back to the burrville cider mill

Porter's been sick for a few days now, and it's been hard on all of us. He came home from daycare with a fever on Monday, so he was home with me yesterday, and he was just darn miserable. The poor boy really wanted some fresh air, but I needed to make sure that he got a good nap in him first. So, after a long day of negotiations with the tiny terrorist, he finally napped, and when he got up, we went to get Spencer and headed over to an old favorite of ours, the Burrville Cider Mill.

We got there later in the afternoon around 5 PM with just one real intent - get the boys some cider donuts and maple popcorn (yes, it exists), and to see the waterfall. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they've done some significant renovations and that, not only is there more parking this year, but the apples for selection are now under a covered area, which keeps them out of the direct way of driving in and out.

We headed right in and got three donuts - one for each of us - and then the boys and I went all the way to the back of the building, climbed down the stairs, and watched the waterfall as we ate our treats. Funny enough, Spencer was not into the donuts this year! He just wanted the popcorn. Porter hasn't wanted to really eat because he's been sick, but dang it, I enjoyed that donut!

Quilted Vest - Old Navy (similar here) // Cross-Body Purse - Target (in Cognac here)

Northerners who love cider donuts (because yes, they're way better than PSL), these can't be missed. We got ours just fried and positively smothered in cinnamon sugar because, let's be honest, if you're not covered in sugar by the time you're done, the donut wasn't done right.

It hit me when we got there that this is likely one of our last trips to Burrville, as we will have moved by fall next year. The boys probably won't remember this place, but we will. We went when Spencer was less than a year old the first time, and we went again last year with Porter when he was just a baby. This time was even better than both times before. 

You never fail to impress me, Burrville! I sure will miss you!

fall colors & croup

What would this deployment be without one last visit from Murphy's Law, right? Honestly, at this point, it's par for the course because we are so close to being done! Literally, we're in the home stretch at this point, and we're just hanging on and waiting for that call that Ryan is on his way. So, we're counting down the weekends (and weekdays) till that happens!

This past weekend, we didn't really have any plans except for an FRG gathering to assemble some homecoming baskets on Sunday. I wasn't looking forward to it because of all the crazy that's been happening lately, but it ended up being a good time despite everything that's happened. There really are some wonderful people, and I need to continue to focus on the good, rather than the bad.

Saturday, I woke up feeling pretty rough. I don't think I bounced back after getting back from Chicago, and the boys definitely didn't either. Despite that though, I decided to meet up with some friends at Selkirk Shores State Park in Pulaski for their Fall Festival. Porter had a cough that morning, but it didn't sound too bad, and he didn't have a fever, so we headed out. After about an hour there though, I felt really weak, so we left early and headed home for family nap time.

Boys Jackets - Cat & Jack from Target (similar here) // Shoes - Crocs (Spencer's similar here, Porter's here)

Porter woke up from his nap with a very dry cough, which got worse overnight, so we went to Urgent Care first thing Sunday morning. I had a sneaking suspicion he had croup, and I was right. He also managed to get strep throat. So, we spent the rest of Sunday (until the FRG event) just resting and letting his medication sink in. The meds only work for strep since croup is viral, but his fever was gone by the evening. I've heard croup is worse at night though, and they weren't kidding.

So, last night, Porter snuggled with me in my bed. The little wiggle worm was so uncomfortable, so we alternated between a steamy bathroom for his little lungs, and my warm cozy bed. And, finally around 3 AM, he seemed completely content and was breathing great, so I transferred him to his crib. Today, he seems 99.9% better, and I'm hoping that's the last of sickness in the Moore household for a while! We can manage to stay healthy for a couple more weeks at least, right?!

I hope you all had wonderful weekends!

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

2017 chicago marathon

On October 8, 2017, I joined the marathon club, and I'm a mixed bag of emotions about it. Honestly, even as I write this post, I'm wondering if I should wait another few days to really try and put it all into words, but I know I need to get it all down on paper. The Chicago Marathon was one of the best and hardest experiences of my life - no exaggeration. For those who know me, you know that running doesn't come easy to me. I'm a swimmer. Running has always been my weakest suit, but I'm a competitor, and I love a good challenge. 

