A look at 2013


2013 was a great year for us! It is filled with memories that make me smile...

good food
trying new restaurants
beach vacations
a trip to New York (first time flying for the boys)
trips to Virginia
a visit from our cousins
C starting Kindergarten
the boys learning to ride bikes
the boys learning to tie shoes
goals achieved
goals not achieved (Chicago, but hopefully in 2014!)
18 books read
around 600 miles run
2(ish) miles in the pool
lots of working
lots of playing
and lessons learned.

I feel so blessed and thankful and 2013 will be a year I refer back to for a long time. The best thing about the year of course is anything to do with these guys.

Thank you for reading. This is a place that I love, an outlet for me to create, to clear my head of the words that fill it, to share my teeny little humble experiences, photos, and ideas, and to be inspired by others.

I've learned many lessons this year, and among them what stands out is simply to show friends and family you love them. Say it often and don't be embarrassed. Give hugs and squeeze people tightly. Never look to the internet for medical advice. Have a good attitude.  Forgive easily (that includes yourself).  Lay down the camera sometimes and pick it up sometimes. Soak it all in. It goes by too fast.

2013 Memorable Moments from Courtney on Vimeo.
music by Mindy Gledhill


Merry Christmas


Sweet Birdie's Nest designed our card and it's my favorite to date. Can't say enough good things about those gals! The picture of the boys at the beach was my favorite of the year and I knew when Beverly made a comment about it being the Christmas card, it was the one.
 Hoping you all have a peaceful, happy Christmas surrounded by those you love.

Christmas up in here


The hubs and I are addicted to Breaking Bad and I constantly have gangster talk running through my head. Hence the post title. I also have the strong urge to post an emoji every time I finish a sentence. Intervention!

I love seeing how other folks decorate and here's what we have going on. It is by no means up to other bloggers' standards but it is our little slice of Christmas posted here to look back on.

We get a live tree every year and I love the fresh smell. The boys did such a sweet little job decorating this year and were so excited about it.  It seems we are past the toddler years of them yanking ornaments off the branches (though that makes me sad!).  I love seeing all of our favorite little decorations that each have a sweet memory attached ("It's a boy!") Sigh... And I love making salt dough ornaments with the boys, a tradition carried over from my sweet Nana C. They are broken and beat up, but they are special:) The pine cones on the chairs in the dining room were inspired by Katie's inspiration post (on a smaller scale of course;).

There are lots of handmade goodies that my boys have made in school and I just cherish those. Love seeing my Christmas cards too--beautiful friends and families.

On another Christmas note, this little man performed in his little school Christmas musical. He informed me that he was not "stage frightened" and that he loved it.  Ha! And we're so blessed with amazing teachers.

Excited to share the Christmas card soon too!

For my memory book


Santa visit '13


Hey Santa!

We caught Santa at the library today and got to avoid the mall (happy dance!). Topping the list this year for both C's are Legos.  My 6 year old later casually mentioned that he wouldn't mind an iPad, a phone, small video game thing, and a wallet with money in it (ha!!). Don't think so!

They look so big. Can't believe it.

We had so much fun decorating the tree, they just think it's the greatest thing ever. It's funny that they both love to cluster ornaments. This tree is not small but they'll hang 6 ornaments on one branch until it droops to the floor.  They do the funniest things:)

Thanksgiving 2013


I've been a bad documenter again! Over Thanksgiving I realized I don't even pull out my camera anymore if the lighting isn't perfect or if I don't already have my favorite lens on the camera (boo on me). That nonsense is changing. A new year is on the way and I don't want to miss documenting these memories.

Our Thanksgiving was low key and fun. My parents drove in from Virginia, I cooked, and we played games and laughed a lot. On Friday, C took Papa and the boys to a car museum and Mom and I shopped until we dropped. I cherish these times, truly do.

When I was a kid I loved the card game Old Maid. So I bought it for the boys and it turns out they love it too--they were surprisingly competitive. You wouldn't believe how many times they stuck mom and I will the Old Maid. How'd they do that?  Games are becoming so fun--I think Santa has noticed and will be stocking us up.

