The graduate and a tentative game plan

Congrats to Spencer for graduating with his MBA this last week! One graduate degree down, one more to go! (He will get his MSHA degree in a year but he is finished with all of his course work!) Go Spencer!!! When I posted a picture of him on instagram, he shouted, "HASHTAG SUCCESS! HASHTAG HE'S A WINNER! HASHTAG LOADS OF STUDENT DEBT!" (That's the greatest contribution he has ever made to social media :)
 photo IMG_3589_zpse4a70fb5.jpg  photo IMG_3601_zpsfd620282.jpg They are so weird... photo IMG_3597_zpsd0c9d188.jpg We are going to miss our grad school friends! In a month they will be scattered in Denver, Tampa, and Birmingham.
 photo IMG_3623_zps528b35cd.jpg
Today, Spencer flew Jack to Arizona because Jack is going to have a lot more fun in Arizona than with us in the next couple of weeks. Spencer is flying back Birmingham tomorrow, then the next day we are flying to Davenport to look for somewhere to live, then flying back to Birmingham on Friday, then packing up and moving to Iowa the following few days, then driving 24 hours to Arizona to be reunited with Jack, then hanging out in Arizona for a week or so, then driving 12 hours to Utah, then hanging out in Utah for a week or so, then driving 18 hours back to Iowa. That is our logistical nightmarish tentative game plan and just typing it makes me exhausted! I do not enjoy moving.

Jack loved the "airplane store" today. I miss him already!!!
   photo IMG_3632_zps0b1d304e.png  photo IMG_3631_zpsb07ffe49.png  photo IMG_3630_zps5c052c17.png
Now back to packing!


This is me procrastinating

My name is Annie and I suffer from PTMD (Post Traumatic Moving Disorder). I swear it's a thing. It has to be a thing. 

When we moved to Birmingham two years ago we had SO MANY apartment complications that seemed to completely snowball out of control including but not limited to three apartments in one week... one with fleas, one with smoke seeping through the walls and then the one with bedbugs... craigslist disasters, financial disasters, emotional disasters followed by a horrible, lonely, anxiety-ridden summer. (How is that for one sentence?) I have nightmares that the same thing is going to happen this time around. 

(Blog venting about that summer here and here and here and here and here and here and here... it's very uplifting reading material :) 

This month, I have felt the moving trauma creeping back and my best coping mechanism so far has been to avoid any thoughts of moving and to pretend like it's not happening. It's working pretty well for me so far, but just don't ask me if I've started to pack or get organized. And don't remind me that we are moving in basically a week. And don't tell my mom that I haven't been packing one box a day like she has wisely advised :)

So I'm just going to post a bunch of pictures now and continue to put off that inevitable and scary moving thing.

My mom gave Jack and David the cutest Easter outfits. Sadly this is the best picture I got:
 photo photo239_zps9850aa7e.jpg
Jack loved the ward Easter egg hunt and dying Easter eggs:
  photo IMG_3461_zps02a53576.jpg  photo IMG_3467_zpsbc88c57e.jpg 
 photo IMG_0967_zps3f08c76e.jpg
I love this idea and since I don't know how to use that pinterest place full of nightmares and anxiety, I am posting it here:
 photo IMG_3454_zpscdf9d007.png

Jack likes sorting candy by color and playing with it instead of eating it. More candy for me!
 photo IMG_3570_zpsa79c253e.png
 photo IMG_3566_zpsc86e32d8.jpg
I love that David is a thumb sucker and that he is almost always smiling:
 photo IMG_3406_zpscd53036e.jpg
 photo IMG_3293_zps2904e1bf.jpg
Plus he is a genius:
 photo IMG_3569_zps8f780029.png
And I love his guts, literally.
 photo e1f87e37-212b-4480-b6a2-e05d81231551_zpsf6ab91d7.jpg
I love their matching outfits from Grandma:
 photo 2a9216d4-2976-4eee-8903-d1b3c2a930f1_zps53f7e8cf.png
I love that this is the scenery in the morning when I go running. I am going to miss our running trail.
 photo photo140_zps4feaa58c.jpg
I am now going to go pack or hide in my closet in the fetal position or breathe into a paper bag... hopefully just pack. Wish me luck!


