A blogging makeover and thoughts on blogging!

As you may have noticed, yesterday I decided to give my blog a little makeover!  There are still a few things I need to fix and add, but overall, I am so excited that the blog is finally feeling a little more modern.  I couldn’t believe it, but I had literally had the same background for seven years.  It was definitely time to give the blog a little TLC!  As you may have gathered, I’m not tech savvy at all, so it took me a bit of time to get things somewhat up and running.  The upside of that is the whole process gave me lots of time to think about blogging, and I couldn’t  help but be a bit sentimental.

I’ve blogged for eight years, but if you read some of the earlier posts (and quite frankly, some of the not so older posts), you can see that it has taken me a while to find my voice and purpose of this blog.  I started blogging right as I began teaching and this blog follows me through that time, the marriage to my husband, our move to the DC area, a new job outside of teaching, and the birth of our daughter. I have finally come to the realization that this is my place to record memories of our little family and also to connect.  Especially now that I am a stay-at home mom, even this introvert appreciates the interaction this blog provides.  Thank you for reading and all of your encouragement and support along the way!

Tuesday's Thoughts!

I thought I would share a few random confessions/thoughts today, because I am not sure how riveting a story my trip to the post office yesterday would be for everyone.

1. When I was little, I really wanted things to match. You remember those bedroom sets every designer cringes over? That would have been right up my alley. Fortunately, my mom was smarter. Which brings me to my next point. I naturally lack good taste. I am easily swayed by what is in, and usually like whatever is trendy. My sister has a much better idea of what looks good, so when in doubt, I ask her. It has always been this way. When we were little I would be a hot mess of mismatched clothes and my sister would be perfectly coordinated. (I have looked back at pictures to confirm this.) Even the one dress that I remember fondly from the 5th grade is an 80s disaster of ruffles and neon. My sister was also better at "styling" her side of the room. Even though we pretty much had the same "treasures" my things looked like the mismatched disaster that it actually was and my sister would have hers neatly arranged and displayed.
2. I sometimes have a hard time organizing things that are actually important. Remembering Valentine's Day cards; no problem! Birthday cards-in the mail! But rent...oh yeah, we have to pay that.

3. I am a horrible texter. I blame it on the fact that we didn't get a texting plan for such a long time, but my mom is better at it and texts more frequently than I do.

4. Postpartum my hair is a wreck. I am shedding like crazy and I desperately need to get it cut. However, the hair stylist that I normally go to did a horrible job last time, so I need to find a new one. I  pretty terrified that it will get messed up and then I will have bad hair on top of a postpartum body..#firstworldproblems
5. Even though I was an English major, I haven't read a book that isn't related to parenting in way longer then I would like to admit. I find it easier just to get pulled into blogs and articles online. I really need  to get on this because it is just plain embarrassing. But first,I need to finish What to Expect Your First Year...because there is nothing more riveting then reading about introducing your baby to solids.
So those are some thoughts for today. What is up with you?

Weekend Recap!

This weekend was so restorative! Saturday we just hung out and I got the grocery shopping done. Since we had both been gone for the middle part of the week, it was nice to have some time at home. I also made some cupcakes for my friend's birthday.  
On Sunday, the husband and I took turns watching SC, so we could both have time with friends. I ended up going to lunch with one of my friends to celebrate her birthday, and it was really great to have that time. I came back feeling so refreshed. We have been friends for almost 14 years, so it was fun to catch up, but also just talk about different things. A fair share of the conversation was about our children, but it helped me to have an outside perspective.

When I came back, the husband regaled me with stories of how good SC had been and videos of her rolling over attempts. He then headed out to an early dinner to watch the Super Bowl with friends. All in all, it was exactly what we needed! Did everyone watch the Super Bowl? I only caught the half time show!

Five for Friday: Ideas for Celebrating and Supporting A Friend's Pregnancy!

