our final fall in black river

I know I've mentioned it quite a few times, but this is our final fall here in Black River (assuming the Army doesn't throw us any curveballs), and what a fall it has been! This fall hasn't been a real fall by any stretch of the imagination. The weather has felt more like summer than summer did. Missing my husband has kept me super busy, and the fact that we have to start house-hunting soon has dominated my thoughts pretty much nonstop lately - along with the fact that we have a lot of semi-little things that need to be done around the house here before we rent it when we move.

But, I put those things aside this past weekend, and the boys and I decided to take advantage of the last two warm days of the season. I don't know how it is where you all live, but since Saturday night, it's been raining cats and dogs nonstop. The leaves are gone, and frankly, it feels like the end of days with these torrential downpours! However, we had a simple weekend with friends, days at the playground and enjoyed our last few days as just the three of us because some exciting things are happening this week, guys! You'll see ;)

On Saturday, we spent our morning visiting Loralee on post, getting lunch at the PX (something we never do, seriously), and just having fun outside. We visited the playground in Black River after naptime, then we decided to hit up Primos de Ticos in Great Bend for dinner. Funny story about that restaurant - it used to be two separate places. There was a place called Primos, which was a locally-owned Italian joint, and there was a place called Ticos, a locally-owned Mexican restaurant. Both are by Wheeler Sack Army Airfield. Both were struggling. And so, the two combined forces, moved into Primos location and became a Mexitalian joint. Loralee and I had queso and margaritas for appetizers, and then chicken parm for dinner. Best of both worlds? I think so! (The boys loved it, too!)

On Sunday, the rain had been going for about 10 hours already, and though we'd wanted to do the playground, we decided to let the kiddos roam the mall instead. We met up with Mareike, Marie and Ava, and the littles ran around like little mad people, and then we had lunch at the food court before nap time. It wasn't the most exciting weekend, but I'm honestly just passing the days right now, waiting for Ryan to get home. I can't wait to start doing all the fun things with my entire family back together again! SOON.

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

bombay duck pickle café

When Ryan and I lived in Arizona, we were homebodies with this desire to be more worldly and eclectic and, right before we moved, we decided to taste all the flavors that Arizona had to offer. Sadly, it was too little, too late, and we committed to getting out more in New York to sample our way around the area. Watertown and Fort Drum get a bad rap most of the time because, in truth, it's a market dominated by chain restaurants. Now, mind you, I have nothing against a good chain restaurant, but there's something about trying to local joints that really makes an experience more worthwhile.

Enter Bombay Duck Pickle Café in Carthage, New York. I've been scouring Yelp since we got here, just looking for new places to try. This little hole-in-the-wall joint always stood out, but with hours as eccentric as the eatery, itself, it made it hard to get there. They're open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 AM to 2 PM each day. Honestly, those are hard hours with a job, but since Loralee is in town, we decided to go on my lunch hour.

From the moment we walked in, we could tell that it was going to be an experience. It's an older building on State Stree with tons of character, a nondescript facade, and an eclectic, kitschy interior. Think: your grandma's curio cabinet come to life. With little details on the walls, ceiling, and adorning every nook and cranny, it was so fun to experience.

We got there just before lunch started serving at 11:30, and they told us to help ourselves to coffee or tea. So, we picked our mugs, and we sat down at the tiniest of the three tables, and couldn't help but admire all that was around us. The menu hadn't been shared yet (did I mention the menu changes every day per the chef and owner's whim?!) And, when she wrote it down on the whiteboard, I understood why the place was such a hot commodity for locals and foodies, alike.

I decided on the Carrot Curry Coconut Bisque and the meal special, Iranian Chicken with Pomegranate, Corn Fritters, and an Organic Salad. Our server (the only one there) warned us it was a lot of food, and he was right - but so worth it because I have leftovers to spare. Loralee had the meal, as well, with the Butternut Squash Bisque, which is a local staple. Honestly, it was the best soup I've had in my life, and the meal was just bursting with flavor.

The restaurant is cash-only, and our entire meal, drinks included, was just $44. We decided to buy a couple of the homemade cupcakes made fresh that day - Godiva and Heathbar - and two cupcakes werejust $8.

If you're ever in the area (or if you're stationed up here!) try this place out. It's not the place you'd normally source out to go eat unless you're looking for something different, delicious, and entirely decadent, but it's a true local gem. The fact that there are eateries like this here in northern New York is so fun, and I'm glad I was able to get there before we PCS next year...now I just need to get back there with Ryan!

a deployment in numbers

^^^ Photo courtesy of Kindred Hearts Photography

No, this deployment isn't over yet, but I wanted to write this all down before I forgot it. This deployment has been one for the books in a lot of respects - not the least of which is the fact that it's our first as a married couple and our first with little ones. I heard someone say something before the soldiers left that if anything bad was going to happen, it would happen during deployment. I laughed at that comment, but I've come to learn just how true it is. 

