5 on Friday

Friday, November 30, 2018

How I felt all week!  Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
1.  I don't know why, but this week has kicked my ass.  I am just soooo exhausted (and no, I'm not pregnant). I struggled all week to get going every day and barely got anything done around the house.  I feel like every ounce of my energy was dedicated to keeping my child alive.  She requires constant attention lately and is getting into everything!  I love her adventurous and curious spirit, but woof, it can be tiring.

2. I'm looking forward to celebrating my birthday this weekend.   It's on Monday but I'm going to do the bulk of my celebrating this weekend. I'm going to go to hot yoga (for the first time since I found out I was pregnant last year!), get sushi for lunch by myself, get Starbucks, hopefully get a massage, and ...

3. Shop the annual candle day sale at Bath & Body Works!  It only takes place 1 day a year and the candles are on sale for $8.95 plus you can use coupons. I've got my list ready of the ones I want to buy.  Here's to hoping I get there before any of them are sold out.  The stores are opening early just for this sale!  Mine opens at 7am but I doubt I'll get there before 10.

4. Blogging.  Why is it so hard to find time to just sit down and write posts?!  I have soooo many idea of things I want to write, but I just can't seem to get it going.  I also want to be posting daily to my blog Instagram and that is definitely not happening.  WHY IS IT HARD???

5. You know what else is hard?  Choosing a holiday card!  First I spend hours scouring through different websites trying to find the best deal.  I love Minted cards so much but they just aren't in the budget.  I ended up going with a Groupon for Staples but I've been looking over the different design options.  I have it narrowed down to 3 from about 30 I originally picked out, so progress has been made.  Does anyone else struggle so badly over this?!

Linking up with Becky and co.

Ten plaid holiday dresses for baby girls

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The links in this post contain affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I was looking for a cute plaid dress for Haddie to wear to meet Santa (for the first time ever!) and had a little trouble finding exactly what I wanted.  I planned on buying a plaid jumper that I loved from Carter's, but it sold out super fast and so I had to scramble to find another option!I searched high and low and eventually came up with some cute options so I thought I would share some of my favorites!  Here are the top ten dresses I found that would be adorable for any little girl over the holidays!

1 - First, my friend Victoria's handmade dresses on Etsy are beyond cute! I love this reindeer design. Sizes 0-24 are $60.

2 - Ralph Lauren Red or White Tartan Plaid Dress with black bow.  $65, currently on sale for $48.99.  I saw this dresses on a baby girl who was behind us in line to meet Santa.  It's exactly the look that I had been searching for!  Elegant and a little old-fashioned.

3 - Old Navy Plaid Ruffle-Trim Dress.  $22.99.  I almost bought this dress one day but when I came back it was sold out in the store closest to me!

4 - The price point of this Target dress can't be beat!  $13.99 for a super cute holiday dress.  This was one of my top contenders! It's a really great affordable option that will look as nice in pictures as any of the others.

5 - Hope & Henry Plaid Taffeta Pleated Dress.  This is a company I learned about recently and their clothes are adorable and only available on Amazon.  This one is $29.95 and they also have a similar red version here.

6 - For a unique option, this Tucker + Tate Mixed Tartan Plaid Dress from Nordstorm offers plaid that will match any holiday color scheme! $42.99 and free shipping.

7 - This embroidered plaid dress from Gap is adorable with the flowers on top!  $39.95 (but Gap is still offering 50% off everything for Black Friday!)

8 - This metallic plaid dress from Macy's absolutely took my breath away but I just couldn't quite justify the price of $60.  Of course, it's on sale today for $23.99!! It is truly stunning in person. The brand is Bonnie Baby which I think might be a new favorite of mine.

9 - There's also a red version of the above dress.

10 - This final option is also from Macy's.  It's a two-piece coat and dress set from Blueberi Boulevard and it is so classic and beautiful.  The quality is really nice, but again it was a little more than I could afford at $70.00 but is on sale today for $27.99! Of course!

So which dress did we end up with, you might ask?  Funnily enough, I absolutely fell in love with this red sparkly dress with a fur stole from Target -- didn't end up with plaid at all, but I'm still lusting over the above dresses!