Birmingham food that I'm going to miss

(You would think that this list would include some amazing BBQ but it turns out,  Joe's Real BBQ in Gilbert, Arizona is still my favorite.)
  • Surin West's Spicy Beef Salad and Coconut Soup. 
  •  photo 05168e19-9f65-4bf9-806e-3d122fd2f507_zpsc5c7e7e4.jpg 
    I could chug a gallon of this soup in one sitting. It's aaaamazing.  photo IMG_3211_zps53855109.jpg
  • Bluebell Ice Cream. Butter Crunch is the best!!!
  • Backyard Burgers!!!! To be exact, the #1 with the waffle fries and a diet dr. pepper. I am sad that we didn't discover this place until a month ago, but maybe it's a good thing because I would probably be 50 pounds heavier if we found this place anytime sooner... In one month we have been way more than I would like to admit. I am not a burger person, but I crave this burger basically every day. They must inject heroine in it or something. I used to prefer In-N-Out over any other burger... until now. Backyard Burger takes the cake!!! 
  • My friend Brielle's homemade cinnamon rolls! They are THE BEST cinnamon rolls that I have ever had and THE BEST cinnamon rolls that Spencer has ever had. We need to convince her to move to Iowa next year so that she can keep making them for us!
 photo 7ce8de71-2d5f-40b9-8545-80eb14d28848_zps6a94acde.jpg


Three reasons why I'm losing my mind and a letter from my grandma

1. When random people ask me what my new baby's name is, 90 percent of the time I say Jack. Then I realize my mistake but instead of correcting it, I usually just go with it. One time I even went as far as intentionally telling someone that Jack's name was David because I had already told them that David was Jack. (I hope you followed that). The only time "just going with it" didn't work was at David's doctor's office when I signed him in as "Jack Hall".

2. When I was doing the laundry this weekend, I kissed my folded clothes before adding it to the pile three separate times. I think it's because I always kiss David's head before I put him down and you know how babies and folded laundry are pretty similar...

3. I had a number three but I can't remember it anymore. See, I'm losing my mind!


I got an awesome letter in the mail from my grandma with some stamps in it. At first I thought she was also losing her mind by accidentally sending me her sheet of stamps but she said:

We have a really nice lady who works at our post office who is from Korea. When David was born I got some stamps for you explaining "the year of the horse." Grandpa used them to pay bills, and he was in big trouble! When I went back to buy more they were all out. She knows about the Chinese New Year baby, so she was also sad. The other day she was so happy to tell me she found some and saved them for me. Yeah! I just knew David needed some for his important correspondence. Can't wait to see those two boys!

 photo IMG_0950_zps51df2f72.jpg

I'm so glad that the Korean mail lady in Holladay, Utah is looking out for David :)


P.S. Eat this cake!!! You won't be sorry!


Survival mode and get your flu shots!!!

I thought I was finally getting into a pretty good routine as a mom of two kids. But then this week David started waking up two times in the night again and I started getting anxiety about leaving my top story apartment with the kids by myself again and my brain explosions began again because until this week I was in complete denial that we are moving in three weeks. Three weeks?!! I think my double spring break high and running high wore off. Blogging didn't even cross my mind this week, which is weird because I usually have a bajillion thoughts I want to send into cyberspace.
 photo texting_zps0f52e767.png
 photo 253d3fad-bbfb-4bbd-b00c-fe3de29a7f8b_zpsb7a53722.png
So I guess the whole point of this blog post is just to tell you to go get your flu shots so you don't almost die like Jamie almost did! In the words of Krissy:

I used to not care one way or another about this whole anti vaccine movement until Jamie almost died on me in January. You can read all the statistics/data you want but until you're sitting at the bedside of your loved one watching them fight for their life you will truly never know how important it is to vaccinate against preventable diseases that can KILL you. Who would've guessed it would've been my 27 year old, completely healthy husband with no past respiratory history who would contract the flu, go into ARDS and be put on the highest life support available, as opposed to my 2 yr old daughter with a breathing condition. Please vaccinate. If for no other reason then to prevent yourself from having to go through the hell that is having to watch your loved one go through what Jamie went through. I would have DIED if it had been Kelsie. Sorry, vent over.



Things I'm loving and not loving

Things I'm loving:
  • This ADORABLE baby blanket that my best friend's mom made for David! It is one of the best surprises I have ever received in the mail. I'm in love with it. 
 photo ba2ff353-e7c8-47fc-ace5-a0e1fa8f09f6_zpsd7d62ce4.jpg
  • David's smiley faces
 photo PicMonkeyCollagejpg_zpsfe5f94c1.jpg
Things I'm not loving:
  • Jack pretending to love on David with sneaky intentions of torturing him. David flinches and usually cries whenever Jack comes close to him. 
 photo 7f7d6ea7-1d04-4d8d-8f79-656d79599e6c_zpsbccb0e57.jpg
  • The new TLC show, My Five Wives. I thought I was going to love it because Sister Wives is my number one guilty pleasure, but My Five Wives left me sick to my stomach and gave me way too much anxiety. I won't be watching it again. (That is a lie. I can't stop!)


