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a frozen halloween

For the love of your kids, and only your kids will a parent watch the same movie (frozen in my household) over 100 times in the course of 3 months (slight exaggeration). What’s not an exaggeration is that I can recite every.single.line of that movie and my husband and I bust into song exactly like all of the other youtube videos of parents’ car debutes of “Love is an Open Door”. So there should have been no surprise when it comes to Halloween costumes as well as 2 year old birthday party themes: FROZEN is the only option. For now, I’ll focus on Halloween’s rendition of the Weinstock’s take on Frozen.

{{First off, thank you pinterest.}}

Evelyn will be collecting candy this year as none other than the Queen herself, Elsa. Don’t you worry, her side-kick Nora won’t be far behind in her first Halloween appearance as Olaf. While Target supplied Evelyn’s beautiful ballgown, pinterest and my craft closet inspired my crafting abilities take on Olaf. While my friends may claim me as crafty – this costume took little to no skill. If you look closely at the “stitching” it will be a miracle if one of the felt “buttons” doesn’t dangle off within the first block of trick-or-treating.

unnamed

In case Nora falls asleep on her side-kick responsibilities, Evelyn’s candy basket is Olaf’s head so that take’s some of the pressure off Nora for her first year — we know it can be extremely overwhelming collecting extreme amounts of candy fo’ free 🙂I have a feeling Halloween’s from here on out are going to be so much fun!

mary-poppins-and-bertThis year, Sam and I are even dressing up for a friend’s party! It’s been three years since we’ve dressed up as Juno & Bleeker & while Sam still has his knee high socks & all too high gym shorts on reserve, I’m feeling a bit outgrown for that costume so we are attempting to pull off Mary Poppins & Bert  (the chimney sweep guy). Other options we considered/were suggested to us were: Patty & Doug Funny, Guess Who Game Pieces, Princess Laya & Luke Skywalker; Victoria & David Beckham, Bacon & Eggs, Wonder-Woman & Superman; Piglet & Pooh… just to name a few. If you’re still considering what to be – here’s a cute link to couples costumes. The cutest family costume I saw when hosting a Fall Fest at a Community Center was the characters of Scooby do! The family was adorable and the costumes were simple and appropriate.
I’m excited to post photos of the girls out trick-or-treating. Our neighborhood does it big so it will be fun to see how excited Evelyn gets! Halloween is just over two weeks away so if you havn’t thought about your costume yet – Target has had deals on costumes (buy one get one half off), goodwill is a great place to browse for inspiration & for your candy deals, check out this app and get $1 back for your purchase of a bag of candy from anywhere you purchase it from. I’ll probably post more about this app later on because — FREE money? Why miss out?
Happy Halloween-ing everyone! Isn’t fall the best?!

 

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a year in recap

Talk about abandonment! It’s been just over one year since I’ve sat down, cozied up and shared on this little space. There are many reasons for not writing, but none of them are valid enough to break my intention of writing a blog. When I first started, I used this as a place to update family and friends on major (& not so major) life events but really, when the tough events started popping up, I backed away and closed up shop. As mentioned in one of my last posts, there is always so much to say, its just been a struggle to understand the “whys” and the “hows” of current happenings in an articulate manner. This space just didn’t feel like the right venue to hash out said events for my family.

2013-12-08 16.09.16While we are still hashing, there are many good (& some not so good) updates to share. So, in a nutshell — Evelyn turned last December – her birthday present was us announcing her sister (she’ll understand and thank us for that present later, right?)! In February we had caving ceilings so we moved in with my mother in law, repaired ceilings, renovated our bathroom (still in progress:: yes, 8 months later..pictures to come!), and celebrated the lives of two very important people in our lives: Sam’s grandmother MomMom and my grandfather, Jerry. Both celebrations of life were tough and beautiful.

Pregnant in Costa Rica

In April, Sam and I took a honeymoon to Costa Rica. It was beautiful! Being five months pregnant put a damper on some of our planned adventure activities and the all inclusive benefits (just for me) but the time away to reconnect was wonderful.

And to the biggest & BEST event of the past year: we welcomed our beautiful, healthy baby girl, Eleanor ‘Nora’ Dianne Weinstock to the world on July 30th.

Nora Dianne

Evelyn adjusted so well immediately to being a big sister. When she wakes up in the morning, she says, “Daddy? Wyatt? Baby?” meaning these are the first cuties I want to lay eyes on each beautiful morning. She gives Nora kisses, asks to hold her and bossily tells me where to place her when either she wants to push Nora in the swing or wants Mom to grab a snack from the kitchen. Luckily, Nora is such an easy baby, I have not felt as though Evelyn has been neglected due to feedings or the baby’s needs at all. It’s been a really healthy mix of attention to both girls, and if anything, I’ve felt guilty for not getting to sit and stare at Nora for endless hours as I did with Evy. My 100 pictures of Nora each day would counter my guilt. SO thankful for my beautiful smiling baby who sleeps 8-10 hours each night and my helpful, curious and brilliant toddler who keeps life exciting 🙂 I’m one lucky mama.

