Thursday, February 28, 2013

Les Petits Pleasures

My favorite city has done it again...St. Augustine has brought Paris to me without having to use my frequent flyer miles! The sweet owners of Declarations recommended a great new French bistro right down the street from them so my mom and I decided to check it out for lunch yesterday. It did not disappoint and it gave me a chance to try out some of my French! The owners are authentic French chefs who came to the US only 5 years ago. The sweet lady at the front counter was so patient as I explained to her that I wanted to attempt to order in French...she even gave me a few pointers on my pronunciation. Bella and I have been practicing in the car on the way to school every morning. Very basic stuff but it helps to get her excited about the trip. Hopefully I don't forget everything as soon as I need to use it! For lunch I had the classic Croque-Monsieur with side salad and a peach danish (which I ate first because why not?) but I left there with goodies to bring home...a baguette, a chocolate eclair, four macarons and a chocolate croissant. I felt the need to taste test everything...for reporting purposes. Let me be the first to tell you that they were all delicious in a truly french way...not super sweet like we are known for here in the US, subtly sweet in a way that makes you savor each bite. Make it an afternoon of dining and shopping with your girlfriends, mom, hubby or just solo. Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Prepping for Paris

My list seems to be growing by the day of little things I need to get done before we go to Paris. One of the items on my must-see list is the Pont des Arts Bridge where lovers go to leave a lock of love on the bridge and throw away the key into the Seine River pledging that their love will always remain in Paris. Since Mike and I are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary in March we thought it would be a perfect little display of romance.
I picked up a lock the other day at Target but it was just too plain for me, so I decided to decorate it a bit, make it a little more us. On a bridge with this many other locks, I wanted it to stand out a bit.

 photo by Philippe Garavel

 The date on the lock is the date we plan to go to the bridge...let's pray it isn't raining that day!!! I still think it is a little too simple so I might add a ribbon or something to it once we get there. Gives me an excuse to check out the many ribbon stores there!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Instagram love

I didn't realize I was so far behind in posting this month's ProjectLife 365 updates so here is a little catch-up:

1. SAVED UP- every spare dollar I have goes in here for our Paris trip!
2. MY VIEW- a rainy day sitting in the carpool line
3. CENTER- playing a game of HORSE with my son
4. ADVENTURE- she is always up for an adventure
5. LUCKY- he keeps this four leaf clover in his wallet for good luck
6. TASTY- Auntie Annie pretzels for snack today from a kit I bought from a school fundraiser

1. GOOD TIMES- remembering our last summer vacation to Seaside, FL
2. STEPS- Preston holding a photo of his very first step, taken on April 19th, 2001
3. ROMANCE- our dinner table for our Valentines Day feast (we never go out on the 14th)
4. REWARD- finished up my work early and snuck a few minutes alone on the hammock
5. HEAVENLY- I love to see sun flair, it reminds me that God is watching over me
6. SHARED SPACE- one of my fave pics taken of me and my hubby for our 14th anniversary last year

1. BEST DRESSED- it's hard to find cute clothes for Bella that don't look too old for her so I have to bust out the sewing machine every now and then
2. MORE- one more piece of chocolate left from V-day
3. IN MY BAG- my camera gear that is always with me
4. FREESTYLE- Mike and I had date night at a middle eastern restaurant where they had hookah...not my cup of tea but it was a neat experience
5. TGIF- wing Friday, Georgia-girl flavor is the best!
6. WHEN I GROW UP- I hope to age as graceful as my Mom

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bella's Dream

Just a little something Bella and I put together this weekend...hope it brings a smile to your face! (it takes a few minutes to load & make sure you have the sound turned's a dance-to for sure).

Bella's Dream from Wendy Updegraff on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

When crafty isn't cool

Since Valentines day is next week, things around my house lately have involved lots of red, pink and heart shapes...exhibit A:
the kids got me up early this morning for pancakes and I couldn't resist making some pink hearts! We also spelled out words but they ate them before I could get any pictures!

It hasn't completely been all love here in the Updegraff household lately. I've been having kind of a tough time with my youngest...I'm not naive enough to think that this is a phase as much as it is warning signs of what is to come in her teenage years. There were nights of crying (on both of our ends) but I think I have learned a very valuable lesson:

 I am who I am and she is who she is. 
I can't force her to be like me or to like what I like 
and in turn I can't be disappointed in her for being who she is. 