New Orleans Day 3

On our last day at New Orleans, we checked out of our hotel and headed to Central Grocery, an old-fashion Italian grocery store, to pick up one of their famous muffuletta sandwiches, a huge loaf of bread with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone. It was sooooo delicious.
 photo IMG_0790_zps1a47f5d7.jpg  photo IMG_0796_zps825f4708.jpg
 photo IMG_0789_zpsea739495.jpg
Since we don't spend enough time at the zoo at home (ha!), we decided that we needed to see the Audubon Zoo. It was my favorite zoo I have ever been to! Good thing I already said that I wasn't holding back with the zoo photo dumps anymore:
 photo IMG_0801_zps2ea95e8e.jpg  photo IMG_0802_zps00c8cddf.jpg  photo IMG_0820_zpsa8dc9de0.jpg
The orangutans were my favorite! photo IMG_0849_zps3580289a.jpg  photo IMG_0862_zps7d6a51f6.jpg
These trees were everywhere in New Orleans!
 photo IMG_0870_zps37e67016.jpg  photo IMG_0895_zpsc1d37390.jpg
They had an awesome alligator/swamp exhibit
 photo IMG_0915_zps91321f3f.jpg  photo IMG_0902_zpsa2eebe14.jpg  photo IMG_0932_zps1795ed31.jpg
We finished up at the zoo just as it started to rain and then headed home. I'm so glad that we were able to visit New Orleans before we move. We loved the Big Easy!

New Orleans Day 1
New Orleans Day 2


New Orleans Day 2

Jack woke up at 6 am sharp the next day, as always. We got breakfast at our hotel and were out the door by 8. The city was so quiet and empty that early in the morning and it was nice seeing the city that way. We walked through the French Quarter to Jackson Square and toured St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest operating cathedral in the United States. I loved the Jazz music playing everywhere on the square and the architecture made me feel like I was in Europe. It was such a fun and happy environment! Afterwards, we walked across the street to Cafe Du Monde to try their famous beignets. The beignets tasted a lot like scones and were obviously delicious!
 photo IMG_0717_zps5ef234ff.jpg  photo IMG_0673_zps962b6904.jpg  photo IMG_0700_zps09e5fa0c.jpg  photo IMG_0704_zpsd90760ab.jpg  photo IMG_0760_zps119e7c2b.jpg
 photo 305ece0c-c6a9-4f49-9de3-80cc9623c23f_zpsd723a3d7.jpg  photo IMG_0707_zpsd90d58da.jpg
 photo IMG_0712_zpsffaf4ec7.jpg
We walked down the Mississippi River and took Algiers Ferry across the river to Algiers Point. Algiers Point is one of the oldest neighborhoods in New Orleans and I could have walked around looking at the cute little houses all day long. A lot of the homes were still decorated for Mardi Gras.
 photo photo235_zpsaed5c897.jpg
 photo IMG_0725_zps11e0928e.jpg  photo IMG_0735_zps69ea5fe3.jpg  photo IMG_0736_zps59ae4fa2.jpg
Nursing at Algiers Courthouse
 photo IMG_0744_zps43142fe9.jpg
View from Algiers Point
 photo IMG_0757_zpsb8671f81.jpg
Waiting for the ferry
 photo IMG_0752_zps1848f80e.jpg
Once we got back to French Quarter, we stopped at Johnny's Po-Boy for lunch. I got the recommended roast beef po-boy and Spencer braved the alligator sausage po-boy! Spencer loved both of them and I thought they were both good but tasted like sandwiches made for men :)
 photo IMG_0759_zps08bfb16d.jpg
 photo photo136_zpsfe630ba3.jpg
Jack kept crying for "donuts" aka beignets, so Spencer and Jack went to get more beignets while I enjoyed the jazz music, watched the fortune tellers and nursed David on Jackson Square.
 photo IMG_0767_zpsb462ee71.jpg
I was soooo excited to go to the French Market! I hadn't been to a market like that since I lived in China, and shopping at markets are totally my thing! When we finally got there, David started crying, Jack fell apart and refused to stay in his stroller, Spencer chased Jack, and I was left to push two strollers through the crowded market while trying to soothe David. I took a short moment to grieve over the fact that I wasn't carefree and single anymore, bought a freaking alligator head of all things because Spencer and Jack talked me into it, then booked it out of the market as fast as I could! Jack was asleep in Spencer's arms before we got to our hotel room but David was awake and ready to party. We had free dinner at our hotel and called it a night.

 photo photo234_zps8bab92b4.jpg  photo IMG_0770_zpsdeb60dc8.jpg  photo IMG_0794_zps34d1ae98.jpg  photo IMG_0780_zps4296d1e6.jpg
They cramp my style but I sure love them!
 photo photo328_zps8a95a3ba.jpg  photo photo135_zpsea22a093.jpg  photo IMG_0787_zpsf8255525.jpg  photo IMG_0782_zps410484df.jpg  photo IMG_0720_zpsdc888da7.jpg
New Orleans Day 1
New Orleans Day 3