A New Bio

Every year our family photos are taken at the beach by the incredibly talented Pam & Jensen Bell.

It seems our bios change as life evolves. One would think it would be the same, but then we move, have more kids, start drinking coffee, quit drinking coffee, consider starting on coffee again (its been that sort of year...). As relationships ripen, knowledge grows, and interests change, so naturally do our biographies. But what about those autobiographies we read? What would their lives look like at snapshot intervals? Mild mannered, extremely spirited, a quiet listener, can over the course of a lifetime someone hold all of these traits, given different stages and circumstances?

This is the thought process over the summer as I have slowly worked on a new bio. I am not sure I can ever call it finished, but for now lets just say published, it seems both permanent while being not yet final, there are always revised editions, no?

My imperfect bio:

I'm Shannon, married to best friend Mark. Together we are navigating the crazy world of parenting two boys. We call ourselves accidental urbanites, never having imagined we would be raising our family in the heart of a city. Our sons, Behr and Hudson love to be loud and on the go, just like most of Washington, DC. They fit right in. 

I have a list of ever evolving passions, most recently creating a healthier home, eating local, reducing the use of chemicals, and fostering positive conversations. I aim to wake up first, do some yoga and read my bible. This is a goal, not yet a committed practice. This past year I quit coffee, started and ebook (coming soon!), learned to bake and began painting again. I never quite know how to foster my creative outlets, but I love to help others foster theirs.

This little blog began after a big move away from friends and family.  It started as a place to journal, keep up to date with friends afar, and store my inspirations (before pinterest!).  Today, this blog is all that and more, becoming an incredible community of friends across the world. I blog about the bits of life that inspire me and I hope inspire you as well.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you'll say hello and stay a while!

Also, I really hope to get a chance to chat with those of you who are going to The Influence Conference. I am very excited to hear Ellen speak and wouldn't ever consider leaving the house without multiple pens in various colors. I process by writing things down. At the moment, these are my favorite.

If you are going to Influence this year, will you link up with us?

Disclaimer: compensated affiliate links may be used in this post.

Hudson Seventeen Months

Hudson, it seems like every month I say you have developed your own little personality. And again, as I sat down to write this post, that is what is on the top of my mind. Perhaps because you have so much personality? You are determined, smart, strong willed, and able. You have spend the past month mastering so many new skills. You have climb to new heights. Literally. You have climbed just about every piece of furniture in our house, especially if climbing higher helped you reach something. When you summit the coffee table, kitchen table, or your newest feat, our bed, you do what we have begun to affectionally call the "sumo stomp." You get so excited, your fat little feet move so fast.

You are not deterred by limits. You do not want to be held back. When we tell you no, you frown, grimace, or fake cry, but you almost always spit. You spit again and again, like an old greek lady who is dissatisfied with her cooking. You wiggle out of most holds and hand holding is your least favorite activity. Conversely, you love button pushing, all varieties. One day you escaped down the hall and started all of the intern dishwashers! You are also a pro at removing batteries. If there are batteries to be found, you are the man for the job.

You make us laugh. Oh boy, do you make us laugh. Your smarts come into play here. You catch us off guard, or make something ordinary far more exciting, and we all burst out with joy. I hope and pray you keep this gift and share it often throughout your life. I am not supposed to tell you this, but your spitting is what makes us laugh the most...

When we are out and about, you are so happy. You say "hi, hi, hi!" every time we pass someone and sometimes even to dogs. You points to animals and say "ooh, ooh," making a surprise face.

For months now, you have been throwing things away. When something goes missing, we panic that perhaps it fell victim to you and the trash. We even thought you tossed Dad's watch for a few days. Recently you have showed us that you know when something is supposed to be thrown away and when you get it right, we whoop and holler and cheer! We love watching you learn. Behr loves teaching you new things. He also likes getting credit for your new achievements.

You want to do almost everything Behr does. From first thing in the morning when you join him as he pushes dad out for work. All the way through the day until the very end when you climb into his bed instead of your own. As long as he isn't hugging you (which makes you so mad!) you want to be right along side him.

