Simple City Life

Friday, May 11, 2018

Gluten Free? Here is the place to be this June! #GFAFEXPO

I am so excited to be planning our 5th year as a blogger for the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo. This expo has become a great place for Owen and me to escape the craziness of our daily lives and spend time together. It has become a very safe place for Owen to let loose and be himself. I can see as he ages that living a different life than his peers is getting harder. He is starting to want to cheat and see what happens, he is starting to decide that gluten-free foods are not as good as regular foods, I'd like to personally thank his sister for putting that into his head. Being at the expo, Owen doesn't have to deal with criticism or the feelings of being any different than other kids there. If anything he starts to realize how easy he has it only being gluten-free.
One thing I am excited about this year is learning about more nut-free food available. All three of the kids will be switching to a new school next year and the campus is 100% nut free! I love that this school takes special attention to make sure kids with severe allergies are learning in a safe environment. I need to up my nut-free game this next year and learn some more about gluten-free and nut-free lunch options.
If you are looking for a great place to escape the heat, you really should head to the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo. You will find a fun place to stay cool, meet awesome brands, learn a ton in the workshops and meet new friends! Even if you are not Gluten free or have any food allergies, chances are you know someone who is and you would benefit greatly from an expo like this. Imagine the impact you can have on your child's friend with allergies if you are knowledgeable and can host them without worry! I tell you it has been amazing with school friends parents understand and go the extra mile to make my child feel included, I want to always give the same respect back to those with other allergies.

In this day, we are not going to get away from allergies anytime soon- Why not jump in with both feet and learn how you can make a difference? Join me June 23-24th at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa (Media Center). I promise you will have fun and leave with a ton of knowledge and swag!

Grab your tickets now! Purchase before 5/22 and save 30% use code EARLYBIRD! Just click here to buy your tickets today! 

See you at the Expo!

~Courtney

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

12 things in almost 12 months.

Attempt number 653. I may be a little off, but needless to say, there are several attempts saved here to get this blog back up and running. I have no idea how I was able to manage this blog so well back with the kids were tiny. I guess those naptimes were extremely useful. That being said, what is my excuse since the kids are all in school full time? Yikes. I think guilt is my main culprit. I feel incredibly guilty if I am sitting down during my day. I must keep moving, cleaning, planning, organizing and prepping. At least that is what I tell myself. It's pressure I put on myself. It is a little excessive and unrealistic. One of these days I will learn to fully let go of these imaginary expectations. I'm hoping that as I do, I bring you along. But before I move forward into newness, I would love to catch you up on all that has gone on. We have learned a lot over the past 11 months since uprooting our lives voluntarily and relocating to a brand new city. Here are 11 key things we have learned.

1.  At the end of the day, We will never regret moving near our family. Watching our kids bond with their grandparents has brought so much joy. Being able to help our parents out when needed is such a blessing. After 10 years living away from our parents, we are taking full advantage of this new closeness.

2. Finding a good school is really hard! I realize I am super picky, but our children's education is extremely important to us. We found some decent schools for this year, however, I am very excited about the kids' school they will be starting in the fall-a huge bonus- all three will be attending the same school, different campuses.

3. Middle school still stinks. It doesn't just stink- it is downright horrible. My kid received an education well beyond any classroom walls this year. The era of cellphones and social media creates a perfect storm for middle schoolers. Yes, you hear about cyberbullying, but let me tell you these kids are into far worse things. The amount of vulgar language, porn obsession, drug references, and drinking is mind-blowing. Kids now have two accounts- one for parents to see and typically one that flies under the radar. Take caution, these accounts are beyond anything you could ever imagine for 11, 12 and 13-year-olds.

4.  Kids are brave. Meeting new people, learning new places, navigating through school halls ways and neighborhoods is challenging and scary. Kids may feel nervous and shy, but they push themselves and are brave little souls.

5. Arizona is so much more than a desert. Drive an hour and you will be in a completely different terrain. We are officially State Park and National Park pass holders and are chomping at the bit to visit as many parks as possible.

6. Broken bones are no joke. Since moving here we have experienced our first broken limb. I was taken by surprise the full extent of an injury like the one we had. Owen broke his tibia over Christmas break, thinking he would be back to normal in a reasonable time was completely unrealistic. We are at 5 months and counting...physical therapy 2x per week.

7. For the love of all things good and glorious, why is there not better coffee in Phoenix? I guess you could say we were extremely spoiled in Milwaukee, but we really need to find amazing coffee, preferably locally roasted too.

8. Palm trees never get old. Every time I look up they catch my breath. I smile and think to myself, "I can't belive I live here."

9. Arizona has horrible drivers.  I really thought I'd be moving away from the horrible Milwaukee drivers, but no I dare say Arizona drivers are just as bad. For the record though, Milwaukee is the only city I have watched a man drive backward as though it was completely normal, staying in his lane and minding traffic lights. What we have noticed is the merging is a foreign concept here as well as planning ahead for lane changes. Other than the driving, the people are friendly and the city is nice. There are little things here and there that are different from what we are used to in the Midwest, but overall other than driving issues, the people are very nice.

10. Apartment living has its perks, but I'd rather not do it again. It has been convenient and a good place to call home temporarily. However, losing the freedom of a neighborhood is really hard. The boys are very limited in their outside playspace, needless to say, their playing has caused many complaints over the past 11 months. No longer can they ride bikes freely, run through a backyard or get too loud playing at the pool. Believe me when I say we are counting the days to moving day! We are currently at 19 days.

11. Building a house is flippin' fantastic! As much as we all miss our Story Hill home, I can't wait to get into our brand spanking home. This house is going to be clean and exactly the way we wanted. I loved that old house, but let me tell you the obsessive cleaner in me could not for the life of me get over the fact that there was 100 years of dirt in those floorboards!

12. Hiking is life. I'm so happy to be back in the mountains. I could (and have) spent hours a week wandering the trails. No matter how ofter you go there is always something new to see and a different trail to venture out on. I'm pretty impressed with how many miles I have put on my shoes and can't wait to break in my newest pair!

There are way more things that I could share, but there is more time for that later,

Courtney











Saturday, November 11, 2017

Last weekend we took a trip to the Desert Botanical Gardens. We joined shortly after moving here thanks to an amazing Groupon deal. This was my third trip through the gardens and I just can not get enough of them. The various paths and scenery keep you engaged while the peaceful surroundings keep you grounded. This is quickly becoming my favorite place to visit here in Phoenix, it is a perfect oasis in the city. Last weekends events for Dia De Los Muertos were simply breathtaking. Over the past several years we have been learning more about this cultural celebration and have grown to prefer this over our American traditions of Halloween. A day to pray and remember your lost loved ones is much more tasteful than running around the neighborhood asking for candy! Elliott and I had a great time capturing some of our favorite sights. Elliott is developing her creative skills in photography- I am very proud of her. The first image here she took all on her own!






The boys waited over an hour for the most amazing face painting. The artists were so talented and really took their time to complete these paintings. I am glad I caught them on camera before they each took a drink from the water fountain and smudged the paint. Within moments after walking away from the artist's chair their make up was smudged and Owen washed his off in the bathroom. Moments like these it's really hard to keep you cool as a parent. Let's just say standing in line for that amount of time just so you can wash it off was not what I had planned. But I have the pictures and memories and that is what truly matters. 

I hope you are enjoying your fall- we are adjusting to our new normal of 80 degree days and chilly nights; sunshine and sitting by the pool planning our Thanksgiving meal plans. 
~Courtney