As for Papa Weinstock, he’s still doing well. He’s adjusted to life in Maryland. He loves where he lives and he even has time to partake in his passion of photography through teaching a small class. He’s recently been shown an incredible amount of support from previous co-workers and friends which has been such a blessing to our family. We are so very grateful for the support.

To wrap up a year in updates, there is one more final significant life event in the works: I’m re-entering the recreation field aka my passion. This change, while seemingly “just a career change”, is much more than that. Working a job in which you make a difference in people’s lives (even through the simplest thing of bringing a concert to their neighborhood) is something I’ve been missing for almost two years. It was a major void in my life and I didn’t realize how unhappy & settled I’d become. Since accepting this new job, I have my enthusiasm back and I am excited to start in just over a week. There will be updates on all of the above mentioned over the next months!

With that, it’s good to be back 🙂

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we’re still here!

It’s been just about a month since our trip to Portland (which means, it’s also been a month since our last update to our cozy space here).  We’re still here! (I did suggest there may be a bit of a hiatus as we settle down from the events spurred by our trip.)

To recap:  Portland still exists in all of its beauty, uniqueness and charm.  Due to such acknowledgement, we made sure to frequent a few of our favorite spots while there such as:

  • The Lovejoy Deluxe at Lovejoy Bakers
  • Any one of the daily specialty sandwiches from Laurelhurst Market
  • The tapas menu from Hoyt 23
  • Thai from our old usual place in the pearl (ya know.. that place since I can’t seem to remember the name)
  • Stumptown coffees & lattes
  • Café Nell bloody mary
  • Salted Caramel & Balsamic Cracked Pepper Strawberry Ice cream cones from Salt n Straw
  • … among a few other local eateries

Stumptown Coffee

Auntie Kate

Welcome Back Weinstocks

Lovejoy Bakers

Laurelhurst Market

Yes, all of the above are food joints, but Portland is a very foodie city – to which, Sam and my list would be a disgrace but really, you can’t go wrong.  Other things enjoyed were a friends get together at the lovely Elia’s place.  It was great night filled of brief catch ups, youtube sharings, twerking attempts and learning how to prune (right?).  The boys did their thing, the girls did ours just like 8th grade, because it was long overdue.   The babe hung out among everyone for an hour or so and then snoozed during the rest of the festivities like the perfect tike she is.

my lovely ladies

This trip was more of a mission: bring Papa Weinstock to MD.  Well, mission accomplished after three straight days of packing up, about 60 phone calls to the shipping company, about 30 lattes and countless other  “little – last minute – to do’s.”  All in all, I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with all that it entailed in any other city because it’s really where I am most comfortable, confident and calm.  That city brings out the best in me.

It also helped that my good friend, Madalyn offered her adorable little cottage-style studio to us in Sellwood for the week.  It was the perfect little place and if I had thought to take a few photos of its charm, it’d be worth sharing because she’s really made it adorable, cozy and perfect.  A huge thank you to Madalyn for her generosity.

… Another successful mission was completed that was unexpected to say the least – closure.  I had anticipated that this trip would be like the re-opening of a wound.  I have missed Portland (& continue to) but the idea of potential regret of moving across the country was quieted upon returning home to Maryland from PDX.  Portland will be there should we ever find ourselves in an opportunity to move back, but for now, we’re happy to start creating a network here in Baltimore.  Portland will be (hopefully) a yearly trip (for now).

As for Papa Weinstock’s arrival – we’re still sorting things out, settling through details, belongings & future plans.  It’s challenging but so far, there are not too many lessons to offer about moving a parent closer and the idea of care-taking.  All I can say is that support and a listening ear go a very long way.  To those who have offered this to us, we are forever grateful.

I promise to not be as much of a stranger!  Here’s what you can look forward to:  A Green Wedding, There’s a stranger in my car, I’m not 21 anymore & an update on little Miss E.

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things my daughter is most likely trying to tell us

evelyn six months

“ahhhh, yah, yah, ahh bweeough”

Those are the sweet, sweet sounds of my little ladies “first words.” Evelyn is developing quite the personality. Every day with her is a blast. Each morning when we peak over her crib, she’s changed a little from when we put her to bed the night before. Whether it be her hair, her smile, a new “ability”, etc. It’s hard to believe our little girl is  8 months already. We’re loving every single moment with her.

