I’m quite excited to be the featured blogger over at Blogtrotting – in case you are not familiar with this site, let me tell you a little bit about it…Each day a new blogger is featured and the idea is that you post things about where you live that might allow others to learn a little bit about the various cities of our fantastically wonderful country.  So here we go, friends.  Enjoy!

Welcome, Blogtrotters and other pals!  I’m so thrilled to see you visiting my city, West Lafayette, Indiana, with me today!

My name is Natalie and I’m a writer and a stay at home mama to three little, very little, peaches that I adore but make me tired.  We moved here from Indianapolis three years ago while I was pregnant with my second child and HUGE, HUGE, HUGE.  Sawyer wasn’t supposed to come until the end of April but he surprised us all by arriving three weeks early so he was born only ten days after we had lived in a brand-new community.  Talk about hitting the ground running…

Since then, I have grown fond of the city that, admittedly, I wasn’t so thrilled about living in when my husband first presented it to me when I was HUGELY pregnant with our first child.  Do you see a pattern here?  Yes, I was pregnant for about four years straight.

To give a little history before we begin our “Day in the Life of Natalie” Tour, West Lafayette is located about an hour northwest of Indianapolis and about 2.5 hours away from Chicago.  It’s the home of the Purdue Boilermakers which is hysterically funny because both my husband and I are Indiana University grads and let me tell you, I bleed cream and crimson.  For those who don’t know, Indiana University and Purdue have a long-standing rivalry and it’s fierce.

West Lafayette is separated from Lafayette by the Wabash River.  A river literally runs through it.  We didn’t know it until we moved here but there is a bit of a pretense regarding the “west side” as it is often not so affectionately called.  The median income is a little higher and the education level is insane (more on this later) so there are times in which those not living on this side of town might reveal some animosity.  Please don’t shoot the messenger, local friends.  It’s the truth.

I’m sorry to say that we are not surrounded by mountains.  There are no beaches nearby unless you count the Indiana Dunes (which I don’t but it’s the closest we get to a beach here) which are an hour away.  It’s flat.  But I will say that beauty can be found everywhere so while you may not see Ansel Adams-y type of scenery, there really is beauty in the sun rising over a cornfield or seeing a herd of deer nibbling in a grassy field.  Or maybe I’m just looking at the silver lining because my dentist husband is now a partner in a local office and  we are going NOWHERE for at least 30 years.  Yep, I better start looking for the beauty RIGHT HERE.

Without further ado…

I’m a huge believer in the Montessori philosophy of teaching and learning so our children attend a wonderful school that I adore.  We are on our third year in attendance and next year will be our first year in which all three of our babes will be there at once.  I’m in the process of selling a kidney but it’s worth it.

I attempted to take some good shots of the outside of the school but couldn’t do this awesome school any justice with my sub-par skills so I included this shot.  This is my youngest who was in my oldest child’s classroom for her birthday celebration.  I think it epitomizes the concept behind Montessori (choice, freedom, hands-on) and love this photo.  I am at this school at least once each day and often more – the most has been five trips in one day.  Hang out in the lot and you’ll be able to catch me…

Ahh…Next stop after drop off?  K Dees Coffee…I love coffee.  Ironically enough, I didn’t  love coffee until I became a mommy.  I suppose it was the need to find something that would allow me to survive while living on sleep caught in two hour increments but then the habit just stuck.  I do sometimes go to a large chain that starts with an “S” but I like to support local and much prefer K Dees to anywhere else in town.  Plus free wireless and an unlimited cup of tea?  GREAT place to hole up and write.

Admittedly, I don’t buy flowers everyday but if I think I need a treat, I will head over to Rubia. It used to be an old auto repair place (I bet you can’t tell?!) and the current owner has redone it into the most beautiful flower shop.  I love the barrels of freshly cut flowers and they have the best Gerbera daisies, my favorite, in town.

And if I am REALLY going to treat myself, I’ll go over to The Yellow Bowl Bakery and get myself a little cupcake action.  Yum.  They are the best, seriously.  They also make amazing cakes.  How sweet the sound.

If a gift purchase is on my agenda, we must stop at Two Tulips. By far, Two Tulips is the cutest gift shop around with fantastic baby gifts and stationary that is perfect for personalizing and giving away.  This picture is small so I apologize that it doesn’t do this cute little shop justice.

No week is complete without a Target trip.  No matter how many items I put on a list, I invariably forget something and must go back.  They know us well.

Our favorite place to eat lunch?  Well.  Chick-Fil-A, of course.  Perhaps it is the nuggets.  Or the waffle fries.  Or the chocolate milk.  Maybe the vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.  But really, I know that it’s all about the slide and the play area.   We can hardly contain our excitement when we drive into the parking lot.

As I am writing this post, I am realizing that maybe I don’t live the most exciting life (though with a five year old, an almost three year old, and 20 month old, it feels rather exciting) so I am going to deviate off of my day for a bit….

Let’s not kid ourselves – Purdue makes this community.  I love living in a college town and a Big Ten one at that.  A college town brings a whole host of businesses and cultural events that a non-collegiate community would not necessarily possess.   But right now?  Purdue’s in the spotlight for its basketball team. It pains me to write this as I am an IU girl and for so long, we reigned in the basketball world (during the time of Bobby Knight) but no longer, Hoosiers, no longer.  The Boilermakers are tough and are predicted to go far this year in the NCAA Tournament.

On that note, everyone is gaga over Chris Kramer.  Even the SAHM crowd I am honored to be affiliated with loves him and heck, we are women in our thirties.  I think I was 15 or 16 when he was born for crying out loud.  I went to a game and asked my husband, hoping to sound nonchalant, “Who’s that kid?” He replied, “Chris Kramer, and I know why you’re asking.”  Whatever.

After catching a game, the place to grab the best burger in town, possibly in the midwest, is the famous Triple XXX. You simply can’t write about West Lafayette and not talk about Triple XXX.  It’s not a dirty place.  There are no peep shows or scantily-clad women (sorry to disappoint you).  It really is just a hamburger joint that is in the classic diner style and also serves the most fantastic flavored Cokes I’ve ever had.  And oh those chopped steak burgers…I’m not the only one to think so either – Triple XXX was once featured on Guy Fieri’s (of Food Network fame) “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”  Click here to watch it if you so desire but be warned – you’ll want a burger…

Purdue isn’t just known for it’s basketball though.  The veterinary school is top-notch and the engineering sciences…Good.  Lord.  West Lafayatte was recently voted the sixth smartest small town community in the country and I believe it.  Everyone I meet here has a PhD in Molecular Physics or is in Biomedical Engineering, or Electrical Engineering or Aeronautics and Space…the list goes on.  Heck, one of our dear friends is a Biomedical Engineer working on a device that is so small it fits between the columns of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a penny and will be implanted into the brains of those suffering from epilepsy to control seizure activity so long-term damage will be minimized.


Do you feel sorry for me at cocktail parties? Because you should.

Now back to my life…

I’ve shown you some of my favorite local places and taken you through a mini tour of West Lafayette and you know what?  This little exercise has made me realize that I really do like it here.  I am happy.  I am content.  Because really, it doesn’t matter where you live as long as you have the essentials.  Here are mine:

My two monkeys that are 15 months apart.  God help my soul.

My sweet little girl and that oh so handsome husband…

And our firstborn…

Thank you muchly for visiting West Lafayette with me today!

Come back and see me sometime, ya hear?

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