Sunday, April 28, 2013


On our second day in Texas, we headed out (though not too early) to find a little local book store that had a weekly story hour I thought Mason might enjoy. Twig bookstore is nestled in the Pearl Brewery development.  This is where my heart came alive and I became OBSESSED with everything I saw in this neighborhood.  There was a ton of modern architecture, but the plant life was amazing, too.  I was instantly dreaming of transforming our porch, our backyard, our lifestyle. But seriously.
Here are the two Stover men in front of the Choo Choo.  Yes, we rarely call them trains anymore.  We call them choo choos.  One of us was pretty thrilled to see this, even if the picture doesn't show it.
And then we happened upon this little city jewel.  The pipe was wearing a scarf! I have no idea what the inspiration for this was, but it was awesome. And then I got sad that I gave my yarn stash away because I wanted to knit a sweater for a pipe.
This next picture is my favorite picture of the whole trip, well, other than the pictures that include my husband or son.  I can only imagine that I sound silly when I talk about this, but I was head over heals for the industrial meets natural.  Give me a few years and then I'll post photos of my backyard and we'll see if I've achieved my version of paradise.
We went into the bookstore after stopping for pastries (aww darn) and Mason quickly got comfortable with the animals. Whenever we see a cute little raccoon stuffed animal, I can't help but force encourage him to play with it. But I don't think he minds.
We were eagerly waiting for story time to begin.  This picture below is just moments before Mason spilled nearly an entire cup of milk all over the floor - and himself!  Poor little guy. We reacted quickly, but we still totally made a scene. The thought running through my head was "I'll never see these people again.  I'll never see these people again." The only thing that made it slightly better was that it was vanilla milk.  So rather than stink like nasty warm milk, at least it smelled like vanilla!
After this, we went out shopping to an outlet mall, so there aren't a whole lot of pictures of that. No need to photograph me in my natural habitat...haha. We did do a bit of damage at the Gap outlet, and we also discovered that Mason has a love for ketchup. He was eating it plain, just licking it right off his finger!
On day three of the trip, you can bet I drug my boys back to my favorite little area!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


It was time for the family to get away, and away we went!  Choosing San Antonio was not put through rigorous analysis by any means.  We knew we would be gone in early April, so we wanted to go somewhere warmer.  Florida was an option, but I feel like when we go to Florida I want to do it all (mainly Disney), and we just weren't ready for that.  We thought about Arizona, but for some reason, just settled on San Antonio. And I'm really glad we did, because we had an amazing time.
Our flight left first thing in the morning, which meant that we got up during what still felt like the middle of the night to get there in time. The flights were everything I could ask for.  I was armed with food, drink, movies, and toys to help Mason be as agreeable as possible.  And overall he handled the flights as well as I could have hoped.  We ended up getting to our hotel by lunchtime, so we grabbed something to eat and set off exploring.
This is the view from our hotel room.  Yes, the river is brown, but look at all that green!  Seeing the greenery was a needed change for me, and (you will see this from the rest of the trip) that it has become a new little obsession of mine.  I may have just this morning bought a new houseplant and planted something San Antonio-inspired in our front garden.
We walked around the neighborhood and the riverwalk.  Just look at how my little baby is turning into a little man!
One of the first things we found to do was explore a children's museum. Mason  enjoyed it very much.  And it wasn't very busy, either, so Mason pretty much had his way with any of the exhibits he wanted. Unfortunately one of us (me) had a little trouble figuring out the camera's white balance at first, so forgive a couple yellowish photos.
Lest you think Mason was tired of airplanes after his morning adventure, think again.  We seriously spent like 30 minutes playing in that plane. Toddler eternity.  I am very thankful that Mason got the opportunity to explore without too much hand-holding or stroller confinement.
After the children's museum, we continued exploring and found the Alamo.  Now, I have a few admissions about the Alamo.  First, I didn't know it was in San Antonio, and I surely didn't know it was in the middle of the city.  Yes, the whole city is build around this little treasure.  And little isn't a joke.  It was tiny! No, we didn't go in, but I totally imagined it to be bigger.  Really, my only knowledge of the Alamo comes from Pee Wee's Big Adventure.  Please don't think less of me.