During bath time you sneakily get a cup and try to drink the bath water. Every single time. You pretend you are going to pour the water out and then gulp, down it goes! And once we finally get you to stop drinking the water, you dump it straight out of the tub. Some nights we use five or six towels just because of you.

You are in the process of cutting 2-4 more teeth, its hard to tell exactly where they are coming in. We think because of this, you have a new found fascination with your toothbrush. You carry it around most of the day and frequently go into the bathroom, climb up on the stool, and wait for more water.

Word are coming slowly to you, but you still babble on all day. Here are your favorite words these days: hi, hot, dog, mama, dada, up, on,  and sometimes we think you say Behr. But you still point as your primary means for communication, and you have it down to a science. When you are hungry or thirsty, you dump out the basket of baby dishes and start banging the counter. It reminds me of a prison scene in an old black and white movie, but I always know what you want!

I am so excited for you to start talking because I can see you processing all these ideas. But for now, we are trying to soak up all of the hilarious things you are doing at this stage. Thank you for being such a joy in our family. We are so blessed to have you in our lives.

September Goals

We were able to savor August. It was a jam packed month, but we spent time well. My goals for the month were focused around wanting to celebrate each day:
  • Re-start my morning workout/prayer time - success!
  • Limit of 3 to-do list items before we head out for the day's adventure, so we don't get stuck inside working - mostly success!
  • Easy dinners, mostly from our farm share - hooray!
  • No TV on the weekends, for us or the kids - maybe we need to change this one up a bit...

I am not naturally a lover of fresh starts. Sitting with a friend last night she rattled off all the different points of the year you can turn into a new beginning. Me? I am constantly holding onto the season that is slipping away.

But I do love routine. And with children I find our routines need to change frequently, so I guess for that I am grateful for September.

Here are the goals that I am hoping to cling to as this new season of Behr in school three mornings a week starts out.
  • Spend my time while Behr is at school at the house & pick my activities wisely -- prepping for dinner, interns, blogging, but spend it wisely taking care of things that need most of my attention. Hudson is at an age where he mostly plays happily beside me. Behr however wants to dive in and help or talk. I want to be smart about the tasks I accomplish while he is at school (aka me writing this post now, even thought it is later than I wanted) so that when he is home, I can be more engaged with him. Running errands is easier with one kid, but errands allow me to still engage with Behr. Computer time, not so much. Let's see how it goes. I hope Hudson cooperates with this plan. 

  • Continue my early morning routine -- I have been successfully waking up first, reading my bible, sometimes doing yoga, and showering before the boys wake. This is assisted by planning breakfast, packing lunches & laying out clothes the night before. I am a happier mom when I get these extra minutes to wake up and be energized before the whirlwind begins.

  • Family reading or exercise time -- come three o'clock in the afternoon, Hudson is usually fighting a nap and Behr could use some time to reboot. My tendency is to cram to-do list items in at this hour. Instead if we head to the park or pick up some books, I think we will all be better served. It is simply a matter of changing my mentality at this time of day. Any tips on how this works for you and your family?

I am linking up with The Tiny Twig
for Goals with Grace


Today I am super excited to share a post that has been in the works for months, but on my mind for even longer. When I was pregnant with Hudson, I first met Brandon on my lunch break when he parked his frozen custard truck outside. I didn't eat Goodies frozen custard until I was back at my desk, but I immediately thought, I should blog about this! Fast forward to this summer, we showed up at the birthday party of two sweet little friends and what do you know, it was a street party with Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats dishing up desert! We talked a ton, and thankfully our friend and photographer Jake snapped a few pictures. Thanks Jake.

Now that I have reconnected with Brandon, I am thrilled to bring you his story. And for all of you in DC, don't forget to follow Goodies on social media and learn more about renting the truck for your next birthday party or work event.

How did you get started with Goodies?
I fell in love with frozen custard in 1996 when I moved from California to Wisconsin. Its cliche to say this, but it was love at first sight. I knew I wanted to be in the frozen dessert industry, I just didn't know how. Fast forward fifteen years, I was working in corporate america in New York City for a major hiphop magazine. It was time for a departure and I knew I was done with corporate life. The timing was finally right.