She’s extremely chatty. When she communicates, she yammers on and on.  Based on her really mom? smirks, her overly dramatic sighs (at all of the appropriate moments) and her perfected pre-eye rolls (body language), here’s our interpretation of her sweet chit chats:

To Wyatt:  Come over here you obnoxiously loud furry creature; let me chew on your tale!

To Netflix: Really, this episode again?  I already know that George is going to mess up the trains and the conductor is going to save the line up at the very last minute possible, dad.  Either change the episode or put Big Bird on already. 

To meal time:  Why do you keep cleaning the avocado off my face? Don’t you know I’m trying out a new mask for smoother skin – let me be already!

To why she only talks back to our baby-talk:  Yes, I understand what you’re saying in English but hearing you talk baby is just too much fun.  {When we speak in English, nothing. When we speak in Evy-language, we’re in business.}

To teething: Stop shoving your fingers in my mouth already.  I’ll let you know when a tooth comes in with constant screaming paired with the inability to sooth me and repeated temper tantrums when you don’t let me gnaw on whatever I want to, deal?

To bath time:  You really need to learn a new song if you’re not in fact going to let me splish and splash to my liking.  Who cares if you’re worried about flooding the bathroom floor?  Also, rubber duckies and wash clothes are meant for eating.

To paparazzi (aka mom & dad): Another photo?  Didn’t you just take 52 photos of me trying to enjoy my sweet potatoes yesterday?  Did you want me to turn my head left (just slightly) and look longingly into the distance?  Were you hoping for a smile while I’m trying to conquer the light game on this remote?  Sorry mom, I’m a little bit busy. 

I'm moisturizing mom, leave it there!

I’m moisturizing mom, leave it there!

We love hearing her yammers, but we will appreciate the moments of interpreting her infamous facial expressions, her dramatic sighs, and her pointed body language until she is able to communicate in full sentences because we all know, she will most likely have the wonderful speaking abilities of the D’Angelo’s paired with the stubbornness/sass of (whatever my side of the family wants to take credit for that, Campbell’s, Hoffman’s, Lenser’s). I have no doubt that this girl will always be right. 

are you questioning me?

are you questioning me?

From her first actual word, have sympathy for Sam.  He’ll really have his hands full then ;).

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4 is the magic number

Swimming with Dolphins in Kaikura, NZ

Private dolphin swim in NZ

…. Four years together and magic is just one of many words to describe all that encompassed them.  I know it’s typically faux pa to acknowledge years together outside of marriage but we’ve earned it and I’m going to celebrate it (*gosh darn it*)!  So my tribute to my loving hubby – happy four years of learning, loving, growing, cheering, cheers-ing, parenting, traveling, adventuring, exploring, trusting and honoring one another.

Four years ago, my best friend Emily and I debated over a beach trip or to visit our friend from high school in Seattle.  It was a toss up, and I’m so happy we decided on Seattle.  Who would’ve ever thought my first words to my husband would be, “nice garden”… Everything from those first moments of meeting you are so fitting to who we are together as a couple; from our first fight over who wore the flower behind their ear first, to me jumping into your jacket with you after the sun escaped, to stubbornly waiting on you to text – four years later and nothing’s changed,…. except everything – and all for the better.

Visited 26 states, 3 countries (soon to be 4), 2 cross country road trips, 6 moves, 8 jobs, 1 dog & 1 baby.

We’ve been through so much during each one of those four years that it’s safe to say, we can roll with just about any scenario life throws at us and there’s no one on God’s green earth that I’d rather tackle the challenges and enjoy the sweet triumphs with.  You’re my best friend and I love you to the moon and back.

Engagement Fun

engagement party fun

the photo that follows us everywhere

the photo that follows us everywhere #hoeppnerwedding

Evelyn's Baby Shower

baby showerin’

Pirate Party in Sydney

arrrrg in OZ

Maternity love

created & packaged with love

xo,

Cortney

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over laundry, really?

