Weekend Recap: A Visit with my Sister!

Happy Monday, everyone! This past weekend my sister came up for a visit, and it was really great to see her (as always).  We enjoyed spending time together and on Saturday, we went to the mall for a little shopping.  We ended up going to Hallmark because I noticed that they were closing and spent an inordinate amount there.  We did get some great cards and recordable books, which I think will be wonderful for the grandparents.  After that epic trip, my sister had an appointment to go dress shopping, so off we went.  To be honest, the first place was a bust, so we decided to go to Georgetown.  She's looking for a less formal dress, so we stopped by Kate Spade and they had some really fun dresses, but nothing that was the perfect dress.  Nonetheless, I think it was helpful for her to at least narrow down what she doesn't want and she has an appointment to go dress shopping again in March when she comes back to visit.  Whatever she wears, I know she will be a beautiful bride!
 Sunday was absolutely gorgeous, so we took SC for a little stroll in the morning. 
That afternoon, my sister helped me rearrange a few things around the apartment.  Kudos to my patient husband for getting these shelves hung up and for my sister's finance in also helping out.  These little shelves would seem easy, but the template was slightly off, making it a bit more of a project.
Normally this chair faces the other way in the living room, but now there is technically a little reading nook where we used to have the crib. I love how that glider swivels!
 I was sad to say goodbye to my sister, but knowing that she will be back in a few weeks definitely made me feel better.  How was your weekend? I couldn't get over how gorgeous the weather was on Sunday!

Thinking about Easter!

Is anybody else thinking about Easter? It is one of my favorite holidays, because it means that spring is almost here in addition to the religious significance.  Last year we made our pregnancy announcement at Easter, and it is exciting to think that our little chick is actually going to be here this year to celebrate!

Because we are relatively limited with space, I try to keep the seasonal decor to a minimum, but over the years I've collected a few things.  I'm thinking that I'm going to hold off on creating an Easter basket for SC this year, since I have no idea where I would store it afterwards, but I must say that on my last trip to Target I was extremely tempted by all of their Easter items. Luckily for the husband I resisted this bowl and this one, but I had to really think hard about it.  If we were hosting an Easter gathering this year, I would have bought it in a minute, despite the fact that our kitchen is pretty much bursting at the seams and the last thing I need to be doing is collecting another serving dish.

Despite my slight show of self-restraint, I ended up picking up this little outfit and mini-basket for SC. And then I proceeded to snap a few photos of her on my phone. I think I get way to much enjoyment out of taking pictures of her, but at least I keep the grandparents happy!
I feel like she looks so big in these next photos! The caption for these pictures I like to think of as her thinking "I fell asleep at Target for just a few minutes and now what has happened?  What in the world did my mommy find in the dollar spot?!"
Anybody else getting excited about Easter?  Or have a problem collecting Easter decor?

Scenes from the Weekend!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  As I mentioned, my FIL came into town to celebrate his birthday, so on Friday, I pulled together this little birthday basket.  It isn't the most original or the best, but I was proud of myself because I accomplished it with SC in tow and it was a lot more last minute than usual.  He enjoys burning candles and wine, so at the very least, I know he will use everything. I'm always stumped by what to get him, but if I take a quick walk through of World Market, I can usually find something that he likes.

On Saturday we just visited, and that night I successfully made him a birthday dinner using this salmon recipe, mashed potatoes and broccoli. And of course, we sang happy birthday!
We also visited more on Sunday and that afternoon the husband did a bit of work and SC and I just relaxed. We both took naps and she figured out how to chew on Sophie. An exciting life we lead, but I am so very thankful for it! 
How was your weekend?

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday!  This weekend my FIL is coming up to celebrate his birthday, and I may be seeing another friend too, to do a belated birthday celebration for her.  So there will be lots of jubilation all around! Here are my five for Friday!
ONE
I took a little time to rearrange underneath our coffee table earlier in the week, and even though it isn't styled, it makes me feel so much calmer to see these organized stacks.  Before I had been displaying every knick knack and book I possibly could, and it was getting out of control.Yay for also making a trip to the Goodwill and getting rid of a bit of clutter!

TWO
I definitely don't wear anything fancy around the house and out and about, but I'm loving these shirts from Old Navy.  Tea Time with Tess also recommended them awhile ago, and they are great for new moms! They have a loose fit, so I can get away with stripes, and I love this necklace from a friend that is teething friendly.  The whole ensemble puts a bit of pep in my step (which is always good to have when running errands and struggling with the car seat/stroller ensemble).

THREE
While at Trader Joe's on Thursday, I was dragging a bit. I decided that some flowers might brighten things up and picked up two bunches of tulips and an orchid.  I know flowers are not essential, but they really perked up the apartment! I also love this vase, because you don't have to worry about arranging them; they somehow look fine when you just plop them in.
 
FOUR
Last weekend I was able to stop by Home Goods for the first time in months, and I picked up this wrapping paper.  I've proceeded to line basically every cabinet and drawer that I can with this cheerful pattern.
 FIVE
And in honor of the birthday celebrations, I'm hoping we keep this little quote in mind! I guess that means I should be doing some baking!

 
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What are your weekend plans? I hope you have a lovely one!

Four Months with Sarah Catherine!

