Fall Things

My last posts have been kind of heavy and have caused some controversy, SO….let me just say, I’m sorry if I offend anyone with what I write on here. But at the same time I’m not. This is my little internet space to express my thoughts, and to honestly keep it real. There is too much out there that is fake or “just the highlights” that it can be a little discouraging when you look at your own life and realize you’re not “keeping up with the Jones'” as much as you hoped (and no, I’m not referring to my sister and her family ūüėČ ). When I started this blog, it was a place for me to be real, to not sugar coat things, and to celebrate both the highs and the lows. Right now, my family is in a bit of a valley, but that’s okay. They happen, it’s a part of life, and I think the valleys only add to the highlights in the end.

So, just know going forward that I normally filter myself quite a bit in my every day life, but this is my one space that I simply don’t. And, right now, I’ve seen far more good come from it than bad, so my blog will continue.

However, because my last posts have been a little gloomy, I thought I’d reassure my readers that we are in fact enjoying many aspects of life. And we are especially soaking up this Fall season. Isn’t Fall just the best? We’ve been lucky to participate in so many Fallish activities this year¬†and I thought I’d share some photos with you all.

Apple Picking

Judah and I got to sneak away and do some apple picking at our favorite little orchard. Judah ate about ten apples while we were there, and we ended up leaving with five gallons. It was the perfect amount for canning a few quarts of apple sauce, making a couple pies, whipping up some apple cinnamon french toast, and of course eating the extras with peanut butter and honey.

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We’ve also managed to enjoy some time with friends. Though Fall is often busy, we’ve been lucky enough to snag a few moments with some of the people (both big and small) that we love so much. Needless to say, the imaginations have been running wild and always…safety first ūüėČ

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The weather has been so nice here this season. We have been able¬†to still reap some warmth from the summer sun, but our mornings¬†usually start out nice and brisk and our evenings end with a great chill in the air. It’s wonderful¬†to still be able to play outdoors and not feel like we’re melting into a puddle.

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Who doesn’t love a fresh Fall haircut? I’m practicing my hand at the DIY haircut¬†and was pretty proud of myself for pulling off a semi-decent at home do¬†for my kiddo.

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We also celebrated our favorite man’s 30th birthday!! We have a tradition, stollen by Kelle Hampton, where Judah gets a set amount of money and can choose whatever he wants to gift his dad with each year. I love the idea of giving him the choice to decide what he thinks Kyle will enjoy most. Right now it’s pretty toy oriented, but it’s fun to see the extra thought he puts into things as the years progress. This year’s loot included two light sabres, a monster truck, and play dough.

We also had¬†our annual visit to the pumpkin patch this past weekend. And…as I was going through my photos I realized I didn’t take any of Judah actually in the pumpkin patch…woops! But, we did leave with four killer pumpkins which are sitting outside our front door.

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We’ve also gotten Judah’s “big boy room” finished and are almost done with baby girl’s nursery, which will be coming up in a future post.

I hope you and your families are enjoying this Fall season! After all, it’s the start of the most wonderful time of the year ūüôā

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Judah Is 3!

Hard to believe this kiddo turned three earlier this month.

We were able to celebrate with a few close friends, and the day was really special. It has been¬†ridiculously hot outside, so some type of water feature was a must. When Kyle and I asked Judah what he wanted to do for his party this year, he said “cars.” After a quick peruse of the ‘ol Pinterest, we settled on creating a “car wash” that could be used for the rest of the season. It was great fun, and surprisingly easy to assemble. You can find the directions to the model we used here.

We are about to hunker down for the next couple of days, so my next posts will probably be photo heavy, unless something drastic happens and I need to vent ūüėČ Kyle is recovering from a small¬†surgery and I am taking the opportunity to try some hard core potty training with Judah while we wait for our main squeeze to recoup. So, if you come to our house, Judah will be naked, chances are high that there will be pee on the floor, but my gosh, this boy is getting potty trained. And if he doesn’t, he most likely be the kindergartener wearing a pull-up to class, because after this attempt, I’m just throwing in my towel. Just don’t draw attention to it…his parents are sensitive about it.

For now, I will leave you with some photos from this three year old’s festivities. I apologize for the photo quality, or lack thereof. I have better pictures from his actual day turning three on my camera, but I’m feeling way too lazy to get up and upload them, so you’re stuck with my crappy phone pictures. But, you’ll get the drift.

