and got gas. We were literally dancing with joy! They had free produce at the gas station, hence the squash that made it in this photo. 

As soon as we arrived in Asheville, we went straight to our airbnb. I honestly couldn't recommend it enough. It was the perfect location, and our host was lovely. So cozy and perfect for all of us. 

I showered, and Ben, Collin, + Beau enjoyed a glass of wine and snacks with our host on the front porch. Then we headed to dinner, stopping at LAB: Lexington Avenue Brewery. We were ravenous and devoured the nacho appetizer. My entree was okay, but those nachos were AMAZING! I never really eat nachos but they were great.

This is a weird photo to end on but it's one Collin snapped of us back at our room, getting ready for Bed. I had a bad headache, and was clearly relaxing and I don't know.. it's just one of those silly real life vacation photos. 

And that's the first half of our trip. :) 


Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday No. 65

No. 1
Hi!! Long time no blog. We got back from vacation on Tuesday morning and have been recovering! I've written a few posts, but want to make sure I have stuff to post in the weeks ahead. :) So today's Friday post will probably be a little longer than usual.. catching up to speed on lots of random things!

First random thing being that my friend Tiffany hosted a dinner party for our home group a few weeks ago! (Ps. A few people have asked me about my home group so I might do a post on what it is and how we do things coming up!) This gathering was such a sweet time. Tiffany worked so hard on setting a festive table (it was supposed to be outside but poured rain!) and cooking delicious Italian for us. It was so great to just sit at the table with our people! Consider this my encouragement to have a dinner party.. so much fun!

No. 2 
We got Beau a water table and he LOVES it. It's great for encouraging him to toddle around, and he loves the water! It was something I wasn't dying to spend the $ on at the time.. but I'm so glad we did!

No. 3 
If you haven't tried Watermelon Mint Lemonade at Chick fil A.. consider this your public service announcement to go get one TODAY. I don't like any beverages.. like I literally drink something that's not water like 5 times a year! This drink will be doubling or maybe tripling my extra drink number!

No. 4 
When pulling out our camera to pack it last week, Ben snapped this quick pick of Beau and I cuddling and laughing together. I love it! 
No. 5 
We'll be out of the country for a few weeks coming up.. and I thought it would be fun to plan for a few guest posts while I'm gone. I already have a few things ready that I'll schedule, but if you're interested in throwing in a guest post, email me at victoriastrader9@gmail.com with your blog link, and what you would want to share on my blog! My criteria for selection is none other than fitting with the aesthetic and target audience of my blog, and that I haven't already committed to other people. :)

No. 6
I shared this one pan meal on instagram the other day and got a ton of questions! I just covered a cookie sheet in foil and put sweet potato, bell pepper, zucchini, onion, and chicken sausage on it. I tossed it in a little bit of olive oil and some seasonings (s+p, garlic powder, basil flakes) and baked on 400 degrees for 15 minutes, tossed it around, then cooked it for another 10 minutes. So easy and healthy and great for this time of year! 

While we're chatting food.. this boy has been LOVING trips to Trader Joe's lately! We were picking up some peonies for his future gf's baby shower ;)

We stopped at East Hampton Sandwich Company last week, and I got a lobster grilled cheese and watermelon and it was one of the best choices ever. :) 

No 7. 
We're not moving any time soon.. but the discussion of what's next for us is often on our lips. When we last moved, the decision of moving and where to go was made in just a day, so we're trying to think things through a little more this time. ;) We went and looked at some model homes and always have so fun discussing what we want for our next home. This whole house was a little too farmhousey for me, but we liked a lot of elements of the layout!

No. 8

PSA one of my favorite tops is now on sale! It runs a little big but I still got a small for room in the chest. I'd size down if that isn't an area you need space in. :) 

All of my Friday posts can be found here.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bits of Victoria: 10 Weird Things about Me

This photo was taken in Vatican City, on vacation after we snuck through a door with a tour group and skipped a lot of long lines. Thought I was rebellious and needed a photo to commemorate. :) 
1. Flies are the absolute worst thing in the world to me. I'm constantly begging Ben to kill them in the summertime. Once I was laying in bed reading on my phone and Ben turned the lights out so one flew at my face because of the light on the screen and I almost died. When I know they're in the room I can't hear anything but their buzz. Yuck!

2. I used to be really good at doing laundry. Like REALLY good. I never once would let clothes sit on the floor or even in the dryer. I'd take the clothes out and immediately fold them and immediately put them away. Then Ben and I got engaged and I magically became slow at laundry. You can't even argue that now because I do laundry for two more people it's easy to get bogged down, because for 7 months of engagement I became horrible at laundry. I'm constantly trying to change this and speed up the process, but with so many steps I'm good at starting and not completing this project.