Those pictures aren't the best, but it is nice to have pictures that include Byron and me every once in awhile.  Mason is totally at the age where we end up with a lot of pictures of the side of his face or the back of his head.  After this, we walked the Riverwalk some more and then found a place to eat and went to bed.  I definitely think day two of our trip was my favorite, or at least one of the more memorable parts, so I'm excited to recount it up next!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Eating.  It is something that we all do, and although I like to think of myself as a mostly healthy eater (with a major sweet tooth), I will admit that I have never really watched what I eat very carefully.  There are times in my life I've plumped up a size and times I've slimmed down a size, but most of the time it came with relative ease.  I am lucky in that I have a small frame (I'm 5' 2").  But recently, I've had a few what I will call "health hiccups".  Nothing major is wrong, and no doctors have informed me that I need any type of lifestyle change, but these hiccups really did something to me and my mental state more than anything.  You see, it had been a little over a year and a half, and I was still carrying pregnancy weight.  How I wish I could be one of those people who slimmed down almost instantly, but I am not.  And I was having a hard time fitting in proper exercise in my life. 
So this motivated me to take a look at my options.  Are there dietary changes I needed to make?  I felt like for the sake of my health, both physical and emotional, the time for change was now.  I quickly found that the best option for me would be to cut out, or at least cut way back on, meat and dairy.  Meat wasn't that big of an issue, but dairy would be a bigger sacrifice for me.  Surprisingly, my husband said he would attempt to stick to my new eating plan (though he still adds cheese to his meals and eats meat).  So with his support, I made the change. 
Now, I didn't want to be stupid about this, because if I am going to be cutting out two food groups that I have been used to my whole life, I wanted to ensure that I wasn't losing out on nutrients.  So added to our diet became plenty of beans, larger hepings of greens and broccoli, more nuts, etc.  I turned to Pinterest to find recipes that would work for our family.  Some of them turned out great, and some of them, well, not so much (I'm looking at you chick pea brownies).  I've been going at this for about 8 weeks, and although I have been eating slightly more dairy and meat since I started, it is amazing what the change has done for me. 
Starting off, I have lost about 6 pounds.  And although I wouldn't quite say I'm back to pre-pregnancy weight, I have seen those numbers on the scale once.  So I'm *this close*.  Even better than that, though, I have way more energy.  I had begun crawling into bed shortly after Mason would go down, which completely eliminated any time that Byron and I had together without him.  Now, I can stay awake for a full hour - sometimes more - after he goes down. That sounds pathetic, I know, but keep in mind I wake up at 5 every day, so early bedtimes are still a must.  Now I can go to bed at 9:30 instead of 8:00.  And the increased energy that I feel really helps my family.  I can play with Mason more.  Our house is cleaner.  Our things are more organized.  And the more I read, the more I think this can all be blamed on the sugar I was eating. 
I seem to be hitting the phase of any new initiative where the initial excitement is wearing off, and now meal planning is getting just a smidge harder, but I am committed to continue.  I don't want this to be so much of a diet change, but rather a way of life.  I hope to shortly lose those last few pounds, feel better about myself as summer is coming around, and have more energy to be participating in life with my family! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I am a bit behind the times in wishing people a happy Easter, but I actually have a good reason.  A little something called vacation happened to us.  And let me tell you, it was AH-mazing.  Pictures will be coming soon.  But for now, I want to share a couple of photos from our Easter. First, my little dapper Dan.  Isn't he a cutie?  The bowtie might be a bit much, but he just looked so darn handsome in it (and a little mischievous).
My dad is a minister and planning to retire in October, so it was really important to us to attend his last Easter service, and he did such a great job.  And the weather was great, too, which meant we could get a few pictures outside.  We are notoriously bad at capturing holiday pictures of our family, but we managed to get a couple this time!  Of course, attempting to capture a toddler on camera is another battle in itself.
I hope you and your families had a very happy Easter.  He is risen!