Monday, January 23, 2017

surviving those kind of days

This weekend we didn't have any real plans but we housebound most of the time (except for a trip to a very chaotic Costco on Saturday evening) anyway with 1/2 of our family getting sick. Nick had a bad cold and poor Charlotte got a nasty stomach bug. Think lots of middle of the night changes of bedding and pajamas, showers and lots of rocking. Poor baby ended up sleeping in until 10:45 on Sunday and then laid in our arms until she went back down for her nap at 2 pm. We're hoping she shakes this one soon!

This is one of those weekends (or months?) where it feels like we're just in survival mode. Nothing is particularly bad, but we can't quite get it together. I feel like there's always someone sick here, the laundry is always piling up, and my house hasn't been really cleaned well in over a month. It seems like the kids are watching too much TV and having too many boxed mac-and-cheese dinners and I end up going to bed many nights thinking that I will do better tomorrow. I know from connecting with other moms that this feeling is totally normal and there are days you'll feel like supermom and days where the struggle is real (so so real). 

All this to say, January, you haven't been my favorite but I have high hopes for February - with a fresh month and just 6 weeks to a California vacation...

Friday, January 20, 2017


Another busy week in the books! We have been bustling around and I keep waiting for the quiet winter days to settle in, though it hasn't happened yet. Oh well! In the last two weeks, both kids have been to the dentist, had (routine) blood draws, had their check-ups, and Hayden got a haircut. I feel like our weeks should calm down a little soon!

This week, Nick and I got to try out Hello Fresh for free. (Thanks Christina!) It was fun to make cooking together a nightly ritual together and the meals that we tried were all fabulous. However, the price per box is a bit more than we spend normally on our weekly groceries, so I think it would be a once-in-a-while option for us.

I'm getting my hair cut this weekend after over a year of nothing... I'm hoping for a fresh new look and going a little shorter than it has been in a couple years. You can see some of my hair inspo pics here!

I got this Clay Mask from Amazon and am obsessed. It's so good- and a great price.

Also how cute is this felt ball garland? It's on sale right now online too!

This weekend we're looking forward to getting our Valentine's Day box down from the attic and I'm contemplating throwing a little Valentine's Day party at our house in a few weeks. Looking back at these old pictures definitely makes me want to do it!

*post contains affiliate links! 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Valentine's Day Outfits

It's no secret that Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays! Not so much for the grand romantic gestures, but because it's a full day dedicated to love. Plus it's such a nice pick-me-up in the middle of winter. I really loved the selection of Valentine's Day items at Old Navy this year and picked up a few things for the kids on super sale. Since Valentine's Day is less than a month away, it's definitely appropriate to start dressing festively!

affiliate links used above! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

20 things

  1. I used to really dislike chocolate but something about being pregnant changed and now I like it (sort of). I like chocolate candy, but not chocolate cake, ice cream, milkshakes, or other desserts... #weird. 
  2. I am such a homebody and I love that I get to work from home. It's especially nice during colder months and I can work on the couch with a cozy throw and endless amounts of coffee. 
  3. I am a morning person and usually wake up by 5 am to work before the kids/husband wakes up. I've never really been able to sleep in. 
  4. I get really freaked out by unnaturally small things... baby carrots that are too small, small grapes, baby corn (the worst!) 
  5. I used to be a kindergarten teacher and now I'm an educational game designer. Never in a million years would I have thought this would be my job in life, but I absolutely love it (most days!) and I'm so thankful for this flexible, creative job. 
  6. I stress eat sour candy... It's something I need to quit but it's been my coping mechanism for years and years. I'm trying to give up sugar this year though... We'll see!
  7. I am very resistant to watching new shows... Nick often previews a new show first and then twists my arm to try watching them. Typically, I love every show he's convinced me to watch. 
  8. I have always loved painting, drawing, and art. I'm not some great artist, but I love it! I was one class away from an art minor in college and still paint from time to time. Some days I dream of having my own art studio. 
  9. I would rather read than watch TV. Unless I'm really hooked on a show, if Nick is out at night, I always read instead of turning on the TV. 
  10. Sometimes when I'm feeling sad, I play Christmas music, no matter the time of year. I've been doing this my whole adult life. Low day in June? Turn on the Christmas tunes. 
  11. I really try hard to see the good in people and if some stranger does something jerky (like cuts me off in traffic), I will make up an elaborate story in my head about why they acted the way they did. They just found out their wife is at the hospital about to deliver the baby early, blah blah blah... (Side note, this annoys my husband) 
  12. My favorite movie is Father of the Bride. The best! 
  13. I'm left-handed. 
  14. I'm the oldest of 4 and I love having a big family. 
  15. I don't have wisdom teeth... I was just born without them #lucky
  16. I hate when my food touches.... Like if they made those separated plates for adults, I'd be all about them. 
  17. I absolutely love holidays... all of them. It's so fun to decorate, and dress the kids in festive outfits, and eat fun foods. 
  18. I'm almost always cold and have my seat heater, steering wheel heater turned up all the way. I also sleep with 3 comforters... 
  19. I've been to almost every state in the country. My family took several cross-country road trips and many flights when I was growing up. 
  20. I went to an all-girls high school and loved it so much! It was such a great experience for someone who is typically a little more shy. Not the average high school experience, but one I'm so grateful to have had. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Charlotte's Birthday Party

