our keto diet must-haves

I've mentioned it a before, but Ryan and I are doing a ketogenic diet challenge this month and next. I know. 60 days. What were we thinking? But seriously, for two serial dieters, it's been a really cool process to redefine fats, healthy eating, and really consuming things intentionally. I'm a foodie, and Ryan's a glutton (sorry, honey, you know it's true), so this has been a long time coming. Today. I want to round up five things that are really helping us transform and stick to the process. We're 19 days in, and I'm down 10 lbs, and Ryan's down 14, so something's working! I'm linking up today with Smidge of This for 5 on Friday and Meet at the Barre for Friday Favorites.

1 // Emulsified MCT Oil. Okay, so we've mentioned that part of the diet involves bulletproof coffee, which basically entails cutting out all sugary creamers, all the delicious syrups, and so on. For this basic white girl, that was terrifying. I fully acknowledge that I love me some overpriced, sugar-filled Starbucks drinks, so I didn't think this would work for me. For bulletproof coffee though, we use butter, coconut or MCT oil, and cinnamon to make a frothy, delicious treat. I, personally, like this emulsified MCT oil from Onnit. We use the flavored one - creamy vanilla right now - and it's delicious. It's a far cry from Starbucks, but it tastes good, and it definitely kicks it up a notch.

2 // Babybel Cheeses. So, the entire premise of keto is high fat, low carbs. It goes a little deeper than that, of course, but basically, our easy go-to snack foods are out. Gone are the chips and crackers. Enter cheeses, salmon, lunch meats, etc. Like any good Dutch girl, I love cheese. Like, a lot. Babybel cheeses are the perfect addition to our lunch foods. And, though keto frowns upon snacking, when you absolutely must reach for something, these are our go-to.

3 // Dash Rapid Egg Cooker. I can't for the life of me remember who recommended this, but it was a fellow blogger, and I am so glad I listened! Each morning, we have a medium-boiled egg, and this little beauty takes the hassle out of cooking eggs. You fill up the provided measuring cup to your desired cook, you pierce the bottom of the egg, and you let it do its work. 5-10 minutes later, you have a perfectly cooked egg waiting for you. It really doesn't get any easier.

4 // Kerrygold. One of the hardest things about keto for me has been transforming my mindset when it comes to fats. You know how it is. We've been told for years that fats are the enemy. In keto, fats are king. Since our bodies are so reliant on carbs, our bodies produce glucose and insulin, then burn those for fuel. When it does that, our body stores the fat. With keto, we lower our intake of carbs and induce a state of ketosis. This is where our bodies product ketones, and our bodies burn fats for fuel instead. We're not starving ourselves of calories. We're removing carbs from the equation. We've started using real, quality butter in our diet, and Kerrygold is our go-to. It's cleaner, grass-fed, and tastes delicious.

5 // The Internet. No, I'm not kidding. One of our biggest allies in this keto diet journey has been the internet. We use some fantastic sites like Ruled Me to find great keto recipes, tips, information, and more to keep us going. Some of the recipes included in our challenge have been downright awful. Truly. This site gives us great recipes, breakdowns of nutrients by portion, and offers that variety we crave. Honestly, there's a ton of information out there, so that's been super helpful.

So, there you have it. This is what's getting us going on our keto journey. For the most part, we're loving it. We've found some healthier alternatives to our vices, and we're seeing results, which we love. I feel like I should note that we aren't making our kids do keto. We're not that crazy. We have, however, cut out a lot of their excess processed foods like sweet gummies, etc., and that seems to be going well, as a whole.

These are all my own personal recommendations. Nothing in this post is sponsored.

why parenting shouldn't be easy

photo courtesy and copyright of kindred hearts photography

Ryan said something that really struck a chord with me while we were at Niagara Falls last weekend.  We'd had a hard few hours, the boys were tired and cold, and we were super hangry. In that moment of weakness, he captured me. He said, "You know, you have some  really great days as parents, but it's never really easy." How true are those words, you guys? I love my little men more than life itself, and we have some of the most fantastic times together. But...it's never easy.