I put in a lot of work training for this marathon. There were 14-milers, 16-milers, and there was that 18-miler I did in August, in which I felt amazing. I dealt with muscle aches, fatigue, early mornings, and very late nights. But I trained hard, and I felt great...until my hip started tweaking after the 18.12 Challenge. I think that's when I started getting mental about it. I had to seriously back off my training that last month because I could barely walk...but I kept training, nonetheless. I felt pretty good - not overly confident - but good, going into Chicago. I had a quiet time goal of 5:00 for myself, and I thought it was pretty doable based on my time at 18.12, as well as my speed work the past few weeks.

The race was a totally different ballgame right out of the gate though. The morning of the race, I woke up to that special time of the month...a whole two weeks early...and every pharmacy was closed. That involved a fun stop at an aid station (thanks, guys!) because I was totally unprepared.  My GPS couldn't figure out my pace because of the tall buildings, so I was running blind, which added to my nerves. I've never run in a crowd like that, and the temperatures soared up to 78 degrees, hotter than I'm used to. I started having back spasms around mile 7, and I decided to give up my A goal of 5:00 and aim for 5:25 with a 4 minute on, 1-minute off pace group. I had to bail after about 30 minutes though because of the back pain. I stopped again - this time to get some biofreeze. Around the 19-mile mark, I knew I wasn't even going to make my B goal, so I decided to stick with my C goal...just to finish before the cutoff. 

I found a 5:45 pace group but lost them at the water station, and I felt super defeated. I knew I had to cross that finish line though, so I kept at it going 1-minute on, 30 seconds off. At mile 22, I found a guy who had also lost the 5:45 group, and he looked like he was struggling as much as I was. I asked him what his name was, and he said it was Eddie. I asked him if he would finish the race with me, and he said yes - he would try. I was cramping terribly, so we kept a slower than slow, but still steady pace. Finally, we got to that final mile-marker and, after what seemed like an eternity, we saw a sign saying there were just 400 meters to go. Eddie's calves locked up, so we stopped for a second so he could stretch, and then we committed to running those last  meters. We crossed the finish line together at 5:53.03 (by my watch with the stops).

The race was nothing like I thought it would be. I expected this immediate elation upon finishing, but I honestly felt pain and defeat immediately. Don't get me wrong. I am SO proud I finished! The competitor in me is so mad though...and despite my immediate post-race proclamation that I would never do another marathon again, I swear that I'm going to come back, do another one, and beat my time.

The race, itself, was executed beautifully. The aid stations were perfectly positioned, the city was gorgeous, and the people were fantastic. Because of the heat, firefighters were positioned throughout the course spraying water on the runners, and many of the actual residents were doing the same with hoses, or handing out candy and water. There were even people throwing thousands of icy cold sponges at us to tuck in our shirts or shorts, just to keep our body temperatures down, and it was so appreciated. It was a beautiful marathon, a gorgeous day, and a challenge like no other. If there's one thing I've learned about the marathon, it's that it's really not a race you can fake by any stretch of the imagination. It is so. dang. hard. When you complete a half marathon, you literally still have another half marathon ahead of you, and that's daunting.

But you know what? I did it! I'm a marathoner! I'm exhausted and, yes, a little disappointed, but I learned so much about myself, too. I'm a competitor, and I'm stubborn. I don't like to give up, and I don't like defeat. On to the next challenge!

we went to chicago

We got back from a whirlwind trip to Chicago late last night around 11:15, and I'm just starting to process everything that we did, saw, tasted, and experienced. When I say it was a jam-packed few days, I mean it. We arrived in Chicago on Friday morning, and we were there until yesterday morning. You probably remember that we'd planned the trip a long time ago when I got an entry into the 2017 Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2017. From the second we arrived, to the second we left, we were on the go, and it was a blast.