This has been quite a week!  The husband had a business trip for a few days, so SC and I decided to go visit my parents and it was a nice change of pace.  I also found out that one of my good friends is expecting, which is definitely exciting news!  Her announcement got me thinking of some ways to support friends during pregnancy.  While they are not original ideas, when my first really good friend announced that she was pregnant a few years ago, I didn't have a clue how to support her.  It was just a year ago last year that we found out we were expecting, so I thought I'd write down a few ideas that I've come up with along the way!
1. Baby books- One of my friend's gave me Guess How Much I Love You, and it was such a perfect gift.  I realized then that books are great because they are gender neutral, and there is nothing sweeter than thinking about reading to your baby in a few months. Another friend gave me a Dr. Seuss book that was written to read to your baby in the womb, which is so cute.  TJ Maxx and Home Goods often have baby books on sale, so if you have time, they are worth a trip.Amazon is also a good resource, but I will admit that the last two times I bought baby books I ended up paying full price at Target...sometimes you just need convenience.
2. Willow Angel- This is definitely a matter of taste.  I think some people probably don't like these, but I find something so moving about the figurines.  This is what I ended up buying my friend a few years ago, and I think she really appreciated it. 
3. Pregnancy care basket/celebration basket- I ended up making one of these for my friend who just announced that she was expecting and included flowers, stretch cream lotion, a baby book, sparkling cider, and a baby hat.  I also think that ginger chews are good to include and any particular foods to she has mentioned craving could be a fun addition.
Here is a very un-posed picture of the basket, but you get the idea.
4. Books about pregnancy- Can you tell I'm really big on books?  My sister bought me a few books when I announced I was expecting and they were very helpful.  I just passed my gently used books onto my friend, and I was shocked that I somehow had acquired ten different ones! Hands down, Great with Child was my favorite book of the bunch. Dude, You're Going to Be A Dad, is also a good option for the dad-to-be, although I don't think my husband was overly impressed with that book.
Here are just a few of them from my "collection"!
5. Pregnancy journal- One of my friend's received this as a gift, and I think it's a good idea.  It seems like a quick and fun way to track your pregnancy. She had The Belly Book, but Expecting You: A Keepsake Pregnancy Journal, seems especially pretty.
Of course, a little gift at the beginning is above and beyond what is expected (pardon the pun), considering there is also a baby shower, but I think that just a little token gift at the beginning is such a nice gesture and makes the mom-to-be feel particularly special!  Nine months of carrying the baby can feel like a long time! What are your favorite gifts to give a mom-to-be?

Valentine's Day Care Packages!

I can't believe it is already February, and with this month comes Valentine's Day! As I've blogged about in the past, I love to give little treats for the holiday.  It's never anything super expensive or fancy, but I think it's a nice gesture to send to friends and family who live far away.  As always, Target's dollar spot came in handy, as well as Trader Joe's.   Even though the shipping costs about as much as the gift, who can complain about getting a little chocolate in the mail?
To round everything out, I also added some little jewelry. For one friend I am sending earrings from the J.Crew factory store that I blogged about on Friday and for my sister-in-law, a monogrammed necklace.  I love how tiny the heart earrings are, and I think they are pretty perfect for Valentine's Day.
I packaged everything up with little bags and some ribbon I had on hand, and I think it came together pretty well!
Now I just need to get these off to the post office! Do you do little gifts for Valentine's Day?  I'm hoping to make some heart sugar cookies, but we will have to see how everything goes!

Five for Friday: Valentine's Day and Baby Books!

I hope everyone had a nice week! Today we are meeting with a surgeon to discuss SC's surgery on her cleft palate.  I know it is routine, but it is still scary for us, so if you can send positive thoughts our way, I'd appreciate it!  In the meantime, here are my five for Friday!
I've been thinking about Valentine's Day and putting together a few care packages for friends.  On Wednesday, J.Crew Factory had free shipping and 25% off , so I couldn't resist buying a pair of these earrings for a friend and also for myself. Hey, the husband is done with his Valentine's Day shopping now!
I also bought a pair of these socks for another friend, and I can't wait to put the packages together!
I don't think I will be able to make it to the mall anytime soon, but if I did, I would love to stop by Forever 21 and check out some of their accessories.  I think that this little locket would be a fun (and inexpensive) little gift for friends.
 SC has finally started to show a bit of interest in this animal book that I've been reading to her.  And by reading, I mean making various animal sounds.  On Tuesday she was actually seemed to notice that there were different textures on the "pages."  I've spent about 2.5 months saying "the cow goes moo", which never gets old to SC, so this sort of engagement is worth celebrating.  In case you are as invested in different animal sounds as I am, here is a video about them in different languages. I'm sure you all are on the edge of your seat!
And related to love and books, I read "Guess How Much I Love You" to SC and she actually seemed interested in what I had to say. Again, something worth celebrating!  That book always makes me tear up a little bit. Fortunately, SC is all smiles (and hearts).
 I hope you have a happy weekend!  Is anyone else starting to think about Valentine's Day?  I think there is definitely a reason we have these holidays in the winter months!

