thankful for thanksgiving

Black Jersey Knit Swing Dress: Old Navy (here) // Blanket Scarf: Riley Grace Boutique (similar here)

Thanksgiving is upon us, yet again, and I'm loving it! I have so very much to be thankful for this year. 2017 was a hard one for the Moore family. Ryan deployed in early February, and we had to brave a 9-month separation as a family. It wasn't an easy one by any stretch of the imagination. Danny was hit by a car six days after Ryan deployed. Both Spencer and Porter were hospitalized for severe medical issues. Household items broke, and honestly, it felt like someone was pulling the rug out from under us multiple times.

But great things happened, as well. I trained for 9 long months and completed my first marathon. Both my boys started at a fantastic daycare that they love - and where they're learning and growing leaps and bounds every day. Ryan and I grew as a couple, learned to live separately but together (that deserves a post of its own), and embraced the challenges that life threw at us.

all images are courtesy and copyright of Kindred Hearts Photography

I thought about posting about a tablescape, or the menu for tomorrow, or even what my boys are going to wear because, yes, I'm that mom - it's all planned. But here's the thing. For today and tomorrow, I just want to be thankful. I want to remember that Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon that which we have to be grateful for, and I have so, so much. 

There's a church that I drive past every day as I take the boys to school that has a sign out front that says "Thanksgiving was never meant to be just one day." So, as we head into a day of feasts, friends, and family, I encourage you to reflect on what you're grateful for. Chances are you're just as blessed, and remembering that makes all the difference.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving, sweet friends!

ice skating in black river

We had our first snow this past weekend in the North Country. It wasn't much, but it was enough to let us know that the season is truly upon us. I love the first snow. There's something so magical about it; how it blankets the ground and everything becomes so quiet. There's a smell to it, too. It's fresh, clean, and pure - before it gets all gross from cars whipping by. Yes, I'm waxing nostalgic about snow, and I won't apologize for that even one bit!

Jacket & Boots - LL Bean (here and here) // Jammie Pants - Old Navy (similar here)

It was a busy weekend for us. We went in with one real goal - to go see the Christmas lights at Lights on the Lake in Syracuse. Guess what we didn't do? That's right...see the lights. We did, however, take the boys to Billy Beez, an indoor playground in Syracuse. It was a little pricey - we paid $36 for the four of us but, to be fair, it's an all-day pass. You can technically come and go as you please, so long as you wear the wristband provided. We stayed about two hours because the boys were totally pooped after playing, climbing, and exploring nonstop. It was worth every penny!

We did dinner at Destiny at Gordon Biersch, and it was good as we remembered. The boys are getting better and better at manners and etiquette at restaurants, and though we might be cheating a bit pulling out the handy electronics when they start fidgeting halfway through a meal, they really do great. They always say please and thank you, they seldom have fits, and both are pretty good at entertaining themselves appropriately. And they eat, so that's a plus! Anyway, we'd planned to go to Lights on the Lake after dinner, but it was pouring and already 6:30, so we decided to head home.

Sunday, we woke up to snow, and my sweet Spencer was wide-eyed and awestruck when he saw it out the window. Melt my heart, little man. We decided to go ice skating that afternoon, but the only place to locally skate is the Watertown Municipal Arena, and their open skate hours are smack during naptime at 1:15 to 3:30 PM. We decided to chance it, and we went. 

Spencer had a blast. He pretty much hung on the bar the whole time while I pushed him around the rink, and Ryan and Porter didn't skate, but it was so much fun for us to have something to do together. Fun fact...both my parents were professional figure skaters, so skating runs in my blood. That said, I'm decent skating on the ice, but I'm by no means great. 

Needless to say, it was a busy weekend over here, and with Thanksgiving this week (what?!) it's definitely just going to keep getting busier and busier! I snagged a huge freelance job last week that's kicking off today, too, so I'm going to be very busy the next few weeks, and I'm excited to really work on a project that's going to challenge me going forward. I have so much to be thankful for this year - not the least of which is wonderful weekends like this with my family.

I hope you all had great weekends, too, and that the week ahead gets started off great!

