pawleys island, south carolina

I'd say that I'm sorry about the sudden radio silence last week, but I'm really not! The boys and I were in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, soaking up some sun, sand, and sea with family. It was a fantastic time that was spent decompressing, connecting with family, and really enjoying the here and now. I was working from South Carolina, so the last thing I wanted to do was add another thing to my plate and force out a blog, as well. Plus, I think there's something to be said about being really intentional and just staying in the present, all of which we did.

You might remember that the boys and I went last year, as well, while Ryan was deployed. Sadly, Ryan missed our trip again this year since he's TDY right now, but we enjoyed being able to have the rest of the family there (minus Uncle Josh) at least for a little while. Last year, Porter was too little to really appreciate or enjoy our time there. This time, he was the happiest little boy in the land! We spent our days alternating between the pools (there are two), the hot tub, and the beach. Though I can't get in the ocean yet because of my knee, I was able to swim a little in the pool and hot tubs with my boys, and it was a blast.

We've been going to Pawleys Island since I was little - probably around three years old. We stopped when we all went to college, but we started up again last year, and I'm so glad we did. Things have changed a little around there - it's busier, the Piggly Wiggly is gone (sad face) and replaced with a Bi-Lo, and there are more visitors. At the same time though, so much of it is the same and familiar. It's still the opposite of Myrtle Beach. It has a down-home country vibe, and it has a heart of locals, which is so much better than the average tourist trap. We rent a condo each year at Shipyard Village at Litchfield by the Sea, and it's worth it by every stretch of the imagination.

I actually even managed to see a good friend from college while we were there! Lisa and I swam at the University of Utah together, and now she and her husband are stationed in South Carolina. She brought her three little boys (and her one on the way!), and they spent the day with us in the sun. It was too fun.

If you're ever in the area (and you totally should go), here are some things you need to check out:

Quigley's Pint & Plate - grab a burger and won't regret it
The Hammocks Shops - an eclectic mix of country decor and boutique clothing...great for a rainy day
Rustic Table - their cheesy grits and fried pickles are out of this world
The Local Grid - it's about an 8-mile drive from Pawleys Island, but the coffees are divine

Was flying with two boys solo the easiest? No. Was it worth it? Heck yes. I'm officially out of my knee brace (!!!), and we enjoyed the journey together, yet again. Here's the thing; these little trips are challenging, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. We see places, we meet people, we experience things, and we grow together. This trip back to South Carolina was so. damn. worth it.

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

on the road again

My apologies for my absence last week. It was a week of insanity, to be honest, and I didn't have more than a few moments of free time. Ryan left just over a week ago, and we immediately left the next day for New Hampshire. I scored an amazing job interview in Seattle, so I needed to take the boys to stay with Oma and Opa for a couple days. I flew to Seattle last Monday morning for my job interview on Tuesday, which was 6 hours - yes, a gauntlet of interviews for an incredible company. I flew back to New Hampshire on a red-eye that night and got back to New Hampshire earllllly Wednesday morning. Then, the boys and I drove back to New York Wednesday night...all 8 hours of it. Honestly, I think I'm still recovering from all of that. 

I found out this past Friday evening that I didn't get the job. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't extremely disappointed, but I'm choosing to look at it as a good thing. It was an awesome experience interviewing for a great company, but I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Now it's time to refocus, work hard at my current job, and keep my eye on the prize. I know something right will come along, and it will come at the right time. 

Moving on from there - the boys and I drove to Philadelphia on Saturday to spend some time with Uncle Josh before flying to Myrtle Beach to spend the week with Oma, Opa, Stinky Nikki, Uncle Adam, and Auntie Nini in Litchfield, South Carolina. It's been nonstop since Ryan left, so I'm grateful to spend a week here by the ocean. And, above all else, I have some company, some help with the boys, and some much-needed Vitamin D. I'll be working while I'm down here, but we're filling our cups with all the family love we've needed lately. 

Life is hard while Ryan is gone, and this state of life right now is tricky because we're in such flux. Everything is going a mile a minute, and throwing in an impromptu job opportunity at the last minute was an adventure, to say the least. I'm grateful that I had the experience, and I'm excited to be back with my people now. We have so little time before this move, so I'm enjoying all the time with family this week while we can. But for now, I'm going to photo dump this trip for you because we finally have some warmth for a few days. Oh, and remember how I mentioned that it's so important to stay busy during a deployment or TDY? This is a testament to that. We're so busy, and it's so sweet.

Happy Monday, sweet friends! 

Linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

we'll be seeing you

Goodbyes are the worst - even if you know they're not for that long.

Ryan left today for six weeks of training at another stateside Army post, and I'll be totally, truthfully honest. It sucks. I know this is the reality of Army life, and I get it. I can live with that...but explaining to our little boys why Daddy is gone again is the worst. They don't understand. I chose this, but they didn't, and that's hard.

