The Life

A day at the aquarium

One of the best parts about living in Birmingham is that besides the city having a lot of things to do, we are in such close proximity to other large cities.  Some are close enough for day trips and some are better for a weekend getaway.  Mike and I decided that while we are living in Birmingham we should take advantage of all our city has to offer as well as explore neighboring cities.

First up was a quick day trip to Chattanooga, TN.  The drive is only 2 hours and the city is home of the Tennessee Aquarium so it was a no brainer.  We planned to drive up in the morning, stop for a yummy brunch and then take the kids to the aquarium for the afternoon.  We finished out the day having some snacks by the river before heading home.  It was short but sweet and I think we all had such a blast.

The Tennessee aquarium was a blast for both the kids and us.  Joey loved it all and Juliana thought the butterfly garden was the best.  She stood so still waiting for butterflies to land on her.  One of my favorite parts was watching Juliana reach into the sting ray tank and get to pet a sting ray!  She waited there so patiently and finally touched one.  She was so excited.

We have lots of trips planned in the next few months, but I hope to squeeze in a few more semi-local trips as well.  Any recommendations near the Birmingham area?

Hope everyone’s summer is off to a great start!!


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Motherhood The Life

To my husband…I’m sorry

Last week began like any other.  Your alarm went off early on Monday morning and before I even stumbled to the coffee pot you were showered, dressed and headed off to work.  A quick kiss and off you went.  The kids and I waved goodbye and began our own daily routine.

Cook the waffles, pour the milk, try to dress the kids, clean up the spill, shout that we’re running late, chase the kids, finally dress the kids, check the time, scrub their faces, make the lunch, argue about the shape of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, insist that teeth get brushed every morning, yes, every single morning, remember to drink the coffee, load the car and so on and so on.

My life as a mother can best be described as Groundhog Day.  The general basis of the day always stays the same.  There will be breakfast.  There will always be lunches to prepare, snacks to hand out, outfits to pick, hair to brush.  Then life loves to toss in some curve balls.  A slip and fall in the kitchen leading to an hour of tears.  A diaper blow out in the middle of the grocery store.  An absolute refusal to eat a turkey sandwich even after it was requested.

My mind races from one task to the next.  Who needs milk?  How did you stub your toe?  Did I remember to take the chicken out for dinner?

Throw in drop offs and pick ups, story time and grocery shopping.  Most of the time around 4 pm I don’t even know how I’ll make it to bedtime.  And when I look around I’ve gotten nothing done.  The pile of laundry still sits unfolded.  The dishwasher hasn’t been emptied and the sink is full of plastic plates and sippy cups.  Did I even brush my own teeth yet?

Dinner time comes quick and you guessed it, I didn’t defrost the chicken.  Luckily fast thinking and motherhood go hand in hand.  Leftover grilled chicken quickly gets turned into quesadillas.  Bath, books and bedtime and I can finally breathe a sigh of release.

Then I hear your key in the lock.

And I freeze.

I forgot to take out that damn chicken!  The kids devoured the leftovers and now it’s 8 pm.  The house looks like a bomb went off, I crossed not 1 task off my to do list, and I have nothing to make us for dinner.  I mumbled something about making macaroni and took my glass of wine to the bath for a moment of silence.  After having to talk the entire day I needed just a break from speaking.  And listening.  And I’m sorry.

I’m sorry by the time you get home I’m already spent.  That my brain feels like mush, I’m exhausted and my skin feels sticky from being touched by someone who ate toast with jelly.  I’m sorry that it wasn’t until I heard the key in the lock that I remember you asked me to run to the bank.  I’m sorry I forgot to fix the button on your shirt.  I’m sorry I pushed you down to the bottom of the list.

Remember back when I used to love to cook?  I would spend hours picking recipes and shopping for the groceries.  Sometimes going to multiple stores. I would prepare a whole meal and serve it proudly and we would eat and drink wine and just chat about our day.

Those days seem farther and farther away.  Cooking dinner for us just stopped being a priority.  It was completely unintentional.  I promise.  I had a baby, and then another.  You work long hours, often gone for at least 12 hours a day.  Cooking dinner just got pushed farther and farther down the list.  You got pushed down to the bottom of the list.

And I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for putting you last when you were always first.  I’m sorry for putting everyone’s needs before yours.  I’m sorry I forgot how to be a wife when I became a mother.

A recent conversation I had with another mother put things into perspective for me.  I can spend every ounce of my time and energy on my children.  I can spend the next 18 years doting on them, making sure their faces are clean and that they ate their vegetables.  And one day they will leave my nest.  What kind of relationship will I have with you once they are gone?

I chose you.  For my whole, entire life.  And I wouldn’t change that. But will we recognize each other when it is just us again?  After I put all of my mothering duties in front of my duties as a wife.  I would be foolish to think that a marriage can survive that.  Well, I’m sure it can survive, but can it thrive?  I don’t want our marriage to just survive.

I want to tour Italy when our kids are in college and laugh like I did when you took me to Mexico for my 22nd birthday.  I want to sit with you at breakfast and hear you read me the headlines from the newspaper.  And pretend to be interested like I did in our first apartment.

And I realize that these are the hardest years.  The years with young kids can surely strain a marriage.  And I understand that putting the time into our marriage will take of effort on my part.  To get more organized, to get on a better schedule, to remember to take out the chicken.   You are worth that effort.  I promise to make you a priority and I am truly sorry you spent time at the bottom of the list.

XO Danielle


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This Week In Pictures

Weekly Recap!

This past week was such a busy one for us!  Spring Break started and we had lots of Easter activities and celebrations.  We hope everyone is enjoying the start of Spring as much as we are!  Bring on the sun and outdoor activities!!

