our fort drum army homecoming

I know I've said it before, but we literally have the best photographer here at Fort Drum. A little less than a month ago, Ryan's unit got home from a tour in the Middle East, and Julie from Kindred Hearts Photography came to take pictures and document our special day as daddy returned. I teased the photos she gave in the beginning, but I finally got all of them, and I felt that flood of emotions all over again when I opened the file and saw those moments again. 

It was like reliving them again. The anticipation of their return. The amazing adrenaline rush when our soldiers marched in. The exhilaration of finding our soldier in a sea of camo. The overwhelming joy and tears that came with the relief of having him back in my arms. Seeing these pictures again is priceless, and you'll have to forgive the photo dump that's to come because I just have to share.

All images courtesy and copyright of Kindred Hearts Photography

These pictures are truly everything to me. We didn't have a lot of professional pictures before. I've come to realize the value and posterity of these moments though, and that quality counts. I will treasure these photos for a lifetime because seeing my boys see their Daddy again, hugging my solider and feeling that overwhelming rush of pride isn't something that will go away soon - or ever. Damn, I'm proud to be an Army wife to my soldier.

my konmari closet

Can you believe that Thanksgiving has already come and gone?! Seriously! Time is flying lately, and I think that it's in large part because we're leaving the country in less than two weeks (wait...what?!) In the spirit of Black Friday being yesterday, Ryan and I decided to change up our mindset a little. Instead of just adding more stuff to our lives, we wanted to eliminate some of the excesses. One of the biggest pain points in our home is our closet. We have a walk-in closet, thankfully, but the layout leaves something to be desired, and we have/had a lot of clothes. We decided that we would each tackle our wardrobe and really eliminate the excess. 

You may remember I read Spark Joy earlier this year, which details the KonMari Method. I decided to implement those changes in our kitchen, and the results were amazing. So, we decided that it was time to spark some joy in our closet, too. We don't want to totally redo the footprint because we're not staying here long term, but we wanted to make it more bearable and functional.

Here's the thing. I love fashion, but I don't have the most exciting fashion sense. I love classics. I'm a big fan of black, greys, and white - I know - a little bland, but it works together for the most part. The problem is that I have a lot of other pieces in there from the few moments I've tried to step outside what I really love, and they started to bog down the entire wardrobe (and closet). So, I decided to do what the KonMari Method says - take everything out and start from scratch.

You'll have to pardon how messy everything looks, but that's how the process goes. It looks worse before it looks better. Once everything was out of the closet, I looked at each piece and honestly acknowledged how often I wear it, and how often it I truly thought I would wear it going forward. I have a lot of quality clothes from Banana Republic, J Brand Jeans, Chinese Laundry, and even J Crew dresses...but most of them really haven't been worn lately, or ever, in some cases.

So, I had to put aside those errant thoughts of "well, maybe I'll wear them someday," and honestly put them in the pile to donate. I'd love to try and sell some of it, but 'tis the season to give, too, so I want to live in that spirit. 

I've also really been fascinated by the concept of capsule wardrobes and minimalism this year, too, and I wanted to sort of embrace those styles with our closet and my wardrobe, as well. Jenn from Lost in the Right Direction has a lot of great posts about her adventures in minimalism, and we've chatted a few times about it. I want to jump in more though, especially since we'll be moving in the next 8 months or so, and excess is the worst when moving. But I digress...

It took about an hour and a half of naptime to really weed everything out, clean things up, and hang things in order. I wrote an article the other day about how to declutter your closet, and I used some of those tips here, organizing my clothes by sleeve length, spacing things out, etc. 

The end result was insanely awesome. Between the two of us, Ryan and I filled up for large trash bags of clothing and shoes to donate. Sure, some of these were pricey items, but it's less about the money and far more about the spirit of giving. Plus, you know that age-old adage of having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? Now I can simply open my closet and see exactly what I have. They're pieces that mix and match well, and now I know where I can spend money appropriately towards my wardrobe. And, with all the great sales going on right now, it's the perfect time to revamp things a little bit!

Have any of you tried the KonMari Method, or do you have a capsule wardrobe? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!

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!