I know it sounds to cliche but it hit me like a ton of bricks when my 9 year old is crying as she is yelling at me, "you don't love me for who I am and you only want to change me because I'm not what you want me to be!" Yep, that's what she said and I have never felt so low in my entire life. It was a silly argument over me wanting her to dress more girly. You see, she is a tom-boy to the nth degree. At first I thought it was cute but I was getting tired of my only girl not wanting to dress like a girl...especially because I keep filling her closet with expensive girly clothes!!! So I have been trying really hard to watch my tongue and compliment her on what she likes. I even took her out to the mall on our Mommy-Daughter date night to the mall to pick out an outfit all on her own without any input from me. She did pretty good...of course it was pants and a t-shirt but I think she picked out a pastel color shirt so I would approve.

Fast forward to this week. I was so excited about telling Bella all of the ideas I had for her classmates for Valentines Day. I had been pinning ideas for months!!! She listened to all of my ideas but I could tell I hadn't won her over. I asked her what was wrong and she said that for once she wanted to be like all of the other kids and just give normal valentines out. Nothing crafty, nothing different, just the normal 1.99 valentines. Just kill me now. But I remembered about my promise to not push my likes on her and told her that she could pick out anything she wanted. So off to Hobby Lobby we went. I did my best to keep my mouth shut, I really did....but I found myself trying to convince her to crafty-it-up a bit. I think we did ok as a compromise:
 She got her 1.99 valentines (Phineus & Ferb) and she even picked out paper airplanes & a lolipop so there would be a little more to her valentine
 My contribution was to convince her she needed these cute bags to put everything into.

Sometimes I get so caught up in making things look perfect (darn you pinterest) that I take the fun out of things for her. Bella is one of the most creative and imaginative people I know but I have to remind myself that she has to express herself her own way and not mine. It's a hard lesson and one I hope doesn't lead to purple hair and piercings.

Here was last weeks ProjectLife 365:  
and I am so glad that so many of my friends are doing this!!! It has been so much fun to follow you guys on Instagram!

1. GROW- finally my roses are starting to bloom
2. YOU TODAY- it was so hard to take a self portrait, I felt completely ridiculous
3. REPETITION- I got to hold this cool lizard at a friends house and his pattern was blowing my mind!
4. BEDSIDE- my cat, Finn stares at me all night, freaks me out
5. DAILY LIFE- I am on a diet, trying to fit into my clothes for Paris...fruit, protein and veggies for me
6. ARRANGEMENT- thinking about how they placed all of those beads just perfectly

Monday, February 4, 2013

Starting to Pack

Less than 2 months until Paris! It occupies my mind pretty much all day every day...which is bad cause I have a lot of other stuff going on right now but I just can't help it. I think I am done with everyone's packing lists, it has been helpful that winter clothes are on clearance right now. Mike and I came up with a list of some items that we have found would be useful but might not come to mind to everyone else. We are staying in an apartment in Paris instead of a hotel so some of the packing items are tailored for that.
1. Travel Candle- The French are notorious smokers...I would hate to get to the apartment and it smell smoky or stale. This is my favorite Anthropologie candle in a travel tin.
2. Travel Clock- you never know if they will have one and it serves as a kitchen timer as well as a wake up call.
3. Museum Passes- We went ahead and per-purchsed museum passes for the family and had them shipped to us so we don't have to go wait at the travel and tourism office. We plan on visiting as many museums as we can so these passes will definitely save us money but the more important thing is that we don't have to wait in lines if we have these.
4. First Aid Kit- Our apartment isn't too far from a pharmacy but with cobblestone roads and my clumsy kiddos, it is always a good idea!
5. Flash Light- You never know if there will be lighting in the streets or the staircase up to our apartment, we have a little one that we can always have on us.
6. Umbrellas- Our fingers are crossed for blue skies but we are still Paris it rains, a lot!
7. Sleeping Mask & earplugs- Not only a good idea for the plane trip over but again, we aren't sure how noisy the street our apartment is on will be.
8. Pad Lock- Not for the apartment...nope, this is for the Le Pont des Arts bridge behind Notre Dame where you attach your lock and throw the key over the bridge signifying that your love will always stay in Paris
9. Swiss Army Knife- Since we plan on having a few picnics, we need to make sure we can open a bottle of wine and slice the cheese on the go.
10. Grocery Bags- These are good to have because they pack flat, you can use them for grocery shopping while we are there then also use them on the way home for souvenirs.

If you can think of anything else I might be forgetting...please, please let me know! I seriously keep a pen and pad by my desk because I wake up in the middle of the night with more to add to the list!!!

And here is last week's ProjectLife 365

1. REAL- I'm no real housewife...I hate housework and am not very good at it
2. GUEST- this little cutie was in my studio today for her 6 months pictures
3. OUTSIDE- Bella and I were location scouting for a future shoot
4. INSIDE- Bella has this bubblegum machine in her room and it is always a hit with her friends
5. RED- from our U-Pick outing, they were delicious
6. INNOCENT- Bella standing on her head, she definitely keeps it interesting around here!