A couple weekends ago we celebrated Charlotte's birthday with a small bunny-themed party. Our favorite family friends came over and we had a simple lunch together. A little tricky to find bunny-decor in January, but my stash of Easter decor came through for us! I decided to forgo a big party this year because (a) Holiday Hangover and (b) She'll remember it a little more when she's older. Here are a few pictures from the sweet day: 

Friday, January 13, 2017


Our week has been slammed with appointments, work deadlines, and travel for Nick. I had 5 different appointments for the kids this week, we had preschool registration for the coming school year and other busy-ness. I figured that January would be our time to slow down, but hey, maybe next week?!

Anyway, a few things I'm loving this week... Have you seen Target's new ballet inspired line?! I am absolutely in love with these leggings

This week I had a serious hit of homesickness and started looking at flights to California in March... Nick is planning on going too, but can't stay as long as we can... Tell me I'm not crazy for contemplating at solo return flight with a 2-year-old and 4-year-old!
Flying solo last March with a one-year-old and three-year-old

This is Us... I watched the first show back in the fall and liked it but never found time to watch the rest until recently! Love it so much and happy that it's back on already!

The kids received some money for Christmas and we decided to put it toward a membership to our local museum. They have tons of fun activities and events and it's nice to have somewhere we can go any day that we want when the weather isn't so nice.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stepping Up Date Night

I've decided as one of my New Year's goals, to make date night happen more frequently this year. This year, we are aiming to get out at least once a month for a date. It can be hard to schedule with Nick's work travel, activities with the kids, and making sure we secure a babysitter in advance. Since becoming parents, our focus has primarily been on the kids.  I'm hoping to shift some of the priority back to our relationship and dating my husband seems like the perfect way to make that happen.
In many cases, when we do go out on a date, we are both a little worn out and opt for a low-key evening. However,  in the interest of stepping up our dating game, I've decided to focus on some fresh ideas to make each date seem a little more special. Here are a few ideas that I came up with to make date night memorable: 
  1. Dress up: Being a work-at-home-mom, Nick tends to see me mostly in my pajamas, leggings, or work-out clothes. Taking a little extra effort to dress up and feel pretty is a confidence booster for me and I like to think my husband appreciates it as well ;)  
  2. Try a new restaurant: Instead of the same old standby, pick a new-to-both-of-you restaurant, maybe with some creative cocktails or a cuisine you don't eat often. 
  3. Take or rent a different car: Nick has a vintage car that he babies the heck out of. It lives in our garage 99% of the time but we've taken it out for dates before. It changes up the ordinary mom-mobile or his commuter car and makes the date feel a little more out of the ordinary. If you don't have that option, there are fun ways to rent a fancy car like using the service Turo, to enhance your date night. 
  4. Surprise each other with a little something extra. Maybe a sweet card, maybe flowers, or a little gift. A little token of appreciation can make the other person feel loved. 
  5. Pre-dinner drinks: Making a special cocktail at home or going to a separate place for drinks first can make the date more fun! 
I'd love to hear what your married-dating tip are as well! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

jelly cookies

I'm sure most families have a recipe like this one that has been passed down from generation to generation. I remember my grandmother making jelly cookies (and some rather crunchy peanut butter ones too) when I was young. Growing up, it was a go-to cookie recipe for my mom too and we loved having them around the house. When I got married, my mom typed up all our favorite recipes on cards for me so that I could bake them as well. The jelly cookie recipe is simple and such a pretty and delicious cookie.