Here's the thing: I don't think it should be.

We're raising tiny little humans. These little humans are going to grow up (nope, in denial) one day to be big humans. We're going to send them off into to the world to be big, functioning members of society who do things. They're going to have an impact on the world. Maybe that's not a huge, global impact, but they're going to influence the world around them.

What part of raising these tiny, someday-functioning humans should ever be easy?

Easy implies simplicity. Easy means that we never put the effort into correcting bad behavior, or investing time in teaching them manners. It means we let them run amuck - beyond reason, that is - and never taught them that the world is so much bigger than just them. It means that we failed to parent, which is our role in this season. We are shaping the future every single day that we talk, interact, and encourage our little people.

I liken it to a job sometimes, albeit a job that I love. 

If I apply half-ass effort to my job, I'll see half-ass results. In the same way, if I give half-ass attention, love, discipline, and worth to my children, they'll lack the determination, will, and perseverance to really succeed in life. It's my job to build these little people up every single day. Together, we learn new things, we explore the world around us, we exercise our manners, and we show people that we're growing, both as individuals and as a family.

And, as we foster our children's individuality, we start to take a back seat. They start to shine. Their personalities blossom, and they start to make an impact in their tiny corner of the world. Even now, when I drop Spencer off at daycare each day, I watch how he goes to interact with his friends. He shows his toys, is learning to share, and he exudes excitement and love for everything around him. That is why it's not easy.

Parenting is work. It's also the best kind of work, especially when you have more than one child. Moms of multiples, I salute you. I don't know how you do it, but you're doing it, and you're rocking it.

So, if it's hard today, or you feel like you really didn't accomplish anything, know that you did. If it's hard, know that you're doing something right.

Know that it's worth it.

a quick trip to niagara falls

As our time here at Fort Drum dwindles, we're working hard to balance seeing things we want to see before we leave and getting things done around the house. Since Ryan had a 4-day this past weekend, we decided it was the perfect time to jump over the border to Niagara Falls, Canada. I've been before, but not since I was about 12 years old. This time, it's the dead of winter, and all my boys were experiencing the falls for the first time.

We bought a deal on Groupon a couple weeks ago that included one night's accommodations at the Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls, several dining options, and four passes to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. I mean, come on. Is there a better way to pass a frigid winter day than to take your kiddos to an indoor waterpark?! 

We left at about 11 AM on Sunday after a relatively quiet morning. The drive takes just under four hours, so we knew the boys would nap in the car, and we'd arrive just before dinnertime. We checked into our hotel, and then we decided to make our way down to the falls, just in time for the temperature to start dipping below 10 degrees. The temperature was less of the issue - it was windy! 

Spence just wasn't having it, so we ducked in for dinner at the Rainforest Cafe on our way down towards the falls. It was only about a 10-minute walk from the hotel, but tiny little men being cold takes precedent! The boys loved the Rainforest Cafe! They loved the stars on the ceiling, watching the gorillas come to life, and seeing the elephants flap their ears in the back of the restaurant. It was definitely on the pricier side (hello, tourist trap!), but it was worth every penny. 

After dinner, we went down to the falls in time to see them beautifully lit up, and though we only stayed a few minutes, I made Ryan promise we could go back the next morning. He came through on his promise, but only I got out of the car this time! Here's why...

As we drove in, our already cold car started being hit by the mist of the falls, which immediately froze on contact. The car was a sheet of ice. We pulled over, heated the car further, turned the wipers on full-speed, and we decided that I'd be the only one to get out this time. It would've been way too much for the boys. So, we drove up, pulled over, and I jumped out.

It was one of the coolest (coldest) and most incredible views and experiences of my life! The water was misting me the whole time, freezing on my jacket, jeans, boots, and skin on contact. The frozen falls were incredible. There was something so serene and beautiful, but also so wild about seeing them like this. I took as many pictures as possible before jumping back in the car and stripping off my jacket, which melted quickly.

Was it cold? Yes. Worth it? Heck yes.