In 2012 Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats launched.

Why frozen custard rather than ice cream or yogurt? What's the difference?
Frozen custard has egg yolk. Frozen custard is the creme de la creme of frozen desserts. Its a more legit product, richer, thicker, and creamier. It has minimal air. Air makes the product expand, think of a marshmallow, if you puff it up with air, it gets bigger, but it is still the same amount of product. It has the beautiful texture of soft serve, but the decadence of a premium brand.

We make our custard fresh on site every single day in small batches.

Where do you source your ingredients?
Our ingredients are primarily sourced from the mid-atlantic, as local as possible. Our dairy farm is based in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our fruit comes from a variety of places, Miller Farms, the National Harbor farmers market, and Eastern Market. We source our vanilla from a f107 year old vanilla farmer, a family business. It is cold extracted vanilla, the best in the world. Think of a shot of espresso. It is as pure as you can get. Vanilla has over 200 flavor characteristics, because ours is cold pressed, not heated, you get the full complexity of the flavor.

Speaking of flavors, what are your fan favorites? And how about your personal favorites?
Day to day, we only make vanilla bean frozen custard, on occasion we make a pumpkin pie or chocolate. But we stick to the perfected base of vanilla bean. We are purists. When we add fresh ingredients, the custard takes on that flavor. We use our ingredients to highlight the vanilla. Instead of masking our base with lots of flavors.
We have 4 signature items on our menu but the base for all of them is our vanilla custard:

  • Route 66 Vanilla Bean Float - using our root beer on tap
  • Jukebox Cookies and Cream
  • Turtle Pecan Boogie Woogie with pecans from our farmer in Georgia
  • Jitterbug Peanut Butter Shake

Everything is blended on demand to ensure the freshness.

I hear you have a special name for your truck, can you tell us more about that? 
Our truck is named GiGi. The gentleman who found the truck in his Arizona junk yard named the truck GiGi -- we've kept the name to pay homage to his hard work finding this beauty.

What was the process like restoring GiGi? 
It's like renovating an old building, you gut it, take it down to the bare bones. But the end goal was always at the forefront of my mind. You know what it wants to look like, so you work the pieces to get there.

Do you only have one truck? 
That's the cool thing, I actually have another truck. His name is Rudy, his the little brother of GiGi -- a little patchy but big personality like Rudy from the Crosby Show.

Tell us more about the trucks. (can you tell I am a boy mom here?)
GiGi and Rudy are MetroVans made by International Harvester. Production of this round body style ran from 1938-1965. They actually have three body styles: a shorty which is Rudy, the medium size which is GiGi, our truck that is currently traveling curbside, and a large model which we don't have one yet, maybe some day in the future. The large body size is a dualie with two rear wheels.

Speaking of big personality, you've got quite the sock collection!
I love color and design, so you are going to see me in argyle or polkadots -- color communicates a lot about a person, full of life and energetic like my personality and ultimately company. My socks are an extension of me.

What is the one thing you want everyone in DC to know about Goodies?
Without you there is no us. We are a small business with high standards, which means we want to build relationships with each customer.

Where can we find you?
GiGi is curb side -- we tweet her location every day @GoodiesDC
We have a soda bar in National Harbor open daily from 12-7

And we met at a birthday party, how can we sign up for that goodness?
GiGi is available for catering and special events. Shoot an email to: info@mmmgoodies.com

Follow Goodies on Social Media:

They are about to launch a kickstarter campaign for Rudy. Be on the lookout via their social media.

A word about hashtags. If you follow Goodies on social media, before long you will see the hashtag #GodisCEO Brandon uses this hashtag because he firmly believes without praying, he wouldn't be where he is today. At the end of the day, Brandon says his faith and prayer has gotten him to here. Without that part of his life, Goodies wouldn't be the company it has become. Brandon uses this hashtag to give glory to where it needs to be. Everyone has their own background, but we can bring those together to do God's work.

All photos courtesy of D.A. Jacobs Images


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