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Busted getting his 1,000th sucker of the day...

Busted getting his 1,000th sucker of the day…

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Enjoying some ice cream sundaes!

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Minions bike!

I mean, if he's not the cutest little construction worker you've ever seen.

I mean, if he’s not the cutest little construction worker you’ve ever seen.

Happy birthday, kiddo. We love you to pieces.

Dinner Time

Wow. You guys, I am terrible at blogging these days. Terrible. But, I’ve been enjoying life outside of the internet, so can you really blame me? Anyway….today’s post is dedicated to meal sharing. It’s something both Kyle and I hold near and dear, and it’s played a pretty significant role in our lives.

I first learned about the joys that come with hospitality from a really young age. My dad pastored a small community church for a few years while I was growing up. Looking back, I can’t really remember any Sunday after church that my parents didn’t prepare a huge spread for a table filled with people. To me, it was normal–expected even–to have a large group of strangers over for dinner at least once every week.

Sharing a meal brings community. I was reminded of this just over the weekend. I turned 28 on the 21, and that day is pretty rough for me. Not because I’m slowly approaching 30, but because of the significance of my 27th birthday. But what could make a tainted birthday a little better? Sharing a meal with friends.

*Photos are courtesy of the lovely Jen B.*

Our dinner of ribs, cucumber salad, baked beans, and fresh salad.

Our dinner of ribs, cucumber salad, baked beans, and fresh salad.

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Some of my favorite people, missing Jen B who is snapping the photo. These friends are true gems. I can’t even begin to describe it.

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The chef and the hostess. He’s a pretty hot lookin’ griller isn’t he?

 

To Kyle and I, our friends are an extension of family. We live thousands of miles from both sides of our families, so we’ve learned to adopt some close friends in the area to fill that void. Until rapid travel is possible, it’s just what we need to do. And one of our favorite ways to connect with people is by sharing a meal. I think we would host someone almost every day. I love to cook big, hearty meals, and Kyle is becoming quite the master griller, so between the two of us, we’ll get you full ūüôā

But it’s not about the food. It’s what happens around it. We laugh, we tell stories, we build relationships. I think too many of us don’t take sharing a meal seriously. Our society is pretty busy, so actually sitting down for a proper meal isn’t always something we prioritize. Well, I’m going to challenge you on that. Make it a priority. Even if it’s once a week that you make a full dinner and sit with your family. Then take it a step further, invite someone else over. No one cares if your table is perfect. No one will mind if you cook a terrible meal (I have done that before, and we all had a good laugh over it). In fact, you can even ask everyone to bring a dish to pass. What sharing a meal is about is building community. Whether it’s over grilled cheese sandwiches or a big juicy steak, it really doesn’t matter.

So, who are you going to share your table with?

I’m Back!!

After a semi-intentional hiatus from blogging…I’m baaaaccck!

So basically I took a break because life got hectic, then I decided to make it purposeful. My company recently rebranded, and it’s freaking amazing. You can check it out here. Dealing with that, plus a two-year-old who went through a spurt of the classic, “terrible two’s” made blogging seem a little more tedious than enjoyable for me, so I decided to take another little stretch of time off and just not worry about it. It’s been good–really good. But I’m excited to be back and to provide some updates.

Some exciting things have been happening around the Alcock household. We are about to celebrate our one year anniversary of living in Oregon. I cannot believe it, the time has flown, and we have been loving it! And, as we traditionally do, we’re making no exceptions now–we’re moving…again!

But it’s not what you’re thinking. This time, we’re buying a house. Planting roots and settling in. Phew. I for one am SO excited to not have to pack and unpack after this haul for quite a long time. I will have more updates on the house in a future post. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, so until we have some “after” photos, I’m not sharing any of the “befores.”

Short recap of life here:

I went on an amazing hike with three incredible women (and one in spirit) and cannot wait for our next adventure together. It was one of those “girl power,” “secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood” type deals that just does your soul some good. And let me tell ya, I am so grateful to have met these ladies and be able to hang with them from time to time. You guys don’t even know. We hiked Henline mountain up in Opal Creek and it was gorgeous. Here’s a view of the summit and yours truly.