After that, we went to the waterpark, which was amazing. The boys are too little for most of the slides, but they were perfectly content playing in the little tot's area, the smaller slides, and the wave pool. Porter has zero fear, and Spencer just wanted to play forever, so we indulged them (and ourselves), working up a healthy appetite before heading home.

Trips like this are so fun. They're hard with the little ones, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Both boys are becoming so good at traveling. They settle into their seats, ask for popcorn, and watch a show, both of them napping when needed, too. We don't have too many weekends left for trips like this, so we'll take it!

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls?

my must-do list for 2018

photo courtesy of kindred hearts photography

I'm no stranger to resolutions. I've posted them many times on the blog here before. This year though, I don't feel like resolutions are the way to go for yours truly. This year is bound to be one of movement...constant movement. Even right now, we're in a dreadful holding pattern. From looking for another job (thank you so much for all your sweet words on my last post) to waiting on orders from the Army, it's insane. Plus, add in the fact that I'm waiting until next Thursday to get some answers on how to proceed with my knee, and that's just the icing on the cake.

It would be easy to give up and just muddle my way through, but seeing all your beautiful resolutions and intentions has inspired me. Rather than big, loft goals though, I made a little list of must-do intentions to better my daily life and, in turn, positively affect my outlook on the year as a whole. 

1 // Set time aside each night to read. I was so bad at this in 2017. Seriously. I love reading, and about 40% of our Army household goods weight comes from my book collection (I'm actually not lying). I've gotten lazy about turning off my devices and taking time to read though. Bloggers like Steph and Kelly are inspiring me to get back at it though, and I'm excited to pick up new titles and really start reading again.

2 // Take advantage of snail mail. I don't know about you, but I just love hand-written letters. There's something so personal about it in a day of modern technology. I was inspired by our New Year's cards with Minted, and I'm actually going to order my own stationary set to keep myself at this. Do any of you love snail mail as much as me?!

3 // Work out consistently - and less frantically. I don't know if you've been able to tell, but I'm an all-in kinda girl. When I started training for my marathon, I was literally all in. But it's daunting, and it creates injuries. With the uncertainty of my knee right now, and my inability to run, it's forced me to take a little step back. I want to work out, train the right muscles, take the time to get strong and only then dive back into something.

4 // Hold fast to healthy eating. Ryan and I are serial dieters. Seriously. It's the worst. But we started a keto challenge on the 1st, along with a diet bet, and we're actually doing really well. I think we've finally turned a corner, my body's no longer addicted to the sugar that it was, and I feel, dare I say...good? I want to stick with this though and make it a lifestyle vs. a little blip on the radar. And, in the same breath, I want to add these healthy elements to my kids' diets, too, cutting the processed foods (not entirely, don't worry) to help them grow big and strong.

5 // Give myself some space. I have a habit of going full-throttle all the time. I find myself burned out very easily, and I apologize to people constantly - whether I need to or not. First, I want to take a step back, prioritize, and really find the things I love doing and committing my time to. Next, I want to stop apologizing for anything and everything. It's my go-to, and I have nothing to apologize for. I have to advocate for myself this year, and I'm going to really work at it.

I feel like those are five very attainable goals and must-do things this year! I think we have a habit (or, at least I do) of setting the bar too high for myself. I'm impressed by how many people set really good, personal, and deep resolutions, and I really hope this helps me stay focused, healthier, and less stressed.

What do you think? Do you do resolutions, or do you prefer a list of intentions like these?

know your worth

photo credit and copyright to kindred hearts photography 

It's been an interested few days here in the Moore household. On Monday, I found out from the company I've been with for five years that I was passed over for a significant promotion. The role I was vying for didn't exist, and I've pushed towards it for the past two years. My boss informed me on Monday that the role was, indeed, created. However, it's being given to a girl three years my junior in the company. Meaning, I trained her when she entered the business.

Now, here's the thing. I'm actually happy for the girl. Truly, I am. She works hard, and she deserves recognition. What bugs me is that the role was created without mentioning it to the rest of us in the same position, so we never had a chance to get it. It was underhanded, sneaky, and behind-the-back. Honestly, it leaves me with my confidence shaken.

