I'm not quite sure what CSA stands for. I know it has something to do with farming. And everyone in big cities seems really into their CSA. So, its a noun. Aaaand, that's about all I've got on that.

So, here's what I hope has something remotely to do with CSA: our contraban garden! No, we're not growing contraban....its just that having a garden is against our homeowner's association. Yes, I'm a rebel!! (We've also got two pink flamingos standing guard on our back deck---take that HOA!)

We've hidden our garden on the backside of our house. Can you spot it??

Its just over there, on the left side of the deck stairs:

Here's what we've got growing:

zuchinni, jalapenos, tomatos, squash, basil

and my favorite plant:

the rogue tomato plant!

Josh and I had a sad little cherry tomato plant in a planter on the deck last summer. To say the plant was fruitless is polite.....it was just an awful shrivled up shell of a plant. We only got one or two nearly sun-dried looking tomatoes out of the whole plant. Then low-and-behold, the garden fairies smiled upon us! Our rogue tomato plant is one of the volunteers that sprouted up from the seeds of the long forgotten plant from last year. I say "one of" the volunteers because we had about a zillion sprout up in the area. We have about 6 good ones growing (in addition to this beauty). We dont really have the room for the additions and would love to see them in a good home. Any takers???


born to run

Running. We were born to do it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you. But seriously, I think we were designed to be runners; we've lost our connection to basics and I think its about time we got back to the fundamentals.

Why am I on a running rampage? Simple; I just finished reading Born to Run for the fifth time. Its written by Christopher McDougall, regular contributor to Runner's World, and is what
started the minimalist running shoe craze (those weirdos wearing rubberized gloves as shoes.) Born to Run is exciting, engaging, informative and adventurous. The first time I read the book (about a year ago) I could feel the heat from the Copper Canyons and hear the cheers at the Leadville 100. It made me want to skip out of work and literally run for the hills (yes, I was reading while I work, shhhhhh!)

So why am I all jacked up about this book? Because this mama just went for her first trail run (up at the US National White Water Center). It was exilherating! I felt like an indian, running quickly and lightly over rough terrain. I'm sure I didn't look as smooth as I felt, but I didn't care. It was the most fun I've had running in months! I starting thinking back to McDougall's book and his stories about the Tarahumara. I felt like I finally understood what he meant about the joy of running.

So, this mama is changing her running form! McDougall writes about how the modern running shoe, with its over indulgent cushioning, actually prevents proper running form and increases our likelihood to "heel strike." When training for my half-marathons last year I focused a lot on running form and posture (lean back, shoulders relaxed, smile), but I could never quite maintain any semblance of proper foot strike. That season is over!

I've been day-dreaming about the races that Elliot and I could run together (or rather, me running while pushing her in the jogger!) I found several jogger-friendly races, but they were all under 5 miles. I wanted something bigger, possibly even a half-marathon, to run with my baby girl. I realized that here I was, basically re-starting my running, and I was focusing more on distance than form. If ever there was a time to re-train myself, its now! So, I'm now committed to landing lightly and gently on the balls of my feet. Sounds easy, right? Uhm, not so much!

I ran my 5k route (without Elliot) focusing on proper form, mainly my feet. As soon as I'd get my feet landing good, then I'd realize that my shoulders were incredibly tense. Then I'd relax my shoulders only to find out that my feet were back to pounding. It was maybe the longest and slowest 3.1 miles I've run in six months! I don't know how long its going to take to train myself to run properly, like I was designed to do as McDougall would say, but I'm pretty sure its going to take a lot of focus.

So, if you see me running and I look like a sloth...well, I'm trying! I'd rather run slow with proper form than burn myself out. And let me know if you hear of any races I can run with Elliot!


elliot weekly: week 12

holla for the 12 week old baby!

What we've been up to this week:

Attempting to sit up: Elliot is doing these funny little "sit ups" when she's laying on our laps. We'll lay her on our lap and she starts nodding her head like she's doing a little mini ab crunch/sit-up. We then pick her up to a "standing" position and the girl is all smiles! I guess she's just tired of staring up my nostrils ;)

Sleeping through the night: Hallelujah! Elliot is on a three night rampage! She's been going to be between 8:15-8:45pm and sleeping until 6:45-7am (with a 'dream feed' at 11pm). Mama is a new woman! I don't think I can quite communicate how amazing this is. Its so hard to believe that I've been not sleeping through the night for the past 12 weeks---even more amazing that I haven't actually turned into a zombie or something. I think Elliot is sleeping longer because her stomach is getting a little bit bigger and can now hold more milk, which equals sleeping longer (because she's not waking up hungry earlier.)