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

5 on friday: countdown to the holidays

But seriously, how are we less than a week out from Thanksgiving, guys? I'm honestly a bit clueless as to where the entire month of November has gone. Sure, we've been a little busy welcoming Ryan home, reintegrating as a family of four, and preparing to go to South Africa in less than three weeks, but yikes! This season is just speeding by, and I can't help but wonder where the time has gone! This Friday, I'm linking up with Smidge of This for 5 on Friday and Meet at the Barre for Friday Favorites.

1 // We had our Christmas photos done last weekend, and our amazing photographer, Julie, teased some of the photos online. I'm obsessed. I mean, Spencer's always a handsome boy, but she always manages to capture the best of him, and I can't wait to see the rest!

Photo Courtesy of Kindred Hearts Photography

2 // We bought new luggage for our upcoming trip to South Africa for Christmas, and we're so excited that it finally arrived yesterday! We did a lot of research, and we decided to to with the Haupstadtkoffer Hard-Side Luggage Set in Alex Red. Needless to say, we're obsessed. Not only did it not break the bank, but it's eye-catching, has TSA-approved locks, and is super durable. We bought ours on Amazon here.

image via

3 // I recently took up a freelance job writing articles for an amazing interior designer, Patricia Davis Brown, who has a fantastic design blog. I wrote about holiday cocktails, and I seriously can't wait to try out some of the recipes I researched and found!

image via

4 // We're so glad that Ryan is home, and we know we won't be in New York too much longer, so we're doing our best to really take advantage of the time we have left here. There's still a lot we want to see and do before we move though, so we're staying busy. In the next few weeks, we're going to see the lights in Syracuse and Niagara Falls, and we're planning to head back up to Kingston, Ontario to shop along Princess Street because we loved it so much there when we went last week!

5 // And because it wouldn't be a true Army wife post without some sort of complaint about the Army, we are literally still waiting on orders for our next duty station. Because Ryan dropped his packed for a special ops unit, we're waiting to find out if he was picked up to assess. But we should know any day now, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't getting super anxious about it...I just want to know already (but I'm sure he does, too!) Please keep your fingers crossed for us! Until then...

Happy Friday, beautiful friends, and here's to a wonderful weekend ahead! Also, I'm still looking for addresses! If people would like to exchange Christmas/holiday cards this season, please drop your address here so we can send one your way! 

how running became my therapy

It's no secret that when I started running more seriously in 2015, I had a real love/hate relationship with the sport. I grew up swimming competitively, and I convinced myself at an early age that I was incapable of running. The hatred of running and resolve that I was not able to run just festered through the years, and even when we ran for dryland in college, I was awful. Fun fact: if you convince yourself enough that you suck at something, you will suck at it.

But when I completed my NCAA eligibility, I was technically done with swimming and retired at the ripe age of 22...leaving me with a giant athletic void that I struggled to fill. Sure, I've competed at open water swimming since then, but training swimming as a working mom with children is incredibly hard, and I needed a different outlet. After having Spencer in 2014, I decided that I would try to run; but for real this time.

image courtesy of joe viger photography

We set an original goal of doing our first half marathon in 2015 - the Lake Placid Half Marathon. And, we did it. I went 2:38.10 with about half the training I probably should have done, but I was inspired. We entered our second half marathon - the Empire State Half Marathon - in October 2015, when I was 14 weeks pregnant with Porter. I dropped 28 minutes and went 2:10.17. I was hooked, but pregnancy did a number on my psyche and my fitness, and I pretty much lost it all again.

After having Porter, I decided to get down to business, and I entered the lottery for the 2017 Chicago Marathon in late 2016, and I received an entry. This past year, I finished my third and fourth half marathons (NJ Half Marathon and Lake Placid again), and I did my first marathon in October. If you ask me today if I love running, I'll heartily say yes - which is a far cry from where my running journey started.

I'm sure you've all heard that exercise releases endorphins, and it does. I love working out, but running never came easy to me, and I think that's why I've ended up loving it after all these years. Running is a physical and mental challenge. I went from being unable to run a mile to running nearly 5 times a week because I chose to, and that's made all the difference.