2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2  cups of flour
2 egg yolks
your favorite jelly or jam

Mix all ingredients together except for the jelly. Form 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Poke an indentation in the middle with your thumb. Cook until half done (approximately 8 minutes) at 300 degrees. Fill the indentations with jelly and cook for another 8 minutes.

Let me know if you make these! Enjoy! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Charlotte's Room

Charlotte's room has been a work in progress since day one.... When we first moved into the house, it was painted all yellow. I really didn't like the color so one night almost a year ago when Nick was out of town, I painted it a purple/gray on the top and white on the bottom (it has chair rail around the whole room).

We  kept all the items that we had in her nursery in California, but the new color made the room have a different feel.

My mom made the fabric banner that hangs above her crib and we added a cute name one from Paper Source. The crib will stay here as long as possible... Charlotte doesn't seem quite ready for an early transition to a bed, like her brother!

crib/crib sheet/crib skirt/ banner
Charlotte loves to draw and color so this little art table is perfect. It's from an antique store and I've had it since college! The chairs are so adorable and so well made.

I thought with a two-year-old, we wouldn't be rocking much, but we still do every day, multiple times a day. I'm glad not to give up this time with my little one just yet!

similar shelf/ rocker 
I made the curtains with some simple black trim from the fabric store, hot glued to IKEA curtains. The curtain rods were left from the previous owners and I just moved them up the wall a bit to make the curtains hang a little higher.

 jute rug/ similar rug
Her nursery has a really cozy, feminine feel and I love spending time in there. I have a dream of Hayden and Charlotte sharing a room (Hayden's room) when she's a little older so eventually she'd be in a more gender-neutral space. For now, I'm loving this room and it's sweet vibe!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Modern Conveniences

As busy parents, I've become more reliant on services that make our life a little easier and give us more time to focus on the kids. I've listed 5 digital apps that I use ALL THE TIME.  (Spoiler alert, two are Amazon). I would love to hear what else you use to make life a little easier.

Amazon Fresh: A grocery delivery service is such a time-saver. I love that I can order everything online and have it delivered as soon as the same day. It's been so convenient to pick up the groceries off the front step, rather than shlepping my kids to Trader Joe's where someone invariably has a melt-down!

Amazon Prime: Also a huge lifesaver... They notified me that I saved over 40 trips to the store last year (yikes!) but seriously, we've cut way down on our Target trips (good for the wallet!) and we use Subscribe and Save every month. We get toilet paper, face wash, wipes, detergent, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and so much more through Amazon. It's so easy to change your delivery date if you need your regular items sooner and the shipping is always so fast! Well worth the membership for our family!

Digital Library Books: So late to the bandwagon on this but I am really enjoying that I can download books from the library and read them on my iPad for free! It helps me keep up my reading goal without spending a ton of money on books! I'm sure that most libraries in the country have them so it's definitely worth it to check if you are a big reader.

Apple Music: A subscription that is 100% worth it. It's like Spotify and Pandora in one. I can create playlists and add music instantly and play all of them on my phone, computer, or iPad. We have so many different playlists, including lots of music for the kids. We play music all day long at home or in the car, so it's definitely worth it!

Starbucks App: We mostly make and drink coffee at home. With limited choices (as compared to cA) when we do get coffee out, it's usually from Starbucks. We both have the app on our phone and it's so easy to order it and have it ready for pick up so no waiting in line with squirmy toddlers that are asking for everything in the display case!