Sweet smiles: Elliot is still giving us some sweet smiles and she's getting more animated. Instead of her normal wide open-mouthed smile, she's now scrunching up her nose and raising her eyebrows too. When its combined with some coos and goos, its pretty funny looking. She looks like she's trying so hard to communicate. I end up mimicking her, which is pretty funny looking too....yes, I've turned into that mom that does just about anything to get a smile out of my baby.

Celebrating in Charlotte: We met up with Auntie Chelsea in Charlotte for a little Dean & Deluca celebration for Elliot's 12 week birthday. We had some giggles, snuggles, sweets and treats and then headed over to South Park for a little shopping excursion. We also had to hit up Trader Joe's and restock the pantry while we were in town. What can I say, these small town ladies had to take advantage of our trip to the big city!

hanging out with auntie chelsea

The days and weeks are passing by too quickly! I'm trying to soak up every minute with this sweet little babe:

check out that stare!
and those cheeks!!


craft it: antropologie inspired chandelier

I have had so much fun decorating Elliot's room. I let Josh voice the occasional opinion, but for the most part it has been a girls-only endeavor. And from the vintage prints to the pink and green accents its certainly a girly room!

I was going through a vintage/anthropologie-ish feel for Elliot's room. And one thing that was not going to fly was the builder grade light fixture:

Don't get me wrong; we built our house and picked out all the lights (and everything other dang detail---seriously, who cares about switch plate covers?!) The light worked perfect when this room was an office and then when it was my crafting room. But it didn't scream "cutest-girl-in-the-entire-world-sleeps-here." We needed an Elliot-worthy upgrade!

The hunt for a sweet chandelier ensued. But not just any old chandelier would do. I needed a cheap one (for my sanity) with lots of character (for my sweet baby girl.) I searched all over the Charlotte area, riffling through flea markets, thrift stores and Ikea. No luck.

Then I hit the Amaya Jackpot! My friends (and bosses) had an extra chandelier they weren't using and decided to let me use it while we're in our house. Score!!!

All it needed was a little TLC and an Elliot-worthy crafting upgrade! My creative juices went wild! The glass was beautiful and the vertical pieces had an almost mercury-glass type look. Be still my heart!

I knew I wanted to add some natural elements into the room (I already had plans for the wood crates and the moss covered letters) so I added some twigs and flowers to the arms of chandelier. I think it really hid the brassy-ness of the fixture and hit the spot for the nature theme too. After realizing that the chain was entirely too long, Dicky came over to help me trim it down to size.

All that was left was the installation and hanging some crystals.
Ready for a little before and after???

now that is some lighting perfection!
check out the details:

yep, we had to put a bird on it ;)


elliot speaks

what can i say?
with us as parents we knew she'd be talking early
here's a peak at what elliot's got to say:


elliot weekly: week 11

what we've been up to this week:

Work! Elliot has been a great assistant this week. She's mostly polite when she answers the phone and her typing skills are seriously advanced. She has been sleeping well at the office and I've been able to get everything done well and on time. I think I'm actually more efficient with her at the office, because I've got more pressure to get everything done. Funny how that works sometimes, huh?

Two Month Check-Up: Baby Girl is growing up. Elliot is gaining weight at the 50th percentile and getting taller at the 75th percentile. She had to get her first big series of immunizations this week. She handled the shots very well, only crying for a little over two minutes. She came back to work with me and slept the rest of the day. Josh watched her while I went for a run after work, and that's when the post-immunization-fussiness really kicked in. Elliot was nearly inconsolable for around three hours. We were all in tears. She wouldn't nurse, she just kept crying---nothing more sad than a little lip quiver! She ended up eating later and slept for a long time. She was back to her normal self the next day at work. Whew! I can't imagine what it would be like to have a fussy baby. We are spoiled with our sweet girl!