SC is exactly four months today, which is hard for me to believe!  Even the baby books acknowledge that four months is an especially fun time, and we have been enjoying every moment. Sleep is good and we are finally on track with her weight gain, which is a big relief. Now, when teething begins and sleep regression starts, I may be singing a different tune, but we are savoring this time while we have it!
Likes: Being bounced up and down, being sung to in the mirror, and all of my little ditties and songs. Finally, after 30 plus years someone has recognized my potential and appreciates it! She especially likes "Old MacDonald", my one hit wonder about the four animals in her play gym-"Franki the fish and Olivia the Octopus, Cara the Crab and Suzy too", "change, change, change my diaper", and my personal favorite, "hip hip hooray, it's going to be a great day." I may only get reviews in smiles, but I'll take it! She is also getting interested in grabbing everything she can and is getting more interactive with her toys. She continues to attempt to get her entire fist in her mouth, but so far, she's been unsuccessful.
One of these days, Mama,  I'm going to get my whole fist in my mouth!  Just you wait!
Dislikes: She still isn't too happy when we are too slow with getting her a bottle. She also gets fussy when she rolls over onto her stomach and gets "stuck." SC continues to sound the alarm when we are at a traffic light or stuck in traffic, so I'm thinking she won't be growing out of that anytime soon.  Fortunately, she has been falling asleep on longer trips that we take.
It's bittersweet, but her sleep gown is getting too small for her.
Clothes: She is definitely in the 3-6 month clothes.  I finally went through all of her clothes and put the smaller sizes into storage, but I have to admit that it makes me a bit sad. The good news is that by re-organizing her clothes, I realized that she has lots of new things to wear that are just as fun! So, it looks like I will have to go back to heavily photographing her every outfit (my feeble attempt to at least capture this time, since I don't think I will be successful at freezing it any time soon)!

Baby Toys: The First Four Months

My sister's future SIL is having a baby, so my sister asked for advice on what to get regarding baby toys.  To be honest, when it came to toys, I knew we were limited on space, so I tried to keep toys to a bare minimum.  I did know that I wanted the ubiquitous Sophie the Giraffe teether and an activity play gym, but that was it.  In the end, one of my friends ended up lending us her activity play gym (which has worked really well for us), and SC is just getting interested in Sophie, so I'm definitely not an expert, but here is my advice!

ONE: Activity play gym
I think that these are a must.  Even if you have very little space, a baby does need an engaging place to do tummy time and to interact with things overhead.  While we just used a blanket at the beginning, eventually they need something  for them to grab to help develop their body for crawling. Of course, you could make your own, or simply hold objects/your hand above the baby, but if you can afford it, a play gym seems really useful. SC seems to like the one we are borrowing, but this one from PBK is the chicest one I've seen.  I am also sentimental, and I think this play gym based off "Guess How Much I Love You" is adorable. While Land of Nod also has some cute activity bars, they are super pricey, and I think Ikea offers two reasonably priced options at a nicer price point.
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TWO:Sophie the Giraffe/Squeak toy
While SC hasn't done much with this in the way of teething with it yet (despite the fact that she is at a stage where she wants to put everything in her mouth), this toy is great because it also squeaks.  About a month ago, SC thought that was the greatest thing ever, so I highly recommend at least some type of squeak toy.

THREE: Manhattan Toy Winkel
I read about this toy on Classic Annie, and decided to buy one for SC a few weeks ago. While I think she is still growing into this toy, she enjoys grabbing and holding it. You can also rattle it, so the toy serves double-duty there. Not to mention that it has provided the husband endless entertainment as he likes to throw it in the air and put a spin on it.
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FOUR: Cloth Books
We own only one of these, but SC loves the one we have.  We had bought this one on a whim last summer at Ikea, and I'm so glad we did.  It has different animals showcased on each of the pages in various textures, and we go through the pages and I make different sounds.  SC loves it and this was the first toy she was really interested in.  It is not fancy, but promotes our little conversations and stories!

So those are the four toys (besides her mobile) that we have used.  While we have other toys, those are really the only ones she seems to care about at the moment...besides the other non-toys we have. SC is probably most attached to the various burp cloths that we have and loves grabbing onto those throughout the day. And you can't forget the endless entertainment that she gets from my singing with her in the mirror. Does anyone else have any recommendations?  I've also read great things about the Whoozit, but we haven't tried that. I am thankful that her toy collection is minimal now, but I know as she gets older it will grow exponentially.  I'm not going to lie, I'm not looking forward to the all the really loud toys that I know are in our future, but I am thankful that we have these to facilitate interaction and her development!

Scenes from our Valentine's Day Weekend!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! This weekend was so cold that I avoided venturing out as little as I could besides the usual errands and a trip to Home Goods on Saturday morning.  The rest of the time we just enjoyed the coziness of our apartment and celebrating with our little valentine. The husband even let me take a few pictures to commemorate the occasion.
The evening we celebrated with a heart pizza (yes, we are those type of people) and some heart cookies that I made.
 
Even though it was quiet and nothing fancy, I appreciated that we could spend time together as a our little family. How was your weekend?

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone!  I am so relieved that it is almost the weekend! The husband has worked some pretty long hours this week, and I also felt under the weather for the last part of it, so I'm really hoping that this weekend things will slow down a bit. There have been lots of happy things going on though!
The week started out well when my order from Lindsay Letters arrived.  I have loved her designs for a really long time, and I finally decided to purchase a few things.  I am so excited about this print I bought for SC.
I also ordered  this card.  Isn't it pretty?
I also received a care package from my sister, which certainly brightened up the end of the week.
 Like the doting aunt she is, she made sure that SC is all ready for Valentine's Day!
My Old Navy "cash" was burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to stop by and pick up a few things for SC. I got this little outfit for St. Patrick's Day.
And this one for Easter!  I can't wait for her to wear them.
Finally, I decided to try to take a picture of SC for an Easter card.  While it didn't quite go the way I imagined, I love the attempts.
Well, I managed to talk about all three holidays in one post!  I think it's safe to say that with the arrival of SC, I definitely have a new obsession with holidays.  I hope everyone has a happy weekend and a lovely Valentine's Day! 

A blogging makeover and thoughts on blogging!

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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.
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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!