We stayed at the La Quinta Inns & Suites Chicago Downtown on S. Franklin, and I can't say enough amazing things about the hotel. We realized while we were on our way that I'd booked the wrong hotel (actually out of the city), and this hotel was more than happy to accommodate our last-minute request for a room. Only a few hundred more, it was in prime viewing for the marathon, had a breakfast included, and it was perfectly positioned downtown (and kid-friendly!). I highly recommend it.

On Friday afternoon, we spent a good few hours at the Chicago Marathon Expo, and it was pure chaos. Honestly, I don't think we were prepared for just how busy it was going to be. The boys were troopers though, and I picked up my packet, and we headed back to the hotel so they could have a (very late) nap. It started raining that evening, so we decided to do dinner out at the Revival Food Hall, and we tasted the treats at Danke - so worth it! Oma and the boys had the Knockwurst, and I had the Ham & Gruyere grilled cheese. It was divine, and the boys had a blast exploring the trendy spot filled with great food and fantastic people.

Saturday was the day before the marathon, and we decided that while the weather was beautiful in the morning and afternoon, we were going to play tourist. We meandered our way towards Millennium Park downtown (a mere 12-15 minute walk from the hotel), and we visited Cloud Gate, which I clearly enjoyed more than the boys, then made our way to Crown Fountain, which mesmerized the boys. We explored the whole area, and we made time to overlook Columbus Drive to see where the starting line for the marathon would be the next day.

When it was time for lunch, we decided to do a quick trip to the DuSable Bridge so the boys could see the water, drink a milkshake, and then headed to Nutella Cafe for a decadent treat. The boys loved it so much, but I think my mom and I really liked it even more!

The marathon, itself, deserves its own post, so this one is just dedicated to Chicago, which didn't disappoint. I've only ever flown through the city, as has my mother, so this was a real treat. I think that it was also great for the boys. They're learning how to travel a little better each time, and it makes it that much more enjoyable. They got to experience city life, and they had their first taxi rides, which was totally wow-worthy for both of them. Spencer was in awe of all the sights and sounds, and he just loved seeing the fire trucks and the police cars everywhere.

I kept saying that I can't wait to go back with Ryan someday. Honestly, it's so different from New York City - and I think I love it more. There's a vibe in Chicago that's much more real and comfortable...and let's be can eat your way through that city. Does it get better than that?!

But stay tuned...I'll recap my very first marathon experience tomorrow!

getting fit with aaptiv

You all know how much I love being active and fit, and you especially know how important it is to me that I teach my boys the value of hard work and discipline. Making sure my workouts are always included in my week is a big part of that, and as any mom knows, that's not always the easiest thing to do. Enter Aaptiv, a personal training app that's seriously redefining your fitness routine.

Aaptiv is a fitness training app that offers users high-energy audio workout classes in the comfort of your own home. With the motivation of trainers, great music and programs ranging from ab workouts to quick hit cardio and more, it has seriously upped my workout routine lately!

Most of the workouts range between 7 and 10 minutes - just enough to really get your heart pumping, your blood moving and your muscles going - all of which means you're getting a good, all-over workout. And, because these workouts are quick, there's really no excuse. We all have a few minutes here and there during our day that we can easily squeeze in a quick routine, and that really helped me on the days that I couldn't (or wouldn't) run during this deployment.

Also super exciting is the new maternity program that Aaptiv has to offer. They've recruited top-tier talent to lead the program including Kira Kohrherr of FitBump, yoga guru and author, Kristin McGee, and certified trainers to help you in both your pre- and post-natal journeys. This is huge because, should we decide to expand our family down the road, I know I want to stay fit. What better way than a workout in your own home?

What's my personal favorite workout right now, you ask? Easy. I'm obsessed with the Sweet Home Savasana yoga with Caeser B. It's just under 8 minutes long, and it's the perfect way to end a long day of work, momming and working out. When I'm going for something a little more difficult, I've found that even the full marathon training workouts are awesome - like the Race Training Interval Run. Just about 31 minutes, it gets my heart pumping, and I don't even have to pick my own playlist...perfect!

headband here 

The best part is that Aaptiv is just $9.99 a month, which is far less than a lot of costly gym memberships, and it gives you the tools (literally) right at your fingertips. But for my readers - they've generously offered up two weeks free for you to try out (and no, you don't have to enter a credit card to do so!)

