Sunday at the Park

Medellin, Colombia

A new park recently opened near our home in Medellin and Sunday seemed like the perfect day to check it out. Even though it’s been a little bittersweet being back, I can’t deny what a great and beautiful town this is. I do love a city and this one sure is pretty. The mountains in the distance remind me of my hometown in East Tennessee, which is always a comfort being a continent away. And the green space and zest for outdoors brings back memories of living in Chicago, except in this City of Eternal Spring, there’s no race against the weather to squeeze in as many warm days as Mother Nature will allow. Aside from the public space and playgrounds that make an urban living lifestyle pleasant, one of the best parts of Medellin is the people. Welcoming from the first moment, I can’t say enough about their kindness, helpfulness, and warmth, especially to little ones. Spending her toddler-hood here is easy because “the village” mentality is alive and well. Someone’s always willing to share a ball, scoop her if she falls, or offer a word of advice (even if I don’t fully understand it!)

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Here are a few photo’s from our little outing. I realized that I haven’t shared much of Medellin at all, and that’s a shame, because there really is so much greatness.

In between Fosterie and mommin’ I’m really going to try to do better, because it’s so much more than Narcos, wink.

These pictures could also serve as an advertisement for Leap Frog’s Violet, which is basically life at the moment.  “Vie” (Evelina’s name for her) goes everywhere, and gets more loving than any human combined. This purple puppy will surely be making appearances in any upcoming posts….

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Best E-newsletters for Pregnancy/New Mom’s

 

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So you’re pregnant. Or a new mom. Life’s about to get (or has just become) quite different. In this season of life, your free time is limited and priorities great. You know you need to sift through pertinent parenting and product info but time is of the essence. At the onset of pregnancy, I subscribed (and later unsubscribed) to a plethora of e-newsletters finally narrowing down my faves to the only ones I really ever read and enjoyed. Here are a few of my faves:

The Bump – You planned your wedding via The Knot and started newlywed life with The Nest so obviously you can’t have a baby without The Bump. ;) From weekly belly updates and beyond, you’ll love following your bump/baby’s growth and development with tips and info!) for years to come.

Rockets of Awesome –  formerly Cricket’s Circle, this has been modern & fun way to learn about the latest and greatest in products and parenting, without intimidating vibes. With the recent change to Rockets of Awesome, I’m eager to see how the newsletter changes (if it does!)

Storq – technically a maternity apparel line, I still love the emails because they’re simple and to the point, plus there’s always a cute vid at the end.

Glitter & Bubbles – A Chicago mom after my own heart, Shop E-dropoff founder Corri McFadden’s style blog with her tot is a total win for girl mom’s.

See? Simple and easy. Have any more suggestions? I’d love to hear them!

Current Reads.

Big Magic

Can’t get enough Big Magic… Have you read it?

If you’re a creative, entrepreneur, someone with more ideas than you know what to do with, or just wanting something a little different, I highly recommend it.

In some ways, it’s almost too deep to get into here without writing a novel, but in other ways it’s quick read with tons of ‘ah ha’ moments and simple wisdom. I dig it.

I’m usually light-years behind on “new” reads so these definitely aren’t the latest and greatest but wishlist worthy regardless… What’s up next on my reading list (sooner than later, hopefully.)

Zelda
#Girlboss
Beautiful Ruins

What’s in your library lately?

P.S. (Recently finished and recommend these as well.)
The Silkworm
How I Lost 170 Million Dollars
Yes, Please

Off We Go

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“The best journey takes you home.”

Guys, I’m going HOME! It’s been nearly six months since I’ve seen family and that’s waaay to long of a stretch for me. I’ve realized over the last year or so that my limit seems to be around half that, so I’m twice overdue! I’m so looking so forward to spending some quality time in Tennessee for a bit. There’s no place like home.

 

A Mother’s Love

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Another year, another Mother’s Day and it still doesn’t feel real but it does feel deeper.

Leading up to it this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself as a Mom… am I really doing my best? Like, really? And about my wonderful Mom (she really is the best). And I’ve also been thinking about all my friends who recently became, or are about to become mother’s. And I think this post might be leaning a bit towards the last group, because when I think of new babies, I think of the uneasiness in the unknown.

There’s a bond in this motherhood thing that I think, when we really look for it, is stronger than any mom shaming and guilt groups combined. Sometimes we feel like the judgement is everywhere, but is it? Or are we just a little overly sensitive? A tad insecure? If we worry about our bodies and our careers and keeping up with the Jones Kardashians, why wouldn’t we worry and wonder about the biggest the job of all – raising our tiny humans? But I’m hearing it and seeing it more and more in new-ish moms – comparisons to one another and our choices and actions. A doubt that brings us down.