I've been trying to find a new job for a while now. I've been searching, but I've also been somewhat complacent, knowing I have a job in the interim, however frustrating it might be. I'm now actively searching though, and it's a scary thought to be eight years into my career path and suddenly searching to start all over somewhere new.

Add in the fact that I'm an Army wife and require fully remote opportunities, and it's especially daunting.

I've been sulking and feeling sorry for myself the last couple days. Coupled by the hanger of our current keto challenge, this has been more unbearable than it really has to be. I have options. I do. It may take a while, but I trust that I'll find something better. But here's the thing. When someone does something that shakes your belief in yourself, it leaves a little mark, and it's uncomfortable. I was doing some reading last night, and one thing really stood out to me.

You are not defined by someone else's opinion of you.

Just because the door closed for growth within a company to which I've remained loyal for the past five years, doesn't mean I won't find a better option. I've been dedicating a lot of time and energy to freelance work lately to boost my portfolio. I have had successful reviews from these freelance clients, and it leads me to believe and trust that I can, and I will do more.

So, rather than sitting on my butt and feeling sorry for myself another day, I'm turning this ship around. Rather than focusing on what the company has done to me, I'm working towards better options. Instead of dedicating extra time and energy to the company that won't promote me, I'm dedicating that time to finding a company that will. I'll get my frustration out in the gym. I'll get stuff done around the house, and I'll lean on my loving family for support.

Note to self - I'm going to make you so damn proud.

south africa: rietvlei dam & krugersdorp

While we were in South Africa in December visiting family, we tried to squeeze as much in as possible. Because we were limited by my aunt's health, we stayed close to our home base in Pretoria, and we didn't venture to the Cape this time (next time!). Luckily, there's still a lot to do around Pretoria and Johannesburg, and my boys still got to see a lot of animals and explore the amazing nature that South Africa has to offer!

Because it's currently summer in South Africa, it was bloody freaking hot. I mean, bear in mind that we're coming from northern NY, but it was 95 on Christmas, and it was in the 90's both days we decided to head to Rietvlei Dam & Nature Reserve and Krugersdorp. Both places offer amazing opportunities to see the natural wildlife though, so we just had to do it.

Rietvlei is a self-guided drive-through nature reserve featuring some of the Big 5 including cheetahs, rhinos, and hippos, as well as plenty of springbok and other wildlife. I was the only one in the car who managed to spot the cheetah lounging just off the driving path in the shade, but we saw zebras, buffalo, wildebeest, and more. The boys had a blast checking out the ostriches, and we dined at the local camphouse, which was delicious, and the boys charmed all the other visitors with their rendition of the Hot Dog Dance for almost 30 minutes. Yes, it was as hilarious as it sounds.

Krugersdorp is home to a couple nature reserves, but we chose to head to the Lion & Safari Park. If the boys had been a little older, we would have gone to Kruger Park to drive through, but because it's malaria season, and because the boys can't sit still for too long (or stay quiet), we opted for a guided tour this time. They do self-guided drives, as well, but we chose to do the guided safari since my uncle was driving his Porsche, and yes, the animals roam free. Silly man! There are lions, giraffes, kudu, zebras, wild dogs, and more there.

Both trips were a lot of fun. Porter slept through much of the lion tour, but we managed to see a feeding, and I got to pet a lion cub, which was a blast. I was impressed how respectful the game wardens were of the animals. Though most are hand-raised, they're still wild, and the wardens were extremely protective of the animals' predatory nature, as well as their space. A woman brought her toddler to pet the cubs, and she kept pulling the cub's tail. They removed her and told her - yes, they look sweet, but they're still lions. They also kept the visits to a 10-minute period, and gave them 10 minutes between visitors. As an animal-lover, I found that refreshing.

If you're ever in South Africa with little kids, these are both great options! Normal safaris are great, and I've done one before, but they're tricky with younger children, as they require silence and patience. I don't know about yours, but those aren't my children's forte. 