What I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Every year on Thanksgiving, I try to take some time, sit back, and reflect on the true meaning of the holiday.  I like to look at what's good in my life and really take a moment to appreciate it.  I thought I would share some of these thoughts with you. So here's what I'm grateful for, from the serious to the silly.

First and foremost, I'm grateful for this little baby of mine. Being a mother to this precious little baby girl has been the greatest joy of my life and I cherish every day, truly.  Even on the most trying of days, I'm happier than I've ever been because I have her by my side.

I'm grateful for my husband.  I can't imagine doing this life without him.

For my parents.

For my siblings.

For my closest friends.

For mom friends.

That I'm able to stay home with Haddie.

For mom Facebook groups.  I've learned more from the mom groups that I'm in than from any other resource.  Not only that, but there are there all day every day for any question no matter how small, to vent to, and to share in the good moments.

For the ease of being dairy-free in 2018.  Obviously I miss cheese and ice cream and butter, but there are so many delicious options options available to me.  It's much easier than when I was vegan 10 years ago.

For this little furball.  We've had a full extra year with him after nearly losing him last year.  Each day is just a bonus and even though he drives me absolutely bananas some days, I love him so much.

For online shopping with free shipping.

For our house.  I may not love everything about it all of the time, but it's ours!

For hot running water.  Every single time that I take a shower, I think of people who don't have this luxury and I am truly thankful.

For Starbucks holiday drinks.

And finally, I'm thankful that Jill Zarin is coming back to the Real Housewives of New York.  I told you some of these would be silly!

5 on Friday

Friday, November 9, 2018

Yeahhhh I'm back to calling these "Five on Friday."  Five for Friday just didn't stick. Also, Blogtober was a fail, as expected. Linking up with Katie!

~* 1 *~

We are painting our main living areas tomorrow.  It's been nearly a year (to the day, actually) that we moved into our house and so far the only room painted is Haddie's!  The whole house is painted in a gross off-white/yellow color that reminds me of an old hospital, so I'm really excited to get it painted.  We spent the whole night taping.  In the front room and dining room, we are doing gray on the top, white on the bottom, divided by our wainscoting, and in the downstairs family room, we are going with a bold dark green.  Our goal is to turn that make that room feel like a lodge, so finger's crossed that it goes ok!  Both of us have only painted a handful of times in our life so we aren't exactly pros!  See my Pinterest board for our paint inspiration!

~* 2 *~

Speaking of Pinterest, I recently went through and cleaned mine up.  I was hating it lately and feeling overwhelmed by it.  I archived almost all of my old boards and created a bunch of new ones that are actually relevant to my current life and now I'm loving it.  It's been so helpful in figuring out how we want to decorate our house and I can't wait to keep using it in a manner that works for me.

~* 3 *~

I posted this on Instagram, but yesterday marked the day that Haddie was officially out as long as she was in.  This day always seemed really special to me in a mother's life and it was! Like more significant than Mother's Day or any of her  monthly "birthdays."I felt like I was pregnant forever, but the past 9.5 months have flown by in the blink of an eye, even though some days seem to last for an eternity. 

~* 4 *~

And speaking of little Haddie, I'm starting to plan her first birthday party!  I always said I would never plan a big party for a baby but here I am.  I guess add that to the list of things I never said I would do and yet here I am doing them! I've been pouring over themes for her party and so far I'm down to Winter ONE-derland or Wild ONE.  I'm leaning toward the latter because her nursery is woodland animal themed, so it would be keeping with her theme. Any thoughts or other ideas?

~* 5 *~

Starbucks holiday drinks are out!! I went HAM on them this week, oops!  So far I've had 2 chestnut pralines, a gingerbread, and a peppermint mocha. I truly cannot afford to keep buying them so now that I've had all my faves, I'm trying to hold out until Black Friday when I know I'll be at the mall.  I can't have the eggnog, PSL, the new white chocolate one, or snickerdoodle hot cocoa bc of dairy, so it makes it a little easier to limit my Starbucks intake.  The seasonal drinks at Starbucks are literally one of my favorite things about the holiday season! I finally got the most beautiful cup that I had been longing for yesterday so that's another reason I feel ok taking a break.  Does anyone else love these drinks as much as I do??