Juliana got her 2nd costume for her dance recital and I got to peek in on her dance class!  She is getting so excited about picture day next week.  I’m pretty sure it’s only because she gets to wear make-up but either way, I love how into it she gets!

I took the kids to see the Easter bunny and for the first time in 4 years I had a screaming kid.  Of course Joey was waving and excited from afar, but the second I stuck him on the bunny’s lap he just flipped out.  I guess I can’t blame him.  Nothing a little Chik Fil A in the food court couldn’t fix.  I am pretty sure my kids think chocolate milk and chicken nuggets can fix anything.

School was out for Good Friday and we had a fun playdate at the zoo with our friends.  Ever read on the news about a kid falling into fenced in areas where the animals are?  I always think, geez people need to watch their kids better.  Then I met Joey.  He literally tried to climb up onto every single fence.   Luckily he let me strap him into the stroller before he became the elephants lunch.

On Saturday morning Juliana had gymnastics.  She is absolutely loving it!  I mentioned that there was a class and by the time I turned around she was already dressed and ready to go.  The kids had their swim assessments afterwards and we start swim lessons on Saturday!  They both were so happy to be in the pool.  My little Florida babies 🙂

The weather has been beautiful and Saturday night we grilled on the deck.  We played around with my selfie stick and Mini had fun taking a bunch of pictures of herself.  I love the one of Mike and Joey photobombing her.  Haha!

Easter Sunday was full of excitement of course.  The kids got baskets full of goodies and we had an egg hunt around the house.  Joey had no clue what he was doing but that’s alright.  Every time he found an egg he had to stop an open it and examine what was inside.  (And ask if he could eat the chocolate).  Mini found the golden egg again this year and stuck that dollar bill right into her piggy bank.  Ah, the little things!  When Mike got home we made Easter dinner and the kids were asleep by 7.

We are looking forward to a fun week ahead as we celebrate Spring Break!

Hope your week was as great as ours 🙂

XO Danielle

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The Life

Happy Birthday Joey!

Joey is 2!


It’s crazy to think that we just celebrated Joey’s 2nd birthday last week.  It feels like yesterday I gave birth to him.  Time is going by so quickly!  Joey has turned into quite the toddler these past few months and I have a sneaking suspicion the terrible two’s are upon us.  Especially since his favorite word is “noooo”.

Joey loves playing with anything that has wheels and loves to do puzzles.  He also loves anything Juliana is currently playing with.  He is doing so great potty training and now wears big boy undies out when we run our errands.  His favorite foods are macaroni and chicken cutlets.   He also has a bad granola bar habit.  We are trying to cut back.  haha!

We had our friends over to the house to celebrate last weekend.  Luckily the weather was perfect!  It’s been sort of back and forth here, and it’s been raining a lot.  But we lucked out!  The weather was ideal for an outside BBQ.  Joey was so excited to wake up on the morning of his party and see that Grandma Nancy + Grandpa Pat came to surprise him and celebrate with us!  (Juliana was also so excited but she waited up until 10 pm the night before to see them arrive!)

We had such a fun afternoon with our friends hanging out, watching the kids bounce and eating some yummy bbq food!  After being indoors for so many months during the Winter, it was so enjoyable to just hang out on the deck and cook out.

I served my “cheater’s sangria” and it was a total hit!  All you need is a bottle of Sangria (I grabbed a couple at Costco) and a bottle of Sprite/7-up.  I filled mason jars with ice and some sliced fruit (lemon, lime, orange).  Then poured the glasses half full with sangria and topped them with sprite.  I decorated the mason jars with ribbon and finished the drink off with a colorful paper straw.  They were perfect!

Monday was Joey’s actual birthday and the celebrations continued.  He opened all of his presents from family and I cooked a huge dinner with all of his favorite foods!  The kids stayed up so late playing with all of his new gifts.  I would say his birthday celebrations were a total success!

The party details were super easy for me, and I’ll tell you why.  After each party we have I take all of the leftover, unused decorations and pack them away.  I pack away bowls, serving dishes and even banners I have made.  I knew I wanted to do a primary color theme for Joey’s party and when I looked in the boxes of what I had and saw all of Juliana’s Sesame Street party decor, I saw that Joey’s BBQ was already half done!  The “Happy Birthday” banner hanging on the drink table used to say “Happy 1st Birthday Juliana”.  The “Joey is two” huge banner that we hung on the deck used to say “Sunny Days” (Sesame themed, remember?).  I found yellow and red plastic bowls and a few unused table clothes.  So I really didn’t have that much to buy in order to decorate!  As I told Mike, this is when my hoarding tendencies come in handy.  🙂

For the party favors I used my silhouette cameo to personalize cups for all of our party guests!  I love the way these came out!  I just filled them with some colored paper filler that I grabbed at the dollar store.  They took no time to make and I just love giving little personalized gifts.

I did want to make a small balloon arch to hang over the front door.   Luckily for Grandpa, he was the only one in the kitchen when I pulled out the helium tank and got stuck helping me blow up, tie, and string 50 balloons onto a piece of fishing wire.  Ha!  He was such a trooper!  Unfortunately it was so windy that it was really hard to hang the way I wanted it, so I just tied it outside on the deck as one big balloon column.

Joey got a bounce house from Grandma + Grandpa for his birthday gift and the kids had a blast jumping in it!  It really was the greatest idea to just buy one to own instead of rent.  Obviously, it wouldn’t work for a ton of kids/and or/larger kids, but it worked just fine for our party.  It was just a bit more then renting one and now we will have it for future parties/playdates/rainy days (because you know I’ll plug that in right in the living room..haha!).  I linked the one we got here but I also loved this one, and this one!

Happy Birthday Mr. Baby Joey!  We hope you had as much fun as we did!  XO

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 Hope you enjoyed partying with us!

XO Danielle

I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.