Pineapples: The Fruit of the Year

It seems like pineapples are having their moment in the sun right now!  I know they are nothing new (hello, Colonial Williamsburg), but it seems they are particularly hot right now.  One of my good friends really likes them, so when putting together her birthday gift, I made sure to include them as part of her present. I bought her a wine cork from Williams Sonoma and a little pineapple tray  from Anthropologie. To round out the gift, I also picked up a pair of earrings and some pretty Rifle notecards.
To drive the pineapple theme home, I ordered this monogrammed bracelet, but it hasn't arrived yet.  I'm hoping that it turns out well.

While SC was napping, I went ahead and wrapped everything else up, and now I am looking forward to celebrating her birthday! What are your go-to gifts for friends?  This year it has been particularly tough for me to come up with ideas, so I'd love to hear!

Surviving Blizzard Jonas!

I hope everyone had a warm and cozy weekend!  I know that there are still some people that have to go out and work in this inclement weather (my brother included), and I really admire and appreciate the work that they do to keep everyone else safe.

This weekend we did not venture out, but enjoyed lots of time together.  Since we didn't lose power, I felt like the weekend was pretty perfect.
 On Sunday afternoon, we stepped outside for approximately five minutes so Sarah Catherine could see the snow and she patiently let us take a few photos before we scurried back inside. 

How was your weekend?  Any snow adventures?

Five for Friday: Preparing for the Blizzard!

Happy Friday! They are calling for lots of snow in the DC area which honestly has me a bit worried.  Mostly, I am just terrified of losing power for a long period of time, but I took a trip to Target and at least we have a lot of La Croix and milk.  The husband also took a trip to Target in search of a sled, and I'm sad to report that he came home empty-handed. Perhaps he will be sledding on a cookie sheet, then? While we wait out the blizzard, here are a few snippets from the week!
First, this headline from The Onion made me laugh. 

Second, I saw this old "interview" and I thought it was funny.  When my sister and I would watch Sex and the City we would always make fun of the questions.

Third, I am kind of obsessed with SC's Valentine's Day attire.  I know it's a waste of money, but I love seeing her all dressed up.  I can't wait to send out Valentine's Day cards!
Fourth, I think this shirt from the Loft is pretty and would be nice for spring.
Fifth, I ordered my MIL's birthday gifts yesterday just in time for them to arrive.  Did you know Shutterfly makes jewelry? We ordered a charm necklace and a travel mug, and I'm excited to see how they turn out.
Image via Shutterfly
 I hope everyone has a great weekend and stays warm.  This winter weather is no joke!

Sarah Catherine's Baptism!

Last Sunday, Sarah Catherine was baptized!  It was such a special day to us and one we will remind and celebrate with her as she gets older.

When we woke up on Sunday morning we were greeted by snow, which made the church look particularly beautiful.
Everything seemed so pure.
I love Sarah Catherine's dress with all the little pearls and ribbon.
The husband and my mom helped me dress her, and all the finery made me think about a wedding day. For some reason, this picture of my mom tying her bow makes me a little teary.
The service was really nice, and I was happy that we were able to have it done by the same pastor who married us five years ago.
 After the service, we took a few more photos.  Sarah Catherine fell asleep for them.  It's very tiring to get baptized!

Brunch was at the same location where we had our wedding reception, and it was neat to go back.  The food was delicious (and the company even better)! I am very thankful that both sides of our immediate families could celebrate the day with us.
We then headed home, but I will always be so thankful for this past Sunday!