Reader beware: ghost stories!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Tis the season to be spooky!  My friend Kate posted about a paranormal experience she had tonight and it inspired me to share some of my stories. What better time than Halloween, amirite?

I 100% believe in ghosts even and while I've never actually SEEN one, I have sensed them.  I'm here today to share a few of those stories and a couple that aren't mine, but are pretty bone-chilling (or at least they chilled my bones!). 

The Middle Room

My first personal experience with a feeling of a ghost or entity was at my great-grandma's house, later owned by my parents as an office.  It was a lovely two-story house and I felt totally comfortable there, except for one room, the middle room upstairs.  It wasn't just me, but everyone in the extended family was freaked out by this room.  Nothing happened to me in it, but every time I had to go in there to grab something for my great-grandma, I felt terrified. It felt like somebody or something was watching me.  The hair on my arm would stand up and it just felt off. I could never get out of there quick enough!  *Shudder*   My dad tells a terrifying story about that room -- he says, and I believe him, that when he was little, he had to SLEEP in that room and one night, when everyone else was sleeping but he was still awake, he heard a car pull into the drive and he looked out and saw a long sedan driving in.  He just knew that the driver was coming for him.  He burrowed under the covers, but he heard the car door close and then the front door open and he heard someone walking up the steps and eventually opened the door.  He said a man came into the room, but his face was blurred like it was a black and white tv screen.  The man leaned into my dad's face and told him to go to sleep and then he just disappeared into the darkness.  He believes this man to be The Sandman.  Now, who knows if that story is true, but one thing for sure is that room was creepy.

That Time a Ghost Walked Through Me

During summers in college, I worked with my dad installing security systems and one day, we were headed to a really old mansion in Yellow Springs, OH.  He told me that it was sometimes creepy, but he's always telling me stories to freak me out so I took his warning with a grain of salt.  However, once we got there I was like yep this is a weird house.  A lot of times, my dad would be on one floor and I'd be on the other and we communicated with walkie talkies -- this is when I was the most scared, but as soon as I was back with him, I felt safe.  WELL -- we were down in the basement together and all of a sudden, the air turned as cold as winter and I felt something pass through me. It can only be described an an entity, a being.  It was colder than cold and I felt it emotionally -- I felt sad and scared and like my heart was literally breaking and then... it was gone.  I looked up at my dad and the look on his face said it all - he felt it too! We finished up as fast as possible and ran back to the van!  He said that he's experienced that feeling before in the same area of the house but didn't want to tell me because he was afraid I would be too scared. 

The Other Creepy House
Dad and I had another creepy experience, but one in which nothing actually happened, but it was more of a feeling.  We were installing a security system in a perfectly normal house, except it didn't feel normal.  It felt like someone was constantly watching us or like something really bad was hidden from view.  One room was full of standing harps, which is odd on it's own, but the entire house was just filled with a bad energy.  There were also a bunch of stuffed cats throughout, and they looked like actual cats, like taxoderm-ied cats and it seemed like their eyes followed me, UGH. It was just funky and there's no real way to describe it.  Neither of us mentioned it while we were in the house, but once we were gone, we looked at each other and said "that was weird, right?!"

The Ghost on Our Landing
As a kid, I always got a weird feeling on the top landing of our stairs.  I would never linger there long and tried to just skip over it by running fast and hopping to the next set of stairs that led to the hallway.  Well, one day my mom didn't know I was in the next room and she casually said to my dad, "I think she's gone now."  "Who?," replied Dad.  "The little girl on the landing, I haven't sensed her in awhile."  WTF?!?!?!  I didn't ask her about it until later but my mom claims that the ghost of a little girl used to be there and then just disappeared one day.  Quite a few people died in our house, as it's very old and it was the only house in the area to remain above water in the great 1913 Piqua Flood.  So who knows? I'm just glad that it's gone!