Six weeks is easy though, all things considered. It's nothing compared to the nine months we did while Ryan was in Kuwait and Iraq last year. We're going to stay busy, and we're going to live by the endless countdowns that military families know all too well.

  • Tomorrow, the boys and I are leaving for New Hampshire for a few days.
  • On Monday, I'm heading somewhere solo, and though I'm not going to share why just yet, please keep your fingers crossed and send allllll the positive vibes
  • On the 22nd, the boys and I are flying to South Carolina for a week in the sun with Oma & Opa

Our time here at Fort Drum is truly limited now. We're under two months from leaving our home here in Black River to make a new one out at Fort Lewis in Washington. Once the boys and I return from South Carolina, there's less than a month until Ryan comes home to use, so we're going to soak up this time, get things done, and count the days till Daddy's return.

It never gets easier, but we do grow to accept it and appreciate our time together more than ever before. We'll see you soon, honey.

why i deleted facebook from my phone

bath color via crayola color bath dropz (available here)

Last week, I made the decision to delete the Facebook app from my phone, and I have to say it's one of the best decisions I've made recently. Shockingly, no, my decision had nothing to do with the recent data mining/leaks from Facebook. Rather, I deleted the app from my phone because I found that it was becoming too much of a time-suck. I've mentioned a lot lately about Ryan and I are trying to clean up our lives. We're working hard to de-stress, minimize excess, and really focus on the here and now. If there's one thing that works to pull us from that goal, it's technology.

I work in marketing, so my phone is my best friend in terms of my job. Nearly 60% of my work relies on mobile interaction, which is amazing, but it's also a trap. It's so easy to get caught up in technology and forget to live in the present. Ryan remarked on more than one occasion how often I was scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. And here's the thing...I didn't even really have a reason for doing so. I just did because it was there and because I could. 

I'm sure you've all seen the articles floating around about how millennials spend all their time on their phones. I'm not really a millennial, but I'll totally attest to how true it is. Your phone is so easily accessible at all times of the day, and there are too many moments where I was caught up in some utterly useless Facebook post when I should have been spending time with my kiddos. Luckily, there was a simple solution. I deleted the app from my phone. I did not delete my account, but I deleted my easy access to it, so I'm far less inclined to veg out and look at my phone.

Look, I rely heavily on my phone for pictures. I use it for Instagram, and I love recording moments with my kids. I don't, however, like missing moments with my kids because I'm too wrapped up in an app that pulls me from the present. Deleting this app doesn't make me a hero. Honestly, it's a tiny, minuscule step in the right direction, but that's just it. It's a step in the right direction.

Since deleting the Facebook app, I'm less inclined to look at my phone before bed. I'm less inclined to pull out my phone while playing with my children. I'm less inclined to be completely and utterly distracted all the time. It's so easy to get caught up in the likes and the instant gratification of Facebook. Each "like" is virtual approval, and it's easy to use those to justify a means to an end. I'm a momma of two little boys. The approval I need is from them, from myself, and from my husband. It's from a day well-spent.

Do I foresee myself deleting Instagram? No. I like it. I enjoy sharing pictures and little stories. I don't spend hours on Instagram, and if I do spend time on there, I find it much more uplifting than Facebook. I don't have Snapchat, and I won't be getting it - simply because it's unnecessary. The goal is to lessen distractions and boost presence in real life. I'm a work in progress. Heck, Ryan and I are both works in progress, but I think this was a great first step for me, and I'm so glad I did it.

we're counting down

I'm sure I've mentioned it (at least) three or four times here before, but military families pretty much always live by countdowns. Whether it's a countdown to a deployment, TDY, homecoming, PCS, or beyond, there's always something. Right now, we have two countdowns going on. First and foremost, Ryan is leaving TDY this week for 6 weeks, which I'm dreading. Obviously, I dread the separation, but I dread explaining it to the boys even more. They're so young, and they just don't understand. We're also counting down to our PCS to Washington, and we're officially under two months until that...which is insane.

Add in a few extra wrenches this week like potential job interviews (!!! - I'll let you know more when things are definite), clearing CIF for Ryan on post, locking in work stuff, and more, it's madness in the Moore household. So, we did our best to have another low-key weekend. On Saturday, we went to the Sensory Nook in Watertown with some friends. We haven't been in about a year, and the boys loved it as much as last time. Since winter refuses to release its icy grip - pun intended - an indoor excursion was a must.

We did lunch at Red Robin and delightfully overindulged, enjoying time with new friends and their sweet kiddos. On Sunday, we attempted to go to church. Truthfully, we succeeded, but my knee was in a ton of pain, and the boys just weren't having it, so we decided to forgo the full occasion and left at the end of sacrament. I think the boys are picking up on our moods and our stress, which is hard, and they decided to boycott naptime, only falling asleep about 30 minutes before we woke them up.