Those of you who have been following along, know that we had many considerations in choosing a neighborhood during our house hunt. We wanted to live in a great school district, in the county, in a safe neighborhood with promise of rising property values, near family. We found the perfect first home with all of those key, desired characteristics.
No more than 2 months living in our home, a community-shaking murder took place just three streets away from our new address. As I left for work one Wednesday morning, our neighborhood was swarmed with police and news cameras. Turns out that at 5:30 in the morning, a man was chased down and shot while he was driving his car, causing him to hit numerous cars on his street, flip his car and be found dead at the scene. This event was tragic.
During the week it took the police to solve the crime, there were many speculations, harsh accusations and disappointing actions/reactions that took place throughout our cozy community. It was identified that the man who was shot and killed was a resident in our neighborhood. He rented his home (this is the first WHO CARES). It was speculated that his rental was section 8 (this is the second WHO CARES). He and his family are African American (this is the third and largest WHO CARES). Other speculations played over the week such as: this was a drug deal gone bad, this was gang related, etc. These speculations were made based solely on the above three WHO CARES facts.
Turns out, the murderer was a friend of the victims’ girlfriends’ daughter. The murderer had stopped by their residence to drop off laundry for his friend to do for him. When the victim denied laundry service, he was chased down and shot. REALLY? OVER DIRTY SOCKS?
All I have to say is that I hope every single person of our community who speculated the reasons or circumstances of this tragic incident as a gang or drug related crime is ashamed. I also hope that every single person of our community who stated their opposition for allowing renters or section 8 properties into our community due to this isolated incident over dirty laundry feels horrible. Where was the compassion to one of our neighbors who lost their loved one? Regardless of the reason, where was the compassion? Drug related, gang related, dirty laundry related, it doesn’t matter… violence is never the answer and when tragedy strikes a community, we rally together not fall apart. His family needed our love, support and acceptance – not our accusations, speculations and shunning.
Our thoughts, love and prayers are with the victim’s family for his unfortunate, tragic death. Hopefully compassion will form out of ignorance and patience will come before blind assumptions in all future happenings.

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a lovely, impromptu weekend

This weekend took me back.  We had a lovely weekend full of both impromptu and planned activities – all of which took me back to various times.

Saturday morning rummage sale-ing: took me back to our Portland rummage sale-ing days with coffee in hand & baby in belly.  Fast forward to this weekend, coffee in hand & baby in stroller.  Instead of crib searching, we scored an awesome entry table, a vegetable steamer & a mirror/key holder for next to our front door – all for way cheap.  Although Sam and I are constantly saying, “let’s not fill our house with crap and start saving for real pieces of quality furniture” – we are still able to find a few diamonds in the rough while sorting through things at sales.  With that, the entry table we purchased is missing a drawer.. but ya know, I’ll find something to spruce it up and make it our own.

Saturday evening going away party:  took me back to my college days for a few reasons: 1) it was with my college roomie, Jenny who was always my beer pong partner through college 2) we played beer pong and dominated as we use to 3) I stayed up past midnight.  How did we ever do that every night of every weekend with a few weeknights mixed in?  While I miss college days and all of my friends, I do not wish to re-live those nights.. I am no longer 21 (officially).

Sunday morning day after party group breakfast: took me back to many ‘o breakfasts (whether in college or in Portland) hashing out the events from the night before.   Only this time, I’m feeding my daughter eggs for the first time which dominates the conversation rather than actual events from the night before.  It is still pretty surreal to me as I look across the table at my college roommate, Jenny who has a 2 year old building a tower of creamer containers and a 10 month old sleeping in a car seat while I have a 7 month old trying to put anything and everything in her mouth, that this is where we are in life after only being removed from our college house days about 5 years ago.  How sweet life changes for the better.

Sunday night date night:  took me back to pre-baby days (which would also be pre-marriage days – since that’s the last date night we had!).  We went to dinner at Hamilton Tavern (so good), walked around inner harbor & went to Ram’s Head to see Pentatonix.  6 hours child free, just my husband and I to have conversation about whatever we want to talk about, holding hands.. perfection. (Don’t get me wrong, by 10p.m. we were racing to get home to little e, but the time to focus on us was lovely).

Sam’s delicious, massive burger (photo credit: sam kittinger)

Although I’m exhausted, it’s so worth it.  This weekend was a reminder mainly that I’m no longer 21 (due to the fact that I’m shamefully still feeling the negative effects of the weekend ON TUESDAY); but most importantly that is crucial for Sam and I to make time for each other (& at times just each other).  Our time together (in all activities) was wonderful. We have a blast together and the beauty of us having the time of our lives by enjoying every bit and every second of parenting is what makes me love him all the more.  While the “partying” will not be regular thing, the impromptu-coffee-in-hand outings & the baby-free date nights will become more of routine (by routine: maybe a once a month baby-free night & a weekly coffee-in-hand outing).

If Pentatonix is coming near you – GO CHECK THEM OUT .  If you’re a parent and dismiss the idea of a regular date night as necessary – don’t.  It seriously is so worth it to take 2 hours to just enjoy you and your spouse.  Celebrate being parents, celebrate being in love, celebrate each other  – you don’t have to get crazy but take the time to enjoy being “you.”   This weekend, I was thankful for new friends, old friends, going away friends, family who so willingly watches our little one, live music, good food, old & new memories and most importantly, my hubby.