Four Things for Monday

Our weekend was pretty quiet as SC and my husband are still recovering from their colds (this darn thing seems to be hanging on forever).  I have to admit that I started to get a little weary of it all.  SC is a bit fussier since she doesn't feel well, all the current events are distressing to me, and we're still pretty housebound since we don't want to go around spreading the cold.  With that said, here are a few thoughts for Monday!

ONE
It's not all doom and gloom around here, as in two weeks SC and I will be heading down to Florida with my MIL to visit her great-grandma.  It should be lots of fun in the sun, but I'm a bit apprehensive about her first plane ride.  Any tips for an unwieldy toddler?
TWO
I was especially bleak on Sunday afternoon, so the husband suggested I might enjoy a quick jog around the neighborhood.  While I was dubious at first, I decided to jog until I felt regrouped.  A little exercise and fresh air really did the trick (and hopefully offsets the brownie I had that evening for dessert)...
My running shoes aren't very inspiring, but the sunsets around here sure are lovely
THREE
Our pantry is a bit of a mess, and I can't help but be inspired by The Home Edit's beautiful pantries.  While ours is never going to look like this, I'm going to try to hit up the Dollar Store this week and see if I can make it over a bit during nap time.
Via
FOUR
And finally, here are a few words from Shauna Niequist's Savor devotional that really soothed my soul this week.
I hope that they may uplift you too, friend.

Five for Friday

Well, this has been a long week!  SC's cold has dragged on, meaning that we were housebound for the most part.  The husband also got the cold (no surprise there), and I've been fighting it off the best I can with Airborne.  Parenthood is not exactly the most sanitary activity out there.  But the upside is that we all seem to be getting better and hopefully we will be up for something this weekend!
ONE
When I went home to visit my parents a few weekends ago my mom sent me back with my violin (it's finally time to get all of my things out of the perpetual storage that has been my parents' house!).  While I'm pretty horrible at playing, SC loves to hear Old MacDonald (honestly, I can't really play much else).  She goes into the closet where we store it and starts signing for more until I play.  Even though I think she might be just as enamored with the case as the actual violin, it's been fun to have this little distraction.  And yes, I not-so-secretly hope that maybe one day she might play the violin...or the viola...or cello!
TWO
Not surprisingly, I love Target's Cat and Jack line.  I had seen these adorable jackets a few months ago, but resisted since SC didn't need a jacket.  However, when I saw them on sale for nine dollars at my local store, I couldn't resist buying one for SC and my niece.  I love the little scallop edge and the polka dots.  So fancy for a toddler!
SC kindly modeled the 12 month one, so I could send a picture to my SIL
THREE
SC loves to pull books off of our bookshelf, and the other day she chucked my copy of Little Women.  I started reading the introduction, and of course then fell down the rabbit hole.  I've always loved Little Women (we even went and visited the Alcott home one summer), but one person in the family I had never really thought too much about is the mother, Abigail Alcott.  Truly, in the face of her husband's failed literary and Utopian society attempts, she was the practical partner who held everything together.  I'd really like to read her collection of  journals and letters, My Heart is Boundless.

FOUR
To thank our neighbors for bailing us out when we locked ourselves out in the snow, I put together this little movie basket for them a few weeks ago.  I think The Life of Pi is one of the most beautifully done movies (not that I see that many!).
FIVE
I picked up two Scoopback Ballet T-shirts at J.Crew last weekend for $5 a piece.  Considering SC will just be wiping banana on them, I was happy to update my wardrobe without breaking the bank. I did size up so they would be comfortable, but I do think they might genuinely run a bit small, as some reviewers were complaining that they were tight in the arms. Anyways, it's been fun to have something new to wear  around the house as SC attempts to catch the sun.
So that's what's new with me lately!  I hope everyone has a lovely (and healthy) weekend!

House Tour: Our Kitchen

Since we finally have a kitchen table, I thought I would share how it actually looks in our space as well as the rest of the kitchen.  While I wouldn't have necessarily picked out these finishes and such for the kitchen, it is a nice work area and so much better than what we had in our apartment.  Finally we have cabinet space and more than one work station!  It is also is very functional for us, and I love how it is connected to the living room. When we bought the house, it looked like this, and the only thing we have changed so far is the paint.  We will eventually get a new light fixture and figure out window treatments, but I doubt we will do too much more.

