Thursday, April 24, 2014

You Might Have Gone to Clemson If...

  1. More than half of your wardrobe is orange. 
  2. You waited hours (or even days!) to get student football tickets. 
  3. You know why Johnstone is called the "Tin Cans."
  4. You've eaten fried chicken with great excitement on the day of the Clemson-Carolina game. 
  5. You've got two favorite spots in Cooper Library: one for studying and one for socializing. 
  6. You've hauled bags full of groceries up to your dorm room from the Pit. 
  7. You wondered why Hardin, where the department of history is located, has the word "Chemistry" over the doorway. 
  8. You spent your Friday night (and Saturday...and sometimes Thursday) at TTT's. 
  9. You had to drive to Anderson or Greenville to take your date out to dinner. 
  10. You danced to techno on the late night CAT bus.
  11. You wore orange every Friday in the fall. 
  12. You've pomped chicken wire at the 3 in the morning for Homecoming.
  13. You ever invited the Beezer's delivery guy in for a beer and a game of Halo.
  14. Every semester, you had to pick up at least one class packet from the Campus Copy Shop.
  15. You read every week's issue of The Tiger from cover to cover.
  16. You waited for hours in the sun in the perfect spot for the First Friday parade.
  17. You had special game day clothes--which were orange or purple.
  18. You know the difference between Clemson orange and Tennessee orange.
  19. You knew that the good Sunday brunch was served at Clemson House. 
  20. You've been berated as "being late" to a tailgate when you showed up at 8:45 in the morning. 
  21. You ever walked slowly past Vickery to see your favorite athlete.
  22. You were pressured into joining a club or signing some petition on the Library Bridge.
  23. You considered going swimming in the Reflection pond. 
  24. You were so excited when you had enough hours to get your class ring. 
  25. You routinely ran into your professors in local restaurants and grocery stores. 
  26. You've walked uphill both ways to class. (Seriously.) How's that for a story for the grandkids?
Did you go to Clemson? If so, what did you love about it?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Disney World: Tips for Traveling with a Baby or Toddler

traveling with family to Walt Disney World

We're roughly seven months out from Britton's first trip to Disney World, and I am already getting antsy. Can't we just go now?!

Sadly, we cannot, as there are no Christmas decorations, cool weather, or minimal crowds currently. (And we're going in early December specifically for all of those reasons!)

I. Must. Be. Patient.

In the meantime, I've been dreaming and scheming of ways to make this trip wonderful, memorable, and comfortable for all of us involved. As a veteran visitor of Disney, with 30+ trips under my belt, I feel like I know the parks inside and out.

However, I know that going with a toddler in tow will be a completely different experience. After lots of research online and talking with other parents who've taken little ones, I've compiled a list of tips I'll be using when traveling with my 18-month-old at Disney World later this year.

Build in rest time. 
I already know that this tip is going to be the hardest for me to follow. When I get to Disney World, I'm all go-go-go because, you know, it's DISNEY WORLD. And that means early mornings and late nights and wringing every drop of fun out of the experience.

Except this time, I have to remember that Britton needs time to rest or she will not have fun. A tired baby equals a miserable baby, after all!

I was talking to my mom a few days ago about this necessary addition to our schedule, and she said that she'd be happy to go back to the room with Britton each day. My mom eagerly acknowledges that she's going on this trip solely to hang out with the baby (since she hates riding the rides because she gets very easily sick), so Britton will get her afternoon nap courtesy of my mom while the rest of us keep rolling.

I can't let my mom do everything (because what kind of mom would I be then!?!) so I'll make sure to switch off with her and take Britton off to bed during the fireworks and late night parades.

Respect your child's fears and interests.
I'm the first to admit that I would love a cute picture of Britton interacting with Mickey and Minnie. However, I could see how they could be terrifying to a child, what with the giant heads and lack of speaking. 

Throughout the trip, I'll be checking to see how Britton's reacting to everything. I want her to experience everything, of course, but only at her own comfort level.

If she wants to meet the characters, then I'll wait in every line for all of the princesses, monsters, mice, and ducks that I can find. If she'd rather ride the rides, then we'll stick to that.

Hold off on the expensive meals. 
My daughter loves food. I don't know if this will continue into toddlerhood, but I'm happy as long as it lasts. Even if she's still a super foodie when we go to Disney, I'm not making any fancy reservations during this trip. 

Why? Because I think it's money wasted.

She won't eat that much, she won't be still long enough for the rest of us to eat that much, and I'm afraid that the entertainment with either terrify her (i.e. the characters) or memorize her so much that she won't eat anything (i.e. anything with music or dancing).

Plus, Britton's favorite activity right now is going to a restaurant and yelling ("Ah! Ah!") at all of the waiters. It's fine in some place loud and boisterous, but super embarrassing in a semi-nice place. I don't enjoy my meal because I spent the entire time wrangling her into her high chair and trying to keep her occupied and not abusing the waitstaff.

Landon and I may sneak off one day to grab some food at a full service restaurant, but that will be the exception rather than the rule for this trip.

We definitely plan to go back to Disney when Britton's a bit older, and I know we'll do the whole she-bang then, character meals and all. It's just not practical for us now.

Don't go crazy with the junk food.
Disney food is awesome: turkey legs, Mickey ice cream, Main Street popcorn, and churros are must-eat items whenever I go.