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We have also done some festive Fall things like apple picking with friends (twice), journeyed to a pumpkin patch/petting zoo, and last night of course was Judah’s first time trick-or-treating. This little monkey had a ball and was just so stinking adorable. And, my mama heart was so proud every time I heard an un-prompted “thank you!” from his little mouth as he received some sugary treats.

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I was Darla from “Finding Nemo” for Halloween.

 

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I have also undergone a few personal adjustments and some healing that has been oh so wonderful. That will also be saved for another post later on. Life’s been good and a break was refreshing.

Speaking of breaks…because I’ve taken a stretch of time away, I need to ask a favor of you readers. If you could, give ¬†a click to the “top mommy blog” and “top baby blog” icons to your right to show The Ramblings some love.

Happy Fall ladies and gents, it’s good to be back!

Live simply, mama.

Man, I’m on a blogging roll. What is this, like my third for the month? What is happening to me?

Who’s ready for Fall?? I definitely am. It’s been super hot and dry here in Oregon, and though I love me some sunshine, I’m ready to wrap up in a nice cozy sweater and wear something other than flip-flops on my feet. Also, the post-shower sweat is getting old…and gross.

I’ve been aching for some sort of change recently, and a change in season will be most welcome.

Summer has been busy to say the least, and not just busy for me. It has been busy for friends and family as well. It’s a good kind of busy–mostly–but it seems our schedules never mesh, and I miss those people I spent a lot of time with in the winter months. I think that’s why I’m craving a change of season, because I’m craving a more regular pace. A little backwards considering summer is typically our “slow down” time, right?

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My yoga practice has dwindled due to schedules and not desiring to shower six times every day. There are seven splash pads in the city of Salem, and Judah and I have been to six of them…at least twice a piece. This week I’m sure I’ve been pretty annoying to Kyle. I’m constantly asking, “What should we do today?” (meaning Judah and I). Sitting in the hot sun when it’s 95 degrees out while your child gets burned on the hot slides at the park only goes so far. Yes, the beach is just a short hour and a half away, but when gas is almost $4 a gallon, making those trips every day just isn’t practical. (Thanks Obama…I’m totally kidding.)

So when I asked Kyle that question for probably the sixth time, I finally had a moment of clarity. That day alone, Judah and I had baked zucchini bread, drawn pictures, played with cars, gone to the store, went to the library, read books, and went to the splash pad. And this is a pretty typical day for us. What the heck else does the kid need to do in a day? What the heck else do I need to do in a day?

When we moved to Salem, I had more confidence in myself than I had possessed in a long time. It was a fresh start for me. I was free of being defined based on who my friends were, what church I attended, where I worked, what college I went to, etc, etc. I didn’t have anyone to impress or keep up with, and I figured, I am who I am–take it or leave it. I was so excited to escape the stigmas and just be more¬†carefree and comfortable in my own skin.

But slowly, that old comparison game came back. Ooh, she’s a nasty one too.

We live 45 minutes from Portland, aka “hipster” capital of the world. No, I am not a hipster, but I do like their sense of style. I’ve come to find that although many of my friends and peers here in Salem have impeccable style, they are never¬†dressed down. Never. And that is just not me. What happened to jeans and a t-shirt? And not some thrifted band¬†groupie shirt you styled perfectly with your distressed denim and ankle boots. Like jeans and a t-shirt. Like, I work out in this t-shirt, t-shirt. And I have yet to see anyone in sweatpants or hoodies. Ever. (Except for the Geers, and this is why my love for this family¬†is on an entirely different level.) I don’t like to dress like a bum all the time, but sometimes it’s necessary.

This is just one example of an area where¬†I have so foolishly compared myself to others. So come fall and winter, from time to time I’m going to wear my yoga pants, my old college t-shirts, and my hoodies, and I don’t care, Portland area hipsters. I don’t care.

Not only have I been slowly putting my own personal style into¬†the comparison game, but I’ve been placing parts of¬†my parenting under the lights¬†as well. This is why I have felt it necessary to fill our day with activity after activity, never being still.

We all know that I love Pinterest. Love it. Mostly for clothes and recipes, but it’s pretty great for many things. However, don’t you just feel so inadequate when you get on the “kids” page? All these crafty things to do with your kiddos, all these adorable and educational activities just thrown in your face saying, “Have you done this one yet, supermom? What about this? You mean your kid’s room doesn’t look like it’s straight out of The Land Of Nod’s recent catalog? You mean you haven’t whipped up a batch of edible, gluten-free, organic playdough dyed with berry juice?”