To sign up and try it for yourself today, visit Aaptiv here and enter code: AAPTIV2WEEKS.

What sort of workouts do you love to do? Do you think you'd want to try something like Aaptiv?

Find Aaptiv on instagram.

This post is sponsored by Aaptiv. All opinions are my own.

it's homecoming month!

It's officially October, which means it's HOMECOMING MONTH! October will be, henceforth, known as my absolute favorite month because, assuming all goes well, Ryan will  be home before the month is out. It's been a long 8 months, and I'm ready to have my best friend home. But first, we have some craziness coming up in the next few weeks. 

This past weekend was a bit blah, to be honest. My friend Mareike and I made plans to go to the mall on Saturday, and it worked out well. We'd planned to do the pumpkin patch on Sunday, but Mareike ended up having a bad fall Saturday evening and really hurting her ankle. It was worse on Sunday, so I went with her (and our 4 combined children) to urgent care. Luckily, it's not broken, but she has a nasty sprain and a pretty brace for the next 4 weeks. Murphy's Law can leave our company alone now!

One fun highlight for my ginger little guy this weekend was on Sunday morning though. We went to the store to get some supplies for Mareike, and there were a couple cops there finishing up a call. Spencer got so excited seeing the cars, and the cops were just about to pull away, so we stopped by the road and watched them get ready to go. He was hopping up and down with excitement, and the cop happened to see him. He stopped the car, motioned us over, and asked Spencer to sit down! Spencer got to play with the siren, the lights, and he even honked the horn. It was so sweet of the officer to take the time out of his duty day and make my little boy's day. I hope he knows how very grateful we are!

Despite the boring weekend though, the kids and I had a good time with good friends, and the little guys and I soaked up some extra mommy and me bonding. My mom is coming down on Wednesday, and we're heading off to Chicago on Thursday morning in preparation for the marathon on Sunday. Can you believe we're already there?! I'm getting nervous, excited, antsy, and I may just lose my mind when I finish the race because darnit, I will finish that race!

I hope you all had great weekends, too, and I can't wait to share our travels in the coming week!

5 on friday: farewell september

You guys! It's the final Friday of September! That means this weekend starts Ryan's homecoming month! As I've mentioned before, I can't share actual dates or times because of OPSEC, but the countdown is finally really on! I know that's a whole lot of exclamation points, but I swear that's how I feel right now. Today, I'm linking up for 5 on Friday with Smidge of This.

1 // My neighbors are moving, and I'm heartbroken. There's officially a "sale pending" sign on their lawn, and I winced a little when I saw it. Jo Ann and Mike have been surrogate parents to us since moving to Fort Drum, and though they're just moving an hour and a half away to Lake Oneida, it won't be the same! On the flip side though, Nana (that's what Spence calls her) has been smothering the boys with love lately, and they just eat it up. That's Spence up there on the tractor the other day with Nana - his happy place.

2 // I made myself a magnolia wreath the other day! You may remember I made some fall wreaths the other day, and I've really wanted a magnolia wreath for the house for a while. Mission accomplished! Now I just need to make some more! If you're interested in buying something similar, look here.

3 // The cooler weather finally hit NNY! It's been averaging about 62 during the day here right now, and last night hit 39. I'm relishing the cooler weather, and I love the fall breeze that's finally in the air. Bring on all the warm drinks!

4 // We have a brigade spouse's Dining In on October 12th, and I have no idea what to wear. I'm thinking of renting from Rent the Runway again, since the theme is Little Black Dress with a touch of witch and wizard's attire. What do you think? Yay or nay?