One of the best things about running is that anyone can do it. I know, I know...people will argue that, but it's true. Barring physical ailments, anyone can do it. You don't need a gym membership. You don't need fancy gear unless you're training seriously (and even then, it's somewhat debatable). You don't need to go anywhere except out of your door. And, better yet, you get what you give with the sport. Put the effort in, and you'll get more out of it - in spades. When I run, it's just me, my watch, and the great outdoors (or the dreadmill). I can choose to watch my pace, or I can choose to run for fun. And, I can truly say that I've never regretted a run.

I can get out there in the worst mood, bogged down by work, stressed and overwhelmed, and I can finish with a clear head, a new focus, and a peace in my heart. Moving is the answer to everything for me, and when anxiety takes its toll, running beats it right out of me. The same goes for depression. Give yourself the gift of movement, and your body will thank you tenfold. Yes, running is hard. Yes, there are a lot of days that running doesn't seem like the answer, but 99% of the time, it is - at least for me.

Have you found a sport or outlet that does this for you? I'd love to hear!

weekends in kingston, ontario

It was a busy weekend here in northern New York, and I wouldn't have it any other way! It's finally cold here in the North Country, and we can feel that winter is nipping at our heels. Actually, as I write this, it's snowing softly outside - spitting snow, they call it. We managed to get outside and enjoy a great weekend before it got too frosty though, and I'm thankful for that!

Saturday was our quiet(er) day. Ryan had a massage in the morning, so we kicked off our weekend with breakfast at Cracker Barrel with Mareike and the girls, plus her husband, Justin, who returned with Ryan just over a week ago. We had our Christmas photos scheduled for later in the day, so we had an early nap time before we braved the cold and went for our shoot in Carthage, NY. I don't want to share the pictures too early, so here's a little behind-the-scenes sneak peek of a chilly ginger toddler instead. 

Sunday, we decided to head up to Kingston, Ontario in Canada because we really wanted to get out and explore, but we feel like we've really king of maxed out the area here. We're a mere 30 minutes from the Canadian border, so we want to make sure we're taking advantage of our proximity here while we can. Plus, we got Porter's passport on Friday, and we wanted to make sure they'd let us in after the fantastic picture we got from him - they did ;)

We didn't have big plans while we were up there. Honestly, we wanted to eat some poutine because it's the best thing in the world, and we wanted to go to Fort Henry because we've  heard the views are impressive, and we like to explore a touch of history whenever possible. We accomplished both, but we also realized that Fort Henry actually shuts down for the winter (shocker), so we just walked the long way around, checked out the cannons, and took advantage of the views. It was chilly, but it was so fun to finally do something as a family again!

Before we got to Kingston, we took to Yelp to check out recommended poutineries, and the most highly-rated was Smoke's Poutinerie. It's a chain, with locations across Canada, as well as a new one in Philadelphia, PA, too (what?!) They boast an impressive menu which, for poutine purists, might seem like blasphemy, but we were pretty excited. We chose to stray from the original, and Ryan got the Pulled Pork Poutine, while I got the Bacon Cheeseburger Poutine. I have to say I think his was better, but they were both delicious. The boys shared the Hogtown Poutine, and Spencer loved it. I mean, is there anything better than fresh fries with cheese curds and gravy? I think not.

It was a great weekend - the best in a long time. As we drove back and the boys napped in the car, we agreed that we need to go back up again soon. There's a whole town center with great shopping that we want to try, and it looks like such a vibrant city with a lot more culture than we've had around here for a long time. Don't get me wrong. This really is a great area, but we love to explore, and getting the boys out was just the ticket. 

I hope you all had wonderful weekends, too! Here's to a great week ahead.

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

diner date: church street diner

I don't know about you guys, but I'm usually a fan of little diners. They don't always have the world's best food but, occasionally, you can find those little local hole-in-the-wall joints that have some of the tastiest food - and not break the bank to do so. Ryan has off for Veterans Day, so we decided to do breakfast together because I still have to work. The boys were in daycare, so we decided to hit up Bombay Duck Pickle Cafe again - but they don't actually serve breakfast (sigh). 