It’s a dangerous time to be a mom these days.¬†Thanks to the advances of technology, there are so many ways that we can compare ourselves to one another every minute of the day, without even being in the same room.

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So here is my challenge to myself: Stop. Stop running around. Stop comparing. Recognize that the quiet times at home are some of the best. I’m not here to entertain my¬†child, I’m here to parent. So parent. Teach him to use his imagination. Teach him to be self-sufficient and creative on his own. Teach him to slow down and live simply. Teach him to linger. Teach him to enjoy making messes in his room, and then find the reward in cleaning it up. Show him how to be confident by exuding it.¬†Live in the¬†moments instead of thinking about what to do next. Stop “doing” and slow down. And wear sweatpants once in a while, dammit!

As we approach the change of season, this is going to be something I really try and commit to, anyone else with me?

 

 

 

Judah is 2!

This month has been nothing short of crazy. Our family has been overstretched and haven’t had as much time to enjoy each other as we had hoped. However, despite the craziness of July, it did start off with a pretty wonderful and significant event. Judah turned TWO on the sixth. It boggles my mind to think that he’s already two. Bye-bye baby, hello full-on toddler.

Fresh outta the oven two years ago! Still seems like yesterday...

Fresh outta the oven two years ago! Still seems like yesterday…

Prior to the big day, we’d been having some difficulty (ongoing) with Judah’s bedtime, so we opted to give him a toddler bed. He has loved it so far and here are a few photos of him checking out his mattress without those crib walls.

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The next morning started off with some presents at home with Kyle and I and his Neena, who came in from New York to celebrate.

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This photo kills me. He's totally giving me the stink eye and I can just hear him saying, "mom, stop taking all these pictures!"

This photo kills me. He’s totally giving me the stink eye and I can just hear him saying, “mom, stop taking all these pictures!”

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This little guy is into all things transportation. Trains, planes, cars, trucks, anything with wheels, he digs it. Can I get an amen for matchbox cars being a whopping 94 cents??

Later on that afternoon, we went to a local park and celebrated with some of Judah’s favorite people.

Judah's party theme was "Thomas the Train." Eat your heart out Pinterest Supermoms...I totally box cake rocked these birthday cupcakes.

Judah’s party theme was “Thomas the Train.” Eat your heart out Pinterest Supermoms…I totally box cake rocked these birthday cupcakes.

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He thinks he's old enough to drive now. If only he could figure out those shades...

He thinks he’s old enough to drive now. If only he could figure out those shades…

After all that partying we headed home for a birthday dinner of Thai take out…birthday boy’s choice. And I’m 100% serious. This is one sophisticated two year old.

Judah, I cannot believe you are two. You are an absolute joy and I will never be able to put into words how deeply I love you. You are the best little boy a mommy could as for.

Thank you to the friends and family who called, sent cards, gifts, or partied with us and were able to make Judah’s day so special. We love you all! Over and out ūüėČ

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30 before 30.

In light of recent events, I’ve decided to take this summer season and refocus a bit and¬†start working on different pieces of me. Sounds a bit vein, I know. I recently had a conversation with a new friend who has … Continue reading

Spring Trips

Okay, I know I’ve been doing primarily photo heavy blogs lately, which isn’t my usual, but we’re still just so in awe of the beautiful area that we live, how can I not share it? Kyle and I have had many discussions about hoping to never take this landscape for granted. I grew up close to hills and pretty outstanding views of nature, but I think there is little that compares to the sites around here in Oregon. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the color green quite like I have here. Every shade of green imaginable, and so rich! Also, the water is pristine, I mean pristine. You know those old bottled water commercials they used to run with that water so perfect you were sure it must be some type of photoshopped magic? It’s definitely not photoshopped, and it’s right in my backyard.

Spring here is pretty magnificent. Yes, we have days where it rains, but usually it’s pretty sporadic and only lasts a half hour or so before clearing away to some blue skies and sun rays. And, it seems like for every four rainy days we have, we get four gorgeous clear skied beauties. We’ve been taking advantage of such days as much as we can.