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending - I hope you all had fantastic weekends and are ready for a great new week!

5 on friday: new year's favorites

It's the first Friday of 2018 - how crazy is that?! I don't know about your corners of the world, but it's downright frigid here in northern NY. The high today is -5, and I'm sorry, but that's just mean. I would love to take my children outside for a walk or to play in the snow, but it's too cold for that! Instead, Ryan and I have been scouring for activities for the boys to do inside, especially on weekends. I try to remain positive that the cold can't last forever, and I'm focusing on five good things today instead of the bitter freaking cold! I'm linking up today with Smidge of This for 5 on Friday and Meet at the Barre for Friday Favorites.

1 // Bulletproof Coffee is life. I mentioned the other day that Ryan and I are doing a 60-day ketogenic coffee, and it calls for a big ol' mug of bulletproof coffee most mornings. Now, I love a good morning cup, but I've been known to rely too heavily on sugary creamers and sweeteners. This coffee is loaded with good oils, healthy fats...and no sugar. Shockingly, it's delicious! If you want me to detail my recipe on the blog, let me know. It actually keeps me full for hours!

2 // Smart Wool socks - These suckers are saving my life lately because of the bitter cold here in Black River. I'm a fan of big cushy socks like these beauties from Old Navy, but even they can't keep out the cold lately. Smart Wool has been my go-to to keep my toes toasty and warm, especially since our old home is feeling awfully drafty these days.

3 // Bloom Daily Planner - I debated which planner to get for a long time, but I went with this one because it's versatile, and I got an amazing deal here. With all the freelance work I've been doing, my job, FRG, and getting our house renter-ready, life is insanely hectic. I love that this planner gives me room to post goals and my 2018 vision, as well as track those daily tasks. Plus, they're so chic!

4 // The Simply Keto cookbook is fast-becoming a favorite here for me. As we navigate the waters of this new diet, it offers awesome recipes and some insight into how we'll never feel deprived doing a ketogenic way of life. For those who didn't know, keto is basically a very low carb, high fat lifestyle, in which your body is put into a state of ketosis to burn fat for energy. We've both noticed a huge difference in the past week, and I've literally cut my coffee consumption by about 90%! How cool is that?

5 // Our fourth wedding anniversary was yesterday, and I'm so grateful to be married to this man. Through the deployments, the TDYs, the cross-country moves, navigating parenthood, homeownership, and beyond, he's been my rock through it all. Each and every adventure is more fun because of him. Gosh, I'm a lucky woman!

OH - before I forget, the sweet Andrea from Living on Cloud 9 shared a great Spread the Love gift exchange with us that I had to sign up for today. If you'd like to check it out, visit The Blended Blog here to do so.

Happy weekend, sweet friends!

four years

Dear Ryan,

Today marks four years since we said "I do" in our tiny little winter wedding in New Hampshire. So much has changed since then. And yet, so much remains the same, too. I still get those butterflies when I look at you in the morning. We still laugh at the most inappropriate things, and your dad jokes continue to impress me. I still love how much you challenge me to be the best version of myself, and how you advocate for me every single time. How in the world did I get to be so lucky?

In four years, we've accomplished so much. We made a home in Arizona for less than a year. We welcomed our first little boy, and we moved across the country to New York as a family. We bought our first house together, and we settled in for a while. You deployed to Kuwait and Iraq, and we weathered our first deployment. Together, we ran our first half marathons (and then I ran a marathon!) We welcomed our second little boy into our family, and we adopted a dog. Through it all, you've been my rock.

This past year was challenging while you were overseas, but one thing kept me going. You. Every single day, you wake up and put on that uniform, even when you don't want to. You work hard and support our family, and my dreams, every day. I want you to know that my vows to you remain the same as they were then.

I will always support you, love you, and honor you. Thank you for making me the luckiest woman in the world, Ryan. Here's to an eternity more!


the bosveld & zebula, south africa

After we arrived in South Africa on Saturday morning, we spent a day and a half resting in Pretoria with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. After that, we headed out to the Bosveld to relax and revive at our house in Zebula, South Africa. Not sure what the Bosveld is? Easy answer - the bush. That's where you see your wild animals, although Zebula is a golf estate and nature reserve, so no dangerous animals roam freely there. 