Here's the thing. Crappy things happen when our soldiers are home, too, but when our soldiers deploy, it's suddenly all on us. Every little thing that can go wrong is officially our responsibility, and it makes the burden so much harder to bear. But, there's light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually (God willing), our partners do come home, and we have someone to shoulder the load with us. But, in the interest of remembering these last 9 months, here are some of the things we've weathered...in numbers:

1 Pet Emergency - Danny was hit by a car just 6 days after Ryan left.
8 Urgent Care Visits - Our first was just 3 days into deployment when Spencer ruptured his eardrum
2 Hospitalizations - Porter for dehydration and MRSA in May & Spencer for asthma in August 
1 Hospital Visit - Porter went to Syracuse for a barium enema and colonoscopy for his GI issues
1 Broken Freezer - It's somewhat fixed...it just won't dispense ice anymore
1 Flooded Basement - A brand new pipe valve corroded and snapped
4 Cases of Strep - We've all had it at least once now
1 Case of Croup - Porter, c'mon man, get it together
3 Flu Shots & 1 Case of the Flu - I mean, 66% success is pretty good, right?
3 Different Diets - Turns out Weight Watchers continues to be my old faithful :)
2 Half Marathons - I ran the New Jersey Half and Lake Placid Half in April and June, respectively
1 Running Challenge - I did 18.12 in August...but who knows how to categorize that distance?
1 Full Marathon - I ran the Chicago Marathon earlier this month
4 Big Road Trips - The boys and I traveled - we went to South Carolina, Chicago, New Jersey & New Hampshire
3 Trips to the Beach - We discovered Southwick Beach this year, and it was amazing
13 Trips to the Blizzard Barn - Turns out ice cream is the cure for everything
6 Trips to the Zoo - Getting a membership was, hands-down, our best investment
1 Birthday - Porter turned one while Daddy was downrange

^^^ actual representation of how we feel about the end of deployment

As you can see, deployment wasn't really all bad. It's just hard..and it's hard doing it alone. That said, I'll do it over again in a heartbeat to support my husband in his career because I love him, and I'm so proud of what he does for our country. Fellow military spouses, I've said it before, but I salute you. This is hard stuff, and to know there are others facing the same storm is a comfort. You are amazing.

Now, if we can just get our soldiers home, all will be right in the world!

scenes from the weekend

The final days of this deployment are ticking away, but Murphy decided to ramp up his game again just to finish it out in style. Porter is finally starting to feel better, and Spencer seems to have escaped the worst of it, but I have the flu. I could feel myself getting more and more run down as last week progressed, but what mama really has time to back off the gas? Regardless, I'm doing okay - I'm resting as much as possible and trying to de-stress. 

Even with the yucky flu and sickness floating around, we had a lovely weekend. It was in the 70s again here (Indian Summer, anyone?), so we got out on Friday evening and went to the Fort Drum Monster Mash at the Magrath Gym. It catered heavily towards the older kids, but the boys got to wear their costumes, nonetheless, and they just loved seeing all the other kiddos in costume. And, even better, their costumes were so much cuter than I anticipated! I can't wait to see them wear them again in a week...

Skunk costumes (available here)

On Saturday, Mareike and I took the kiddos to Clayton, NY again to see what Punkin' Chunkin' was all about. Since the weather was beautiful, we really wanted to take advantage of the sunshine and have fun with all the season's festivities. Punkin' Chunkin' is an annual event in which kids and adults compete with trebuchets (catapults), launching pumpkins into the St. Lawrence River. If you think it sounds hilarious and awesome, you're right. It totally was. It was insanely crowded though, and we both decided it was great, but it would have been so much better with our husbands there for some extra hands. Regardless, it was a blast.

On Sunday, my beautiful friend Loralee came to town to start setting up her husband's apartment for when he returns from deployment with Ryan, so we spent the day attempting to ward of sickness, soaking up the sun and going to the playground with the littles. It was a lot of the fun, and the fresh air was good for all of us. 

We did dinner, we took out our deployment rage on pinatas, which we named "Murphy," and we let the kiddos play until we decided it was finally time to call it a day. And just like that, one of our final deployment weekends is done, and I'm thrilled to pieces. We're just counting the days now, trying to stay healthy, and warding off disasters. If you think of it - please keep us in your prayers that we make it through these last couple weeks!

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

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 honest...you 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.