We briefly considered waiting to go back for lunch, but we were both hungry, so we decided to try a popular local joint, The Church Street Diner in Carthage, NY. It's literally just around the corner from where we were, so we popped in out of the cold.

It's a pretty nondescript building when you drive past, but it's always busy, so we decided to give it a go. The place offers somewhat family-style seating, but we managed to snag a two-top table right by the kitchen, and our cups were quickly filled with hot coffee, which was much appreciated. It's dang cold up here today, so we each had a few cups. The coffee wasn't really anything to write home about, but our waitress was attentive, and we never had to ask for refills.

We both decided to order the special - the Philly Cheesesteak Omelette with toast. I got rye, and Ryan chose wheat. The kitchen is open, so the smells in the entire place were pretty darn heavenly the whole time. Despite being pretty busy, it wasn't terribly noisy for such a small place, and everyone seemed super friendly. And, better yet, our waitress had our food out within ten minutes.

It wasn't the best omelette I've ever had. The steak was a bit dry, and there's something about a square of cheese on the top that's a tad bit off-putting, but the toast was good, and the flavors were definitely there. Plus, with fast service, and a grand total of just $19.96, it was a pretty successful diner date.

I'm a nerd, but I told Ryan I want this to be a thing. Some of the hidden gem places you find are the little local hideouts that look like they'd be less than stellar from the outside. This wasn't the best food I've ever had by a long shot, and it's probably not a place I'd go out of my way to try again, but it was comfort food, had great service, and it was definitely filling for the cost. 

So, if you're in Carthage, NY, or you're stationed at Fort Drum looking for a local watering hole that won't break the bank, it's worth a shot! They serve breakfast and lunch all day every day, and they serve dinner Fridays and Saturdays. 

PS - look at my patient blog husband up there. Thanks for putting up with me, honey ;)

PPS - Don't forget! If you want a Christmas card from the Moores (because we love sending cards), please leave your address here so we can send one your way before we head to Africa!

what's up wednesday

I can't believe it's been a week since Ryan finally got home after a 9-month tour in the Middle East! We're settling back in, finally getting healthy, and we're kicking things into overdrive with the holidays getting closer. We officially leave in less than a month for South Africa, so Ryan's hard at work on his leave paperwork, and I'm knocking out all the work I possibly can before a 3 week break - I can't wait! This Wednesday though, I'm loving the little things. 

For example, we're doing a Christmas mini shoot with our favorite photographer, Julie, from Kindred Hearts Photography on Saturday. We'll use our pictures for our Christmas cards, and I'm thinking we'll choose a design from Minted this year. Here's my current front runner:

Card from Minted // Here

I love the mini photo cards because they're not annoyingly large, and I'm obsessed with the foil press. Here's hoping my boys take a cute picture in which maybe Porter will smile?!

Also, while we're on the topic of Christmas cards, can we just talk about my new favorite discovery?! If you're anything like me, you lose your addresses (and address books) in no time at all, and you're left scrambling for addresses each year. Just me? Okay, whoops. Well, this year, I discovered Postable. Did you know that you can build your own online address book here and save it forever? I'm obsessed. 

And, because I love Christmas and holiday cards, I'd love to send to everyone who wants one! If you'd love a card with the cutest little redhead and most emotional towhead around (and no, I don't mean Ryan and I), leave us your address here!

We also recently decided that we'll stay here in New York for Thanksgiving, and I'm super excited to make a feast for us and any single soldiers who want to join in on the chaos. For those who didn't know, I'm a huge fan of the Cooking Light magazine, and I've been devouring their holiday issue lately. I think I might need to try their turkey recipe because it looks positively amazing! 

Please tell me I'm not the only person who gets over-excited about the holiday season. I'm less excited about the gifts and monetary aspect of Christmas, and I'm much more excited about time with family, traveling together and making memories. That's the good stuff, folks!