Thanksgivings have changed a lot since I was little, when mom would cook everything and my uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents would come over for dinner (and Uncle Chris would have football blaring on TV). These days are a tad quieter, though as I write that I'm thinking, how can that be (with these little boys of mine!)? But it's just a different kind of noise... fewer people. I miss my extended family so much (the hardest part of living far from home) but I'm thankful for the giggles and laughs that fill these Thanksgivings and for my turn as the chef! And I'm so thankful my mom and dad came to spend it with us, thankful for every trip they make. We missed my brother and sister-in-law (and cousins!) and Mr. C's family too, but we'll see them soon:)

Now on to Christmas! I present to you the C Family tree, 2013. She's a beaut, right? That line always makes me laugh out loud.

Ready to race


When I started running I had zero interest in races. I wanted to complete a half marathon and lose a few pounds. 5K's? No thanks. 10K's? No interest. Just crossing the half off my bucket list thank you!

But thankfully a good friend strongly encouraged me to run a 5K right before that first half to get the hang of packet pick up and race day routine. That race changed things for me.

Being in a sea of other runners all out for personal bests and accomplishing personal goals, while sharing a common interest and supporting each other -- it was exhilarating. I'm not much of a crowd person but it filled me with so much adrenaline and excitement that I've wanted to be a part of it ever since.

Back when I was a teenager, I was too afraid to try out for anything because I didn't want to fail. I was terrified of not making the cut and being embarrassed.  Our pastor shared something Sunday that I wish I'd taken to heart all those years ago. As he talked about fear he said, "I'd rather aim too high and miss than aim too low and hit." It's a simple truth but it resonated with me and it's something I want my boys to understand very early. I hope they'll see me trying things (that are sometimes out of my comfort zone) and gain a sense of confidence that they can too.

Tomorrow I'll be heading out for my first half marathon since recovering from my stress fracture. I won't be going for a PR and I'll likely be walking a bit. But I can't wait to be among my running community again. I love the diversity, the old, the young, and the in between. I can't wait to see who passes me, to see all the bright crazy running clothes, share laughs with friends and strangers, crank up some tunes, and meet up with Mr. C at the finish line for a high five and my fifth medal.

I'm just so thankful to be on these feet and running again. And to remember how every finish line feels like this.

Do you have any races this weekend? Here's wishing you luck!

Hair do and fun products


I'm headed to the salon today and excited to try a new stylist.  It's just time for a fresh start. I'm not doing anything drastic but I'm loving this dark to light look (I thought it was called hombre but my friend says her stylist calls it balayage?) Whatever it's called, I really like it if it's subtle.

My overall style is pretty basic, just going for a nice sharp cut and cute style, maybe like this...

or this...

I'm also using 2 new products that are definitely worth sharing.

My hair is naturally curly and blowing it out straight every day just dries it out bigtime. Kerastase Nectar Thermique is the first product I've used in years (since my Frederik Fekkai Straight Away was discontinued) that improves the texture without being too heavy. It's a tad pricey but it's worth it. Birchbox carries it (you can actually get Kerastase products at Walgreens but I haven't been able to find Nectar Thermique there).

The Suave Keratin conditioner was recommended by a friend and let me tell you, it is as good or better than any of the high end stuff I've tried! Getcha some. 

Weekend happenings


I was in for quite a surprise weekend before last -- my parents called and said "We're in Memphis! Gonna stop in and see you for a few days!" I cried I was so excited. My parents aren't the most spontaneous folks so it really was a great surprise. Turns out their vacation got a little derailed and my mom (an Elvis fan from way back) decided to mark "Visit Graceland" off her bucket list. So she and my Dad went on a little road trip! I love it.

We ate at our favorite pizza joint, did the tourist thing, then hit up the JCrew sale (and got some amazing deals with an extra 40% off!)

I didn't buy any boots downtown but I do love to look at them:)

Some attempts at pictures...

This past weekend was fun too, I hope yours was.  My mom is headed back again on Thursday and I'm so excited, yay! She wants to dress up like Duck Dynasty for Halloween, oh boy...I don't know if I want to wear a beard all night! We shall see.