The differences aren't too dramatic, but here is the before:
And here is the after with our new kitchen table! We paired it with some chairs that my parents were willing to let us use, and I think it looks ok.  Eventually we might upgrade to upholstered chairs, but with SC's eating habits right now, these are the way to go.
SC's high chair is tucked into the corner by the table, and I enjoy eating my breakfast with her.  She loves looking out the window, and we talk about the squirrels and birds.  Exciting times!
 From this angle, you can see the layout a bit better.The sink and dishwasher are in the kitchen island, so even when you are doing dishes you can look out the window or into the living room.
 One thing I never would have bought is a double oven, but it is surprisingly handy, and we use it pretty frequently. Also, finally having a fridge with an ice maker and water dispenser has been awesome.
I had saved two wine bottles from our wedding along with a vase we received for our wedding, and it's fun to actually have them displayed in this little corner.
 
So there is our little kitchen tour!  While I may have originally dreamed of an all-white kitchen, I've definitely fallen in love with this one.  It is such a happy and functional space to work in, despite the fact that I'm not exactly a gourmet chef!

Two Weekend Recaps

Our computer was broken for the first part of last week, so I never got around to posting a recap of our trip to see my parents two weekends ago.   While we didn't really "do" anything, it was just really nice to have the time together.  My sister-in-law had fallen and fractured one of her vertebrae, so the trip home ended up being good timing, as there were extra hands to help with my niece.  My brother was also working 12 hour day and night shifts that weekend (I don't know how he does that with so little turnaround time), so in a weird way, I think it worked out as well as it could.
This was my dad's rocking chair when he was a kid!
My dad loves nothing more than holding his granddaughters.  Unfortunately, SC is a little wiggly now, but my niece thinks grandpa's lap is the best place to sleep!




Even the husband got in on the newborn snuggles. I really don't think there is anything better than a sleeping baby.
Of course, SC was living the good life with her doting grandparents, aunts and uncle.









My niece is getting so much more alert, but SC still isn't quite sure what to make of it all. We had a great trip and really enjoyed having a long weekend together.

This past weekend wasn't quite as fun.  While I did get to go shopping on Saturday morning,  poor SC came down with a cold Saturday afternoon, and everything kind of came to a standstill after that.  She didn't really sleep Saturday night except, but she seems to be doing a little better each day.  I'm pretty sure she just has a cold, but we are going to check with the doctor to make sure an ear infection isn't lurking...she is also teething, so it is hard to know exactly what is going on!  If she wasn't so miserable, I'm sure she'd try to pretend she was sick every day because I'm afraid that we've coddled her as much as we can possibly think of with bottles, Baby Beluga and extra bath time.

Five for Friday: My favorites at Trader Joe’s



So last Friday, I mentioned that I felt like a Trader Joe’s run needed to happen soon for some reasonably priced flowers. The truth though is that when we lived in Arlington we were about one mile away from one, but I didn’t go there that often.  But there are a few things that Trader Joe’s sells that you just can’t get anywhere else.  So after five months of living down here, I decided to finally take the thirty minute trip there, and it didn’t disappoint!  The store is spacious and SC seemed to enjoy the trip herself (I didn’t waste any time like I do at Target).  So even though I know you are not curious, here are the things that I love at Trader Joe’s.

ONE
Everyone loves Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken.  It took me a while before I discovered it, but it is good and an easy meal paired with rice and broccoli. It is their top selling item for a good reason!

TWO
My husband and I are obsessed with this kettle corn.  I think we probably just like kettle corn, but for some reason this stuff seems especially good. As a side note, I also got their white cheddar popcorn, and it seems better than what I usually buy too.
THREE
I became obsessed with the dark peanut butter cups last year for some reason (well, I don’t think it’s any mystery;  I love chocolate and peanut butter).  They are not a health food, but definitely a decadent treat. I had to arrange the last few pieces for this picture, so probably shouldn't be buying these again anytime soon.
FOUR
I love their red Thai curry sauce.  I’ve blogged about how yummy the red Thai curry recipe is before, but it is one of my favorite meals to make in the fall and winter.  It is a comforting meal that is somewhat healthy and so easy to make. I seriously bought three jars. Another customer asked me if it was good, and like a crazy person I gave her the recipe while we were standing in the aisle.
FIVE
Like everyone else, the real reason I would wander up to Trader Joe’s is for the inexpensive flowers.  You can get a beautiful orchid for under $15 and roses, tulips and hydrangeas for $5.  I bought two orchids last Tuesday, which may have been a bit crazy, but it is so much cheaper than Harris Teeter (the closest grocery store to us).
So thanks for bearing with me as I shared my list!  I definitely looked a bit bonkers as I filled my cart full of flowers and other frozen treats, but I think I’ve gotten my Trader Joe’s fix for a while! Is anybody else as obsessed?

Sarah Catherine is 15 Months!