But there’s a simple thing I’ve learned in my short time as a mom that’s best summed up in a quote by my best friend Amy Poehler, “Good for you, not for me.” Because those trivial decisions (“OMG you don’t have the Sophie teether?? The shame!”) aren’t what makes someone a good mom, or a mom at all. Instead, it’s the common things we all think and feel, outside of the material things and how soon we should start puree’s. What mom hasn’t rocked her baby at 3am and felt like the only person awake on earth? Looked at her newborn and thought, “How can I love you so much when I’ve only just met you?”. Cried on the first day back to work, first day of day care, or for no reason at all? Felt that swell in your chest when your baby brings home her first mother’s day gift from school and it’s just a tiny hand print on a piece of cardboard but it might as well be the Hope diamond. Tears and smiles and heart explosions, that’s what motherhood is. Not breastfeeding or bottle-feeding or strollers or baby-wearing. It’s love. It’s that everything we do for our babies, every decision, every smile, and every tear, is filled with love.

And there’s nothing like a mother’s love.

E’s Second Easter

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Where does another year go. For real?? Somebody needs to stop stealing my time!!

I’ve always loved Easter. It’s got all the spirituality of Christmas, with slightly less commercialism. Plus the beautiful promise of spring, of warmer sunshine, of flowers blooming. It’s almost like a second New Year’s in my mind. Now I associate Evelina with Easter since just before this holiday in 2014 we found out that two would become three.

It feels like just five minutes ago Evelina was a squishy infant, dolled up in her little Easter dress, chillin’ for pics on the porch.

As an almost 16 month old, there’s not too much chillin’ going on these days, but this sweet little bunny brings a light to our life like I never could have imagined. It’s surreal to think of two years ago at this time, about to find out I was pregnant, and making a reveal video. Now we’re chasing a toddler, watching her play and learn, and loving that there’s something new to discover every day, about her, and about parenting. Thinking back, wondering what she would be like, she’s nothing I imagined, and everything better. Her sweet hugs and “mwah” kisses, her happy squeals, her sassy little snicker laugh. My heart didn’t just make room for her, it grew.

Like a spring flower, the promise of something new. It just keeps getting better…
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We Made it to Medellin

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Oh my goodness time is FLYING here in Colombia. I’m sure it’s because we’re moving around but compared to Granada, where one month felt more like three, our weeks here have passed in what feels like days. I’ve been terrible about spending time online because we’re just so wrapped up in exploring I don’t even want to bother. My list of things to share just keeps growing but I promise it’s coming. Someday. Soon. Soon-ish. ;) For now I can share that we’re in L.O.V.E. with this town. More to come!

In the meantime, you can head over to Instagram if you want the scoop in real time! Also, I recently joined snapchat (LittleAshleighT) if that’s your jam. I have no idea what I’m doing but what the hey… You’ll get some cool scenery and a little silliness out of it!

Having a Blast in Bogota

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Do you guys see this?? This is big, beautiful Bogota. And we’ve been busy exploring until we’re exhausted and loving every minute of it. No time to type! So much to see, eat, do! It feels invigorating to be in a city again. Nothing against small towns and sweet countrysides but cities have energies you just can’t deny. And the cooler temps are a welcome refresher that feels oh so good coming off a month of sweltering.

I promise I’ll come back and update this post with pictures and details and all the fun things we’re seeing. (I’ve even started a “Trendspotting” list on my phone! You can take the girl out of fashion, but you can’t make her stop trend spotting…)

 

4/27/2016
Update: I pinky swear I’m going to update this post soon to include our favorite finds, because boy, did we have some. Stay tuned! :)

Hola, Colombia!

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We arrived in Pereira and first thoughts, I think we’re gonna like it here.

On Sunday morning we took a stroll to find food and found that the streets had closed for bikers, there were exercise classes happening in the park, soccer games, doggie play areas, vendors selling fresh fruits and juices (even doggie treats!), and families galore.

I can’t say exactly why, but standing in the middle of all of that, I started to tear up.

I think because it all just felt so normal. So much like the Chicago life we loved. We had taken hot showers with plenty of water, slept sweetly in our high rise rental, and found city people doing city things. It felt like home.

We only have a few days here and then it’s on to Bogota and Medellin. I’m already sucked in to the color, the politeness, the modernness of it all and I can’t wait to see what awaits!

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Packing Light

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Packing day! We’re wrapping up our month in Nicaragua and heading to Colombia tomorrow! If you’ve ever wondered what three people sharing one suitcase looks like, well, here ya go. We each have a row (which is probably more than most travel families, but it *is* me we’re talking about) and the space left on top is for toiletries, shoes, and toys. This, two backpacks, and one ukulele is how we roll!

I wish I had some great tips but honestly, it’s hard. And truthfully, as silly as it sounds, each packer just has to find her way. I can tell you I’m a folder, not a roller. And ziplock bags are your friend. (Forget all those cutesy little travel cases! They eat up too much valueable weight and space.) Oh, and solid tops for the win. (Spice ’em up with some bright jewelry! Shameless plug.)

When I packed for our move to Costa Rica I did it all wrong. (But everyone says they all got it wrong the first time, too. Maybe that was just to make me feel better??) I just waaaay too much stuff overall, and too much of the wrong stuff. Over the past few months I’ve learned (and edited!) a lot and am a lot more comfortable living with less.

After all, there’s something freeing about knowing you can throw it all in a suitcase at a moment’s notice and go!

Speaking of go, I’d better… Catch ya from Colombia!