5 // I updated my freelance website the other day, and I'm pretty pleased with myself! It looks quite spiffy, and I'm hoping it will pull in some more work because, while I have a great career, I'm so desperate for new writing projects! PSA - if you know of anyone looking for a contract copywriter or editor! Let them know I'm free ;)

Have a great weekend, wonderful friends!

thoughts on volunteerism

The past few weeks have been super busy. And tiring. And stressful. Honestly, they've worn me down a little bit, and it was a little disappointing. Some backstory...I volunteered to be the FRG leader for my husband's unit, as the commander is unmarried, and he asked if I'd be willing to do so. Nobody else stepped up, so I finally agreed with one condition - I have a coleader. Luckily, I have the most amazing coleader imaginable, who has helped me through the ups and downs of this deployment time and again. She's literally the best.

A few weeks ago though, I got a text from one of the wives saying that "it's about time I step up and do the position I volunteered for." After taking a breath, I politely informed her that I was doing the best I could, I have been there for every family who has asked for help, and that if she had any complaints, to please meet me in person. She said I misunderstood her text, and I brushed it off. All was well...until she asked to meet for coffee. Perhaps I'm an idiot because I didn't think anything of it until she railroaded me in person with all of our "failures," telling me that she's never met someone who had more excuses than I, or someone who played the victim as much. I walked out. I found out later that it was being posted to Facebook.

Deciding enough was enough, I spoke to my husband and the commander and said I wanted to step down. Both said I was more than welcome to do so, but that they didn't think it was necessary. Upon urging from the commander, I gave him the name of the spouse in question, and I don't know the end result, but I learned that a lot of the spouses actually do care, and people have come out of the woodwork to support my coleader and my efforts. Honestly, the whole thing has been so trying, and I'm mentally burned out of the FRG, but I'll finish out this deployment and never volunteer for this position again.

Needless to say though, that's why I've been absent. I've been trying to wrap my head around just why so many women feel the need to tear other women down. We should be building each other up! Especially as military spouses, we should be there for each other without any need for recognition of our efforts. Ugh. Anyhoo. Rant over.

In good news, there's this:

T-minus 10 days until race day...more on that tomorrow :) 

brunching with the best of them

This post is a hot minute overdue, but let's be honest. When my kids got sick and everything went haywire, life took precedent, and rightfully so. But today, I wanted to highlight my new favorite brunch spot here in northern NY because I swear I'm having dreams about those dishes, and I seriously can't wait to go back and bring Ryan.

The weekend of the 18.12 Challenge, my mother came to town to watch the boys, and we headed out to Sackets Harbor for race packet pickup. We knew it would be a busy morning getting our packets at 11 AM, so we decided to try out one of the more renown brunch hotspots here in the Fort Drum area, Tin Pan Galley. I'd heard that the wait times could be excessive, so we decided to leave home around 8:45, guaranteeing we'd be there shortly after it opened - and we were. The wait time was already 45 minutes though, so we took a peek around (read: we walked for 45 minutes to make room for all the foods.)

You guys, it was totally worth the wait. Now, you might remember that I recently said my favorite brunch was at Tug Hill Vineyards, and I'll admit, their Bloody Mary was bomb. This one though? It totally trumped it (minus the blue cheese olive...I missed that.) The food was delicious and well worth the wait. Both boys at blueberry pancakes, and I got their BLT Benedict special with avocado, and it was divine. Also, I'm picky about my coffee, and theirs was great, and they weren't shy on the refills, which was perfect. 

If you're ever in northern NY and looking for a spot to brunch, seriously, Tin Pan Galley doesn't disappoint. Be ready to wait, but trust me when I say that the goods are well worth every salivating second of that wait.

once upon a weekend

The days are ticking away quickly now, and though we're in an impossible heat wave, we're doing our best to enjoy these dog days of...fall? But seriously. I'm less than 3 weeks out from the Chicago Marathon, we're less than two months until Ryan comes home (I won't be advertising exact dates), and we are going to be busy, busy, busy these coming weeks. So, this weekend, we did our best to enjoy what we have around us here in NNY, starting with a day at the Theresa Fall Festival, and our very last Blizzard Barn treats of the season!