Reminders: This app is already installed on iPhones and Nick and I have shared lists for to-do items and one for each store we need to visit (like a Costco list, a Target list, etc.). We can add to it easily and it checks off the item (on everyone's device) when it's complete. We use it all the time!

Friday, January 6, 2017


Friday is here! Even after a holiday week, it's felt pretty long. Hayden got sick his first day back at school so we've been home and inside for the better part of the week!

Today is Charlotte's birthday! I can't believe she's 2. We are celebrating with a trip to an indoor playground and her favorite lunch- Chipotle! Tomorrow we are having our close family friends over for a small lunch party and some cake.

We got Charlotte this dollhouse from Amazon (last July on Prime Day for half price- I've been waiting not-so-patiently to give it to her!)

It snowed last night! It sounds like a lot of people all over the country got snow too. I know my kids will be excited to see it when they wake up- even if it's just an inch.

Date Night Swap: My friend (and neighbor) are trying something new. We're going to swap babysitting services one night a month. The one mom will go over to the other's house after everyone's kids are asleep so the other couple can go out. Tonight it's our turn to go out after the kids are down and I'm excited for a free date out with Nick.

PSA: We are trying to make our playroom space a little bigger and more organized and found that IKEA is having a big sale. We got 2 small shelves down there for $20 each. They were out of stock in store, but we were able to order online. We have 2 larger shelving units down there as well and these shelves are so sturdy and perfect for storing toys.

Happy Friday!

This post contains affiliate links.

Charlotte is 2!

My sweet baby girl is two! She's really not a baby anymore, though her size and penchant for cuddling lead me to believe otherwise. This girl loves to eat everything with a spoon, drink her milk with ice and proclaims most things "'licious!" She's a little peanut, weighing in at 21 pounds. What she lacks in size, she makes up for in personality!

She's such a funny girl, full of life and always on the move. She loves to get out all the toys. She plays with her kitchen daily, microwaving pretend ice cream cones and washing her hands in the little sink. She also loves her dolls and stuffed animals, especially Bun Bun her beloved stuffed bunny. She's constantly kissing her animals. She loves all brother's toys, especially the marble run and legos.

Charlotte is all about accessories and would wear a tutu over her clothes every day if I let her. She's been misinformed that shirts are called dresses so that she'll wear shirts and pants (mom of the year!).  She loves shoes, but takes them off EVERY SINGLE time we are in the car. So fun in the winter... She also loves bows and asks for one every day, but usually rips them out of her hair at some point. My jacket pockets are full of bows.

Charlotte has been waking up early every morning these past few weeks and she has a sweet routine where she cuddles in our bed with a bowl of apple slices and watches an episode of Daniel Tiger while Daddy gets ready for work. This gives me some time to keep working before Hayden gets up.

I'm sure we're in for some fun times as she turns two- we've already seen some ferocious tantrums out of this little girl that have made us resort to take-out only, in fear of taking her to a restaurant.

This sweet little girl lights up our life and her mischievous smile, full head of curls, and infectious laugh makes every day a little better! Happiest birthday Charlotte Mae. We love you to the moon!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year

This New Year we hosted a small party with some of our neighborhood friends and kids. We tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to corral all the kids in the guest room with a movie and popcorn but they just wanted to be part of the fun! My mom was here up until the morning of New Year's Eve and helped me prep for the party by creating a festive balloon arch (I've had them pinned for ages and it was fun to try out!). We had a really nice time with friends and enjoyed ringing in the New Year at home. 

After a tough 2016, we're looking forward to a happier 2017. I hope to continue to focus on the positive things that impact me and our family. More time spent together at home, a bigger focus on healthy eating and habits (those got away from me at the end of last year!), more time spent away from technology. Hayden still has another year at home before Kindergarten but I want to focus on savoring this time with my two babies because it is already going by faster than I could have imagined. Another resolution is to focus more on our marriage and to make one another a priority, beginning with a monthly date night. We're also planning our first child-free vacation for this Spring (hopefully!) None of my resolutions are huge changes, but more of a re-focus on things that we have been doing off and on and making them more intentional this year. 

I hope you had a wonderful New Year and are also feeling refreshed and energized about this coming year! 

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