We knew the boys would love to see all the zebras and giraffes, plus the house is really off the grid in terms of wireless, cellular, etc. It's beautifully done with a classic braai and fire pit, as well as a small infinity pool, a huge open-air deck and verandah and four bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. Basically, it's like a resort in the Bosveld. Sold.

My sweet South African family told me the pool was cold. It wasn't cold per se, but it certainly wasn't warm either. Rather than busting out the swimsuits for the boys, they opted to skinnydip because, why not? When in Rome...or South Africa. Ryan and I put our suits on and hopped in with the boys, watching the impressive rain clouds roll in. And yes, South Africa does get rain, and we were in the middle of a very rainy start to summer, which offered impressive thunderstorms and great clouds (and rainbows!)

We only stayed two days there, but we wished we could have stayed longer. The boys swam everywhere they could. When the wind was a bit too chilly for our own pool, we headed to the clubhouse for slightly warmer water temps. Spencer was in heaven because we purchased his first set of water wings, and now he feels like a fish. As a swammer, myself, I know this is a double-edged sword, but I think it will help him feel more comfortable in the water, which is ultimately the goal.

Ryan was finally able to turn off his phone and just set it away for three whole weeks. Despite the horrific spiders (omg, seriously South Africa, no), we enjoyed a couple nights with a great cuppa, or a sip or ten of wine under the stars. Plus, is there anything better than a warm cup of coffee on the verandah as you watch the sun come up? I think not.

I also managed to get a run in while we were there. It was just about 5k, but I ran into some giraffes while we were there! Giraffes are notoriously shy animals, and they steer clear of loud noises. Naturally, that means they avoid toddler noise. Because I was running alone though, I encountered them on one of the back roads of the estate, and then I waited until they were comfortable enough to walk away from me. No, they're not aggressive, but you don't want to make them scared around their little ones - and there are a lot of little ones right now!

Honestly, it was the perfect start to our trip, and we wish we could have stayed longer! It was quiet, calm, and the boys could run amuck all they wanted. Yes, that's the absolute perfect combination of all the things. Next time we go, I think we'll insist upon a week there before anything else.

We have a lot more to share about our trip in the coming days including Cedar Junction, Krugersdorp, and more. I hope you're not all burned off my travel stories by the time I'm done!

south africa trip: tips for traveling with littles

We've been back in the states for just under a week now, and it was a whirlwind close to 2017 for us. Since Ryan and I started dating back in 2012, we've wanted to go to South Africa. There's never been a perfect time though. We did long-distance dating, got married, got pregnant, and we PCSed all in an extremely short timeframe. South Africa remained on our minds though, and after this last deployment, we knew it was time. In August, we booked our tickets to Johannesburg to see my family, and we counted the days.

We were meant to fly on December 8th at 7:30 AM. A few days prior, we went to New Hampshire to stay with my family so we could fly from Boston. In the wee hours of the morning of the 8th (aka 1 AM), we left NH for Boston, and we arrived at the airport at 4:30 AM. Full of excitement, we showed up at the ticket counter, passports in hand...only to be turned away. South Africa passed a law in late 2015 requiring minor children (regardless of whether they're flying with both parents) to have their birth certificates and their passports. We only had their passports.

Luckily, we had a great gate agent, and she put us on the exact same flight the next day, free of charge. British Airways is incredible, friends - use them. You'll thank me later. So, my neighbor scanned us the birth certificates, we got them notarized, and we did the same exact thing the next day. This time, we got on a plane...we were on our way to South Africa! After 19 hours and a connection in London, we arrived in Johannesburg at about 10:45 AM the next day.

Getting there was a journey. With little ones, regardless of how well they travel, it's hard. Both boys traveled beautifully, but Ryan and I didn't get much sleep at all on the plane. The second flight is longer, and it was on an A380, which has so many seats, there's actually very little leg room. So, once we got to my family's house in Pretoria, we proceeded to take a 3-hour family nap.