While Britton might get a few bites of these items, I still plan on sticking pretty close to her fruit-and-veggie-plus-a-bit-of-protein diet that she normally eats. Anyone of any age can get sick from eating too much junk food, and I don't want our vacation to be ruined by hurting tummies.

There will be treats, but I will insist that Britton not consume junk food for every snack and every meal.

What else have I forgotten? Share your favorite Disney-with-a-toddler tips below!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Dinner ( AKA Feaster) 2014

After a crowded, but joyful Easter church service, Landon, Britton, and I headed over to my parents' house for the necessary feast.

And what a feast we had!

If you're looking for something to serve at your next family gathering, might I suggest our Easter dinner menu:

-Brown sugared ham

-Broccoli salad (only we used sunflower seeds instead of almonds)
-Potato salad (see my recipe for it here) and deviled eggs

-Green beans (ha! You like how we threw that one in there? That was so we could feel that there was some semblance of healthiness going on amid the carb-and-mayo offerings elsewhere on the table.)

-Garlic cheddar biscuits

And for dessert:
-My sister's amazing coconut cake

-Pina colada cupcakes (I got the recipe from Trophy Cupcakes' new book). These will be making an appearance at Britton's birthday luau!

-Trifle bowl cake (with lots of blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries)

What did you have for Easter dinner? Do you have any traditional foods that you serve each year?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014

As with any good holiday, this Easter was jam packed with family and food. (Seriously, that's the basis for any successful social gathering in my option. Throw in some glitter and you're getting close to the party of the century.)

Anyway, we started the day by dressing up in our Easter duds and heading to church. There'd been a heated discussion (complete with voting) Saturday night on when we'd go to church. There were three options: the 7:00 a.m. at the historical church, the 9:00 a.m. outside at Boone Hall Plantation, and the 11:30 a.m. at the historical church. The 7:00 a.m. was determined to be far too early (as we'd have to get up at 5:00 or so to get the entire gang fed, dressed, and there by the time church started), and the 9:00 a.m. was scrapped because it was outside and the forecast called for 70% rain.

So, the 11:30 service it was!

Britton woke us up around 7:30, and she had her bottle before checking out what the Easter bunny had dropped off.

Britton enjoyed one of the squeeze pouches while she stuck stickers on Landon and herself. The stickers were a HUGE hit!

After we'd all had some breakfast, my parents, sister and grandma came to pick us up for church. We figured that if we were there about forty minutes early, we'd be sure to find a seat.


The historic church uses the traditional Rite I service, and while it's well-attended on any given Sunday, it's by no means crowded. We figured that most people had gone to the 9:00 a.m. Boone Hall service since the church had approximated 5,000 would attend. We were so wrong.

Because of the bad weather, everyone else had the same idea that we had: to go to the historic church 11:30 a.m. service instead. My mom and grandma found two seats in the main part of the church, but Landon, my sister and I head into the balcony since there weren't any places for us to sit three-across downstairs. We saved a seat for my dad, who was parking the car, but he never showed up.

Before the service even started, Britton made the entire balcony stare at us while she yelled "baby! Mama!" and then treated us to a wide variety of her best shrieks. She wasn't unhappy--just talkative--but I figured she'd be happier in children's church where she wouldn't have to sit still for the entire hour and a half service.

Landon went to take her to children's church, and left my sister and I in the balcony.

And, then, bum bum bum, another one bites the dust.

He got stuck in the crazy crowd on the way back from dropping off Britton at children's church, and couldn't get back up to the balcony. He, instead, attended the impromptu, non-singing service that took place outside since they couldn't pack another person into the church.

Amber and I had a great time singing up in the balcony; I'd never sat up there before, and we had a great view. It was a little odd getting Communion dead last, but better late than never, right?

After the service, we found everyone else scattered around the church, and headed back to my parents' house for Easter dinner.
At my parents' house, we proceeded to stuff ourselves with so many delicious things. Britton tried a little bit of everything!
Britton and her Gigi enjoy Easter dinner. I love the tiny chevron dress from Lolly Wolly Doodle!
We took a long nap after dinner, and relaxed the rest of the day. 

This Easter is the first I've ever spent in Charleston--we've always traveled to be at my grandparents' house or with Landon's family--and it was gloriously relaxing. 

What did you do for Easter? I hope it was a happy one!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DIY Easy Ruffled Sundress

ruffled sundress tube top

I'm one of those weird people who dreamed of wearing matching outfits with her baby while she was pregnant. I occasionally perused the Lilly Pulitzer online store, pointing out potential Easter/ Carolina Cup ensembles for our soon-to-be born daughter and I. 

While I haven't yet seen those LP dresses, as Britton's still growing so fast she'd probably only wear it once, I still have high hopes of matching outfits this summer. 

Lucky for me, I've found a SUPER easy DIY sundress that I can whip up in a million colors for Britton, and the same basic procedure will net me a matching strapless top! If you had enough fabric (and a little more time), you could make an adult-sized ruffled sundress, too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Florida Bound!

I love traveling. My dream would be to travel around the world, more or less constantly.

My desire to visit new places is always tempered by real life stuff, like Landon being able to get vacation time off, budgets, and day-to-day responsibilities. (Oh, who needs to pay the mortgage when there are places to go?! I kid, I kid.)