10 pounds 14 ounces
23 inches


craft it: lamp redo

My friend Chelsea, bless her, is the one that first introduced me to shopping at thrift stores. I was always amazed/envious at the quality of goods and savings that she found at stores around town. I would try and thrift on my own, get really overwhelmed, and end up walking out of a Goodwill-type store looking like I'd just survived some sort of cataclysmic event (messed hair, squinting at the sun, blank stare, aura of shocked desperation). It didn't take me long to learn an up-until-now-well-kept secret: follow Chelsea around a store and then purchase her cast-offs. Works every time (this technique can be used at retail store, thrift store, yard sale and JCrew sidewalk sales!!)

After years of swiping Chelsea's leftovers, I have managed to find a few steals around Shelby on my own. For example: I found this fun cut crystal lamp at the Habitat Re-Store for a measly $2! I wasn't quite sure where I'd put her, but I knew she was perfect for our house. When have you ever had too many lamps?! Ladies, trust me, nothing makes you look better than the glow of lamplight (well, a suntan in Cabo might make you look better!)

She just needed a little TLC


All it needed was a good cleaning, some funky pink spray paint and a tan shade.
Perfect for Elliot's nursery!

sidenote: Chelsea can be found thrifting around the Charlotte, NC metro area, but she is available for travel ;)


hunger games comes to town

Shelby is no longer the City of Pleasant Living....its now known as District 12. That's right folks, Shelby is the set for the fictional District 12, the home of Katniss Everdeen from the hit series The Hunger Games.

Filming started when Josh and I were leaving to go to the beach a few weeks ago. We were stopping by Sugerbakers to grab a quick cup of coffee (and chocolate croissant, delish!). It took for-ev-er to order because the place was packed. Turns out it was packed with folks from the film crew. I knew there was some movie coming into town, but the last movie filmed here was Blood Done Signed My Name (yeah, I'd never heard of it either) and no one really cared about it. I figured it was another low-budget, no-name "film." Boy, when mama is wrong she is wrong!

So, I've been quickly catching up on the plot line:

In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by
drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into
the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each
district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part
entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the
televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are
forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to
watch. When 16-year-old Katniss' young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining
district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and
her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the
fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger,
stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

Hooked yet?? I'm ordering the series now! Hopefully I'll get them finished by the 2012 movie release.

Here are some pictures from the Shelby set---can't wait to see our hometown on the big screen!


elliot weekly: week 10

10 weeks?!
as in, 2.5 months old?
what elliot has been up to this week:

back to work and loving it!
elliot came to work with me this week. it was my second week back at work, but the first time that elliot came with me. my boss dicky is a-maz-ing for many reasons, but especially cool right now because he's letting me bring elliot to work! elliot naps and plays in her pack 'n play by my desk while i'm at work. she's been a great sport. i'm able to get all my paperwork, emails and phone calls done during her naps. i couldn't ask for a better set-up. i've got some reduced hours for the month of june (due to the continued downturn of the economy) but i'm hoping for full hours starting back in july. i'm trying to embrace the shorter work week for now (more play time with elliot at home!) but definitely praying for our company. so, hey, if you need any work done on your bathtubs, showers, counter tops or sinks call Amaya Glaze!

see how happy elliot is to go to work?
she's the best assistant ever :)

jordan's birthday
elliot got to celebrate jordan's birthday on monday. jordan is one of elliot's favorite people. they enjoy playing xbox kinnect, discussing world politics and listening to sugarland.

whitewater center
elliot made her first trip to the whitewater center. the rain and thunder couldn't keep elliot away from the whitewater center this past thursday. she partied until the wee hour of 10pm, dancing to the bluegrass and was eventually lulled to sleep by the sound of the river (and the 20938 dogs barking.) she's going to make it a regular occurrence this summer.

see how she can hardly contain her excitement?
the whitewater center is one of her favorite summer activities

coo and goo
elliot is making some seriously fun sounds. she'll start "talking" and become really animated with her face, regularly raising her eyebrows. josh and i are really enjoying it and have totally become those parents who jump up and down, making stupid faces and weird noises to try and get her to continue. its kind of sad, but really fun at the same time. check her out:

she'd already been "talking" for about 30seconds before we got this on video
hopefully we can get a longer session on camera soon!