Friday five


|1| Fall uniform
I picked up this Old Navy sweatshirt tunic (love how it has split sides and is longer in the back) and I wore it yesterday with an old scarf and my favorite Loft leggings (they are a nice heavy fabric and hold their shape). It was so comfy I may wear it every day. So happy for Fall weather!

|2| Bathroom renovation
It's underway and this is the hot mess we are redoing....

hoping to turn it into this... I love the sectioned off mirrors and soft gray cabinets. Will keep you posted!

Images via Pinterest

|3| Sweet treats
We indulged in these this week -- I look forward to them every year. They make us happy!

|4| Shaving set
This is the cutest thing ever and the boys have LOVED playing with it. Adorable to watch them 'shaving' like daddy.

|5| Back to running! It has been a long, slow process. Three and a half months of recovery for the stress fracture. I've read they are nagging injuries that can take a while to heal and it was true for me. But I am so thrilled to be back on my feet and have much to share (especially about how shoes make a HUGE difference!) I'm in Brooks Ravenna 4's now and finally pain free (well, almost). Won't stray from Brooks again. Long story but will share another time.

Happy Friday!

Things I love


That I got to spend a whole day with these guys yesterday with no obligations and no rushing around...

It was pretty awesome. 




To my friends running chicaGO tomorrow, I wish you fast feet and an amazing finish!! Have a great race!!

Where to begin...


Long time no see! I have really missed everyone, have missed blogging and documenting life's little details. Life has been happening here and the next thing you know it's October. As always, whenever I have a little break, ideas build up in my head, overwhelm me, and then I don't know where to start! But if I don't jump back in somewhere I'll be on the sidelines forever. So here I am and here's a great big bunch of what we've been doing.

Most memorable about this summer was that both boys reached so many important milestones. I'm so proud of my babies.

Both boys learned to tie their shoes!!!     

Both boys learned to ride a bike with no training wheels!!!

Both boys learned to swim without floaties!!!

Everything seemed to click this year and amazing things happened. This past summer held so many special moments. Oh how I love these little boogers.

Now to play catch up.

Ran the best race of my life in the pouring rain with Mr. C by my side (at the end).

Did a little vacationing in the Gulf. Heaven.

Visited grandparents (and Aunt Sarah) in New York (first time flying for the boys!)

Spent some time on the water...

Ran the toughest half marathon of my life (the inaugural Franklin Half in Leipers Fork)..

which included 13 miles of hills that were as steep as the Rockies in 800 degree heat and 800% humidity on legs that had had a break from training. Not the smartest decision I ever made, and then they (the race people) lost my time at the finish (awesome, but I should actually thank them since I walked up half of those monstrous hills). At least Ashley Judd was at the finish line and Mr. C got the thrill of his life.

I shamelessly took a picture. Even though it was a grueling race I enjoyed it. I love running. But I'm not running that one again.

Officially started training for the Chicago marathon. (sweet!) I was so pumped.

Had a scary training run with horrible pain in my foot. After a clean X-ray it was considered plantar fasciitis and I had to take a few weeks off of training.

Visited my parents, my brother and sister-in-law + cousins, in Virginia. They have cool toys.

After an MRI for continued foot pain, it was discovered I had a stress fracture. I cried alligator tears. No Chicago marathon for me this year. I was almost in disbelief.

Wore a lovely boot for the rest of the summer. Learned to swim and bike quite well and am adding a triathlon to my list of to-do's. In the words of my Nana C, you can't keep a good girl down!!

My baby started Kindergarten.

I cried a lot (but also watched him make new friends, spread his wings, learn a new routine, and blossom into a sweet little social butterfly). Praise God for awesome teachers who put me at ease and friends who lent me shoulders to cry on.

My other baby was off to his 3rd year of pre-school.

Finally, after 3 years of living here, ran into Keith Urban at Mr. C's race. Life is complete.

Cheered for Mr. C as he ran a pretty amazing 10K and now has the running bug.  It was so hard to be a spectator though instead of joining in.

Went to a Taylor Swift concert and pretended I was 15. So fun! Oh to be young! and rich and famous and tall and skinny and blonde and talented.

Now we're gearing up for Halloween and the holidays...

and just making memories and soaking in the days.

So glad to be back!