These little men have been having a bit of a hard time lately. There have been a lot of feelings in the Moore household, and I think it might be, in large part, because they're confused about Daddy's absence. I've made a point throughout this deployment to avoid too much talk about Daddy being gone because Spencer seems to dwell on it, and he gets really confused. He's told me more than once that Daddy lives at "Daddy's house" now, and that's "very far away." 

Now that we're getting closer to the end of this deployment though, we've been able to Facetime Ryan a bit more, and I think it's confusing Spencer a little bit. He was really upset both yesterday morning and this morning when Daddy couldn't talk on the phone, and dropping him off at daycare was especially awful today. Deployments with little ones are no joke, friends. These kiddos bear the brunt of it.

But, I digress. We did our best to remain distracted this weekend, so Sunday we went back to Old McDonald's Farm in Sackets Harbor, and the boys had a blast again. Despite the fact that it was 85 degrees yesterday, we did our best to get out there and soak up the sun because the next few weekends are going to be fast! We'll be in NJ next weekend, then we're just two weeks from Chicago!
It's about to get crazy around here very quickly! I hope you all had wonderful weekends :)

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

i'm feeling fall

Is the title of this blog accurate? Yes and no. I'm starting to finally feel a bit more in the fall kind of mood, but this weather certainly isn't! It's almost 80 again here today, so the fall vibe is not strong here in the North Country. Regardless, the deeper we descend into the season, the more I crave the fall feeling, and I've been seriously getting my craft on lately.

I've always been the type of person that absolutely needs a creative outlet. That's why I started Black River Boutique. However, I closed my little mama & baby shop for quite a few reasons - not the least of which is how heavily the baby goods market is regulated. I loved the products and the goods, but it's something I'd rather simply gift to friends than try to sell. It's very daunting otherwise.

I mentioned last week that I desperately wanted to make a wreath, but that my craft gene was eluding me. Well, I finally succeeded, and I made a little wreath for our back door. And then the craziest thing happened...I realized I wasn't absolutely awful at making wreaths...(I know...insert shocked emoji here).

And, what's more, I found that it was seriously relieving my stress taking the time to clip faux florals, arrange them around grapevines and make something new from nothing each time. Honestly, I've had a lot of fun doing it. Some are better than others, but I find myself challenging myself more and more. And now, scary enough, I'm pondering selling my creations, or attempting to do so. But I'm not sure whether I dare.

I have about six floating around my house with no home though right now, so maybe I should...

Do you love to do crafts, as well, to relieve stress? What sort of crafts do you do?

appledale orchards

This past weekend actually felt like fall. The days didn't get out of the mid-60s, and the boys and I were ready to soak up some of the last sun of the season after being so sick lately. On Saturday, we decided to head down to Appledale Orchards in Mexico, NY in search of the first apples of the season, and it was heaven! It's about an hour drive from us, so I knew that the boys would likely be doing nap time in the car on the way home. Planning on that, we left home around 9:30 and got there before the crowds.

Available for picking this past weekend were both Macintosh and Gala apples - neither of which are my favorites - but will make for some great applesauce (more on that later this week). Spencer was a little more interested in picking the apples than Porter, but both had a blast sampling mama's apples and placing them in my bag. We made our way down quite a few rows and picked some juice red ones, as well as some slightly green ones because they're more tart. Am I the only person that only loves the tart ones?

We left with a whole bushel-full, and we made our way over to the market next door where we bought some apple wine, some gummies for the boys, and we shared a fresh cider donut. There's something about fresh cider donuts that just screams fall (and delicious).

On Sunday, the boys and I took advantage of our zoo membership to Thompson Park Zoo again and got to see the animals bright and early. The boys could have spent all day watching the otters play, and frankly, I could have, too! It was a blast.

I was talking to Ryan about it this weekend, and I realized that as hard as this deployment has been, the boys and I have seen more of northern NY this past summer than we have in our entire 3 years here. It's not that it's really any easier packing the boys up to go on an excursion. It's just that it's worth it. We feel better when we get out and do stuff together, and that makes all the difference.

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.