Elliot loves her Aunt Lauren and Aunt Taylor!


first beach trip

We went to the beach last week for an extended Memorial Day/last week of Maternity Leave trip. We had a blast! It was so fun to share one of our favorite places with Elliot. And, to top it all off, my older sister Lauren and her husband Jon were able to make it up for the long weekend! We don't get to see them that often due to our crazy schedules, so it was really sweet to have some sister time too.

People warned us that we'd be carting around a ton more stuff with a baby in tow. In all reality, we probably packed less with Elliot. We took the bare necessities for ourselves to make room for the baby gear. We normally would've packed clothes for every possible occasion, multiple fishing rods, beach cruisers, road bikes, guitar, ihome, food and more. This time it was more like one fishing rod, too few outfits for casual events only, jogging stroller and baby gear. Here's a picture of the car:

I'm glad that we put Elliot in the car first
otherwise, I'm not sure we would've had room for her!

Our first stop was to Taco Boy. We discovered Taco Boy on our last trip to Charleston courtesy of our friend Grant. He's always got info on the latest and greatest restaurants and this one did not disappoint. The atmosphere is great and the food even better! It was so fun to relax on the patio, margarita in hand. Ahhh, the vacation had finally started!
And, what better way to start out our first full day of vacation than with breakfast at Village Bakery?! Yum. I ran from the Sullivan's Island (where we were staying) to the bakery. This is a must do if you are planning on eating anything at the bakery. The portions are huge, tasty and buttery. We were joined by the local preschool graduating class :)

french toast casserole, yummmmm
if all casseroles tasted this good, we might eat more of them!

Then, it was off to the beach! We hit up Isle of Palms first, because their beach has a little bit easier access. We weren't sure what we'd need with a baby at the beach, so we hauled it all! We're used to taking a bunch of gear to the beach, so it was just a matter of carrying different gear. Instead of fishing gear, tent and cooler it was baby gear, tent and cooler.

like all first-time parents we were nervous
was the wind too strong?
was she somehow getting sunburned without us knowing?
was she hating it?

i don't think elliot much cared
she may have actually slept better on the beach than in her crib!

Lauren and Jon got in late friday night after a long drive from Birmingham, AL. But Lauren was up bright and early the next morning for a trip to the Charleston Farmer's Market. With the tons of merchants, food vendors, flowers, clown parade (yes you read that correctly) and pony rides (what?!) it was just a bit different that our local farmers marked in North Carolina!

Jon and Josh hung out while we were at the market. We're so lucky that everyone gets along so well. Jon is like the brother Josh never had and Josh is like the 5th brother Jon never had.

And a trip to Sullivans Island would not be complete without a trip (or three) to Poe's Tavern. Josh, Jon and Lauren all enjoyed burgers while I got a veggie quesadilla. I'd never gotten the quesadilla before, because with amazing burgers why would you ever need a "veggie" anything? The last time I was at Poe's I got a chicken sandwhich, attempting to convince myself that eventhough I had been a vegetarian/vegan for about a year (at that time) that I wouldn't get sick. The chicken sandwhich was phenomenal....the pain afterwards, not so much. So, I'm happy to announce that I enjoyed the appetizer menu and was happy as a clam thankyouverymuch. On a side-note, Elliot found the crazy-yell-across-the-table-but-i-can-still-hardly-hear-you environment pretty soothing and slept almost the whole time.

We also got to spend some time checking out some of Lauren and Jon's favorite places. Jon moved to Charleston while Lauren was in medical school. Its where he pursued music full-time and where he and Lauren got married (still probably one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever seen.) We snapped a few photos at the Battery Park. Like most of the rest of the trip, Elliot slept through it all.

this, my high school friends, is a pay phone. this is how you'd call someone if you weren't at your house. you'd insert these things called quarters to pay for the call. strange i know!
battery park is where jon proposed to lauren
he was (mostly) a good sport when i asked him to recreate the moment
he did get down on one knee when he actually proposed

And, just like that, the trip was over. We packed up and headed back to NC, crying the whole way home (not really.....well, kind of.)

ahhhhhhh Sullivans Island
you are so good to me!
Images by Freepik