It was a hard latter half of the day, but we're doing our best to soak it up, hardships and all, because we're going to be apart again all too soon. Military life is hard, folks. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. I'm nervous being left alone with the boys while still on crutches, but I know that we can do this. Heck, we managed a 9-month deployment, so this should be a cakewalk, right?

Cross your fingers for us this week though, and please keep us in your thoughts. Big things are happening, and things are moving full-speed ahead. And, if you think of it, please send some good job interview vibes my way, pretty please! I'm crossing my fingers that something big happens preeeettty darn soon!

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

photowall: great home art + a discount (!!!)

lamp (target) // pom-pom garland (sheepfarmfelt) // panda head (target) // canvas (photowall)

I'm absolutely obsessed with the concepts of great interior design. And, while I love a clean layout with sparse walls in the right places, great art is my jam. It can be hard to find great quality pieces though, especially when looking for oversized canvas art, right? Wrong - enter Photowall. Photowall is a fantastic Swedish brand specializing in unique art pieces for the home. They offer an incredibly wide selection of wall murals and canvases, giving you the opportunity to find - or create - the perfect piece for your home.

One of the things I love most about Photowall's product lineup is that it's totally possible to use your own images, as well! I know that Ryan and I have a lot of great pictures from our recent trip to South Africa, as well as family photos, that we're going to turn into canvases now. This time though, we decided to order one of their vintage airplane images. We picked this fantastic canvas of the Douglas dC-3 because it has special meaning for us. First, Ryan's in aviation, and second, his dad worked for Boeing, so this plan is in our blood.

I ordered this canvas on a Wednesday, and it arrived early Friday morning - super fast delivery via DHL! Having struggled with bad shipping from other great companies in the past, this was so refreshing. When it arrived, I knew it had a DIY frame, so I was a little daunted. Much to my surprise though, it was incredibly easy to assemble. I had Ryan help me to make sure it was fully-aligned, then we set to work. It took maybe 15 minutes to completely finish the canvas on the frame, and the end result is incredible! It's sturdy, looks professionally-done, and it'll complement any room.

Since we're moving in two months, I didn't want to hang it just yet, but it fits perfectly in the boys' monochromatic room. We're turning it into an airplane-themed space, so this worked well with colors and style. I know my aviation-loving little men are going to swoon when they see it!

Most of all though, I'm impressed that Photowall fills a void in the market for great art. I love a good picture frame, but there's something about canvas that's classic and larger-than-life. This print is fantastic quality, on thick canvas, and the colors are completely flawless. Ryan's rarely enthusiastic about the decor I get for our home, but he flat-out told me that we need more - and you don't have to tell me twice!

Here's the best part...I have a discount for all of you! Photowall is offering a limited-time 20% off ANY print in their store. 

Simply visit Photowall, and enter the discount code: LovingLifeMooreCampaign2018

Let me know if you order and how your experience with this great company is...I absolutely loved it and can't wait to get more! Enjoy!

*I was provided a free canvas in exchange for an honest review and feature. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this product.

Linking up today with Momfessionals and Smidge of This for Friday Favorites & Five on Friday.

embracing more with less

I've mentioned a few times before that the concept of minimalism is such an appealing thing to Ryan and myself. Perhaps it's because I blog in a lifestyle community, or perhaps it's simply because society is so inundated with things lately, but I've been feeling almost smothered lately. With our upcoming move to Washington, it's become so apparent just how much stuff we have. We don't have a huge house, but we have so many things. And here's the thing, I can tell you how most of these items in our house came about.

The random assortment of toys is, of course, for the boys, but so many of them were the result of stress. I like buying things. I'm not going to lie. I read Rachel Cruz's book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs, and she mentioned that she's a spender, as well. I don't have a problem spending money. I enjoy it. In the throes of postpartum depression with Spencer, buying baby things was my go-to. I'd buy clothes, baby toys, books - anything to distract me from the issue at hand. Here's the thing though...none of it helped. None of those purchases made me happier.

I look at our house sometimes, and I have a hard time looking at it through my own eyes. So much of what we see in the lifestyle blogging community is Instagram-perfect. We have the perfect white-on-white kitchens. There are flawless living rooms with not a speck of clutter in sight. There are the walk-in closets hung perfectly in order by color and sleeve length - just because. There's nothing wrong with that.

What is wrong, however, is looking at my home through the lens of another and comparing what we have to theirs.