**The next two stories aren't mine, but they are so good that I have to share.**

The Ghost in My Dad's Old Room
When I was little, I always used to sleep in the back room at my grandma's house, my dad's old room.  I loved sleeping there since it was his childhood room and the bathroom was right on the other side, so when my grandparents took a shower, I would hear the water running and it was just so soothing.  The wallpaper has a beautiful shine to it and the bed is so comfortable.  Well, one day, my mom forbid me from sleeping in that room anymore.  She said I could spend the night, but I couldn't sleep there.  As kids do, I kept pressing her for the reason why I couldn't sleep there and she said it was haunted. Well, that was enough for me as a little kid and so I slept in my aunt's old room instead, but when I got older (11, 12ish), I asked her how did she know it was haunted. She told me that she just had a bad experience there.  Of course I kept hounding her and she finally told me the whole story when I was in high school.  She claims that one time, in fact one of the first times my dad brought her home to meet his parents, she was sleeping in that room.  She woke up one night to a woman with white hair in curlers standing over her bed. She thought it was someone playing a prank on her. Then the woman put her hands around my mom's neck and her hands were as cold as ice.  She started choking my mom and wouldn't stop -- my mom struggled and screamed until someone rushed into her room and turned the lights on and then the woman disappeared.  WHO KNOWS IF THIS IS TRUE but I have never been comfortable in that room since then. 

Herein lies the story that actually freaks me out the most. So, my cousin Sarah bought a house.  It was sold by a man named Walt who had to move into a nursing home after his wife, Mary, died.  In the living room, Sarah's 2 cats and dogs would sit and stare at the corner of the room.  There was an adjacent bathroom where the light would always flicker or even turn totally off or on- I personally experienced this. Well, this continued for several months.  One day, Sarah's nieces were over.  They were around 3 or 4 years old and one of them said to Sarah, "Auntie Sarah, who is that lady?" Sarah asked her who she was talking about and she pointed to the same corner that the pets stared at and said "that lady right there in the rocking chair."  

From then on, Sarah decided it was Mary sitting in that room and that she was a benevolent ghost. She'd always say "hi, Mary!" when she walked into the room.  Well, Walt died a few months later and everything stopped.  The lights stopped flickering, the pets stopped paying any attention to the corner.  Freaky, right?  It's like she was waiting for Walt to join her so that she could be at peace.

The Scary Story That Wasn't

We'll end this post with one of the scariest (and dumbest) moments of my life. Ok so there I was, watching tv in my room, at home on break from college and I was watching this scary af movie with Dakota Fanning and Robert De Niro -- "Hide and Seek," I think it was called.  Well, on the screen, a horror scene with blood was playing out and all of a sudden, blood started oozing out of my screen.  I screamed bloody murder and my 12 year old sister came rushing in.  "THE TV IS BLEEDING," I screamed -- she rationally flipped the lights on and.... the red candle I had been burning on top of the tv pooled and spilled over, dripping wax down the screen.

The End.  

Do you believe in ghosts?  Do you have any stories of your own?

Haddie's 9 month update

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Haddie turned 9 months last Monday!  I still haven't even posted her monthly photo to Instagram.  This week flew by! I always thought it must feel so significant when a mother's baby turns 9 months because they've been out as long as they were in, but the math doesn't quite work out that way.  She was born at 41 weeks 3 days, so we still have a ways to go until we can celebrate that milestone!

We had her 9 month check-up on Tuesday and she's 30 inches (2.5 ft!!) long, 20.6 lbs, and a head circumference of 45 cm.  The doctor said "she's off the charts for height!" so I was excited to see her little dot marked on the chart literally above the chart, but she's actually 99.4th percentile so it's still technically on the chart, but that does mean that only 6 babies out of 1000 are taller than her! Her weight is 83rd percentile which is the highest it's ever been, and her head is like 80th or something, I forget.

She pulls up on everything now and even lets go and stands by herself for a few seconds. She crawls around the house so fast and she's started getting into everything!  We love hearing her little hands and knees make a plap-plap-clomp-clomp sound as she cruises around on the hard wood.  (I also feel bad for her poor knees but can't convince Bill that we need these.)

She's started babbling and says a lot of things that almost sound like words.  I've definitely heard "mama" a few times, but I don't think she's actually saying it as my name.