After showered and sleeping, we finally felt a little saner, and we let the boys romp around the yard. My Uncle Roelof lives in the house my mother grew up in, so seeing the boys play around the yard with their cousins - whom they've never met, mind you - was extra special. One of my cousins' wives brought a whole bunch of her children's' toys over to Roelof and Rina's house, and the boys played on their plastic push motorbikes every day we were there, so it was a huge hit! 

We only spent a day and a half in Pretoria when we arrived though because our next stop was Zebula, which deserves a post of its own! Zebula is a nature reserve and golf course + spa. It's way out in the Bosveld by Bela-Bela, about an hour away from Pretoria, and we were meant to spent our next couple days there relaxing, which was the perfect way to decompress from the trip.

Because this trip was three weeks long, I'll document it in a few different posts, but for now, here are our top tips for international travel with little ones:

  • Always, always, always read the fine print. Expedia didn't mention the boys' birth certificates, but it did have a link to the South African travel bureau. We got lucky. Make sure you check all travel notifications.
  • The airlines offer a little bit of a loophole with alcohol. You know those quart baggies you can use for liquids? You can fill them with nips, and they're allowed. We enjoyed some Bailey's at 37,000 feet.
  • Pack an extra set of clothes (or two). Since our flight was so early, the boys arrived at the airport in their jammies. Once we made it through security in Boston, we changed them into their clothes for the day. When we connected in London, we changed them back into their jammies for the night, and we re-dressed them when we arrived in South Africa. So, we had 3 changes for them and one for each of us.
  • Pack all meds you might need in your carryon. We had the boys' Benadryl for their allergies, plus cough syrup and more all at our disposal.
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks. We wish we'd packed more, and we learned for our trip home! Even though you're fed on international flights, kiddos are hungry at different times. Snacks are a quick way to divert a frustrated toddler.
  • Call your airline prior to travel and ask for a bulkhead seat if you have an infant or child under two. It didn't work out on the way back for each leg of the flight, but it made a huge difference for the flights we had it. We had leg room, space for the boys to curl up, and we had close proximity to the galley, all of which helped.

We learned, as this was our first international flight with the boys, that planning is key. However, it's also super important to be flexible. We had to be patient, forgiving, and open to change. Honestly, most people on the plane were fantastic, and the flight crews on British Airways were incredible. I can't thank them enough for their endless patience with my boys continuously pressing the call button. Whoops! 

But stay tuned...I'll recount our travels later this week!

cheers to 2018

Happy New Year, sweet friends! I can't believe we made it to 2018, but here we are...the first morning of 2018. Ryan and I didn't watch the ball drop. We didn't even have any intentions to do so. We just wanted to wake up to a new year with new resolve. Both of us have off from work today, too, which is a plus. We have one more day with the boys before life kicks back into full gear, and we're going to enjoy it.

We found out yesterday that the duty station we were hoping for isn't going to happen. We (read: I) sulked a little bit last night, and we mourned what we hoped for, but we're moving forward and waiting for orders from branch. I've always thought that things happen for a reason, and I need to stick with that. It should be a few more months until we have orders in hand, so now we're just hoping for a good adventure.

2018 is, hopefully, also going to be a big one for us physically. Ryan and I signed up for our first DietBet of the year, and we started a 60-day ketogenic challenge. It's run by Drew, the face behind Fit to Fat to Fit, and we're really committed to getting our act together in all regards. Unfortunately, I fell the other night at my parent's house, and I blew out my knee. My running is going to depend on what I actually did to my knee, and I'm hoping for an MRI this week.

The above photo is an actual representation of how 2017 went for us - and so many others. It wasn't a bad year, but I'm glad to see it go. 2018 can only get better, and I think it's going to be a big one for us. I'll do a whole post dedicated to goals, but today, I want to relish in the freshness of this New Year. There is so much good ahead of us, friends!

Happy New Year to you and yours!