Recently, we went to explore Silver Falls, a natural waterfall paradise about 35 minutes away. The photos below don’t do it justice, but it’ll give you at least a little glimpse. And these were all taken by my husband. Sometimes I just don’t want to bother with pictures, you know? I just want to soak it in. Lucky for me, Kyle snapped some great memories for us.

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We were actually able to walk behind two of the waterfalls at the park. This is looking through to the other side of the falls.

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Family waterfall “selfie.” Judah didn’t get the memo. Also, the Ergo Baby carrier is excellent for our hikes with a toddler. SO comfortable.

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Next up is a hike we took with some friends. We were meaning to head to a location called Jawbone Flats, but it was a bit further than we anticipated, and with five kids in tow, a four mile hike was good enough. Luckily, the hike itself offered plenty to explore, including a great spot to play in the creek below before heading back home.

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photo 5 photoThe other day, it was one of those exceptionally warm days, so we snuck away to the beach. It was about 80 there, and just gorgeous. We had been to this beach previously when we visited Oregon before moving last summer. The day we went, a cloud got stuck in the cliffs and just never rose. Despite the overcast and foggy appearance, this beach still took our breath away. Imagine our reaction when we were able to enjoy it on a clear day.

Judah loved it, which makes this mama happy. He has really enjoyed all of our excursions.

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Can’t wait to see what adventures the summer has in store for us! To keep up with all of our family excursions, follow me on Instagram (@bethanyruthalcock). And, if you like my blog and think others will too, give a click to the “Top Mommy” and “Top Baby” blog icons to your right. Thanks!!

 

Easter Time

I’m a little slow at getting our Easter festivities on the blog, but better late than never. As seems to be the custom with each holiday this year, our little guy was under the weather. But, we were able to sneak in some fun times with friends dying eggs, going to an egg hunt at church, and of course, digging out all the goodies found in his Easter basket.

Here is a photo from Judah’s first egg hunt. He was a lot more interested in playing on the playground where the hunt was located, but he managed to grab a few eggs in between his attempts to scale the giant tires around him.

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And here are a few snaps from our time dying eggs with friends later in the day. The little ones were over it pretty quickly, but there’s always¬†next year ūüėČ

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And here’s the little fella on Easter morning opening up his basket. We got him things for the beach, so he got a sand pale, shovel, rake, and sift. He also got a new pad of paper and crayons…the kid loves to draw, and of course got some yummy Easter candy and some cool new matchbox cars from his grandma and grandpa.

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Not pictured was our fantastic Easter feast of pan seared pork chops, The Pioneer Woman’s perfect potatoes au gratin, homemade french bread, green beans, and deviled eggs. We ate that way too fast for photos.

Much of the day was spent lounging at home, battling fevers and a cough. Luckily, this little guy is on the mend and this smiling face is making its appearance once again!

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And, finally, here he is in his Easter hat from last year…it’s a little small now. And please excuse the peanut butter smeared across his face ūüėČ

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Day Trip :: Oregon Coast

About two weeks ago, my parents came out to visit us during their Spring Break. It was probably the rainiest week we’ve had here in Oregon so far, and Judah was getting over his ten thousandth sickness of the winter. But for a few hours one day, we were able to make it over to the coast, and the sun poked its face through the clouds for the short time we were there.

I usually don’t do photo-heavy posts, but I figured the pictures would do the best job of telling you all about our day (minus the part where we shoved our faces with Mo’s clam chowder). That being said, I apologize in advance‚Ķmy camera and I have not been together as much as we should be and my photog skills are a bit rusty.

This is the first picture Judah has legitimately smiled for, on cue. Pops has that affect on him.

This is the first picture Judah has legitimately smiled for, on cue. Pops has that affect on him.

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This boy LOVES boots (like his mommy). He was over the moon to wear these suckers. But..unfortunately a huge wave came and took one of boots with it.

This boy LOVES boots (like his mommy). He was over the moon to wear these suckers. But..unfortunately a huge wave came and took one of those boots with it. May she rest in peace in the great Pacific.

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This was his post boot-loss face. Every time he looked at the ocean for the rest of the day, it was with this face.

This was his post boot-loss face. Every time he looked at the ocean for the rest of the day, it was with this face.

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These two.

These two. Love them so.

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Still totally ticked about that boot.

Still totally ticked about that boot.

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It was a good day, and an even better visit. We love you Neena and Pops!