Yesterday Sarah Catherine turned 15 months, so I couldn't resist an opportunity to do a quick post!
Stats: Probably around 24/25 pounds.  She was weighed  a few weeks ago at the allergist and she was 23 pounds, so she is probably around that.  She is wearing 12-18 month clothing and some 18 month clothes (but the pants usually drag to the ground so she isn't quite in them). She also has 12 teeth!
Highlights:
SC took a step or two on Halloween, but really started walking in mid-November.  I think story time helped her because she saw all the other toddlers walking about and wanted to be part of the fun.

She knows the word stinky and whenever there is something smelly she will put her finger to her nose and sniff.  It is hilarious and makes a part of me think we should start thinking about potty training, but I'm not sure if I'm up for all of that just yet.

She also knows her nose, toes, ears and belly button!

My FIL gave her a slide for Christmas and she can climb all the way up it, so between that and the stairs, she is keeping us on our toes!
Dislikes: When SC seems the vacuum, she will wave bye-bye to it because she is afraid of it.  She doesn’t like loud noises, with the exception of the hair dryer.  She is also a bit afraid of dogs (she hates the barking), which we are trying to work on. The husband's dream is to get a dog, so I'm hoping she will outgrow this soon.
Likes: 
She loves getting and giving claps.  She will clap when you finish singing or reading a book or just when anything delights her.
 
When she sees bananas, grapes and tomatoes at the grocery store, she furiously starts signing more and turning around in the cart to get at the food.  So grocery shopping is especially fun these days…She is very determined to get something once she decides she wants it.  One day, she found a 2 pound bag of grapes in the grocery bags, pulled it out and then hauled it around the house to make sure she got her point across.  Yup, SC’s favorite foods are bananas, grapes, tomatoes and whatever you might be sampling at the time.

Ever since she turned one I have been really anxious for her to give up the bottle, but a few weeks ago I came to the conclusion that she just needs a little bit more time with it.  We’ve been struggling with trying to figure out straws and sippy cups, and it had been pretty frustrating for both of us.  I had hoped that since her cleft palate had been repaired that she would be able to use a regular sippy cup, but they just weren’t working for her.  I finally went back to the 360 cup and she seems to be able to use that and we are also just practicing with a regular cup.  She is getting there, and now that we’ve given up the whole quest to drink out of a straw, I feel so much less stressed.  Sadly, my mom had been gently suggesting just moving to cup drinking the entire time, but I had to hear this from the cleft palate clinic coordinator for it to really sink in.

Speech:  Mama is still her go to word, but we’ve been working with a speech therapist to try to be as proactive with her speech development as possible. She is slowly starting to make a few more sounds, and her comprehension is there which is reassuring.

Allergies:  She has been officially cleared to have egg, so that is one less thing to worry about! She is still allergic to milk but can have baked milk.  She has adjusted fine to the almond milk, which has really helped. It is hard to believe that change has happened relatively recently. I am so glad to have the pumping and formula behind us!
We are so thankful for our dear girlie!

Five for Friday

Happy Friday! This week seemed short because at the beginning we had a few snow days, and it was really great to have some family time. Towards of the end of the week it warmed up and during nap time I finally organized our garage.  It isn't perfect, but it isn't a disaster anymore. It is amazing to think that we had nothing five months ago and now we are well on our way to acquiring our fair share of junk.  It felt really good to make a long-overdue trip to Goodwill.  Since the move, I haven't been super eager to get rid of things, but we definitely had some stuff that needed to be passed on!
 
ONE
We are finally getting a kitchen table!  For months now I had been debating if I should get a white or black table.  A few family members offered us some round tables, but my husband and I decided to hold out to get a piece that we really liked (read: the dumpster dive find from college wasn't going to make the cut). I was starting to despair that we would never find anything, but I found this table on sale from Target and we decided to just order.  I'm still not sure how it will look, but I'm crossing my fingers that it will work.
Via
TWO
Speaking of home decor, I really want some fresh flowers now that all the Christmas things are put away. However, we have also spent an inordinate amount of money at the grocery store as of late, so I will be holding off and enjoying this candle centerpiece that my mom and dad gave me for Christmas.  Eventually a trip to Trader Joe's needs to happen though!
THREE
As I've previously mentioned, story time at the library is competitive and you have to sign up  as soon as registration opens.  I could tell that SC was really starting to enjoy it as she was becoming less shy, but the husband got to see first hand when they went to the library for the first time together.  Apparently once she realized where she was, she made a mad dash to the story time room and just stood there looking through the window forlornly.  I'm relieved that we were able to register for another six week session so that is in our near future!
FOUR
One thing that SC has started doing is if I do a particularly good job with my singing and choreography, is clapping for me afterwards.  For the past few weeks Frosty the Snowman has been a favorite, but now it looks like if I am especially expressive reading books I also get a round of applause.  She likes my reading of Eric Carle's Opposites, with no less than five readings of it on Tuesday night followed by pretty enthusiastic clapping.  It is the funniest thing to me!