3. My #1 pet peeve is people treating servers and employees poorly. It infuriates me when people forget that the person taking their order or whatever is a real human being with a name and feelings. This isn't actually a weird thing. But what's weird is that I didn't feel like I could make this list without including it. What's weird is that I feel like it's my life's goal to tell people this reminder and hopefully change their behaviors. :)

4. I get really enthusiastic about things, and very quickly. A specific example of this is last year's Nordstrom Anniversary sale. I bought this sweater poncho and tried it on and fell in love with it and took a selfie and sent it to multiple people saying I loved it.. decided it was my #1 pick of the sale, I'm pretty sure I even blogged about it. It really was a super cute sweater... but then I returned it because I couldn't justify that I would wear it enough for it to be worth it. I was ALL IN on my sweater, but then returned it. Who does that? I'm crazy.

5. I'm very passionate about a modest swimsuit. I don't care at all about what other people wear.. that's your choice to make.. but for some reason with swimwear I want to be as covered as possible. I've considered rash guards but have heard they're hot. Many of my friends think it's weird that I've never worn a bikini in my life. Even a tankini isn't my favorite. I'm 1000% team one piece. I know so many of you are laughing at this, haha! A few years ago, when Ben and I went to Italy, I had been working out a lot and felt really confident, and thought that it would be a great time to try a two piece suit. When else would be appropriate than on the Italian Coast with my hubby? Thought about it for about 5 minutes and then decided against it. :)

6. My favorite possible characteristic in a person is for someone to be "easy to be around".. I just love when you don't have to overthink a conversation or anticipate the next transition or whatever. I love people who just make you feel at ease and are extra fun!

7. I like expensive pajamas. I feel like most people get their pajamas somewhere cheap and just go on with their lives but a few years ago I made sure that my pajama collection is on the nicer side and now it's an addiction that I don't think I'll escape any time soon. My thought is that if we spend $$ on nice clothes we'll wear less often.. why wouldn't we spend more for great quality things we wear literally every night?

8. I don't do group work outs. NOPE! I see workout groups of moms in our neighborhood and think for a hot second that I could enjoy it.. but working out is my private time. I don't want people to look at me, much less interact with me. At the gym I like to be totally by myself. Nothing in life is better than an empty gym. I ALWAYS time visits based on low traffic hours when I know not many people will be there. This was actually a habit I had to consciously try to break when I was pregnant. I always felt like it just wasn't smart for me to be pregnant on cardio machines with not a single soul around, so I never worked out unless other people were present. Any kind of non cardio activity ALWAYS happens at my house. Most people say they can't push themselves without other people, but I'm afraid to push myself in front of other people. I've literally made myself throw up from a hard workout in our living room before.

9.  Several of the people I talk to every day I met online, through this very blog. The first time I met Nicole in real life I took a plane and planned to stay at her house for a few days. I realize this sounds so crazy to non blog people.. but I'm so grateful for the way these friendships have been formed in my life!

10.  Once when Ben and I first got married, I sat down on my college full bed that was in our guest room at the time, and cried for a long time "mourning" my childhood. I have no desire to go back to not being an adult. I LOVE being an adult. There are just a lot more perks than childhood. :) But I felt like I had to mourn that change. Since then I've totally let it go.

And, one for good luck. :)

11. I have a weird desire for our family to be complete. I know I should soak up the sweet time with Beau and whatever future children we have and just let it all play out, but ideally I'd have a multiples pregnancy or adoption and call it good. I just want to know all the names of my babies and call it good. :)

Linking up to Thoughts for Thursday! :) 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Disney World: Day Four

Our last morning at Disney was SO great. The weather was kind of overcast which made for amazing photos and slightly cooler temperatures. It was Monday, so there were less people. It really was wonderful! 

One of my father in law's good friends (they've been friends since high school.. maybe even before actually!) and we ran into their family so we of course had to grab a quick group photo.

We started the day with a bunch of castle photos! We took some, then Beau fell asleep, then we watched the welcome show (the photo below!) and then actually after the show when everyone made their mad dash to the rides was when we got our great family photo (above!) 

Walking through the castle.. Beau loved!

Another one of Beau's favorite rides was Winnie the Pooh! I know y'all are probably sick of photos of my baby looking at rides but that sweet little attentive profile absolutely kills me! 

Disney just plain wore our sweet little bub out!! 

He also enjoyed It's a Small World, one of my favorites from childhood!

We chose Buzz Lightyear as our last ride, and Beau fell asleep (again.. lots of little cat naps this morning which is totally not normal!) so we headed to main street for some last minute treats before heading back to our hotel to check out. 

Favorite photo of our boy from the trip! 

And one last group shot.. our trip to Disney really was all that I could have ever hoped for. We loved every second and are already eager to return! :)