Photo Courtesy of Kindred Hearts Photography
Jersey Knit Swing Dress - Old Navy (Here) // Suede Ankle Booties - Old Navy (Here) // Blanket Scarf - Riley Grace Boutique (Similar here)

Our first weekend back as a family of four didn't quite go as planned, but it sure was good to have the gang back together again! Sadly, all the excitement and festivities (and travel for Ryan) took its toll on the Moore family, and we all managed to get sick - just in time to spend 4+ days together during the rainy, wet, and damp fall weekend we had.

We ended up going to Urgent Care together as a family yesterday for the boys, since they both seemed to be nursing coughs, and Porter developed a weird rash on his face and hands, leading me to think he had hand, foot and mouth. Luckily, he didn't have the latter, but both boys do have strep throat (again), and Porter's rash is impetigo, likely due to his weakened immune system. As an aside, this is the 4th time in the last few months we've had strep in our house. Does anyone have any tips or tricks to help boost my boys' immune systems or keep us healthier?! It's insane!

Boys' Jackets c/o Old Navy // here 

Reintegration is hard, folks. It's magical having our soldiers come home, but there's a whole separate level of reality here, as well. The fact of the matter is that we've learned to live without Daddy for nine months and yes, that sounds awful, but that's how we survived. Now we've had to begin the process of piecing our lives back together again - as a family - and that's equally as hard. 

Ryan had to go to work today before the boys woke up because he has reintegration training all week. I didn't know how it would affect the boys, but it definitely did. Spencer was devastated that Daddy wasn't there this morning, and I had to promise that Daddy would be home tonight, which just barely held back his tears at daycare. I can't imagine what's going through his little mind right now, and I just want to help him better understand.

So, the fact of the matter is that our first weekend back together wasn't as magical as we'd hoped, but it was together, and that alone was wonderful. Ryan and I binge-watched Stranger Things season two, and I can't believe we already finished it last night, and we have to move onto The Americans next! We got Porter's passport application done, and can we just take a moment to appreciate his passport photo?

That's literally the best we could get after 30  minutes of trying. Fingers crossed the passport agency takes pity on us! We also managed a few slow and cold walks down to the river (above), and that was the extent of what we accomplished this weekend. Sigh.

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

friday favorites: homecoming edition

For those who've seen my last post, you know that Ryan is officially home! It's been a really long 9 months since I've had my husband home and since our little boys have seen their daddy. Having him back with us is still so totally surreal, and we're just starting to find our footing again, but I'm so, so happy and fulfilled right now. We're finally whole again! I'm linking up today with Meet at the Barre for Friday Favorites.

I wanted to share our little homecoming video from our amazing photographer, Julie from Kindred Hearts Photography. For those who haven't experienced a military homecoming, this is just a taste of the emotions of that day. I can't thank Julie enough for capturing these moments - I'll treasure them forever.

And, because our hearts are so full, all my favorites this week are from our homecoming. Picture spam was in the last post, too, but I just can't help it! These pictures are so very us - and so very indicative of all the feels we've had in the last week, as well as the last few days.

Blanket Scarf Riley Grace Boutique: Similar here

As an aside, I think our happiness and excitement finally got the better of us, as we're all nursing colds, sore throats, and both boys have fevers. We're together, we're relaxing, and we're laying low now though, and that is enough for me. 

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

he's home

And just like that, my whole world is back together again.

Yesterday was both the longest and most excruciating day of my life because we got the phone call 24 hours prior that our soldiers were en route. Trying to work and go about my day as normal was absolutely absurd. I thought I was losing my mind! But, it happened, and our soldiers are home. 

You guys, this deployment was the hardest thing I've ever experienced, hands down. Being apart from your partner, your love, and your best friend is so difficult. That said, it has strengthened us beyond measure, as well, and I'm grateful that we went through this trial together. Having him home now makes me appreciate all the little things that we so often take for granted, and I'm thrilled - as are our little boys. Spencer keeps saying, "my Daddy's here!" like he doesn't quite believe it. 

Yes, he is, little man. And now we're going to soak up all the happy today!

All photos are copyright and courtesy of Kindred Hearts Photography.