FIVE
Even though I'm going into 2017 a bit reluctantly, I am excited about a new planner and a chance to get a little better organized.  While I used to pride myself on time management, I think that with SC I need to re-evaluate how I allocate my time.  If I don't plan for something, it won't magically happen, so I'm thinking I need to come up with at least a few tiny goals to make for myself each week.
This weekend we are heading to my parents' house to do a belated Christmas celebration and my sister is flying in for the visit.  I can't wait to spend time with everyone.  These past few weeks have been tough on my parents and I think it will be great to have this time together.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Goals for 2017

When I started this post, I was a bit worried that it might very well be February before I even formulated my New Year's resolutions, because I feel so very overwhelmed by all the things that I really should get accomplished.  Last year I was in such a state of adjustment that I didn't even think about resolutions. And let's face it, I'm pretty horrible with resolutions. I am tempted to not even bother, but when I look back through my blog, I see that the only times that I actually accomplish anything are when I have a goal. I don't want my life to feel like one big giant checklist, but at the same time, I've realize that my time management skills have deteriorated (maybe they were never that great?).  So here are a few things that I'm going to attempt to work on this year. I'm hoping to "schedule" a few things to accomplish each day during nap time, and hopefully that will help me manage my time a bit better.
Wellness
Lose 10 pounds:  I still haven't lost the last ten pounds that I gained from being pregnant.  Ideally I'd like to lose more, but if I could lose 10 pounds, I would be at peace. I'll do the Cinch diet because that is pretty effective and works for me, but I don't think I'll be feeling up for that until February.  Regardless it needs to happen in 2017!
Do four yoga stretches each day, and attend yoga classes once or twice a week:  My flexibility has never been good, but after SC's birth, it has declined even more, so it is time to take action.

Mind
Learn how to use our camera: We have a nice camera, and I should really learn how to use it.  I think if I just watch a few tutorials that would help, but it is just a matter of making it a priority.
Read at least one book every month: Taking SC to story time allowed me to start reading again and made me feel more like myself, so I'd like to make sure I keep doing this.
Blog at least twice a week: Twice a week is enough to keep up with the simple happenings of our life and also keep it from being overwhelming.
Attend church as regularly as possible (hopefully at least two times a month) and get involved in the church community (maybe join a group?)

Home 
Cook one new recipe a week
Meal plan
Follow and adhere to the grocery budgetOrganize our pantry
Organize kitchen cabinets
Make labels for office organization
Organize desk
Organize linen closet
Create and implement a cleaning schedule

Here's hoping for a healthy and happy 2017, even if I am a little late in coming up with my goals!

Our Snow Adventure

This past weekend we got a bit of snow, which was perfect weather for cozying up and binge watching House of Cards.   I felt a bit under the weather at the end of last week, so the snow didn't really change our plans.  There was a bit of running around on Friday to make sure we had enough supplies (although there wasn't a snow shovel or ice melt to be had for miles around).  Saturday afternoon we decided to got outside to take a few pictures, but it ended up being quite the adventure of the weekend. First, a few pictures of   SC enjoying the snow.  It was something new, and she was fascinated by our little winter wonderland.

We decided to stay outside in the snow for awhile, and then headed in before SC could get too cold.  When we turned the knob on our backdoor it had automatically locked, which we had both forgotten about.  It didn't seem like too much of an issue though, since we can get in through the garage door...but then the keypad wasn't working.  It was then that we both started to panic and SC (probably sensing our worry and getting cold at this point) started crying.  We weren't really sure what to do because we knew a locksmith wouldn't be coming out in the weather, so we decided that the most rational option would be to try to use a brick to break through our backdoor.  Not our finest moment as homeowners.  But we didn't have the heart to break the glass (aka that glass is way stronger than you would think), so we headed over to our neighbor's house to try to get SC warm and figure out if they had any ideas.  We are both so glad that we did because they helped us realize it was just a battery issue with our garage keypad, so it was an easy fix. But it sure did feel pretty dramatic as we stood locked outside of our toasty house in the snow with a wailing toddler.  The upside of this whole adventure is we met some new neighbors and didn't actually damage our house...but what a homeowner fail on our end!  Needless to say, we spent the rest of the weekend safely ensconced in our house, with the exception of the husband spending hours shoveling the driveway on Sunday.  It's probably a good thing that this area doesn't usually get too much snow, because we are clearly not up for the challenge! Anybody else have any snow adventures?  Hopefully none as exciting as ours!