We have a beautiful home. We have two great incomes, a comfortable lifestyle, a debt that's quickly disappearing, and we're happy. One of the biggest realizations that Ryan and I had this past weekend is how little all these material things matter to us. They don't offer happiness. My boys aren't going to remember their childhood and say "oh, remember that coloring book?" No. They're going to remember the memories. They're going to remember the zebras they saw while swimming out on the porch in Zebula. They're going to remember the pillow forts they played in when it was too cold to go outside. They'll remember the ice cream dates on sticky summer nights.

Those are the things that matter. Only, they're moments - not things.

Ryan and I have such big goals for the future, and I have so much that I want to teach my boys and show them about the world. I want them to know how big the world is out there. I want them to understand that having the biggest house on the block won't make them the happy. I want to show them that the best moments in life are shared together. It's about spontaneity and imperfection.

I don't have the most perfect photos, but I have the most perfect memories, and that's what matters.

Ryan has ten years (give or take) left on his military contract, and then we're set to be nomads. We have a dream of embracing a tinier lifestyle - one on the go. A life that shows my boys how big, how vast, and how beautiful the life can be when you ditch the excess. How, exactly, that will pan out is yet to be set in stone, but we have so many dreams that are bigger than a great house and fancy car.

Minimalism is more than a trend. Truly. It's about finding more in less. Less belongings, more freedom. Less debt, more living. Less flawless, far more beautiful. I know that I have a long way to go with this, but I wanted to share something that was so freeing and so liberating, little though it was. I've been collecting (read: hoarding) toys for the boys. I found a Lego table at a yard sale while Ryan was deployed, and I bought it. The boys rarely used it though, and if they did, it was just to climb on it. I kept saying that one day, maybe they'll use it.

This weekend, as Ryan and I were talking, I felt prompted to get rid of it. It's a silly little thing, but I posted it on an online marketplace for just $10 - and an hour later, it was gone. Remember that rush I said I get from purchasing? I felt it while getting rid of something, too, and I think that speaks volumes. While, yes, I want my boys to have everything, I don't want them to have all the things.

I want them to have the world.

easter weekend 2018

You know those weekends where the best-made plans fall through? This was one of those weekends - and yet, it was also one of the best weekends we've had in a long while. Spencer brought home some sickness last week, and it's been making its way through the household. Porter started his fever Friday, and I felt absolutely awful Saturday. Poor Ryan was hit pretty hard yesterday. Even though we'd planned to go to Syracuse and weren't able, we still had so much fun, and that's kind of what made this weekend so special.

On Saturday, none of us were feeling particularly great, but the weather was beautifully springy, so Spencer and I got outside to decorate some eggs and play with Lindsey across the street for a while. It still hits me sometimes that he's not a toddler anymore. He's a real little boy. He's articulate, thoughtful, smart, and engaged, and he's always on the go. Together, we tackled dyeing Easter eggs (which failed miserably) but were so fun in the process. Pro-tip: if you see someone mention that Cool-Whip will work in place of shaving cream for this Pinterest task, don't listen to them. It doesn't. Oh well, it was fun :)

Sunday was Easter, and Mother Nature and New York decided it would be below freezing all day. We Were all still feeling awful, too, so we decided to forgo the traditional Easter egg hunt in favor of just laying low and enjoying each other's company. Besides their new tradition of going outside to put the flag out each morning, we stayed indoors...together. The boys absolutely loved their Easter baskets this year, and I just wanted to take a moment to talk about them because I'm pretty proud.

We try not to give the boys too much candy. They love it, and what kid doesn't, but we also believe in moderation. So, I wanted their Easter baskets to be more engaging if you will. We put sidewalk chalk, a coloring book, a little Paw Patrol car, a couple of treats, stickers, and more in their baskets. And you know what? They loved it! Spencer is obsessed with is his new toy, which cost less than $3, their coloring books were a huge hit, and they loved the stickers, too. There's something about a more modest Easter basket that just speaks to me. In a world of excess, it's simple, sweet, and fun.

After we opened our baskets, we knew we weren't really going anywhere because all of us felt awful. So, instead of lounging on the couch doing nothing, the boys and I decided to build a fort. We pulled all the dining chairs to the living room, brought all available throw blankets out, and we got to work. It was one of the simplest, funniest, most entertaining things we've done in a while. I mentioned last week that we're working towards minimizing TV usage here, and this is another great indoor activity you can use! The boys didn't want to watch TV once. They were too busy playing and exploring. Letting them be little and enjoying the little things is so, so sweet.

We have two months left in New York, and maybe I'm just waxing nostalgic because of that, but this time here - as hard as it's been - has also been beautiful and fun. We've made memories. We've lived a lot, and we've grown together. This past Easter was beautiful in its simplicity, and I'm so thankful for little moments like these that remind us of what really matters.

I hope you all had a beautiful Easter weekend and are as ready for spring as I am!

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