As I've mentioned about 10x already (sorry), she's moved to a convertible carseat.  I think she definitely has come to like it now. 

I think her favorite 9-month development is that she learned how to clap! It's one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

She tried a lot of new foods this month.  I bought some jarred baby food at the store for our trip to Ohio/Indiana and I realized that it's a really easy way to introduce new foods.  Previously I had been cooking up a whole batch, but that was such a waste if she didn't like it or it didn't agree with her.  So we've been sticking with jars of food to introduce new foods.  This month she tried strawberries, pumpkin, beets (which gave her a rash, womp womp), blueberries, mango, and probably more but that's all I'm remembering at the moment.

At her checkup, the doctor diagnosed her with something called FPIES, which stands for food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome.  I told her what happened when we accidentally ate oatmeal made with milk and she immediately said FPIES, combined with the experiences we've been struggling with from the beginning.  Kids who have FPIES just can't process certain foods but the good news is that most grow out of it by 3.  I need to do some more research on this, but please let me know if you have experience with this!

Here's a few shots from her 9th month and I'm sorry, this whole capturing-good-pictures-without-showing-her-face thing is proving to be more difficult than I thought it would be:

Cheers to a good week, all!

Five for Friday: Cleaning Edition

Friday, October 19, 2018

~* 1 *~

I had been in a great routine with Haddie a couple of months ago, but we had some visitors and traveled and it all fell apart.  I had been very diligent about doing a few morning chores that made my life easier like unloading the dishwasher, putting a load of laundry in, emptying the dehumidifer, and cleaning the cat box but then it went to the wayside and everything piled up!  I'm trying hard to back into the routine, but it's taking me more effort than I'd like to admit. Does this happen to anyone else?

~* 2 *~

Mrs. Hinch -- is anyone else following Mrs. Hinch on Instagram?? I've been following her for a few weeks and it's been a crazy ride.  She's British and is obsessed with cleaning.  She posts stories of her cleaning methods and it's so addicting to watch!  She has names for all of her cleaning tools like Dave the Duster, Vera the mop, Minkeh the sponge.  It's so goofy but I love it. She makes cleaning seem fun and it's inspired me to clean more. When I started following her, she had 200K followers and just the other day she hit one million -- in like less than a month!  It's crazy!  I feel like I've joined a cult though, because I'm literally obsessed.  I can't stop watching her videos and I'm always trying to find American (and chemical free, which she is... not) equivalents to her products. I think of myself as a member of The Hinch Army and I often refer to cleaning as "hinching."   I've even joined not one, but two Facebook groups dedicated to her and her methods! Send help lol.  Or don't, because my house is getting cleaner than ever!

~* 3 *~

Clean Mama -  IG account and blogger that I've started following is Clean Mama.  Anyone else?  She has a schedule for daily cleaning tasks that I'm trying to follow as a rough guide, but it seems to take me a long time to do everything.  Her weekly schedule is Monday: bathrooms, Tuesday: Dusting, Wednesday: Vacuuming, Thursday: Floor Washing, and Friday: Catch All.  I was doing well until I got to vacuuming.  For some reason this took me hours to complete.  I never have vacuumed the whole house at once before, but rather when I cleaned each room.  It took me so long to do it all at once that I had to split it up over 2 days!  I suppose it would be easier if I didn't have a baby attached to me in the Ergo.
~* 4 *~

Speaking of vacuuming, I've had a similar version of this vacuum for 2 years and I just realized this week that you can lift the canister off and use it as a canister vacuum.  Makes stairs and hard-to-reach places much easier.  Duh.  One of the reasons I bought it was because it said "lift away."  I guess I thought that meant lifting dirt away??

~* 5 *~

In final cleaning-related things, am I the only person who knew that from time to time, you had to clean your dishwasher? I knew you had to clean gross leftover food, but apparently you should actually clean it.  I bought this stuff and it's cleaning dishes so much better now.  It smells good and it was literally sparkling after I used it.  But seriously, did everyone else know you're supposed to do this?!

Well, that's the end of this boring post! Linking up with Katie!
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